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Challenging the status quo - what is your opinion?


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I have a couple of comments.  I think that the gradual strengthening of lofts is what has driven the increasing numbers of wedges.  If your shortest "regular club" flies further than it once did, you

The current trend in the market is to carry 4 wedges (including PW) because the golf industry has been pushing this notion that short game is the money shot.   Whilst I do not disagree that

A local pro with dozens of minitour events told me what he sees in these contests: Big hitters {~ driver carry > 280 yards} tend to go with four wedges. Because of their distance, they need m

Interesting take. It makes sense. I'd be curious to know you and other responder's driver distance in relation to the number of wedges vs headcovers, as I think that plays a large role.

 

I carry driver about 260.  Woods are driver, 3w, and 3 hybrid. I then carry PW (47), 51, 55, and 60 degree wedge. I'm not a great wedge player, and don't like anything between a 3/4 and full wedge, so I like the tighter yardage gaps with my wedge setup. I also treat 60 as a specialty club, and don't use it outside of ~40 yards - primarily higher pitch shots, bunkers, the rare flop, etc. 

 

With my distance relative to the courses I play (rarely longer than 6600 yards), I just don't have a lot of shots between 215 (3 hybrid yardage) and 240 (3 wood yardage). I guess it'd be nice to have a 225-230 carry club like a 5 wood, but I just don't have those shots often enough to warrant taking out the L wedge or having larger yardage gaps by going to a 52/58 wedge setup. I also use my 55 degree for so much, that I don't know what I would go with for a lot of my basic chips and pitches - I wouldn't want to use a 58 for most of that, but I also don't know if a 52 would be high enough trajectory. 

 

All of that being said, that's my take and my bag and your logic makes sense for you and your bag! 

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Personally I still prefer the 4W approach.

 

I go driver, 4w, driving iron. That gives me more than enough options off the tee. I like to have very evenly spaced gaps with full swings on my wedges. I'm unusual in that I'll still use my 58* with a full swing if the yardage/situation warrants it.

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I think you may be combining and confusing two thought processes here. 

 

1) practicing long game off the tee is more helpful than practicing short game. losing balls off the tee and having bad second shot placement is more penalizing than a bad short game.

2) more clubs on the long end of the bag is better than more clubs on the short end 

For the first item, I agree, but not in the way you might think. If you follow the golf sidekick on YouTube then you’d understand more high handicaps would do better just to hit a mid iron off the tee and set themselves up in the fairway to lower their scores. His thought process is that if you can consistently hit 150 yards straight off the tee, then you can break 100. It’s really hard to think do that as a high handicap when I want to hit driver, but it probably would help lower scores. Hit two shots on the fairway, then have a short wedge into the green. 

 

For the second item, I think it has a lot to do with distances and gaps. If you can hit a PW 150+ (like pros) then you do need more wedges to cover a pretty big gap down. For more average ball strikers that may have trouble getting above 120 on a PW, then your gaps would be a lot tighter on that end of the bag (and an extra wedge might not be needed). For shorter hitters, a club on the long end of the bag may be more helpful.

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6 minutes ago, arenapoutine said:

Interesting take. It makes sense. I'd be curious to know you and other responder's driver distance in relation to the number of wedges vs headcovers, as I think that plays a large role.

 

I carry driver about 260.  Woods are driver, 3w, and 3 hybrid. I then carry PW (47), 51, 55, and 60 degree wedge. I'm not a great wedge player, and don't like anything between a 3/4 and full wedge, so I like the tighter yardage gaps with my wedge setup. I also treat 60 as a specialty club, and don't use it outside of ~40 yards - primarily higher pitch shots, bunkers, the rare flop, etc. 

 

With my distance relative to the courses I play (rarely longer than 6600 yards), I just don't have a lot of shots between 215 (3 hybrid yardage) and 240 (3 wood yardage). I guess it'd be nice to have a 225-230 carry club like a 5 wood, but I just don't have those shots often enough to warrant taking out the L wedge or having larger yardage gaps by going to a 52/58 wedge setup. I also use my 55 degree for so much, that I don't know what I would go with for a lot of my basic chips and pitches - I wouldn't want to use a 58 for most of that, but I also don't know if a 52 would be high enough trajectory. 

