[Interview] A Conversation with Troy Merritt, Wilson Staff Advisory Staff Player

Troy Merritt interview

Recently, we had the opportunity to ask Troy Merritt, Wilson Staff PGA Tour Advisory Staff player, questions around his equipment change, his most recent win, about his season, and more. Check out what he had to say below. (Edited for flow)

GlobalGolf: Has that led to your recent surge in performance over the past couple tournaments?

Troy Merritt: My iron play has been solid ever since I switched to the new set, but I’ve also started to make more putts. Getting the ball close enough to the pin off the approach shot has built my confidence in being able to convert those putts – that’s always really important.

GG: When did you switch to the Wilson Staff FG Tour V6 Raw?

Wilson Staff FG Tour V6 RAW

TM: The first event I played the V6 RAW set was the Traveler’s about a month ago. The Wilson tour rep built me a set to spec about a month leading up, and I got the chance to put it in play in practice rounds. Obviously, they were my gamers in my recent win at Barbasol.

GG: What made you decide to switch the Tour V6 Raw?

TM: They have a very similar look to what I’ve been playing the past few years, which were the FG Tour V6 irons. It was just time to try something a little different, and I’m glad I put them into the bag. The feel they provide is really great, and the spin I get off the approach shots is solid too. And of course, they’re different from anything else out there. They look awesome.

GG: You mentioned having your confidence being restored after winning the Barbasol. How did the irons and the rest of your Wilson clubs help you regain that?

Troy Merritt WITB

TM: I’ve played very consistently all year. My [D300] driver has been solid. My iron play was always good but has gotten better since switching to the RAW irons. My wedge game has been solid as well. I haven’t rolled the ball as well as I usually have, and that was the club that was keeping me stuck in neutral.

GG: Speaking of the driver, what are you looking for in a driver?

TM: It has to suit my eye, I have to be able to open the face, and I want it to feel right. The sound is important as well. Results are the final test. I’ve been playing the D300 for a while now, and it’s been getting the job done off the tee.

GG: How excited are you to play in the upcoming PGA Championship and what are you doing to prepare?

TM: I’m very excited to play in this year’s PGA Championship. I’ve been playing a lot of tournament golf, so I’ll just work on maintaining my game as we lead up to the tournament.

GG: Have you played Bellerive before?

TM: I have not. The biggest challenge is always developing a game plan. I know my game well enough, so it’s just a matter of plugging in the holes to match my game. Practice rounds are important, and I use that time to strategize with my caddy and figure out where the biggest opportunities – and obstacles – lie.

GG: Any goals for the PGA (besides trying to win, naturally)?

TM: I don’t necessarily have a place finish in mind or anything. I just want to do my best. That mindset has worked well for me. Do your best, that’s all you can ask of yourself.

GG: For the rest of the season, are you looking ahead to the FedEx Cup Playoffs or sticking to a week-by-week approach?

TM: I’m trying to add on the points and make it to the Tour Championship for sure. But it’s one day at a time, one tournament at a time.

GG: How satisfying is it to secure a spot in the Playoffs a year after battling in the Web.com Tour Finals?

TM: You’ve achieved your ultimate goal of keeping your card if you’ve made the playoffs. I’d much rather be in the FedEx Cup playoffs than the Web.com playoffs!

GG: This fall, Wilson and the Golf Channel are bringing back the hit show, Driver vs. Driver. What has been your role in the upcoming Driver vs Driver 2?

Wilson Driver vs Driver 2

TM: It’s been a really unique experience. I’ve been able to test a half dozen of the designs and give my feedback. The best part about it was seeing the designs in so many different forms – you could tell the designs that came to us out on Tour at first were in the early stages, but they continued to get better through the process. It’s been fun working with the contestants, the Wilson team and the other Tour guys on bringing these things to life. But I know what I’ll be doing on Tuesday nights this fall!

GG: Any feedback you can share about the contestant drivers you’ve tried when you tested them in Phoenix?

