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TOUR REPORT: 10 takeaways from a WILD week in golf equipment at Kapalua

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Like most vacationers aboard an outbound plane to Maui, I had mid-flight visions of Mai Tais, white sandy beaches, and achieving inner peace in the tropics. Even in my pre-paradise dreams I couldn’t convince myself that I’d learn how to surf, but getting lei’d didn’t seem out of the question.

As I sit aboard the return flight to reality, however, my brain is spinning. Not from an overabundance of delicious, ice cold, pineapple-laden Mai Tais, unfortunately, but from the chaotic couple days of golf equipment news at the 2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions.

Truth be told, I knew I was heading directly into the eye of the gear storm at the Kapalua Plantation Course this week, but I didn’t realize just how hectic it would be.

Buckle in for my 10 gear takeaways below as I attempt to recap all that went on in the gear world ahead of the 2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions at Kapalua in Maui.

See all of the photos from this week in Hawaii here!

1) Rahm and Xander make a Paradym shift

Callaway officially launched its new family of Paradym golf clubs this week and revealed full tech and retail information to the public. Among the early adopters at Kapalua were two of the tournaments favorites: Jon Rahm and Xander Schauffele.

Check out their new additions below:

Jon Rahm’s driver, 3-wood, and 5-wood

Jon Rahm’s mini WITB at Kapalua

Xander’s driver (and custom Odyssey Toulon putter)

Since they’re just Sharpie marker lines on the face, this is perfectly legal. Don’t worry, it’s not a Hideki situation here. Xander just prefers to see a bit more of the face.

More Xander photos here

2) Collin and Scottie go into Stealth 2 mode

Although TaylorMade hasn’t officially announced tech details, or the retail release of its new Stealth 2 products, that didn’t stop Collin Morikawa and Scottie Scheffler from making a quick switch into the new products.

Check out their additions below:

Collin Morikawa’s new TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus (and the Stealth 2 Plus fairway wood he was testing)

More Collin photos here

Scottie Scheffler’s new Stealth 2 Plus driver and Stealth 2 fairway wood

Read about Scottie’s switch here

3) Justin Thomas takes it all the way back to middle school

JT put us all through a spin cycle in 2022 when it came to his custom Scotty Cameron mallet prototype putters. It felt like he was debuting a new 1-of-1 every week there for a while.

Well, it seems 2023 is going to be another year of putter entertainment from Thomas, who switched back into a Scotty Cameron 303 SSS Circle T blade putter that he first starting using in middle school (as first reported by Dylan Dethier from golf.com).

I repeat, JUSTIN THOMAS IS USING A PUTTER AT THE 2023 SENTRY TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS THAT HE STARTED USING IN MIDDLE SCHOOL.

Such a cool throwback addition to the bag and yet another fascinating chapter in JT’s putter saga.

4) Cantlay goes blank

Rumors have been swirling about Patrick Cantlay leaving the PGA Tour to LIV his best life, but he assured the media this week that he’s staying put on the PGA Tour. I have no reason not to believe him, as he seemed very candid in his Tuesday press conference.

“Yeah, I think it’s because I haven’t been too vocal one way or the other,” Cantlay said. “So, I think that’s probably where it is. Guys, for the most part, seem like they’re pretty polarized on this issue, and I view it as it’s been a competition for top talent, like any other business. But I have no plans to do that as of now, which has been my stance for, you know, basically since the whole time.”

Amidst the rumors, Cantlay showed up to Kapalua with a blacked-out Vessel staff bag – rather than his usual Titleist staff bag – and a missing Hugo Boss logo from his hat.

Cantlay remains on a glove/ball/shoe deal with Titleist, but he’s no longer a full-time equipment staffer. He does, however, seem to have the same Titleist gear setup in the bag this week.

I’m just going eat some popcorn and continue to watch the Cantlay show unfold. Actually, when Patrick is in Hawaii, is it Cant-lei?

5) Mullinax (and Kisner) sign with Wilson

This week, Wilson finally confirmed one of the worst kept secrets in golf: Kevin Kisner, and Trey Mullinax, have signed equipment deals with Wilson for 2023. Kisner isn’t in the field this week, but Mullinax is in Hawaii giving his new Wilson setup a test run.

Click here for more info on the Wilson signings

6) Luke enLists new PXG irons

We don’t know exactly what’s different about Luke List’s set of PXG “0317 CB” irons, but we do know that List confirmed they are new in the bag for him this week. They are definitely milled, and they’re definitely cavity backs, but I’ll leave the rest up for reader speculation for now.

7) SuperStroke, Ping, and…McLovin!

Second place to only the Masters, Hawaiian colors and themes make for nearly perfect artistic inspiration to make awesome custom headcovers.

Who do you think won the headcover battle this week in Kapalua?

SuperStroke…

Ping…

Or…Odyssey?