 

All of that being said, that's my take and my bag and your logic makes sense for you and your bag! 

 

My home course plays between 6600 yards to 7100 yards depending on tee position. Links style course.

 

Distance for my woods are (in yards😞

 

Driver (9.5*): 275-285

3 wood (15*): 250-260

5 wood (18*): 220-230

3 hybrid (19* set to 20*): 200-210

 

I rarely make any full swings with wedges except for PW. I use feel to gauge distance rather than a specific clock position.

 

PW (46*) - Full swing 120-130. 3/4 swing 85 to 110.

52* - Full swing 100-110. 3/4 swing 75 to 100.

58* - Full swing 80-85. 3/4 swing 55 to 75.

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I drive the ball really well and can hit my 3wood where I want it often too. I play tournament golf at about 6800 yards. At that distance, more wedges is much better. I have a hybrid I can place really well for shorter holes. If there's a short, tight hike then I can swap the hybrid for a 19* 3i with a graphite shaft. I'm covered on the top end. My scores improved when I put a 4th wedge in (50). Shots between 110-120 were closer. 

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I think you are on to something.

Most recreational golfers do not carry the driver nearly as far as you do off the tee.  I'd say the majority of golfers are carrying it about 200-10 yards and hopefully getting about 220-240 yards total off the tee.  The longest hole most golfers can hit in two shots is about 415-440 yards and they are not hitting anything close to a short or mid iron for an approach.  These players need four wedges because they are not hitting greens in regulation.

A longer hitter like yourself, who still has ample distance off the tee with less than driver, and who can regularly hit GIRs probably doesn't need 4 wedges? 

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I carried 4 wedges the last few years and never felt fully comfortable with all of them. In the last year or so, I switched to softer iron shafts, and the switch has allowed me to be far more versatile with my PW. I no longer need 4 wedges because I can cover my PW and GW yardages with my PW. I’ve gotten far more proficient with the 3 than I ever was with the 4. 

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When I decided to take my game a little more seriously, I got a gap wedge and a lob wedge because I thought I might be missing something.

 

Turns out I wasn't. It's all in how I learned to play. I use my PW from 30 yards and out. Everything else is my 56.

 

My PW is more like a 10i than a wedge. And I learned how to do everything else with a SW. 

 

I liked the gap and lob, just don't need them.

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Having an extra club and getting off the tee, are two different things. An extra long club isn't going to add any extra skill that isn't already there, but having an extra wedge may give you tighter distance control with less normal practice. 

 

I would also challenge the notion that "the industry" is pushing 4 wedges, since short game is "the money shot". Is it the "industry" or is it just what makes sense? Proximity to the hole is ultimately what dictates scoring chances. Is having one extra tee club that goes 15 yards shorter or longer off the tee really going to improve your approach proximity? Or is having smaller gaps with the scoring clubs going to help that more? 

 

 

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BLUF:  I have sixteen clubs in an ‘up and ready’ status with thirteen in permanent rotation.  The three floaters are a FW exclusively for tee use, a low lofted hybrid for alternate tee options/high wind/trouble, and a SW with higher bounce than my 58 deg LW.  The choice to bias long or short depends on length of course relative to my norm of 6500 or so and prevailing bunker conditions.

 

Regarding the broader aspects of your premise, I agree that many people probably carry more wedges than they need or can use effectively.  I’ve never embraced the concept of tiny gaps in wedges to support ‘precision’.  Even if you subscribe to the Pelz 4x3 method (which would send me straight to the looney bin...) at a certain point you’re playing purely by feel to account for slope, lie, desired spin, wind, etc.  I can’t imagine a scenario that requires more than 3 clubs from ~46 degs to ~58 degs to achieve sufficient options for height and spin.  When I add an extra club at the bottom, it is driven by bounce variety and not distance gapping.

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A local pro with dozens of minitour events told me what he sees in these contests:

  • Big hitters {~ driver carry > 280 yards} tend to go with four wedges. Because of their distance, they need more shot variety inside 150 yards to improve their scoring.
  • Average hitters (~ driver carry < 280) tend to go with three wedges. Because they don't hit the ball quite as far, they want an extra club in the 210-230 yard range for more precision in longer approaches.

