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7 gear takeaways from an utterly chaotic week in golf equipment at The Sentry

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The island vibes in Maui tend to have a calming effect, but in the world of golf equipment, Maui set the stage for utter gear chaos in the first week of 2024.

With tons of new equipment on the horizon, I made the trek to the Kapulua Plantation Course for The Sentry to see what cool stuff I could find.

Here’s a rundown of everything new that I spotted this week.

Happy New Year!

Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke drivers, fairways and utilities

We got our first look at the Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke products on Tour this week, including four driver models (Triple Diamond, Triple Diamond Max, Triple Diamond S and Max), two fairway wood models (Triple Diamond and Max), and a Triple Diamond Utility club.

While many players were testing the new products, and will likely switch further down the road, we confirmed that Si Woo Kim, Xander Schauffele, and Adam Hadwin, at least, will be using a new Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Triple Diamond driver. Hadwin, in particular, has a glob of lead tape on the heel portion of his new head, as pictured above.

See all of the photos of Callaway’s new Ai Smoke products here

Callaway’s new Chrome Tour X golf balls

Sam Burns (Chrome Tour X), Akshay Bhatia (Chrome Tour), Hadwin (Chrome Tour X) and Schauffele are also expected to debut new golf balls this week from Callaway.

Hadwin spoke in-depth about the new golf ball and driver:

“I’m not the guy that knows technology, but [the Ai Smoke driver has] been very good.

“It’s been a very easy switch over from Paradym, but did take me a while to find a head during the fitting process. Usually, drivers have been kind of plug and play almost. Like just match up the model, and they’re pretty close. This one took a little bit to figure it out, but once we did, it’s been really good. The numbers have been great.

“I’m in the new golf ball, as well, so I would say I’m probably 1-2 mph faster, with the combination. I’m not sure whether it’s the head or the ball or both, but in comparison to older golf ball and Paradym head, probably a couple miles per hour faster.

“The feel has been great. The versatility, and the sound. I played a practice round with Patrick Rodgers, and he even commented on that, just the way that it sounds coming off. I’m very pleased with it.

“I’m in the Triple Diamond head, and the Chrome Tour X.

“[The golf ball is] new for this year, yeah. I think the biggest thing is they changed the name, they went from Chrome Soft to Chrome Tour, and then I think there’s a slightly different – I just know what it does. I don’t see a lot around the greens, the iron profiles been really good. The visuals, the trajectory, has all been very much the same. Spin rates. Driver’s actually almost slightly higher than the other ones so far, like 100 rpm higher. Launch window same. Like I said, ball speed has been a little bit quicker with the combination.

“I was just saying to my caddie, one thing that – again, this has been 18 holes total with it – but this has been the first real wind that we’ve played in, that I’ve played in with the golf ball, and what I have seen so far is potentially in some of the crosswinds, the mishits are still going as far as some of the more well struck shots. Maybe it’s holding its – not that it’s holding its line per se – but it’s flying through the air on the mishits maybe a little bit better.

“I think if I remember correctly, during the description, that’s part of what they did. The aerodynamics have changed slightly that in the air it shouldn’t take off on you. It kind of holds its line. It might be flying a little bit better through the wind.”

Collin Morikawa (finally) makes a driver switch

New in the bag this week for Morikawa is a TaylorMade Qi10 Max driver, and a TaylorMade Qi10 V-Steel 5-wood. On Tuesday, I spoke with Morikawa at length about the change from his longtime original SIM driver, which was one of the oldest driver models still active on the PGA TOUR prior to this switch:

“Yeah, I am [switching into the Qi10 Max driver this week]. I got a lot of crazy looks from the guys when I said I wanted the Max.

“Look, the TaylorMade guys have been amazing. They’ve obviously modified a bunch of heads, put in weights everywhere, try to match up the CG’s. The SIM has been amazing for me. It’s a shallower head, it’s not a deep head, or a long head from front to back. It’s pretty shallow compared to the new ones. That’s always something that I’ve liked.

