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Best driver of 2019

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In the modern game of golf, the driver is quite possibly the most important club in the bag. So what is the best driver of 2019? What is the 2019 longest driver, the 2019 most forgiving driver, and the best overall driver in the game for 2019 and 2020?

Our expert panel of 13 top-ranked club fitters will tell you all of that in three different swing speed categories to give you the best answer in your search for the best golf driver.

golfwrx best golf driver2019 has undoubtedly been one of the best years for drivers ever. OEMs now are taking the previous generation’s winning recipes and pushing the science of structure, materials, and processing to move minute grams to optimize the MOI and CG to provide the slightest improvements. Lowering spin, generating max speed over larger areas of the face while maximizing MOI has been the trick. With so many great models to choose from, selecting the best driver of 2019 is no simple task.

While a driver that is the longest during a fitting might not hold up under pressure of tournament play, a great fitter will recognize that balance between distance and forgiveness. Ultimately, the best way to get it right and find your personal best golf driver of 2019 is to work with a professional fitter and find the one that works for you. The hard part is a lot of people don’t have easy access to fitters, launch monitors, and club builders—so as GolfWRX, we have done a lot of the work for you.

best driver 2020

best driver 2020

We consulted leading fitters in the industry and compiled our results anonymously. The methodology is simple: We want to give you the tools to go out and find what works best for you, with recommendations for your swing speed, with feedback from the people that work every single day to help golfers get peak performance out of there equipment.

Best driver of 2019: Meet the fitters

Nick Sherburne: Founder: Club Champion
Craig Allen: Golf Performance Manager, Sea Island Performance Center
Scott Felix: Owner, Felix Club Works
Ryan Johnson: Club Fitter, Carls Golfland
Brent Norton: VP Golf Shop Operations, Miles of Golf
Ken Morton Jr: Owner Dir. Retail & Marketing, Haggin Oaks Golf Super Shop
Tim Briand: SVP Customer Experience, True Spec Golf
Matthew Sim: Director of Operations, Modern Golf
Joe Kwok: Owner, Joe Kwok Golf
Ian Fraser: CEO & Founder, Tour Experience Golf
Shawn Zawodni: Fitter, Miles of Golf
Dominic Chom: Fitter, Miles of Golf
Ben Giunta: Owner, The Tour Van

Best driver of 2019: The categories

We have broken it down into four total categories. Three are swing speed-based and the other forgiveness.

best-driver-2019

The reason for this format is that every golfer fits into one of these categories regardless of age, handicap, or gender.

Even before starting the process of building the survey, we reached out to our trusted fitters to discuss how THEY sort through the endless head combinations available to golfers. Time after time, swing speed and forgiveness were the highest-ranked choices, after that it comes down to adjustability to fit individual players and their trends. We then worked internally to craft a survey that allowed the fitters to be HONEST…we want the truth just as much as you do, and to prevent anyone from feeling they couldn’t be, we allowed all of the results and quotes to remain anonymous unless otherwise stated.

We can’t thank the fitters enough for their time, and we hope that if you are still looking for that best driver for 2019, we can help you find it!

Your GolfWRX best drivers of 2019

2019 best drivers

Below are the four categories for 2019 best drivers. In addition, we have great quotes from our fitter panel for each winner. Why was it so good? You’ll find out with specific comments from the best fitters in the industry.

Now for the winners!

