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The story behind Jason Dufner’s new National Custom Works irons

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If you caught any of Jason Dufner shooting 66-68 on the weekend at The Players, you might have been intrigued by the blades the Auburn man was carving up TPC Sawgrass with.

GolfWRX members, not surprisingly, spotted the switch from his previous gamers over the weekend, eventually identifying Dufner’s irons as National Custom Works products.

We reached out to NCW to learn more about Dufner’s new weaponry, and company co-founder Patrick Boyd was kind enough to share some details.

BA: So Jason Dufner puts your clubs in the bag and lights it up on the weekend. How did this happen?

PB: I got an email from him a while ago…I saw the email and I laughed. I was like, ‘Yeah. OK. Sure, buddy.’ But I wrote an email back and said, “If this is you, I’d love to work with you on something.’ He gave me his number, we got in touch…scheduled an appointment with Don [White]. We spent an afternoon working with him on some sample clubs, and it’s kind of gone from there.

I text with him [Dufner] pretty regularly, and I’d heard from him the clubs were a couple of weeks out from making the bag, and he texted me Friday and said, ‘They’re going in the bag this weekend.’ And I hadn’t been paying attention to the leaderboard, so I thought he didn’t make the cut and he was just going home to mess around with them. Then, I’m watching Saturday and he shoots 66!

BA: So he just put them in the bag in the middle of the tournament? Crazy.

PB: Yeah. And the other interesting thing is, he’s a client like any of my other clients: he pays for his golf clubs. We don’t have a contract with him. He’s all about playing the best equipment that works for him.

BA: He insists on paying? Wow. So what was Jason Dufner looking for when he came to you initially, and what did you end up delivering?

PB: He’s been trying a lot of different stuff. He doesn’t have a contract right now. So, I asked him during that process what was happening and what he was seeing, and it became apparent that the soles on the irons he was playing were digging in too much. His spin rates were a little bit high, which to me indicates he was hitting it higher on the face than he’d like to. That was the beginning of the conversation. He was really, really thorough. He knew all his numbers and he knew exactly what he was talking about.

Initially, we met down at Albany. I had him bring what he was playing and what had been successful for him. Me and Don had a look at what was going on. It became clear pretty quickly what we needed to do as far as the sole configuration. That’s what he was fighting: the bottom of his golf clubs weren’t matching up with his angle of attack.

That was the first step. We made a couple of samples for him to take home…I got about two hours down the road and my phone rang. It was Dufner saying, “I hit balls with them. Everything is great. Just make this one little change,” and I got everything in to Don.

The first set we made for him, this is kind of interesting, when he told us about the trajectory he wanted and what he had in mind, Don looked at him and said, ‘Man, you want some blades!’ And he hadn’t played blades since he was in college. But the first project we worked on with our client were cavity backs.

He worked with them on Trackman and his numbers were really good, but the thing that was interesting to me was we used the smaller cavity back we work with and he thought it was a little too long heel-to-toe for him, so he asked me to make him a set of blades. So, we talked about that project…and once we had the sole knocked out and knew what he needed there, as well as what his preferred toe shape is, his preferred aesthetics, the offset he likes, it was pretty easy to put a set together for him.

The 4 and 5-iron are kind of a lower CG profile, and the 6-iron through pitching wedge is more of a mid-CG profile. He just wanted something to kind of knock it down and flight it a little bit flatter with the 6 through pitch, and then with the 4 and 5, he was looking for something a little easier to launch and hold greens with. Kind of a mixed muscle setup.

BA: It looks like he has Auburn colors on the ferrules? And can you confirm the stamping?

PB: Yep. I designed those ferrules for him. And the irons have the NCW star stamp in the toe of the muscle, and then we have the [Jason Dufner] Foundation logo. Then, the letters on the sole of the golf clubs are his dad’s name.

PB: Well, I’ll reiterate, what I thought was just fascinating was, when we initially had the conversation, he really wasn’t sure about working with blades. But once you get the sole profile knocked out for somebody and they’re not fighting the sole of the club…I mean, to me, it speaks volumes that once you get a set of blades in his hands with the correct sole profile it made such a difference in just his initial reaction to wanting to talk about blades…it’s just a testament to the importance of fitting somebody, getting the right sole for their angle of attack, tendencies, and conditions.

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL – MAY 13: Jason Dufner of the United States plays a shot during the final round of THE PLAYERS Championship on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on May 13, 2018 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

For more about National Custom Works, well, works, check out our Peter Schmitt’s talk with Patrick Boyd last month.

