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Max Homa, fresh off his first PGA Tour win, talks equipment

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Johnny Wunder caught up with Max Homa after his breakthrough victory at the Wells Fargo Championship to talk gear and more.

A transcript of their conversation is below, but be sure to check out Homa’s full WITB here.

Johnny Wunder: The first thing I want to talk about is the TS4 driver, which is obviously a new product from Titleist. Talk to me about transitioning to the TS4 and what that driver did that your old one didn’t.

Max Homa: Yeah, it was mainly the spin, and keeping it down a bit. I’ve always liked hitting my go-to low cut. Obviously, the less spin you have on that the better so you can get a little bit of chase out of it. I would say the TS3 performed great with a full out drive, but it (TS4) sure helped the kind of chippy one to still stay out there with some of the longer guys.

Johnny Wunder: So when you say a kind of a chippy shot, is that that fairway finder where you tee it up a little lower and squeeze one off?

Max Homa: Exactly. It’s a squeeze cut driver that stays flat and runs a little bit. And that’s the perfect combo when you have a tee shot where you don’t feel very comfortable.

Johnny Wunder: What shot do you fight?

Max Homa: I can hit it right. I toe it, and it blocks off to the right.

Johnny Wunder: You’re in the Tensei Orange 70TX which is a stiff handle, counterbalance shaft. What shaft were you in before the Tensei?

Max Homa: …the shaft I had before this was a Matrix. When I switched to the Tensei Orange, I switched in Omaha, and I loved how stiff it was. I liked how I could go after it and not lose it right. I felt like it didn’t have much kick at the bottom which is a big thing when struggling with the right miss.

Johnny Wunder: With regards to the TS4, what kind of TrackMan numbers are you consistently getting? Are you a 175-176mph ball speed guy, or are you in the 180s?

Max Homa: My big drives hit 180-182, but I’d say a normal one would be 178-180. It’s definitely gone up a little bit. I used to be 174-176, and I would say that a 175 now would have to be a bit of a miss. Being able to hit 180 now is great, and that’s when I know I’ve caught it, and I’m swinging it pretty good.

Jonny Wunder: You’re in an 818 Hybrid which is cut to a normal 2-iron length, so a graphite shaft with a standard 2-iron length; that’s rare. Talk to me about the build of that club.

Max Homa: I told them that I’ve never really liked hybrids because I always felt it had a hot spot and I didn’t like that it felt unpredictable. I loved the versatility of them, but I felt like I was risking a lot. I’d much rather hit a mediocre shot but at least know how far it’s going, as opposed to hitting a great shot over the green.

The first thing they tried to do was to shorten the shaft and club and after that, if we were still having a problem with it we were going to go to a steel shaft, but it worked out quickly, and it was apparent that it was a good fit. My next option would be to go to a steel shaft, but I like that it’s shorter as with a hybrid or 3-iron I don’t care about how far it goes, I want a consistent and reliable shot shape.

Johnny Wunder: What would your carry distance be with a club like that? Is it a 225-230 type club or a little bit further?

Max Homa: 235-240. It depends on the lie. Off the ground it’s closer to 230-235, off the tee it reaches 240 easily.

Johnny Wunder: Is it like a 5-wood?

Max Homa: It is, but I think it’s way easier to hit fairways with, as it flies quite a bit lower than a 5-wood.

Johnny Wunder: Getting into your iron shafts, you’re in the KPS S-Taper Shafts, which you don’t see a lot of on Tour. What shaft were you on before you switched to the KPS S-Taper, and why did you make the switch?

Max Homa: I was using S400 shafts. I was starting to flight it better. I always struggled in the wind, and we went with a really weak shaft which in retrospect wasn’t a good idea because it added spin. It launched it lower, but it climbed a lot more. My old caddie, Matt Irwin, who works for Tom Lovelady now, used to work at a CoolClubs out here in Scottsdale where I live now, and he told me that if I wanted him to keep caddying for me, then I needed to try out these different shafts to bring the flight down.

So in Memphis and Wichita it was extremely windy, and I felt like I was two clubs longer going into the wind, and ever since I’ve been a fantastic wind player which is funny considering where I came from. The KPS S-Taper shafts spin so much less. The ball still goes high enough as I’ve always been a high ball hitter, but they spin so much less and are so easy to hit in windy conditions.