Troy Merritt Tour Player DVD2

TM: There are some interesting ideas. There are new ideas and some ideas that are trying to build on what’s currently available. The show is all about performance. I can’t give away too much, other than the fact that this concept of bringing a driver to market off a reality TV show is really different. I like how much they’re taking into account our feedback this season. There are a lot more competitions involved which makes it fun.

 

Many thanks to Troy for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions for us. You can get your own custom set of the Wilson Staff FG Tour V6 Raw irons HERE. Be sure to tune into Driver vs. Driver Season 2 as well. It will be exciting to see which driver #MakesTheCut this time around.

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TaylorMade M1 vs M3 Irons – How to Choose

m1 vs m3 irons

A popular category of irons company’s come out with is the one suited for a mid-handicap player. You know the ones, smaller than the (typically) bulky game-improvement club and the more forgiving than a player’s club.

TaylorMade M1 and M3 irons are 2 examples of this category of irons. Released in consecutive years, some may find it difficult to see the difference between them. That’s where we come in. We’ll cover the similarities and differences in the TaylorMade M1 vs M3 irons, aiding your decision-making process.

TaylorMade M1 vs M3 Irons

Similarities

The Taylormade M1 and M3 irons provide forgiveness and distance while maintaining a slightly more compact, traditional look for control. To achieve that distance, each club employs some of the same technical features.

Both irons have the company’s familiar face slots. These slots, on either side of the grooves, flex at impact, boosting ball speed on mishits.

TaylorMade_M3_irons_tungsten_weight

Tungsten weight in M3 irons

Tungsten weight can be found in the toe of the 3-7 irons of M1 and M3 irons. This high-density weight places more mass on the outside of the club, raising the MOI (forgiveness) of the irons. The weight also lowers the center of gravity, elevating the launch angle.

The hosel bending slot allows the irons to be bent to alter the loft and lie angle. Usually, cast clubs like these are hard to bend. They can break or often revert back to the specs they were built at. The bending slot makes it easy to impart lasting changes.

M1 irons face slots

M1 Irons: Face Slots, Hosel Bend Slot, and Fluted Hosel

Finally, M1 and M3 irons have a fluted hosel and hosel bending slot. The fluted hosel takes weight out of the hosel and redistributes it around the club head. This technique adds to the MOI improvements.

While the M1 was smaller and more compact than the M2 irons, the M3 has been made even thinner on the sole and the top line. This more compact look will appeal even more to better players than the M1 irons.  Like the M4, the M3 irons have re-designed the Speed Pocket on the sole to a more curved line as opposed to the almost dumbbell shape of the M1.  The performance of the speed pocket is basically the same but the look is more appealing to most.

Now we take a look at the differences in the TaylorMade M1 vs M3 irons.

Differences

M3 Iron RibCOR

RibCOR Technology

The biggest difference in the TaylorMade M1 vs M3 irons is the introduction of RibCOR technology in the M3 irons. RibCOR technology consists of 2 vertical stabilizing ribs on the back that align closely with the face slots. These ribs help you hit longer shots by pin-pointing face flexibility to transfer more energy to the golf ball, adding distance. Their location, near the outside of the club, boost the MOI of the club, keeping shots straighter.

M1 vs m3 speed pocket

M1 (left) vs M3 Speed Pockets

Another difference between the M1 vs M3 irons is the redefined speed pocket on the sole of the M3 irons. The speed pocket improves ball speed on shots hit low and to the edge of the face. Therefore, mishits won’t be penalized as much. The speed pocket on the M3 is lengthened, covering mishits on a greater area of the club face than the M1.

We mentioned earlier how the M1 and M3 irons are a compact look that appeals to mid-handicap players. However, there were some improvements to the M3 irons on this front. M3 irons have less offset and thinner topline than the M1 irons at address. This smaller profile on the M3 inspires higher confidence in being able to work the ball.