EDIT: Patrick sent Dufner’s full spec sheet along

Make up: 4-P Standard Flatback
Muscle: PMB Long Iron muscle with straight line 4/5, Phatty ’53 (PJB) muscle 6/7, Phatty ’53 (PJB) muscle but slightly higher than 6/7 for 8-P
Shape: duplicate samples
Grind: duplicate samples. Client noted modification per our conversation, please adjust accordingly
Loft: 23/28/32/36/40/44/48
Lie: 59.5/60/60.5/61/61.5/62/62.5
Offset: duplicate samples
Weights: D-3 (-2g for chrome) 50g grip, 38.5/38/37.5/37/36.5/36/35.75″ cut length
Finish: Dull Satin, prep for chrome
Stamping: 1/4″ letters 4 (F), 5 (R), 6 (A), 7 (N), 8 (K), 9 (E), P (D) on toe side of sole, DW on heel side of sole, JD logo stamp on muscle heel side, Star N logo on muscle toe side
Paintfill: none
Ferrule: Custom Auburn

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50 Comments

50 Comments

  1. Les

    Jun 15, 2018 at 3:04 pm

    I’m gonna get a set of those clubs to lower my score…. and get that ‘traditional’ look to my WITB arsenal of weapons… 😮

  2. Soheil Shirzadi

    May 18, 2018 at 12:49 pm

    Scratch 2.0? Looks like Ari Techner is part of NCW

  3. GCGC

    May 17, 2018 at 10:45 pm

    FINALLY a set of clubs with normal lofts! Yay to NCF and Dufner! Where is all the OEM BS about “our engineers lowered the center of gravity soooo much that we had to put the 6-iron loft down to 22° in order to keep the launch angle down and spin down to a manageable level”….. bla bla bla. You too can be a hero and impress your friends by hitting a 9-iron 225 yards (even though said 9-iron has only 21° of loft). Either NCF totally messed up in their design of this iron head – ‘cuz they are nowhere near the “modern high tech” clubs, or the OEM’s are all talking out of their arse. I think it is the latter. Just sayin’.

    • Hogan Fan

      May 26, 2018 at 7:07 pm

      I could not agree more! I would like an equipment manufacturer who lowers the CG and creates a higher launching club to actually let the club launch really high to help all those guys who are playing below the tree line. At least provide it as an option! I really don’t want a 27* #7 iron (this is actually true) I want my clubs to have reasonable launch angle, reasonable descent angle, reasonable spin and the appropriate combination of those three to actually be a useful set of tools to help me around the golf course. I really don’t care what they say on the bottom.

  4. Marc Grenier

    May 17, 2018 at 1:14 pm

    Mr. Alberstadt,

    VERY good article, simple terms, easy to understand. I subscribe to GOLF WRX. newsletter and will read your past and future articles. Keep up the good work.

  5. HDTVMAN

    May 17, 2018 at 9:28 am

    ???? Very good and interesting article.

  6. Bob Parson Jr.

    May 16, 2018 at 5:23 pm

    They are not Parsons, meh!

    • JOEL K GOODMAN

      May 16, 2018 at 8:35 pm

      NO THEY AREN ‘T . THEY ARE BETTER BY FAR. AND PROBABLY NOT AS OVERPRICED.

  7. ron

    May 16, 2018 at 4:36 pm

    now everyone wants them

  8. Dave r

    May 16, 2018 at 12:31 pm

    One of the best articles I’ve read on here real good work . Good luck to Jason hope he does well on tour I know I’m pulling for him.

  9. Mirage

    May 16, 2018 at 12:10 pm

    Don White. ‘Nuff said. Great piece!

  10. Scott

    May 16, 2018 at 11:32 am

    Best article in a long time

  11. 2DudesTony

    May 16, 2018 at 8:20 am

    Duff Daddy has always been a pure striker & more than adequate putter. Everyone misses short putts regularly, most of us due to the “gimme”. I’d like to know what angle of attack caused a need for a different fitting. Details anyone? I used to be VERY steep w irons but corrected that w a posture change. Self taught but read & try a lot of teaching & have never had a fitting. At 66 I’m thinking it’s too late.

  12. dat

    May 15, 2018 at 11:10 am

    Now this is quality content!

  13. douglas terry

    May 15, 2018 at 10:42 am

    I guess shaft info is not important?

