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GolfWRX Insider: An exclusive look inside the bag of Fred Couples

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He’s my hero, my old man’s hero and my city’s hero. That’s all I need to say on the matter. I love this guy. With the help of the people who get clubs in his bag and the man himself, here is the what and the why of Fred Couples’ WITB.

Something to note: Fred is nuts about his sticks but not in the way we are at WRX. For the most part, he doesn’t pay much attention to the makeup of his clubs, just how they look and what they do.

It’s a fact the guy is a fanatic about them being right and not fussed with, but the how and why for Fred is irrelevant. The ball tells him what’s going on. I’ve heard stories of Freddie trying things on the range and tossing it out on one swing. That’s not arrogant its a commitment to only playing equipment that he loves. We should all be that picky.

And one other thing, if you aren’t in the inner circle (coach, caddie, or close confidant) don’t touch his clubs—that’s a serious no-no. He has never worn a glove, and like fellow Seattle legend Ken Griffey, Jr and his mitt, new hands mean potential grease, stretching, etc. Just don’t touch ’em.

As you can see, there isn’t a ton of new gear in his bag. He’s the kind of guy who could find a club he likes in a bargain bin as easily as he could find one on a truck. If it works of course.

God, I love this guy.

LFG.

Photo courtesy of @ytowns_prodigal_son on Instagram

DRIVER: TaylorMade M3 440 9 @9.5 (upright setting)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei AV Blue 75 X (45.25 inches, D3)
Grip: Golf Pride CP2 Wrap 58R “Logo Down”

NEWPORT BEACH, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 08: Fred Couples his a shot from the 3rd hole during the final round of the Hoag Classic at Newport Beach Country Club on March 8, 2020, in Newport Beach, California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

*Freddie hates clubs to look open and prefers the driver to sit square and a bit upright.

3-WOOD: Callaway FTI Squareway (15 degrees)
Shaft: Harrison Mugen Prototype 75 X (43-inches, D3)
Grip: Golf Pride CP2 Wrap 58R “Logo Down”

*So how in God’s name did that 3-wood get into his bag and stay there for going on 12 years? The story goes that Freddie was on the range at 2008 Bob Hope Chrysler Classic at Silver Rock. The Harrison rep at the time was testing shafts with Fred and one of the samples was connected to this square-headed Callaway. Remember it’s 2008 and shaft reps usually had test clubs built up to speed the process up. There is no way Couples is gonna respond to the head beyond asking why it’s square but who cares? After hitting a few Fred turned to the guy and said “I love it,” the rep said, “great so what head do want it in?” Fred replied, “nope, I love the whole thing, thanks.” Here we are today.

HYBRID: TaylorMade R11 TP (19 degrees)
Shaft: AeroTech SteelFiber I95 X (40.5 inches)
Grip: Golf Pride Tour Velvet 58R “Logo Down”

*I’ve heard him refer to this as his “Ginty” in conversations with his caddie. In recent years Fred has messed with a 2nd and 3rd hybrid when he gets to Augusta, but typically it’s just this one with a mark dead nuts in the middle. The original shaft was an Aldila RIP 105 TX, but Fred has since switched into the SteelFiber.

IRONS: Bridgestone J15 Dual Pocket Cavity (3-P)
Shafts: Aerotech Steel Fiber 110cw X
Grip: Golf Pride CP2 Wrap 58R “Logo Down”

Photo courtesy of @fullyequippedgolf on Instagram

*Fred has been with Bridgestone since 2006 and started playing the dual pocket molds in 2010 (J38, J40, J15) the irons are identical to each other with the exception of the stamping. Fred likes a little offset in his irons and his lofts have gotten a little stronger over the years. PW loft is now at 46 degrees

Iron Specs: Loft/Lie/Length/SW

3-20/61/39/D4

4-23/61.5/38.5/D4

5-26/62/38/D4

6-30/62.5/37.5/D4

7-34/63/37/D4

8-38/63.5/36.5/D4

9-42/64/36/D4

PW-46/64.5/35.75/D4

WEDGES: TaylorMade ATV (54 degrees), Titleist Vokey SM7 (60-10S)
Shaft: Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 (+1/8 from STD, 65 degrees lie)
Grip: Golf Pride Tour Velvet 58R “Logo Down”

