Golf equipment usage on the European Tour

Michael Hoey
Getty Images
Michael Hoey uses a driver with only 8.5 degrees of loft, which is even less loft than the European Tour average.
By John Holmes
PGA.com

Series: Golf Buzz

The 2013 professional golf season has rounded the curve and is heading down the final stretch. As we await the FedExCup playoffs on the PGA Tour and, a little later, the final events of the Race to Dubai on the European circuit, here are some interesting stats from the first 20 events on the European Tour. 

I haven't seen corresponding stats from the PGA Tour, but I would suspect they're fairly similar. These stats, by the way, come from SMS, the company that surveys equipment usage on the European Tour:

--The average loft of drivers is 9.0 degrees
--The average loft of fairway woods is 15.0 degrees
--The average loft of hybrids is 18.4 degrees

That 9-degree loft for drivers just shows that most professionals generate much more clubhead speed than most of the rest of us. 

--The average number of fairway woods in each bag was 1.18
--The average number of hybrids and/or utility irons in each bag was 1.06

No surprises here. Most professionals generally carry a driver, a 3-wood and a hybrid. 

--0.07% of players used a 2-iron
--52.2% of players used a 3-iron

The lack of 2-irons isn't shocking, but maybe the fact that only half the players use a 3-iron on a given day is a little eyebrow-raising. It just confirms that the pros also have eschewed long irons in favor of hybrids, and most professionals carry three or four wedges.

--The average loft of a sand wedge is 53.6 degrees
--31.5% of sand wedges are 52 degrees
--36.7% of sand wedges are 54 degrees

--The average loft of a lob wedge is 59.2 degrees
--38.2% of loft wedges are 58 degrees
--55.6% of lob wedges are 60 degrees

--A 64-degree wedge has been used 16 times

-- 8.6% of players used a long/belly putter

The usage of long and belly putters was said to be as high as 20 percent at the height of the craze a year or so ago, but clearly many of the professionals who tried long putters have reverted to standard-length models – likely in large part because of the forthcoming ban on the anchor putting stroke. One stat I’d love to see going forward is how many players have and will move to counter-weighted putters, which to me provide much of the same feel as long putters do while also allowing golfers to swing them normally.

Players have used:
--45 different models of golf ball from 11 different brands
--88 different models of drivers from 18 different brands
--360 different models of putters from 30 different brands

Two quick thoughts. One is that, even with all the different types of golf balls reported, a good 70 or 80 percent of the players use Titleist ProV1 or Pro V1x balls. So obviously even the balls in third, fourth or fifth place in the count are only being used by a handful of players.

Second, that putter stat illustrates what we all know – even the game's elite players switch putters in and out all the time. This reminds me of a stat I saw about a year ago, which showed that 35 players at the European Tour's 2012 Johnnie Walker Championship in Scotland used a different putter than they did in their previous start. No club in the bag is as personal, and as fickle, as the flatstick.

 


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