8) Check out Tom Kim’s new look, and putter grip

Tom Kim broke out as a budding superstar last year thanks to his two quick PGA Tour wins and electric Presidents Cup performance. This year, it seems that he cashed in on his early success by signing a deal with Nike apparel.

It also appears that he re-upped his equipment deal with Titleist, despite rumors he may have been bolting elsewhere for a bigger check.

9) Sungjae Im focuses his Zenergy

Im, and the aforementioned Tom Kim, both switched putter grips into SuperStroke’s new Zynergy models, which offer slightly more grip on the lower hand, and a less-pronounced seam on the undercarriage. Im switched into a Zenergy 1.0 PT and Kim switched into a Zenergy Tour 2.0.

Also, a quick reminder that Lee’s Scotty Cameron Tourtype F-5 mallet is a heater.

10) Odyssey’s new White Hot wave

As I was perusing the Odyssey putter staff bag on the putting green at Kapalua, I started realizing something: ALL of the putters resting up against the golf bag are brand new. This week, Odyssey unveiled new White Hot Versa and Tri-Hot 5K putter models, with a slew of different hosels and sightlines.

While we don’t know just yet exactly what makes the designs different than previous models, we have confirmed one thing for certain: former Odyssey putter rep Joe Toulon has been promoted to Callaway’s PGA Tour Manager. Now that’s some White Hot industry gear news for you.

And with that, we say Aloha to Maui this week for the 2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions. We’ll see you next week at the Sony Open on Oahu for more gear news.

See all of the photos from this week in Hawaii here!

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He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team and earned a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Eric Trump

    Jan 9, 2023 at 8:10 pm

    I as well played a $5k putter in middle school

  2. Erik Ugland

    Jan 9, 2023 at 1:22 pm

    New Paradigm driver looks fantastic from address. But fairway woods are weirdly round. Like actually circular. SMH.

    All the Stealth stuff also looks great from address, but I could do without the red face and the weird metal mechanicals on the back of the Plus fairways.

  3. Jack

    Jan 9, 2023 at 6:19 am

    Saw you in the Bahamas taking pictures for the Hero. Good frequent flier miles you’re racking up here.

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Equipment

‘Engineered for extreme backspin’ – Mizuno unveils new S23 wedges

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Mizuno has today unveiled its new S23 wedges, which the manufacturer says are “comprehensively engineered for extreme backspin.”

The wedges are designed to combine the precision and playing profile of a player’s bladed wedge with the aggressive performance of a toe-weighted design and feature a centralized sweet spot for maximum control.

The S23 wedges showcase a shorter hosel and a heel-orientated cavity allowing greater mass to be pushed towards the toe. This creates a centred sweet spot, as opposed to a heel-side location in conventional wedges. 

The centred sweet spot is designed to contribute to longer impact time, less head deflection and higher spin from both full and partial shots.

“That check and spin you see from the pros isn’t purely because of newer grooves – most of us don’t have the consistency of strike to get that kind of action. For the vast majority, a centralised sweet spot makes it much easier to find and get that repetitive action.” – David Llewellyn, Director of R&D for Mizuno

The S23 wedges are One-piece Grain Flow Forged HD at Mizuno’s facility in Hiroshima, Japan – where Mizuno irons have been produced since 1968. They have a Tour-ready design with a player’s preferred, versatile look at address. But, with weight pushed to the toe, a partial heel cavity and a short hosel, they offer a centralised sweet spot designed to offer a more consistent strike and reliable high-spin numbers.

The wedges offer a loft-specific profile with stronger lofts featuring a tear-drop straight edge, flowing into a more rounded lob wedge, with grinds to suit throughout.

The precise grooves in the S23 wedges are quad-cut milled and loft specific, cut into Boron infused 1025 mild carbon steel for a longer effective lifespan. In addition, Mizuno’s HydroFlow Micro Grooves are laser etched to release moisture in a bid to reduce spin drop-off in wet conditions.

The S23 wedges come in either a white satin brush chrome or copper cobalt finish and will be in retail from February 2023 at a price of $160 per wedge.

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GolfWRX Launch Report: Mizuno ST-Z 230, ST-X 230 drivers, fairway wood, hybrid

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What you need to know: The product of Mizuno’s Speed Technology (ST) Metalwood Project — four years of rapid-fire metalwoods development — 2023 Mizuno ST-Z 230, ST-X 230, and ST-PLTNM feature the centerpiece Cortech Chamber, within which a steel weight is positioned for increased ball speed and spin reduction. The technology extends to the ST-Z 230 fairway wood and hybrid as well.

Mizuno ST-Z 230, ST-X 230: What’s new, key technology

Cortech Chamber: Through slot provides additional COR area by providing sole flex filled with elastomeric TPU material for additional flexure and face stress reduction. Inside the TPU is a stainless steel weight, which is positioned close to the clubface for increased speed and spin reduction. Also contributes to a solid feeling at impact.