    • JW

      May 16, 2018 at 11:44 am

      They probably didn’t shaft the heads…. and if they did you’re right it’s the least important info in everything provided. The impact the shaft has its minimal compared to sole grind, head design, etc but if you see the pics it looks like the S400 AMT Tour Issue that he’s been using but I’m sure he could find a tour van to build them with those and Superstroke grips

  14. CJ

    May 15, 2018 at 10:13 am

    Great stuff…I see 12 oxygen theives marked it a shank…what a joke.

  15. Chuck Barkley

    May 15, 2018 at 12:14 am

    Great piece! Yeah, loving the “hat a day” situation too. Walked into Lids today to ask about their connection to New Era and the The Players cap Jason wore, and they were like, “duhhhhhhh, we don’t have any info on that cap.” Well can you call your contact their? “duhhhhhh, we don’t have access.” Ehhhh whatever. Go Duffy!!!

  16. Sue

    May 14, 2018 at 11:48 pm

    Love Dufner, this further supports my feeling!

  17. rymail00

    May 14, 2018 at 11:18 pm

    This was a cool story.

    I was such a huge fan of Scratch Golf (really sad to them go), but now to see the guys doing there thing again is awesome. I’m truly happy for them cuz they are a great group guys.

    I like Dufner and hope he plays well with the new sticks and it helps shine some light on NCW.

  18. moses

    May 14, 2018 at 11:06 pm

    Man I’m going back to blades. My iron game has been off lately.

  19. Larry

    May 14, 2018 at 9:45 pm

    NCW is using open designs by a Chinese foundry and passing it off as custom.

    • 2putttom

      May 15, 2018 at 10:40 am

      I must of missed that part in the article

    • Blake

      May 15, 2018 at 2:10 pm

      They do purchase blanks and grinds them. Not sure how open a blank design is

  20. Lenny

    May 14, 2018 at 9:26 pm

    Duf is trying to look like a 72 year old man and succeeding.

  21. Brett Weir

    May 14, 2018 at 8:57 pm

    Looks like some old school 1960’s Wilson Staff Blades.

    • 2putttom

      May 15, 2018 at 10:41 am

      yep the ever successful step muscle design.

    • T. Lee

      May 16, 2018 at 5:52 pm

      DynaPowered from mid 60’s! minus the red plugs in heel.

    • JOEL K GOODMAN

      May 16, 2018 at 8:37 pm

      THEY WERE THE STANDARD FOR THE WORLD AT THAt time

  22. len

    May 14, 2018 at 8:49 pm

    See… plain vanilla flavored muscleback fitted irons is all you need if you are a decent golfer… and the rest of us duffers hope our Super Game Improvement cavity back or hollow jello-filled multi-scruw irons will rescue our pathetic golf swing and wild ball flight. 😮

  23. JD

    May 14, 2018 at 8:45 pm

    Those are some sharp irons. I’m very impressed. Love the Auburn ferrule. WDE

  24. Randy Watkins

    May 14, 2018 at 7:57 pm

    Very interesting story. Makes me think about my angle of attack! I think Dufner pays because he doesn’t want any influence that steers him away from pure golf.

  25. MB

    May 14, 2018 at 7:33 pm

    Duf’s the Man he will figure the putter out relax, very underrated ball sticker imo.

    • kevin

      May 15, 2018 at 9:33 am

      figure the putter out? he was +7.4 in shots gained putting for the week (top 3)…..and top 50 in 2018 for shots gained. the idea that dufner is an awful putter is such a myth

      • Thomas A

        May 15, 2018 at 11:37 am

        Everyone only watched his one mis-putt on the 18th on Sunday. Cost him $403,000.

  26. SK

    May 14, 2018 at 6:55 pm

    See… plain vanilla flavored muscleback fitted irons is all you need if you are a decent golfer… and the rest of us duffers hope our Super Game Improvement cavity back or hollow jello-filled multi-screw irons will rescue our pathetic golf swing and wild ball flight. 😮

  27. Matty

    May 14, 2018 at 6:48 pm

    How about a Jason Dufner Hat Compilation for 2018?

  28. Gorden

    May 14, 2018 at 6:39 pm

    Love seeing Dufner and Woods for that matter, playing old style irons shows all these gimmicks the Club companies are putting on their clubs is nothing more then bubbles and bangles..truth known the Ping eye 2 could be brought back out and they would sell thousands of sets….

  29. Richard

    May 14, 2018 at 6:18 pm

    What a fantastic story for National Custom Works. They are doing some great stuff. So cool that he paid for them!!!

  30. Dan

    May 14, 2018 at 5:34 pm

    They look sooo one fashioned. Love em!!