Photo Courtesy of @fullyequippedgolf on Instagram

Photo Courtesy of @fullyequippedgolf on Instagram

Photo Courtesy of @johnny_wunder on Instagram

*Funny story on the Vokey wedge: Fred was at the home of Bill Haas and saw this “beautiful” lob wedge in Bill’s staff bag. He ultimately felt that he needed it, and Bill was happy to give it up. So if you saw Freddie with a BH stamped on his Vokey, it’s because it wasn’t his. He has since had Aaron Dill build him some new ones. Also, look at the wear mark—who says you need to hit it outta the center?

PUTTER: Bettinardi FC Proto (37 Inches, 71 Lie, 3 degrees of loft with 17’ Lamkin Grip)

*Fred has had a great relationship with Bettinardi for eight years now. The putter is a “heavy-headed” counterbalanced beauty. He has tried mallets in the past but consistently ends up in this one.

BALL: Bridgestone Tour B RXS “Yellow”

 

 

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Johnny Wunder is the Director of Original Content, Instagram Manager and Host of “The Gear Dive” Podcast for GolfWRX.com. He was born in Seattle, Wash., and grew up playing at Rainier G&CC. John is also a partner with The Traveling Picture Show Company having most recently produced JOSIE with Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner. In 1997 Johnny had the rare opportunity of being a clubhouse attendant for the Anaheim Angels. He now resides in Toronto, On with his wife and two sons. @johnny_wunder on IG

28 Comments

28 Comments

  1. Larry Mooredale

    Jun 3, 2020 at 2:19 pm

    Those irons are J40s with different stampings… lol

  2. DJ

    May 11, 2020 at 10:41 am

    Irons are J38 style built in 2015 when they did the J15 release.

  3. Benny

    May 9, 2020 at 11:24 am

    So true Greg. JW thanks for the hreat article. Especially when its so hard to find new talks without any golf.

    Boom boom is the man. If it works don’t fix it!

  4. BC

    May 7, 2020 at 2:09 pm

    those are not j15 cb’s, they are j38 dpc’s with a j15 stamp.

  5. Imafitter

    May 4, 2020 at 8:52 pm

    I’ve followed Freddie at tournaments, watched his shots in slow motion, and still can’t figure how that effortless swing causes the ball to go as far as it goes and where it’s aimed! One of my favorites! Plus, I’m a big Bettinardi fan. I just don’t understand why more pros don’t use their putters.

  6. Bob

    May 4, 2020 at 1:09 pm

    Whenever I see an article about Couples club make up I have to scratch my head and wonder why I drank the Kool-aide from the major mgf’s that makes me want new clubs.
    IF IT WORKS KEEP IT.

  7. Jack Nash

    May 4, 2020 at 12:15 pm

    Just when you think Stenson owns the atomic 3 wood design, along comes Freddie with a Callaway Squareway? OMG Lol.

  8. matt

    May 4, 2020 at 10:54 am

    interesting that one of the most famous faders of all time doesn’t like to see any openness at address. just goes to show you how nuanced all these little things are

    • Nodoubles

      May 5, 2020 at 2:29 am

      Makes sense. People who fade the ball need it to start left. Tiger famously closes the face a little at address when he’s hitting a cut, and opens it a little when he’s hitting a draw. Face angle determines starting line, path determines curve.

  9. Doug Roe

    May 3, 2020 at 6:28 pm

    I thought I had read that Freddie had gone 4 and even 5 hybrids in recent years to save the back ????

  10. Stanley

    May 3, 2020 at 2:50 am

    That wear on the wedge is the most interesting thing I have seen in some time. I mean that is consistent.

    • yumarous

      May 4, 2020 at 1:25 am

      Added a comment in @3puttterritory ‘s question.

  11. Tom

    May 2, 2020 at 11:15 pm

    @ John Wunder does Freddie Pure his shafts?