SAT 2041 Forged Beta Titanium Face: More flexible and stronger than 6-4 titanium.

Additional model details

ST-Z 230

  • Billed as a “straight, stable, and low spinning” driver. Designed for stability on off-center hits.
  • Engineers focused on positioning CG location being as close as possible to the Z-axis or neutral axis for lower spin, straight performance, and higher MOI.
  • Forged SAT 2041 Beta Ti face, aided by the Cortech Chamber, enhances ball speed and reduces spin
  • 14-gram back weight
  • Shallower CG for a more penetrating ball flight

ST-X 230

  • Billed as a “more workable, mild draw-biased” driver
  • Higher spinning, higher launching than ST-Z 230
  • Deeper CG and shorter CG distance for a balance of workability in both directions
  • 14-gram heel weight
  • Toe side composite for shorter CG to shaft axis distance
  • More rounded, deeper profile

ST-X PLTNM 230

  • An ultra lightweight driver for slower swing speeds
  • High launching
  • Draw biased
  • The ST-X PLTNM is 30g lighter overall than any possible custom option of the ST-X 230
  • High spec Helium Platinum Shaft and lightweight grip

What Mizuno says

“Our player testing over the years shows that placing extra weight close to the face results in faster ball speeds and low spin rates,” says David Llewellyn, Director of R&D for Mizuno. “We’ve been steadily working towards the CORTECH Chamber, which is incredibly effective at that job. Encasing the steel weight within the TPU Chamber means that we’re moving weight close to the face at the same time as creating an additional source of energy. Steel is twice the density of Titanium but won’t weld directly, which is where the TPU has a second role.”

More photos

ST-Z 230

ST-X 230

ST-Z 230 Fairway Wood

  • A mid-low spinning, high launching, adjustable fairway wood
  • Mid-sized and playable for all levels
  • High energy MAS1C steel face boosted by Mizuno’s Cortech Chamber
  • The carbon composite crown for a low center of gravity
  • Quick Switch hosel offers 4 degrees of adjustability

ST-Z 230 Hybrid

  • A mid-low spinning, high launching, adjustable hybrid
  • High energy MAS1C steel face boosted by Mizuno’s Cortech Chamber
  • Waffle crown, thick sole weight create a deep center of gravity for high launch
  • With respect to the CLK, the ST-Z 230 is slightly larger

Price, specs, availability

Drivers

ST-Z

Availability: Right Hand – 9.5 and 10.5 degrees
Left hand – 9.5 degrees only

ST-X

Availability: Right Hand – 9.5, 10.5 and 12 degrees

Fairway wood

Right Hand – 3 wood (15) and 5 wood (18)
Left hand – 3 wood (15)

Hybrid

Availability: Right Hand – 2H (16), 3H (19), 4H (22) and 5H (25)
Left Hand – 3H (19) and 4H (22)

Pricing

ST-Z 230 Driver / ST-X 230 Driver: $499.95
ST-Z 230 PLTNM Driver: $549.95
ST-Z 230 Fairway Woods: $299.95

At retail: February

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Titleist adds low-bounce T Grind to its Vokey Design SM9 family

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Titleist has today added the low-bounce T Grind to its Vokey Design SM9 lineup.

Previously available only as a WedgeWorks custom order, the T Grind will now be widely available in both stock and custom options as an extension to the existing SM9 family, being offered in SM9 58.04T and 60.04T models.

As a low-bounce wedge with a narrow crescent surface and wider back flange, the T grind is designed to allow for shot making under any condition. Compared to the L Grind, SM9’s other low-bounce option, the T Grind features a narrower forward sole and more aggressive heel, toe and trailing edge relief.

“Wedge play is an art, and the T Grind brings out the best in the artist. The leading edge stays low to the playing surface as the wedge is rotated, which allows the golfer to hit a variety of shots from tight lies. This is the wedge that really made Vokey Grinds an important part of our process – and is still a great option to this day.” – Bob Vokey

The new T Grind features a CG that has been raised vertically by adding weight to the topline design, where a tapered pad at the back of the toe helps align the CG properly without being visible from the playing position – promoting a more controlled ball flight and solid contact.

A new Spin Milled cutting process in the SM9 models – which includes tightening our allowable tolerances – produces consistently sharper grooves wedge after wedge in design for a higher, more consistent spin.

Specs, Availability & Pricing

  • Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold S200
  • Grip: Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360 White
  • Lofts, Bounce 58.04T RH/LH, 60.04T RH/LH
  • Color Codes: Tour Chrome, Brushed Steel, Jet Black finishes. Raw finish available for custom only.
  • Availability: March 10
  • Price: $179 (Steel), $195 (Graphite)
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