In the Bag: Unpacking the Clubs Champions Tour Players Use (2024)

Tim Petrovic's bag of golf clubs (Source: GolfWRX)

After a deep dive into the most popular clubs on the PGA Tour, we were very interested to find out whether preferences changed once the top pros moved on to the Champions Tour.

So just as we did before we went all out to find out what clubs Champions Tour players use today.

The most common set up of 14 clubs Champions Tour pros use starts with driver, a 13.5º to 16.5º 3-wood and a 17º to 22º hybrid. The most used iron set, chosen by over 50%, goes from 4-iron to a pitching wedge that matches the iron set with 3 wedges – a 50º gap, 54º sand, and 60º lob wedge – completing the bag with a putter

As we found when we did a similar analysis on the PGA and LPGA Tours however this is clearly not the only combination of 14 clubs that Champions Tour players use.

Our detailed research found multiple different combinations of clubs being chosen ranging from John Daly’s use of three hybrids and only four individual irons starting with a 6-iron to Stewart Cink and Retief Goosen’s preference for both pitching and gap/utility wedges that match their iron sets.

And with players like Steven Alker and Tim Petrovic carrying 18 and 19 clubs around with them respectively, some pros are obviously consistently tinkering with their set up depending on where they are playing that week or indeed based on confidence issues.

Nevertheless, we were able to find great insights into the clubs Champions Tour players use and discover what the most common individual golf clubs – including lofts, shafts and grips – are among the best senior pros.

And it was also fascinating to compare the makeup of golf sets between the Champions Tour pros and their younger colleagues on the PGA Tour!

Golfing Focus infographic of clubs Champions Tour players use the most

What Clubs Do Senior PGA Players Use?

The best Senior PGA Players inevitably have access to a huge number of options when it comes to selecting the clubs they use.

Given it is their job, and has been for decades by the time they reach the Champions Tour at the age of 50, senior pros will likely have worked with club manufacturers and makers for years to hone which makes and models they want to test out and adjust before finally putting them into play.

Champions Tour legend, and notorious golf club tinkerer, Bernhard Langer for example carries seven different brands of club in his bag while as we have already noted others carry many more than the regulation 14 clubs around with them to allow them to change setups from event to event.

But through our analysis Golfing Focus was still able to unpack what clubs Champions Tour players use the most.

9º PING G430 LST and TaylorMade Stealth Plus drivers are the most used on the Champions Tour. PING’s G430 Max and G425 are the most common wood and hybrid models. Srixon’s ZX7 irons are the most played with Titleist’s Vokey Design SM9 the most used gap, sand and lob wedges. Odyssey’s White Hot OG 2-Ball is the most common putter.

And for those interested in the details of the most used individual clubs the best Senior PGA Tour pros are playing within the most common club setup – including lofts, shafts, and grips – we have included all this in the table below.

CLUBMOST COMMON CLUB MODEL / LOFT / SHAFT USED BY CHAMPIONS TOUR PROS
DriverPING G430 LST (9°)
Taylor Made Stealth Plus (9°)

Fujikura Ventus Black 6X shaft
Fujikura Ventus Red 6X shaft
3-woodPING G430 Max (15°)

Fujikura Ventus TR Blue 7X shaft
HybridPING G425 (19°)

Graphite Design Tour AD DI Hybrid 115 SX
Irons
(4-iron to PW)
Srixon ZX7

True Temper Project X 6.0 / 6.5
Gap wedgeTitleist Vokey Design SM9 (50°)

True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400
Sand wedgeTitleist Vokey Design SM9 (54°)

True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400
Lob wedgeTitleist Vokey Design SM9 (60°)

True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400
PutterOdyssey’s White Hot OG 2-Ball
Putter gripScotty Cameron Dancing Cameron
Club gripsGolf Pride Tour Velvet
Golf ballTitleist Pro V1x
[Note – Available data of 50 of the top 100 PGA Champions Tour pros on the money list at the end of the 2023 season.]

There are of course multiple makes and models of clubs being used the best senior PGA players – 30 different models of both drivers and irons and over 40 different putter models for example.

Further a brief comparative glance at these clubs together with our similarly detailed analysis of what clubs the top pros on the PGA Tour are using would suggest there is little difference in the club choices between the two tours.

2 things stand out however when we looked in more detail at the complete picture of what clubs Champions Tour players use today.