Best driver for swing speed at 106 mph and above

longest driver of 2019

  1. Callaway Epic Flash Sub Zero: This driver has been a hit since its initial release. Sporting a face designed with the help Artificial Intelligence, the Epic Flash offers a lot of adjustability in both CG and loft settings.
    From the fitters: “Great ball speed and low spin, it’s also anti-left which players at these speeds typically like”…”The Sub Zero Jailbreak has a very consistent ball flight while managing spin at this higher high speed. The adjustable hosel and weight track make it easy to dial players in.”
  2. TaylorMade M5: When you have one of the most adjustable drivers on the market today, it’s hard to not to get dialed in. With technologies like Speed Injected TwistFace, and multi-material head construction, the M5 is a contender for almost any player.
    From the fitters: “This driver has been good at high speeds. Also, with most high-speed players spin control is a key factor in performance—the M5 delivers that”…”TaylorMade’s ability to make the driver as close to the limit as they can has set this head up for success. We have seen great numbers in fittings with the M5”
  3. Titleist TS3: The Titleist Speed Project has ushered in a new era for performance in Titleist metal woods across the board. As part of the TS Family, the TS3 has offered big gains for players that have made the switch and our fitters tend to agree.
    From the fitters: “Fastest ball speed we have tested and spin control”…”Fairly forgiving, very low spin, and one of the fastest club heads on the market. Combo of hosel and weight settings make this driver easy to fit to most golfers.”
  4. Ping G410 LST: Launched a little while after the original G410 Plus and STF models, Ping took its time with the LST (Low Spin Technology), because from their own admission, it was difficult beating the G400 LST. For those who waited, Ping has delivered exactly what they promised with this driver.
    From the fitters: “Fast, forgiving, and very stable—what more could you want?”…”Most forgiving low-spin head on the market. Very fast. Movable weight has been a huge addition for Ping.”
  5. Cobra F9 Speedback:  Who doesn’t like a fastback? Whether it be a car or a driver. The Cobra F9 has been a huge success for the company this year. With improved aerodynamics, thanks to a redesigned head geometry, along with a multi-material constructed body and a milled face make, this club is built for speed, just as the name suggests.
    From the fitters: “Cobra has done a great job all around with the F9, from sound, aesthetics, to results, Cobra has hit a home run with this one.”…”Very versatile, accurate, and LONG!!”

Read all the chatter in the forums here.

Best drivers for swing speed from 105 mph to 95 mph

best driver of 2019

  1. Callaway Epic Flash: Just like its lower spinning brother, the Epic Flash was the highest-rated driver in the category. Utilizing the same Flash Face technology and Jailbreak, but in a more forgiving body, Callaway is proving Artificial Intelligence in club design is here to stay.
    From the fitters: “The Epic Flash produces the fastest Ball speeds in this speed category and for most players it also the straightest.”…”Awesome ball speed, sound, and forgiveness. Its speed is what makes it my number 1”
  2. Ping G410 Plus: A forgiveness monster! The G410 Plus is one of the most forgiving drivers on the market, and with an all-around-performance design, it’s no surprise to find it here.
    From the fitters: “Ping has been one of the easiest and honest drivers out that fits the most golfer in this category. The G410 Plus has several hosel positions to help face angle, loft, and lie. The weight cog helps dial in that last little bit to optimize flight.”… “One word: forgiveness!”
  3. TaylorMade M6Injected Speed, but without the additional considerations of movable weights. By saving weight from the tracks and the weights themselves, the M6 pushes more mass low to create a very stable lower-spinning head.
    From the fitters: “TaylorMade M6 has a great look at address while having great sound and feel. I have had more success with this driver over the M5. It is more forgiving and produces very reliable shots off the tee.”…”Good ball speed with mid/low spin”
  4. Titleist TS2Another driver from the Titleist Speed Project has found its way into the top 5. The TS2 is proof of what can be accomplished when a company goes back to the drawing board to re-engineer and maximize performance.
    From the fitters: “Great ball speed with great forgiveness”…”For players on the lower end of the spin spectrum, this is a great option. Best ball speed from a Titleist product in many years.”
  5. Cobra F9 Speedback: Same driver, different category. This really shows how well this product has been designed to help golfers across multiple swing speeds.
    From the fitters: “Very neutral and versatile, fast ball speeds, good stability”…”If this driver has one tiny negative, I wish forgiveness was slightly better but the speed is so great it makes up for it”

Read all the chatter in the forums here.

