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.
A week void of any significant gear news feels like the perfect opportunity to highlight last week’s one-on-one with the hottest golfer on the planet: Scottie Scheffler.
In a recent chat with GOLF.com, the recent Masters winner discussed his decision to sign with TaylorMade midway through the season, Tiger’s iron influence, and what really happened to the shaft on his Scotty Cameron putter. I highlighted some of my favorite insights from the conversation.
I mentioned it following Scheffler’s win at the Masters, but TaylorMade’s brass deserves a lot of credit for getting Scheffler’s deal to the finish line. As he told me during our chat, he was “pretty much planning on staying a free agent just because, you know, I kind of like that. Being able to play kind of the best stuff for me is usually what’s worked.”
Instead of forcing Scheffler to alter his current equipment, TaylorMade inked the 25-year-old to a deal that only required him to add a 3-wood — he was already using the driver and irons — to the bag at some point. The Vokey wedges and Scotty Cameron putter were allowed to stay.
Scheffler dubbed it a “pretty seamless transition,” which might be the understatement of the century. Save for a T55 at the Players Championship, he hasn’t skipped a beat since signing the new deal. Not bad for a guy who opted to join TaylorMade’s Tour staff mere weeks before the Masters.
It never hurts when you’re able to keep it rolling with almost the exact same setup.
Aim small, miss small
Like most tour pros, Scheffler was never going to complain about more driver ball speed — especially the extra 3-4 mph he saw with TaylorMade Stealth Plus.
An increase of 4 mph is roughly 12 yards, which is a significant number when you’re talking about golfers who are already optimized for every club in the bag.
But for Scheffler, there was more to Stealth Plus than simply having one less club into the hole. A new level of accuracy allowed him to reduce a penalizing shot as well.
“I don’t really have like a crazy, big miss anymore,” Scheffler said. “I’m keeping the ball close to the fairway when I do miss — and I’m further up. I’m definitely having less club and a lot of greens and certain par 5s, and I’m not looking at bunkers that I used to look at. That’s really a testament to the speed that I picked up with the driver.”
During a winter testing session in Dallas, Scheffler put the driver through its paces in a 30 mph headwind to see how it’d hold up. The results left him believing it was time to make a change.
“It turned out to be a really good day to test drivers because I wanted to make sure it was just as accurate as my Ping,” he said. “And you know, it was with the gains from the ball speed as well.”
Scheffler has logged four wins since he made the driver switch. It’s safe to say the change was a rousing success.
That was a miss?
I’ll be the first to admit I got Scheffler’s 3-wood transition wrong. When it was announced he’d eventually need to get rid of his Nike VR Pro Limited — a club he’s used since high school — I fully expected the switch to be slow and methodical. TaylorMade wasn’t rushing Scheffler and with the Masters on tap, it seemed like post-major was the best time to start testing.
And then Scheffler went ahead and made the change to TaylorMade Stealth at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.
Scheffler is the kind of player who needs to “get [the club] in competition and play it” before a final decision is made, but it didn’t take him long to pick up on significant improvements off the tee.
“[The Nike] almost wasn’t in the same ballpark [off the tee], to the TaylorMade, if I hit it on the heel,” he said. “If I heel it on the TaylorMade, I almost can’t even tell the difference between that and the middle of the face. When I heeled it with my Nike one — granted, it was an amazing club — it was a pretty significant loss of distance and I would overspin and fade it a lot.
“The TaylorMade one comes out a little lower and just a touch more spin because of the mishit, but it’s much more consistent off the tee. When I first used it in Austin, I was like, this thing sounds amazing. I tried it out that week just because the gains off the tee were so much better. And, you know, now I’m starting to notice that I really still have a lot of the same shots that I did with that old Nike one.”
Still hanging around
Even though Scheffler’s Nike 3-wood has been kicked to the curb, he confirmed the club is still hanging around at the house.
