August 23 2013
By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM Equipment Insider
In this week's Equipment Report Mailbag, PGATOUR.COM Equipment Insider Jonathan Wall talks about over-sized putter grips, TaylorMade's SLDR driver and equipment switches.
Have a question about the latest golf equipment or what the pros are playing? Send a tweet to @jonathanrwall.
What are your thoughts on the oversized putter grip? — Andrew Wilkes
Just look at who's using an oversized putter grip on the PGA TOUR at the moment: Jason Dufner, Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Matt Kuchar and Sergio Garcia.
Two of the names I just mentioned won The Open Championship (Mickelson) and PGA Championship (Dufner) this season, which says a lot about the recent rise in popularity of the oversized putter grip.
What makes it so popular? Unlike a standard putter grip, the oversized version takes the hands of the equation and puts an emphasis on using bigger muscles to develop a repeatable stroke.
There's a reason why SuperStroke, one of the most popular oversized options on the PGA TOUR, has between 23-35 players in the field each week using the grip.
For a lot of players, the oversized grip is another alternative to anchoring -- a method of putting that's going away in 2016 -- and allows them to feel more confident over those critical putts inside 10 feet.
Check out a line of SuperStroke putter grips from PGA TOUR Superstore
Are you surprised that so many players switched to TaylorMade's new SLDR driver so quickly? Why is that? — Jason P. Mann
Not really. I was at the John Deere Classic the week SLDR made its TOUR debut and couldn't believe how many players were clamoring for the new driver -- the TaylorMade Tour Truck ran out of heads on Monday afternoon -- on the very first day.
There were also tweets from players who reported seeing increases in distance and ball speed; others raved about the overall look of the club.
Equipment companies will do everything in their power to generate buzz around a new product launch, but when it comes to getting the best players in the world to play it from the get-go, that's a different story.
Players not only need to feel comfortable with new driver, they need to believe it gives them a distinct advantage over the current model in their bag. That usually takes testing and time.
To have players such as Brandt Snedeker, Justin Rose and Dustin Johnson switch in the first month, in my opinion, speaks volumes about the new driver and why it's already the No. 1 model on the PGA TOUR.
The club's performance clearly won a lot of players over, and that's ultimately the reason why so many decided to switch in such a short period of time.
To purchase the SLDR driver or to get more information, click here for PGA TOUR SuperStore
Anticipate any major players changing equipment for 2014 a la Rory? — J Barks
Honestly, your guess is as good as mine at this point in the season. Most equipment companies wait until Jan. 1 to announce new signings because the majority of players are under contract through the end of the calendar year.
That means you have to rely on message board rumors and social media from now until the end of the year to get a bead on potential moves. And we both know most of the rumors being kicked around are pure conjecture.
With that in mind, remember the Rory-to-Nike rumors started back in October, two-plus months before the news became official at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship in mid-January, so there's always a chance we could find something out in the coming months.
But at this point in the season, there really isn't a point in speculating because it's difficult to tell who's who's looking around for something new. Wait a few months and I'll be able to give you a better idea if we'll see a big equipment move during the offseason.