NEWS FROM THE TOUR VANS
BROUGHT TO YOU BY GOLF PRIDE, THE #1 GRIP ON TOUR
The fall season is all about implementing new equipment and looking for any extra advantage heading into the new year. For several players, they have already reaped rewards after making a switch.
One example is how the new Ping G430 driver is grabbing significant attention since it debuted in Las Vegas last month. Séamus Power and Keegan Bradley already have won PGA Tour events with the driver. Mito Pereira, Tyrrell Hatton, Sebastián Muñoz, Trey Mullinax and John Huh also are among those who have converted. Pereria registered a tie for fourth in Vegas and had a top-20 at the CJ Cup. Hatton notched a tie for 13th in the CJ Cup.
Why does a player switch drivers? There are performance reasons, but there also are plenty of sensory factors as well.
Muñoz picked up 4 mph of ball speed. Hatton saw more consistency in his spin numbers. Mullinax went with the G430 LST model, which uses a carbon composite clubhead, and he noticed a more attractive sound at impact.
Just picking a driver is not always the end of the tinkering. Hideki Matsuyama, who is famous in the gear world for switching equipment more than any other high-profile player in recent memory, moved to the new Srixon Tour-only ZX5 MKII LS driver starting at the Fortinet Championship. This is the updated version of the ZX5 driver Matsuyama has been playing (it has yet to be released to the public). However, as he is apt to do, Matsuyama is not settled.
The former Masters winner tested the new driver with his go-to Graphite Design Tour AD-DI 8TX shaft, but he switched to a Fujikura Ventus Black 8TX to start the CJ Cup because he noticed his spin rates were lower with the Fujikura shaft. But after just one round of pedestrian play off the tee, Matsuyama went back to the original Graphite Design shaft for the remaining 54 holes.
The results have been mixed for Matsuyama to this point, so expect more tweaks. After all, this is the guy who routinely goes through a handful of drivers with various shaft combinations.
Among other changes, Power moved to the 2023 Titleist Pro V1x golf ball after using a 2022 Pro V1. He was looking for extra spin with his irons and found it by going to a harder ball. Keith Mitchell also went into the same ball.
Titleist’s TSR driver continues to be a massive success at all levels. Patrick Rodgers tied for third in Bermuda – notching his best PGA Tour finish in four years – after switching to 13 Titleist clubs, including the TSR2 driver. Jordan Smith won the Portugal Masters, Harrison Crowe won the Asia-Pacific Amateur and Gordon Sargent won the East Lake Cup, all three of them gaming a TSR3 driver.
Titleist swept the major equipment categories in Bermuda, a common occurrence for the brand throughout the year.