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WRX Insider: A deep dive into the bag of Cameron Champ

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Long hitters on the PGA Tour come in all shapes and sizes, from the oversized behemoth that is now Bryson Dechambeau to the slighter-in-size Rory McIlroy, the traditional long-and-lean Dustin Johnson, and today’s subject, a player who lives (in size) right between Rory and DJ: Cameron Champ.

Of the four players mentioned, the two who live in the prestigious 185+ zip code are Bryson and Cam Champ. Similar speed but on totally different planets with respect to 1) how they get there and 2) the set makeup to complement it.

If you go back to the look into Bryson’s bag, you see a setup that is manipulated to control spin and launch at any cost, even going as far as being one to two clubs strong from a loft perspective. Also, keep in mind that he has the odd factor of having all of his irons at 37.5 inches, so the math is very Bryson worthy.

In the case of Cameron Champ, it’s a totally different animal altogether. What we will find is a player who is looking for launch and spin, plays with modern/traditional lofts, and from a look above, you are looking at a pure speed profile. He’s strong, yes, but between Cameron and Bryson, it’s the difference between Bruce Lee and Hulk Hogan.

Ping tour tech Kenton “K.O” Oates assisted in this deep dive. This is what he had to say on Cam’s bag.

JW: Let’s start with spin and launch. How much of a challenge is it to find Cam a set up that allows control but at the same time doesn’t limit him speed-wise?

KO: Cameron has effortless power. He routinely tests around 190 mph of ball speed and he has much more in the tank if needed. We got to his current setup under the premise that control would equal distance at his speeds. If we could create more center contact and provide optimum spin (2600-3000), then Cameron was going to find more fairways and hit straighter shots, thus resulting in all the distance he would need. Cameron’s ball speed started to challenge our models for launch and spin the more we worked with him. In general, as launch goes down, spin must increase to keep the ball in the air to maximize distance. With Cam, he can launch it lower with less spin than most because his ball speed is so high. The ball stays in the air because it’s going so fast!

JW: If you look at Bryson’s set up versus Cameron’s, as a fitter, what can you tell us about how each player gets to his particular optimization? 

KO: I think the biggest difference between Bryson and Cameron are the launch conditions they are trying to create.  Bryson is hitting his ball to the stratosphere compared to Cameron. Bryson is a smart guy and he understands that the higher he hits it the more distance he can get. Although Cameron can hit up on it and create numbers that look better on Trackman, he has always been more comfortable hitting a lower launching bullet. My guess is Bryson is hitting up on his driver currently and using much less loft than the almost 10 degrees of actual loft Cameron is playing while swinging down 1-2 degrees.

Bryson studies the science, and the science says to maximize distance, you need to create higher launch with low spin. He accomplishes this with his AOA. No doubt Bryson’s AoA is on the up. This allows him to reduce the loft of his driver which creates faster ball speeds and less spin. The cool thing is that Cam does it the exact opposite. Cam’s AoA is down 1 or 2 degrees.  When Cam came to us as a junior, he was down like 6-8!  He could hardly spin it under 3,000.  Foley has done a great job of getting him closer to neutral, thus increasing his distance by launching it higher with less spin. At one point while working with him, he had his AoA in the plus and he was hitting bombs. He increased his distance but, his accuracy decreased. He has settled at 1-2 down to maximize both his distance and accuracy.

JW: Cam swapped out of G400 Max with Fujikura Tour Spec last season into a profile that lives at the other end of the spectrum. What was that process like?

KO: Cameron got into his current set up at Liberty National two years ago during the FedEx Cup. As stated above, Cameron was looking for consistency over distance during this process. His main goals were to eliminate left, increase center contact and control spin. The last item is sometimes confusing with Cameron. You would think controlling spin with someone at the speed would always be decreasing, but it was the opposite with Cameron. To add the consistency and reduce left we shorted and stiffened the tip of the shaft profile, both these caused his spin at this normal loft to be well under 2,300, which at Cameron’s lower launch, feels out of control. Once we adjusted the driver into the flat+ and got him roughly 10 degrees, of loft it was instantly a home run. Spin stabilized at 2,600 and the visual of seeing more loft really gave Cameron confidence to go ahead and cover his driver.