Firstly we found a much greater number of senior pros sacrificing a wedge to add an extra wood, hybrid or longer utility or standard iron into their bag.

The preference we discovered for senior PGA players choosing 4 wedges rather than 3 was much less than on the main Tour with the split being close to 50/50 on the Champions Tour while when we last did a similar analysis on the PGA Tour close to 90% of the top 100 were using 4 wedges.

As a result we therefore also did not see among Champions Tour pros the trend we noted – especially among the younger pros on the main Tour – of players opting for four specialist wedges in preference to including a pitching wedge matching their iron set in their bag.

Golfing Focus infographic of number of wedges Champions Tour players carry compared to PGA Tour pros

The second point which stood out from our detailed research is that there is a much greater prevalence of Champions Tour pros playing hybrids by comparison to the choices made by PGA Tour players.

While in our most recent analysis of the clubs the top PGA Tour pros use we found close to one-third of them using a hybrid, and none of them two, on the Senior Tour this percentage was closer to two-thirds with several players choosing to play more than one.

Indeed we found the legendary John Daly to be one of the Champions Tour pros using three hybrids – a 2H, 4H and 5H PING G430 alongside former PGA Champion Y.E Yang.

In fairness, Yang – dubbed the Hybrid King on Tour – has long demonstrated a preference for hybrids and indeed arguably played the most famous hybrid shot in history when he famously struck his 21º hybrid to six feet on the 72nd hole of the 2009 USPGA to pip none other than Tiger Woods to the title.

That notwithstanding we discovered a much greater prevalence among Champions Tour pros to put a hybrid in their golf bag compared to PGA Tour pros.

Just like on the PGA Tour however we found a number of the best senior pros tinkering with their club setups as they clearly search for small tweaks and changes in their set which will save them a stroke or three in a tournament.

As we have already noted a number of Champions Tour players including former major champions Darren Clarke, Fred Couples and Jim Furyk regularly take more than 14 clubs on Tour to enable them to change one, two or potentially even more of their clubs depending on the type of course they find themselves playing.

Tim Petrovic meanwhile has 7 different woods, utility irons and hybrids, alongside his standard 4-iron to pitching wedge Tour Edge Exotics EX5 irons, in his set-up to allow him multiple different options.

Steve Flesch meanwhile carries not two but 3 different models of the Callaway Rogue ST driver family allowing him to alternate between the standard Rogue ST Max and the draw-biased Max D and LS (‘low spin’) options.

Confidence is also clearly a factor and Jim Furyk, alongside Dicky Pride, for example takes 2 putters around with him on tour.

For every pro therefore that adds a hybrid into their bag you will find others who choose an extra higher numbered wood or utility iron although we did find fewer utility irons in use by the senior pros compared to the main Tour.

We should also mention that compared to the PGA Tour research we carried out this time our analysis was complicated by the amount of data available on the clubs of top senior PGA players being much less.

Nevertheless, we did find detailed club information of 50 of the top 100 Champions Tour players to base this analysis on.

So to take account of the senior pros who do not carry the most common set-up outlined above and carry more than 14 clubs around with them the table below includes the most common clubs among the alternatives we found used by Champions Tour pros.

CLUBMOST COMMON CLUB MODEL / LOFT / SHAFT USED BY CHAMPIONS TOUR PROS
5-woodPING G430 Max (18°)
PING G425 Max (18°)
Titleist TS3 (18°)

No singular dominant shaft model
7-woodPING G430 Max (21°)

No singular dominant shaft model
Utility / Driving IronSrixon ZX Utility (18° + 23º)

N.S. Pro Modus3 Hybrid S / KBS S-Taper 130 X
Specialist Pitching WedgeTitleist Vokey Design SM9 (46°)

True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400
[Note – Available data of 50 of the top 100 PGA Champions Tour pros on the money list at the end of the 2023 season.]

Sponsors Play a Part in the Brand of Clubs Champions Tour Pros Use

I was fortunate enough to watch Bernhard Langer win what is now the Scottish Open at my local club as a very young boy just taking up the game.

And if anyone can attest to the vast increase in the number of golf brands that has taken place over the last couple of decades in particular, it is going to be senior pros like Langer who is now into his sixth decade as a professional golfer.