TaylorMade M1 vs M3 Irons: Now You Can Choose

When comparing clubs that come out in consecutive years, it can be difficult to see if the newer model is better than the older one. In the case of the TaylorMade M1 vs M3 irons, it’s clear that the design improvements on the M3 irons separate them from the M1 irons. Both will fit the eye of the mid-handicap player that wants to shape shots but still needs some forgiveness. The M3 irons add accuracy to the overall equation, setting them apart.

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PING i210 vs i500 Irons: True Innovation in Different Packages

PING i210 vs i500

PING has been an industry leader in iron innovation since the late 1960s, beginning with the Karsten I, the first perimeter-weighted iron. PING founder, Karsten Solheim brought the concept from his cutting-edge putter design, the 1-A (aka the One that went “Ping”), creating a more forgiving iron.

The PING i210 and i500 irons continue the tradition of innovation, bringing pure precision and distance to the player’s iron category.

This guide covers the unique features of the PING i210 vs i500 irons, helping you choose which one makes it into your bag.

PING i210 vs i500 Irons

i210: Precision Defined

PING i210 irons

The PING i210 iron is designed for the better player who wants precise control in the short irons and forgiveness in the long irons. In PING iron family, the i210 fits just below the iBlade and takes the best aspects of the i200 and improves on them.

PING i210 Custom Tuning Port

PING i210 Custom Tuning Port

An all-new cavity-back design offers more forgiveness and better feel through a larger custom tuning port (CTP). The CTP is filled with a large elastomer insert that’s 30% bigger and 50% softer than the i200. The result is a super soft, muted feel at impact that lets you feel like you’re controlling the ball more. But don’t worry, you’ll still get the consistent distances you’d expect from a player’s iron.

Lookswise, the i210 are compact in the scoring irons, with a thin topline and hardly any offset. The long irons do have more offset and a longer blade length, offering you added forgiveness.

Compared to the iBlade, the i210 also has more bounce for better turf interaction in any lie.

i500: Player’s Distance

Ping i500 irons

The i500 irons are PING’s first product in the popular “player’s distance” iron category. As the name suggests, clubs in this category have the looks of a player’s iron with the distance of game improvement club.

At address, the i500 has the same offset as PING’s other player’s clubs (iBlade and i210). The sole isn’t overly wide and the muscle-back is hidden, even in the long irons. These traits give the i500 a clean, compact look.

PING i500 hollow body

PING i500 hollow body

The saying “Its what’s on the inside that counts,” sums up how the i500 irons get their distance. These clubs have a hollow-body design, creating space for the face to flex more at impact to step-up ball speed and distance.

i500 C300 maraging steel face

PING i500 C300 maraging steel face

Due to the hollow head, PING designers needed a strong face to support the flexing without sacrificing performance. They didn’t have to look too far for an answer. Like the G400 metal woods, the i500 irons have a forged, C300 maraging-steel face, giving the irons metalwood-like distance. The steel has a variable thickness for more distance on shots hit away from the center.

Finally, the i500 irons have slightly stronger lofts than the i210 irons, further increasing the distance factor.

Recapping PING i210 vs i500 Irons

Here are quick takeaways when comparing PING i210 vs i500 irons

Standouts and Improvements:

  • Significant improvements in the feel of PING i210 irons over i200 thanks to the bigger CTP
  • Hollow-body construction and C300 maraging-steel face on the i500 irons give them incredible distance
  • Both clubs can be customized to either the de-lofted “Power Spec” lofts or to the higher “Retro Spec” lofts from models gone by
  • Each iron has a clean, compact look that’s easy to shape shots
  • HydroPearl Chrome 2.0 finish on both irons repels water to generate consistent distances from the rough and in wet conditions

Players that pine for precision shot making should strongly consider the PING i210 ironsThe i500 irons are for better players that desire more distance without sacrificing workability or classic look.

As always, it’s important to get properly fit for these clubs. PING is renowned for their fitting process, which I wrote about last year. Send an email to our PGA Professionals on staff if you have any questions about these irons, fitting, or anything else.

Here are some other iron comparisons we’ve written

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