Scottie Scheffler’s putter swap led to 1 covert gear modification | Wall-to-Wall

scottie scheffler taylormade spider tour x putter

Scheffler's TaylorMade's Spider Tour X putter and Titleist Pro V1 golf ball.

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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.

Hiding in plain sight

Scottie Scheffler won going away on Sunday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Everything was working, putter included. It’s been a while since Scheffler’s been able to heap praise on the one club that continued to confound him.

As expected, the focus after Scheffler’s 7th Tour win was on the TaylorMade Spider Tour X mallet he put in the bag. That’s going to happen when you finally land inside the top 10 in putting for the first time since the 2022 WM Phoenix Open. (Also known as Scheffler’s maiden Tour win.)

Scheffler’s new putter is a certified lock to be in the bag this week at the Players Championship, but that didn’t stop someone from asking an obvious question during his post-round presser on Sunday evening: Do you feel like you found the putter you’ll be using for a while?

TaylorMade Spider Tour X Putter

$349.99
THIN WALL UNDERCUT CONSTRUCTION We’ve engineered a super stable structure by removing excess weight to create high MOI and legendary Spider performance. STEEL WIREFRAME Allows engineers to better control weight distribution and CG location. HYBRAR ECHO® DAMPENER HYBRAR is behind the face to dampen unwanted vibrations, delivering premium sound and feel on every putt with the best possible sensation. DIFFERENT CG LOCATION Each Spider Tour model features different CG locations for optimal putter fitting. TSS WEIGHTING TSS weights provide balanced weighting and help optimize performance for all various putter lengths. GUNMETAL PVD FINISH The durable PVD coating creates a beautiful high-quality finish. TRUE PATH™ ALIGNMENT The patented alignment system provides visual clarity and helps golfers better envision the line to the hole. WHITE TPU PURE ROLL™ INSERT Made from a combination of Surlyn and aluminum, the white TPU Pure Roll™ insert creates a softer feel. Grooves are angled at 45° to encourage optimal forward roll as well as better sound, feel and overall roll characteristics. The white insert also creates better symmetry with the white True Path alignment. REFINED HOSEL DESIGNS Spider Tour Series includes two different hosel shapes and designs. The small slant produces toe hang, and the double bend produces a face balanced design.
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Instead of giving the question a one-word answer — which was warranted — Scheffler focused on a gear modification that few (if any) picked up on during the week.

“I like not having to line the [Titleist Pro V1] ball up,” Scheffler revealed. “I line this putter up well in the middle of the face. It’s very good visually. And yeah, I try not to focus too much on the results, but my process was really good this week and the results so far are pretty tough to argue with, I would say.”

Scheffler added a long, black sightline to the crown of Spider Tour X that led to the removal of a single black line covering the Pro V1 side stamp. It might feel like a trivial gear change, but at the top level of professional golf, small changes can make a big difference.

“[K]eeping the mind as quiet as possible,” Scheffler said. “Part of the problem is just trying too hard. It’s frustrating to not have the best of myself, just because I know that I can putt really well. It’s not like I’ve been a bad putter my whole career. I’ve just gone through a stretch where it’s been tough.”

Luckily for Scheffler, last week was the the easiest it’s been with the putter in a long time.

Short and straight

Will Zalatoris wasn’t quite sure how things would go in his return to professional golf following a nine-month hiatus due to a microdiscectomy procedure. A last-place finish at the Hero World Challenge and a missed cut at the Sony Open confirmed rust needed to be knocked off, but the last four starts (T34, T13, T2, T4) have been promising.

When you’re playing well, everyone wants to know what’s working. In Zalatoris’ case, it was easy to spot the most important club in the bag: the driver. Looking at his stats for the week, the 27-year-old finished tops in SG: off-the-tee and driving accuracy on a tricky Bay Hill layout that forces pros to be nearly perfect off the tee to score.

For someone who has struggled to get the driver on track this year, the week was a welcome sight with Augusta right around the corner. Asked what’s changed since he returned to the course in December, Zalatoris confirmed he started flaring both of his feet to “try to get as horizontal as I can, get as much rotation” with the driver.

“It’s kind of fun now having, looking at videos and my driver’s actually been the longest in terms of where it is at the top that it’s been really ever,” he said. “It’s just simplifying everything that we can. I’m not throwing the ball back like I used to and hitting these like low drivers. I’m just kind of hitting three shots, and just kind of, if we got a bunch of wind, I grew up in Texas, I’ll figure it out.”

In Zalatoris’ eyes, the setup change has made him more accurate off the tee, even though he’s sacrificing “12-15 yards.” After playing a 46-inch Titleist TSR3 driver in 2022, Zalatoris cut off 1.5 inches last year to match the swing changes.

Titleist TSR3 Custom Driver

$599
If you are a player with a consistent impact location, then Titleist TSR3 is your ticket to maximum driving performance. The new Speed Ring Face Technology creates a focused point of pure speed that can be precision-tuned to match your point of contact. Benefits Precise Speed & Distance Exceptional Feel & Playability Player-Preferred Shaping Features Speed Ring VFT (Variable Face Thickness) Technology Performance-Tuned Adjustability Aerospace Grade Titanium Improved Aerodynamics SureFit Adjustability
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“I played a 44-and-a-half driver pretty much my whole life,” Zalatoris said. “I played a 46 in 2022 when I had a great year. Then went back to the 44 and a half. I would love to go back to that 46, just to add another 12, 15 yards, but I never really was that great with hitting fairways, and so far, so good with hitting fairways.”