Best drivers for swing speed at 94 mph and below

2019 best driver

  1. Callaway Epic Flash: There is an obvious trend here. This is the third time a driver in the Epic Flash (Family) has taken the top spot in a swing speed category—there is definitely something in that Flash Face!
    From the fitters: “Again, very efficient energy transfer off the face and straight. Slightly lighter nominal head weight allows me to modify the head as needed”…”King of drivers for 2019 in my opinion, tons of speed for all levels and great forgiveness.”
  2. Ping G410 SFT: SFT stands for Straight Flight Technology. For players on the lower end of the speed spectrum, closing the clubface and creating spin to keep the ball in the air to carry further can be a bit more difficult. The G410 SFT helps with all of those fitting issues.
    From the fitters: “Great speed, not as good as Epic Flash, but the forgiveness makes it my obvious number two” …”Still a great driver that fits players of all speeds and is super easy to hit.”
  3. TaylorMade M6 D-TypeEverything from the M6, but with a twist (and not just Twist Face), the M6 D-Type has a CG located a lot closer to the heel to produce 20 additional yards of draw bias for those that tend to fade the ball.
    From the fitters: “Good club for this speed with so many struggling with right miss”…”Very forgiving and draw biased without a closed face—something a lot of players hate the look of”
  4. Titleist TS1: Titleist took the TS frame and made it even faster with the TS1. Lightening the entire club from head to grip, allowing players looking for every opportunity to gain speed to do so with the driver.
    From the fitters: “Titleist is back in the game! This driver has great speed and great forgiveness.”…”Super lightweight and easy to launch, this driver was built for players in this swing speed range”
  5. XXIO Prime Driver: SPEED: It’s what XXIO Prime woods deliver. Although one of the most expensive drivers available, the XXIO truly delivers on the promise to get more speed.
    From the fitters: “Ball speed monster… nothing produces a faster ball speed for lower clubhead speeds.”…” Really good driver; works magic for players with slower tempos”

Read all the chatter in the forums here.

Most forgiving driver/straightest driver

2020 best driver

This one has some interesting results based on the way fitters interpreted the question—some were looking at curvature reduction generally for players that slice the ball, while others were looking at overall dispersion and total MOI (Moment of Inertia), which leads to shots hit around the face to fly straighter. Either way, regardless of your miss, these drivers will help you hit more fairways.

  1. Ping G410 Plus: I feel like I’ve heard this one before—the Ping G410 Plus is a forgiveness monster! Extremely high MOI produces consistent results all over the face. Add to it the adjustability to help with player misses and you have a fairway finder.
    From the fitters: “The forgiveness on this driver all over the face is the best!”…”Ping hands down for several years now have been producing drivers that let players get away with a lot of mishits, but delivering straight shots.”
  2. Titleist TS2The Speed Project is delivering more than just speed. Its classic shape appeals to a lot of players and its lower CG also appeals to those looking to find the short grass more often.
    From the fitters: “Sleeper! Never in 20 years have I thought of Titleist as a straight driver. TS1 and TS2 are straight.”
  3. PXG 0811 XF Gen 2The Gen 2 woods from PXG are true performers across all categories. Thanks to its extremely high MOI, the XF has proven itself to be one of straightest on the market.
    From the fitters: “This driver is a sleeper, first Gen wasn’t that easy to hit and lead to more offline shots in my fits, Gen 2 XF fully hits the mark.”…”Depending on the player’s tendency—if we need to use a driver to reduce their normal shot shape the 0811 is fantastic”
  4. TaylorMade M6 D-TypeTo no surprise, the D-Type is back! Any time a driver can use a lot of discretionary mass to move CG closer to the heel and produce a draw bias, it will make its way into a lot of bags.
    From the fitters: “I’ve done a lot of fits this season and the M6 has been super forgiving and offers very repeatable dispersion shot after shot.”
  5. Callaway Epic Flash: It doesn’t have the highest MOI in this category, but thanks to a ton of adjustability, fitters can really dial this club in for almost any player—that leads to tighter shot patterns.
    From the fitters: “All the adjustability helps with control”…”The Flash Face lets players have more forgiveness across the face which really improves ball speeds on those mishit shots—Great all-around driver.”