  12. Greg

    May 2, 2020 at 6:42 pm

    On further thought, Freddie finds clubs that work for his swing. He doesn’t try new clubs and hope to change his swing.

  13. 3puttterritory

    May 2, 2020 at 6:41 pm

    Is there any technical explanation for that wear mark on the toe? Never seen anything like it.

    • yumarous

      May 4, 2020 at 1:23 am

      I’ve done some testing when I worked for the JP golf media once and found that there are a bunch of tour pros that deliberately strike their wedges on the toe to increase spin and decrease ball speed, especially on partial distances. Since the toe is moving at a slightly faster speed than the heel/neck, the face impacts the ball with more speed causing the ball to compress a bit more than the heel, but at the same time due to the very low MOI of the wedge head that speed decreases almost instantly after the strike causing it to lose ball speed and the ball to come off the face more dead. With the combination of those two aspects, it actually does make the ball have more spin with a dead ball speed off the turf. This wasn’t the case for bunkers as the face doesn’t really come into contact with the ball.

      • billjack

        May 4, 2020 at 3:48 pm

        That is how you hit the low bounce stop.

  14. Philip Okita

    May 2, 2020 at 6:18 pm

    Any info on how that ATV 54 got into the bag? I’m only curious because I love that same wedge (but bent to 55) and haven’t been able to find one that I like better for my sand wedge.

    • John Wunder

      May 2, 2020 at 6:23 pm

      To be honest its a turf interaction thing. Never got the real info but in the past he has liked quite a bit of bounce in his FW wedges.

  15. Vess Hollingsworth

    May 2, 2020 at 5:36 pm

    Huge Freddie fan here. Love this post. Never find enough info on Couples’ clubs. This is great!!!!!

  16. BodineJCS

    May 2, 2020 at 4:42 pm

    Looks like he uses CP2 Wrap grips (Blue cap) , not CP2 Pros (Red Cap) … Do WRX editors even play golf

    • John Wunder

      May 2, 2020 at 5:59 pm

      Fixed it. Sorry to offend. Yes we play golf. Thanks for reading.

  17. Matt

    May 2, 2020 at 4:37 pm

    That putter is delicious….I find it odd so many touring pros have a 46 or 47 degree pw and then the next wedge is 54 or 55 degrees? Guys that confident with opening up with the pw? Seems like always a large gap 7-10 degrees sometimes..

    • gwelfgulfer

      May 2, 2020 at 11:26 pm

      Shouldn’t be odd at all, they actually play to yardages, unlike how we think we play to yardages. I’m sure their ability to play a 3/4 shot is a bit better as well.

  18. Matt Ciganek

    May 2, 2020 at 12:49 pm

    If you don’t mention Tom Watson’s former wife Linda Watson’s 3-wood Freddie used for years, the article is not complete!

  19. CB

    May 2, 2020 at 12:45 pm

    RXS ball? Wow. Never would have thought he would play that ball over the Tour B series.

  20. Greg

    May 2, 2020 at 12:44 pm

    Ha! Freddie has a shank proof wedge.

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Equipment

Wunder: Titleist TSi driver first impressions

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Three things I want to address before I kick this off.

  1. “Better, best” will not be addressed. It’s never about that these days only what works for me or you.
  2. I’m not adding TrackMan data to this for one simple reason: It doesn’t matter to me for a first impression. I can get lost in the data and ultimately it confuses my ability to just enjoy the sound feel and look of the driver. Obviously, the fitting was on TrackMan, but in the past, successful drivers for me started with the emotional part. Simply, do I like the thing? Can I look at it? Can I trust it? Can I hit shots with it? That’s it.
  3. When I say “spin this” and “spin that,” it’s always addressing a positive aspect.

On Tuesday of this week, I had the good fortune of visiting the Titleist Performance Institute (TPI in Oceanside, California) to do my TSi metal woods fitting. Won’t get too far into that, but essentially it’s golf heaven in every sense of the word. Like TaylorMade’s Kingdom or Callaway’s ECPC, TPI it’s a gearhead paradise.

