PGA Championship

Valhalla Golf Club

The Loop

Equipment-speak from the Hope

January 19, 2011

It's the beginning of the year and just like the rest of us, tour players are getting excited about the new equipment, too. Well, most of them are.

Here's some of the things they were saying  about what they're using, from the media center at this week's Bob Hope Classic:

Jeff Overton, who recently signed with Cleveland, was happy with the performance of his new irons, the true blade CG Tour. Said Overton yesterday: "Had a great ball striking week last week, just switched to Cleveland irons and they worked very well. I think we were in the top-10 in ball striking and some of the stats last week, greens hit and fairways hit." For the record, Overton was eighth in driving accuracy and T-10 in greens in regulation at the Sony Open in Hawaii.

Stewart Cink told a story to the media of a recent Tweet about a buddy's new grips. "Well, it's a guy I play golf with down in Boca last week, and I know him and he told me he had to regrip his ball retriever," said Cink, who has 1.2 milion followers on his Twitter page. "I thought that was kind of entertaining, that means the guy's hitting a lot of golf balls into the water."

That Twitter, it's hilarious, isn't it?

As for his own game, Cink is using a new set of Nike VR Pro Combo irons, a Silver Medal winner on the 2011 Golf Digest Hot List (upright lie angles and a quarter-inch overlength on the pitching wedge, according to Nike); a new VR Pro driver (9.5 loft), a Gold Medal winner on the 2011 Golf Digest Hot List; and a new Nike 20X1 ball. "It is a new year, and it definitely feels like a new year," he said.

See more on Cink's changed game here. He tells the Times Daily (Florence, Ala.) about his preparations with the new golf ball: "I'm a tester. I'm probably the guy who tests the most. I like to get in there and dig around and learn about it. You are looking for predictability with your golf ball.

Then, of course, there's Charley Hoffman. Perhaps fitting of his retro long locks and trucker-style hat, he has stayed old school with his golf ball. He's still using the 2007 version of the Titleist Pro V1, instead of switching to the new Titleist Pro V1, which began showing up on tour late last fall and should be in stores next month. "I use the softest ball that Titleist has. I'm actually using a '07. I use the softest ball that Titleist has. ... I'm a guy that I guess that I don't really need as much distance as the X ball or harder ball. So that's why I use the '07 golf ball."

Hoffman makes a point even mediocre amateur players should consider. If you've got a particular characteristic that's important to you in a golf ball, put that at the top of a hierarchy in your search. If you want soft as your top priority, find the softest ball out there that doesn't sacrifice the other areas of your game that might also be important. For example, if it's distance, choose the softest ball that you consistently hit the farthest. It's just another reason why you might want to get some advice from a quality fitter.

--Mike Stachura