Spin Doctoring

As we all know, the one area where any player can make or break their score is the short game. Having a strong wedge game and the ability to get up and down around the greens is key to the success of any player on the European Tour. It's little wonder then that so many European Tour and amateur players alike trust their wedge game to Bob Vokey and his now legendary Spin Milled wedges.

Of course, 2010 saw the introduction of a new R&A groove ruling which required all players on the European Tour to convert over to the C-C version of the Spin Milled wedge. A year down the line from this change and the players have fully acclimatised to the C-C groove which did require them to adapt their approach to certain shots, particularly when playing from the rough where the reduction in spin was significant. However, when playing from the manicured fairways out on the European Tour the players are still able to generate similar spin rates with the C-C groove as they did with the original Spin Milled groove. This is particularly evident among the power hitters who generally create high spin conditions as a result of their high club-head speed.

One player who would definitely fall into this category is Titleist Ambassador Paul Waring. Paul has averaged a driving distance of between 295-300 yards over the past three seasons and generates tremendous speed, and spin, with all his clubs. Even with a switch the the C-C version of the Spin Milled groove Paul is still capable of zipping the ball back on the greens and this can, on occasions, be to his detriment as solid wedge shots can spin too much. Paul joined up with the Titleist Team in Dubai this week as he prepared for the Dubai Desert Classic and placed an order for new Vokey Spin Milled C-C wedges fitted with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts. Paul has typically played the S300 shaft in his wedges before now but the stronger X100 option will help to reduce the spin on his wedge shots and offer him improved control.

Golfers of all abilities can learn a lot from Paul's decision making here. Over the years there has been a craving amongst the majority golfers for more wedge spin but, whilst we all enjoy watching the ball zip backwards when it hits the green, this is not always conducive to lower scores. Like Paul, it is essential to pay proper attention to your wedge game and evaluate what you need from your wedge set-up. This should take into consideration a number of factors including your regular course conditions, yardage gaps and angle of attack. In addition, as with any club in your bag, a wedge is most effective when fit to your ideal specification in terms of length, lie, shaft type, shaft flex, grip type and grip size. Why not contact your local PGA professional to discuss your wedge game; it really can help lower your scores.

Click here to learn more about the R&A / USGA groove ruling and Titleist Vokey Design wedges.

Practice Makes Perfect

As the old saying goes 'practice makes perfect' and there are few more perfect places on the planet in which to work at your game than Dubai. The European Tour enters the final leg of the desert swing at its showpiece event, the Dubai Desert Classic, and the range has been a hive of activity thus far as the players take advantage of gorgeous Dubai weather and the stunning visual backdrop to fine tune their game and their equipment. The practice ground at the Emirates Golf Club provides one of the most unique vistas on the European Tour as Dubai's skyline rises out of the desert in contrast with man-made oasis that is the golf course. It makes for a surreal but nonethelesss stunning view.

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The week certainly got off to a quick start for the Titleist Team and Tour Technicians Phil Dimmock and Scott Morrison were straight out on the range to do some Trackman work with Titleist Ambassadors Tano Goya, Scott Strange and Romain Wattel.

Tano Goya

Young Argentinean Tano Goya was the first out of the traps and set about working on a new hybrid option. Tano has been playing an 18° 910HT hybrid which is only available on Tour. The 910HT has its centre of gravity further forward and higher in the club-head to offer a more penetrating flight and, such is the strength of the flight, that Tano felt he could use something to flight the ball a little higher and softer. Sometimes the most obvious solution turns out to be the best and this was exactly the case with Tano as a switch to the 20° 910HT gave him exactly what he was looking for.

Scott Strange

Scott Strange also took to the range in Dubai looking to work on his 910 set-up. The two-time European Tour winner was having difficulty controlling his ball flight with his fairways and hybrids and this had shown up in recent weeks where the wind has been quite severe. This is where the versatility of the 910 metals really comes into play as rather than looking at a change of shaft we were able to make a change to the SureFit Tour (SFT) hosel. In Scott's case the change was from the standard A1 position to a more upright B2 position thus allowing him to square the face and better compress the ball at impact. The net result of this change is a more penetrating flight which is more stable in the wind......ripper!!! (As the Australians would say).

