Welcome to Wall-to-Wall Equipment, the Monday morning gear wrap-up in which GOLF equipment editor Jonathan Wall takes you through the latest trends, rumors and breaking news.
Reppin’ the home team
You know it’s officially golf’s silly season when a custom staff bag is big equipment news. Playing alongside Utah Jazz CEO Danny Ainge early in the week at the Hero World Challenge, Tony Finau opted for a custom Jazz staff bag instead of his usual Ping staff bag for the occasion.
The bag featured the Jazz logo on one of the side panels and his sponsor Aptive Environmental on the other. Finau’s name and the number seven could be found on the front panel, along with the Jazz’s long-used hashtag “TakeNote,” on the valuables pouch.
Finau was back to his usual Ping bag on Thursday, but the Jazz bag drew some eyeballs early in the week, even as Tiger Woods was stealing most of the headlines.
According to Finau, a Utah native, he plans to sign the staff bag and donate it during the Jazz-Warriors game on Dec. 7 (Wednesday). If you’re a Jazz fan and want a complete one-off staff bag from a Tour star — here’s your chance.
Changing it up
Xander Schauffele has tried several different Odyssey putters this season but remained loyal to the No. 7 head shape. The latest trial came during the Hero World Challenge where he tried out a silver Odyssey-Toulon prototype with Toulon’s distinctive milling pattern.
“[Just a] little bit different feel and different finish obviously,” said Odyssey Tour rep Joe Toulon. “Just freshened up the look. Seems to be working fine so far.”
Schauffele has relied on Odyssey’s popular White Hot insert, so the move away from an insert to a solid construction head was a significant change. And while the sole plate looked to be substantial, Toulon confirmed it was actually a lightweight aluminum featuring two forward moveable weights to dial-in swing weight and overall head weight.
Schauffele finished fourth in the limited-field event while also ranking sixth in putts per green in regulation — Strokes Gained statistics weren’t logged in the Bahamas — during the week.
Like Schauffele, Collin Morikawa used his final event of the year to test out a new iron setup consisting of TaylorMade’s yet-to-be-released P7MC and P7CM irons. While we don’t know all of the details surrounding the new offerings, Morikawa offered insights on what he asked for in the new blades, which include his initials instead of the P7MB stamping golfers will find on the eventual retail version.
“TaylorMade did a great job,” he said. “They’re not too different than what I had in the P730s before. I actually changed kind of the bounce and the width of the sole and it’s not something that looks different at address. It actually looks exactly the same, a little different finish, so looking at it, it could be the same iron. There hasn’t been a huge like trust factor, it’s just seeing certain shots that I knew we made these changes for and actually seeing them improve, that’s what’s been exciting. So it actually hasn’t scared me at all to put in a new set because I knew what we were doing exactly to the irons.”
Morikawa also hinted the turf interaction has been improved when compared to the 730s he was playing previously.
“On hole 16 today, I hit 7-iron in and usually off kind of’ tighter conditions when it’s a little matted down, the P730s, what I used to use, I’d probably catch a little thin,” he said. “These kind of just get in the turf a little better, I can catch more center face, they get in the air when I have downwind shots like that, I don’t have to worry about it rolling out. So it’s just kind of small little things that normal people, the regular person wouldn’t notice, but it’s a big difference for me. It kind of, you know, gets me to be able to hit a few more shots into, say, tucked pins or different kind of conditions.”
New equipment deals — at least for those still under contract — won’t go into effect until Jan. 1, but it appears a notable name might be considering a move. Three-time PGA Tour winner Kevin Kisner recently tested out a Wilson Golf prototype driver during the RSM Classic, along with a set of Staff Model CB irons and Staff Model utility.
The Wilson-heavy setup was still in play in the Bahamas, a clear indication he’s giving Wilson’s equipment a hard look — even if nothing is official.
It’s important to note Kisner still appears on Callaway’s website with gear that reflects the recent changes to his setup. It’s certainly a storyline to watch as the calendar changes and new deals are announced.
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