Friday, May 16, 2008

Allenby_2 Don't let the air-pillow brace on Robert Allenby's right forearm fool you. This Aussie is no easy-swinging plinker. Behind his visor and trademark sunglasses, Allenby is one of the PGA Tour's premier sharpshooters.
"I'm always hitting a fair amount of greens," he said on the range at TPC Sawgrass last week. He is one of the leaders in greens in regulation this season, hitting 69.72% and ranking fifth in the category on Tour.
"I’m not really finicky about my irons, but I love what I've got," he said. However, the irons he has -- Srixon Forged I701 Tour irons -- are unique for two reasons.
First, while it's not uncommon for Tour pros to have their irons custom-made, Allenby's irons have additional metal added to the toe to make the heads three millimeters longer than standard I701s. Three millimeters is .118 inches, or about the length of the lead on a sharpened pencil. "It's enough so that when I look down at it, the club is the way I like it."
This adjustment is done to the irons in their raw state, before they have been sanded and chromed. But as minuscule as the adjustment is, it shifts the center of gravity (CG) of Allenby's irons subtly toward the toe. "In most forged irons, the CG is in a little, toward the hosel, from the center," says Srixon's Dean Teykl. "What this does is push it out more toward the center."
Second, Allenby's current set has slightly less offset than his previous set. And for a player who likes to maneuver the ball, that makes a big difference.
"I've noticed that I hit these irons a lot straighter," he said. "I used to draw the ball a lot, and I think it was because of the offset."
The more offset a club has, the more it promotes a right-to-left ball flight for right-handed players. Golfers who battle a slice, like many mid- and high-handicap players, benefit from offset because their shots tend to fly straighter. But as Allenby explained, that offset works against players who want to work the ball from left to right.
"I found it hard to hit a cut with offset clubs, which is only natural because when you open it up the clubface is still a little bit shut. Because these clubs are a little more onset, I think it's easier to hit a cut or a fade, which is great because I feel like I can bring the ball down a little softer into the greens by hitting it with a cut. I feel like I am hitting them just a little bit higher."
Allenby is old school, and when the topic of hybrids comes up, the classic Aussie tough guy in him really comes out. "S--- no, I don't carry a hybrid. Those are the worst clubs. I've got a 5-wood."
Because the rough on the Tour courses is so thick, Allenby admits that hitting a 4- or 5-iron is tough, but, "You can choke down on the 5-wood and get it down in there. With a 5-wood, it doesn't matter. It can be sitting in a hole, it can be sitting in a divot in the fairway, and you can still hit a normal shot."
And this marksman's normal shots find the dance floor. (Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

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