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As the seven-time All-Star third baseman and captain of the New York Mets, David Wright is one of the more decorated baseball players of the century. Unfortunately, recurring back issues forced him to retire in 2018 after a 14-year major league career that included two Silver Slugger awards, two Gold Glove awards and three trips to the playoffs. Needing something to fill the void, Wright, 39, traded his 34-inch, 32-ounce Marucci baseball bat for golf clubs. “I instantly fell in love with the game. I can go practice, work on my short game, or play five or six holes by myself,” Wright said. “It’s the perfect fit. I needed something to work at, to accomplish some sort of goal. I’m ultra-competitive and want to see how the work I put in practice-wise can pay off.”
To help the process, in March, Wright was custom-fit for new clubs at the Ely Callaway Performance Center just up the road from Callaway Golf headquarters in Southern California. “It was my first time getting an in-depth, full bag fitting. I was so excited for it, like when you wake up on Christmas morning. It was amazing,” he said.
As one would expect, a guy who slugged 242 career home runs has no issue generating a powerful golf swing. “I’d trade some of the speed for finding the middle of the clubface [more often],” said Wright, a 7.1 handicap index at the time of the fitting.
During the fitting session, he teamed up with Gerritt Pon, R&D Club and Build Specialist, Callaway Golf. “David’s a high swing-speed player,” Pon said. “He has a shallow attack angle and kind of scoops the ball up into the air, which adds loft. So, he launches the ball high with a lot of spin.”
Based on those swing tendencies, Pon eliminated the company’s higher-spinning iron models right off the bat. As the fitting progressed, the field narrowed to two models: Apex Pro or Rogue ST Pro, which has a bigger head, lower center of gravity and slightly faster cup face. Even though Wright’s numbers on the launch monitor were slightly better with the Rogue ST Pro (see data below), he chose the Apex Pro. “I loved hitting the Rogue a little longer but went with Apex Pro because I have more room to grow with it as I improve,” he said. And, Pon concurred. “The Rogue ST Pro tested great on a flat driving range. But it might be a little too low spin in certain situations [i.e., rough, early-morning dew on the ball] for better players with faster swing speeds,” said Pon. “The Apex Pro offers more spin consistency and distance control for guys like David.” One more thing: Wright’s typical shot shape was a slight draw so Callaway’s club builders bent the lie angle (1° flat) to reduce the right-to-left curvature.
7-IRON: Rogue ST Pro vs. Apex Pro
Club speed (mph): 90.2 vs. 88.7
Ball speed (mph): 120.5 vs. 118.8
Spin rate (rpm): 6,935 vs. 7,425
Carry (yards): 163.7 vs. 160.2
Next, they set out to find a club to bridge the distance gap between the Apex Pro 4-iron (200-yard carry) and a fairway wood. Wright found his match with the X Forged UT (16°), which carried 220 yards. “It’s one of my favorite clubs in the bag,” he said. After the fitting, Callaway adjusted the loft in each iron to get the yardage gapping exactly where they want it.
Why fill the gap with a utility iron rather than hybrid? “I can use the driving iron off the tee or hit it off the deck. I’m more consistent with it than I’ve ever been with a hybrid. Plus, the hybrid flies too high and spins too much,” Wright said. His experience is fairly common among players with faster swing speeds. “The high-lofted hybrid can be inefficient on distance and tough to hit in the wind,” Pon added. “Plus, the driving iron won’t take off as fast [or fly as far] as a low-lofted hybrid and is more forgiving than a 2- or 3-iron.”
Moving to fairway woods, Wright quickly found a keeper in the Rogue ST LS 3+ (13.5°). “It was a no brainer. Usually, I’m erratic with the 3-wood. The first five swings with this one produced the perfect ball flight and the [launch monitor] numbers were spot on,” Wright said. One more takeaway: Impact location matters. On consecutive shots, he hit one low on the clubface and struck the next one high on the face. The difference was 1,000 rpm in backspin, 11 yards of carry and 20 yards total distance. “Once I made the conscious effort to try to hit more in the center, even a little above it, the ball started carrying much further with less spin,” he noted.
Golf’s version of Murderers’ Row might be Callaway’s stacked lineup of drivers. David Wright’s new lumber would be one of two low-spin (LS) models: Rogue ST Triple Diamond LS or Rogue ST Max LS. “I went back and forth. I really liked the setup, the look, of the Triple Diamond,” he admitted. “The numbers on the launch monitor were very similar [see below] but I could see the Triple Diamond was drawing more than I wanted. The Max LS was much straighter, more of a soft draw, so that’s the one I chose.” The data confirmed his findings. The spin axis (-17.1°) with Triple Diamond indicated a right-to-left curvature (draw) up to 20 yards compared to a couple yards of bend with the Max LS.
DRIVER: Rogue ST Triple Diamond LS vs. Rogue ST Max LS
Ball speed (mph): 161.7 vs. 162.0
Launch angle (degrees): 12.9° vs. 12.3°
Spin rate (rpm): 2,350 vs. 2,450
Spin axis (degrees): -17.1° vs. -1.2°
Carry (yards): 256.0 vs. 265.6
Total (yards): 295.0 vs. 297.0
You can check out David Wright’s full bag here.
Club and Ball specs:
Driver: Rogue ST Max LS 9.0°; Fuji Ventus Blue 7X, tipped 1”, -1/2” from standard length
Fairway wood: Rogue ST LS 3+; stock Tensei White 7X, standard length
UT: X Forged 2021 16°, bent to 16.5°, 59° lie; KBS Tour Proto hyb shaft, 95X, no tipping, 40” eog
Irons: Apex Pro 2021 4-P; 1° strong lofts, 1° flat lies; DG X100 tour issue, standard lengths
Wedges: JAWS Chrome 50S, 54S, 60X; DG S400 tour issue, standard lengths, 1° flat lies
Grips: Golf Pride Plus 4 Midsize. Swingweights: D3; wedges are D4.
Putter: Toulon Las Vegas
Golf Ball: Chrome Soft X LS
As for Wright, well, he’s thrilled with the new gear. “I shot 77 the second time out,” he said. “It’s my best score ever by two shots. I’m striking it better than I ever have. I’m hitting the irons one-half club longer and 10 yards longer with the driver. But the biggest difference is the lower, penetrating ball flight. I love them.”
Sounds like the new sticks are a home run. Grand slam, even?