Welcome to Wall-to-Wall Equipment, the GOLF Equipment Editor’s weekly gear roundup Jonathan Wall guides you through the latest trends, rumors and breaking news.
New gear rarely comes onto the tour without anyone noticing. But for a brief moment last week, Jon Rahm’s Odyssey putter prototype remained hidden in plain sight. Blame it on the dismal finish or the fact that most of golf’s big names played abroad at the Wentworth Club in Surrey, England, before the Ryder Cup.
Rahm didn’t reveal the name of the putter, but did mention that it went uphill on the greens a few times during the tournament.
“It feels good to putt well,” he said after the third round.
Unlike Scottie Scheffler, who has made numerous putter changes in recent months, Rahm’s did not suffer from a stubborn putter last season. He finished 37th in SG:Putting during the 2022-23 PGA Tour season, but seemingly couldn’t get going in the playoffs.
It remains to be seen whether this late-season phase led to the change, but there’s no question that Rahm is using something other than his usual Odyssey White Hot OG Rossie S. (It’s important to note that Sam Burns was also seen wearing a new Odyssey Seven with similar cosmetics to Rahm’s putter during the Tour Championship.)
Based on footage from the tournament, Rahm’s prototype has the same Rossie shape, slanted neck and adjustable heel-toe weights as his Gamer. This is the procrastination.
What’s new? First of all, there appears to be an elongated material between the heel-toe weights directly behind the face. It could be additional weight to push the center of gravity forward. Or maybe it’s a way to improve the sound and feel. It’s pure conjecture at this point, but it’s without question one of the most intriguing additions to the putter head.
Speaking of fascinating, the name on the sole is sure to pique some interest: AI One.
Callaway has been a major player in the artificial intelligence space since the launch of Epic Flash, so it’s entirely possible that the company will expand outside the box in the not-too-distant future.
Based on Rahm’s strong performance on the greens, we can expect to see more of the new putter next week during the biennial games in Rome.
When Justin Thomas revealed that he had been working on a longer TSR3 driver with Titleist Tour representative JJ Van Wezenbeeck, he said it wasn’t intended to be a permanent part of the bag.
“I wanted something that I could travel with maybe every week and use maybe five times a year, maybe once.”
But after last week, he may never return to the old building.
According to Thomas, testing began with Van Wezenbeeck as a way to add a “longer driver option” for tracks where additional length was needed. An easy way to increase speed without making major changes to your swing is to add a longer shaft. For Thomas, that meant going from 44.75 inches to 45.5 inches with the same TSR3 head.
Thomas also swapped out the Mitsubishi Diamana 60ZF shaft – a model he has used for four years – for a lighter Graphite Design VF-5X.
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“It’s 2 or 3 straight away [mph] Bat speed and it goes a long way,” he said. “It was just something I wanted. I felt like – we messed up somehow and he sent me a few things in the mail but he hadn’t done a proper adjustment for one because I know my driver is great, it works the way I want it to want.”
While it seemed like the player would be a lock for Napa, Thomas brought both of them along to see how they performed. The player received the nod on Thursday, but during the round something didn’t feel right. Instead of continuing with the player, Thomas decided to switch mid-tournament and put the longer TSR3 build into play.
“I could see from a video that I was stuck underneath,” he said. “I could feel it a little bit out there, and I feel like the adjustment I made on the fly yesterday to at least bring it in the house, and so I just had a good one in a little 10-minute range session yesterday afternoon Thoughts that I felt like I could get through today and it worked out pretty well.”
Thomas finished the tournament in 3rd place in driving distance and seemed pleased with the longer player’s performance over 54 holes. It remains to be seen whether there will be another start at the Ryder Cup.
Working during the short offseason with Ping Tour representative Kenton Oates paid off for Sahith Theegala, who earned his first career win in his very first start with the new Blueprint S irons. After another strong PGA Tour season, Theegala saw no reason to shake things up – until he tested Blueprint S.
The 25-year-old saw similar launch and spin numbers in testing, but improvements in miss protection compared to his previous players brought the Blueprint S into the conversation. Not only did Theegala produce a tighter spread, but he also noticed that he was getting close to his “standard distance” on slight misses – something he wasn’t able to do with his current set.
In the end, the direct test was more than enough to seal the deal.
Theegala celebrated his first Tour win and finished 18th in SG: Approach (plus-3.322) with the new irons.
“I’ve been playing a combination set of iBlades and Blueprints for probably seven years now, maybe even seven or eight years,” he said. “But [the Blueprint S] The irons felt incredible right from the start. They feel the same as my other irons. If anything, it’s a little better, which is why I decided to make the switch. And I don’t normally switch, but they feel really good and it’s nice to get instant confirmation.”
Counterbalanced putters are all the rage in the professional ranks. Aaron Rai recently joined the club when he bagged an Axis1 Tour-HM counterweight racket. The move happened to coincide with a second-place finish – his best result of the year – at the BMW Championship.
The highly technical head design used by Rai places the center of gravity directly in the center of the face and is aligned with the axis of the shaft. The goal is to keep the clubface more consistently straight at impact. In layman’s terms, Axis1’s technology reduces errors and increases directional consistency.
Fast racket: Titleist golf ball users ranked in the top six in Napa, while nine of the top 10 played a Pro V1 or Pro V1x. … TaylorMade’s Stealth 2 Teams Edition drivers are ready for the Ryder Cup. … A tour pro shared the inner workings of equipment deals.
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https://golf.com/gear/putters/jon-rahm-odyssey-putter-wall/ Jon Rahm’s secret Odyssey putter appears in Wentworth