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Equipment Report
  • EQUIPMENT

    Five equipment stories for the new season

  • TaylorMade's new P770 irons spin substantially more than other irons without sacrificing distance. (Courtesy of GolfWRX)TaylorMade's new P770 irons spin substantially more than other irons without sacrificing distance. (Courtesy of GolfWRX)

With the 2020-2021 PGA TOUR season starting at the Safeway Open this week, TOUR seeding of products like the TaylorMade TSi2 and TSi3 drivers has begun. Accordingly, equipment junkies are scanning the horizon for upcoming launches at the beginning of 2021.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at five equipment stories to look forward to.

TaylorMade P770 irons

TaylorMade has had a huge year with the success of the SIM metal wood line as well as successful TOUR campaigns by Dustin Johnson (three wins, FedExCup winner), Jon Rahm (two wins), and PGA champion Collin Morikawa (two wins including the PGA Championship).

With the recent release of the new P Series irons, the momentum will continue, but there is one iron, in particular, that may catch fire across the board—the 2020 P770.

The hollow-body players iron is the leaner sibling to the cult classic P790 series, and does a few things that not only make it unique but may push all OEMs to raise the game to match it.

Spin is the key factor here, and oddly enough it plays against type in the hollow-body iron category.

PXG Gen 3 P, P790, and Cobra Forged Tec are all popular choices for their high-launch, high ball-speed profiles, but how they get to the ultimate number is mitigating lack of spin with the launch and descent angle. Good idea for a lot of players. But what about the players who want the ball speed, forgiveness, and ultimate control? Hello, P770.

The P770 spins substantially more than its competitors and still matches those irons in distance. What does that add up to? Basically, it’s a unicorn iron that will attract 10 handicappers and a wide range of elite players. When a golf equipment company can mix forgiveness, distance and legitimate control, it’s poised to put itself head and shoulders above the rest.

Titleist TSi metal woods

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The new Titleist TSi metal woods make their debut this week at the Safeway Open, and from the look of it, Titleist R&D threw the kitchen sink at this one. The driver category is as competitive as ever, and Titleist seems to have gone in a new direction versus the T Series woods.

The technology here is still a secret, but what we do know based on testing with Titleist staff is that the ball speeds have been off the charts. And optically the driver has shown extremely well.

Could this be the year Titleist chases down TaylorMade and Callaway for driver domination?

We shall see...

New Srixon irons

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If you ask any fitter around North America about the most popular irons, it's safe to say you’ll hear the name Srixon. The Huntington Beach, California, company lacks the overpowering market share of some of the other OEMs, but the quality and performance of Srixon irons has been second to none.

The new ZX7 series irons were first teased out at the Charles Schwab Series PGA TOUR Champions event at Ozark National. Loyal staffers Ernie Els and David Toms put them in play immediately.

Tech details will come soon, but the ZX7 seems to satisfy the serious Srixon users while turning the heads of those who tend to look from a distance but haven't engaged yet.

The iron market in 2021 will be very competitive with TaylorMade, Mizuno, and of course Srixon all bringing serious players products to the marketplace.

Ping G425 metal woods

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Very little is known about the new Ping G425 metal woods. As is always the case with Ping, the information is controlled with CIA precision. What we do know is that Ping has had tremendous success over the past few years with the G400 and G410 series.

Stability is the story here. Ping drivers traditionally are not the hottest on the market, but from a forgiveness and dispersion standpoint, they are at the top of almost every list. Most golfers crave speed but need stability more.

It will be interesting to see once again how Ping can take an already A+ product and make it better. They are on a good run, and if the past three or four years are any indication, the G425 will remain a contender once again.

Consumer demand vs inventory

COVID-19 affected so many things in the world, but in the golf industry it actually had one very positive effect and one not so much.

On the one hand golf's popularity is soaring across the board. It’s a sport we can play outside and keep our distance all while sharing some social times with friends. Since we all had ample time to research and admire new products hitting the market, more players turned to online stores to get their golf fix. This scenario has been amazing for OEMs’ sales sheets after and during the lockdown, but there is one problem: Distribution channels from overseas are still narrow, which in turn creates a supply bottleneck. In simple terms: The clubs your order today may not actually make it to your bag for weeks — or months, in some cases.

Multiple OEMs saw record sales during the pandemic. Retail locations closed but the internet made up for a huge portion of what companies lost from brick and mortar. Older and current product wasn't the problem as much as new product, especially if that product is in high demand.

Eventually this will subside and things will flow as normal, and although it might be frustrating to those waiting for their new clubs, it shows golf is alive and well. That's all that really matters.