These wedges transformed Viktor Hovland’s short game at the Mayakoba

In golf, is it better to build upon your strengths or eliminate your weaknesses? Would you rather be Bryson DeChambeau, with mind-bending length and an on-again, off-again short game? Or Rory McIlroy, with every wrench in the toolkit, a game that is the remarkable sum of its parts?

Over the first 12 months of his PGA Tour career, Viktor Hovland has served as the poster child for both sides of the argument.

Hovland, who won his first pro event at the Puerto Rico Open in February, has reaped the benefits of his brilliant long game throughout his short professional career. In 2020, he ranked near the top of all players on Tour in both strokes gained: off-the-tee and strokes gained: approach. At only 22, he logged a top-20 finish at the U.S. Open and climbed into the top 20 in the world.

Surely, Hovland’s strengths play into a larger advantage against his opponents. Why wouldn’t he focus building them? Well, perhaps because Hovland’s weaknesses were just as obvious as his strengths in the early portion of 2020.

Hovland struggled with his wedges and finished the season ranked 109th on Tour in strokes gained: around the green, and even that was a marked improvement from the beginning of his 2020.

Rather than build on his strengths, Hovland doubled-down on his weaknesses. In March, he brought aboard short-game czar Pete Cowen to right the ship. During the lockdown, he shared his locker room short-game antics (along with his blistered hands from hours of wedge work) on social media. Hovland even bolstered his equipment, resisting the urge to tinker with his Ping Glide 3.0 wedges as he developed a rhythm.

At the Mayakoba Golf Classic this weekend, Hovland’s hard work paid off. While his game’s strengths (his driver and irons) still carried the load, his short game proved solid enough to outlast the likes of Justin Thomas and Tony Finau in Mexico.

While Hovland’s second career win is certainly owed to his dedication, the equipment that carried the way also deserves a tip of the cap. Ping’s Glide 3.0 wedges received a total overhaul for 2020, with more offset for top-tier players, perimeter weighting for forgiveness and a softer, more consistent feel.

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โ€œI really like the versatility of the Glide 3.0 wedges,” Hovland told in August. “Itโ€™s predictable how the ball is going to react out of different lies, and thatโ€™s half the battle when it comes to the short game.”

Irrespective of whether your short game is a strength or a weakness, you can find Hovland’s Ping Glide 3.0 wedge in the GOLF Pro Shop, or if you’re looking for a custom fitting, visit GOLF’s sister company, True Spec.

As for that age-old question of strength versus weakness, Hovland’s short game emergence asks as a slightly different question: why not both?

James Colgan Editor

James Colgan is an assistant editor at GOLF, contributing stories for the website and magazine on a broad range of topics. He writes the Hot Mic, GOLF’s weekly media column, and utilizes his broadcast experience across the brand’s social media and video platforms. A 2019 graduate of Syracuse University, James โ€” and evidently, his golf game โ€” is still defrosting from four years in the snow, during which time he cut his teeth at NFL Films, CBS News and Fox Sports. Prior to joining GOLF, James was a caddie scholarship recipient (and astute looper) on Long Island, where he is from.