Sit back and enjoy George Cooper's round-up of the most unusual gear selections by the game's biggest names
While the Rules of Golf state that players are allowed a maximum of 14 clubs in the bag, how each golfer chooses to make that up is then down to them (within reason of course).
Over the years we’ve been exposed to some truly fascinating equipment choices, sometimes even from the world’s very best. From razor thin irons to double-digit woods, here are 10 of the most unconventional equipment choices ever used on tour…
Turn it up to 11
Maverick McNealy raised eyebrows when his new Callaway Apex MB irons were pictured with two unusual additions – a 10- and an 11-iron. Replacing his pitching wedge and gap wedge, McNealy explained he wanted his iron set to “flow as smoothly as possible” into the wedges.
You may remember Charles Coody winning the Masters in 1971 with a 10-iron in his bag. The 11-iron, though? Answers on a postcard.
On a similar theme, Michelle Wie West has never been shy of an unusual bag set-up, sometimes using up to five woods to replace her long irons at various events.
But most eye-catching has been the American’s choice of an 11-wood to replace her 5-iron en route to winning her first major at the 2014 US Open.
A list of unconventional anything wouldn’t be complete without the Wild Thing John Daly.
If the thought of hitting a 1-iron doesn’t make you break out in a cold sweat, JD had a 0-iron produced for him during the 1990s. Offering 10-degrees of loft, the two-time major champ used his new creation at the 1996 US Open, leading to enough of a demand that Wilson were forced to produce a limited number of 0-irons for consumers.
“Most of the pros who’ve seen it don’t even want to touch it,” Daly told the Washington Post.
It’s hip to be square
Right. Be honest. Who wanted one of these bad boys when they dropped in 2007? Anyone?
The Nike Sasquatch Sumo Square was supposed to revolutionise the game, offering never-before-seen aerodynamics enabling golfers to hit the ball further and straighter. But resembling a yellow brick, it never took off, with Tiger Woods himself opting out of using his brand’s new product.
The Nike Sasquatch driver was not only a head-turner, it was super cool – and only Nike would attempt this.
And it produced two major winners during its short tenure – Stewart Cink at the 2009 Open, and Lucas Glover at the 2009 US Open.
Bryson’s The One
To be honest, Bryson DeChambeau could have a list of his own here. The so-called Mad Scientist has produced some outrageous creations in his pursuit of perfection, including oversized jumbo grips, a 4.8-degree driver, and a side-saddle putter.
But above all, DeChambeau’s use of single-length irons have gained the physics major most notoriety since he burst onto the scene in 2016.
Taking inspiration from Bobby Jones and Homer Kelly’s book, The Golfing Machine, DeChambeau has used Cobra’s one-length irons since 2011, with his 3-iron to his 60-degree wedge all shafted at 37.5 inches.
Compensating for loss of weight by adding lead to the heads, the identical lengths allow DeChambeau to achieve his desired one-plane swing.
Another player not afraid to throw something out there and see what sticks is Phil Mickelson.
Whether using a 64-degree wedge, taking driver out of his bag completely, or having Cleveland design his very own ‘Phrakenwedge’, the self-confessed gear nerd has tried it all.
But the move that perhaps paid off best was Lefty’s decision to put two drivers in play at the 2021 PGA Championship. It certainly wasn’t the first time he’d done it, but Mickelson had both a 5.5-degree Callaway Epic Speed and an 11.5-degree TaylorMade Mini One at Kiawah Island as he went on to lift the Wanamaker for a second time and became the oldest winner in major history.
And if you’ve got a player putting two drivers in the bag, you just know there’s someone putting two putters in…
Step forward Adam Scott.
The Aussie, who has struggled with the flat stick since the anchoring ban came into play in 2016, bagged two putters at the 2018 PGA Championship – a long Scotty Cameron centre-shafted mallet, and a standard-length Scotty Cameron Newport 2.
Pink is the new black
This next entry is bright pink, and yet it’s not even the craziest thing about it. Bubba Watson first bagged his classic neon driver in 2012, launching the product to help raise money for charity. But the customisation doesn’t stop there.
Aside from the pink shaft and head, Watson’s big stick reads “Made exclusively for Bubba” on the crown, with the lower third of the shaft tipped steel to accommodate his immense swing speed.
The American’s Ping G425 then weighs around 88 grams, has 7.6-degrees loft, and is complete with a ridiculous 10 wraps of tape underneath the grip. Good luck hitting that.
Short and sweet
This one will never fail to make us laugh. For years, Robert Garrigus has given us posture trauma by opting to use a 28-inch putter. For context, the standard length of a putter is anywhere between 33 and 36 inches. So if you’re wondering how Garrigus makes that work, here it is in all its glory…
Claiming it provided increased control and mobility, Garrigus first tried the putter in 1998 after a disastrous spell on the greens, and never looked back (or up), using the short stick to finish T3 at the 2011 US Open.
Jaco Van Zyl also used a tiny putter at the 2017 Joburg Open, but, well, just take a look at this because it needs to be seen to be believed…
If you’re wondering, Cleveland’s Smart Square Stubby putter is a training aid.
Hey, if it’s working for you in practice…
Do you or any of your golfing pals use anything particularly unusual when it comes to golf equipment? We’d love to hear from you. Get in touch, or send us a tweet.