Toy Box notes: Amateurs can learn from Stricker

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A regular guy: Northern Trust Open winner Steve Stricker, who is not exactly a bomber off the tee, exemplifies several trends in golf that could be important to amateurs of average length.

First, Stricker uses Titleist 755 irons but has no iron in his bag longer than a 4-iron. Some amateurs now start their sets with 5- or 6-irons.

Second, he carries Titleist Vokey Design Spin Milled wedges with lofts of 54 and 60 degrees. While many players carry four wedges, the 54-60 combo encourages a more traditional three-wedge configuration (adding a pitching wedge of 48 degrees, for a 6-degree gap between wedges).

Finally, because the three-wedge set makes room for an extra hybrid, Stricker does another thing familiar to many amateurs: He carries two hybrids, both Titleist 909H models (19 and 21 degrees).

Stricker also uses a Titleist 909D3 driver (8.5 degree), 909F2 3-wood (13 degree) and a Pro V1 ball.

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That old offset feel: Paul Goydos uses TaylorMade TP xFT interchangeable-face wedges of 54 and 60 degrees, and here’s how TaylorMade craftsmen customized the wedges:

Goydos wanted a pronounced offset, so the wedges were bent twice to achieve the proper look. In the first bend, the wedges were bent extremely strong (loft) at the lowest point of the hosel. In the second bend, the wedges were returned to their original loft by bending the highest part of the hosel.

This created a lot of offset, with the bottom of the hosel in a forward position ahead of the face. This is the same look that U.S. Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin has asked for in the past.

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V2 in play: UST Mamiya Proforce V2 shafts had a nice week: Stricker played them in his driver, 3-wood and two hybrids (86 grams in the driver, 96 grams in the fairway wood and 104 grams in the hybrids, all X-flex).

At the Dubai Desert Classic, Miguel Angel Jimenez played the Proforce V2 in his 3- and 5-woods (76 grams, X-flex). Lee Westwood, who lost to Jimenez in a playoff, also had the same version in his 3-wood.

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L.A. Odyssey: The Northern Trust was a successful week for Odyssey putters, as Steve Stricker (White Hot No. 2) and runner-up Luke Donald (White Hot XG No. 7) each used one.

Stricker led the field in Los Angeles with an average of 26 putts per round, and Ernie Els was close behind, using an Odyssey White Ice No. 5 to tie for second in putts per round (26.3).

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