Johnny Wunder: Getting into your wedges, you’re working with Aaron Dill and Bob Vokey. Talk to me a little about changes that you made to your wedge for last week, to go into a lower lofted Vokey wedge and what the results were.

Max Homa: Yeah, it was this lower bounce with the same loft. The week before Louisiana I had actually called Aaron, and I wanted to talk to him about getting up to try out some different bounces and grinds. So we had already planned that, and then in Louisiana, I struggled with the wedge digging in (around the green), and I had a plan. I thought we were going to go to more bounce, but he told me he had the idea to go to less as it’d be quicker through the ground and we wouldn’t have much of a long bottom out, and he thought it would help to make my technique more shallow. So now it’s a perfect blend in that regard, and I feel like I should be using him (Aaron) more because of his knowledge. It didn’t feel much different, but it sure felt easier for me.

Johnny Wunder: I want to thank you for coming on, as I know you’re probably a very busy guy. Thanks, Max. Enjoy the PGA Championship as a PGA Tour winner, and good luck.

Max Homa: Thanks very much. I appreciate it.

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Tour News

GolfWRX visits with Ryan Palmer

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The 2019 Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial is upon us. I got the chance to sit down with three-time PGA Tour winner and Colonial Country Club member Ryan Palmer ahead of his opening round at the PGA Tour’s stop in Fort Worth, Texas. We discussed why he loves Colonial, how it felt to win on tour again, his friendship with Jon Rahm, the Ryan Palmer Foundation, and why he chooses not to have a club equipment sponsorship.

(GolfWRX spoke with the actual, not the cardboard, Ryan Palmer)

JN: Do you have a home field advantage here at Colonial?

RP: To a point, I guess. Obviously, I have played this golf course in every type of wind. I mean, I know certain holes play shorter than they are. So, a little bit of an advantage because I don’t put much stress into the golf course itself. I just know it. And of course, James, my caddie, knows it. And that is nice. But I do put more pressure on myself because I want to play well here

JN: Why did you decide to join Colonial as a full golfing member?

RP: The history of it. To me, it’s one of the most prestigious clubs…if not the most prestigious club…in Dallas/Fort Worth. History of the golf course, history of the tournament. The more and more I played it…playing in the tournament for 16 years now…the guys that play in the ‘big game’ took me in and they’ve thrown a few parties for James and me after we won a few times. I thought the best way to give back then is to join and become a full member.

JN: How often do you play out here?

RP: If I am home for a week, I play at least twice a week. Just to play in the big game. If I am home and playing golf, I am playing here.

JN: Tell me about the Ryan Palmer Foundation

RP: I started it in ’03 in Amarillo with my dad and my good friend Billy Slaughter. We do a lot of different things but our biggest thing now is our brighter smiles initiative through dentistry. My wife Jennifer is a dentist. And our good friend Chris Swayden with Smile Workshop here in DFW does a lot of our work here and then Kyle Sparkman in Amarillo, Texas does all our dental work out there. The biggest thing was just bringing in kids to boost their self-esteem, give them a better way of life. A lot of their families don’t have the means and the funds to provide dental care. It’s an easy decision to help these kids and give these kids a sense of confidence. I have read stories about kids wearing hoodies to school because of their teeth. That’s pretty sad. I have always been about giving back and having an immediate impact. So what better way than to provide dental care.

JN: How big was that win at the Zurich in New Orleans for you?

RP: It was unbelievable. Nine years since our last win. But to have Jennifer, my wife, there and our son Mason, 12 years old, was there. He was there in ’08 when I won. But he was a year and half so he had no clue. In 2010, they weren’t there. But to have them there and have him finally see it. Mason always asks “Dad, are you going to get a trophy?” So to have him there to finally witness it…that was special.

JN: How did the partnership with Jon Rahm come about?

RP: We met in ’15 at the Phoenix Open. I knew Jordan wasn’t playing this year at Zurich. Jon and I had played some rounds together. He played in my charity event last year. So, I knew Jon a little bit and I know his caddie, Adam Hayes real well. We’ve known him since we have been on tour, James and I. And so, I talked to James about players we should want to play with and Jon was one of the top ones. So, I texted Adam and mentioned the idea to Jon and he loved it. Jon and my games are pretty similar as far as ball striking. So I shot Jon a text and he accepted.

