Toy Box Notes: Pettersson likes more driver spin

Carl Pettersson waves to the crowd after putting on the tartan jacket on 18th fairway during the 2012 RBC Heritage.

Carl Pettersson waves to the crowd after putting on the tartan jacket on 18th fairway during the 2012 RBC Heritage.

With all the talk about high launch and low spin with today’s drivers, RBC Heritage winner Carl Pettersson has a different point of view.

First, Pettersson uses 11.5 degrees of loft, among the highest in professional golf.

Second, his Nike VR Pro Str8-Fit driver is 46.5 inches, which is very long by pro standards (set up for a straight flight pattern – 1-degree up, 1-degree open). Third, he welcomes a certain amount of spin.

“(The longer shaft) enables me to get more spin and carry the ball farther in the air,” Pettersson said.

More spin, Pettersson maintains, gives him more carry distance. It’s a fine line, of course, between too much and not enough spin, but Pettersson says it is a mistake for any golfer to assume he needs less spin.

And how about Pettersson’s long putter? It is a new 49-inch Nike Method prototype with 2 degrees of loft. Using the putter, Pettersson had two second-place finishes (Sony and Houston) in 2012 before winning.

The rest of Pettersson’s bag: (all Nike except 3-wood): TaylorMade Burner 3-wood (14.5 degree), Nike VR Pro hybrid (21 degree), VR_S Forged 4-iron, VR Pro Combo irons (5-PW), VR Pro wedges (49, 55 and 60 degree). He plays a Nike 20XI S ball.

• • •

Ogilvy eyes SteelFiber shafts: For several years, Aerotech golf shafts have attracted something of a cult following. Owner Chris Hilleary, operating out of Bellingham, Wash., a Seattle suburb, has been an evangelist for his SteelFiber shaft, with a high modulus graphite core surrounded on the outside by steel-fiber mesh.

In 2008, Matt Kuchar hit some balls with his father’s irons, outfitted with these SteelFiber shafts. Enamored with the shafts, Kuchar put them in his Bridgestone irons.

In 2011, fellow Bridgestone player Brandt Snedeker tried Kuchar’s irons, and switched to the iron shafts this year. Both use the 110-gram version of the shaft (it is also sold in 70, 80, 95 and 125).

Now, Geoff Ogilvy appears headed in the same direction. At the RBC Heritage, Ogilvy told this story: He was on a family vacation in Cabo San Lucas when he had the urge to play golf. However, he had no clubs.

So he used a rental set with graphite shafts in the irons. “By the end of the round,” he said, “my swing felt better than ever.”

Ogilvy is practicing with the 110-gram SteelFiber shafts in Titleist irons. “I’ve had a moment of clarity,” he said. “I think (graphite shafts) are definitely in the cards. Maybe not now, but soon.”

• • •

Pros tweak lofts to woods: Tommy Gainey lowered the loft on his Callaway Razr Fit driver from 11.2 degrees to 10.6 degrees at the RBC Heritage. Gainey was able to lower his launch angle by 2 degrees while keeping his target spin rate.

Hank Kuehne played musical chairs with his fairway wood. He arrived at Heritage with a 17.5-degree TaylorMade RocketBallz Tour 4-wood, bent to 15.5 degree and shortened to 42.75 inches. Because he wanted more distance, Kuehne went to a standard length (43.5 inches) 14.5-degree RocketBallz Tour 3-wood bent to 13.75 degree.

• • •

Short shots: Pettersson’s title was the first PGA Tour victory for Nike’s 20XI ball, which is made with a resin core rather than rubber. . . . The Titleist Pro V1x was used by winners on the European Tour/Asian Tour (Louis Oosthuizen), Champions Tour (Michael Allen) and Nationwide Tour (Alex Aragon). . . . TaylorMade tour reps said Justin Rose switched putters before the third round of the Masters, going to a Ghost Manta. This was noteworthy because Rose had won four times with the Ghost Tour Corza. . . . Pettersson won with a Mitsubishi Fubuki Alpha 50 (50 gram) in his driver and a Fubuki Alpha 70 (70 gram) in his 3-wood. . . . Zach Johnson finished second with a Mitsubishi Diamana Blue Board 73X in his Titleist 901D2 driver (9.5 degree). . . . Billy Mayfair tied for fourth with a Fubuki K 70X in his TaylorMade RBZ Tour driver (8 degree). . . . Colt Knost, third at Heritage, putted with a new Odyssey ProType 2-Ball. He finished fourth in putts per GIR (1.600) and third in Stroke Gained/Putting (1.949).

–Jim McCabe contributed

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