“Even though this face is the same as all the other the ones – the QI10 LS version and the regular core version – visually it looks shallower because of how long the head is. So I had to get used to that, but they made me up a bunch of heads. I tried this one with a different shaft. I actually haven’t switched shafts in a long, long time. Actually since Harding Park – a week before Harding Park was FedEx St. Jude, I switched to the 60-gram Diamana D-Plus, which I played for awhile. So I haven’t switched since then. Switched to another profile of a Dimana, a little lighter of a version, and I’ve just been finding center.

“At the end of the day, the center ones are always gonna be good. When you’re on Trackman, you look at it, and it looks good, it’s great. But I really care about the misses, right. Where am I going to miss it on the face? Does it feel good one my misses?

“And it’s been great. I’ve been playing it for about a couple weeks, like 3-4 weeks almost since Bahamas, and it’s been really good. I’m excited to put it in play. This course, with the wind, even though there’s wide fairways, you need to be in the fairway to score.

“It’s a little spinnier than my SIM. My SIM was a little bit on the lower side. Look, for someone who doesn’t hit it that far, it’s obviously nice to opimtize it as much as you can: high launch, low spin. But, with this one, I’ve been able to play my different heights. So if it’s downwind and I need to be able to carry it, it covers. If it’s straight into the wind, I’m able to keep it low, and keep it flat and not spinny. If anything it’s still living on the higher side of the spin numbers. Maybe it’s spinning at, you know, if I get a spinny one, it’s spinning at 2500-2600 rpm, but the good ones, when I’m hitting it in the center, are phenomenal. They’re spinning at 2300 and staying in the air. But everything about it, it’s launching where I want when I look up; it’s doing what I want. So it’s very, very positive in that sense.

“Sound and feel is huge. I’ve got a lot of hot melt in this head. Look, the Max is made for someone that needs to get the ball up in the air, needs the spin, I have to explain to everyone that, ‘Look I have the amateur version.’  But no, I truly love it. And the feel with the hot melt and everything in it and back and forth, it’s just softened it up a little bit and the mishits have been great. I’m excited to put in play.”

Morikawa playing the “game improvement” Max model of the new Qi10 lineup is all the proof amateurs need that they should be getting fit, and testing all available models from a given driver company. Just saying!

See all of the in-hand photos of Morikawa’s driver and 5-wood here

Tom Kim and Cam Young debut new jaw-dropping Scotty Cameron prototypes

I covered this story in-depth over on PGATOUR.com, so if you’re looking for more information, I suggest heading over there. If all you want to see is the photos, I suggest scrolling below…

Tom Kim’s Scotty Cameron TourType GSS proto (with a new Scotty Cameron Xperimental Shaft by UST Mamiya)

Yeah. “Wow,” is right.

Cam Young’s Scotty Cameron T-5 Tour Only prototype

Hmm. That’s quite an intricate shaping differential from the stock T-5 heads, isn’t it? Very interesting.

Xander Schauffele’s updated 2024 WITB

Schauffele showed up to Hawai’i this week with a surprising amount of new equipment in the bag, including a new Paradym Ai Smoke Triple Diamond driver, a Paradym Ai Smoke 3-wood, and new one-piece Callaway Apex TCB irons (…and a 10-wedge!).

I asked Schauffele about all the changes during his Wednesday press conference. Here’s his answer:

“Yeah, a new line of Paradym [Ai Smoke] woods came out. They’re kind of — I would call them siblings to the old line of Paradym. Same as the irons. The irons are still the TCBs. So again, it seems like a sibling. It feels like I’m looking down at the same iron. The construction’s just a one-piece versus sort of a two-piece head, so they sound a little bit more pure and solid.

“Then the golf ball is identical. I think they just stamped a new logo on it. So it seems like there’s a lot of new things in, but for the most part, I think that the woods are probably the biggest thing.”

See Xander’s full 2024 WITB here

Jordan Spieth switches to a full set of Titleist SM10 Vokey wedges

As you probably know by now, Spieth is especially particular when it comes to his wedge setup. I mean, he’s precise down the half of a degree on each wedge! So it shouldn’t go unnoticed that Spieth switched into not one, but four SM10 wedges during the first week of Titleist’s Tour validation process.