AVONDALE, LA – APRIL 28: Ryan Palmer and Jon Rahm fist bump on the fourth hole during the final round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans at TPC Louisiana on April 28, 2019 in Avondale, Louisiana. (Photo by Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)

JN: Are you going to play together again next year?

RP: It would be hard not to play together again next year. I will have to run it by Jordan….no I’m kidding. Jordan was happy for me and excited. He gets it. As long as Jon wants to play, we will go try to defend.

JN: What are your thoughts on not having a full bag club sponsorship?

RP: It is just a matter of playing with what I like. When I first got on tour, you would sign a full deal and it was pretty good. Now you are signing for balls and all 14 clubs. I love the Taylor Made driver but they cut out the driver only deals. They went just full line. Fortunately, with the help of Mike Chisholm and Chisholm Sports, I have some great corporate partners. United Rentals, a great deal with Unisys, RBC. I am able to have these corporate sponsors allow me to play what I want. I made some comments like ‘two hundred grand is not worth an equipment contract on tour because of what you can make that week.’

So, I got ribbed a little bit for making that comment but honestly it is not worth it in today’s game. We play for so much money now each and every week that by the time you get a $200,000 deal, you’re paying taxes and management, at the end of the day its worth a top 20-finish. And then you have to play those clubs all year long, whether you like them or not. So now I can play whatever putter or iron or driver I want. I am only under contract with ball, shoes and gloves. Footjoy and Titleist. I test and I tinker now and then but I always go back to what I have performed with in the past. I stand over a tee shot and I think, I know I hit this driver this way at this tournament at this particular moment. Why would I change?

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Tour Photo Galleries

10 interesting photos from Monday’s U.S. Open sectional qualifier at Northwood Club

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GolfWRX had feet on the ground at Northwood Club in Dallas, Texas for this Monday’s U.S. Open sectional qualifying. We have seven galleries in our forums filled to the brim with photos from Monday’s action, and here are ten interesting selections for you to enjoy.

“Talk to me Goose.” And presumably, “I feel the need for speed.” Top Gun all the way!

Jim Nous’ bag full of Ping clubs features three visible wedges all with different bounce.

Blaine Hale rocking this great looking TaylorMade Spider headcover.

Shorts on the course –  a rarity.

Conner Koberg showing off his colors with this Iowa State headcover.

Julius Boros won the 1952 U.S. Open at Northwood Club. One of his three major triumphs. How about that bag?

Stephen Jaeger played collegiate golf at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, but he’s quite clearly proud of his homeland too.

Noah Goodwin is another player who loves the raw finish on the Callaway Apex MB irons.

Up close with the Titleist 718 T-MB utility iron

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A glance at Northwood Club itself.

Check out all of Monday’s photos on our forums.

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Tour Photo Galleries

12 interesting photos from Tuesday at the PGA Championship

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GolfWRX is live this week from the 2019 PGA Championship at Bethpage Black!

We have two general photo galleries, plenty of WITB galleries as well as some specialized galleries from Tuesday’s action at Bethpage Black for you to enjoy and you can find all the links below. Here are twelve interesting selections from those galleries for you to enjoy.

Another look at Callaway’s NYC-themed headcovers, (these in Jim Furyk’s bag)

Hideki Matsuyama’s new Scotty Cameron putter.

Rickie Fowler’s custom COBRA x Vessel Tour Staff Bag.

And the 30-year-old’s Puma Warning headcover for this week’s championship.

Luke List’s Axis 1 putter.

New Steelfiber “Black Label” shafts have been spotted at Bethpage Black.

A look inside Jon “Rahmbo” Rahm’s bag ahead of his effort to land his maiden major title.

A closer look at the “warning” sign on the TaylorMade staff bag

Jason Dufner’s Spider putter which according to one of our members, looks as if it’s “wearing a tuxedo”

Aldila’s new Rip X shaft.

Recent winner on the European Tour, Mikko Korohen, has this unique flat-stick in his bag in New York.

What’s on offer for spectators this week.

Check out all of Tuesday’s photos on our forums.

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