The PGA TOUR season is underway and, despite lingering supply chain issues, the golf industry is fully operational—or at least as operational as it can be given the persistent lack of steel shafts, grips and heads.
With that in mind, we asked the MyGolfSpy staff to predict what’s to come this year on Tour and in the golf equipment world.
Starting With Most Wanted …
- MyGolfSpy’s resident putter guy, Dave Wolfe, predicts Odyssey will take home Most Wanted honors in at least one of our two putter categories. He’s not exactly backing a long shot: Odyssey has habitually finished near or at top of the podium.
- Tony Covey predicts a COBRA 3D-printed putter will be a surprise top finisher.
- On the driver side, it’s fair to say the TaylorMade Stealth is a heavy favorite though we’d never discount the chances of Callaway’s Rogue ST series. The staff is also bullish on the new COBRA line (which technically doesn’t exist yet). That’s what’s called hedging your bets.
On the PGA TOUR …
- Rick Young predicts Adam Scott (currently a free agent) will sign a new deal which will have him playing something other than Titleist clubs for basically the first time ever. If you’re willing to buy into that, Covey believes PING is the most likely to add Scott to its roster.
- Young is confident Tiger will win a PGA TOUR event this season. Chris Nickel says it won’t be The Masters where he thinks Tiger will play but miss the cut.
- Speaking of Tiger, Nickel believes Tiger will drop his Newport putter in favor of a TaylorMade mallet.
- John Barba says Xander Schauffele will win the U.S. Open. He also believes Rickie Fowler will win something, though he concedes it might be a Korn Ferry event.
- Bennett Green predicts John Rahm will fall from the No. 1 spot but doesn’t know who’ll take over.
- In the Battle of the Bros, Nickel is betting Bryson DeChambeau will finish the year with more wins and a higher FedEx ranking than Brooks Koepka.
- Covey agrees and thinks Bryson will win The Masters while Koepka will have a down year.
- Phillip Bishop thinks either Jordan Spieth or Rory McIlroy will complete the career Grand Slam this season. The head is with Jordan; the heart with Rory.
- Nickel is all but certain that the conflation of “growing my wallet” with “growing the game” will continue as the PGL gains momentum and the PGA TOUR either capitulates or loses in court.
- As the USGA continues to embrace bifurcation by another name, we expect to see changes that will allow for a local rule to mandate the use of reduced-distance golf balls.
- Moving into the longshot category, Nickel predicts the PGA TOUR will loosen restrictions and allow players and caddies to wear shorts any time they want.
Moving on to the Equipment Companies …
- Covey believes Titleist will eventually bring the Pro V1 Left Dot to retail. Likely limited (like Pro V1x Left Dash was originally) but available, nonetheless. He concedes it may not happen until 2023.
- Acknowledging the growth of NFTs and crypto-currency, Young predicts golf’s major equipment manufacturers will embrace both—offering up their own NFTs and processing BitCoin payments on their websites.
- Barba predicts Callaway will hit $3.5 billion in sales and both he and Young believe it will acquire yet another brand. Covey wonders if that will further shift the company’s center of gravity away from the golf equipment space.
- Young believes Stealth will prove to be a milestone in TaylorMade history. It’s an easy lock for the No. 1 position in the retail market; the only question is by how much.
- Nickel thinks the company will eclipse a 50-percent share of the metalwood/carbonwood market. Covey believes that may be unrealistic given supply chain issues but the impact of Stealth could force competitors into early discounts—something that seemed unfathomable just a few weeks ago.
- Young also thinks the Stealth branding will drive new irons sales beyond that of P-790 while Covey believes that, with Callaway Apex in Year Two of its cycle, the 1-2 punch of Stealth and P-Series will carry TaylorMade to No. 1 in the iron market as well.
- The summary here is that the staff believes the pieces and timing are right for TaylorMade to have an absolute monster of a year.
- While it won’t challenge for a leadership position in the market, Covey is confident COBRA is going to do something it hasn’t done in recent memory: excite golfers with an iron offering.
- Young believes 2022 will see a CEO or president of a major OEM step down while Barba thinks a large brick-and-mortar store will close its doors. The latter might be a stretch given how hot golf is at the moment but, then again, they could run out of product to sell.
- The staff also expects we’ll see a major brand be sold off or merged with another.
- Dave Wolfe expects more brands will follow the PXG model and offer something akin to loyalty discounts for full-bag purchases.
- It won’t be until later in the year but Covey is confident that we’ll see the third straight lineup of Titleist drivers that doesn’t suck.
- The personal launch monitor market will continue to expand.
- If you’re looking for emerging brands, Canadians support their own so it’s no surprise Young predicts you’ll hear more from Blacksmith Putters this year.
- As the game moves indoors and to other condensed formats, Young says you should expect to hear more from LinksDAO, Puttery and the Tiger Woods-backed Popstroke.
As for the Equipment Longshots …
- Young predicts NIKE will begin the process of returning to golf in a way that extends beyond apparel and footwear.
- Expect OEMs to invest more heavily in the LPGA in the hope of narrowing the gap between the online buzz and the ratings.
What Do You Think?
What are your Tour and equipment predictions for 2022?