Equipment Report

    Phil Mickelson among early adopters of Callaway’s UW hybrids

  • Phil Mickelson doesn't often use hybrids, but has Callaway's Apex UW in the bag. (Dylan Buell/Getty Images)Phil Mickelson doesn't often use hybrids, but has Callaway's Apex UW in the bag. (Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

Phil Mickelson, by his own admission, hasn’t historically been “high on hybrids.” There are several reasons the reigning PGA champion hasn’t had much success with the clubs in the past: Too much variability in spin and ball flight, depending on where the ball is struck on the face. Too difficult to flight the ball down. Inconsistent distance.

Given Mickelson’s apprehension around members of the hybrid family, it’s interesting to note that he is carrying one of Callaway’s new Apex UW (utility woods), which were released to retail this week.

What’s different about this hybrid for Mickelson?

“It gives me a consistent apex and a consistent spin rate from different lies that hybrids haven’t given me, and the ability to hit from the rough and control the flight and bring it down that fairway woods don’t,” Mickelson told Callaway’s Johnny Wunder.

Mickelson’s UW hybrid is reportedly bent to 17 degrees, tightening the gap between his longer clubs while also allowing him to hit a variety of shots. The Apex UW utility wood was designed to combine the best features of higher-lofted fairway woods, hybrids, and a more neutral ball flight.

“The reason why I like it is the center of gravity is more forward, or plays like an iron, so I don't get the jumpers out of the first cut and then the big spin ones out of a tight lie, Mickelson said Wednesday from the PGA TOUR Champions’ Constellation FURYK & FRIENDS. “And the relief on the back sole allows me to open the face and keep the face open through impact in the rough on the chop rough shot, as opposed to having the back of the sole close the face through impact. It allows me keep the face open and have some loft so I can get it out of thicker, longer, heavier rough a lot easier.”

(Courtesy of Johnny Wunder/Callaway)

We’ll be keenly watching for additional adopters on TOUR as the Apex UW arrives at retail and its profile is further raised.

According to Wunder, Mickelson first set eyes on the club at the U.S. Open, where he watched fellow left-hander Akshay Bhatia use it on a long par-3 during a practice round. Bhatia began testing it at the Ely Callaway Performance Center the previous week.

Given Mickelson’s love of tinkering and experimentation, it’s no surprise what happened next: Mickelson borrowed the club and fired a towering tee shot toward the green.

Reportedly, Callaway had built him an Apex UW to test before he even finished the round, and an Apex UW with a Fujikura Ventus Red 9 X shaft has been among Mickelson’s chosen 14 clubs ever since.

(Courtesy of Johnny Wunder/Callaway)