As for me, a regular amateur, I decided to go with three wedges for these reasons:

  • Old PW 46 and GW 50 seemed to overlap a lot on partial shots around the green.
  • Three wedges is easier to practice than four wedges, and cuts down on indecision.
  • The 3/4 9i shot gives me an extra honorary wedge shot for occasional gaps between 48* and 9i.

And...

hitting fairways is critical for beginners... to break 90 you need to be able to hit some greens on iron approaches... a bad short game will hurt your scores, but a good short game will not save if your tee shots and approaches are consistently poor.

Edited by ChipNRun
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Driver:  Tour Edge EXS 10.5°, weights neutral   ||  FWs:  Calla Rogue 4W + 7W

Hybrid:  Calla Big Bertha OS 4H at 22°  ||  Irons:  Tour Edge CB Pro Tungsten 4i-9i

Wedges*:  Calla MD3: 48°, 54°... MD4: 58° ||  Putter: Ping Sigma G Tyne (face-balanced)

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I know that most of you are long Ball hitters but my average drive when hitting the fairway is 190 to 210 yards, sometimes 230. However most of my driver shots are not straight onto the fairway so I hit my 5 wood consistently 180 yards onto the fairway. I have ditched the driver, for now until my swing gets better.

 

As an average amateur I somewhat agree that more long club options outweighs the need for wedges. My two wedges are 46 and 54 degrees. I more or less consider my pitching wedge a 10 iron.

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2 hours ago, davep043 said:

 

I don't for a second believe the golf sidekick guys.  For a player struggling to break 100, its pretty dang unlikely that he'll hit two decent 150-yard shots in a row in order to leave a short third shot to a par-4.  If those players can keep a driver (or 3-wood) on the planet, they should hit it unless there's a really specific reason not to.  Never voluntarily give up a bunch of distance without a really good specific reason.

I think it’s far more likely for someone that hangs around the 100-110 scoring range to be able to hit 150 yards consistently than hit a driver consistently. And sidekick says at least 150 straight consistently. 3 150 yard shots is 450 yards and covers most par 4s if playing from the appropriate tees. There’s plenty of people that can hit an irons straight and only slice off the tee with the driver.

Edited by SugarLandGolfer
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1 hour ago, LPSISCO said:

I don’t think “the industry” is interested in selling golfers another $145 wedge instead of another $349 fairway wood.

 

3 hours ago, hypergolf said:

Is the 4 wedge system introduced so that the golf industry could better profit from golfers as we usually change wedges more frequently than the top end of the bag?

Above is what I said unless you change your hybrid or fairway woods every year or two.

 

As for your math, most people tend to change 2 to 3 wedges at once (usually sand and lob wedge as gap wedge lasts longer in general) depending on how much you play and practice them. I have seen club golfers who play a lot change wedges every 6 to 8 months. But lets say for calculation purposes they change wedges every year.  In general, woods/hybrid are changed every 2 to 3 years.

 

2 year calculation:

 

Wedges: ($145 x 2 wedges) x 2 years = $580 > Wood: $349 in 2 years

 

Difference between $580 - $349 = $231

 

Lets assume there are 1,000,000 golfers (which according to Forbes in 2019 there were 24 million golfers but lets take a conservative figure) in the world who would do the above: $231 x 1,000,000 = $23,100,000

 

Golf is around 95 billion dollar industry as a whole.

 

Not trying to be a [email protected]$$. Just food for thought.

Edited by hypergolf
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I tend to organize my bag the same way as the OP and for the same reasons. 
 

As handicap players we need to avoid situations that cause indecision. The correct shot for us to attempt in any situation should be plainly obvious. If we’re getting over a shot and wondering if we’ve chosen the right strategy, we’re dead. 
 

This can be true at either end of the bag. 
 

I’ve found that I doubt my shot selection more when I have four wedges in the bag. Maybe that’s mental weakness on my part, but I’m 52 so I’m probably not changing that! 
 

I also don’t need more than driver/three wood/three hybrid at the top of my bag. Until recently I also carried a five wood but it wasn’t a scoring club *or* a tee shot club. I basically used it to hit a long layup on par fives, and the hybrid does that just as well. 

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52 minutes ago, hypergolf said:

 

Above is what I said unless you change your hybrid or fairway woods every year or two.

