Our annual guide to the latest golf gear, clubs, balls and shoes
PGA Tour reps make sure the best players in the world play their best. Aaron Dill of Titleist, Wade Liles of TaylorMade and Dean Teykl of Callaway tell us avid amateurs how we can become “more Tour-like” in our scores.
On getting fitted…
Dean Teykl: If you don’t have the equipment that fits you and you make a perfect swing, it’s not going to go where it’s supposed to go. Get your irons fit and your driver fit and your ball fit. A lot of people overlook the ball.
Wade Liles: You hear guys say, “I’m not going to play a senior shaft.” Most should. With balls spinning less, you need a weaker shaft and more loft. Without it, your misses will be more dramatic and you won’t get as much distance.
Teykl: We are making golf balls that naturally launch higher and spin less. Few guys on Tour play drivers with 8.5 degrees of face loft. Our average is 9.7 to 10, some considerably higher.
Liles: Three years ago your launch angle was the big number. Now we’re fitting guys for angle of descent, how your ball falls out of the air. If it falls too steeply you’re not getting the run-out.
Aaron Dill (below): Work from the green back. That’s where your scoring shots are, since the average 15-handicap only hits the green in regulation on 400-yard holes 25 percent of the time.
On the short game…
Teykl: Tour pros spend the most time chipping and putting. They have a swing DNA with the driver, so they continually work on 40-yard shots, chip shots and bunkers.
Dill: The wedge is sort of a lost issue. There’s so much focus on drivers, but you make more birdies with wedges than you do with metal woods.
Liles: Players used to keep wedges for years. But with the new regulations (per the USGA’s 2010 ruling), the grooves wear quicker and guys will go through three wedges a year in each loft.
Dill: If you’re playing a stronger lofted wedge you can use the same shaft because you’re swinging at the same or similar speed. As soon as you swing a higher-lofted wedge, you want more feel. The shaft should be a little softer and heavier. That translates into a lower launch and more spin.
On the rest of the bag…
Teykl (below): We find on Tour that more guys are putting in 5-woods—and, on certain courses, 7-woods—than hybrids. They’re easier to get out of the rough. Bigger heads won’t twist as much.
Liles: Irons get more forgiving all the time. Try to get a new set every three or four years.
Dill: Don’t just automatically pull lob wedge. A sand wedge is often a better choice. When you increase loft up to 58 or 60 degrees, it’s hard to get good contact and flight the ball with spin. Less loft can get you more spin and good launch angle.
Teykl: Pros obsess about putter contact the way amateurs think about drivers. It’s where they make their money. You need to find your stroke DNA. Are you straight-back, straight-through or does your toe close? Pick a putter that allows you to do that every time. Then decide if you want an insert. Your distance control will improve.
Wade Liles of TaylorMade
The 2016 Gear Guide appeared in the April issue of Colorado AvidGolfer. View the complete gear guide below: