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Friday, June 26, 2009


Source...  www.thetourvan.com

Mickelson's New Hybrid


The Callaway prototype hybrid that Phil Mickelson used at the U.S. Open is the only one in existence, created with input from Mickelson about his need to hit more consistent shots from the rough.
A new hybrid that Phil Mickelson helped design gave him an edge out of the soggy rough at Bethpage State Park's Black Course, but he was unable to capitalize on it for a U.S. Open trophy.

The prototype hybrid from Callaway was designed with Mickelson's input to conquer the thicker, longer rough common on U.S. Open tracks. He's been working on it with Callaway engineers since early in the 2009 season.

"We went up and spent time with Phil in Los Angeles at Riviera," said Jeff Colton, Callaway's senior vice-president of research and development. "In the course of a practice round, (we) talked to him and listened to him about his needs from different types of lies, and his need to get more consistency with distance out of the rough.

"Basically he wanted his hybrid to play more like an iron. So this hybrid has features that are iron-like as far as where the center of gravity is placed. Also, it has a very unique sole shape which allows him to use it out of a variety of different lies in the rough."

The club features a C-grind, common on Callaway's wedges, that relieves the turf interaction on both heel and toe, as well as a more iron-like trajectory and iron grooves that run up the full face of the clubs. The grooves conform to the USGA's new requirements for V-grooves in competition.

"It has relief in the back, meaning it's shallower in the back, which allows him to really open up the clubface and hit down on the ball while minimizing the turf interaction," Colton said. "So it gives him the best of both worlds in a hybrid, meaning wood-type distance with iron-type turf interaction."

The 18-degree head was machined from a block of steel at Callaway's southern California R&D department and is the only one in existence.

Colton said that because Mickelson lives close to Callaway headquarters, he was able to be closely involved with the club's development.

"Phil really led the design process," Colton said. "He told us what he wanted to see and the type of functionality he wanted, and our designers translated that. From sketch to wax to finished product he's been involved. He's seen it in all the different stages of design and development. In fact, we made modifications to the original prototype that we had because we had it in wax. He played around with it, looked at it and had some suggestions and those modifications were taken into account."

At Bethpage Black, Mickelson, a U.S. Open runner-up for a record fifth time, used the prototype to hit a variety of shots from the rough, including a 146-yard lofted shot on Saturday and a tough shot to the green on No. 15 Monday.

"It's a good example of how we listen to the tour players," Colton said. "There are no plans to commercialize this product, but we might given the way it performed this week with Phil. We still have some learning to do about who it is best for and how it behaves ... We plan to build a broader set of prototypes that we will do more testing with."

Colton expects that Mickelson will turn to the club again when he's faced with a course that has longer rough.

"Phil configures his bag very situationally, depending on the venue," Colton said. "He has different driver shafts that he uses, he's got different hybrids that he pulls in and out, mixes with long irons and fairway woods, so it's all course dependent. I would imagine that any place where the rough is of decent length, this would be in the bag."

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