GolfPass Gear Report: May, 2022

Even Tiger Woods needs a little more forgiveness from his irons.
Tiger Woods arrived at Southern Hills for last week's PGA Championship with some unusually (for him) forgiving long irons. Should other golfers follow suit?

Before his disappointing withdrawl at the PGA Championship last weekend, Tiger Woods raised the eyebrows of golf equipment junkies by making an unexpected equipment change.

Woods, who has played muscleback blade irons throughout his entire career, opted for slightly more forgiving, higher-launching irons at the longer end of his set. The 3 iron he traded out for his previous one, and the 2 iron he brought back into the bag in favor of his 5-wood, both come from TaylorMade's current forgings. But rather than the P7TW model, which is commercially available with Woods' austere specs, he opted for the tungsten-weighted, hollow-headed and SpeedFoam-filled P770s, with a slightly larger head, thicker topline and higher launch characteristics.

While his 4 iron through pitching wedge remain the same blades he's played during his time on Team TaylorMade, according to this report from TaylorMade, Woods gained between eight and 10 yards of carry with his new P770 2 and 3 irons. Older Cat, newer tech.

More and more companies are making it easier for us mortal golfers to do something similar. Get fitted for a set of irons and most every OEM will offer you the option to pair, say, the 7 iron through pitching wedge from a company's more player-oriented iron model with a 6 iron and longer from a more forgiving set, with sensible adjustments made to your new clubs' lofts to make sure the yardage gaps between the two are not excessive. Even if you play blade irons, it may not be the worst idea to seek something a little more forgiving at the longer end of the set. If it's good enough for a 15-time major champion...

More golf equipment news and releases

Cobra, Puma, Volition America collaborate for Memorial Day

Cobra's LTDx driver gets patriotic colors thanks to a Memorial Day collaboration with Volition America.

Volition America, a lifestyle brand that funnels proceeds from the sale of its items to the Folds of Honor Foundation, is teaming up with Cobra and Puma on a host of co-branded products to mark Memorial Day. The new "Red, White & Blue" collection includes not just apparel, but accessories and even limited-edition Cobra golf clubs. The LE LTDx Volition driver ($499) features a patriotic color scheme and Volition America's logo on the driver's CNC-milled titanium face. Cobra is also releasing a Volition-edition 3-d printed Agera putter ($349), as well as a camouflage-patterned stand bag. Puma's side of the collaboration includes seven different polos, hats, pullovers and a to-be-released pair of shoes.

Quick review: PING G425 LST driver

The stats Trackman and other launch monitors provide are useful, but seeing the entire flight of the ball is absolutely essential to identifying the right club fit, which is why outdoor fittings are far superior to indoor ones.

After six years with a TaylorMade driver that I liked but never quite loved, I got fitted for a driver in early April. Despite marketing messages from the big OEMs shouting "Distance! Ball Speed!" at me, I was primarily focused on forgiveness. I found it in a 10.5-degree PING G425 LST driver (shaft: KBS TD 60-grams, X-flex). My all-time favorite driver was the PING G10 I used in college, and I've never had anything that measured up favorably in the decade since I cracked it. Until now, I hope.

The G425 LST's matte finish keeps its "turbulator" ridges from distracting me at address. As it is, they help frame the ball nicely and make me feel the driver is sitting very square (I have the hosel tuned slightly open). Impact is louder and slightly more metallic, but not unpleasantly so, especially since the results have been so encouraging over the course of an initial dozen rounds. My misses are not going as far offline, and when I hit a tee shot solidly, I'm hitting it five to 10 yards farther - about 285 to 290 yards in total. It's not a revolutionary gain, but combined with a tighter left-right dispersion, I consider it pro shop credit well spent. Special thanks to my local PING fitter, Todd Setsma, who has been with the company 22 years and was great to work with.

Tim Gavrich is a Senior Writer for GolfPass. Follow him on Twitter @TimGavrich and on Instagram @TimGavrich.
Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed and photographed more than 1,000 courses and written about golf destinations in 20 countries for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Instagram at @jasondeegangolfpass and Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
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GolfPass Gear Report: May, 2022