Wall-to-Wall Equipment: Jon Rahm’s absurd gear testing story is an all-timer
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Rahm put on a appearance during initial testing with Callaway ‘s Rogue ST driver.
welcome to Wall-to-Wall Equipment, the Monday dawn gearing wrap-up in which GOLF equipment editor Jonathan Wall takes you through the latest trends, rumors and breaking news program .
Human cheat code
army for the liberation of rwanda as we know, Jon Rahm international relations and security network ’ t a real-life cyborg wielding a golf club. It ’ randomness important to stress the “ far as we know ” separate because Rahm continually pulls off shots on the class that makes you wonder if he ’ mho actually human .
Most of those shots are executed before a televised ( or in-person ) audience, so we have the ocular evidence that he ’ s a decent golfer. Of course, there are stories that play out behind conclude doors ampere good that provide promote validation that Rahm is truly, in truth good at what he does .
case in point, the late Rogue ST Triple Diamond LS driver testing Rahm conducted with Callaway ’ s Tour team at the Ely Callaway Performance Center. Rahm had tested a prototype of the final driver respective months anterior, but the school term marked his first base gamble to hit the soon-to-be-released retail version .
“ Having worked with him for a bit nowadays, we had the driver dialed, ” said Jacob Davidson, Callaway ’ s PGA Tour director. “ But I ’ ll be honest and say I didn ’ thymine expect to get the testify he put on. It was one of the most incredible things I ’ ve always seen. ”
A TrackMan report spits out the differences in spin rate from one shot to the future during a session, along with other metrics that get you know what ’ s going on with the ball in flight. It ’ s not uncommon for pros to keep their spin pace close and reproducible on center hits, but the periodic miss will knock spin astir 300 to 400 RPMs — possibly even more — without much effort .
even for an especial ball-striker, whirl rates will fluctuate during a practice session. Misses are inevitable .
But on this particular day, Rahm could not miss with the driver. That ’ s not an exaggeration .
“ He was swinging it well that day, but it was kernel punch each time, ” Davidson recalled. “ He kept telling us, ‘ Do you need another one ? I can ’ metric ton hit it better than that. ’ then it became a plot for him to see how many in a row he could hit arrant. ”
At one point during the seance, Davidson stared at the TrackMan in incredulity as Rahm continued to hit one perfect drive after the future — all with closely identical spin rates. By the time Rahm was done, he ’ five hundred managed to hit 10 back-to-back drivers where the dispute in spin between the shots was 100 RPMs .
It ’ s a spin rate average that would make a automaton covetous .
“ I ’ ve never seen person hit it that systematically in the middle of the font, ” Davidson said. “ It ’ s something I ’ ll most likely never see again. To hit it that commodity and that consistent, even on a range, is basically impossible. It was fun to witness in person, that ’ s for certain .
“ The session besides highlighted how consistent and stable this Rogue ST driver is. We ’ five hundred been hearing from guys about the stability they were seeing during testing. But what Jon did was on another level. ”
As you ’ d expect, Rahm left the session with a Rogue ST Triple Diamond LS in his hands. He closely won with it in the bulge the first week out, which likely wouldn ’ t have been a shock to anyone who witnessed the examination session .
When you can hit it perfectly for that long, adept things are going to happen .
Morikawa had a big week with TaylorMade Stealth Plus in the base .
Collin Morikawa wasted little time putting TaylorMade ’ s new Stealth Plus driver to good use in Maui. The two-time major winner enjoyed his best driving week since turning pro, gaining 3.656 shots on the field off the tee after making the change .
According to Ryan Ressa, TaylorMade ’ s actor development coach, the switch from SIM to Stealth Plus wasn ’ t an arduous process. In fact, it took less than an hour to find him a driver that handily beat SIM .
“ The equip of this thing has been very, actually easy, ” said Ressa. “ Collin has been no different. We matched up lofts and found a exchangeable establish and spin correct out of the gate. It honestly took us 20 or 30 minutes in November to find a driver he was felicitous to take home. ”
After outgo clock testing second home in Las Vegas, Morikawa and Ressa reconvened on the range at Kapalua to verify the modern driver was good to go. It was there that Ressa once again saw the ball amphetamine increases that stood out during the initial seance .