 

As for your math, most people tend to change 2 to 3 wedges at once (usually sand and lob wedge as gap wedge lasts longer in general) depending on how much you play and practice them. I have seen club golfers who play a lot change wedges every 6 to 8 months. But lets say for calculation purposes they change wedges every year.  In general, woods/hybrid are changed every 2 to 3 years.

 

2 year calculation:

 

Wedges: ($145 x 2 wedges) x 2 years = $580 > Wood: $349 in 2 years

 

Difference between $580 - $349 = $231

 

Lets assume there are 1,000,000 golfers (which according to Forbes in 2019 there were 24 million golfers but lets take a conservative figure) in the world who would do the above: $231 x 1,000,000 = $23,100,000

 

Golf is around 95 billion dollar industry as a whole.

 

Not trying to be a [email protected]$$. Just food for thought.

 

I'm not sure most golfers change wedges as a set. Especially the masses. In my case, the gap wedge is only changed when I change iron sets. The sand wedge is changed every couple years, but the lob wedge is not. I'm not wearing the grooves out on a wedge I only use around the green, and not from bunkers.

 

But that's me 🙂

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I am carrying 4 wedges according to OP's definition (PW, 50*, 54* and 60*).  Most of my chipping is with the 54, and on tight lies I can use the 50 (low bounce).  Sometimes makes me wonder why I'm carrying the 60.

 

But I also have an "alternate" combination at the top of the bag, which was the result of a similar line of thinking to what OP stated - that better results off the tee were going to have a bigger impact on my scores (and overall enjoyment) than anything else.  

 

So I carry driver, plus a 2nd driver in 12* which we'll call a 2W (replaced my 3W), 16.5* driving iron (replaced my 5i which I never use) and 19* hybrid.  I play a cut with my driver, but the 2W  gives me a default high draw.  So I can take advantage of doglegs in both directions, plus play into or with the wind.  That driving iron is pretty straight and I get around 250 with good roll during the winter months here in FL, and the hybrid lets me go after anything inside of 240 to the green.

 

Its a very unusual setup, but I played 50 rounds in 2020 this way.  Had more wedge approaches into greens, my avg score dropped a few strokes, and I had more fun...

 

Edited by hagimihale
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OP, yeah going top heavy can definitely work.  It's such an individual game though that many will agree and many will swear the opposite - going bottom heavy.  Others prefer the minimal route.

 

Crossfield has done some recent videos sharing why he's gone top heavy.  For him it makes sense.  For others?  Maybe not.

 

It all comes down to how skilled someone is with their clubs, and how dialed in they are with hitting distances and partial shots.  Some thoughts:  I've played with many a hacker who can't hit a green from 100 yd the entire round.  Beginners to pros can probably play a typical round for them similarly with a 3 or 4 wedge setup.  Bomb and gouge may or may not work for lesser skilled people... Decent with driver but crap with wedges, vice versa?  It's just hard to generalize.

 

I prefer a 4 wedge setup, but it's not unusual to go a whole round without using one of them.

 

31 minutes ago, hagimihale said:

Its a very unusual setup, but I played 50 rounds in 2020 this way.  Had more wedge approaches into greens, my avg score dropped a few strokes, and I had more fun...

Love your setup, and I have very similar thinking for the top end for fade/draw and without 5 iron.

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im going that route as well. driver 9.5, strong 3wd 13.5, strong 5wd 17.5, 3hy set to 20, 4hy 23, 5-pw, 50, 56.  i like a lob wedge. but it doesnt do anything my 56 cant. i may even weaken the wedges a touch to 51,57

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5 hours ago, SugarLandGolfer said:

I think you may be combining and confusing two thought processes here. 

 

1) practicing long game off the tee is more helpful than practicing short game. losing balls off the tee and having bad second shot placement is more penalizing than a bad short game.

2) more clubs on the long end of the bag is better than more clubs on the short end 

 

To your point around number 1- Practicing long game off the tee is certainly important. Not nearly as important as short game.  Short game includes pretty much everything from 100-115 yards in.  At best you are hitting 14-15 long game tee balls in every round.  Short game shots would double that.  I have seen many a player hit near the green and then hit a skulled chip or chunk a 70 yard pitch and then 2 or 3 putt.  Short game is where you can save strokes if you are missing it off the tee or not hitting greens.  
To your point on number 2-  It clearly depends on the golfer.  Having a 5 wood in my bag does me no good.  One, because the gap between my 3 wood and 3 hybrid is not that much and there are rarely times when I would even need that club.  I use the 4 wedges I have, 46,50,54,58 more in a round than I would another wood at the top of my bag.  

