Welcome to Wall-to-Wall Equipment, the Monday morning gear roundup in which GOLF’s gear editor Jonathan Wall guides you through the latest trends, rumors and what’s news.
The USGA Compliant Drivers List remains the ultimate reference for equipment. Before a club makes it to the Tour (or retail), it passes through USGA headquarters where it undergoes a battery of tests before receiving final approval. From there, prototypes that have yet to be released sometimes find their way into the bags of elite players, like Brooks Koepka.
Koepka, you may recall, signed a multi-year contract with Cleveland/Srixon last November that required him to play company clubs and ball. The change seemed to be seamless, but Koepka struggled behind the scenes to find a pilot-bullet combination that was “the perfect fit.”
At the US Open, Koepka reverted to a TaylorMade M5 driver and Titleist Pro V1x ball, but the switch, as Cleveland/Srixon noted, was temporary. There was a new prototype waiting in the wings with Koepka’s fingerprints all over it.
“To work more effectively during this adjustment period, we have decided to focus our energy on integrating Brooks into the next generation of Srixon driver and golf ball prototypes that will debut on tour in the near future – products developed with the input and needs of Brooks in mind,” Cleveland/Srixon said in a statement at the US Open.
At last week’s LIV event in Chicago, Koepka offered gearheads a preview of the unreleased Srixon ZX7 MKII rider who had his “contribution and needs in mind.”
In addition to the standard ZX7 MKII driver, one of many Srixon drivers to be on the compliant list, Srixon has added a ZX7 Diamond head which is probably smaller in size and matches the naming of the latest “Diamond” product (ball of golf) of the company. released which was also built for Koepka.
Koepka’s Mitsubishi Diamana D+ 70TX shaft is still around, so the variables haven’t changed much from its usual build.
Checking Rickie’s ego
Rickie Fowler was to get new irons. At the end of each season, Fowler bids farewell to the old sticks and begins the break-in process into a new set. But with new Cobra irons in the works, Fowler opted to test three different models instead of defaulting to his usual muscleback blades.
Home testing revealed something surprising: Fowler was better off with a bit more forgiveness.
” Well [Schomin]our Cobra [Tour] rep, who caddyed for me in Memphis, sent me our new MBs, CBs, and the Tour Forged, which kind of tested them on my own, just hitting them, getting numbers, seeing robberies, and getting comments,” Fowler said. “In the end, I decided to go with ones that would be significantly bigger than the MBs I’ve played in the past, but just more forgiving but with the same specs.”
The cavity-back King Tour prototypes in Fowler’s bag do a good job of providing a better sleek look for players with more heel-toe forgiveness. Compared to his previous MBs, they’re noticeably bigger, but not so much that Fowler was disabled by profile. In fact, he found it brought extra confidence to his blades that were sometimes lacking.
“I figure if I got all the same numbers but they were more forgiving, why make it harder? Kind of check the ego at the door and play what works.
Forgiveness has long been considered an iron trait for people with medium to high disabilities, but if Fowler embraces it, maybe it’s time to change that thinking. It’s also worth noting that Fowler went on to finish T6, his best showing since last year’s CJ Cup. He ranked 25th in SG: Approach (+2.181) for the week.
The Titleist TSR rider has been on a heat since his first Tour introduction. Max Homa continued the good times at the Fortinet Championship with TSR’s fifth win in 11 starts since making his Travelers Championship debut in June. With a 10-degree Titleist TSR3 in the bag, Homa finished 9th in SG: Off the tee (+3.406) in Napa while leading the pack in SG: Tee to green (+9.80).
“I actually really like the sound,” Homa said. “Looks like you break it, which is good. I noticed the spin didn’t change as much when you miss it. Heel and toe strikes kept the spin a little closer to your good ones. It’s obviously something that I think everyone would be happy to have. That’s a mile per hour faster for me, just bullet speed. So here is. That just doesn’t seem like a reason not to use it. I’ve only hit two types of golf shots with my pilot, and they still fly very similarly.
Fast hitters: Hideki Matsuyama was spotted using Srixon’s Tour only ZX5 MKII driver. …Kevin Streelman switched to a never-before-seen Wilson prototype putter. …Greyson Sigg used prototype Mizuno JPX 923 Tour irons. …Brendan Steele was one of many players to test Wilson’s DynaPwr Carbon driver.
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