Professional golfers change clubs for a variety of reasons. Some try new clubs to improve their overall game, or to make a temporary change based on the course they’re playing. Others use a certain manufacturer’s clubs because they’re paid to endorse the equipment. Still others change with the times, replacing long irons with hybrids, for example. But there is no fixed pattern or time frame within which PGA Tour pros typically change clubs. The decision on which clubs to use is a personal choice for each pro.
Major golf manufacturers spend a great deal of time and effort to convince PGA Tour pros to use their clubs. Sponsor-based changes typically occur in the off-season. Players under contract may not have to use a sponsor’s full line of clubs, however. For example, some contracts may only require a player to use the sponsor’s irons, leaving the golfer free to continue using a favorite driver, putter or wedge.
Other than his putter, Vijay Singh sticks with his clubs as long as they’re functional. In 2004, he told “Golf Digest” that he doesn’t change irons “until the grooves are gone,” which takes about six months. Like many players, he’s more willing to change his putter to look for an edge. He switched from a conventional putter to a belly putter around 2002, but he said he still kept a shorter putter handy in 2004, even though he wasn’t using it at that time. His overall approach to all his clubs, he said, was to keep using the clubs that were “working the best.”
Tiger Woods’s Putter
Tiger Woods, famous for using a Scotty Cameron putter throughout his career, made golf equipment headlines when he switched to a putter made by his chief sponsor, Nike, the week of the 2010 British Open. He used the new club for three rounds, then switched back to his former putter for the fourth round. Woods used both putters at different times over the next year.
Among the PGA Tour pros willing to make frequent club changes is Phil Mickelson. Not only has Mickelson played clubs from several different sponsors during his career, he said he’s willing to make week-to-week changes, asserting, “I’m always looking for some type of advantage.” For example, he uses a 3-iron at windy British Open courses to hit low shots, but he used a 5-wood instead of a 3-iron at the 2012 Shell Houston Open because “the ground is soft.”