Nelly Korda Gets Her New Gear Dialed In Just In Time
By Adam Stanley
Nelly Korda of the United States plays her shot from the third tee during the first round of the CME Group Tour Championship at Tiburon Golf Club on November 17, 2022 in Naples, Florida. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
Nelly Korda isn’t one to necessarily nerd out on equipment, but whenever something new finds its way into her bag, she tends to have some pretty quick success.
When Nelly switched to the TSI1 in February of last year – just a couple weeks after officially becoming a Titleist ambassador earlier in the month – she won the Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio.
She then won the 2021 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship – as part of a triumphant season on the LPGA Tour that also included winning the Olympic gold medal – using the Titleist TSI1 driver.
Nelly switched to Titleist’s brand new TSR1 driver just prior to this year’s Pelican Women’s Championship, and she won.
According to J.J. Van Wezenbeeck, Director of Player Promotions for Titleist, the company moved mountains in order to get Korda the new TSR1 in her bag as soon as they could after a fitting session showed the world No.1 gaining a bunch of distance and ball speed.
“We saw this opportunity… we knew we had this product that would help her and provide her ball speed, so I have to go to the R&D team because I can’t not give Nelly product that we think will help her play better,” said Van Wezenbeeck.
The new TSR1 line of metalwoods from Titleist is set to be released in the early part of the new year. Titleist, Van Wezenbeeck said, moved up the USGA approval process in order to make sure Korda was able to play it when she did. The initial plan, he explained, was to get the TSR1 line onto the USGA’s conforming list in December for a 2023 release. That was accelerated he said, and, with a smile, said the left-handed versions of the driver didn’t even go on the list until Nov. 21.
“She wins and we were like, ‘how we do we get more’ because I only had a couple to give to Nelly and the phone started ringing and everyone else wants to try it,” said Van Wezenbeeck with a laugh.
Van Wezenbeeck said as Korda was coming back from injury – she was off the course for a few months earlier in the year as she recovered from a blood clot in her arm and corresponding surgery – she was trying to ramp up her speed gains. Her launch conditions weren’t perfect anymore either.
“As good as we think (her swing) looks, she is in the details of how to make it better, so as that changes we saw an opportunity to improve spin and launch and in that we were able to find some ball speed, too,” said Van Wezenbeeck.
“She’s adding real distance back into her bag (after her injury) which allows her a big competitive advantage.”
The Pelican Women’s Championship was Korda’s first event with the TSR1 driver (and fairway wood) in the bag and she led the field in Total Driving (distance plus accuracy) on the week. Korda averaged 272 yards off the tee for the season, making her one of the Tour’s longest already. She said she was gaining 5-10 yards per pop her first week with the TSR1, giving her a ton of momentum off the tee heading into the 2023 campaign.
And not only is Korda playing well, but she’s going to be looking good as well as J. Lindeberg launched its first collaboration with Korda during the week of the LPGA Tour’s season finale. Korda and the Swedish clothing giant have been partners for two years and this new collection features 17 pieces of lifestyle apparel.
“The collection is inspired by the woman Nelly Korda, not just the golfer,” said J.Lindeberg Head of Design Neil Lewty a release. “The clothes are made to be worn and enjoyed both on and off the course.”
Korda rocked a few of the pieces herself during the CME Group Tour Championship. She said with a laugh that ‘Nelly Korda’ is indeed hidden throughout the pieces and she picked the green and blue colours because, with a laugh, she said that’s what golfers like.
“I got a really cool opportunity with J.Lindeberg to drop a capsule. We worked on a couple of pieces, a few shirts, few dresses, some hoodies, sweats, joggers. And it was really cool to kind of see the other side of that and I’m super grateful that they even just gave me the opportunity,” said Korda. “It’s cool to kind of give my little touch to a clothing line.
“It kind of plays off my life, too. Obviously I play golf. I work out. All of that is kind of in that line, but it’s also fun, and there’s also some chill clothing in there… it just kind of all represents me.”
So, whether it’s rocking her own clothing or swinging a new driver – that was made public early just for her – the 2021 KPMG Women’s PGA Champion heads into the off-season of 2022 with gear that is totally dialed.
“That’s the interesting part working with an elite athlete like her,” said Van Wezenbeeck. “They’re always trying to get better.”