This college star’s surprising gear setup (especially the putter!) is a great lesson for all golfers

Andrew Tursky

Audrey Tan, representing the University of North Texas NCAA DI women’s golf team, recently won Barstool Sports’ inaugural Let Them Play Classic at Whirlwind Golf Course at Wild Horse Pass in Phoenix.

Amidst the unique circumstances surrounding the college event, there was also a great lesson in golf equipment to be learned from Tan’s winning gear setup. Tan, who shot a nine-under-par total in the 54-hole event, uses golf clubs and shafts that may surprise amateurs who are used to analyzing the gear of PGA Tour pros.

Her putter may also shock any golfer who thinks a putter needs a grip on it. That’s right, Tan uses a Piretti Rev 2.0 putter that doesn’t have a grip on it. The catch here, though, is that the putter shaft is actually specifically engineered to use without one.

Tan’s Paderson Kinetixx Tuned Red putter shaft is built with low torque to reduce twisting, and it’s designed to provide better energy transfer for more forgiveness. The shaft is wide enough to replace a standard or mid-size grip, and it has what Paderson calls a “High-Tac aerospace polymer membrane” on the handle portion.

Without a true grip to act as a barrier between the player’s hands and the shaft, though, reducing vibrations is vital for feel and consistency. That’s why Paderson uses a butt cap system that filters vibrations. According to Tan, her club builder also installed an additional dampener in the tip section of the shaft.

With convention already out of the equation, let’s get into Tan’s iron setup.

Most golfers use iron sets that include a 4-iron, or at least a 5-iron. Those clubs are seen as a prerequisite for most. But, like Michelle Wie West, Tan’s set only goes up to the 6-iron.

Tan uses Ping Women’s Rhapsody club heads (6-PW), equipped with Graphite Design G-Tech shafts. The flexible graphite shafts are designed to launch the ball high, and their stock weights are just 80 grams (many of the popular steel shafts used on the PGA Tour measure 120-135 grams). The Rhapsody club heads, which are made for women, are also built for higher launch, and their lighter weights help to increase swing speed. 

To replace her 4-and-5 irons, Tan uses 22- and 25-degree PXG 0317 hybrids — and she’s absolutely worn out the center of the faces on them.

Hybrids, compared to irons, have larger head sizes and are built to provide greater speed, forgiveness, versatility, and higher ball flights. While many golfers opt for long irons instead of hybrids for control, it’s more difficult to create height and spin with a long iron, especially from poor lies. At Tan’s relatively slower swing speeds, at least compared to PGA Tour players, she wants the added launch.

At the top end of her bag, Tan uses a Titleist TSi3 driver (Mitsubishi Kuro Kage 55-gram S-flex shaft) with the SureFit weight in the draw-biased setting. Since Tan’s miss tends to be on the heel portion of the face, the heel-ward weight helps place CG (center of gravity) behind her impact location to gain speed, and the configuration helps reduce slice spin.

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Filling out her bag, Tan has a Callaway Rogue fairway wood (Fujikura Speeder Evolution S-flex shaft) and a set of Yururi raw wedges (with Graphite Design G-Tech shafts, just like her irons).

Based on the wear marks on the faces of her clubs, Tan is a consistent ball-striker, but she uses technology in ways that help her maximize performance and keep up with the competition. Simply put, she uses clubs that are built for her particular swing, speed, and physical capabilities.

For amateurs searching for their right gear setup, it’s important to gain an understanding of your game. Here are a few questions, based on Tan’s setup, to ask your trusted club fitter or teaching professional next visit:

  • What is my swing speed with my driver, and what shaft flex category does that place me in (A, L, R, S, or X-flex)?
  • Can adjusting the weight in my driver head provide me better performance?
  • What is my launch angle and spin rate with my 5-iron, and are those numbers too high or too low relative to my swing speed?
  • Would I be better suited using hybrids, or high-lofted fairway woods, in place of my long irons?

Want to overhaul your bag for 2021? Find a fitting location near you at GOLF’s affiliate company True Spec Golf. For more on the Let Them Play Classic, check out our full interview with Barstool Riggs below!

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Andrew Tursky

Golf.com Editor

Andrew Tursky is the Senior Equipment Editor at GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com.