Charl Schwartzel burst on the scene in 2011 when he triumphed at the Masters. I had the opportunity to speak with the 31-year old South African fresh off his sudden-death victory at the Valspar Championship. Schwartzel recently put a new driver, 3-wood, putter and ball in play. And, he has plenty to say about them. Here are excerpts from our chat.
On his new Nike RZN Tour Platinum ball: I had problems switching to the original RZN ball because of the distance I got off the putter. It was a very loud kick noise that came off the ball but the cover was soft so what I felt and the distance that it was going were not the same. The new ball is a little better sound-wise. It's not a loud high-pitched kick. It's a little more dull but not so soft that you can't hear it. And with the new putter, the combination is really good. It's a more solid sound so the feedback that you're getting from sound to feel is very spot on.
On his new Nike Method Origin prototype putter: It's been a big step forward for me, personally. When I do testing, most of the time I just hit five to 10 putts in a direction and I'm able to tell you where they are. This one is pretty much spot on all the time. With the new putter, the roll is so much better. I think they've compensated by moving on the grooves and the feel of the putter. When I make a stroke, the ball gets to where I think it should get.
On his new Nike Vapor Fly Pro driver: The driver is a major improvement. I'm getting more carry than in the past. I've been able to add almost 2° of loft to the driver and somehow they've been able to get the spin rate down, which is the perfect combination for extra distance. I'm carrying it almost 10 yards further and still getting roll out of it so I've gained a lot of distance, and accuracy. It says 11.5° but the real loft is probably about 10.5°. I had been playing a 9.2° loft in my previous driver.
Driver: Nike Vapor Fly Pro (11.5° adjusted to 10.5°) with Aldila Rogue Silver 70x shaft
Fairway Wood: Nike Vapor Fly (13°) with Aldila Rogue Silver 80x shaft
Irons: Nike MM Prototype (2), Nike Vapor Pro Combo (3, 5-PW) with True Temper Dynamic Gold SL X100 shaft
Wedges: Nike Vapor Pro Combo (50°), Nike VR Forged (54° and 60°) with True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 shaft
Putter: Nike Method Origin prototype
Ball: Nike RZN Tour Platinum
Shoes: Nike Lunar Control 4
Driver: 296 yards
3-wood: 265 yards
2-iron/5-wood: 240 yards
3-iron: 225 yards
5-iron: 210 yards
6-iron: 200 yards
7-iron: 190 yards
8-iron: 178 yards
9-iron: 160 yards
PW: 145 yards
GW: 130 yards
SW: 110 yards
LW: 80 yards