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11 minutes ago, jmurdock81 said:

To your point around number 1- Practicing long game off the tee is certainly important. Not nearly as important as short game.  Short game includes pretty much everything from 100-115 yards in.  At best you are hitting 14-15 long game tee balls in every round.  Short game shots would double that.  I have seen many a player hit near the green and then hit a skulled chip or chunk a 70 yard pitch and then 2 or 3 putt.  Short game is where you can save strokes if you are missing it off the tee or not hitting greens.  
To your point on number 2-  It clearly depends on the golfer.  Having a 5 wood in my bag does me no good.  One, because the gap between my 3 wood and 3 hybrid is not that much and there are rarely times when I would even need that club.  I use the 4 wedges I have, 46,50,54,58 more in a round than I would another wood at the top of my bag.  


if you break golf into 4 pieces:

1. Tee shots

2. irons/approaches

3. chipping/pitching/scrambling

4. putting

 

 

strokes gained research and data tells us most people would shave the most strokes off their scores by focusing their practice time on #2 and #1. 

 

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1 minute ago, RacineBoxer said:


if you break golf into 4 pieces:

1. Tee shots

2. irons/approaches

3. chipping/pitching/scrambling

4. putting

 

 

strokes gained research and data tells us most people would shave the most strokes off their scores by focusing their practice time on #2 and #1. 

 

Totally disagree.  It certainly depends on the quality of the golfer, but #3 and #1 would be what I concentrate on the most, followed by putting.  A higher handicap golfer is going to miss more greens, therefore needing a solid #3 game to save strokes.  Most professional golfers focus from the green back to the tee.  More strokes are taken from around the green then anywhere else.  

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6 hours ago, hypergolf said:

The current trend in the market is to carry 4 wedges (including PW) because the golf industry has been pushing this notion that short game is the money shot.

 

Whilst I do not disagree that short game is extremely important, I have noticed that my scores are more positively influenced by better shots off the tee.

 

It is often more difficult to recover from a bad tee shot than a badly positioned shots from wedge distance for me personally. 

 

Hence I decided to add one more club to the top end of the bag (driver, 3w, 5w and 3 hybrid) and started with 3 wedge system (PW, 52 and 58).

 

I have started to use less driver especially on windy days, tight fairways and situations where I was not feeling confident with a driver for whatever reason with the aim to place the tee shot on the fairway. I use all woods interchangeably including hybrid off the tee.

 

It has now been a few months since this test trial and my scores have drastically improved after this change. I also noticed that the percentage of successfully attacking the pin from a long distance has noticeably increased as the gapping at the top end of the bag is tighter. Which means less wedge usage as well. No issues with wedge gapping either with 6* difference from PW to 52* to 58* when required.

 

So what are your thoughts? Would you prefer a good shot off the tee onto the fairway or better placed ball position from wedge distance? Is the 4 wedge system introduced so that the golf industry could better profit from golfers as we usually change wedges more frequently than the top end of the bag?

 

Will be interested to hear your thoughts.

 

 

 


IMO you’re making a mistake and you should practice driver more, perhaps a lot more. Hopefully you have a well fit driver. Choosing one that sacrifices 5-8 yards but hits more fairways would be wise. 
 

3 vs 4 wedges is mostly irrelevant. Most good players could adjust back and forth without a significant change in their scores. I use 4 bit I play GI irons and my PW and Gap are just 133 and 120 yard full shot distance irons. My 54 goes 100 and my 60* I only push to 70 yards max. I have 3 basic swings/distances for my 2 wedges which gives me 6 different distance reference points within 100 yards. 

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I definitely like your line of thinking, and I’m big on not blindly following norms because that’s what’s trendy and what “all the experts recommend”.

