This cult favorite club is nearly extinct on Tour | Wall-to-Wall

tony finau nike vapor fly pro iron

Finau is the only pro on Tour carrying a Nike Vapor Fly Pro long iron.

Jonathan Wall/GOLF

Welcome to Wall-to-Wall Equipment, the weekly gear wrap-up in which GOLF equipment editor Jonathan Wall takes you through the latest trends, rumors and breaking news.

Last man standing

With one gear change last week, Tony Finau became the last man carrying a certain Nike long iron that’s gained a cult following in recent years. Yes, we’re talking about the hollow-bodied Vapor Fly Pro that Finau, Brooks Koepka and Rory McIlroy put on the map.

High-profile names helped elevate the club, but a select few continued to use it well after Nike left the hard-goods industry in 2016, including C.T. Pan. The 32-year-old employed the Nike 2-iron through the Mexico Championship but opted to go a different direction when he arrived on site at PGA National for the Cognizant Classic.

Working with Titleist Tour rep Larry Silveira, Pan tested a Titlesit U505 1-iron that proved to be an upgrade from his Vapor Fly Pro in the launch and spin departments. According to Titleist Tour rep JJ Van Wezenbeeck, Pan had toyed with the idea of using U505 in the past, but it wasn’t until last week that he finally decided to pull the trigger and try something different near the top of the set. He’d go on to finish T28 for the tournament.

Which leads us back to Finau — the lone man standing on the PGA Tour with a Vapor Fly Pro in the bag. During an interview with GOLF.com last year, Finau confirmed he was using one of two backups in his gear stash.

“My original lasted me about six years,” he said. “So with my math, if this one lasts me six years, and my other backup lasts me another six years, I’ll be about 50 years old by the time I’m done using both. It’s a great club. It’s one I’ve had in the bag since 2015, and I don’t think it’s going anywhere anytime soon. I hit it great.”

Titleist U505 Custom Driving Iron

$250
U•505 is designed to allow you to reclaim your long iron game. Drawing on input from Tour Pros, it provides the high, explosive launch of a utility but with a refined design that offers a more iron-like look, feel, and sound. Benefits High, explosive launch Outstanding versatility Improved feel Features D18 density tungsten New Max Impact technology Multi-material body: Engineered Muscle Plate Forged face inserts
View Product

Assuming Finau doesn’t make any changes to his lone Nike club, he’ll remain one of two pros on the PGA Tour with a Swoosh stick still in the bag. The other is Justin Suh, who’s still wielding a Method Core putter that’s been in his possession since grade school. But that’s it.

With only a handful of pros on the Korn Ferry Tour still carrying Nike clubs — mostly fairway woods and long irons — it’s clear Nike’s days are numbered on the PGA Tour.

Switch it up

As someone who has typically gravitated towards drivers with mid launch and spin characteristics, Brooks Koepka continued the trend by adding TaylorMade’s Qi10 driver to the bag at last week’s LIV event.

The Qi10 “core” model has been a popular option to start the season with Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott opting for the middle-of-the-road offering in TaylorMade’s lineup.

TaylorMade Qi10 Designer Series Custom Driver

$629.99
Introducing the Qi10 Designer Series, where the inertia-powered forgiveness of Qi10 meets new aesthetics refined by TaylorMade’s most creative designers. VISUAL INSPIRATION The Designer Series is a visual feast, capturing inspiration from the automotive world, pop culture and our design team’s individual creativity. Each color palate brings a unique touch of style and makes a statement on the course. Colorways for Qi10 Designer Series include Black Out and Ruby Red. COMPLETE PERFORMANCE Wrapped in a clean and confident package, Qi10 driver has been strategically engineered to help players optimize distance and enhance forgiveness. It features lower CG projection and higher MOI than its predecessor, delivering balanced performance without any tradeoffs.
View Product

Prior to changing drivers during his recent start, Koepka reinserted a two-year-old SIM2 driver last year at the LIV Chicago event, and then proceeded to keep it in the bag for the Ryder Cup. After opening the season with SIM2, Koepka made the jump to the first driver he’s used featuring a carbon face.

Koepka has rarely gone in chronological order with drivers, jumping from TaylorMade’s M5 to SIM2, followed by Srixon’s ZX5 LS. Similar to Phil Mickelson’s most recent gear change (more on that in a moment), we’ll have to wait and see if the driver has staying power at Augusta.