Read all the chatter in the forums here.

Conclusion

The fitters consulted for this piece have accumulated data from thousands of fittings with golfers just like you. From beginners to tour players, their feedback and information can’t be undervalued.

golfwrx-best-drivers-2019-flightscope-

Now it’s your turn: Everybody swings the club differently and everybody has their own experience. We want to hear from you. What driver are you using? What did you switch from? What performance gains did you find in your own game? Share your experience to help others.

Read all the comments or make your own in the discussion thread in the forums here.

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Equipment

GolfWRX Deep Dive: XXIO’s 13 Series

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What’s the most well-respected, high-quality brand of golf equipment not frequently played by PGA Tour pros? If you ask a few of your local fitters, there’s a good chance they’ll respond “XXIO.” (That said, there may be some variety in the pronunciation…more on that later)

Male professional golfers don’t play XXIO’s clubs because they’re not supposed to, which is to say, the majority of the company’s clubs are not designed for them. The average driver clubhead speed on the PGA Tour is more than 115 mph. XXIO’s 13 lineup of metals and irons is designed for players who swing their drivers at less than 100 mph. From a design perspective, it’s a completely different equation for a completely different set of needs.

Lightweight, forgiving, and easy to launch are the watchwords for XXIO’s 13 Series. And if you’re not swinging your driver more than 100 mph, your golf game will thank you for learning more about the series in this conversation with Ryan Polanco, General Manager, XXIO.

Check out the full discussion below.

GolfWRX: Before digging into the specifics of the XXIO 13 lineup, can you settle a debate within the golf community? How do you pronounce “XXIO”?

RP: (zek) – Like “how the heck are these clubs so light and easy to swing.” (si) – Like “yes” in Español. And (oh) – like, “Oh that ball went a long way’. (zek-si-oh)

GolfWRX: For the average consumer who may have heard of XXIO but not know much more about the brand generally, how would you describe the company’s product offerings and the space XXIO occupies in the golf equipment world? Who generally plays XXIO clubs?

RP: We focus on making the best lightweight and easy-to-swing golf clubs for moderate-swing speed players (below 100 MPH).

From a product perspective, nearly every female golfer and the majority of men are perfect candidates for XXIO golf clubs. We have some of the best ladies’ clubs out there because we focus our engineering on slower swing speeds, and that requires a very different approach than every other club manufacturer out there. We also have incredible men’s clubs because most men fall into the moderate swing speed category as well.

GolfWRX: Digging into the XXIO 13 lineup. Can you briefly describe what unites the series as a whole, what XXIO is offering golfers the 13 lineup of driver, woods, hybrids, and irons?

RP: The big thing with XXIO 13 is that this is the 13th generation of lightweight golf clubs, so our engineers focused on making these clubs easier to swing in addition to being lightweight. Previous technologies like Weight Plus and new ones that focus on enhanced COR: New Bi-Flex Face, L-Groove irons, and enhanced aerodynamics (new ActivWing) are what unite this 13th generation of XXIO golf clubs.

GolfWRX: XXIO irons have historically been excellent performers in the game improvement space. What can you tell us about the XXIO 13 irons?

RP: The enhanced Rebound Frame technology in the Irons helps to increase ball speed (especially on shots struck lower on the face) by utilizing alternating zones of rigid and flexible sections. New for XXIO 13, we have internal grooves cut in the heel and toe to save mass and create greater flexibility for more ball speed, which previous generations did not include. These improvements help to increase COR in the center and lower portion of the face. Additionally, these irons feature the same face material we use in our fan-favorite driver to help with ball speed.

GolfWRX: Similarly, for years, we’ve seen XXIO’s drivers as a fitter favorite in the lightweight category. Can you discuss how the XXIO 13 driver continues this trend?