 

I’ve actually decided to simplify my bag on both the top-end, and the bottom-end this season with the following:

Driver -10.5*
3-Wood -16*
UDI -20*
 

PW -46*
GW -52*
LW -58*
 

13 clubs. We’ll see how the experiment goes when the snow melts, but I feel good about it in theory.

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3 minutes ago, jmurdock81 said:

Totally disagree.  It certainly depends on the quality of the golfer, but #3 and #1 would be what I concentrate on the most, followed by putting.  A higher handicap golfer is going to miss more greens, therefore needing a solid #3 game to save strokes.  Most professional golfers focus from the green back to the tee.  More strokes are taken from around the green then anywhere else.  


feel free to disagree with me but please read Mark Broadie. 

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    • 2021 RBC Heritage - discussions and links
      Please post any questions and comments here.
       
      2021 RBC Heritage - Tuesday #1
      2021 RBC Heritage - Tuesday #2
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      2021 RBC Heritage - Tuesday #1
      2021 RBC Heritage - Tuesday #2
      2021 RBC Heritage - Tuesday #3
      2021 RBC Heritage - Tuesday #4
      2021 RBC Heritage - Tuesday #5
      2021 RBC Heritage - Tuesday #6
      2021 RBC Heritage - Tuesday #7
      2021 RBC Heritage - Tuesday #8
      2021 RBC Heritage - Tuesday #9
      2021 RBC Heritage - Tuesday #10
       
       

       
      Custom Cameron putters - 2021 RBC Heritage
      Bettinardi putter - 2021 RBC Heritage
      Robert Streb's custom stamped Vokey wedge - 2021 RBC Heritage
      Ben An's custom stamped Vokey - 2021 RBC Heritage
      • 15 replies
    • 2021 Valero Texas Open - discussion & links
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      This week, the PGA Tour is at TPC San Antonio on the Oaks Course for the Valero Texas Open. GolfWRX was on-site Tuesday to catch a glimpse into the bags of some of the world’s top golfers.
       
      The field of 144 is getting ready to battle starting Thursday for the $7.7 million purse, with $1.386 million going to the winner. The tournament is also the last event where players can qualify for The Masters, just like Canadian Corey Conners did last year.
       
      Check out our "Most interesting photos" Part 1, and Part 2.
       

       
      2021 Valero Texas Open - Tuesday #1 2021 Valero Texas Open - Tuesday #2 2021 Valero Texas Open - Tuesday #3 2021 Valero Texas Open - Tuesday #4 2021 Valero Texas Open - Tuesday #5 2021 Valero Texas Open - Tuesday #6 2021 Valero Texas Open - Tuesday #7 2021 Valero Texas Open - Tuesday #8  


       
      Cameron putters (added Bernd Wiesberger's custom T-11) -2021 Valero Texas Open Piretti putters -2021 Valero Texas Open Branden Grace testing AutoFlex shaft @ 2021 Valero Texas Open  
      Check out our "Most interesting photos" Part 1, and Part 2.
       

       
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      • 29 replies
    • **GIVEAWAY** Odyssey Ten Triple Track Putter! ENTER NOW!
      NEW Odyssey Ten Triple Track putter giveaway!!!.To enter reply in this thread that you're IN!
       
      That's it. You'll be entered into the giveaway (one entry per person). Winner chosen at random in two weeks. Be sure to check out the attached pics. Good luck!
       
      If you are not a member her please register here to allow you to reply to this post and enter. Registration is free... https://forums.golfwrx.com/register/
      ======================================================================================================
      We randomize all the number of posts and the #1 number on the top is the winner. Say there is 1,000 replies from members. We will randomize 1 to 1,000 using a website that has a randomizer. It scrambles the numbers and the #1 is the first place and the #2 is the second etc. If the winner has duplicate entries we count the first
       





       
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      • 1,599 replies
    • 2021 WGC Dell Technologies Match Play - discussion and links
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      2021 WGC Dell Technologies Match Play - Monday #1
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      Hideki testing putters at WGC Dell Technologies Match Play
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      Cameron putters - 2021 WGC Dell Technologies Match Play
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      • 54 replies
    • 2021 Players - discussion and links
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      2021 Players - Monday #1
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      Maverick McNealy's custom 1 of 1 Callaway Apex MB irons - 2021 Players
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      Bettinardi putters & cover - 2021 Players
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      • 52 replies

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