Welcome to Wall-to-Wall Equipment, the Monday morning gear wrap-up in which GOLF equipment editor Jonathan Wall takes you through the latest trends, rumors and breaking news.
Brooks Koepka cashed in when he signed a multi-year equipment deal with Cleveland/Srixon. The guaranteed money is certainly nice, but when you have four majors in the trophy case, it’s far from the priority.
It’s one of the reasons why Koepka waited almost five years to sign a club and ball deal. The gear had to be the right fit.
Which brings us to the new setup. When Koepka was unveiled as a Cleveland/Srixon staffer, the irons appeared to be the only known in the bag. Everything else would require an acclimation period — or so we assumed.
Well, you know what happens when you assume.
As Koepka revealed at the Hero World Challenge, he’s more familiar with Srixon’s Z-Star golf ball than we realized.
“To be honest with you, that ball is what I practiced with on the range,” Koepka said. “I used to practice with that ball all the time. I think back in ’16 we were doing a bunch of testing and with the Srixon ball, it was tied with the ball I was playing and the only reason I chose the other one was just because I played it for longer. I just knew from a little kid that’s what I had played, so it was more out of comfort than it was anything.”
The golf ball is without question the biggest bogey when players sign new deals. Players either get acclimated to the new ball or spend months struggling to get a handle on different technology. While Koepka is using a prototype version of the Z-Star, his familiarity with the ball puts him ahead of the learning curve as he prepares to open 2022 in Maui at the Tournament of Champions.
In addition to the ball, Koepka gave a brief update on his Srixon irons and driver — two pieces of gear that don’t seem to be giving him any trouble at the moment.
“The ball-striking, I think the irons go a touch higher,” he said. “Same flight, same spin, but just a touch higher, which is great. And the driver, it’s as good as anything I’ve hit.”
Koepka won’t have to wait long to see if the equipment is good enough to get him back in the winner’s circle.
Roughly one month after Bryson DeChambeau posted video on social media of him testing Cobra prototype irons, we now know which club came out on top: King Tour. DeChambeau debuted a new single-length set during The Match, and kept them in the bag at the Hero World Challenge.
Cobra Tour rep Ben Schomin helped bring the irons to life, grinding the leading edge to match what’s currently on Bryson’s King One Length set. Schomin also matched up weights to ensure the 28-year-old saw little to no variable changes during testing.
With a similar head shape, the transition into King Tour was an easy one for DeChambeau.
What makes King Tour such an intriguing product — it was released late last year — is the fact it’s Cobra’s first-ever set of metal injection molded irons. Created using the same process at the company’s MIM wedge, each head is made using a mixture of 304 stainless steel metal powder, which is heated and injected into a mold.
During the “sintering process,” whereby a powdered metal turns into a solid, the metal is heated to as high as 1,340 degrees Celsius, more than 140 degrees higher than a standard iron forging (1,200 degrees). The higher temperature results in tighter grain structures and a higher level of precision.
A tungsten toe weight was added to the toe that repositions the center of gravity directly behind the sweet spot to deliver a tighter dispersion with added stability. The overall feel of the iron was also bumped up with the help of a thermoplastic polyurethane insert situated in the cavity that’s designed to mitigate unwanted vibrations at impact.
Mitsubishi’s new Kai’li shaft earned a spot in Xander Schauffele’s Callaway Epic Speed Triple Diamond LS driver. Schauffele was spotted testing the shaft early in the week before eventually making the change official on Thursday. As Schauffele has continued to gain more strength and speed, we’ve seen him make necessary gear changes to corral spin.
Earlier in the year, he transitioned into Callaway’s Chrome Soft LS golf ball. The 70TX Kai’li White Prototype shaft in Schauffele’s driver is designed to keep spin in check as well, thanks to a resin content that dips below 20 percent with the help of MR70 fibers and low resin content prepreg that improves feel.
The materials help stiffen the shaft to lower launch — all while reducing the potential for a stiff, “boardy” feel that tour pros absolutely despise.
Quick-hitters: Why Rory McIlroy added substantial bounce to his TaylorMade MG3 wedges. … Bryson DeChambeau returned to Cobra’s King Ltd driver after using RadSpeed during The Match against Brooks Koepka.
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