The Best of 2012

Alex Jenkins turns his attention to the winners (and losers) over the past 12 months

Equipment of the Year

When it was confirmed that McIlroy would be playing his last tournament using Titleist clubs at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, before his expected – and purportedly highly lucrative – move to Nike equipment, the world number one quashed any doubts that this might affect his blistering form in rather surprising fashion. “I think all the manufacturers make great equipment nowadays and it’s all very similar – a lot of them get their clubs made at the same factories,” he said. What the head of public relations at Nike thought about this has not been recorded, but McIlroy is right in the sense that, unlike 15 years ago and before, golf gear has never been better.

And while our winner of this category in 2011 – the increasingly popular belly putter – has hit a snag given that the governing bodies have effectively banned its use from 2016 onwards, there is one piece of equipment which the pros continue to use in their droves: the Titleist Pro V1. The most-used ball on the PGA Tour, the European Tour, the Japanese Tour, the LPGA Tour and the Asian Tour, an estimated 60 per cent of professionals tee it up with a Pro V1 – or the Pro V1x – making it overwhelmingly the most popular piece of equipment in the game today. For those who can’t quite bring themselves to shell out the requisite HK$360 for a box of 12, we recommend the Titleist Velocity, which while lacking the same unparalleled feel of the Pro V1 around the greens, is still soft enough to generate spin and flies significantly longer. At nearly half the price of the Pro V1, the Velocity has found its way into an increasing number of amateurs’ bags since it was unveiled early last year.

Winner: Titleist Pro V1


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