8 Golf Gear Trends For 2023
We take a look through the top eight gear trends you can expect to see this year
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8 Golf Gear Trends For 2023
Golf equipment is always evolving and, in 2023, brands have released their new models to the public. At Golf Monthly, we have been able to test each item (opens in new tab), with drivers, fairway woods, hybrids, irons and putters put to the test to find out which is best and what will suit the various individuals who play the game.
Like all equipment, there are going to be differences to the previous models released in 2022 and, in this piece, we have been able to find specific trends that you can expect to see this year. Whether it is the new aesthetics of a driver, or the playability of new irons, we have explained what to look out for in 2023.
Low Spin Driver Models Becoming More Playable
The first trend that we have noticed for 2023 and, in fact, something that we picked up on in 2022, is how low spin models of drivers are becoming more playable. Brands like Srixon, with their ZX7 Mk II driver (opens in new tab), and Ping with their G430 LST (opens in new tab), are just some of the most playable low spin drivers on the market.
In a standard set-up, we found them to be lower spinning than most, which meant they were really playable. What's more, thanks to the adjustable hosel, the array of shafts available and the manipulation of loft, you can make them very low spinning if you desire. However, in standard, they are extremely playable.
Traditionally Lofted Game Improvement Irons Returning
Moving to irons, with brands appearing to offer more traditionally lofted clubs that fall under the game improvement iron category. Over the years, some of the most forgiving irons (opens in new tab) have become stronger and stronger in loft to deliver more distance. The downside to this is that it takes out the higher handicap golfer with slow swing speeds who is wanting to get the ball airborne more easily as well as stopping power into greens.
Obviously this plays a huge factor in enjoyability, but it's great to see brands like Mizuno, with the JPX Hot Metal HL (opens in new tab) and Ping, with their G430 iron range (opens in new tab) offering more traditional lofts which are very forgiving and also slightly lighter. This will appeal to those with slow swing speeds and also beginners (opens in new tab) as they can create that optimal flight, carry distance and spin when attacking the greens.
Fairway Wood Weight Distribution
Fairway woods are arguably the hardest clubs to hit in the golf bag but, for 2023, we have noticed that some of the best fairway woods (opens in new tab) have redistributed the weight from the crown of the head to the sole.
An example of this is the Mizuno ST-Z 230 fairway wood (opens in new tab), which has a carbon crown and weight distribution towards the sole, with all of this coming in a new Cortech Chamber that is blue to highlight the technology. By moving the weight to the sole it allows for a higher MOI (Moment of Inertia) and ease of launch, making the 2023 range of fairway woods some of the most forgiving models (opens in new tab) that we have seen in years.
Draw-Bias Drivers Aren't As Strong As Before
The best drivers for slicers (opens in new tab) provide users with plenty of offset and draw-bias to help straighten up that left-to-right shot shape off the tee. For 2023, there are plenty of models that do this, but it appears manufacturers are toning down the amount of draw-bias within their models, with the emphasis being more on a straighter shot, rather than a right-to-left flight.
We've tested (opens in new tab) plenty of drivers throughout 2023, and models like the Srixon ZX5 Mk II (opens in new tab), Callaway Paradym X (opens in new tab) and Ping G430 SFT (opens in new tab) are premium performers that also give increased spin on tee shots. Therefore, if you are someone with a slower swing speed (opens in new tab), around 90mph and below, then they are well worth considering because they're more playable for a number of individuals and will get the ball airborne with more carry. This is a trend we expect to see continuing with drivers going forward.
Bargains To Be Found
It's no secret that golf clubs aren't the cheapest items in the world and, for 2023, some price increases have been made to equipment. However, the first thing to note is that it isn't across the board, with some brands increasing their prices and some not. It's worth noting that any increased costs haven't been as drastic as we thought they would be.
What this means is that manufacturers who are producing good value clubs that are considerably cheaper are offering fantastic options and value for money. There are a number of superb budget golf clubs (opens in new tab) on the market, such as the PXG 0211 2022 driver (opens in new tab), which has an RRP of around $200 - $250. There are some really good bargains to be had out there, but you will have to do a little bit of shopping around to find them.
Return Of Gloss Black Heads In Fairway Woods
The aesthetics of a golf club can play a huge part in your final choice and, this year, it appears that most brands are making the decision to return to gloss black crowns on their fairway woods, something which we have no complaints about!
In 2022, the likes of the TaylorMade Stealth (opens in new tab) and Callaway Rogue ST (opens in new tab) used matte and satin black finishes on their fairway woods but, for 2023, these two brands have brought back the gloss black crown for the TaylorMade Stealth 2 (opens in new tab) and Callaway Paradym (opens in new tab). Personally we think they just look a bit more sleek and premium as a result.
Hybrids Becoming More Confidence Inspiring
Hybrids are becoming more and more popular in the golfing world, with the best golf hybrids (opens in new tab) helping those that struggle to hit longer irons. In 2023, we believe they are getting even easier to hit and even more confidence-inspiring, especially for the better player, with larger heads becoming slightly more toe-heavy.
Clubs like the Titleist TS3 and Callaway Apex Pro somewhat started the trend and, for 2023, that has carried on with the likes of the Titleist TSR3, which is a little bit more bulkier than its predecessors. It's also more symmetrical from heel-to-toe which is another trend we are seeing brands offer. Because they are more traditional and a little larger, they produce better results.
High MOI Putters Finding The Balance With More Toe Hang
The last equipment trend for 2023 comes in the short game department, specifically putters that provide a high MOI and toe hang. You will usually find a high MOI in the best mallet putters (opens in new tab) and, what we are seeing a lot of now, is a slight toe hang, which means you get the best of both worlds. You get the forgiveness of a mallet, but it allows the face to rotate a little, therefore your hands can relax and you should hole more putts.
Obviously, this poses the question of whether you need a toe hang or face balanced putter (opens in new tab), but this is something that will require a fitting or lesson. Previously, manufacturers would build putters that would allow for a significant amount of toe hang or a significant amount of forgiveness. Now, in 2023, the trend appears to be a mix of both.
Matt joined Golf Monthly in February 2021 covering weekend news, before also transitioning to equipment and testing. After freelancing for Golf Monthly and The PGA for 18 months, he was offered a full-time position at the company in October 2022 and continues to cover weekend news and social media, as well as help look after Golf Monthly’s many buyers’ guides and equipment reviews.
Taking up the game when he was just seven years of age, Matt made it into his county squad just a year later and continues to play the game at a high standard, with a handicap of around 2-4. To date, his best round came in 2016, where he shot a six-under-par 66 having been seven-under through nine holes. He currently plays at Witney Lakes in Oxfordshire and his favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.
Matt’s current What’s In The Bag?
Driver: Honma TW747, 8.75°
Fairway Wood: TaylorMade Rocketballz Stage 2, 15°, 19°
Hybrid: Adams Super Hybrid, 22°
Irons: Mizuno MP54, 5-PW
Wedges: Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Tour Satin, 50°, 56°, 60°
Putter: Cleveland TFI 2135 Satin Cero
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
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