Tour Issue Clubs

Tour Issue Explained

Golf is a game of exacting science. It is one that requires special skill and a deft touch. The world's best players need to be on their "A" game in every facet when they show up to the course. This includes having excellent technique, high level physical attributes, a strong mental approach, and quite importantly - proper fitting, top-shelf equipment.

Which clubs are "tour issue"?

Tour clubs have almost always had an identifying factor, whether it was a totally different headshape, or perhaps even just a serial number that began with a T. These differences were, and still are, brand dependent and have caused quite a stir over the last 2+ decades. TaylorMade for instance felt the need to change their identifier away from T serial numbers as they created too much demand from consumers. This caused them to move into ONLY a "+" symbol on the hosel for tour drivers, and from removing identifying factors from most fairway woods and hybrids. Now, the only way to tell a tour head vs. retail on TaylorMade's fairway woods and hybrids is the inclusion of a matching spec sticker.

Tour Issue Advantages

One of the biggest advantages of tour equipment is the ability to know exactly what specifications you are playing. Many tour clubs include spec stickers or recordings of some form that might include loft, lie, face angle, weight, and CT (a measurement of how "hot" the face is) measured to the tenth of a degree. Players are able to know exactly how open or closed the club face is and the true loft.

One manufacturer in particular focused a campaign several years ago on trying to get players to "loft up", or play a driver with more loft. While the idea was good in theory and measurable, players fought the urge to give in to their egos and use a driver that had more loft. This same manufacturer now has both retail and tour heads that average around 1* higher that the stated loft when actually measured. Most people playing retail clubs have no idea of this information...

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Another fun avenue of the tour club world are the prototype models. Recently, TaylorMade and Callaway have introduced heads to Tour players that may never be readily available for the general public. These include the TaylorMade Stealth + 16.5, the Stealth driver in 8*, as well as the Callaway Rogue ST Triple Diamond fairway wood. In a similar vein, Fujikura has introduced heavier weights in their Ventus line of shafts that are not available to the general public. Depending on demand from the retail market, these clubs and shafts may or may not make sense for the manufacturer to bring to retail.

As you can see, both heads are showing 15*. However, note the absence of a line between the 3 and 15* on the club on the right-hand side of the photo. This is how to distinguish the Stealth Plus HL version.

On this picture, the actual loft of the head on the right is 16.4*, vs. 15.4* for the standard Tour head. This 3HL Plus head is only available on tour and trough tour dealers like The Peoples Clubs.

This 8* Stealth head and Triple Diamond fairway wood are Tour only. These heads have never been offered to retail customers.

Lastly, and perhaps the greatest visible sign of "making it" on tour, some players have prototype clubs made just for them. These are built to match a specific player and their golf swing. Examples of these include Francesco Molinari's Callaway irons that were actually forged by Miura (only 3 sets were made by the Japanese forging house that was rumored to do a similar thing for one Tiger Woods), Adam Scott's custom Miura irons, and Abraham Ancer's custom fairway wood.

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As you can see, tour clubs have changed in look and identifying factors over time. What has remained however is the ability to dial in clubs to an even greater degree at the highest level. While more difficult to obtain, similar clubs are able to be purchased through companies that have relationship with Tour contacts, etc. It is important to know and trust your source as many of these clubs have been known to be knocked off over the years. Folks like Peoples Golf and Tour Stock Putters are a go-to source for authentic, rare tour clubs.

Tour and Tour Issue

In order to create that nth degree of performance, "Tour" and "Tour Issue" equipment can help elevate a player's bag to the next level. Whether it is a perfectly spec'd driver or fairway wood, the confidence-inspiring finish on a set of irons, the proper grind on a set of wedges, or a putter that is built to the perfect look for a player's eye, having the best-of-the-best equipment can help put a golfer over the top.

Custom Made For You!

While tour equipment won't directly take your game from your local club to the next PGA Tour stop, it can definitely help your game if fit properly. Customization in golf equipment is at the heart of many good players. Players have been trying to find the Unicorn club for 100+ years. Tour equipment really took off in the early internet age, as avid, "everyday" golfers were able to see photos of the clubs that tour players were using and noticed some differences from what they were able to buy off the shelf. Forums like GolfWRX helped lead that charge, and continue to do so today.