Zalatoris may be shorter than his peers, but he’s content sacrificing distance if it means finding the short grass regularly. Tony Finau has also found a shorter driver to be a benefit in recent years, so Zalatoris is in good company.

“In reality, even though I’m losing distance, I’m hitting more fairways, so I’m kind of netting everything out.”

The combination seems to be working for Zalatoris.

New Darkspeed

Unable to get the driver on track, Cobra Tour Ben Schomin proposed the idea of Rickie Fowler giving Darkspeed X another shot, as opposed to making another Darkspeed LS build. The testing session started with four heads at different weights and eventually turned into a 9-degree head equipped with a Project X Denali Black 70TX shaft that delivered the flight, feel and forgiveness Fowler needed.

Yes, forgiveness is important for elite pros.

rickie fowler tests cobra darkspeed x driver at PGA Tour event
Fowler (right) and Cobra Tour rep Ben Schomin (left) discuss driver builds. Jonathan Wall/GOLF

“We’re trying to make sure the toe ball is spinning enough and not working left too hard,” said Schomin. “Getting that miss to come back on line is the biggest thing. Overall, it’s a little more forgiving than [Darkspeed LS]. These guys walk a fine line and you can see it quickly with them. The right isn’t as far right, and the left isn’t as far left. So his hittable fairway is getting bigger in his mind.”

cobra darkspeed x driver rickie fowler
Fowler’s tested Darkspeed X drivers with lead tape in different locations to find the best weighting. Jonathan Wall/GOLF

In other words, Darkspeed X gave Fowler the confidence to try risk-reward shots and trust the built-in mishit protection.

Fowler finished a modest T41 at the Cognizant Classic with Darkspeed X, but take a closer look at the numbers and you’ll notice he ranked 31st in SG: Off-the-tee and 33rd in driving accuracy, a major improvement from where he’s been most of the season. (Click here to read the full report on Fowler’s driver change.)

Cobra DarkSpeed X Custom Driver

$549.99
The X model is designed for Tour and amateurs seeking a fast, low spin headthat offers medium launch and plenty of forgiveness. REFINED AERODYNAMIC DESIGN An improved aero shape features a streamlined face to topline radius, a highercrown peak, raised skirt and reduced clubface surface area to maximize speed. TOUR INSPIRED SHAPING A refined clubhead shape features an elevated look at address that promotesworkability and control wtih added forgiveness.
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First time for everything

Before last week, Bettinardi was a putter and wedge company. You can now add irons to the lineup after prototype MB and CB irons surfaced at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. According to Bettinardi Tour rep Nick Garofalo, Fred Couples tested the irons for over an hour after a recent Champions Tour round and was receptive to the design.

“[Fred] was complimentary not just because it was a Bettinardi product,” said Garofalo. “He very honest in his assessment of new products. He ended up having the product sent to his house a few days later for further testing. He’s a guy who hasn’t switched irons in 10 years, so for him to show interest is a good sign.”

The one-piece forged irons (made from 1025 carbon steel) Couples tested were recently added to the USGA conforming list, a good sign they’re coming to retail in the future. With two profiles available, golfers will be able to combine them for a blended set that provides forgiveness and launch at the top of the set (CB) with more workability and control near the bottom (MB).

“Bringing in the irons, we have a customer base that will entertain them,” he said. “But with the feedback and results we’ve been seeing, I wouldn’t be surprised if it ends up in a couple of these guys’ hands, not just for testing purposes, but maybe see them on the Korn Ferry Tour or out [on the PGA Tour], too. As far as the goal and vision, it’s just letting everyone know we make great products overall.”

Long time coming

For the first time since 2019, Golf Pride is releasing a new putter grip to the masses — and on Tour. The Reverse Taper grip was introduced to players at Bay Hill and received positive feedback from several pros in the field, due in part to the larger bottom shape.

“Early feedback on Tour is they really like the bottom shape of the grip,” said Golf Pride’s tour manager, Brett Zollman. “The expanded taper is giving them a little bit more control of the clubface. That’s been the main difference. There’s not a whole lot you can do with putter grips in general, but the bottom-hand section has opened a few guys’ eyes.”

In development for three years, Zollman highlighted the Polyurethane material used to construct the grip as a game-changer for future putter builds. Of the three models in the lineup (Round, Pistol and Flat), the Pistol received the most looks during the tournament week due to the overall size and shape.

“[The Polyurethane] is very weight-oriented, so we can control the weights a lot better and bring it down to more playable weight for these guys without having to manipulate the head and add lead tape,” he said.

Quick-hitters: Tommy Fleetwood tested a TaylorMade Qi10 9-wood that has a chance to see action at the Players Championship. … There’s a gear trend brewing on Tour. … This recent Tour winner carries a club rarely seen on Tour. … Phil Mickelson recently added Mitsubishi’s MMT graphite iron shafts to his irons and wedges. … Collin Morikawa used an Olson prototype putter for the first time.

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.