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  • EQUIPMENT

    Mailbag: Heavy shafts, Spieth's shoes

  • Jordan Spieth's is now wearing shoes produced by Under Armour. (Instagram) Jordan Spieth's is now wearing shoes produced by Under Armour. (Instagram)

By Jonathan Wall, Equipment

In this week's Equipment Report Mailbag, PGATOUR.COM Equipment Insider Jonathan Wall talks about the heavy driver shaft craze; Ryan Moore's PING S55 irons; Jordan Spieth's Under Armour shoes; and Project X's new LZ shaft.

Have a question about the latest golf equipment or what the pros are playing? Send a tweet to @jonathanrwall.

What's the deal with the heavy driver shafts? I saw Gary Woodland and Tiger Woods are both using shafts over 100 grams. Is this a new trend? — Chris Denehey

Let's get one thing straight: Tiger Woods and Gary Woodland are incredible athletes. They spend countless hours in the gym, which is part of the reason why they can both handle shafts that are over 100 grams.

With that in mind, I think the reason we're suddenly talking about 100-gram driver shafts is because a few players have had success with them recently — namely Woodland, Woods and Sergio Garcia.

Garcia won in Qatar and Thailand with a 100-gram Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana White Board shaft in his TaylorMade SLDR driver; Gary Woodland used a 102-gram Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana S+ Blue Board — he also used a 103-gram Fujikura Pro prototype at the Humana Challenge — in his Callaway Big Bertha with relative success at the Farmers Insurance Open.

And then there's Woods, who switched from a 73-gram Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana WhiteBoard to a 103-gram Diamana Blue Board — the same shaft he uses in his fairway woods — in his Nike Covert 2.0 Tour driver.

Heavier shafts typically lead to slow swing speeds, which in turn contributes to fewer yards off the tee. So why would three of the biggest names sacrifice distance? Because they're looking for something equally important: accuracy and control.

With plenty of swing speed, Woodland told me he liked the extra weight because it allowed him to feel where the club is throughout the swing. Woods and Garica — who both use the same shaft weight in their driver and fairway woods — opted for beefier driver shafts for additional control and feel at impact.

Switching to an ultralight driver shaft may boost swing speeds, but for a select group of players on TOUR, going heavier has been produced the best results.

Is Ryan Moore still using PING irons or has/is he switching over to the new range of TaylorMade irons? — Chris Meekin

Ryan Moore is still using a set of PING S55 irons. He started using them at the end of last year and became the first to win with PING's latest model at the CIMB Classic.

I actually had a chance to chat with him at the PGA Merchandise Show, and he confirmed the only change he made during the offseason was adding TaylorMade's JetSpeed driver to the bag.

As far as switching from S55 to a new TaylorMade iron model — Moore is a TaylorMade staffer — that's a question only Ryan Moore can answer. Given his recent success with S55, I'd assume he's going to stick with them for the foreseeable future.

What shoes is Jordan Spieth wearing right now? — Jamie Kennedy

Jordan Spieth is wearing a pair from his apparel sponsor, Under Armour. He started wearing the shoes at the beginning of the year, at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, and even posted a photo of them recently on his Instagram account, noting that he had input in the design.

Based on the photo, you can see it has a fairly aggressive sole and UA Storm technology — a durable water repellent finish that repels water without sacrificing breathability.

 

Under Armour didn't have the shoe on the display at the PGA Merchandise Show, so I reached out for an update and was told there should be info on the shoe in the near future. Spieth, a Titleist staffer, wore FootJoy's D.N.A. at the end of last season; however, his decision to switch to an Under Armour shoe shouldn't come as a surprise.

He's sponsored by Under Armour and is one of the rising stars on the PGA TOUR. If you have a player of his stature under contract, you want to make sure he's covered head-to-toe in UA gear.

In my opinion, it was only a matter of time before the company released a Tour-level golf shoe. Now we have to wait and see what's under the hood.

Saw you posted a photo of a new Project X shaft. Any details on what the white stuff on the tip is? It looks like television snow. — Riley Moldonado

I actually reported on Project X's new LZ (Loading Zone) shaft back in June, when the company unveiled a prototype version at the FedEx St. Jude Classic.

The PX LZ shaft features a stiff tip and butt section with a weave pattern in the middle that's significantly softer than previous Project X graphite models and acts as a loading zone — +/- 45-degree fibers on the outside of the shaft stabilize the loading zone — on the downswing.

"The new PX prototype is still butt and tip stiff like the other Project X graphite shafts," Simon Wilson, True Temper's PGA and European Tour manager, said last year at the FedEx St. Jude Classic. "The big difference is in the center of the shaft. By softening the middle, you're able to release more energy into the ball and increase ball speed."

 

Project X had a fairly simple design on the initial prototype, with the loading zone specs, weight and flex stamped on the shaft. The "television snow" you're referencing in the photo is the shaft specs stamped all over the tip and handle. The prototype version that was at the PGA Championship closely resembles the final design that's coming to retail.

 

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