JW: When it comes to his irons, he switched out of iBlade into Blueprint. What caused the switch?

KO: The Blueprint was always a model that I think we thought Cameron would like. Initial testing Cameron loved the look, feel and capture, but with gamer shafts, he was not getting the right window, and since we were in the middle of the season Cameron went back to iBlades. During the initial testing, we learned a lot as we tried a softer shaft that allowed him to get the height he wanted but ended up being too loose feeling causing great dispersion. Second time we went to work we had a great—no pun intended—blueprint for what Cameron was looking for. Went from DG X100 to DG X700 to give Cameron some added control and also added out Cushin insert, which goes into the shaft and adds about 10 grams of total weight.

JW: Do you do anything special to the sole of his irons to complement his turf interaction?

KO: Blueprints go through the ground so good, we have not had to make any adjustments to Cameron’s or anyone else on tour playing that model.

JW: He (like a lot of players) has gone to a more lofted fairway metal to replace the 3-wood. Does a standard 3 wood just go too far and throws off his gapping?

KO: Spot on, traditional 3-woods were going so far, Cameron he just ended up never using them during competition. Last year at the 3M Open he came to us and had added up the number of 3-woods he hit for the year on courses, and I believe it was single digits. That’s when we started to work on his current fairway wood, which is basically 4-wood.

JW: Any fun Trackman stories?

KO: My favorite is still my first one at an event with Cameron. Cameron qualified for the U.S. Open as an amateur at Erin Hills, an event we decided to launch G400 metal woods. Cameron played a practice round with Rory earlier in which Justin Thomas was supposed to join but for some reason couldn’t make it. After he played nine, he was working with his coach Sean Foley and myself on G400 driver. Rory was a couple of stalls to Cameron’s right and mid-session Justin Thomas walks on the range and Rory goes, “Justin you have to see this,” and points to Cameron. Cameron’s next ball was 200 mph ball speed and on a frozen rope.

JW: What clubs in Cam’s bag are the most challenging to dial in? I would imagine with his low launch that the driver is quite the Rubik’s cube…

KO: To me, it is the club after the driver. 3-woods go forever, and he basically ended up playing around them, so we opted for a 5-wood made into a 4-wood. Also has a G410 2-iron Crossover that he can hit really low and about the same distance as his 4W (280+), and an i500 3 iron built like a traditional 2-iron in terms of length and loft, which has similar flight but little less steam. Cameron will spend his time early in the week with caddy Kurt deciding which one of those options will make the bag each week.

JW: What are his optimal launch numbers with the driver?

KO: Launch 6-8 degrees. Spin 2,600-2,800 RPM. 190-plus MPH ball speed.

JW: What miss is his set up protecting against?

KO: Driver definitely was built to be a straight-to-fall-right anti “left” club. Other than that, Cameron is such a neutral swinger, his stuff is built in much of the same way.

JW: Has he ever considered any other irons in the lineup? I210?

KO: Cameron plays an iBlade 4-iron on the simple fact he doesn’t love how small the Blueprint 4-iron is. From there, he has an i500 “4-iron” that plays in spec just like a three iron would (length, loft, etc). Cameron prefers less offset and has been comfortable with i500 long iron/driving iron options from the beginning, so he has never tested i210.

JW: A lot of Ping staffers are in the PLD custom putters. What can you tell us about what makes those putters so unique?

KO: Tony Serrano has done a great job over the last few years listening to players’ ideas and combining those ideas with holes in our putter line. Combine that with the highest level of production and materials, and you’re going to end up with some really sweet putters.

