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Equipment Report
  • EQUIPMENT

    Viktor Hovland’s mid-tournament switch pays off in Hero win

  • Hovland switches each week between the 3-iron and the 7-wood depending on the characteristics of that week’s venue. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)Hovland switches each week between the 3-iron and the 7-wood depending on the characteristics of that week’s venue. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Viktor Hovland made a rare mid-tournament equipment change during his win at last week’s Hero World Challenge.

He started the week at Albany Golf Club with a Ping i210 3-iron in his bag. Seeking a higher trajectory with his long approach shots after the wind died down on the weekend, however, he swapped it out for a 7-wood that he’d only started using a few weeks earlier.

Ping’s TOUR manager, Kenton Oates, had been strongly suggesting for some time that Hovland add a 7-wood to his arsenal. Hovland, however, felt a utility club or long iron worked best in the slot between his 3-wood and 4-iron. When he first arrived on the PGA TOUR, he played a 21-degree Callaway X-Forged UT iron. More recently, the 24-year-old Norwegian has had a Titleist T200 3-iron and a Ping i210 3-iron in the slot.

He changed his mind, however, after testing the 7-wood of fellow TOUR player Lanto Griffin on the range at the Shriners Children’s Open in October. According to Oates, Hovland “changes from tournament to tournament” and was targeting a 240-yard carry with the club in that slot in his bag.

Hovland switches each week between the 3-iron and the 7-wood depending on the characteristics of that week’s venue. When he’s looking for higher, softer-landing approach shots in the 240 to 260-yard range, or playing a long, fast course, Hovland will opt for the 7-wood. When facing a shorter or tighter golf course where he might use the club off the tee, he opts for the 3-iron. He also uses the 3-iron in windy conditions to keep the ball closer to the ground.

Indeed, Hovland had the latter in his bag at the start of the Hero.

After the wind died down during the final rounds of the Hero, Hovland switched out the 3-iron for a Ping G425 Max 7-wood with a Graphite Design Tour AD DI 8 X shaft.

Hovland’s switch is part of the 7-wood’s increasing popularity on TOUR. Oates said many of the 7-woods he builds are “more like 6-woods.” They are usually set in Ping’s “small minus” or “minus” loft sleeve setting, which reduces the loft of the club by 1 or 1.5 degrees. So, instead of playing at 21.5 degrees, the club plays at 20 or 20.5. Additionally, Ping will often build the clubs with a shaft that is shorter than standard length.