    I wish I could call Don White and have him make me a set

    • Buchs

      May 14, 2018 at 6:25 pm

      You can. Just call NCW. Patrick will hook you up. Just may take a little longer after this article lol.

  31. the dude

    May 14, 2018 at 5:17 pm

    how bout they make him a putter…….(that 3 wiggle on 18 cost him ~ 700-400k)

    • Ryan Michael

      May 14, 2018 at 7:49 pm

      It’s not the arrow it’s the Indian.

      • Ralph Guldahl

        May 14, 2018 at 10:09 pm

        Tell that to the Indian with a quiver full of crooked arrows.

    • kevin

      May 15, 2018 at 9:34 am

      he was top 3 in putting for the week and +7.4 in strokes gained putting. what are you talking about?

    • Sue

      May 15, 2018 at 11:05 am

      All 4 rounds determine the $$$. He got to where he was because of all (4) rounds.

    • Tiger

      May 15, 2018 at 6:43 pm

      Go back to the land of stupid ignorant comments where you came from

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Equipment

Forum Thread of the Day: “How I learned to stop worrying and love single length irons”

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Today’s Forum Thread of the Day comes from pinestreetgolf who shared his experience using single length irons. In pinestreetgolf’s excellent and thorough write-up, he explains just how single length irons worked for him, despite his previous suspects, and why he feels others should considering making the move to single length clubs in the future.

“First, I made a mistake I am constantly on others for making. I thought all-or-none. The whole “same stance, same swing, same plane” thing isn’t true. However, I decided that since one of them wasn’t true (if the lie changes, it all changes), then none of it was true. That was dumb. It’s about 80% true, and that is a lot. What I mean by that is that I struggle with ball position. Now I don’t. The club always feels the same, so you always just sort of start lining up the same all the time. It’s hard to describe, exactly. When my ball position creeps back, I start to get stuck. Now it doesn’t creep back. I grab the club, and the address position feels natural and easy.

Second, I made the mistake of thinking yardage gaps have to be consistent to be useful. They don’t. As my SL set tends towards its extremes, my gaps get larger. My 5 iron isn’t 10 yards behind my 6. But I know how far it is behind my six and I know I hit the center more often, so effectively, because I get much better contact, my gap is much more consistent even though it is smaller.

Third, I learned to hit a hybrid. I play them through 4 iron. I cannot get a SL 4 iron off the ground consistently, but my gaggle of G30 hybrids from the 2nd swing is fantastic.

Fourth, I kept my PM Grind for in and around the green complex.
Fifth, it makes practice MUCH more effective. Swap them out all the time. Hit a 6, hit a SW, hit a 9, hit a 7, rapid fire.

It took me a long time to get used to them, but the two massive pros are the setup/stance and practice. You set up the same way almost instinctively, and that is HUGE. I also feel like I get a ton more out of practice AND that my practice feels like the course a lot more.

There are some drawbacks. I found three specialty shots I had to add clubs at top and bottom to pull off:
1. A short-game only club, like a PM Grind.
2. Where the last SL doesn’t get airborne anymore. I used 3 hybrids below it. They hit middles of greens.
3. Ground balls – I can’t punch out nearly as well with a SL 5 as a CB 3 or 4. I’ve learned to use my driver on this shot.

If you are thinking about something new for irons and have some cash, I would recommend trying SL. It grew on me. I was wrong about it. The key is to stick with it. Just throw them in the bag for two months and when practicing switch up irons constantly – do NOT just bang one iron with an SL set.

Finally, either get fit or play with lie angle a lot. Mine are +3 up, and I’m only 6′. Feel great, dead even dirt line. But since they are all the same, they better be right. Just my thoughts on SL. They’ll be in my bag for the May – Sept. tournaments. I would highly recommend 1. ignoring my earlier posts on them and 2. trying them.”

Here are what a few of our members have said in response to pinestreetgolf’s post, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • snowman9000: “Some people get hung up on thinking that they aren’t supposed to have a shorter wedge. I kept one, no big deal. As to hybrids, that’s no biggie either. I mean, it’d be great if we could get good results with 13 clubs the same length, but that’s just not possible. Having SL irons is a huge simplification of the game, regardless of the rest of the bag.”
  • ChrisLC40: “OP I love how you summed everything up. I made the switch a little over two years ago and have made huge improvements. At times I think about going back to variable length irons because of the offerings, but OL is so repeatable, and I feel I may go backwards and need to relearn some things.”
  • LONGBALL777: “Welcome to the Dark Side!”

