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WRX crib sheet: Highlights from Cobra’s Tour Rep talking Rickie Fowler’s clubs

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For the second installment of his Gear Dive podcast, our Johnny Wunder talked with Ben Schomin, Tour Operations Manager for Cobra-Puma Golf.

Schomin talked about his path to working on the Tour, and shared stories about building clubs for everyone from J.B. Holmes to Rickie Fowler, to Bryson DeChambeau, to Lexi Thompson, to the Great White Shark himself, Greg Norman.

While you should absolutely listen to the full pod, for those of you who are more textually inclined, here’s a crib sheet from an excellent “dive” into Cobra’s maestro of tour equipment’s work with longtime Cobra staffer, Rickie Fowler.

Schomin discussed the addition of tungsten plugs to Fowler’s iron heads.

–Fowler begins tweaking his equipment for the Masters around the beginning of the year. However, they’re constantly “making sure the wedges are dialed. Fowler puts a new lob wedge in play every six to eight weeks.”

–Fowler always puts a new lob wedge in play the tournament before a major so the grooves are sharp and he’s used to the club by the time the major begins.

–“Last year for the U.S. Open, on the Monday of…he ended up putting a Cobra Forged CB 2-iron in play.” Fowler had said the rough was so thick, he wouldn’t be able to hit his 5-wood out of it. He also felt because of the speed of the fairways, the club could function as a great driving iron.

–Regarding preparation, Schomin says, “As much as we do on the front end…months out, there’s still the chance, the possibility, that three days out, there may be something else we need to work on.”

–Fowler first switched to shorter lengths in his irons before going with shorter shafts in the rest of his clubs. This is the fifth or sixth season Fowler has played shorter-than-conventional-length irons.

–“How it came about: We were at Riviera, and we were sitting in the locker room, and he had mentioned…trying a shorter iron.” Fowler said he thought he might be able to control shorter clubs better and flight the ball lower more easily. “Being able to control the flight overall was what had him thinking.”

–“There are some inherent difficulties with shorter clubs…the weight needs to increase,” Schomin says. So he put a run of test clubs together for Fowler to try. Schomin used the same True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shaft in a number of 6-irons: straight in, soft-stepped, bringing weight to get it to D3, leaving at D0.

–They did a “blind taste test” at the Medalist. After extensive testing, Fowler narrowed the field to two clubs, and then picked one from there. The iron he picked is the same length he continues to play: X100 soft stepped, half an inch short. He went with D0 swingweight (although he has since changed to D3).

–“He ended up winning Wells Fargo with those irons, and he put them in the bag permanently. He played with that set the whole season. In the offseason, we were working on putting a new set of irons in play” at which point Fowler decided he wanted to go back to a heavier swingweight, which required adding six or seven grams to the head.

–They’ve essentially been making Fowler’s irons the same way since (adding tungsten plugs to the head). Cobra removes six to seven grams of steel from the iron’s head and fills it with 12 to 14 grams of tungsten.

–“It’s actually a really, really involved process,” Schomin says. The company has an in-house machinist who works on the irons, and it takes a whole day just to do a couple of irons. “It’s a pretty precise operation.”

–Schomin indicated there’s a set of irons for Fowler in the Tour truck. Rickie has one at home, and there’s one at Cobra HQ.

–A couple of years ago, Rickie was struggling with a 3-wood he had loved up until that point, he was like, “Dude, I gotta do something. I’ve lost confidence in my 3-wood.” At that time, Fowler’s 3-wood was 42.5 inches. After Fowler repeatedly pured a 42-inch 3-wood Schomin built for him, he put it in the bag immediately.

–With the 5-wood it’s the “same deal.” A 5-wood is typically 42-42.5 inches, but Scomin built Fowler a 40.5-inch 5-wood with added weight since Rickie wanted something between a 5-wood and a hybrid. “It’s a golf club that has a lot of utility.”

–Last year, prior to the Honda, Fowler spent Monday and Tuesday testing a shorter driver. “He was striping it…then he goes out and wins the golf tournament.”

Schomin talks about his work with Rickie Fowler from around the 18 minute mark to around 28 minutes in the podcast. As mentioned, he addresses his work with a number of other pros and talks about his route to building clubs for some of the game’s best players.

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Brad Shatek

    May 7, 2018 at 10:55 pm

    Thanks for the transcript, much appreciated; keep them coming!

  2. grumpy

    May 7, 2018 at 1:53 pm

    Thank you for transcribing the audio to text!

  3. Robert Parsons

    May 7, 2018 at 1:40 pm

    Agree with everyone. Thanks for putting some of it in text. Can’t watch podcasts from work even though I’m permitted, the computers don’t have audio.

  4. Mike

    May 7, 2018 at 12:34 pm

    Thanks much for the transcript. Some of us don’t have the ability to listen to the full-length podcast.

