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Archive: February 2011

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February 27, 2011

Luke Donald: WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship

Posted at 6:03 PM by David Dusek

Luke-Donald-Mizuno-MatchPlay_600x450

DRIVER: TaylorMade R11 (9.5°) with a ACCRA XC65 shaft
FAIRWAY WOOD: TaylorMade R9 (13°) with an ACCRA XC75 shaft
HYBRID: Mizuno Hi Fli CLK (17°) with an Aldila NV Hybrid 85 X shaft
IRONS: Mizuno MP-62 (3-PW) with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S300 shafts
WEDGES: Mizuno MP T-11 (54°, 60°) with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S300 shafts
PUTTER: Odyssey White Hot XG #7
BALL: Titleist Pro V1x

See-Try-Buy: Learn more about Mizuno and Titleist clubs, and schedule your fitting with  GolfTEC or Golfsmith.

Related: Follow David Dusek on Twitter | Facebook

(Photo by Darren Carroll/SI)

Martin Kaymer: WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship

Posted at 2:29 PM by David Dusek

Martin-Kaymer-TaylorMade-MatchPlay_600x450

DRIVER: TaylorMade R9 SuperTri (8.5°) with Mitsubishi Rayon Fubuki A70 Alpha shafts
FAIRWAY WOODS:
TaylorMade R9 (13°) with Mitsubishi Rayon Fubuki 73X Tour shaft
HYBRID: TaylorMade R11 TP Rescue (18°) with a UST Mamiya VTS Hybrid shaft
IRONS: TaylorMade RAC TP (3-PW) with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue shafts
WEDGES: TaylorMade TP with xFT (54°, 58°) with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue shafts
PUTTER: Ping Karsten Anser 2
BALL: TaylorMade Penta TP

See-Try-Buy: Learn more about TaylorMade and schedule your fitting with GolfTEC or Golfsmith.

Related: Follow David Dusek on Twitter | Facebook

(Photo by Robert Beck/SI)
February 24, 2011

Many pros create blended sets—maybe you should, too

Posted at 4:39 PM by David Dusek

MARANA, Ariz. — I've been snooping around the golf bags of the game's best players for about three years. As a group, the pros are demanding, exacting and almost always open to anything that can help them play better. With the money that's on the line, why wouldn’t they want any edge they can get?

Before I started to really pay attention to their irons, I assumed that all pros played a uniform set, but that's not the case. Players like Phil Mickelson, Anthony Kim and Stewart Cink mix and match different types of irons to create their sets.

For example, Mickelson uses a Callaway X-Forged 4-iron, but his 5-iron through pitching wedge are prototype Callaway RAZR Muscle Back blades.

Paul-Casey-Nike-Accenture_600 There are two main reasons why lots of pros choose to go with more forgiving cavity back long-irons. First, they're simply easier to hit.

"Sometimes you stand there and you get an awkward lie and you just go, 'I know I'm a great player, but I just can't pull off this shot because the ball is sitting in a divot or a ball mark or whatever," Paul Casey said before the start of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.

The Englishman, who is ranked No. 6 in the world, uses Nike VR Pro Combo long irons and VR Pro Blade mid- and short irons. Until recently, he carried an old Nike Pro Combo OS 2-iron. You can see his irons in the photo on the right.

"If that situation costs you one shot at a tournament, that's one shot too many," he said. "That could be the difference."

Just as they do for weekend players, cavity back long irons offer the pros larger sweet spots and more forgiveness than blades. Awkward shots like Casey described are simply easier to handle with the help of a little technology.

More reasons the pros consider dropping a cavity back iron or two into their bag: those firm, fast greens they face on tour.

Ian-Poulter-Cobra-Accenture_600x600 "I used blades for a long time," Ian Poulter told me in the practice area at the Ritz Carlton Course at Dove Mountain. "But then I just wanted to hit my long irons a little higher, so going from a blade to something with a cavity just made a lot of sense."

Poulter, who is currently ranked No. 12 in the world, uses Cobra Pro CB irons (4-7) and Pro MB irons (8-PW). You can see his irons in the photo at right.

Hitting higher long irons helps stop the ball faster on the firm greens of par 5s and long par 3s. Generally speaking, hybrids and fairway woods don't stop the ball as quickly as irons do.

There has never been a better time to mix and match clubs for amateur players who want to create their own composite set of irons. Lots of manufacturers sell clubs individually, and in many cases, different clubs look very similar to one another in the address position.

