A recent ball change also has proved fruitful for Hoffman. At the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai Bubba Watson became the first player to win using Titleist's prototype 2015 Pro V1x ball. At the Mayakoba, Hoffman became the second. Hoffman winning with the ball seems appropriate given he was one of the early adopters, using it in the first week it came out in Las Vegas at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. "I immediately noticed the softer feel of the new Pro V1x," said Hoffman in Vegas. "I also tested it on TrackMan and the spin and performance on full iron shots were right where I wanted them to be. Overall, I saw improvement across the board."
Here's the rest of Hoffman's clubs.
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
Driver: Titleist 915D2, 8.5 degrees
3-wood: Titleist 915F, 13.5 degrees
Hybrid: Adams Idea Pro, 18 degrees
Irons (3): Titleist CB 714; (5-9): Titleist MB 714; (PW): Titleist Vokey SM5
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM5 (50, 56, 60 degrees)
Putter: Scotty Cameron by Titleist GoLo 5
TaylorMade's Nov. 13 launch of two new drivers -- the movable weight, multi-level adjustable R15 and the lightweight, swingspeed-focused AeroBurner -- makes the same case about what kind of driver you should buy that the company first made nearly a decade. The idea, which hearkens back to previous twin-driver introductions like the R9 and the Burner SuperFast, is that there are two kinds of golfers looking for two types of clubs: the technician and the bomber.
The technician is about dialing in precise launch conditions and navigating his way around the golf course strategically, with planned routes and trajectories. The bomber prefers high, far and straight, a less subtle approach that might be phrased as "swing first, ask questions later."
But both new drivers will build on the company's primary metalwood technologies of a center of gravity positioned more low and forward for less spin and improved energy transfer. Both also will feature a channel in the sole designed to enhance the way the face flexes for improved ballspeed all over the face.
The R15, which will be made available in both white and black versions, is the technician's driver. It features a sole channel with two independently movable 12.5-gram weights. The sole channel, or "speed pocket," is similar to the predominant feature on the successful SLDR drivers. It allows players to position weight in draw or fade settings, as well as positioning the weights in either a middle position or extreme heel and toe locations for improved stability. Compared to the SLDR, the R15's sole channel has been shifted slightly closer to the face (12 millimeters) to contribute to the way the face flexes at impact. That movement forward also helps further push the center of gravity forward. According to the company, more than 75 percent of the clubhead's total mass is in the front of the driver.
The R15 also utilizes an updated version of the company's adjustable hosel, which now accommodates 12 settings and a loft range of plus/minus two degrees. It's available Jan. 9 ($430, 9.5, 10.5, 12, 14 degrees) and will be offered in both a 460cc and 430cc head size. Golfers can pre-order the R15 starting Dec. 12.
The R15 line includes fairway woods ($280, 15, 16.5, 19, 20.5 degrees) and hybrids ($220). The adjustable fairway woods feature the same sole opening but with one sliding 25-gram weight to effect a draw or fade bias. Like the driver, the adjustable hosel can be set to one of 12 positions at plus/minus two degrees of loft. The hybrid or Rescue features a more compact 99cc head size and the neutral bias preferred by better players.
Although the R15 offers plenty of adjustability, some players simply want distance -- and at a more palatable price. That's where TaylorMade's debut of its AeroBurner line fits in.
According to Brian Bazzell, TaylorMade's senior director of product creation for metalwoods, AeroBurner "drastically improved the performance of the sole's speed pocket and significantly improved the aerodynamics to deliver maximum speed" compared to the successful RocketBallz line from a couple of years ago.
To assist with the aerodynamics, the club features a small fin -- present on drivers, fairway woods and hybrids—in the heel area of the club to reduce drag. A raised center on the crown, as well as a more rounded toe, also are designed to help get the club through the air more efficiently.
In the driver ($299), the speed pocket is twice as large as on the JetSpeed model. By not adding adjustability, the pocket could extend across the entire sole. Also helping speed is an overall lightweight design -- the total weight is less than 300 grams -- with a 50-gram Matrix Speed Rul-Z shaft.
The fairway woods ($229) and hybrids ($199) continue the company's pursuit of woods with low, forward centers of gravity, as well as a sole slot, something the company has been focusing on since its RocketBallz line.
The hybrids, called AeroBurner Rescue, also have the speed pocket as well as a shaft length that has been shortened a half-inch from the JetSpeed rescues to provide more consistent contact.
As with the R15 line, the AeroBurner, also available Jan. 9, comes with a new matte finish, "pearlized" white paint clubhead. TP options are available for all the metalwoods.
Not wanting to risk a potential failure while in Asia, Ping's Wrx department had three backups made and sent overnight to Watson so he could take one with him to Shanghai. Though his gamer remained intact, the two-time Masters champion brought one of the backups with him and put it in the bag in China. The new driver came in handy during the week and on the first hole of his playoff with Tim Clark where Watson made birdie on the par-5 18th to win the title after eagling the same hole to forge a tie earlier.
Watson also had a trio of Ping prototype wedges in the bag for the first time, and while there was a learning curve at times (some chunked shots), he used one to hole out from a greenside bunker for an eagle on the 72nd hole that tied Tim Clark and forged a playoff, which Watson won on the first extra hole.
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
Driver: Ping G30 (Grafalloy BiMatrx), 9 degrees
4-wood: Ping G25, 16.5 degrees
Irons (3-PW): Ping S55
Wedges: Ping prototype (52, 56, 60 degrees)
Putter: Ping Anser Milled 1
The CIMB Classic was a case of deja vu all over again for Ryan Moore. Not only did the former U.S. Amateur champion defend the title he won in 2013 (over three players, including Gary Woodland, who also finished second in 2013), but he did so by using some equipment familiar to him that he also used in his victory a year ago.
Moore put back in the bag the Yes! C-Groove Sandy 12 mallet putter he used in Malaysia last year and also returned (after trial periods with the Callaway Speed Regime 3 ball and Srixon's Z Star ball) to Titleist's Pro V1x. Moore also had the same TaylorMade fairway woods he employed last year at Kuala Lumpur G.C.
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
Driver: TaylorMade JetSpeed, 9.5 degrees
3-wood: TaylorMade RocketBallz Stage 2, 15 degrees
5-wood: TaylorMade RocketBallz, 19 degrees
Hybrid: Adams Idea Super 9031, 20 degrees
4-PW: Miura PP-9003
Wedges: TaylorMade Tour Preferred (53, 58 degrees)
Putter: Yes! C-Groove Sandy 12