  5. freowho

    May 7, 2018 at 5:47 am

    It’s a pity the average punter doesn’t have fittings like this. Longer lighter clubs are ruining more swings than they are helping.

  6. Michael Constantine

    May 6, 2018 at 9:36 pm

    You guys asked and we said we wanted text script of the podcasts. I can’t thank you enough. Please continue to do so. This was great!

  7. Derek

    May 6, 2018 at 1:01 pm

    Greatly appreciate the crib sheet.

  8. Larry

    May 5, 2018 at 10:41 am

    I try to skip and the sound disappears. What’s going on?

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19th Hole

Ricky Barnes DQd at the Byron Nelson

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Ricky Barnes took a trip to Dairy Queen at the AT&T Byron Nelson. Barnes was disqualified following his second round 1-over 72. He signed for a three at the par-4 sixth hole, when in fact he had made a par.

Ultimately, he won’t rue his impromptu trip to get a Blizzard: Barnes was 3 over and was in no danger of making the cut.

Because this is the world we live in, Barnes apparently found out about the DQ via LuckyTrout Golf Pool on Twitter.

Of course, no scorecard error will ever top “What a stupid I am,” Roberto De Vicenzo signing for 66 when he shot 65, handing the green jacket to Bob Goalby at the 1968 Masters. Such an unfortunate legacy for a man who won hundreds of tournaments around the world.

Also unfortunate: Ricky Barnes is on the way for being remembered as a man who never lived up to the promise he showed at that same tournament, The Masters, as an amateur.

Let’s hope that changes.

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19th Hole

WATCH/LOOK AWAY: Jordan Spieth misses a 15-inch putt

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Aren’t you glad there isn’t video of all the 15-inch putts you’ve missed? I certainly am.

Unfortunately for Jordan Spieth, his failed attempt from little more than a foot at the Byron Nelson was captured on video, and it will exist on the internet for all eternity.

Spieth, who has struggled with the flatstick lately, stood over a short par putt at the par-4 15th hole, and well…

Spieth is currently 183rd on the PGA Tour this season in strokes gained: putting, losing .412 strokes per round to the field on the greens.

But at least he hit the hole, right?

Here’s the offending weapon: Spieth’s trusty Scotty Cameron 009.

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19th Hole

GolfWRX members debate: What should the World Golf Hall of Fame criteria be?

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There have been a couple of controversial inclusions on the World Golf Hall of Fame. This isn’t to rehash, say, Fred Couples earning a spot, but rather, take a look at entry criteria.

More specifically, GolfWRX member playar32 writes

“I know the actual criteria is 15 tour wins, or 2 majors/Players championship. But what’s YOUR minimum?…For example, if a player won a “B” tournament every year (the one opposite a WGC event), every year in a row for 15 years, but missed the cut in every other event, would you still considered them HOF?”

It’s an interesting point. Specifically, the World Golf Hall of Fame criteria for an active male golfer is as follows.

“A player must have a cumulative total of 15 or more official victories on any of the original members of the International Federation of PGA Tours (PGA TOUR, European Tour, Japan Golf Tour, Sunshine Tour, Asian Tour and PGA of Australasia) OR at least two victories among the following events: The Masters, THE PLAYERS Championship, the U.S. Open, The Open Championship and the PGA Championship.”

Further, a player must be at least 50 or five years removed from competition.

Here are some other WRX members’ takes.

Bladehunter says

“15 tour wins and 2 majors for me. Otherwise almost every 1 major winner out there is in.”

McCann1 says

“If we won’t remember your name without the HOF in 50 years I think you shouldn’t be in.”

Fowlerscousin says

“If any of these three criteria are met: 3 or more majors. Minimum 5 Ryder cup appearances. 15 tour victories.”

Hawkeye77 says

“Whatever the criteria are, don’t ever think about it unless someone whose speech I want to hear gets in.’

Golfer929 has more stringent standards

“20 Wins. 3 Majors. 2 Ryder Cup/President Cup appearances. 100 total weeks inside Top 50 OWGR.”

Golfgirlrobin says

“I’d like to see them go to some sort of point system like the LPGA uses. Factor in everything that’s important and let the chips fall where they may.”

You’ll want to check out the rest of what GolfWRX members have to say in the thread.

There are a ton off questions to consider when thinking about which current/recent players should make the HoF.

A few…

1. Should the standards be on par with other sports? If so, what does that look like?
2. If the WGHOF should be more/less stringent, why?
3. How important are major victories? Why two and not three?
4. Why 15 wins and not 10? Or 20?

All important questions, and ones which the golf fans of the world should be able to weigh in on, rather than merely a selection committee of 16 people.

Let us know what you think, GolfWRX members!

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