Poulter told me the transition within his set has not been a problem, and at address his irons all look the same.

That said, the transition from an oversize iron to a cavity back, or from a cavity back to a blade, can create problems if you try to create a composite set by yourself. Without the help of a good club fitter and a launch monitor, significant distance gaps between your irons can inadvertently be created. To avoid this problem, a good club fitter might adjust your lofts or suggest slightly different shafts to blend two or more types of clubs into an effective set.

"I think it would help amateurs way more than it helps us pros," Casey said.

Assuming you don't practice as often as a tour pro, Casey's advice could well be worth heeding.

See-Try-Buy: Learn more about Cobra and Nike clubs, and schedule your fitting with GolfTEC or Golfsmith.

Related: Follow David Dusek on Twitter | Facebook

February 23, 2011

Ross Fisher fine tunes his driver in the desert

Posted at 7:45 PM by David Dusek

Ross Fisher Titleist Accenture_450x600 MARANA, Ariz. — Ask almost any pro if there is a miss off the tee that simply can't be tolerated, and you'll hear the same thing—left. A draw tends to roll out and get deeper into trouble while faded shots tend to stop more quickly.

Ross Fisher uses a Titleist 910D3 driver, but because he had been missing left too often leading up to this week's WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, he had two in his golf bag Tuesday morning before he started his practice round.

"They're very similar," he told me outside the clubhouse. "They've both got 8.5° of loft and the same shaft [Project X X7A3]. I've been struggling a little and missing shots left, which with my older driver I wasn't doing at all."

To help Fisher hit more fairways, Titleist reps gave him two 910D3 drivers with slightly lighter weight plugs. Shaving those few grams of weight let the club builders add weight inside the driver heads in the toe area. That redistributed weight should, theoretically, keep the clubface from closing too quickly and help Fisher create the left to right ball flight he prefers.

"I tried it out [Monday] and it was pretty good," he told me with a smile.

During his 4-and-3 win over Robert Allenby on Wednesday, Fisher only missed one drive to the left. That was on the 13th hole, a par 5 playing 573 yards. But thanks to an excellent approach shot from 154 yards that stopped 10 feet from the hole, he still made birdie to win the hole and go 3 up on Allenby.

On the day, Fisher hit nine tee shots more than 300 yards, including a 344-yard bomb that split the fairway on the par-4 fifth hole.

While Fisher was seemingly able to adjust to his tweaked driver in a flash, he's a real stickler when it comes to another part of his equipment.

"I'm quite meticulous when it comes to grips," Fisher admitted. "If it doesn't feel right, it's like, 'That feels thicker,' or 'That feels thinner,' and the guys will tell me that it's the exact same thing that was on there before. But I'll just tell them it feels different. You know, this is our livelihood, we've got to be meticulous."

The bottom line when it comes to Fisher's grips is that if one doesn't feel right in his hands, he'll likely ask that they all be re-gripped.

Chris Tuten, the director of player promotions for Titleist Golf, laughed when I talked to him about Fisher's penchant for the perfect grip. The technicians in Titleist's tour van can properly re-grip clubs in their sleep, but Tuten said that Fisher has sent clubs back to be re-gripped up to four times before the start of an event before deciding that everything was just right.

When everything is just right for Fisher, watch out. His semifinal finish at this event in 2009 and win at the 2009 Volvo World Match Play Championship on the European Tour prove that he can be a tough match play competitor.

Here's a complete list of the clubs in Fisher's bag this week:

DRIVER: Titleist 910D3 (8.5°) witha Project X X7A3 shaft
FAIRWAY WOOD: Titleist 910F (15°) with a True Temper Project X X8A4 shaft
HYBRID: Titleist 909H (17°) with a Fujikura Speeder 904 shaft
IRONS: Titleist 695 MB (3-9) with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts
WEDGES: Vokey Design Spin Milled (48°, 54°, 60°) with True Temper Dynamic Gold X400 shafts
PUTTER: Scotty Cameron for Titleist Newport 2
BALL: Titleist Pro V1x

See-Try-Buy: Learn more about Titleist clubs, and schedule your fitting with  GolfTEC or Golfsmith.

