If you want clubs like Phil's and Ernie's....

...you can, with Callaway 'Tour Authenticated' equipment

Posted 11 June 2008
by Bob Warters

callaway golf
Tour Authentic Callaway FT-5 driver

Precision-made equipment designed and engineered specifically for the likes of Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els and other world-class Tour professionals, is being made available for the first time to club golfers by Callaway Golf.

Callaway says the Tour Authentic equipment is aimed at highly accomplished, discerning players wanting to play the same clubs used by the best players in the world.

“We know there is a small but dedicated segment of golfers who want the products specifically designed for our Staff Professionals,” says Neil Howie, Callaway Golf Europe's managing director. “Tour Authentic products, which we are making available in strictly limited numbers, represent a special opportunity to own precisely the same equipment used by Tour pros and experience the highest level of performance custom-fitted to your own specifications.”

Callaway irons
Prototype irons used by Mickelson and Els

Among the drivers available in July will by an identical 7.5 degree FT-i square-headed club as used by Ernie Els. This low loft version has its Titanium Cup face slightly open for enhanced shot-shaping. It's priced at £579.

Tour players prefer drivers that appear to be slightly open at address, and this is precisely how the Tour Authentic version of the popular FT-5 Tour driver has been designed, using a special TH (Tour) hosel, which is placed closer to the face for less face progression.

Two lofts will be available (8.5 or 9.5 degrees), with Fusion technology and OptiFit weighting system allowing for a customised ball flight to increase distance and accuracy. Priced at £529 it's currently used by Thomas Björn, Anton Haig and Emanuel Canonica.

The X-Prototype irons designed by legendary clubmaker Roger Cleveland, with forged X-Musclebacks have been an instant hit with Phil Mickelson and Els both of whom demand consistent, soft feel for precise distance judgement. As great ball-strikers, Niclas Fasth, Alvaro Quiros and Marcel Siem also appreciate the thin top line, narrow sole and shorter blade length optimum ball flight and trajectory throughout a set which will cost £1,099 this month.

Callaway wedges
Callaway X-forged wedges

Fasth, Oliver Wilson and Nick Dougherty are among those using the Callaway X-Tour Utility iron (£179) which Callaway says can give the elite player a powerful and versatile alternative to the fairway wood or traditional long iron.

Mickelson, Graeme McDowell and Michael Campbell, meanwhile, are among those who have taken quickly to the X-Forged wedges, bearing the versatile and distinctive PM (Mickelson) sole grind and what the world's greatest left-hander calls Mack Daddy grooves. Price is £139 for 58 and 60-degree lofts.

Other Tour Authentic products from Callaway Golf include three putters - the Odyssey Tour milled (£269), the Odyssey Two-ball (£199) and the Odyssey Marxman 224 Blade (£199).


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Have you ever used clubs specifically made for a Tour pro and wondered how they manage to hit them with such power and consistency with their poker-like shafts and massive grips? Tell us your experiences.

Posted: 11/06/2008 at 17:41

A greenkeeper i work with used to play on a lower tour and ive gave his callaway fti a good smack but the shaft has NO kickpoint or be it very little.. something to do with his hands.

Posted: 11/06/2008 at 17:59

I actually Started playing the game seriously with a set of Bernard Gallaghers own Petron TP100 Tour Blades,

I bought them off of a friend of his in about 1986 at driving range he owned and who was selling off all his old equipment.

They had the first verion of the now very popular Dynamic Gold S300 shafts in them and I could play quite well with them. (I was younger and fitter then)

I even managed to get down to an 11 hcp and until a motorbike accident put pay to my tour aspirations (I am joking by the way) I was very happy with them!

I sold them on to a mate for £150 in around 2000 and he still uses them now. I occasionally have a smack with them and they are as good to hit today as I remember all those years ago, And the Bugger won't sell them back to me even though I've offered him what he paid me for them.

