Welcome to Wall-to-Wall Equipment, the Monday morning equipment roundup from the GOLF Equipment Editor. jonathan wall takes you through the latest trends, rumors and newsyes
Losing weight is a way to gain speed with the driver. But what about the wedge lob? Before you chalk this up to a club experiment gone wrong, let’s point out that Xander Schauffele used a lob wedge last week that was lighter than just about anything on the course.
Schauffele’s irons and wedges are a common D3 swing weight, except for a 60-degree Vokey SM9 60-06K lob wedge that happens to be a light D0. That’s right: D0. Schauffele is actually the only pro in the Vokey database currently using a D0 swingweight.
So how did Schauffele end up in an ultralight launcher? According to Vokey Tour representative Aaron Dill, the conversation initially began at the AT&T Byron Nelson, where Schauffele spent time working Patrick Cantlay’s SM8 62-08 lob wedge on the practice green. Cantlay’s lob wedge turns out to be a D1 swingweight.
“[H]“He spent a little bit of time playing Patrick Cantlay’s lob wedge and said he thought the weighting was really interesting,” Dill said. “Patrick is pretty light, he’s about D1. Most of the guys are around D5. He said: ‘I like how he felt about it, and I want to try it. What do you think? Should he go down to D2 or D1?’ (He was previously in D3). And I said, ‘Let’s take it a step further and really see if this feels the way you want.'”
Dill ended up making Schauffele two Vokey wedges in his usual K and T routines (Schauffele has two routine options depending on course conditions) at a D0 swingweight to see how they worked.
Schauffele liked them so much that he ended up taking both home with him after the practice session.
Reducing weight on the lob wedge is something most golfers wouldn’t consider (it’s more common to add feel weight to wedges), but in Schauffele’s case, it ended up helping him in a few different ways around the green.
“By going lighter, you can create a little more speed, increase spin and hit it a little higher around the greens,” Dill said. “He was like, ‘This thing feels so good. I feel like I can throw him through the ball a little faster, create a little more spin and have a little more height when I want to.’”
coming out on top
Callaway’s Jaws Raw wedge made its official tour debut at the Travelers Championship, but we already had a feeling it was brewing a month ago when Schauffele debuted a 52-degree in the Byron Nelson.
“I’ve always liked wedges that rust over time,” Schauffele told GOLF.com. “There’s not as much glare and they just feel better to me. With that one, I found it was better around the greens and had a really consistent spin.”
Schauffele was one of 18 players on the field with a Jaws Raw wedge in the bag. Kevin Kisner, Marc Leishman, Si Woo Kim and Danny Willett were some of the other notable names who also chose to employ Callaway’s newest scoring tool that features a raw wedge feel and silver look.
Check out the full recap of last week’s Jaws Raw.
The follow-up to the popular Titleist TSi was always going to have some big shoes to fill. Two years ago, Titleist saw 26 players use TSi early on on their way to becoming arguably the most popular driver on Tour. Counting victories became routine.
With an ATI 425 Titanium Alloy face acting as the supercharged motor, Titleist never lost momentum in the marketplace.
So how do you keep the momentum going with a new product? If you are a Titleist, you refrain from completely reinventing the wheel. At the Travelers Championship, Titleist launched its new TSR drivers (TSR2, TSR3 and TSR4) and saw 18 players adopt one of the three models during the official Tour launch, including Jordan Spieth (10-degree TSR3). (Spieth has been slow to change drivers in recent years.)
Davis Riley, who switched to an 8-degree TSR3, ended up leading the field in SG: Off the Tee for the week after seeing more consistent ball speeds across the face, especially on high-end misses.
“Immediately when I took my head covering off, I was like, ‘Dang, this looks great,’” Riley said. “The overall look, feel is amazing. Is very good. The mishits are really good. I’m finding really consistent spin on the face no matter where I’m hitting it, so you’re maximizing your carry numbers every time. It is what you really want to look for. It’s not how good your good hits are. It’s, ‘How good are your bad shots?’ And just seeing that consistency on the face is really cool to see.
“I actually saw a 1 or 2 mph increase in ball speed, which is really good. Usually when you have a bug, you see that number drop drastically. But I realized right away, I was like, ‘OK, I hit one of those a little high on the toe. And the numbers were almost identical to the center hit.”
JT Poston reported seeing a similar increase in ball speed of 2 mph with a 9 degree TSR3. He finished second to Schauffele in the Travelers and was one of two players (Chesson Hadley, 10-grade TSR3, was the other) to finish in the top 5 with a TSR driver.
Titleist has yet to comment on the technology behind the controller, but with the ATI425 still in the fold, it looks like the company is unlocking more speed through a new aero shape. According to GOLF’s Ryan Barath, who was on site for the Tour launch, there are visible ridges around the weights on the TSR2 and TSR4 that act like “mini diffusers on a Formula 1 car to accelerate airflow and re-introduce it.” in the air around your head. — in simple terms, it helps the clubhead move faster, and a fast clubhead results in more distance.”
Whatever Titleist is doing seems to be working.
Finau’s lead tape experiment
Lead tape is one of the easiest ways to add weight to a putter head without making any permanent alterations. Tiger Woods uses it during the Open Championship to generate more speed on slower greens. Schauffele has covered it the sole of your putter in the past to achieve a specific feel. Needless to say, it is a common thing on the Tour.
You can add Tony Finau to the list of professionals dabbling in lead tape. Finau isn’t afraid to add it to his Ping clubs, including the putter. In the run-up to the US Open, Finau worked with Ping’s putter manager, Dylan Goodwin, to see if there was a way to help improve face awareness during the stroke. Goodwin suggested a 5-gram lead tape as a possible solution. But with the green speeds at The Country Club, Finau refrained from adding it to his putter during the tournament.
In the Travelers, however, Finau had a backup version of his Anser 2D PLD designed with several strips of lead tape (5 grams) on the sole. Finau ended up using his player, without the lead tape, during the tournament, but plans to continue testing the backup version with the lead tape to see if the added weight can provide a permanent solution.
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