RP: Yes, the XXIO driver is normally most golfers’ introduction to XXIO because they perform so well and are generally much different from the golfer’s gamer during a fitting. New for XXIO 13 is a technology called BiFlex Face which helps to expand the sweet spot, while an all-new ActivWing helps golfers hit the sweet spot more often; something many golfers will benefit from. The BiFlex Face and ActivWing technologies work together to give XXIO 13 golfers better control of their clubface, more ball speed off the face, and more forgiveness on mishits.

GolfWRX: Finally, in terms of fairway woods and hybrids, what is the XXIO 13 lineup bringing to the table?

RP: Technology-wise, BiFlex Face carries from the driver into the fairway woods for an expanded sweet spot. Our Canon Sole has been upgraded as well. Canon Sole is a floating weight pad that optimizes launch and distance, while also allowing space for improved face flex, which is especially helpful for shots struck lower on the face (a common mishit for golfers with moderate swing speeds).

GolfWRX: Among golfers who play XXIO clubs, it seems like many have been fit into driver-through-irons sets. What have you seen in terms of set makeup for golfers who go “XXIO 13” in driver-through irons? (number of fairway woods, hybrids, lofts, etc)

RP: Yes, that is normally the case. Typically, we will see golfers dive into the driver first and then continue to add clubs until they have a full bag once they experience the benefits of XXIO. Once you have a lightweight and easy-to-swing driver, having heavier, stiffer clubs through the rest of your bag just feels so different. The lofts and combinations will vary, but a driver, three fairway woods, a hybrid, and five or six irons are a common setup in many bags.

Learn more about XXIO’s 13 Series here and on XXIO’s website

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Equipment

Q&A: The truth behind Bryson DeChambeau’s new Avoda irons from company founder Thomas Bailey

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During the week of the Masters, news broke that Bryson DeChambeau was using 3D-printed irons from a relatively unknown company called Avoda Golf.

DeChambeau fired an opening-round 65 at Augusta National using the irons, sending the equipment world into a frenzy trying to figure out who the company is, and what’s different about the irons. Information about the irons, however, wasn’t so easy to find. No one really knew much about Avoda or his new iron designs.

Then, ahead of the 2024 U.S. Open at Pinehurst, GolfWRX.com got its first in-hand look at the irons, and DeChambeau provided a public explanation of the flight-correctional “bulge” that the irons have on their faces.

DeChambeau went on to win the U.S. Open using the bulge-faced 3D-printed irons, but we still didn’t know much about the irons themselves.

Until now.

Recently, GolfWRX.com spoke to Thomas Bailey, founder of Avoda Golf, to find out more about the company, and DeChambeau’s mysterious irons. Enjoy our full Q&A with Bailey below!

Andrew Tursky, GolfWRX.com: So what is Avoda? How did the company get started in the industry?

Thomas Bailey, founder of Avoda Golf: Originally, I just wanted to make myself a set of golf clubs. That’s the truth. So that’s a year ago to date of Bryson winning the U.S. Open.

It’s been a crazy year.

I wasn’t quite happy with what I was looking for from a club and what was available on the market. I played around with a lot of the same-length products for a while. I got to the point where I was grinding the heads myself, taking heads and grinding them away to get the weights I wanted, to get them the appearance how I wanted. And I got pretty dialed in on a set I wanted over a two-year period. It just felt like it had been mauled by a bench grind.

So we were using raw heads, from Kyoei, and taking them down to weight. When I say we, that’s myself and Mike Schy, Bryson’s long-time coach from out at Dragonfly Golf Club in California. We were just grinding away golf clubs, seeing if we could create the ultimate club for what I wanted; and we got it. It just felt like it had been attacked by a bench grind.

So the mission then came in to make it presentable. My brother actually worked in the firearms industry and had a lot of supplier and manufacturer relations, so he worked on finding me a manufacturer who would be happy to put together the clubs for the specs I wanted. And we got there. We went through a number of suppliers and manufacturers to try and get to the point of what we wanted. We got it and had a prototype set come in around October last year, which was spot on. It was exactly what I wanted.