“I have a golf room in my house, actually, and so I got all kinds of I got all kinds of cool stuff in there,” he said.
Fan of the Nike fairway wood can rest easy knowing it’s receiving a proper retirement.
Aside from the Tiger Woods Nike apparel he sported at Augusta, Scheffler logged the second Masters win for TaylorMade’s P7TW irons in the last four years. While some pros might not admit a peer played a role in a gear switch, Scheffler didn’t hesitate to credit Woods with his switch to the blades.
“I played with Tiger at the Masters in 2020, and he hits the ball so stinkin’ solid and just shapes it so well,” he said. “I got home after the Masters and I was like, I have to at least try these irons. I’ve always had a connection with Tiger through all the Nike equipment. And so when he switched over to [the irons], I was like, this should be a pretty easy transition. I’m used to playing clubs that he had a lot of factor in the design for.
“What I noticed when I hit them at home was I was able to hit different windows. So when I flighted it down, I could pitch it lower than I could the P730. And if I wanted to hit it up, I could hit at higher. I saw more variability in the shots and then the distance control was basically, you know, the exact same. I saw the benefits of being able to slide it down and keep it flatter and not have that overspin and just have a little bit more variety.”
After snapping photos of Scheffler’s gear during a trip to Torrey Pines earlier this year, I wondered why his 6-iron was the only club that featured a fat slab of lead tape on the muscle pad.
It didn’t take Scheffler long to point out a swing-and-a-miss on my part.
“So did you notice there were two 6-irons?” he said.
To be honest, I totally missed the second 6-iron. According to Scheffler, the one with the lead tape is a training club he uses to warm up before rounds.
“I have a form grip that I use [on the training club],” he continued. “And so obviously with all that rubber, it weighs more. And so to match the swing weight, I added a bunch of weight to the head to match the swing weight. That’s that’s the club that you’re seeing and it’s only in there for practice rounds when I warm up. Obviously, when I play in tournaments, it’s not in there because it’s a four-shot penalty.
Scheffler did admit he’s left the training club in the bag “once” during a competitive round. The penalty was the only reminder he needed to keep it out of the bag the next time around.
As I highlighted in last week’s gear notes, Scheffler was forced to make a last-minute putter change after the shaft was dented at some point prior to the first round of the Masters. Scheffler confirmed he knew something off during Wednesday’s practice session, which prompted him to give Scotty Cameron Tour rep Drew Page a call.
“I kind of looked at the shaft and the light was reflecting off of it kind of weird,” he said. “I couldn’t see a noticeable bend. It was just like one way when I put it, the light just refracted. And then when I was out on the course, I just didn’t feel right. I’ve been putting pretty good for a while, and all of a sudden I was just setting up with my putting mirror and the face is flaring open. I was like, my putter hasn’t done that before.”
After noticing something was off, Scheffler asked Page to take a look.
“[Drew’s] original thought was the metal on that putter is also really soft and could just bend over time. These things are a lot softer than the old model I used to use. And then he checked the shaft and it was like, ‘I checked the shaft and, actually, there’s a bend in there.’ I was like like, OK, just fix it up. And you know, he fixed it up. He had it to me an hour later and I grabbed it and I was like, looks good.”
The new shaft (and grip) wound up working just fine for Scheffler, who torched the field and made countless big putts down the stretch to stay well ahead of the competition en route to his first green jacket.
What’s in Scottie Scheffler’s bag
3-wood: TaylorMade Stealth (Fujikura Ventus Black 8X shaft), 16.5 degrees
Utility: Srixon Z U85 (3-iron; Nippon Pro Modus3 Hybrid Tour X shaft)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM8 (50-12F, 56-14F degrees; True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 shafts), Titleist Vokey Design 2021 Proto (60K degrees; True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 shaft)
Putter: Scotty Cameron Special Select Timeless Tourtype GSS Tour Prototype
Golf ball: Titleist Pro V1
Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet
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