Cameron Champ WITB: Full Bag Specs

Driver: Ping G410 LST 9@9.75 (Flat + setting) w/ Project X Hzrdus Smoke Green 70G 6.5 TX @44.25 , Tip 1.5″, D4 SW w/ Hotmelt @ *5g Face, 5G Toe*

FW Wood: Ping G410 17.5@16 (Flat – Setting) w/ Project X Hzrdus Smoke Green 90G 6.5 TX@41.75, Tip 1.5″, D4 SW w/ Hotmelt @ *5g Face*

Irons: (4+) Ping I500 4 Iron (4) Ping I Blade (5-PW) Ping Blueprint w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X7

Iron Specs

Loft/Lie/Length/SW

  • 4+-21/61.25/38.75/D3+
  • 4-23/59.75/38.25/D4
  • 5-27.25/60.5/37.75/D4
  • 6-31/61.25/37.25/D4
  • 7-34.5/61.75/36.75/D4
  • 8-38.5/62/36.25/D4
  • 9-42.75/62.5/35.75/D4+
  • PW-46.25/63.25/35.5/D5

Wedges: Ping Glide Forged (50/10, 54/10@55, 60/08@61.5) w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Wedge Specs

Loft/Lie/Length/SW

  • 50/63/35.25/D5
  • 55/63.25/35/D5+
  • 61.5/62.5/34.75/D4

Grips: Lamkin UTX

Putter: Ping PLD Anser 2 Matte Raw @35 inches, 20 lie, 2 loft, head weight at 340G w/ Ping PP58 Midsize grip                

Ball: Srixon Z-Star XV

Carry Distances: 

  • Driver: 320-330
  • 4-wood: 270-280
  • 4i(i500): 245
  • 4i (Iblade): 230-235
  • 5: 220-225
  • 6: 210-215
  • 7: 190-195
  • 8: 175-180
  • 9: 165-170
  • PW: 150-155
  • 50: 130
  • 55: 115
  • 60: 85
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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

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. will

    Jun 26, 2020 at 11:59 pm

    ahhh man, wanted to see the putter

  2. stanley

    Jun 26, 2020 at 7:00 pm

    this is an awesome detail of cameron’s champ. what a fascinating player.

  3. The Truth

    Jun 26, 2020 at 6:41 pm

    Srixon XV is LONG!

  4. Jordan

    Jun 26, 2020 at 2:12 pm

    This is 10x more impressive than the Bryson stuff. His ‘slingshot’ swing is incredible.

  5. Sam Bozoian

    Jun 26, 2020 at 12:12 pm

    Not great timing JW. I guess clubs are clubs though

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Equipment

One-length wedges are holding Bryson DeChambeau back

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Bryson Dechambeau is a golf anomaly and has been for his entire competitive golf career.

The most recent example has been his single-minded focus to get bigger, stronger, and hit it farther. And if his early results are any indication, he has succeeded in his goal to seemingly reduce most golf courses on the PGA Tour to pitch and putts.

The other well-known example of Bryson’s unique approach is the single length irons and wedges that he has used since college.

This one-length approach allows Bryson to set up the same way for every shot, but when going deeper into his stats, there seems to be one part of his game that is glaringly below-average: his wedge play. Specifically, his proximity to hole: 124th on tour.

I believe his one-length wedges are to blame.

If we go one step further, his approach proximity from 50 – 70 yards of 17’10” ranks him 152nd on tour, an abysmal ranking for one of the top players in the game.

Breaking down the dynamics of a wedge shot

Hitting short irons, particularly wedges, close is about creating consistent dynamics at impact and controlling dynamic loft, launch, spin, and friction. The higher the loft on a club, the more potential friction and spin can be created, depending on player dynamics, to the point of diminishing return where the trajectory becomes more of an influencing factor for low-speed shots where less spin can be generated.

With single-length wedges compared to standard length wedges, it is more difficult to create consistent impact dynamics because the longer wedges don’t offer as much flexibility at setup, especially when you consider how much more ground undulation is generally found closer to green areas. But don’t just take my word for it…

I reached out to one of the top fitters in the industry, Ian Fraser from Tour Experience Golf, aka TXG, to get his take on how single length wedges could be effecting Bryson’s game.

