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Equipment Report
  • Mailbag: Masters changes, fairway woods and new shoes

  • Getty Images Getty Images

In this week's Equipment Report Mailbag, PGATOUR.COM Equipment Insider Jonathan Wall discusses equipment changes for the Masters, Patrick Reed's steel-shafted 3-wood and a yet-to-be-released pair of adidas shoes.

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

When do players start making changes for the Masters? — Ryan Casio
Changing equipment right before the year's first major isn't uncommon. Augusta National's firmer-than-normal turf, right-to-left tee shots and greens that require higher shots to hold the putting surface force players to make adjustments for the layout.

If you look back at the last couple of years, the Shell Houston Open has been the TOUR stop where changes and testing for Augusta usually occur. The Golf Club of Houston (formerly Redstone Golf Club) prides itself on trying to replicate the course conditions at Augusta National, in an effort to give players an idea of what they'll face the following week.

Phil Mickelson put Callaway's taller-faced X Hot 3Deep fairway wood in play for the first time last year at the Shell Houston Open, in preparation for the Masters, before adding X Hot Phrankenwood the following week.

While you'll see players like Mickelson tinker with the bag setup the week prior, others prefer to make adjustments the week of the tournament. Along with Mickelson adding Phrankenwood, Tiger Woods switched to Nike's VR_S Covert 3-wood and Adam Scott transitioned from Titleist's 910D3 driver to the newer 913D3 last year at Augusta National.

In other words, look for players to start tinkering in a couple weeks.

I noticed Patrick Reed has a True Temper Dynamic Gold X-100 steel shaft in his 3-wood. How common is steel in fairway woods? — John Woodward
With the exception of Gary Woodland experimenting with a steel-shafted (True Temper Dynamic Gold X-100) Callaway X Hot Pro fairway wood last year at the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation, Reed's steel-shafted fairway wood is the exception on the PGA TOUR.

And when I say "exception," I mean he's the only player using a True Temper steel shaft in his 3-wood, according to True Temper’s director of global tour operations, Chad Hall.

Reed added the True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 steel shaft — he plays the same X100 shaft in his irons and wedges — to his Callaway Big Bertha 3-wood (16 degrees) earlier this year at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

In search of a heavier shaft that reduced spin, Reed went with a steel shaft that was 42 1/4 inches and tipped 2 inches. Callaway reps said it only took Reed three shots on the range before he put the club in play.

Going with steel-shafted fairway woods may not work for everybody, but in Reed's case, his swing speed (116 miles per hour) allows him to get the most out of the shaft and achieve his preferred launch angle and spin rate.

I saw Justin Rose wearing a shoe with a red sole at Doral. Any idea what it could be? — K Reynolds
If you didn't catch a glimpse of Rose's shoes last week, be sure and take a look at last week's equipment photo gallery from the WGC-Cadillac Championship. I actually noticed Rose and Jim Furyk wearing shoes on the range that had a bright red material sandwiched between two piece of gray rubber on the sole.

Adidas launched the pure 360 footwear line — the shoe Dustin Johnson's currently wearing — at Trump National Doral, which led me to believe the shoe was a yet-to-be-released model.

After talking to an adidas rep, I can confirm the shoe has already received high marks from adidas staffers and will be released to the public this summer.