Whether or not you remember a now-defunct putter company, chances are 2022 U.S. Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick will never forget its contribution to the arc of golf equipment history. And he's not the only winner of the second-oldest major championship who can say the same.
Though relatively short-lived, Colorado-based Yes! Golf was influential because of the particular piece of technology that was its signature: its patented C-Grooves. This bit of technology was eye-catching, with an added sense of forgiveness, as the arc of the grooves made golfers feel as though slight-off-center hits could be directed back on line. The grooves were also meant to promote a smoother roll of the ball. They were unusual when they first came out, but nowadays almost every putter maker uses some form of the concept.
Although Yes! Golf did not invent the grooved putter (Guerin Rife, current owner of Evnroll, can make that claim), they sold thousands of them in the 2000s, especially after Retief Goosen captured the 2001 and 2004 U.S. Opens with the company's original, face-balanced blade. The quiet, unflappable South African's putting performance at Shinnecock Hills in 2004 will forever be regarded as one of the best in any major championship, capped off by 11 one-putts during a hellacious final round.
Yes! Golf was also important in the newest U.S. Open champion's golf development. Fitzpatrick started using a Yes! Tracy II model with a short flow-neck and C-Grooves when he was 16, sticking with the putter several years into his pro career. Even after Yes! went out of business, Fitzpatrick was known to collect backups of his exact putter to have on hand if needed.
In 2016, Fitzpatrick became a brand ambassador for upscale putter company Bettinardi, but their agreement enabled him to keep things pretty much the same on the greens. His current gamer since early 2020 has been a one-off Bettinardi DASS Tour Department model that is an exact copy of his old trusty Tracy II. Its own c-shaped grooves are now part of championship golf lore, as Fitzpatrick's dramatic 50-foot birdie putt on the 13th hole of the final round at Brookline will be replayed for decades.
Given the bond he has with that particular type of flatstick, it seems likely that Fitzpatrick will be using something like it for a long time, too, perhaps en route to more major championships.
More golf equipment news and releases
Club Champion surpasses 100 U.S. locations
Club Champion, one of the foremost fitting studios in golf, opened four new locations recently: in Hutsville, Ala.; Colorado Springs, Colo.; Westport, Conn.; and Peachtree City, Ga. This brings the company over the 100-locations mark for the first time. Club Champion leverages technology like TrackMan for wood, iron and wedge fittings and the SAM Putt Lab for putter fittings.
New irons from Edel
David Edel is something of a maverick in the golf equipment business. His company, Edel Golf, pioneered the one-length iron format that Bryson DeChambeau now uses (albeit with Cobra clubs). His company has long been at the forefront of putter fitting, too. Edel even makes a fragrance (it's nice - I've tried it). The Texas-based outfit's latest release is a new set of irons with three drilled-out weight ports, which enable golfers and fitters to customize the distribution of mass towards the toe, heel or center. The concept is similar to the adjustability that is now commonplace among drivers. Edel's SMS - Swing Match System - irons are forged out of 1025 carbon steel, with the weights ranging from 2 to 10 grams each. The irons will cost $250 per club and will be available starting July 21.
Quick review: PrecisionPro NX10 rangefinder
I was a late adopter of rangefinders as an on-course aid, but like millions of other golfers, I'm a fan of having the yardage to the flag close at hand as it saves me the time it can take to hunt down the nearest sprinkler head and extrapolate the true distance from there. I actually find rangefinders equally useful for scoping out important landmarks off the tee, be they bunkers I want to get past or trees I want to stay short of.
My trusty helper has been a Bushnell v2 rangefinder that I bought used on eBay and which has served me well for more than a decade. As a result, I've held Bushnell as the gold standard in the category, even to the point where I opt for Old Reliable over several latter-day models I've had the opportunity to try. The newer ones tend to be some combination of cheap-looking or -feeling, suspiciously inaccurate to the point of disagreeing with my Bushnell by five yards or more, inconsistent, bad at picking up desired targets or hard to focus.
As part of research for an upcoming rundown of current rangefinders, PrecisionPro sent me their latest rangefinder, the NX10 ($279.99). Not to spoil the future article, but I am finding it a very strong entrant to the category. It is substantial without being bulky, it is easy to focus, it has an easily-enabled Slope function, it is magnetized and attaches to the vertical bar of a golf cart and I have more confidence in its readings than any rangefinder other than my old Bushnell. It is also clean-looking: flat white with some black hardware accents, although a new feature of the NX is that golfers can purchase separately any of 10 "skins," fit over the body of the device and add a splash of color. The skins are $20 each, and PrecisionPro seeks to expand their offering in the hopes that some golfers may want multiple ones and swap them in and out at will. I prefer the plainness of my NX10 but you can customize yours. --Tim Gavrich