“Playing his sand wedge at 2.25” over standard would lead to a shallower angle of attack which is detrimental to increasing spin loft—also being shallower with a low point closer to the ball increases the likelihood of picking up debris (moisture, grass etc) prior to impact which also reduces friction and spin control.

“We look for around 45-47 degrees of spin loft to achieve maximum friction, so unless Bryson can get steeper, the ball will launch higher due to the loft portion of that ideal spin loft.”

A further explanation

  • Single-length (longer) wedges: Longer wedges lead to less control as lofts get higher because of the naturally shallower angle the club wants to approach the ball. This extra length also leads to the inability to fluctuate ball position as lies differ greatly as you get closer to the green resulting in less control of launch and spin, leading to poor distance control.
  • Standard variable-length wedges: Standard wedges allow for greater control because it is easier for golfers to change ball position, which leads to greater control of impact dynamics which in turn offers better control of launch and spin, resulting in improved distance control. Not only that, but when you combine the shorter lengths with flatter lie angles into the sand and lob wedge (a setup recommended by most fitters) you get even more versatility.

Conclusion

Bryson is currently ranked 11th in the Official World Golf Rankings, and if he continues his fantastic form, that ranking is bound to improve as he puts himself closer to the green with every tee shot and in better scoring positions—he just needs to take better advantage of these shorter approach shots.

As someone who boasts about his willingness to experiment, Bryson has certainly tinkered with a number of wedges from his club sponsor Cobra as well as others in search of improvement, including PXG and Artisan Golf, within the last year.

I believe the next step for Bryson should be to experiment with a combination set that is single length until his 9-iron and progresses down to more standard lengths in his wedges to rein in speed and gain greater control of his wedge dynamics at impact. With his current ranking of 152nd on tour from 50 to 70 yards, he really only has one direction to go: up.

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What GolfWRXers are saying about the best irons for a sweeper

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In our forums, our members have been discussing irons and which models are the best for sweepers. WRXer ‘bigD77’ reaches out to fellow members and has a preference for players irons. Our members discuss.

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.

  • Frisco Kid: “I’m a sweeper/picker, really enjoying the PXG 0211 irons. I believe they fit in the hollow players distance category. The feel is outstanding and consistent distances. Since distance is not a requirement, I found Maltby DBM (or TE) forged irons superb for feel and accuracy. A sweeper’s dream with slim sole and thin top line. My only gripe with them was I was much shorter with them. My miss is usually thin, and the DBM irons are very good at covering up that miss.”
  • Hougz79: “Ping i210 here. Came from mostly AP2 (712, 716, 718). I don’t have an issue with the slightly thicker sole. I play in MN so pretty “average” conditions, I guess.”
  • scooterhd2: “Srixon Z785. Sweep away my friend, sweep away.”
  • NTCgolfnut: “There are a few that I have used / currently play in rotation that works well if you are a sweeper like me: MP-20 HMB (and most hollow-headed players irons like PXG 0311 range), J15 CB and Miura CB1008 top the list. If you like Blades, then MP5 works well.”
  • cjblake09: “Hogan PTX Pro and ICON combo set. Came from the AP2 718 and the turf interaction with my Hogans is much better.”

Entire Thread: “Best irons for a sweeper?”

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What GolfWRXers are saying about Odyssey/Toulon putters at the Rocket Mortgage Classic

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In our forums, our members have been commenting on the array of Odusser/Toulon putters on show at this week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic.

For more photos, check out the entire thread here.

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.

  • MaineMariner: “Backstryke is BACK! Is the lighting playing tricks on me, or does that Madison have a Versa paint scheme? If that’s offered by the Toulon Garage… welp, my wallet is going to take a beating.”
  • pga43: “It does” (In response to MaineMariner)
  • Bigjim1022; “Is that a bronze finish on the first one? Can’t tell if it’s the lighting or not. If it is that looks sweet!”
  • double or triple?: “Looks like the chocolate finish to me.” (In response to BigJim1022)

Entire Thread: “Odyssey/Toulon putters at the Rocket Mortgage Classic”

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