Why more golfers should subscribe to Rory McIlroy’s latest gear change
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Not every meaningful equipment change on the PGA Tour needs to be a big to-do. Sometimes the less noticeable changes make a world of difference.
Standing next to Rory McIlroy‘s caddie, Harry Diamond, on Wednesday afternoon at the FedEx St. Jude Championship, I inquired if his boss had made any meaningful equipment tweaks since his last start at the Open Championship.
Diamond confirmed McIlroy swapped 3-woods — more on that in Monday’s gear notes — and made a minor change to the 58-degree TaylorMade MG3 lob wedge. Of the two, the wedge is the more interesting adjustment, especially if you’re a mid-handicapper who struggles with contact around the green.
As Diamond noted, McIlroy will vary the bounce on his lob wedge depending on course conditions. Earlier this season, he used a wedge with as much as 14 degrees of bounce on courses with softer conditions, in an effort to keep the leading edge from digging into the turf. At the Open Championship, fluffy lies around the green were non-existent, so McIlroy dropped the bounce on his lob wedge to 7 degrees. Reducing the amount of bounce on a wedge will lower the leading edge, making it easier to pick the ball clean from tight lies.
With the return to Bermuda grass at TPC Southwind, McIlroy chose to up the bounce on the wedge to 11 degrees to ensure the head got through the sticky turf at impact. (McIlroy has even weakened the loft on his 58 to 59, which adds additional bounce.)
“I certainly haven’t played an event on Bermuda for a while,” McIlroy said, “so just sort of getting used to the grass and some of the lies around the greens again.”
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As much as some golfers want to believe that all pros use lob wedges with low bounce, McIlroy is a perfect example of why embracing bounce, in most cases, is the prudent decision for a large swath of golfers.
For the most part, weekend golfers don’t have the hands to properly manipulate a low bounce wedge, so adding bounce can act as a glorified bowling-lane bumper by keeping the head moving, even if contact is inconsistent.
Something else to note about McIlroy’s wedge? A four-time major winner plays a 58-degree — not a 60-degree. Similar to opting for high bounce instead of low, going with less loft makes it easier to execute higher percentage shots — pitches and chips — that can save you strokes. Pulling off a mega-flop with the lobber can be thrilling, but there’s a better chance you’re chunking or blading across the green more often than you’re nestling it next to the hole.
If the lob wedge is good enough for Rory, chances are it could be a good fit for your game as well.
Want to overhaul your bag for 2022? Find a fitting location near you at GOLF’s affiliate company True Spec Golf. For more on the latest gear news and information, check out our latest Fully Equipped podcast below.