In this special end-of-year edition of Fourball, the NCG team put their gear heads on and take a wander down memory lane
In this special end-of-year Fourball the NCG team, I’m joined by Dan Murphy, Steve Carroll and Alex Perry to talk all things gear. In particular, I’d like to know what they think is the best golf equipment of all time – but first…
What’s been your favourite piece of new equipment in 2020?
Hannah: The Stewart Golf Q Follow trolley was definitely the piece of equipment I enjoyed testing the most in 2020. It is such a unique piece of equipment and it really made me enjoy my round of golf so much more than any other piece of new kit has. We do play golf for fun after all right?
Dan: I love a DMD and after years of research have concluded that it isn’t a choice of laser or GPS – you really need both. My dream team this year has been a SkyCaddie SX500 – basically the boss of GPS devices – and a Bushnell Pro XE laser. Most of the time, I rely on the SkyCaddie, partly out of sheer laziness because the numbers are just there on the screen. Once I get within 150 yards then I am much more likely to pull the laser out to get the exact number to the flag. They are both fantastic pieces of kit.
Steve: I bought two pieces of kit in 2020 and I can’t split either – such was their dominant influence on my golf. The Cobra Speedzone driver has helped me manage my devastating snap hook. It feels slightly open at address and this has really helped me square the club. I bought it in the summer, immediately started finding more fairways, and won a board competition at my club after 15 years of trying.
If my driving is suspect then so is my putting and the Scotty Cameron Phantom X8 putter has also helped me take huge strides forward. Mishits were my normal, particularly from range, but the face sits considerably underneath the ball and that has definitely improved my consistency of putts. I’ve been struggling for a couple of years with my game and after finally finding a couple of good results recently, I’m really looking forward to 2021 with confidence.
Alex: You know I love a good pair of trainer-style golf shoes – can we normalise the phrase golf trainers? – and this year there have been some genuine beauties from Adidas and Nike, while the FootJoy Pro SL Carbon are the best looking and most comfortable they’ve ever made. But it’s the Puma RS-G that takes the title for me. I mean, just look at them.
You’re an up and coming tour star and free agent, which would you choose for driver/woods/irons/wedges/putter/apparel/shoes?
Hannah: If my current set-up is anything to go buy it would be a seriously mixed bag. One think is for sure my trusty Ping hybrids would be keeping their spot in the bag. After that it would be hard to get rid of my Vokey wedges, I love my new TaylorMade P770 irons and my Callaway Mavrik driver has been a huge success this year. I think I may go a la Bryson and go for a quirky putter brand like SIK or LAB though. Apparel and shoes? I think I’d have to join team three stripes.
Steve: As a junior, the only irons I ever wanted had Titleist emblazoned across the back and that continues to this day. I just adore the look of the musclebacks, even though I’ll never be good enough to hit them, and the cavities just seem to get better with every new model. It’s the same for wedges – Vokey please – and I’m a Scotty Cameron man at my core.
Apparel-wise, I’ve recently developed a deep love for Original Penguin and, while I can’t say too much about them right now, there are some FootJoy shoes coming next year that might never leave my feet.
Dan: The only person I know with a longer affiliation to Ping clubs than me is Lee Westwood. It goes back to my teenage years and a second-hand set of Karsten 1s.
I guess it’s a trust thing. I’ve got so used to looking down on Ping clubs that anything else just doesn’t look right to my eye. I occasionally have a dalliance on things like hybrids, driving irons and putters and I’m a sucker for a pretty 5-wood. But my wandering eye doesn’t usually last long and I find myself back on the Ping doorstep pleading for forgiveness and promising to mend my ways.
I find their kit so reliable and even when the odd club doesn’t quite look right – the original Crossover would be one for me in that category – they quickly get back on track.
Shoes are a combination of FootJoy and Ecco. I’m a DryJoys man at heart in the former, despite many attempts to re-invent myself over the years, while the various iterations of Biom Hybrid are my shoe of choice on golf trips when I can put them on after breakfast, play 18 holes, drive to the next course, have lunch and then play another 18 before thinking about taking them off again.
Alex: I think I’m 3rd on Dan’s Ping list so I like to think I’d stick to what I know. Depends if TaylorMade and their millions – I mean the chance to film quirky adverts with Tiger and Rory – come calling. As for apparel and shoes, I’m still just about young enough to join Team Swoosh. If Paul Casey can pull it off…
In your opinion, what is the best piece of equipment of all time?
Hannah: My Ping i15 hybrid is still in my bag 11 years after it first went there. It is so battered and bruised from years of use now that my playing partners regularly tease me for the state of it – though I usually have the last laugh when it sets me up a lovely short birdie attempt…
Dan: I had a Ping G2 5-wood that became known as the Magic Mushroom. It wasn’t pretty but I was really good with it, both off the tee and the deck. I can’t believe I didn’t hang on to it.
I used a set of Mizuno MP-57 irons for a year and I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed the sensation of hitting good iron shots more.
In putters, I had a Redwood Piper-S from the day it was launched for a good decade. She’s still in the garage. We had some great times together.
From further back, I can still remember the first time I saw and used a Callaway Great Big Bertha. It felt like cheating the head was so big. And it was the first titanium driver I hit and it seemed to come off the face so quickly. What a great driver that was. If you ever see one now, it’s about the size of your average 3-wood. Amazing.
Alex: Completing the Ping hat-trick is my G2i putter that I bought within roughly 45 seconds of my student loan cheque clearing in my bank account. Great looking and what a servant to my 20s. Right, I’m off to eBay…
Steve: Scotty Cameron Studio 1.5 putter. That oil black finish, the weight, the balance, that grip. Why, oh why, did I ever sell it?
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