Titleist Master Fitter Joey Saewitz (@thejoeysaewitz on IG) was my fitter and after hitting a few balls to warm up, we dug into my gamer driver that I adore.

Current Gamer Spec

TaylorMade SIM (9 degrees @ 8.5). Fujikura Ventus Black 6X (no tipping) 45 inches, D4, GolfPride BCT 58R

I have been constantly messing with my driver between new shafts, lofts, lie, etc. Since I’ve been playing a bit more this month, I’ve had the chance to work on my swing and the driver has been the last thing to come around. I’m working on decreasing dynamic loft through the bag and have not adjusted my driver to match. The point is, I’m hitting the driver solid but have lost a ton of height and spin to keep it in the air.

I’m saying this now because for key metrics I was at a deficiency because of the craftsman not his tools. The SIM I was fit into was/is excellent. So, as you read on, keep in mind that I knew that numbers-wise apples to apples my setup was vulnerable to getting beat out due to my tinkering.

Thoughts

My average numbers these days are are 105-108 mph swing speed, 155-160 mph ball speed, 14-degree launch, and 1,800-2,000 spin. At 43-years-old, when I’m hitting it solid I get a lot out of my driver. IF I’m swinging well, at my low spin, off days can be nauseating with the driver.

LOOKS

TSi3: If two of my favorite drivers 975D and R7 Superquad TP had a baby, the TSi3 would be it. Its flawless appearance-wise. The heel section gives it an onset look that the faders will love and the top line toe section is a bit rounded off to give it an open look without having to crank it open. Not the first time we have heard that but nonetheless, Titleist nailed it.

The face has a cool matte finish that I can’t get into yet, but it frames a white ball excellently.

TSi2: Like the TS2, it has that high-MOI shape, although I will say the top line and transitions are a bit softer on the eye. It’s a driver that looks like it just wants to go high and far. If I wanted to hit something as hard as I could that’s the shape I would look for.

Side note—the black shafts in the TSi3 are almost too cool to even look at—the closest thing to a Darth Vader golf club I have ever seen.

FEEL/SOUND

This is where they really figured it out. Titleist drivers in the past to my ear sounded good but not great. There was always an essence of ting that I couldn’t fall in love with. The TSi series fixed that in totality, like all the great drivers on the market in 2020 it has that hammerhead thud that I adore. When you crunch it, you literally hear crunch. At impact, however, it has a more compressiony (is that a word?) feel than its competitors. The comparison would be a one-piece forged feel vs a hollow body players iron. Both feel excellent but there is a difference. You can feel the ball squeeze into the face which I think most will notice and respond well to.

PERFORMANCE—Not going to compare it to my gamer as it’s not fair, I gear headed my gamer to the point of lunacy. I will only comment on what the TSi series did while testing.

TSi3: The biggest standout here was usable spin. I am not a high-spin player by any stretch, so if I can find a driver that gets me 2,100-2,200 consistently when I flush it, it’s a contender. For a player at my speed to sneak it out there with the big hitters, I have to launch it at 14 at 1,700 spin, and hope I’m aimed correctly. What I found with the TSi was I was getting that performance at 2,100-2,200, and if anything only giving up 2-3 yards all while doing it 5/10 times as opposed to 2/10.

What does all that jibberish add up to? Consistency and something I can play with. Is it longer than my gamer? I have no idea, but we will find out. What I know is I hit a bunch of really good shots with TSi3, and after I got going with it, it was point and shoot. Stable? Yes. Long? Yes. Forgiving? Yes. Playable? Yes.

TSi2: To be honest I only hit a few with the Tsi2 as its not my genre of music. What I can say is it feels apples to apples with the Tsi3, launches higher with a bit more spin, and goes really straight. No shocker there. The high MOI category has a bunch of contenders, and in my opinion, it’s a head weight game. Heavy is always better for stability.

The setup I landed on

I was fit into the (D4 SureFit setting 9 degrees @ 9.75, flat) however after testing a bit at home on course and range, I landed on the D1 setting, which I like. For whatever reason, I can play Tsi3 at 8.25 and still maintain height spin and it flew about five yards further.

