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Bay Hill Tour Report: Sam Burns makes the switch to Paradym TD S and Xander has a new wand

ORLANDO, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 28: Sam Burns of the USA hits a shot during a practice round prior to the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard at Arnold Palmer Bay Hill Golf Course on February 28, 2023 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

It was our 2nd week of “Inside the Ropes” PGA Tour Access this week at Bay Hill, so not much time was spent on the truck digging into any new builds or the fun stuff I usually track. However, there were two notable switches this week that made some buzz around the range…we will get to that in a moment.

On-site for the Callaway Performance Team, we had Tour Manager Joe Toulon, performance reps Kellen Watson, Johnny Thompson, and Dean Teykl, and rounding it off was Steve Mata for Odyssey.

The golf course is a BRUTE. The greens are already baked out, the rough is THICK, and the fairways are soft. What does that mean? Longer shots into very difficult and bouncy green complexes putting a premium on DRIVING. I imagine if the wind continues to pick up, anyone 6 to 8 under has a REALLY good shot of winning.

Sam Burns switches to Paradym TD S

On the truck, it’s no secret that young Sam Burns falls in love with certain parts of the bag, and getting him into something new is a process. There is nothing negative about that by any stretch because when it is finally right, the guy is an absolute killer.

Sam’s Paradym testing started during the playoffs, and his first reaction was VERY positive in regards to look/sound, and feel. That’s typically an easy first step with him. The 2nd step is typically an at-home test with Performance Rep Dean Teykl, who has worked with Sam since he was in college, and that 2nd step is more to ensure launch/spin/ball speed, etc., are in a good place. To take it even further, it’s more of a fact-finding mission to ensure that the face and the CG are in a place that Sam feels comfortable with.

From that point, it’s on Sam to navigate through on-course testing with his coach Brad Pullin and give the driver the time to build that trust. So why didn’t he switch at Amex or Phoenix? Well, he was in Paradym at the Sentry, but that course has 900 Yard fairways, and it’s not incredibly stressful on the driver per se. So as a first test to see how it flies in a tournament, it will accomplish that and little else. It’s when we hit the east coast that Sam starts digging in a little harder, and this week at Bay Hill was the week.

The X factor that is new is Sam has had a speed uptick in the last six months taking his cruising speed from 177-178 to 182-183, and he even clipped 190MPH over the winter. It doesn’t change the driver set-up at all, really, but it does come into play in regards to nailing in certain trajectories and spin rates.

Where he was:

Driver: Rogue ST TD(10.5@10.3, 14GB, 2GF, 59 lie)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue 7TX (45 inches, Tipped .5 , D3, 198G)

Where he almost went:

Driver: Paradym TD S (10.5+@10.5, N/S, 8GB, 7GF, 59 lie)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue 7TX (45 inches, Tipped .5 , D3, 198G)

This one checked off MOST of the boxes with one exception, the start line on anything left to right started too far to the right, which caused to much overcompensation. The reason he’s in TD S over TD is, in fact, start lines. The TD didn’t ensure the windows he likes to see on all of his trajectories, and the smaller and more maneuverable TD S gave him that.

Where he landed:

Driver: Paradym TD S (9+@10.3, N/+1 8GB, 7GF, 59 lie)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue 7TX (45 inches, Tipped .5 , D3, 198G)

This switch happened on #4 at Bay Hill; the first two tee shots Sam hit with the 10.5+ were in left to right cross winds that required a hard cut, and the start lines were just too far to the right, Dean Teykl (who had three heads on him while walking with Sam) took a 9+ head (9.5 actual) put the cog at +1 which squared up the face a bit and like magic Sam started hitting these HARD cuts that started slightly left of center and fell right. It was on #4 that this happened, and it was full tilt all the way through the practice round.

“I’m pretty slow to switch drivers and will only make the jump if there’s improvement across the board. I had a great year with the Rogue ST TD, but with Paradym, I found a tighter window down range, a bit more ball speed on mis-hits, and the sound and feel of this thing is unreal.

These days you find the improvements with equipment in the nuance, and to make my misses a bit better could mean something huge as the year goes on. It all matters, and every little thing we can add helps.”

-Sam Burns on Paradym March 1, 2023

A quick note on the S+ head, it’s 420CC, mid-launch, mid-spin (like the Epic Speed TD and Rogue ST TD) head that’s a bit more responsive than the others. The + signifies a higher lofted version meaning it’s 9@9.5 to start, this was developed for face angles more than anything, so a player that needs a loft that sits in between can get it without adjusting the face angle OR, in Sam’s case, a 9-degree head at 9.5 close the face a hair to get a better start line and land at 10.5.

Make sense? It’s mad science y’all!!

Look for Sam’s FULL 2023 WITB this weekend

Xanders New Wand (Pics only, story coming soon)

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