“ These guys have such good drivers that it ’ sulfur normally unmanageable to find even an extra nautical mile per hour of ball accelerate, ” Ressa said. “ He ’ sulfur used to seeing 171, 172 miles per hour musket ball focal ratio with the SIM. Granted, he didn ’ metric ton bring the SIM with him for neck and neck, but he was systematically 175 to 176 with Stealth Plus on the [ Foresight GCQuad ]. ”
The rush stood out to Morikawa vitamin a well, who admitted an extra 3 to 4 miles per hour ball rush could give him an advantage as the season goes on .
“ Any prison term you can get a short more ball speed, get a small more outdistance, it ’ second going to be helpful, ” said Morikawa. “ To actually see that, not work any harder, like it ’ randomness — like I haven ’ triiodothyronine gotten that a lot stronger, I haven ’ triiodothyronine gotten that much bigger — but to get that precisely little supernumerary out of it, it ’ mho going to be beneficial sometimes on certain holes. ”
Ressa besides noted Morikawa ’ randomness misses were tight with Stealth Plus. In detail, the left-to-right miss that would creep over 2,500 RPMs with his previous game systematically hung below that count during testing .
“ The misses that tended to spin up a little more weren ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate doing that, ” Ressa said. “ It seems to be about 100 RPMs lower, possibly even a little less. For a cutter to stay under 2,500 is truly dear. It proves the driver is good across the face. If Collin can hit the shots he wants without manipulating his swing, it ’ s a succeed. ”
Back from vacation
Hovland started the week with Golf Pride Tour Velvet grips on all his clubs .
Viktor Hovland enjoyed an concern reappearance to the class after all but shutting things down following the Hero World Challenge. As if the airlines losing your clubs wasn ’ triiodothyronine bad adequate — they finally arrived with a crack driver — Hovland ’ s hands started to develop blisters as he began practicing in Hawaii .
According to Ping Tour rep Kenton Oates, the time off wasn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate kind to Hovland ’ s hands .
“ We had brought him a modern driver and wedges out of coincidence, ” said Oates. “ By Monday dawn, he had a driver and some wedges to his specification, but his hands, because the [ Golf Pride New Decade ] MultiCompound grips have that cord in them, were hurting his hands. He was getting some blisters where he ’ five hundred normally have a callus. ”
thankfully, Hovland plays a different fascinate in his driver — Golf Pride Tour Velvet. After conferring with Oates, Hovland had a full determine of Tour Velvet grips put on his clubs .
“ He ’ s actually going abroad after Hawaii, so we left him a set of his MultiCompound grips, ” Oates said. “ I expect him to go back at some point when his hands heal up and feel good. ”
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And the break Ping driver ? Oates confirmed it wasn ’ t a big deal in the end .
“ Viktor was playing a driver at 45.75 inches and the ‘ James Hahn ’ driver was 45.25 inches, ” said Oates. “ So the old crippled being longer took the brunt of that force and break, which saved the short game driver. We already had the stand-in with the Fujikura spectacles, so we were thoroughly. If there was one cabaret that could be broken, it was that driver. ”
Cameron Smith added newfangled Vokey SM9 wedges to the bulge .
Thanks to Cameron Smith, Vokey ’ s SM9 logged a gain in its first workweek out on Tour. A sum of 14 players tapped the new wedge at Kapalua, including Smith, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Patrick Cantlay and Max Homa .
Spieth, who ’ s notoriously slow to change equipment, was indeed comfortable with the wedges, he left his SM8 ’ mho at dwelling when he departed for Maui .
The wedge was the most play model with a total of 35 pitch, col, sandpaper and lob wedges in play, and it should besides be noted that Spieth, Thomas, Homa and Smith all added a Vokey SM9 pitching wedge to their arsenal .
With the Sony Open marking the foremost full-field Tour event of 2022, expect that number to grow .
New landing spots
Reed signed a driver and hat deal with PXG .
Patrick Reed and Abraham Ancer sported new headware with a unlike logo on the front for the first consequence of the new year. Ancer was formally unveiled as a Callaway staff member after agreeing to terms on a multi-year deal that includes driver ( Callaway Rogue ST ), putter ( Odyssey Tri-Hot 5K ) and hat .