Final setup

Driver: Titleist TSi3 (9 degrees @8.25, D1 SureFit, 44.5 inches, D4 swing weight)

Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 6 X (tipped 1)

Overall, the TSi Series drivers will be VERY popular but not for the reasons you would think. It’s playable, you can hit shots with it, that’s the mark of a GREAT golf club. It’s not all ball speeds and carry anymore in my opinion. This is a driver I can go out and play well with, that’s huge for a hack like me. In my experience, I can’t say that about a lot of drivers I’ve tried to make work in the last four to five years. That’s just me. Lots of great drivers every year but I’m a hard case and finding one that’s just right is a challenge.

Ultimately, for me, the best driver on the market is SIM hands down because it performs in the hitting bay and even better on the course—my hunch is Titleist has something that will do the same.

It’s a beautiful driver that I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know.

 

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Equipment

GolfWRX Classifieds (9/25/20): Titleist U510, XXIO Red, Tour issue M5 head

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At GolfWRX, we love golf equipment plain and simple.

We are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment for the game in many ways. It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball, it even allows us to share another thing – the equipment itself.

One of the best ways to enjoy equipment is to experiment and whether you are looking to buy-sell-or trade (as the name suggests) you can find almost anything in the GolfWRX BST Forum. From one-off custom Scotty Cameron Circle T putters, to iron sets, wedges, and barely hit drivers, you can find it all in our constantly updated marketplace.

These are some of the latest cool finds from the GolfWRX BST, and if you are curious about the rules to participate in the BST Forum you can check them out here: GolfWRX BST Rules

Member Yenmaster – TaylorMade M5 driver head

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it 100 times—if you already have a shaft that you love, buying a driver head is the best way to upgrade and save a few bucks along the way. Is it time for you to trade up?

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: M5 Driver head

Member dansrixon – XXIO X Red Driver

This listing is littered with really cool and rare drivers and fairway woods from Cleveland, Srixon, and XXIO, including the XXIO Red driver looking for a new home.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: XXIO Driver

Member kkennedy – Titleist U510 1-iron

The new U500 series utilities are the fastest and most forgiving Titleist have ever made, so if you are looking for a club to keep the ball out of the wind—here you go!

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Titleist 1 Iron

Remember that you can always browse the GolfWRX Classifieds any time here in our forums: GolfWRX Classifieds

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Whats in the Bag

WITB GolfWRX Members Edition: Rkelso1984

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Recently we put out the call for our members to submit their WITBs in our forum to be featured on the GolfWRX front page. Since then, our members have been responding in numbers!

Now it’s time to take a look at the bag of Rkelso1984.

*Full details on the submission process can be found here, and you can submit your WITB in this forum thread.*

Member: Rkelso1984

Rkelso1984WITB

Driver: Callaway Mavrik Max (10.5 degrees, set to 9.25 degrees)
Shaft: Oban Devotion-6 04 Flex 65g

3-wood: Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero (15 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Rouge 130MSI 70s

5-wood: Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero (18 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Rouge 130MSI 70s

Hybrid: Titleist TS2 (19 degrees, set to 20.5 degrees)
Shaft: Project X Evenflow 6.0S 90g HY

Irons: Mizuno JPX 919 HMP (5-PW)
Shafts: KBS C-Taper lite 110s

Wedges:  Mizuno JPX 919 (50 degrees), Callaway Jaws (54, 58 degrees)
Shafts: KBS C-Taper lite 110s, KBS Hi-Rev 125s

Putter: Ping Heppler Ketsch (34″)

Putter Grip: Golf Pride Tour SNSR Contour Pro 140cc

Golf Ball: Taylormade TP5x PIX

Grips: SuperStroke TX1 Mid + 1 Wrap

Get submitting your WITB in our forum as we’ll be publishing more and more of them on our front page over the coming days and weeks.

Feel free to make it your own too by including some thoughts on your setup, your age, handicap, etc. Anything you feel is relevant!

Share your WITBs here.

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