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.
When Scottie Scheffler buried a short birdie to become just the 12th player in PGA Tour history to shoot 59 or better, only one golf brand had the opportunity to trumpet the 24-year-old’s history-making moment: Nike. The Swoosh is Scheffler’s apparel of choice, but that’s the extent of his equipment and apparel dealings on the course.
His enormous white staff bag is blank on both side panels. The only logo found on the blank canvas belongs to Texas-based Veritex Community Bank. Then there’s the gear inside the bag. Instead of hitching his wagon to one (or even two) brands, Scheffler prefers to play the field, employing a whopping seven gear brands. Seven. That’s not a typo.
It’s standard practice for equipment free agents to have upwards of three or four brands represented in their bag, but not seven. From a gear perspective, Scheffler is an equipment unicorn who plays what he likes because it fills a yardage gap or suits his eye — even if that means using a little bit of everything from the gear buffet.
Literally everyone in the industry receives some love from Scheffler, including Mike Taylor’s Artisan Golf (60-degree wedge) and now-defunct Nike Golf (VR Pro Limited 3-wood). When asked why he still plays a fairway wood that was produced in 2011, Scheffler responds it’s mostly due to the current options going too far, and the clean crown he’s grown accustomed to over the years.
In a sport where equipment free agents have become more commonplace — the 2018 season saw all four major titles go to golfers who weren’t tethered to one manufacturer — Scheffler takes his gear freedom to the absolute limits. Some might call playing seven brands excessive, but there’s no denying the gear blueprint has worked for Scheffler, who turned pro without status on any tour in 2018 and found himself in contention for a major title two years later at the 2020 PGA Championship.
What’s in Scheffler’s bag
Driver: Ping G400 LST
3-wood: Nike VR Pro Limited
Utility Iron: Srixon ZU85 (3)
Irons: Srixon Z785 (4), TaylorMade P730 (5-PW)
Wedges: Callaway MD4 (50, 55), Artisan (60)
Putter: Scotty Cameron Tour Rat
Ball: Titleist Pro V1
Let the good times roll
Before Ping’s Anser putter helped Bubba Watson slip on two green jackets and ascend to No. 2 in the world, there was B60 — a perimeter-weighted blade dating back to when the lefty bomber first started using Ping equipment as a junior golfer. There’s a level of nostalgia with the B60 that cannot be replicated with another putter.
Nostalgia won’t win a tournament, but it can get you back on track when attempting to locate something that feels comfortable in your hands. Which brings us back to Watson’s B60.
In search of a putter offering a blend of feel and consistency on the greens, Watson tested out a mallet closely resembling Viktor Hovland’s Ping PLD prototype — face-balanced with a double-bend shaft — but it didn’t stick. Instead of trying another fresh look, Watson opted for a 340-gram PLD version of the B60 featuring less toe hang than a traditional Anser-style blade.
“Got [the B60] when I was eight years old and so I used that up till probably, gosh, 2004 or something,” Watson said. “So I used it till a little after I turned pro. So to get a B60 back in the bag just feels like an old friend and it was nice to go out there and putt and be confident over it.
“B60 is kind of the hybrid right in the middle of those and so for some reason, that’s better for my stroke, and that’s where we are. You know, asking the engineers at Ping to help me out and see what they see and what they think and that’s what we came up with, going back to that.”
Watson also chose to add a shallow groove design to the face that softened the feel but didn’t affect spin or distance control. The first run with the new wand produced mixed results, as Watson gained more than 1.5 strokes on the field during the first round but wound up ranking 41st in the statistical category (plus-0.245) after 72 holes.
Elder wand returns
Tiger Woods’ iconic Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS was never going to be on the sidelines for long. Even the 15-time major winner admitted the putter was in a temporary timeout — not a permanent one — when he opted for a Newport 2 Timeless prototype at the PGA Championship.
“There’s something familiar with my [Newport 2 GSS],” Woods said at the PGA. “I’ve won a few events with it. But every now and again, it needs to be benched and this was a good week for it.”
One week was all Woods needed to realize the trusty putter was the better option, as he reinserted the “Elder wand” for the playoffs. The brief hiatus didn’t solve Woods’ issues on the greens, as he finished 57th in Strokes Gained: Putting while losing more than 3.5 shots to the field with the flat stick during the third round.
There’s no such thing as a “conventional setup” in pro golf. While some choose to go driver, 3-wood, 5-wood at the top of the set, others find they’re better off using stronger or weaker-lofted options. Si-Woo Kim is one such player. Hoping for a bit more versatility off the tee and from the fairway, Kim traded in his Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero 5-wood for a 4-wood that he felt was better suited for the setup at TPC Boston.
Quick-hitters: Rory McIlroy switched to a milled TaylorMade TP Soto with a custom plumber’s neck. … Fujikura saw 23 Ventus driver shafts go in play (out of a total 34) during the tournament. … Hideki Matsuyama was spotted with a TaylorMade SIM DHY #3 utility. … Titleist led the ball count with 121 or the 144 players (84 percent) using a Pro V1 or Pro V1x golf ball.