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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

Hungover Eddie Pepperell is the real winner of The Open

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Eddie Pepperell is never dull. The Englishman’s candor, articulateness, and skill with a pen make him a great follow on Twitter and beyond.

But even given standard Peperellian forthrightness, it was surprising to hear this: Pepperell was hungover during the final round at Carnoustie…a round in which he fired a 4-under 67.

Pepperell finished tied for sixth at 5-under, three strokes behind Francesco Molinari, and he offered this admission in his final-round press conference.

“I was a little hungover…I had too much to drink last night. And I was so frustrated yesterday, that today was really, I wouldn’t say a write-off, but I didn’t feel I was in the golf tournament. Whether I shot 69 or 73 today, it wouldn’t have been heartbreaking. But as it happens, I shot 67. So, you know, it’s a funny game.”

Hitting the course before the winds kicked up, Pepperell birdied the third, fifth, sixth, and 14th holes before rolling in another at the 17th.

He clarified that he’s no wino.

“Listen, I wouldn’t always have a drink the night before. Sometimes I have a few drinks. Tiger is minus-7, he didn’t have a drink last night, I bet. Proper athlete…I didn’t really have that much to drink, just I’m a lightweight, yeah.”

Pepperell clarified that he felt okay this morning, but woke up in the middle of the night feeling poorly. he said. Then it was time to sit back and watch as the leaders battled Carnoustie’s back nine.

Proper athlete or no, Pepperell finished tied with Woods at 5 under.

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19th Hole

Pat Perez: The R&A “do it right, not like the USGA”

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Pat Perez opened The Open, as it were, with a 2-under 69, and at the time of this writing, he’s 4 under for the second round and tied for the lead.

Clearly, there’s something Double P likes about links golf. And when he was asked whether he was surprised by how receptive the greens at Carnoustie were after his opening round, Perez shook his head with conviction and said.

“They (the R&A) do it right, not like the USGA…They’ve got the opposite [philosophy] here. I told them, you guys have it right, let the course get baked, but you’ve got the greens receptive. They’re not going to run and be out of control. They could have easily had the greens just like the fairway, but they didn’t. The course is just set up perfect.”

“The U.S. Open could have been like this more if they wanted to. They could have made the greens a bit more receptive,” Perez said. “These greens are really flat compared to Shinnecock. So that was kind of the problem there is they let it get out of control and they made the greens too hard.”

Pat Perez has no problem speaking his mind. While it has gotten him in trouble in the past, you have to respect his candor. The interesting question, as I asked in the Morning 9, is how many Tour pros agree him?

Sure, it’s unlikely any of Perez’s compatriots will join him publicly in his “R&A does it right, USGA does it wrong” stance, but it’d be very interesting to know what percentage are of the same mind.

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19th Hole

68 at the British Open in the morning, golf with hickories at St Andrews in the afternoon

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Yes, golf fans, just another day in the charmed life (or week, at least) of one Brandon Stone.

Stoney (as I assume his friends call him), came to Carnoustie on the heels of a final-round 60 to win the Scottish Open. All he did in his opening round was fire a 3-under 68. Not bad!

But his Thursday to remember was only getting started as Stone made the 25-mile trip south to the Old Course to peg it…with a set of hickory clubs! Well played, sir, well played.

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19th Hole

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