I spoke to Spieith about the wedge switches on Tuesday:

“I think the biggest difference is when you get to the gap wedge and pitching wedge on the full shots. I think the sweet spot’s been moved; it’s bigger and it’s moved a little to where any potential over-hook is almost eliminated, which is really nice. You can step up with a left pin and be pretty aggressive.

“Other than that, they look great. I’m pretty particular with my 60. It isn’t always an ‘SM,’ sometimes it’s a separate prototype version, but this time I’m right into the SM10. It looks really good to me. The biggest thing that [Vokey Tour rep Aaron Dill] told me was that as I start to hit those longer shots, they won’t produce the odd outliers that overturn to the left.”

For more on the SM10 wedges, click here, or head over to our GolfWRX.com forums to see more in-hand photos

Foresight’s new GC Quad Max launch monitors

Foresight officially unveiled its new GC Quad Max launch monitor units this week at The Sentry, with several Hawaiian-themed custom skins. Who knew launch monitors could look so cool?

We’ll have more information on the new units in the coming weeks as they prepare to hit retail in early February.

How’s that for a start to the New Year in the world of golf equipment?

For more gear photos from The Sentry, head over to our GolfWRX.com Forums!

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He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team and earned a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Pingback: 2024 TaylorMade Qi 10 drivers – GolfWRX Launch Report – GolfWRX

  2. Callaway Sucks

    Jan 4, 2024 at 2:36 pm

    “I think the biggest thing is they changed the name,” Yikes

  3. neil

    Jan 4, 2024 at 3:31 am

    not much difference from the old SR 1 2 and 3?

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Equipment

Coolest thing for sale in the GolfWRX Classifieds (4/18/24): Ping PLD Limited Anser – 1988 Open Championship – #2 of only 88 Made

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At GolfWRX, we are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment of the game in many ways.

It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball. It even allows us to share another thing we all love – buying and selling equipment.

Currently, in our GolfWRX buy/sell/trade (BST) forum, there is a listing for a Ping PLD Limited Anser – 1988 Open Championship – #2 of only 88 Made.

From the seller: (@DLong72): “Ping PLD Limited Anser – 1988 Open Championship – #2 of only 88 Made. ?: $1150. ?? 100% milled collectors item from the limited releases commemorating when Ping putters won every major in 1988 (88 putters made). This was the model Seve Ballesteros used to win the 1988 Open Championship. Condition is brand new, never gamed, everything is in the original packaging as it came. Putter features the iconic sound slot.

Specs/ Additional Details

-100% Milled, Aluminum/Bronze Alloy (310g)

-Original Anser Design

-PING PP58 Grip

-Putter is built to standard specs.”

To check out the full listing in our BST forum, head through the link: Ping PLD Limited Anser – 1988 Open Championship – #2 of only 88 Made

This is the most impressive current listing from the GolfWRX BST, and if you are curious about the rules to participate in the BST Forum you can check them out here: GolfWRX BST Rules

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Inside Collin Morikawa’s recent golf ball, driver, 3-wood, and “Proto” iron changes

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As you probably know by now, Collin Morikawa switched putters after the first round of The Masters, and he ultimately went on to finish T3.

The putter was far from the only change he made last week, however, and his bag is continuing to change this week at the 2024 RBC Heritage.

On the range of The Masters, Morikawa worked closely with Adrian Reitveld, TaylorMade’s Senior Manager of Tour at TaylorMade, to find the perfect driver and 3-wood setups.

Morikawa started off 2024 by switching into TaylorMade’s Qi10 Max driver, but since went back to his faithful TaylorMade SIM – yes, the original SIM from 2020. Somehow, some way, it seems Morikawa always ends up back in that driver, which he used to win the 2020 PGA Championship, and the 2021 Open Championship.

At The Masters, however, Rietveld said the duo found the driver head that allowed “zero compromise” on Morikawa’s preferred fade flight and spin. To match his preferences, they landed on a TaylorMade Qi10 LS 9-degree head, and the lie angle is a touch flatter than his former SIM.

“It’s faster than his gamer, and I think what we found is it fits his desired shot shape, with zero compromise” Rietveld told GolfWRX.com on Wednesday at the RBC Heritage.