As golf technology has developed at almost breakneck speed an ever-increasing number of specialist brands have entered the modern golf world and have often specialized in areas of the game, such as putter grips, previously considered not worthy of a sole focus.

The 2-time Masters Champion and Champions Tour legend currently carries seven different brands of club in his bag as does Steven Alker but we also wanted to find out as part of this study which brands are the most common across the various club types on the senior Tour.

PING and Callaway are the dominant brands among the golf clubs Champions Tour players use. Callaway models are the most common in the driver, fairway wood and putter categories while PING dominates when it comes to hybrids and irons. Srixon utility irons and Titleist wedges are the most chosen in those club types.

Looking at the comparison with the club brand choices on the main Tour what was interesting to note was that while PING, Callaway and Titleist were the most common brands on both tours Titleist’s clear dominant position on the PGA Tour was not replicated on the Champions Tour.

We found Titleist was only the third most used brand on the senior tour with their models coming out on top only in the wedges category.

On the PGA Tour Titleist is the most common brand in all club types except fairway woods and putters and even in these club categories it is still the second most used.

Further we also noted brands such as Tour Edge being played by a few senior pros when on the main Tour not one of the top PGA Tour pros we have looked at before uses one Tour Edge club.

All of which brings us neatly on to the topic of sponsorships and endorsements and the reason why we have hesitated to list any of these brands as the most ‘popular’ on the Champions Tour rather than the most used.

Tour Edge’s presence on the senior Tour, but lack of it on the PGA Tour, is in large part down to sponsorships with former major champions Tom Lehman, Mike Weir and Langer all noted as being endorsed by Tour Edge and therefore duty bound to play their clubs.

Golfing Focus infographic of brands of clubs Champions Tour players use the most

As a result who is paying whom to play their clubs is a key thing to bear in mind when it comes to any thinking on amateur golfers parts as to whether they want to use the same models that they see a Champions Tour pro use.

While it is of course impossible for us to know the details of each Champions Tour pros endorsement contract it is usual for them to specify a player has to use at least eight, nine or even all 14 of their sponsor’s models.

And that’s before you add the requirement of putting the manufacturer’s logo on their golf shirt, cap, bag or anywhere else for that matter.

Any claim by golf companies to be the ‘most popular’ club in any category must therefore be seen in this context.

Nevertheless while we found clear examples of pros simply playing the one brand of clubs based on a sponsorship deal – Ernie Els with XX10/Srixon/Cleveland, Davis Love III with Titliest and Miguel Angel Jiménez with PING – there were other points we noted that showed the club choices of the top senior pros don’t just come down to who is paying whom as the most cynical golf gear critics can often suggest.

Bernhard Langer carries seven different brands of clubs in his bag. Steven Alker has six brands represented in his bag and although Alker’s are across his selection of 17 clubs he chooses from it seems doubtful that all of those choices come down to money rather than preference.

Jerry Kelly and Ken Duke both use five different club brands.

Notorious golf club tinkerers and multiple major champions Vijay Singh and Padraig Harrington both have four and three different brands respectively represented in their bag and this despite Harrington’s long-standing and well-known relationship with Wilson.

There are also some intriguing endorsement deals we came across such as that signed by 2023 Champions Tour leading money winner Steve Stricker.

His deal with Odyssey is only for his putter – a White Hot #2 model – and applies only to tournaments on the PGA Tour Champions according to Golf Digest.

So although we can’t say a golf brand is the most popular on the Champions Tour because it is the best there are interesting things to note among the club choices of the top senior pros and on which you may decide you want to base or inform your own club choices.

[Editor’s note – For anyone interested, Srixon, XXIO, and Cleveland (as well as Dunlap) golf brands are all owned by Sumitomo Rubber out of Japan. Callaway Golf consists of 5 brands — Callaway, Odyssey, Toulon Design, OGIO and TravisMathew. Acushnet Holdings Corp’s brands are Titleist, Scotty Cameron, Vokey and Footjoy]

Before you go …

Knowing what clubs the best Champions Tour pros are using is always interesting but with the swingspeeds of the average male pro typically being over 20mph faster than the average amateur golfer (114mph vs. 93.4mph) there is possibly more to learn from the clubs being played by the best female pros.

Read our next article to find out what clubs the best LPGA pros are choosing with their 94mph average swingspeeds …

What Clubs do LPGA Players Use?

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