The goal was when I got that set in was to maybe make 50 sets and sell them, and fund my own golf career and my own golfing habits.

So right around that time, Bryson was coming back into town. He just had a win and shot 58 with the new driver in the bag, and he wasn’t happy with irons. They didn’t complement what he’d got right with the driver. The driver had more onset with more bulge to it. The swings he was making with that and having great success off the tee just didn’t work when he went to an iron. So he was saying say he would be fighting his iron play, fighting a left miss if he made the swing he wanted to, and then fighting a right miss to compensate for it. And that would then leak back into the driver to where he’d be missing with the driver, as well. He knew he needed new irons in the bag.

I know him and Mike Schy had explored a few options to try and find someone to do the irons. Right around that point, I told Mike that I’d been working on my own set of irons, that we could always explore doing something for Bryson, as well. And that’s kind of where it started. It’s like, well, nothing to lose. Let’s go for it. Bryson was in town in September, testing some irons and stuff again, having the raw Kyoei’s and grinding them down, getting the appearance he wanted.

He was on the bench grind, as well, and they got a head, and then the conversation started around putting bulge into an iron.

Mike goes, “Well, why don’t we test bulge on an iron?”

And Bryson asked, “Can we do that?”

And it was like, well, let’s find out.

So, he actually went into the academy where he’s got his workshop and started grinding away the toe on the Kyoei heads to try and put a little bit of curvature to it.

Wait, Bryson himself was on the grinding wheel?!

TB: Bryson was on the grinding wheel shaping the club to how he wanted them to look.

We actually had my partner’s dad, he was welding up the back of the club to give him extra weight to play with on the grinding. So it was a right interesting process, but he got it down to the shape he wanted, and then they started grinding. Mike went back into the academy and started grinding away some other toe section to get some curvature on the face to start testing the bulge-face idea, and found out very quickly when he was hitting them.

GolfWRX’s in-hand photos of Bryson’s 5-iron at the 2024 U.S. Open

Bryson went back to hit them and said, “Yeah, this is it. This is what we need to test.”

So, I set about making two identical heads – 7-iron heads – to the specs he wanted to see weight-wise and the width of the head he wanted to see. And they were CNC forgings to start with. So we had a flat head, or flat face, and then we did an identical club with a curved face, so we could hit them, start getting some numbers, and seeing what the difference is between them. And immediately, it was a night-and-day difference on the mishits, and just the overall performance of the club. It was more than just the mishits, so we knew we needed to put it into a full set.

He had very specific requirements he wanted to see in terms of the width of the head, the appearance from the top line. He liked the thicker top line. He liked the wider blade. When you start doing that, the head weight goes through the roof, so it couldn’t be a one-piece forging. It had to be hollow-body, which also had the advantage of reducing the spin rate, which is something he’d been struggling with for a while.

So we went about putting together the first full prototype set, which came in, we had it completed around end of January this year. He did some testing with it, took it to Mayakoba, had it in the practice rounds there. He decided not to put it in play just because we overdid the face curvature to begin with, to where we’d actually see the opposite miss, not the ideal. And then we went out making another prototype round, tidying up some of the aesthetics on it a little bit, but, again, dialing in the face curvature.

Bailey says Bryson prefers irons that have thicker top lines, wide faces from heel-to-toe, onset, and a square, symmetrical-looking face (as much as possible when there’s a curve) / Photo credit: Avoda Golf

They arrived the week before the Masters. We strongly believe we were still in a prototyping phase there, and did not expect them to be in play at The Masters. So when we found out Tuesday at the Masters that they were going in play, we went, “Uh, right.”

So him switching into the irons at the Masters was news to you, too?

TB: It was, well, there was some stuff that was going on leading up to that. He had them. He was in testing with them a week and a half before, and he took them to Miami, with the full intention of playing them in Miami.

