Toy Box: Sabbatini uses new driver, putter

Rory Sabbatini pumps a fist during the Honda Classic.

Rory Sabbatini pumps a fist during the Honda Classic.

Rory Sabbatini was grabbing headlines with his new putter (pictured), but he also took a new driver into play at the Honda Classic.

The driver was a TaylorMade R11 with 10.5 degrees of loft and a Mitsubishi Fubuki 60X shaft. Previously, Sabbatini had been using a 9-degree R11. He generated less spin with the new driver and thus was getting more roll.

Meanwhile, the story of Sabbatini’s putter is interesting in itself.

photo

He placed an order for a prototype TaylorMade 770 Ghost mallet putter at the company’s Carlsbad, Calif., headquarters: 34-inch length, no sight lines, D0 swingweight, 68-degree lie angle (which is slightly flat). Oh, yes, and Sabbatini wanted a skull and crossbones engraved on the sole.

It was hand-delivered 30 minutes before his Wednesday pro-am time. It went in his bag and never left. For the week, Sabbatini averaged 27.0 putts per round (T-2).

Sabbatini’s other clubs were mostly TaylorMade: Burner SuperFast 2.0 3-wood (13 degree), R9 5-wood (19 degree), MC Forged irons (4-PW) and TP xFT wedges (56 and 60 degree). He also used an Adams 9031 Pro Black hybrid (20 degree) and a TaylorMade Penta TP ball.

• • •

Strong showing for Aldila shafts

At the Honda Classic, not only did Aldila sweep shaft manufacturer counts for drivers, hybrids and all woods, it also had strong representation from the top two players.

Sabbatini used three Aldila graphite shafts, while Y.E. Yang had six Aldila shafts in his bag. Yang carried four TaylorMade Rescue TP hybrids (17, 19, 21 and 23 degree), each with a different Aldila shaft.

Sabbatini used a RIP 70 in his 3-wood; RIP 80 in his 5-wood; and RIP 105 in his hybrid.

Meanwhile, Yang used an NV 75 in his TaylorMade Burner SuperFast 2.0 driver (8.5 degree); NV 85 in his TaylorMade Burner 3-wood (13 degree); NV 85 in his 17-degree hybrid; NV Hybrid 105 in the 19- and 21-degree hybrids and; an Aldila/TaylorMade Hybrid in his 23-degree hybrid.

Now there’s a lesson to be learned by average golfers – play the clubs that work best for you, rather than matching all of your clubs and assuming that’s the right strategy.

• • •

Short shots: How serious is Ernie Els about preparing for the Masters? Els already is testing 60-degree wedges for Augusta National. Callaway tour reps constructed three 60-degree, slate-colored Callaway X-Series Jaws wedges with three different sole configurations. . . . Colt Knost played a new Callaway Razr Hawk Tour driver (8.5 degree) at Honda and hit 85.7 percent of the fairways to finish No. 1 in driving accuracy.

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