April 09, 2014
By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM
- Sergio Garcia is using this heel-shafted wand at Augusta National. (TaylorMade Golf)
In this week's Masters-edition Equipment Report Mailbag, PGATOUR.COM Equipment Insider Jonathan Wall discusses Sergio Garcia's new putter, wedge and putter changes for Augusta National and the possibility of another Phrankenwood surfacing at the Masters.
Have a question about the latest golf equipment or what the pros are playing? Send a tweet to @jonathanrwall.
What is Sergio Garcia's new putter that TaylorMade just built for him? -- Daniel Strohmenger
If you don't already follow Scott Gardner, TaylorMade's head of tour putter operation, on Instagram, I suggest you start doing it this week. He usually posts photos of his putter creations, including Sergio Garcia's new Spider Mallet 72 Prototype.
The putter you're referencing is actually the same model he's been using since last year. It's a 34.5-inch TaylorMade Spider Mallet 72 Prototype that features his logo and a new "SLDR" grey finish that he requested a few weeks ago. Garcia put the new putter in play at the Shell Houston Open and posted a third-place finish.
Do you see TOUR players going with less bounce on wedges for Masters week? -- Andrew Hickman
No question you'll see some players go with wedges that have less bounce to handle Augusta National's incredibly tight turf. The ball doesn't sit up on the grass, so players typically go with less bounce to ensure the leading edge gets under the ball.
Around the week of the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship, some equipment companies start handing out wedges geared for the course conditions at Augusta. That doesn't necessarily means players will put them in play. As a PGA TOUR rep, you just want to make sure your staffers have options.
For instance, Harris English took two degrees of bounce off his 58-degree Callaway Mack Daddy 2 lob web to help him deal with the firm conditions.
Angel Cabrera also tested three 62-degree PING Gorge Tour wedges with the company's three sole grinds. The Golf Club of Houston has similar conditions to Augusta, so Cabrera wanted to test out all three options in preparation for the year's first major.
Along with less bounce and different grinds, most players typically put new wedges with fresh grooves in the bag for a little extra zip on the firm greens.
Last year, we saw Phil Mickelson put Callaway's Phrankenwood in at the Masters. Do you see another crazy equipment story popping up this year? -- Mike Lorde
Anything is possible, but at this point, I highly doubt another Phrankenwood story surfaces at this year's tournament. TaylorMade's SLDR Mini Driver is the only equipment release you'll see this week -- and the company debuted the club on TOUR at the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship, so the buzz has worn off a bit.
Every OEM would love to create equipment buzz around the Masters, but the fact is, it's nearly impossible to do something big the week of a major championship. With the exception of the occasional equipment switch -- I'm looking at you, Phil Mickelson -- most players prefer to stick with what got them to the Masters in the first place.
If there's one equipment story to keep an eye on this week, it's Justin Rose possibly putting TaylorMade's SLDR Mini Driver in play.
Do players put new putters in the bag for the quick greens at Augusta? -- Michael Greene
You typically won't see a player switch putters this week. You will, however, see them tinker with the loft and head weight. It's no secret that the green at Augusta are lightning fast, so you want the ball to roll true off the putter face.
Louis Oosthuizen's putter tweak is a perfect example. The South African noticed the ball was bouncing a bit on long putts during practice rounds, so he reduced the loft on his PING Ketsch putter to 2 degrees due to the speed of the greens.
By decreasing the loft on his putter, Oosthuizen was able to get the ball rolling sooner and reduce the chances of it skidding along the way. That leads to a pure roll and a better chance of making putts -- two things you have to do if you want to win a Green Jacket.