The NCG team put their gear heads on and take a wander down memory lane
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 your favourite piece of new equipment from 2021?
Hannah: Can I cheat and pick two? In the first half of the season, it had to be the TaylorMade SIM2 Max driver which combined with the new KBS TD shaft gave me a serious increase in distance and accuracy off the tee.
Then in the autumn came the Titleist T100S irons which are a standout. They just tick all the boxes. I love the compact, tour-inspired design, but these are packed full of technology to give me that extra distance I need.
Dan: I thought that, liked ripped jeans, I had reached the end of the road with rescue clubs. Then I hit the Ping G425 hybrids and compared the numbers with various long irons and fairway woods. Two things became apparent: one was that this hybrid was far more consistent in terms of both dispersion and distance; the other was that it didn’t, contrary to my preconception, go left on me any more often than with the other clubs I was trying. It’s been in the bag ever since.
Alex: For my entire life I have battled what my friends so lovingly call a “power fade” with my driver. So when I got my hands on the Ping G425 LST and TaylorMade SIM2 Max D, my game was changed forever.
Suddenly I’m finding fairways and setting up putts for birdies instead of bogeys. I feel like I’m reborn. But which is in my bag? Well, I’m more consistent with the G425, so that. But the SIM2 is several yards longer, so that goes in if I’m playing a wide-open course with a few more grip-it-and-rip-it opportunities.
Steve: Any clubs that add 15 yards are staying in my bag and I’ve never regretted adding the Cobra Radspeed irons. A short hitter has become an average one. Oh, and the putter isn’t bad, either. Happy days.
You’re an up and coming tour star and free agent, which would you choose for driver, woods, irons, wedges, putter, apparel and shoes?
Hannah: If my current set-up is anything to go by it would be a seriously mixed bag. One thing’s for sure my trusty Ping hybrids would be keeping their place. After that it would be hard to get rid of my Vokey wedges, while I love my TaylorMade SIM2 Max driver, then it’s a toss-up between TaylorMade and Titleist for the irons. I may go Bryson DeChambeau-style and have a quirky putter brand like SIK or LAB. As for apparel and shoes, cover me in the three stripes of Adidas.
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 I’ll always wear FootJoy on 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 golf 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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