Romain Wattel

Promising French rookie Romain Wattel enters just his sixth European Tour event in Dubai this week and, as a new addition to the Titleist roster, is still working on his equipment set-up. Romain checked in to work on his 910 fairway metals and was immediately taken by the 910Fd. The 910Fd features a larger head volume than the 910F and has been designed for use as much from the tee as the fairway. It's very rare these days that a European Tour pro needs their #3 wood from the fairway and it is used predominantly as a fairway finder from the tee. That's where the 910Fd comes in offering enhanced distance and control from the tee whilst giving still excellent versatility from the fairway. Romain loved the strong consistent flight of the 13.5° 910Fd fitted with a Fujikura Rombax 7Z08 shaft.

Martin Wiegele's Magic Wand

Austrian Martin Wiegele is in the field this week for the Commercialbank Qatar Masters and the Titleist Team have put the finishing touches on his Scotty Cameron putter. Martin, who was victorious at last year's Saint-Omer Open, is playing a stunning Newport 2 Buttonback with a Tour Black finish. The putter has just been given even more cool points with the addition of a yellow Scotty Cameron Custom Shop grip and matching yellow Junkyard dog headcover. The putter was definitely turning some heads on the practice green in Qatar and it's not hard to see why!!!

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Desert Testing

The European Tour is continuing its desert swing this week in the State of Qatar as another elite field assembles for the Commercialbank Qatar Masters. The likes of World #1 Lee Westwood (Pro V1x), Ian Poulter (Pro V1x) and Open Champion Louis Ooosthuizen (Pro V1x) are all teeing it up alongside Titleist Ambassadors Steve Stricker (Pro V1), Robert Karlsson (Pro V1x) and Ross?Fisher (Pro V1x) to name but a few. The desert conditions provide the players with the ideal opportunity for practice and equipment testing and there will be some hard graft on the range throughout the course of the week.

It may only be Tuesday but a number of players have already been hard at work testing new Titleist equipment and the Team have been busy making sure that they get just the right specifications for their game.

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The first player to get to work was young Frenchman Victor Dubuisson. The 20 year old from Nice turned pro following the 2010 Open Championship and is embarking on his first season on the European Tour having qualified through Q-school late last year. Victor is one of the latest additions to the Titleist roster and checked in with the Team in Qatar to look at an alternative hybrid option. Victor is currently playing a tour-only 910HT which promotes a flatter trajectory but, with the greens in Qatar being very firm, he was looking for something that would fly higher and land softer. The 910H 19° fitted with a Project X HB6?shaft certainly had the desired effect and Victor wll continue to test the club in the run-up to the opening round.

Titleist Ambassador Paul Waring was another man in the mood for some product testing. Paul loves the new 910D3 driver but felt as though he could use a little more help turning the ball over. Titleist Tour Technician Phil Dimmock soon had Paul hitting his stock high-draw with consumate ease thanks to an adjustment of the SureFit Tour (SFT) Hosel on his 910D3 club-head and an increase in swingweight. Paul's 910 is now set in the A3 position giving him more loft and slightly more draw bias whilst the added swingweight allows him to feel the club-head a little more throughout the shot. Click here to learn more about the 910 drivers and SureFit Tour Hosel.

Paul Waring

Model: 910D3 8.5°
Shaft: Grafalloy Blue X-Flex
Length: 45"
Grip: Golf Pride Multi-Compound .600 round blue/black (+1/32")
Swingweight: D5.5
SureFit Tour Hosel Setting: A3

Equipment testing in Qatar hasn't been confined to the long game with Titleist Ambassador Kenneth Ferrie gratefully relieving the team of a Scotty Cameron Newport 2 deep milled before heading to the putting green. Kenneth seemed to be enjoying testing the new putter but was more than happy to take a quick break to strike a pose for us. A very professional pose as well don't you think?!?