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February 20, 2011

Winner's Bag: Aaron Baddeley at Northern Trust Open

Posted at 9:22 PM by David Dusek

Aaron Baddeley Adams Riviera

DRIVER: Adams Speedline Fast 10 (10.5°) with a Mitsubishi Diamana 'ilima 80 shaft
FAIRWAY WOODS: Adams F11 (15°) with a Mitsubishi Diamana 'ilima 80, Insight (18.5°) with a ACCRA SC95 shaft
IRONS: Adams Idea Pro Black Muscle Back (3-PW) with Dynamic Gold Tour Issue shafts
WEDGES: Adams Puguelli (55°), Titleist Vokey Spin Milled (60°) with Dynamic Gold Tour Issue shafts
PUTTER: Scotty Cameron for Titleist Newport
BALL: Titleist Pro V1x

See-Try-Buy: Learn more about Adams and Titleist clubs, and schedule your fitting with  GolfTEC or Golfsmith.

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(Ross D. Franklin/AP Photo)

 

February 15, 2011

This Week in Gear: Martin Kaymer and Sergio Garcia talk about white drivers

Posted at 4:25 PM by David Dusek

Sometimes you have to grind and hustle for weeks to get the story and other times you've just got to walk a few blocks. On Tuesday morning I made my way to the Golfsmith store in midtown Manhattan and was given a chance to talk with Martin Kaymer and Sergio Garcia. The two TaylorMade staff players where there as part of a 'White Out' promotion to hit some drives down 54th Street using an TaylorMade R11.

Here's what they had to say about the club and the whole concept of a white, adjustable driver.

See-Try-Buy: Learn more about TaylorMade and schedule your fitting with GolfTEC or Golfsmith.

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February 13, 2011

Winner's Bag: D.A. Points at AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am

Posted at 8:02 PM by David Dusek

DA-Points-Ping-Pebble-Beach_600

DRIVER: TaylorMade R9 SuperTri (9.5°) with a UST Mamiya AXIV Core Green 69 shaft
FAIRWAY WOOD: TaylorMade Burner (13°) with a Graphite Design Tour AD YSQst 75
HYBIRDS: TaylorMade R11 Rescue (18°), Ping G10 Hybrid (21°) with Aldila VS Proto Hybrid 85 shafts
IRONS: Ping i5 (4-PW) with Ping Z-Z65 shafts
WEDGES: Ping Tour-W (52°), Tour-W TS (58°) with True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 shafts
PUTTER: SeeMore FGP
BALL: Titleist Pro V1x

See-Try-Buy: Learn more about Ping, TaylorMade and Titleist clubs, and schedule your fitting with GolfTEC or Golfsmith.

Related: Follow David Dusek on Twitter | Facebook

(Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

February 11, 2011

How I found the perfect golf ball for my game

Posted at 11:43 AM by David Dusek

The March issue of Golf Magazine contains a very informative article about new golf balls and fitting systems that you really should see. (You can read it online here)

Losing a golf ball is a scorecard killer, but it really hurts me because I'm cheap. The thought of a bad shot actually costing me money turns my stomach.

While I may be thrifty, don't assume I play with balls sold at the sporting goods store in mesh bags. Just the opposite—I play a premium, multi-layer ball that costs more than $40 per dozen.

If all you can afford are golf balls that cost $10-$15 per dozen, consider yourself off the hook and stop reading here.

Everyone else owes it to himself to make a $40-$50 investment. In addition to the high-tech fitting systems out there, here's a way to do a little low-tech research. But fear not: This isn't ninth grade science class, and you're not going be dissecting a frog. You're going to hit golf balls for about 30 minutes.

Drive to the least-played golf course you know early in the morning, or if you have access to a private club, go at sunrise. Warm up, and then head to a hole where you can hit balls from a fairway and around a green for about 30 minutes.

Once you're there, drop five different three-packs of golf balls next to the 100-yard marker, or wherever you'd make a full-swing approach shot using your pitching wedge. One of the sleeves should be the balls you normally use. The others should balls you're considering.

After you hit all 15, walk to the green and see where each ball went. (Don't forget to fix those ball marks!) Make notes about spin, trajectory, distance from the pin, etc.

Then walk to the next hole and repeat the exercise from about 50 yards out using your sand wedge or a lob wedge. Then hit some chip shots and putts and see how each ball reacts and sounds.

Finish the exercise by walking to the next hole and hitting your driver. Take note of your distance and accuracy with each ball.

