Hunter Mahan has been wearing a prototype shoe in recent weeks on the PGA TOUR. (Getty Images)
In this week's Equipment Report Mailbag, PGATOUR.COM Equipment Insider Jonathan Wall talks about the number of wedges most pros carry, the percentage of players using the same shaft in their irons and wedges, and Hunter Mahan's new shoes.
Have a question about the latest golf equipment or what the pros are playing? Send a tweet to @jonathanrwall.
How many wedges do most pros carry? — Mack Graham (@MackGraham9)
Every player on the PGA TOUR is different, but I'd say a large majority carry four wedges in the bag most weeks. The wedge setup is usually pitching wedge, gap wedge, sand wedge, lob wedge.
As far as the loft on each wedge, it's all personal preference. For instance, three of the four Titleist Vokey Design SM4 wedges in Scotty Piercy's bag have an extra degree of loft (49, 53 and 57 degrees), while the lob wedge is still set at 60 degrees.
So why do most carry four wedges? Distance really isn't an issue on the PGA TOUR, so pros generally prefer to have an extra scoring club in the bag for shots inside 130 yards. The last thing any player wants is to be in-between clubs with the tournament on the line.
Obviously, the number of wedges can change each week depending on the course layout and conditions. Phil Mickelson pulled his Callaway X Hot Phrankenwood out at The Open Championship and replaced it with a fifth wedge — a Callaway Mack Daddy 2 64-degree.
Mickelson felt the extra wedge could save him some shots on the firm ground at Muirfield, and it did on a number of occasions. Pros rarely have the need for five wedges, but there are certain instances where it comes in handy.
What percentage of players use the same shaft in their irons and wedges? — Edmond L Brooks IV (@Nextstoppga)
It's impossible to give you an extra percentage because players are constantly testing out new wedges and shafts; however, based on the time I've spent at PGA TOUR events this year, I can tell you most players have different shafts in their irons and wedges.
For example, Tiger Woods currently uses True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts in his Nike VR Pro blades and Dynamic Gold S400 shafts. The S400 is a slightly heavier shaft (132 grams) than the X100 (130 grams), but Woods likes that fact that the S400 has a slightly softer feel/flex than the shafts in his irons.
While Woods uses two different shafts in his irons and wedges, Brandt Snedeker has three different versions with Aerotech's SteelFiber i95 shafts in his irons, True Temper's Gold Series 95 shaft in his 52- and 56-degree, and a True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 Tour Issue shaft in his 60-degree.
The bottom line is feel is absolutely critical on wedge shots. Some amateur golfers may not be able to tell the difference if you put different shafts in their irons and wedges, but when it comes to the best players in the world who play this game for a living, you can be certain every club (and shaft) is fine-tuned for their game.
What kicks has Hunter Mahan been rocking in recent weeks? — Jamie Kennedy (@jamieonsport)
Before we touch on Hunter's shoes, I'd like to say congratulations to Hunter and his wife Kandi on the birth of their daughter Zoe Olivia Mahan. I'm sure this past weekend was a special one for the Mahans.
If you've been watching Hunter's feet since the U.S. Open at Merion, then you may have noticed he's been wearing some new FootJoy shoes over the past month-plus.
The version he wore at the U.S. Open looked like a hybrid between FootJoy's current Contour Casual and Street models. He also sported an all-white version at The Open Championship and RBC Canadian Open that had more of a traditional look to it.
I'll ask Hunter about the shoes next time I see him in person, but based on what FootJoy told me, both are prototype versions he's been working with for the last few months as he looks for more mobility in his feet/shoes while still getting some stability and not giving up comfort.