Adjustable drivers are here to stay
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
>> Need a testament for the new generation of adjustable drivers?
Kenny Perry switched into a TaylorMade R9 460 at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, and he managed to hit Colonial Country Club’s 635-yard 11th hole in two.
“The first time I’ve been able to do that in 20 years,” Perry said.
On Monday of Colonial week, Perry spent two hours on a launch monitor. TaylorMade clubmakers gave him two heads and four shafts (two Fujikura, two Matrix). He settled on a 9.5-degree R9 460 head with an X-flex Matrix Ozik XCon F7 M2 shaft.
Word from the TaylorMade trailer was that Perry’s ball speed picked up 4 mph with the new driver.
>> Using a Titleist 909D3 driver, Steve Stricker tied for 15th in driving accuracy by hitting 64.3 percent of the fairways over 72 holes at Colonial.
The Titleist 909D3 has developed a reputation as an anti-spin driver and is ideal for players such as Stricker who normally produce more spin than desired on their tee shots.
>> Stricker’s wedge lineup reflects a configuration that is seen frequently on the PGA Tour. He carries a 54-degree sand wedge and 60-degree lob wedge. Both are Vokey Design wedges from Titleist.
The 54/60 combination makes sense. Among many skilled players, the 60-degree wedge has become the primary sand club for greenside bunkers. The 54-degree wedge often is chosen for long bunker shots, although its primary use is for three-quarter to full shots from the 95- to 115-yard range. The 54, because it normally contains a generous amount of sole bounce, is equally effective from the rough or fairway.
Stricker’s pitching wedge, from his set of Titleist 755 irons, has 48 degrees of loft, creating a 6-degree progression of 60/54/48. With an emphasis on the short game, today’s golfers are paying close attention to wedge progression.
>> Jay Haas, who tied for 17th at the Principal Charity Classic, used three different drivers in three rounds.
Why? Because he is struggling to replace his favorite old Titleist 905R driver, which suffered a cracked head in April at the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf.
“Probably my favorite club in the bag,” Haas told the Des Moines Register.
He began the Principal event with a Titleist 909D2 but missed six of 14 fairways. So he switched. And then he switched again.
“I’ve got four drivers in my trunk and another in my locker,” he said. “Part of it is, I’m trying to compensate a little. I just don’t know which way the driver is going. It’s not automatic yet.”
>> Stewart Cink, widely known as a devoted user of the belly putter, switched to a conventional-length Nike prototype putter at the Crowne Plaza. He tied for 22nd, averaging 28.5 putts per round.
>> Rory Sabbatini, who averaged 25.8 putts per round in winning the HP Byron Nelson tournament, was using Tiger Shark’s UltraTac grip for only the fourth week. For 72 holes at the Nelson, Sabbatini recorded 26 birdies. . . . The three players in the Colonial playoff represented three companies and played three different shafts: Stricker (Titleist) played Project X, Tim Clark (Srixon) had Rifle, and Steve Marino (Cleveland) went with Dynamic Golf. All three shafts are products of True Temper. . . .
>> In winning the BMW PGA Championship on the PGA European Tour, Paul Casey found himself in a Project X dilemma. In the second round, while hitting a shot on the 17th hole, he bent his 4-iron shaft around a tree.
The shaft was an older version of the Project X shaft and is no longer manufactured. Clubmakers in the Nike tour van were able to come up with a replacement shaft . . . . Kevin Johnson, winner of the Nationwide Tour’s Rex Hospital Open, installed an Aldila VooDoo shaft in his TaylorMade R7 Super Quad driver (8.5 degree) early in the week and won for the first time since 2000. For the week, Aldila was No. 1 in total wood and hybrid counts on the PGA Tour and Nationwide Tour. . . . There was little doubt about golf ball preference in the NCAA Division I Golf Championships. Among the men, Titleist had 126 users while no other ball totaled more than 16. Among the women, the margin was even more convincing in favor of Titleist: 118-4.