Posted: 11/06/2008 at 18:12

I have had a go with a diver that Im told was made for a European tour pro, a chap at our club was friends with his farther and managed to blag it. I was quite surprised that it wasn't like the tree trunk i was expecting and just about usable....ish, the loft was quite low 8.5*.

I was told the pro could hit this club 290 yards , I managed a slice about 180 at the most!! I think I will leave the tour clubs alone for a little while yet or at least till my handicap hits +3

Posted: 11/06/2008 at 18:24

I've got a pro mate and regularly hit his clubs on the practice ground. I'm fine with his irons which are TM MBs and he actually re-shafted them with the shafts I have (TT Black Golds), having hit my clubs. His grips are much bigger but feel comfy enough for me to have increased my grip size a bit. I've hit his 3w and rescue ok-ish but his driver is like a iron rod as far as I'm concerned and I can't get any feel or decent strike from it - always a low cut. He hits it miles straight but I have been past him a couple of times with my reg Burner. His is the TP. I have been off line many, many, many more times than he ever is though..... I do hit his putter equally effectively as he does I'm proud to say...

Posted: 11/06/2008 at 18:38

I owned an ex- Juctin Rose rescue wood, 16* TM with a scaffold pole for a shaft (I believe it was a Proj X 7.3), on the rare occassion I got it airbourne it hit these low bullets. Was too much for me.

Had an ex- Darren Clarke SW that was well just a rather old SW, nothing special to it.

Have one of Vijay Singh's putters that he used in the Open at St Andrews. Thats quite nice, has a Prototype Fujikura putter shaft in black. Cant putt with it, maybe neither could Vijay which is why he got rid of it.

Posted: 11/06/2008 at 20:22

All the pros I know use standard cavity backs and S300s, not all are even adjusted for lies. 690 MBs, 735s, 695s and X Tours, no blades, no poker sticks, but yes, bizarrely they all like fatter grips. Always amazes me how one extra layer of tape, .004 of an inch or whatever, can be the difference between a big draw or slice They are funny animals pros.

Vijays driver is 6 degrees open, very similar to Hogans, and he used XXX shafts to boot.

Posted: 11/06/2008 at 20:45

How do you go about laying your hands on ex-pro's gear (not that I'm after any, just out of curiostiy!)? Is it something that you pick up n a pro shop and the pro says 'you'll never guess whos that putter/driver/jockstap (hopefully not?!?!) that used to be?!?

BB

Posted: 11/06/2008 at 21:07

Just ask at a pro shop, they all get them for free, even club pros. I know some are totally anal about gear, very much so, but all the ones I know aren't, although the one thing that they have in common is they know EXACTLY what they like and stick with it.

Posted: 11/06/2008 at 21:18

A chap I know is a buddy of Michael Campbell's caddy...he turned up at Bowood one day with of Campos drivers in his bag...

As Creo said, the shaft had as much life in it as a scaffold pole...I could get any "action" out of it at all!

(I know my place....)

Posted: 11/06/2008 at 23:02

I have an ex Sergio Garcia original Tour Y cutter SW, which I still play but changed the shaft to a softer PX and I love it. It was originally counterbalanced and felt superb to swing. I also have a set of Miura forged RAC MBs, which ive just been told by a US buyer, came from a US Senior Tour Player and another set of Miura 2004 RAC Combo heads from the TM Tour van, which are almost too beautiful to hit. Im scared of dinging them up )

I have bought a fair few Tour Issue clubs etc and I set them up to suit my game. I have just got hold of two Tour Issue TM drivers as the COG is set up for a low fade, and the face is square or sits slightly open at address, which is what im after. I also had Thomas Bjorn's X flex VTLT shaft pull installed a while back and it was a pole but a fairway finder.

There is loads of ex Tour Pro stuff about off US forums and Ebay, as caddies are always flogging it off.