AK’s return

anthony kim witb
Kim used a TSR2+ fairway wood in Saudi Arabia. Getty Images

Anthony Kim returned to the course after a 12-year hiatus with a bag full of Titleist clubs, including a TSR3 driver, T-Series irons and Vokey SM10 wedges. The last time we saw Kim in competition, he was on staff with Nike Golf. But a lot has changed in the last decade.

With the Swoosh no longer in the picture on the club side, Kim was forced to make some hard decisions through at-home testing before he arrived on site in Saudi Arabia. After putting plenty of new gear through a thorough vetting process, he ultimately decided on an all-Titleist setup.

In the lab

phil mickelson lab golf putter
Mickelson and his LAB Golf DF3 putter. Getty Images

Phil Mickelson has certainly used his fair share of putters over the years — everything from small blades to oversized mallets. The tinkering continued last week in Saudi Arabia with Mickelson using something decidedly different: L.A.B. Golf’s DF3 that just became available to consumers.

The L.A.B. Golf DF3 is a smaller, sleeker version of the original 2.1 that marks the first time L.A.B. has reimagined the putter from its logo.

L.A.B. Golf MEZZ.1

$449
Zero Torque. Zero Compromise. MEZZ.1 Stock makes it easy for any golfer to benefit from Lie Angle Balance. It looks pretty much like a normal putter. But it actually helps you make putts.  MEZZ.1 Stock is our mid-mallet putter that’s fully CNC machined from a billet of 6061 aircraft aluminum (body) and 303 stainless steel (midsection). It includes 10 weights (eight on the bottom, two on the sides) that allow us to individually build each putter to a golfer’s exact specifications. Finish: Anodized 6061 Aircraft Aluminum (Black) and Brushed 303 Stainless Steel. Length: 33, 34, or 35 inches. Lie Angles: 67, 69, or 71 degrees. Loft: 2.5 degrees static loft (1-degree of effective loft with Press II 1.5º).
View Product

Even with a noticeably smaller footprint, DF3 maintains low torque — thereby reducing unwanted twisting at impact — via eight individual sole weights positioned along the wings that stabilize the head throughout the stroke. Going smaller also made it possible to make improvements to how the ball sounded coming off the face.

With a new wand in the bag, Mickelson posted his best LIV finish of the season (T6), a hopeful sign his game is rounding into form with the Masters just around the corner.

Overcoming gear adversity

David Skinns’ big week at PGA National Resort also happened despite a strange mishap on Thursday to his Ping PLD Anser 2D putter.

While standing over his putt on the 14th green (his fifth hole), Skinns stared down the shaft and realized something looked off. He was right. On the 14th-hole tee box Skinns’ caddie had tripped over a tee marker and somehow bent the putter shaft in the process, adding 20-plus degrees of loft to the head, according to Skinns.

That’s the loft of a 5-iron. Skinns walked off the 14th green and called for a rules official, who gave him the go-ahead to try and bend the putter back to as close to its original state as possible.

PING 2024 PLD Milled Anser 2D Custom Putter

$449.99
The Anser 2D model gained notoriety with Tony Finau’s success winning multiple times on tour. The slightly deeper, perimeter-weighted design features clean heel-toe ballasts to aid in alignment. Quality and precision A solid block of forged, 303 stainless steel requires more than four hours of milling time; precisely shaping every surface and radius to achieve the high quality and premium look expected in a precision-milled putter. Control and consistency A precision-milled face pattern, known as deep AMP (Aggressive Milling Pattern), is inspired by tour player feedback and provides the feel and speed control you need to deliver score-lowering consistency on the green.
View Product

Skinns then got to work, using his foot as leverage to bend the putter shaft back to his liking. He two-putted for par and later signed for a 65.

He had the club fixed by a professional after his round, and that putter turned out to be a huge key to his success at the Cognizant. Skinns finished the week ranked second in Strokes Gained: Putting, gaining more than seven strokes on the field. [Click here to read more about Skinns’ big week.]

Quick-hitters: Austin Eckroat’s win (Pro V1) at the Cognizant Classic made it 8 wins in 9 tournaments for Titleist golf balls to start the year on the PGA Tour. … Charl Schwartzel switched to a 9-degree TaylorMade Qi10 LS driver with the loft sleeve set in the “upright” (1.5-degree sleeve) setting.

Want to overhaul your bag for 2024? Find a fitting location near you at True Spec Golf.

JWall

Jonathan Wall

Golf.com Editor

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. He can be reached at jonathan.wall@golf.com.