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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

Keegan Bradley Puts Srixon Z-Forged Blades in the bag

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This week at the BMW Championship, Srixon staff member Keegan Bradley switched irons from the cult classic Z745 to the company’s current Z-Forged blade irons.

For most players, an iron change is not something you would do during the playoffs, but when talking to the team at Srixon, Keegan had been trying to replace his set for a little while. The Z745s were getting on in years and with recent swing changes, he was also looking for more consistent numbers and distance control. That’s an impressive request from one of the top-50 ballstrikers on tour

Let’s take a quick look at his stats

  • 12th in Proximity to Hole with an average distance of 34.2″
  • 16th in Strokes Gained Approach with .642
  • 38th in Greens in Regulation at 68.45%

His new Z-Forged Iron setup is 4-PW with Nippon Tour 120 X shafts.

Although Keegan started the BMW Championship in 66th place in the FedEx Cup Playoffs, he still has a chance of making it to the Tour Championship with a solid weekend in Chicago.

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Tour Photo Galleries

10 interesting photos from the 2019 BMW Championship

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GolfWRX has an assortment of photos from the 2019 BMW Championship at Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Illinois, including in-hand photos of equipment, shots from the range, and WITB looks at the likes of Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, and more.

Here are a few of the most interesting shots from Medinah.

Not familiar with “The Johnny Appleseed of American Golf?” Acquaint yourself!

On the first tee at the BMW Championship…a BMW

The Phil Mickelson calf game is strong, per usual

An in-hand look at the new Scotty Cameron Teryllium TNP 2 (more here)

A Bettinardi tour putter cover

It takes a village…

The flatstick that rolled in the winning put at the first FEC playoff event…

Fairway Jesus with the Nike high socks and Roshe combo 

Rory McIlroy’s TaylorMade Spider putter cover feature a spider holding a championship belt, of course…

Phil Mickelson’s 64-degree PM Grind 2.0 wedge 

All our photos from the 2019 BMW Championship

General galleries 

WITBs

 

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Equipment

Tiger Woods opts for lead tape on his Newport 2 rather than a heavier putter: Here’s why it makes sense

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After days of speculation about which putter Tiger Woods might end up with an attempt to tame the greens at Royal Portrush, we now officially know he settled on his old faithful GSS Scotty Cameron but with a twist—some added lead tape.

The whole reason the speculation was in high gear early in the week was because of Tiger was spotted with a new custom Scotty that had the Studio Select weights in the sole to increase head weight to help with slow greens, something Tiger has talked about in the past—especially when it comes to the greens at The Open Championship.

We can even look back a few years ago when Tiger finally put a Nike putter in play, the original Method (those were nice putters) and talked about both the increased head weight and the grooves on the face to help get the ball rolling on slower greens.

The decision to stick with the old faithful with added lead tape goes beyond just a comfort level, even if the two putters look the same at address, it’s about feel and MOI around the axis.

Let me explain. Sure the putter heads weight the same, but depending on where the mass is located it will change the MOI. The putter with the Select weights vs. lead tape in the middle will have a higher MOI because there is more weight on the perimeter of the head—it’s like a blade vs. cavity back iron. Sure, two 7-irons can weigh the same but the performance will vary significantly.

For a player with such deft feel like Tiger Woods, any change like that can could cause doubt. Tweaking an already great putting stroke and on the eve of the last major of the year is not really something you want to do, which is why it isn’t surprising he stuck with his legendary Newport 2.

Lead tape in the middle allows Tiger to increase the head weight with very little change to the natural rate of rotation for hit putter and hopefully manage the slower Portrush greens better.

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