Posted: 11/06/2008 at 23:21

I played recently with Alfredo Garcia Heredia´s brother, Alejandro, (great bloke, really down to earth and super friendly and chatty) and he had one of his brother´s old drivers in his bag. Titleist head, can´t remember which, and Diamana shaft, 83gramms, x-stiff, with  torque near the club head (unusual, I thought it would be nearer the grip...apparently Tiger´s driver is set up the same - ??). Anyway, we played at El Cueto in León (brilliant course, stunning) accompanied by Steve Parlée, a USPGA pro from Atlanta, and I hit two tee shots with the aforementioned club. "Missile" is the word that comes to mind right now. Just awesome feel to the club, a real "cheat stick" as Sam T says. I could just feel the clubhead right through the whole swing, it was almost as if the club played the shots and I was just connected to the grip end! LOL. Needless to say, superb trajectory and ball flight, straight as a ruler, 292 metres on 1st tee. Awesome, just awesome. However, the most interesting thing is it has now made me think really seriously about getting properly custom fitted for some new clubs, because the experience just blew my mind!

Posted: 12/06/2008 at 12:05

@ bunker boy.  For example:   http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Callaway-X-Prototype-Irons-tour-issue-van-3-PW_W0QQitemZ200230472570QQihZ010QQcategoryZ115280QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

Posted: 12/06/2008 at 12:59

and tell me what makes those ebay clubs legit....

Sorry but anyone can, and often will put added things in to sell their gear. Personally I would not buy 'ex-pro' stuff from ebay unless your 110% sure it is gen.

One day someone might prove it's fake and you realise you were robbed for alot of your hard earned cash.... 

Posted: 12/06/2008 at 14:10

Tour issue, off the tour van, from a pro, Ebay is full of bullshit. Its meaningless on many cases, the top guys have hand picked gear, highly personalised and of course checked ten times over to make sure its right, so if indeed its tour issue you can be sure the lofts and flex etc will be as described.

But they are if you buy of someone like Exmax. You don't have to fall for the bollocks they call 'the tour van' and pay through the nose.

Posted: 12/06/2008 at 14:13

Plenty of good Tour Issue deals off Ebay and US web sites but you do have to be sure you know what you want or exactly what suits your spec. Heads are often subtly built for some Pro and it could be a LPGA player of some minor Tour player, its not all PGA Tour stuff. Top Pros will get lots of clubs built for them, all subtly different and most will be rejected and flogged off, the rest kept as back ups.  You need to trust the source and they need to have detailed info on its spec or be prepared to find out, eg face angle at address, true loft rather than stated loft on head, head weight, T serial No and Beta tested for conformity etc etc

Its harder to sell fake Tour Issue gear on Ebay, methinks, cos the peeps who buy it are very nerdy about it and will sniff out a dodgy one quickly and its quite easy to identify and check due to subtle differerences in manufacture. Its far more likely that major OEM retail gear is faked, as peeps are a bit more price conscious and want the cheapest deal going.

Posted: 12/06/2008 at 14:37

Remember, you are buying ex-tour/pro gear that a pro has rejected for some reason wherever you buy it from !

Btw...I have one of Els' 983K drivers and there is nothing too special or radical about it.

Posted: 12/06/2008 at 14:43

rgjusa,

I know that pros have much better hand release than us amateurs (I've mostly cured my hook with fatter grips) but is that the basic reason, apart from pure comfort, for the big grips? My mate has got bigger paws than me but his grips seem huge though I find them very good and I take a ladies medium glove!

Posted: 12/06/2008 at 15:14

Interesting point about Pros using fatter grips. I spent a while with a mate who works in the Euro Pro Tour Van and many of the Pros seem to ask for a half strip from the bottom up, to take out some of the grip and shaft taper. I tried it out recently and it does feel a bit better. I might even experiement with taking all the taper out with tape build up on a test club, like those US release grips. Wondered if anybody had tried them.

Posted: 12/06/2008 at 17:34

I've re done all mine with Karakal grips from gamola which are a bit thicker. I've tinkered with the wedges by having three layers on the bottom third, two in the middle and one at the top to take some of the taper out. Quite easy to do and they feel pretty good.

Posted: 12/06/2008 at 21:21

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