When you're done, you should have a good idea which balls played best for you on approach shots, around the green and off the tee. Yes, you'll mis-hit some shots during this exercise, and you shouldn't take those into account. But armed with this new information, you can now make an informed decision about which ball you should use.

With a little help from Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Mike Malaska, I quietly performed this test myself one evening on Superstition Mountain's Prospector Course in Apache Junction, Ariz. Based on what I saw and felt, I switched to a different ball that night.

For the happiness I get on the golf course, it's been worth every penny.

Related: Follow David Dusek on Twitter | Facebook

February 08, 2011

This Week in Gear: ClubTest 2011 & driver trends

Posted at 3:53 PM by David Dusek

ClubTest 2011: Go to Special Section

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February 07, 2011

Winner's Bag: Mark Wilson at the Waste Management Phoenix Open

Posted at 1:32 PM by David Dusek

Mark-Wilson-Phoenix_600x450

DRIVER: Ping i15 (8°) with a Grafalloy Tour X shaft
FAIRAY WOODS: Cleveland HiBore XLS (13°) with an Aldila NV 95 X shaft
HYBRIDS: Ping i15 (17°, 20°) with Graphite Design YS 85X Hybrid shafts
IRONS: Ping i10 (4-PW) with CS-Lite shafts
WEDGES: Ping Tour (52°, 60°) with CS-Lite shafts
PUTTER: Ping Karsten Anser
BALL: Titleist Pro V1x

See-Try-Buy: Learn more about Cleveland, Ping and Titleist clubs, and schedule your fitting with GolfTEC or Golfsmith.

Related: Follow David Dusek on Twitter | Facebook

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

February 04, 2011

My Fitting: Geoff Ogilvy gets custom fit for a new Titleist 5-wood

Posted at 12:15 PM by David Dusek

Geoff Ogilvy didn't play last week at Torrey Pines. In fact, before his white Porsche 911 GT3 pulled into the parking lot at the Titleist Performance Institute in nearby Oceanside, Calif., on Jan. 25, the Aussie hadn't done more than chip or putt after cutting his finger on some coral in Hawaii before the season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

After taping up his finger, Ogilvy let me watch (and videotape) his warm-up and custom-fitting session with Titleist reps. The winner of the 2006 U.S. Open wanted to find a new 910F 5-wood to replace his old Cobra fairway wood.

In the video below, Ogilvy explains how adjustable clubs are making it easier to find just the right equipment, and he shares his thoughts on what fairway woods should offer a player.

See-Try-Buy: Learn more about Cleveland, Ping and Titleist clubs, and schedule your fitting with GolfTEC or Golfsmith.

Related: Follow David Dusek on Twitter | Facebook

February 02, 2011

Paul Casey switches to Nike Method Core putter

Posted at 1:26 PM by David Dusek

Paul Casey was the first player to put a Nike Method putter in play at a PGA Tour event, the 2008 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club. A few weeks later at the Barclays Championship at Ridgewood Country Club, Casey beamed when he talked to me about his new putter.

"C'mon, I'll give you a sneaky peaky," he told me on the driving range.

Casey, the winner of last week's Volvo Golf Champions in Bahrain, recently sent me four images comparing the original Method putter to his new one, a customized Nike Method Core.

The original Method putter has grooves milled directly into the head that are partially filled by a polymer. The edge of the groove that remains exposed grabs the ball and helps get it rolling faster, according to Nike. In the new Method Core putter, the same polymer groove technology is housed in a red insert, instead of in the putter head itself.

As you can see in the photos below, the two heads are nearly identical, but Casey's Method Core (which is based on the Method 001's head) has a plumber's neck instead of a slant neck.

"After trying the Method Core putters I was a fan of the way the ball rolled off the face," Casey told me in an e-mail. "So I asked [Nike's] David Franklin if he could combine the face of a Core with my traditional head shape. He obliged so what you see here is a bit of a David Franklinstein creation!"

Paul-Casey-Putters-Face_600x450

Casey's new Method Core has a red insert that contains the polymer grooves.

Paul-Casey-Putters-Sole_600x450

Paul-Casey-Putters-Back_600x450

The new putter has Casey's name stamped on the neck...

Paul-Casey-Putters-Address_450x600

... and a plumber's neck.

See-Try-Buy: Learn more about Nike clubs and schedule your fitting with GolfTEC or Golfsmith.

Related: Follow David Dusek on Twitter | Facebook




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