Entire Thread: “How I learned to stop worrying and love single length irons”

 

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Equipment

WRX Spotted: A pair of custom putters

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This week’s Zurich Classic is all about pairs — that goes for the two-man teams competing for the winner’s check(s), and in the case of notable putters we spotted, a pair of new one-off customs in bags this week: Abraham Ancer’s personal Bettinardi and Danny Lee’s new Scotty Cameron Super Rat.

Let’s start with the Danny Lee’s because there is a LOT going on with that club including first and foremost – it’s one nasty wand:

  • Super Rat head shape with a single sight line
  • The milled (actual) loft appears to be pretty standard for Cameron Putters
  • The hosel has been bent to accommodate Danny’s “armlock” style. This keeps the loft of the head where it should be while forward pressing. This kind of adjustment would need to be made to any standard putter if you were to try the armlock, or else you would deliver negative loft at impact
  • The shaft is LA Golf Shaft OZIK TP — a shaft designed to remove undesirable vibration through the shaft, while also reducing putter head oscillation at impact. Not a surprise considering the number of multi material/graphite putter shafts that are available right now to help improve consistency.
  • Last but not least a SuperStroke Flatso grip installed with the flat part of the grip aligned parallel to the putter face! This isn’t the first time we’ve seen something like this, and it makes sense – Utilizing the orientation of the grip to create greater awareness of the face angle can help players of all skill levels create more consistent results, even tour pros.

Danny has had an interesting golf bag to follow this season with a number of changes coming almost weekly from irons to putters. Maybe this change could help turn his putting around (currently ranked 116th in strokes gained: putting), all while still being inside the top 50 in the FedEx Cup.

Now to Abraham Ancer’s new Custom DASS BBZero Tour Dept. Putter.

  • This putter is based off of the BBZerostyle head with rounded bumpers and a plumbers neck
  • Compared to the BBZero though, the heel is thicker and it could have a slightly shorter blade length (TBD)
  • It has a recessed sight line on the top that runs perpendicular to the sight line in the flange to form a “T.” This is interesting for a couple of reasons including that it looks to be the width of a golf ball, which could help Abraham find the center better. Also as a right-handed golfer, this type of alignment is an indication that he is most likely right-eye dominant and uses the face of the putter to align to the target as much if not more than the flange line.
  • Just like Danny’s above, this putter is also shafted with the LA Golf Shaft OZIK TP — there must be something about that that has more players testing it out.
  • And finally, the grip is the SuperStroke Claw. Judging by the cleanliness of both these grips these are both new to the players and testing will prove what ends up come tournament time.

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Forum Thread of the Day: “Iron type for controlling shots into the wind?”

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Today’s Forum Thread of the Day comes from eckmanjp who is on the hunt for irons to help with controlling shots played into the wind. Our members give their opinions on what are the best options for eckmanjp, with plenty of different clubs and shafts recommended.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • driveandputtmachine: “Into the wind, spin is NOT your friend. No matter how low launching it will balloon. I was an extremely high spin player, in my search for something lower spinning my three best were…. TM P 790, Cobra Forged TEC, and Ping i500.The final piece is a shaft that spins high enough to hold greens, but not too high to balloon into the wind.”
  • mogc60: “Sounds like you have good clubs and shaft combo for reducing spin. Shafts do make a difference…but don’t cure the upshoot into the wind. Good advice above about more club and swinging slower…speed equals spin. I find the biggest mistake people make into the wind is playing the ball too far back and hitting down too hard. The key is smooth through impact and finishing low in your follow through…not pounding it down…that creates that upshooting shot that the wind destroys.”
  • dpb5031: “Technique plays the major role here, not equipment. Generally, anywhere from 1 to 3 extra club, grip down on the handle, and use what I call a wide-to-wide swing at 3/4 speed. Think limited arm swing (no longer than left arm parallel with the ground in BS) and then cover the ball, keep body turning through it, and finish wide & low, with handle following your rotating trunk around to the left.”
  • rxk9fan: “I think the head/shaft combo can make a huge difference of course along with how you deliver the clubhead into the ball. Take a look at the Titleist shaft chart and see what they are showing. FWIW though, the OP’s current shaft should not be a high launch/high spin shaft. I found both the 716 AP2 and CB to be tough to control spin with, but as suggested it was 100% my delivery at impact. I found the Srixon Z9xx series to spin less but the best thing I did was get to a quality teacher, and we improved a pretty tiny swing flaw that had a big impact on spin. Good luck. I can say I tried to “new club” my way through the spin problem, but three lessons is what it took to fix it.”

Entire Thread: “Iron type for controlling shots into the wind?”

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