We sent some stuff off for USGA testing, because, again, we’re still in prototyping at that point. So we sent them off. We wanted to get them tested just in case he did put them in play. We had a couple of groove issues that had to be sorted with the 3D-printing process, just some inaccuracies in the groove. His manager, Connor (Olson), over in Florida, was working hard on fixing them over the weekend before The Masters, and then we had them re-tested on the Monday.

Half the set was good to go, but we needed to get another set over there to fix a couple of clubs. So I get a call on Monday afternoon of Masters Week. I’m on the West Coast, in California, and I get a call at 4:30 in the afternoon from Connor saying we need the other set here, right now. And I’m thinking, “How am I getting this other set for you anytime soon?” And if it was Wednesday, it would have been too late for him to put them in play.

So, luckily, we rushed over to UPS. The guy said that the out-of-state overnight had already gone. We’d missed it, but he put the address in, and said we’ll see if we can get it out on the first shipment in the morning. And when I’m putting the address in, he goes, obviously, reading out the address in Augusta, and he goes, “Oh, Augusta. You going to the Masters.”

And I said, “Yeah, these are Bryson’s golf clubs.”

And he’s like, “You’re kidding me.”

Luckily, he was a golfer.

He goes, “You’re kidding.” And I’m like, “No, these are legit Bryson’s golf clubs. We need to get them there.”

So they ended up rushing them out to the truck, luckily getting them on the truck, and they made it to Augusta at 7:00 a.m. the next morning. So Connor did some work on them, and then they got approved to be used midday on Tuesday. But when we had the issues come back just before the Miami event for LIV, he didn’t put them in the bag there. So we kind of thought, right back to the drawing board. We’ll go again, get ready for the next one. But then it was a miracle to get them ready by Tuesday, we just didn’t see that coming. So yeah. And then they were in the bag.

That’s such an unbelievable story.

TB: Yeah. It’s pretty crazy.

Crazy. I mean, it seems like, you know, there was a lot of stuff going on behind the scenes during the week, but we didn’t really know what was happening, because he didn’t publicly come out and say everything. It’s truly unbelievable.

TB: And then having the balls to put that set in play on Tuesday of the Masters. I mean, he’d been practicing with it for a week and a half, so he knew it was good, and he was adamant he wanted to play it. So, obviously, we were gutted originally when it came back that we had the grooves issue that needed to be fixed. And then obviously to get it fixed in time. It was kind of an emotional roller coaster for us all, including him.

So with all that going on, the fact he put them in play and then goes out and shoots at opening 65 was pretty incredible to see. Then, obviously, everything went from there.

All of a sudden, it’s like, “Who’s Avoda?”

A lot of emails coming in, and a lot of interested parties.

Yeah I mean, I was scrambling. For my job, I have to keep up with the latest equipment, all the custom stuff on tour, and then all of a sudden he comes out with these. It’s like, uhh, I know absolutely nothing about these! I’ve never heard of them. I don’t know what to say!

TB: Yeah, that was funny. So, yeah, I mean, we registered the company end of last year, and the intention was for me to make myself a set of irons I was happy with, and, it will result in creating a really, really good product and a lot of interest straight away when we had people testing it.

So I thought, “OK, let’s get in 50 sets and sell fifty. Let’s see if we can build this thing to a 1,000 set a year business.” And, yeah, we smashed it a lot quicker than we thought we would. And, obviously, we cannot be more grateful to Bryson for giving us the opportunity to get it going. It’s accelerated us 5-10 years ahead of typical business growth. So yeah, it’s been pretty unbelievable. So it’s all systems go now, and getting people in the position to handle it.

Fortunately, I’ve had a lot of people around me at the time who knew I was working on this equipment and had made comments like, “If this works and this is this is a good product, we want to be there. We want to support it, and help grow the business.”

So when the clubs went in play, I sent text messages to every one of those parties: “It’s happening. Get ready.”

What an exciting moment for you and the company. So when did the 3D-printing aspect of this come in?

