The 6 Unusual Gear Choices That Helped Propel Xander Schauffele To Major Glory

Joe Ferguson takes a deeper look into the very interesting bag of the 2024 USPGA Champion Xander Schauffele...

Xander Schauffele
(Image credit: Future)

Xander Schauffele stepped out of the shadows and ripped the “best player never to have won a major” monkey off his back by capturing the 2024 USPGA Championship at Valhalla. Leading pretty much from start to finish, it was an emphatic display and one that Schauffele will be hoping propels him to further major glory over the coming years.

At first glance, Schauffele’s equipment choices seem fairly conventional, but diving a little deeper into his bag uncovers a few interesting choices…

1. Raw irons

Photo of Xander Schauffele's raw irons

(Image credit: GolfWRX)

Shauffele’s iron play was imperious throughout the week and was a huge factor in his success. A Callaway Staff player, Schauffele uses the Apex TCB iron, but the eagle-eyed amongst you might have noticed a slightly unusual appearance with regard to the brownish color of the heads. This is because Schauffele prefers a raw finish on his irons. Essentially, what this means is that Callaway has deliberately missed out the final stage of protective finishing that it would ordinarily undertake for retail equipment which allows Schauffele’s irons to rust and discolor over time. This practice is relatively commonplace in the best wedges but for some reason not so with the rest of the irons. 

Photo of Xander Schauffele's raw irons

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Callaway and a few other major OEMs have released selected models with a raw finish in recent years but for some reason, the finish hasn’t captured the imagination of the wider audience and remains more of a 'tour only' option.

I for one, love this rusty, industrial look and would welcome more models being offered in a raw finish.

2. 10-iron

Photo of Xander Schauffele 10 iron

(Image credit: GolfWRX)

If you were paying close attention throughout the broadcasts this week, you might have seen one or two close-ups of the new PGA Champions bag and spotted a slightly unusual sight, a 10-iron. With traditional iron numbers stopping at 9, some of you may have been wondering what a 10-iron actually is? Well, the answer is very simple and probably as you would imagine. The 10-iron is just a direct pitching wedge replacement, same loft, same bounce, same everything, just with a far more logical name in my opinion.

As someone who games the Callaway Apex CB irons, I can also tell you that I play with both a 10 and 11-iron. Once again, as you would imagine, the 11 iron is simply a re-labeled gap wedge. In my set, the 10-iron is 46 degrees and the 11-iron sits at 50 degrees.

3. Two Different Grip Types

Xander Schauffele

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Congratulations if you spotted this during the course of the week, you are officially as big of a geek as me. Xander has an interesting nuance when it comes to the grips he uses. Throughout the bulk of his bag, he uses the Golf Pride Multi-Compound Align grips, which feature a very prominent raised spine down the back, allowing you to easily find the correct finger placement and replicate this time after time. 

Xander Schauffele

(Image credit: Getty Images)

However, when it comes to the wedges, he switches to a standard, round Golf Pride Multi-Compound Grip without the Align feature. This is a practice I have seen in only a handful of Tour players' bags before but it makes a lot of sense. With the wedges, top players will generally spend a lot of time manipulating the face either open or closed to produce different shots, so if you have a perfectly aligned raised spine on the back of the grip, as soon as you alter the face angle, that spine is now in a different and potentially uncomfortable position. Using a round grip in the scoring clubs is a good way of alleviating that problem and allowing more freedom.

4. Alignment Sticks

Xander Schauffele

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The next interesting point in Xander’s equipment comes in the form of his alignment sticks. Now, as potentially one of the most inanimate and boring pieces of equipment in the bag, you may be wondering where I am going with this, but bear with me...

A stickler for a disciplined routine, Schauffele actually uses one of his alignment sticks at the start of his practice sessions to ensure he is standing the correct distance from the ball. This stick, marked with specific measurements is placed on the edge of the ball closest to him, perpendicular to his footline. This allows Schauffele to see exactly how far his toe line should be from the ball with each club and he can consistently reinforce these good habits throughout his practice.

It may seem like nothing, but when you consider that just being a half inch too close or far away from the ball can result in significant heel or toe strikes, surely this simple preventative practice method is worth the minimal effort.

5. Mixed Brand Wedges

Unlike many touring pros who are seeking constant feel, Schauffele employs a mixed brand wedge set-up at the bottom of his bag. After his aforementioned 10-iron, Xander uses a Callaway Jaws Raw 52-degree gap wedge before, like so many, deciding to trust Bob Vokey with the shortest of shots, using a Vokey SM10 56-degree wedge and a Vokey WedgeWorks Proto 60-degree. 

Another interesting point on his Vokey wedges, that again is fairly common in the professional ranks, is that they are bent a little weaker than their stated loft. This will predominantly be to hit a certain yardage but can also be to remove offset. Bending weaker will reduce the appearance of offset while bending strong will increase it, and with most better players preferring little to no offset in the scoring clubs, you will rarely see a wedge bent stronger than its stated loft in the pro game.

6. Very Custom Putter

Xander Schauffele

(Image credit: Getty Images)

You don’t win major championships without putting well, and Schauffele certainly did that. Those putts were holed with a (very) custom Odyssey Toulon Las Vegas putter. The first thing you will notice is that it is bright red! Now, this isn’t the first bright red putter I can recall winning a major championship, Jason Day and Sergio Garcia spring to mind with their TaylorMade Spider putters at the USPGA and Masters respectively, so maybe there is something in it?!

Xander Schauffele

(Image credit: GolfWRX)

Schauffele’s Odyssey version is the popular number 7 and he uses the CH (or plumber's neck) version. The face is very deeply milled and painted black which is interesting of itself. This may be because Schauffele prefers the visual distinction of a contrasting face, or it may simply be a marketing trick from Odyssey attempting to create the illusion of its DFX face. It is fitted with a matt black shaft and Superstroke Zenergy Tour 2.0 grip. While you might not be able to pick up Xander’s exact model, the First Run Las Vegas H1 is available from the Toulon website with some pretty cool customization options.

Joe Ferguson
Staff Writer

 

Joe has worked in the golf industry for nearly 20 years in a variety of roles. After a successful amateur career being involved in England squads at every age group, Joe completed his PGA degree qualification in 2014 as one of the top ten graduates in his training year and subsequently went on to become Head PGA Professional at Ryder Cup venue The Celtic Manor Resort. Equipment has always been a huge passion of Joe’s, and during his time at Celtic Manor, he headed up the National Fitting Centres for both Titleist and Taylormade.  He’s excited to bring his knowledge of hardware to Golf Monthly in the form of equipment reviews and buying advice. 

Joe lives in North Devon and still plays sporadically on the PGA West region circuit. His best round in recent years came earlier in 2023 where he managed a 9 under par 63 at Trevose GC in a Devon & Cornwall PGA Tournament.

Joe's current What's In The Bag? 

Driver: Ping G430 Max 10K 9 degree - Fujikura Ventus Red 6X 45.75"

Fairway wood: TaylorMade Qi10 Tour - Mitsubishi Tensei 1K Pro White shaft 70TX 43.25"

Irons: Callaway Apex CB 24'  3-11 - Project X LS 6.5 shafts

Wedges: PXG Sugar Daddy 54 and 60 degree - Project X LS 6.0 shafts

Putter: Odyssey Toe Up #9

Ball: TaylorMade 2024 TP5x