Toy Box: Oldies but goodies work well for Points

D.A. Points tees off during the final round of the 2013 Shell Houston Open.

There is a lesson to be learned from D.A. Points, champion of the Shell Houston Open: Play with clubs that inspire confidence, even if those clubs are old.

Points won with a putter (Ping Anser) that appeared to be thirty-something in age. His irons (Ping i5) were introduced in 2005 and his 20-degree hybrid (Ping G10) dated to 2006.

His driver (TaylorMade R11S), 3-wood (TaylorMade Burner) and strong hybrid (TaylorMade R11 Rescue) were newer. Other than his wedges, however, every club in his bag was at least one generation removed from being a latest offering.

Points served as an example for recreational golfers who mix and match their clubs and validated that previous models from TaylorMade and Ping still perform admirably.

Points’ bag: TaylorMade R11S driver (9 degree, with UST Mamiya VTS Series shaft), TaylorMade Burner 3-wood (13 degree, with Graphite Design Tour AD shaft), TaylorMade R11 Rescue (18 degree, with Aldila NV Hybrid shaft), Ping G10 hybrid (20 degree, with Aldila VS Hybrid shaft), Ping i5 irons (4-PW, with Ping ZZ65 shafts), Ping Tour wedges with Gorge Grooves (52 and 58 degree, and True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 shafts) and Ping Anser putter. He played a Titleist Pro V1x ball.

Points said he took the Anser putter from his mother’s golf bag when he was a teenager. Although he later switched away from the putter, he kept it in his collection. When he headed to Houston with an armload of putters, the Anser was one of the candidates. He selected it, following the advice of Lamar University golf coach Brian White.

• • •

Westwood tinkers with Ping TR Series

In mid-January, Lee Westwood visited Ping’s R&D facility in Phoenix and selected two new adjustable putters from the TR Series. One was a Scottsdale TR Shea set at 35 inches. The other was a Scottsdale TR Anser B (the belly version of the TR Series) set at 38 inches. All year he has been experimenting with these two putters. At Houston, Westwood put a Scottsdale TR Anser B in his bag.

The TR Anser B is adjustable between 37.5 and 46.5 inches. Westwood does not anchor it to his belly or touch his body. He is on the record as saying he likes the extra length and extra weight.

• • •

TaylorMade unveils latest Spider

The Spider Blade putter made its debut at Houston. With its extra length and 130-gram counterbalanced grip, it is earmarked by TaylorMade as the first MOI-style blade putter. The putter has a black, grooved True Roll face insert and white leading edge to help improve alignment. Stock lengths are 35, 36, 37 and 38 inches. The Spider Blade is scheduled to be in golf shops by July.

Several players at Houston practiced with the putter, but Fabian Gomez became the first to put it in play.

How does a golfer find the right length in an MOI-style putter? First, every golfer should buy a putter that is 2 or 3 inches longer than normal. Second, choke down a few inches while putting. This allows the counterbalanced weight in the butt end of the putter to be positioned above the hands for maximum stability.

• • •

Odyssey customizes Versa for Lefty

Phil Mickelson’s Odyssey Versa WBW No. 9 putter has a Metal-X insert that is anodized black, not painted. It is 34 inches with 3.5 degrees of loft. The lie angle is 75 degrees, moving Mickelson into a more upright putting position. To fit Mickelson’s eye, the putter has an extreme amount of offset bent into it. The black shaft is the same one used in Odyssey’s ProType Black.

• • •

Short shots

Phil Mickelson used a 13-degree model of the new X Hot 3Deep fairway wood, and Ryo Ishikawa played a 14.5-degree club. The 3Deep features a deeper face and lower center of gravity. The club should be available at retail in late April. . . . Titleist picked up four victories over the weekend, including Points and Marcel Siem (European Tour). Both played the Pro V1x. . . . At Houston, Justin Hicks switched to a new TaylorMade RBZ Stage 2 Tour driver (9 degree). . . . Bill Haas has played the last two weeks with a new Titleist 913D2 driver (8.5 degree). . . . Odyssey’s counterbalanced Tank putter was used by Siem, who was victorious at the Hassan II Trophy in Morocco. . . . Robert Allenby reshafted his Srixon I-701 irons (2-PW) with KBS Stiff Plus steel shafts. Previously, he was using KBS X, but he wanted a slightly softer feel.

– Golfweek.com writers James Achenbach and Dave Dusek contributed

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