Tour Report: The Nedbank Golf Challenge

With the intense South African heat, eye catching backdrops of the Pilanesberg Mountains and strategically placed bunkers, this course is not one for the faint hearted.

Why is altitude important?

The TaylorMade team have been out in South Africa preparing players for this unforgiving course in which ball flight is key as the course is known for having swirling winds that change direction. One small but mighty difference for this tournament is the position of the course, the high altitude.

Optimising performance and consistency of distance is important as on average the ball is flying 10% further than what the players are used to due to the temperature and altitude. Looking at the player’s equipment to see how they strike the ball is important, if the ball flight isn’t high enough then the ball will fall out of the sky.

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Flight of the ball

On the range and out on the course the TaylorMade team have been busy with players getting them familiar with the launch and flight of the ball and making alterations to maximise performance. Victor Dubuisson wasn’t happy with the height of his launch on his 3 wood; however changing to have a higher loft then improved his launch.

Seeing the improvement on Dubuisson’s launch, Francesco Molinari had the Trackman out on the range testing his 4-Iron. Again, noticing in the high altitude he wasn’t getting distance, he looked at the P790 4-Iron; not only did he carry out testing with the TaylorMade team on the range but taking the clubs out onto the course and looking at the performance and consistency of distance. Favouring the P790 4-Iron and adding a degree higher of loft, he added 5 metres more distance and is in his bag for this weekend.

Francesco Molinari also tested his 3 wood, looking at how to maximise performance and distance off his tee shot and performance of the shaft. Positioning off the tee is important on this course, driving the ball well you can score, but if you are out of position this is where the course is unforgiving, it will be hard to score. In his bag this week is an M2 3 wood with 14.5° loft and 58.5° lie. Eduardo Molinari added a degree to his M2 driver to increase spin and get a higher launch due to the hot temperatures, playing a 9.5° M2 Driver this week.

Getting ready for Dubai

While players are focusing on The Nedbank Challenge, one eye is looking ahead to Race to Dubai and working with the TaylorMade Tour team to put in any requests for new or altered equipment to end the year on a high.

David Lipsky had specs taken for a new set of P730 Irons which will be built in the office and taken out to Dubai. Dean Burmester has been working closely this week with the TaylorMade team testing a full set of P730 Irons and a P790 4-Iron. Comparing his current KBS Tour and Psi 4-Iron against the P730’s and P790 4-Iron, Burmester was testing each club looking at the consistency of spin and launch. After spending 1 hour 30 minutes with the TaylorMade Tour team the P730’s and P790 4-Iron had a more consistent launch and tighter dispersion. Burmester will continue to test this week and will be looking to add these new additions into his bag in Dubai.

The Race to Dubai is in touching distance but at this penultimate event everyone is looking to increase their rankings before next week. Good luck to Team TaylorMade!