Welcome to Wall-to-Wall Equipment, the weekly gear wrap-up in which GOLF equipment editor Jonathan Wall takes you through the latest trends, rumors and breaking news. The latest batch of gear notes is being released early due to the holiday weekend.
Worth the wait
Ping’s i210 iron made its Tour debut a little more than four years ago at the FedEx St. Jude Classic in Memphis. Needless to say, it’s been a minute since Ping released a new i-Series iron. But that could be changing in the near future after Tyrrell Hatton was spotted with what appears to be an unreleased i-Series prototype iron.
Hatton is one of several high-profile Ping staffers — along with Viktor Hovland and Lee Westwood — who relies on the i-Series model. With a longer blade length in the long irons and a more compact profile in the short irons, i210 blurs the line between better player and game improvement with a smart combination of forgiveness and workability that’s earned it high marks since it was introduced.
It’s very likely Hatton’s new irons have similar features and benefits to its predecessor. Of course, a few visible changes to the overall shaping and design exist.
Let’s start with the weight screw in the toe of the iron, a new addition that wasn’t part of the i210 design. Ping’s recent iron releases (Blueprint, i59, i525) all have featured a machined tungsten screw in the toe for MOI (forgiveness) purposes.
What remains to be seen is what’s going on underneath the hood. The latest i-Series additions (i59 and i525) featured completely different designs, so it’ll likely go one of two ways. The multi-material i59 cavity was built around an aluminum core — one-third the density of traditional stainless steel — that allowed roughly 30 grams of weight to be redistributed for trajectory and MOI purposes. The i525’s hollow cavity, on the other hand, was filled with an EVA polymer, situated directly behind the face, that helped tune sound at impact. Looking strictly at the redesigned cavity and who the irons are designed for (better players), it’s likely the former in this case.
In terms of shaping and profile changes, a softer toe and more subdued cavity design — it gives off iBlade vibes — evoke a classic, no-frills iron that better players will certainly appreciate.
If the iron is already in Hatton’s bag, chances are weekend golfers won’t have to wait very long to get a crack at it as well.
When the LIV tour was first unveiled, many wondered who was would handle regrips, loft/lie checks and other gear-related requests during a tournament week.
For the moment, it’s Ben Giunta and Jason Werner.
Giunta, a former Nike Golf Tour rep and founder of The Tour Van, and Werner, who worked at TaylorMade’s The Kingdom facilities and is a company partner, were on-site at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club the early part of the week handling any and all requests out of the original The Tour Van truck. (A second Tour Van truck is situated at the Hermitage Golf Club in Nashville, Tennessee.)
“It’s easier to handle the requests out here because the field is smaller,” Werner told GOLF.com. “They needed someone out here who could support the events. This week it was a lot of loft and lie checks, but we did do some shaft testing as well. Guys are typically bringing stuff from their manufacturers out here and we’re able to assist where needed.”
According to Werner, the plan is for The Tour Van to support LIV players at the remaining stateside events (Bedminster, New Jersey, Boston and Chicago) but not when the tour heads overseas.
On a roll
Titleist’s TSR launch continued on the DP World Tour where 21 players transitioned into the driver in Ireland. At the John Deere Classic, Titleist saw 28 players use the driver after 18 made the switch the previous week at the Travelers Championship.
J.T. Poston, who finished runner-up at the Travelers, continued his strong play at the John Deere Classic with a new TSR3 driver in the bag. Poston saw a 2 mph ball speed increase during head-to-head TSi/TSR testing, which prompted him to make the change official.
“That’s definitely further,” Poston said after first contact last week. “I like the sound of that a lot. Feels great. Sounds great. Looks great.”
Want to overhaul your bag for 2022? Find a fitting location near you at GOLF’s affiliate company True Spec Golf. For more on the latest gear news and information, check out our latest Fully Equipped podcast below.