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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: “Anti-hook hybrid?”

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Today’s Forum Thread of the Day comes from kgeisler13 who is looking to replace his current 3-iron with an anti-hook hybrid. Our members give their thoughts on the subject to kgeisler13, with Ping’s G410, as well as Callaway’s ’19 Apex proving to be popular suggestions.

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.

  • Joelsim: “Ping G410. I’ve hit about 60 shots with my new one and not a single hook. I sold the G400 as it was prone to hooking.”
  • Banker: “G410 flat setting, KBS hybrid 95x. Swing as hard as you want.”
  • Golfingguru11: “Callaway apex has the highest toe and most open face of any I’ve seen since the original idea pro.”
  • eaglestan66: “Titleist 818 H1 can be very fade biased if weight and lie angles are set correctly. This is one of the reasons I purchased the 3 and 4-hybrid version.”
  • phil75079: “The Callaway ’19 Apex hybrid. Everyone who has hit it agrees it is neutral to fade biased.”

Entire Thread: “Anti-hook hybrid?”

 

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Whats in the Bag

Shane Lowry’s winning WITB: 2019 Open Championship

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Driver: Srixon Z 585 (9.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ 70X (45.25″, tipped .75″, D3 swing weight)

3-wood: TaylorMade M4 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI-8X

Irons: Srixon Z U85 (2 [18 degrees], 3 [20 degrees bent to 21]), Srixon Z 585 (4 [23 degrees], 5 [26 degrees]), Srixon Z 785 (6-PW)
Shafts: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White TX Hybrid (2), KBS Tour 130X (3-PW)

Wedges: Cleveland RTX 4 (50 [bent to 51, 35.75″, D5], 58 degrees [35.25″, D7.5)
Shafts: KBS Tour Wedge X

Putter: Odyssey Stroke Lab Exo 2-Ball (Lowry’s putter has an all-black finish, and he switched into it earlier this year at the RBC; 34″)
Grip: SuperStroke Traxion Pistol GT 1.0 (custom shamrock)

Ball: Srixon Z-Star XV Pure White

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet 58R (logo down)

Image c/o Srixon (obviously, Lowry does not have all wedges pictured in play)

Additional Shane Lowry WITB notes, via Johnny Wunder

2019 Open Champion Shane Lowry, compared to Tommy Fleetwood, is on the other side of the spectrum in regards to brand loyalty. He is Cleveland/Srixon in 12 clubs including the ball with the only two exceptions being the TaylorMade M4 3-wood and his Odyssey Putter. In this case, that makes sense, those clubs seem to be a challenge to swap, especially the 3-wood, and Cleveland/Srixon isn’t really known for putters on the PGA Tour.

I got some interesting intel on his driver Switch from the TaylorMade M2 into the Srixon Z585.

According to Rodney McDonald, VP of Tour Operations for Cleveland/Srixon, Shane is a dedicated staff member that is always willing to get all Cleveland/Srixon in the bag.

On Lowry switching into the Z585 Driver McDonald had this to say

“The switch was very easy. Even though he had won early in the year with another driver, he was not driving it good at all. He is very loyal to our team and our products that he came to us to find a new driver. He instantly loved the look of the Z 585 and once we started testing the numbers were exactly what he was looking for. His main comment about the driver is how his misses are minimal and he can hit all the shots he wants to.”

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Equipment

Tommy Fleetwood’s bag is as awesome as he is (Tommy Fleetwood WITB)

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I’m obsessed with this guy. If there was a movie about his life, Aaron Taylor Johnson would play him…can we make that happen?

His bag has taken over for my past obsession with Charles Howell III, David Toms, and Rocco Mediate. I’m drawn to players that tweak a bit, it keeps it fun for me on Getty Images at 3 a.m.

Much like a Bernhard Langer, there is no telling what OEM sticks will land in Fleetwood’s bag. It’s awesome and a sign of the non-contract “eat what you kill” mentality shared by some of the biggest names out there (BK and Patrick Reed to name a couple).

Tommy has messed around quite a bit in the past two years with his bag and the fun part is, he’s not afraid to shake it up.

Here is a partial list of clubs that were previously in the bag since ’17 leading up to his current setup

  • TaylorMade M3 driver (Mitsubishi Kuro Kage 70X shaft)
  • Titleist 917 D2 driver (@ 8.5 degrees) (Mitsubishi Kuro Kage 70X shaft)
  • Nike Vapor Fly 3-wood (13 degrees) (UST Mamiya VTS ProForce Red 7X shaft)
  • Nike Vapor Fly 5-wood (Mitsubishi Diamana Blue 80TX shaft)
  • Titleist 917 3-wood (14 degrees) (UST Mamiya VTS ProForce Red 7X shaft)
  • Titleist TS3 3-wood (12.75 degrees) (UST Mamiya ProForce Black 7X shaft)
  • Nike VR Pro Blades
  • Callaway MD4 wedges
  • Ping G410 3-wood (14 degrees) (UST Mamiya ProForce Black 7X shaft)
  • Ping G410 7-wood (18 degrees) (Mitsubishi Diamana BF 80T shaft)
  • Odyssey 2-Ball (plumbers neck)

His grips are also a fun one, he goes Blue Golf Pride TVC in his woods, Iomic Sticky in his irons, and black Golf Pride TVC in his wedges. God, I love this guy!

Tommy Fleetwood WITB @The Open

Driver: TaylorMade M6 (9 degrees @7.5)
*has lofted up a bit, his driver has been down to 6.5 I’ve heard.
Shaft: Mitsubishi DF 70X (45 inches)

3-wood: TaylorMade M6 (15 degrees @14)
Shaft: Mitsubishi DF 70X (42.5 inches)
*was in a Ping G410 until the Scottish Open where he switched into the M6.

Irons: TaylorMade GAPR Lo (@18.75), Srixon Z785 (4-iron, 23 degrees), TaylorMade P7TW (5-9)
Shafts: GAPR: Project X 6.5 (39.5 inches), 4-iron: Project X 6.5 (38.5 inches), 5-9: Project X 6.5 (38 inches @ 5-iron, minus 1/2 inch from there) (26, 30, 34, 38, 42 degrees)

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 (47, 52, 55, 60 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Wedge notes: 48.10F (bent to 47) Tour chrome finish
52.08F raw
56.10 (bent 55) raw
60.08 raw

Putter: Odyssey White Hot Pro #3
Grip: Super Stroke Mid Slim 2.0


Quick thought: I do see a specific trend when it comes to free agents, and it’s mildly telling. Keep in mind I understand that it’s not 100 percent, but the trends are there.

In woods and wedges specifically, TaylorMade seems to be a popular choice in the overall woods category for non-signed players and Vokey is hands down the wedge of choice. Makes sense in my opinion, I’m not a big “best company” guy, but I do understand the choice. Both companies make and have made extremely high-performing sticks for many years. Consistency in anything is a hard opponent to beat. When Nike bounced out of clubs Rory, BK, Casey, and a few others put Vokeys straight in, and a BK and Casey put TM woods in the bag. (Just an example for context)

Anyway, Tommy Fleetwood is four back going into the final round. I have a weird feeling if it blows he could be holding a trophy.

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