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Delving into the bags of tour pros sometimes produces a real pearl. Jeremy Ellwood uncovered a rare Raphael Jacquelin putter in Abu Dhabi today
The tour bags of the top pros are understandably generally crammed full of their sponsors’ very latest gear, but just occasionally you whip a headcover off to find something a little older or more unusual.
We uncovered a real pearl this morning while talking to amiable Frenchman Raphael Jacquelin about the contents of his TaylorMade tour bag. Working down from driver to putter, it started off with a mix of TaylorMade’s very latest and more recent products. But the putter headcover then came off to reveal an exquisite work of art the like of which I’ve rarely seen - a ValGrine Dandy Haute Creation No. 1/3 putter.
Jacquelin told us that it had been made by an engineer friend of his, and he was currently trying it out. As well as looking extremely stylish, with its unusual curved carbon-fibre neck, it also boasts a number of other really neat little touches that had all those in attendance paying extra attention as the ‘What’s in the Bag’ interview drew to a close.
The milled face features Jacquelin’s logo towards the toe as well as that of its creators, ValGrine, towards the heel. The rear flange then has Jacquelin’s name etched into it, while the sole bears the names of the Frenchman’s four sons – Hugo, Roman, Melvil and Numa. The grip is made of luxurious grey leather.
As soon as I got back to the media centre I checked out the ValGrine website, and would advise anyone with a special interest in the club that we all use most to do the same. I’m afraid I can’t confirm the pricing, but can confirm that this is a putter range blessed with rare elegance and style.
Jacquelin’s putter may be a thing of great beauty, but does it work? We shall be looking at the Frenchman’s putter stats for this week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship with particular interest come Sunday night.
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Jeremy Ellwood has worked in the golf industry since 1993 and for Golf Monthly since 2002 when he started out as equipment editor. He is now a freelance journalist writing mainly for Golf Monthly across the whole spectrum from courses and Rules to equipment and instruction. He also edits The Golf Club Secretary Newsletter, a highly regarded trade publication for golf club secretaries and managers, and has authored or co-authored three books and written for a number of national papers including The Telegraph and The Independent. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 91 of the Next 100, making him well-qualified when it comes to assessing and comparing our premier golf courses. He has now played well over 950 golf courses worldwide in 35 countries, right across the spectrum from the humblest of nine-holers in the Scottish Highlands to the very grandest of international golf resorts, but put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content.
Jezz can be contacted via Twitter - @JezzEllwoodGolf
Jeremy is currently playing...
Driver: Ping G425 LST 10.5˚ (draw setting), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 55 S shaft
3 wood: Ping G425 Max 15˚ (set to flat +1), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 65 S shaft
Hybrid: Ping G425 17˚, Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Orange 80 S shaft
Irons 3-PW: Ping i525, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts
Wedges: Ping Glide 4.0 50˚ and 54˚, 12˚ bounce, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts
Putter: Ping Fetch 2021 model, 33in shaft (set flat 2)
Ball: Varies but mostly now TaylorMade Tour Response
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