“ I ’ molarity excited to officially join Callaway, and after playing their equipment over the by respective years, I feel very confident about making the trade, ” Ancer said. “ The performance from their drivers is always impressive, their putters are outstanding, and I ’ ve developed a strong relationship with their Tour team. ”
former Masters champion Patrick Reed besides made a surprise substitution, agreeing to terms on a driver and hat deal with PXG that went into effect in Hawaii .
“ PXG is such a natural fit for me, ” Reed said on the company ’ sulfur web site. “ I love the message they send, and the brand they have built, and that takes a bang-up team. ”
Reed displayed the PXG logo on the front of his hat. The Grindworks logo remained on the english of the hat, all but confirming he even has an iron distribute in place .
The sample distribution size remains small for the moment, but the sight of two high-profile names signing bit-by-bit deals for particular clubs in the udder is a likely tendency worth tracking as the year goes on .
Adam Scott is no longer a Titleist sword ambassador .
While some players signed modern equipment deals, others said adieu to their early equipment employer. Adam Scott was the obvious surprise as he cut equipment ties with the Titleist on the hard-good english and downsized to a ball, brake shoe and glove deal. It ’ south very likely Scott will still continue to play Titleist gear in some capacity going forward. ( Don ’ metric ton forget they built him a set up of one-off irons. )
Jimmy Walker switched to a ball, horseshoe and glove deal with Titleist adenine well. Wyndham Clark and Pat Perez were besides removed from PXG ’ s web site — along with Lydia Ko from the LPGA staff — a sign that both parties are going their separate ways on the gear side .
New year, new driver. DeChambeau could kicks things off with a fresh Cobra prototype driver .
TaylorMade and Callaway weren ’ t the only manufacturers debuting new drivers at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. Bryson DeChambeau was besides seen using a new Cobra prototype that recently surfaced on the USGA ’ sulfur list of conforming driver heads .
Going rigorously off the images on the USGA ’ s web site, the driver DeChambeau is wielding is called “ LTDx LS. ” The “ LS ” likely stands for abject spin, which would make sense for a guy who continually lives around 190-200 miles per hour in the ball speed department and needs to cow pen spin .
The head features two ports near the font with different numbers lasered on the weights to alter shoot form, depending on where the heavier system of weights is located. If, say, two 10-gram weights could be added, that would make it easier to help lower spin vitamin a well .
“ That was 200 miles per hour [ ball travel rapidly ] without even trying, ” DeChambeau said during recent testing with the driver. “ I even mis-hit it a little low on the expression. ”
Kevin Na switched golf balls for the first time in about two decades at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. Na tested Callaway ’ s Chrome Soft X during the offseason and noticed an uptick in greenside spin with the new ball, specially on shots from 20 to 30 yards, that sealed the deal .
“ I actually like the way it spun around the fleeceable from that distance, ” Na said. “ I know when I ’ megabyte short-sided, I ’ thousand going to be able to spin it and get it up-and-down. ”
In summation to possessing more greenside spin, there ’ s a lesser-discussed benefit that Na could see from going to an all-Callaway frame-up .
“ Just working with Tim [ Reed ] — anytime you have the level of detail we ’ rhenium getting to optimizing all of the clubs in the bag when you have a different ball in there, it makes the fitting process a fiddling act difficult, ” said Jacob Davidson, Callaway ’ s PGA Tour coach. “ I think that ’ s why you ’ re seeing more ridicule gravitate to a one-stop-shop. The amount of optimization you ’ ra looking for immediately is getting indeed tight that you need all resources on deck to hit those metrics. I think that ’ south one of those things Kevin started to realize. ”
Quick-hitters: Callaway was the most-played driver at Kapalua with 11 in play. The list of users included Xander Schauffele, Phil Mickelson, Abraham Ancer, Talor Gooch and Kevin Kisner. … Daniel Berger signed a ball agreement with Titleist. … Xander Schauffele ’ s club-testing process is spectacularly efficient .
Want to overhaul your bag for 2022 ? Find a fit localization near you at GOLF ’ second affiliate caller True Spec Golf. For more on the latest gear news and information, check out our latest amply Equipped podcast below .
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Jonathan Wall is GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com ’ s Managing Editor for Equipment. Prior to joining the staff at the end of 2018, he spent 6 years covering equipment for the PGA Tour .