What new gear are you putting in the bag this year?

The Scoop

Is your bag due an upgrade? The NCG team discuss what new equipment they've got their eyes on for 2018 in The Niggle

Mark Townsend: I’d like a new driver. I’m 47, my body doesn’t work, I can barely swing it at 100mph, my hamstring pings on every 1st tee, and I’m a shadow of my one-time self. Once upon a time my nickname was ‘Bomber’ due to my ability to muscle one out there and into the trees. I need help off the tee, I’m going backwards and it hurts like hell.

James Savage: I think the new Callaway Rogue will be right in your wheelhouse Mark. I’m actually quite excited at the thought. It will be the ideal replacement for your XR16. I’ve never been so sure about anything in my life.

Mark Townsend: Make it happen. I’m a fitter’s dream

Craig Middleton: I’ve put the Callaway Epic in – probably my favourite club in the bag. Not sure if I’ll change, could be tempted with the Cobra F8 but that’s based on looks and not performance.

James Savage: Hard to argue against the Epic. Even in our early testing of 2018 product it really does take some beating.

Craig Middleton: When I get it out the middle it’s tremendous. Haven’t hit anything yet that I’ve found better for me.

Ping G400 Lee Westwood

James Savage: Although I am very excited by the new Ping G400 Max driver and will probably go with this at the start of the year.

Tom Irwin: I have gone for the G400 woods. The sound is amazing and a ludicrous step forward from the crashing sound of previous Ping drivers. The smaller head is also way better, and feels easier to swing quickly. I got quite a nifty fairway that is a 5 wood head with a 3 wood shaft which gives me much better launch from the fairway but without sacrificing loads of distance and a good gap to my 17 hybrid which I can flight much lower, and is a kind of 2-iron replacement.

Alex Perry: Always been a Ping loyalist since my grandad gave me my first hand-me-downs so it’s nice to be back with them. The Anser 2 putter in slate is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.

James Savage: It was nice to see get fitted into some clubs which were made this century. I’m expecting big things. Don’t let Ping down.

Mark Townsend: Thought you had some Titleist up to about two months ago?

Alex Perry: Come on now you know the story. I had a set of Ping G25s and a set of Titleist AP1s, which I kept back home at my folks’ place. Sadly, the G25s were adopted by some thieving sub-human scum from south London.

Mark Townsend: Lee Westwood doesn’t keep a set of AP1s at home.

Alex Perry: Lee Westwood wasn’t spending two-thirds of his salary each month on a one-bed in Wimbledon.

Mark Townsend: I didn’t know that story, though, and sorry to hear it. My back-up set are some AP2s. We’re so alike – but I’m a bit better at golf than you.

Dustin Johnson WITB 2018

James Savage: The new TaylorMade M4 3-wood is bonkers. Nearly 20 yards longer than everything else I’ve tested so far. Irons are the dilemma for me. Torn between the Ping G400 and Titleist 718 AP1. Every time I get set on one, I fall back in love with the other.

Craig Middleton: Mix and match? You aren’t contracted are you?

James Savage: Don’t be stupid. That’s not a thing.

Tom Irwin: I have scratched a long term itch to return to blades irons with Titleist MB 6-PW and CB 4 and 5. At my Ping fitting we gapped from the 4-iron which means I am much happier that I have got sensible gaps at the top end, which was a long term problem I really wanted to solve. The irons are amazing, I have hit loads of balls this winter and played a fair bit and the extra loft, and thinner sole seems to help me.

James Savage: What about clothing?

Alex Perry: I looked at an Under Armour sweater on their website ONCE and now every page I open is filled with glorious UA clothing. I didn’t even know a “slacket” was a thing but I want it.

James Savage: I’d quite like one of those Rickie Fowler Hawaiian shirts for a stag do.

Tom Irwin: Just get a Hawaiian shirt. Mark will have one from The Hacienda or Sutin.

Mark Townsend: Didn’t wear a top of any kind. More likely a Stussy t-shirt. Now I’m more about Henrik Stenson’s knitwear.

Rickie Folwer untucked shirt

James Savage: I’m going to start a golf apparel company with a ‘90s rave theme. You’d carry your balls in a record bag.

Mark Townsend: Yellow smiley golf balls would fly off the shelves in winter.

Alex Perry: There’s a laser/rangefinder joke here.

James Savage: Speaking of which, I’ve heard exciting rumours of a new Bushnell hybrid laser rangefinder. It’s been about five years since the last one.

Mark Townsend: Yes, given I’ve played golf the last six months using a wheel to get my yardages a rangefinder would rock my world.

James Savage: Playing golf without a laser is like going back to the dark ages.

Dan Murphy: Bushnell discontinuing the original hybrid has led to me implementing a dual-DMD strategy in recent years. Still feels like a bit of a fudge. The original was a great product but doubtless the GPS function will be better on this new model.

Alex Perry: My laser is something else that went in the great golf robbery of 2015. You can never have enough lasers.

James Savage: Gloves and tees are the two things I’d most like to have an endless supply of.

Mark Townsend: I have hundreds of tees if you want to swap for a laser. I’ll throw in 50 practice balls and a Galvin Green windbreaker.

James Savage: No thanks.

Mark Townsend: Some Puma size 11s from the 2011 Open?

Tom Irwin: Not this again.

James Savage: Not what?

Tom Irwin: He always attempts to trade his Galvin windbreaker, normally to Dan who can’t get out of his house because of Galvin windbreakers.

James Savage: It is practically a currency.

Mark Townsend: I was just trying to be nice. Have you organised my driver fitting yet?

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