Then, to replace his former SIM rocket 3-wood, Morikawa decided to switch into the TaylorMade Qi10 core model 13.5-degree rocket head, with an adjustable hosel.

“He likes the spin characteristics of that head,” Rietveld said. “Now he’s interesting because with Collin, you can turn up at a tournament, and you look at his 3-wood, and he’s changed the setting. One day there’s more loft on it, one day there’s less loft on it. He’s that type of guy. He’s not scared to use the adjustability of the club.

“And I think he felt our titanium head didn’t spin as low as his original SIM. So we did some work with the other head, just because he liked the feel of it. It was a little high launching, so we fit him into something with less loft. It’s a naughty little piece of equipment.” 

In addition to the driver and fairway wood changes, Morikawa also debuted his new “MySymbol” jersey No. 5 TP5x golf ball at The Masters. Morikawa’s choice of symbols is likely tied to his love of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team.

Not enough changes for you? There’s one more.

On Wednesday at the 2024 RBC Heritage, Morikawa was spotted with a new TaylorMade “Proto” 4-iron in the bag. If you recall, it’s the same model that Rory McIlroy debuted at the 2024 Valero Texas Open.

According to Morikawa, the new Proto 4-iron will replace his old P-770 hollow-bodied 4-iron.

“I used to hit my P-770 on a string, but sometimes the distance would be a little unpredictable,” Morikawa told GolfWRX.com. “This one launches a touch higher, and I feel I can predict the distance better. I know Rory replaced his P-760 with it. I’m liking it so far.” 

See Morikawa’s full WITB from the 2024 RBC Heritage here. 

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Why Rory McIlroy will likely use the new TaylorMade BRNR Mini Driver Copper at the RBC Heritage

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Although we spotted Rory McIlroy testing the new TaylorMade BRNR Mini Driver Copper last week during practice rounds at the Masters, he ultimately didn’t decide to use the club in competition.

It seems that will change this week at the 2024 RBC Heritage, played at the short-and-tight Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head.

When asked on Wednesday following his morning Pro-Am if he’d be using the new, nostalgic BRNR Copper this week, McIlroy said, “I think so.”

“I like it,” McIlroy told GolfWRX.com on Tuesday regarding the BRNR. “This would be a good week for it.”

 

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According to Adrian Rietveld, the Senior Manager of Tour at TaylorMade, the BRNR Mini Driver can help McIlroy position himself properly off the tee at the tight layout.

Here’s what Rietveld told GolfWRX.com on Wednesday:

“For someone like Rory, who’s that long at the top end of the bag, and then you put him on a course like Harbour Town, it’s tough off the tee. It’s tight into the greens, and you have to put yourself in position off the tee to have a shot into the green. It kind of reminds me of Valderrama in Spain, where you can be in the fairway and have no shot into the green.

“I’m caddying for Tommy [Fleetwood] this week, so I was walking the course last night and looking at a few things. There’s just such a small margin for error. You can be standing in the fairway at 300 yards and have a shot, but at 320 you don’t. So if you don’t hit a perfect shot, you could be stuck behind a tree. And then if you’re back at 280, it might be a really tough shot into the small greens.

“So for Rory [with the BRNR], it’s a nice course-specific golf club for him. He’s got both shots with it; he can move it right-to-left or left-to-right. And the main thing about this club has been the accuracy and the dispersion with it. I mean, it’s been amazing for Tommy.

“This was the first event Tommy used a BRNR last year, and I remember talking to him about it, and he said he couldn’t wait to play it at Augusta next year. And he just never took it out of the bag because he’s so comfortable with it, and hitting it off the deck.

“So you look at Rory, and you want to have the tools working to your advantage out here, and the driver could hand-cuff him a bit with all of the shots you’d have to manufacture.”

So, although McIlroy might not be making a permanent switch into the new TaylorMade BRNR Mini Driver Copper, he’s likely to switch into it this week.

His version is lofted at 13.5 degrees, and equipped with a Fujikura Ventus Black 7X shaft.

See more photos of Rory testing the BRNR Mini here

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