TB: So the 3D printing purpose of that was just for rapid prototyping. So, originally, it was CNC, the first test. And then because he needed a hollow-body head to achieve the visuals he wanted, and then all the specs he wanted, we obviously had an option of creating a mold to cast it, CNC-ing it in two pieces, or 3D printing.

3D printing gave us the quickest option. We were testing a whole new element to golf, adding curvature on an iron, and speed, with the limited time of an off-season.

LIV, fortunately, giving him a longer off-season was great. If it was the PGA Tour, I think, well, I don’t know how we would’ve done it. We’d still be in testing, just because of how limited time there is to do that. So 3D printing gave us the option to rapid prototype, get clubs in within a few weeks to test. So, I mean, we really did go from the first full set…design work started late November, and then by late January, we had the first full prototype set.

So without the ability to 3D print that, we wouldn’t have got it done in that time frame, so it allowed us to get it done.

Where are these heads coming from? Like are you 3D printing them in-house? Are you ordering from a third party?

TB: We have an international manufacturer, so it’s third party. We do all the design work – we have a designer that’s doing that for us – and then we outsource the manufacturing. It’s been a pretty crazy process, and we’re learning a lot very quickly.

So how does it work with the consumer product? How is that working right now? How can people buy sets? What is the market saying about those? What is the feedback you’ve seen in testing when it comes to amateurs? Because I know Bryson was talking about his swing speed and how it helps him, but, you know, the consumer audience doesn’t swing it like Bryson. So, like, what have you seen with the translation there?

TB: So the products that are available for purchase right now is that initial set I put together. So I put two sets together initially, which is what we’re calling our combo-length set. I played same length for a long, long time. I’m 5-foot-9-inches with shoes on, so I’m not the tallest player. And then I’ve got freaky long arms. So, for me, I’ve always had to play my clubs slightly on the shorter side. I love the advantages of the same length set, however, playing a shorter 4-iron when it’s already shorter wasn’t helping me that much. So I needed to make the 4-iron, and the 5-iron, where I didn’t see the distance gapping dropping off. I needed to make them a little bit longer. So that’s where kind of the grinding the golf clubs came in, getting on the bench grind, taking some weight out so I could make them longer. That’s where that originally happened. So I had to set this combo-length set. Same length to the 8-iron, then progressively getting longer through the 7, 6, 5 and 4 iron.

So that’s the initial product we put together, and did the testing on. Then we released a same-length as well, because it was still requested, the same-length product. And there wasn’t really any, at the time, there isn’t a same-length forged product available, like a truly one-piece forging for the same-length market. So we wanted to provide that, as well. So we had the same-length set the whole way through, and then the combo-length set.

So that’s what’s available for purchase for the market right now. The testing on those, from what we’ve seen, just being able to bridge the gap between variable length and same length, that hasn’t been done yet. We’ve seen people who swore that they would never go to a same-length club, who are now using combo lengths, where they’re same-length from the wedge to the 8-iron, and they’re loving it. And then we’ve also seen people who swore to same-lengths, who would never go away from the same length, but did maybe struggle with a longer wedge, or struggle with speed on the 4-iron, again, going into that combo length set, so it’s really bridged the gap between the two.

We’re calling it “removing the disadvantages of both,” and just taking the best of both, and putting them into one set. So those are the sets that are available to purchase right now. The specific Bryson one is a 1-of-1 set that’s done just for him. He has the only set of that, because it’s such a specific product to him. He plays super upright and the head weights are very unique. Obviously, the face, as well the hollow-body.

My goal has always been to create a product that helps people get better. That was the one that helped him get better. I believe in the custom fitting approach, as well. I don’t plan to sell a club for the sake of it. Like, yes, there’s a massive demand for someone to purchase a specific set just like his, but it would be more just for the sake of hitting the Bryson Club, you know, as opposed to actually a club that the consumer can get better by using.
 
Right, right. What’s your playing background? Like, were you a designer before? Were you a player before? A professional?

TB: Bit of everything. So, I played college golf, packed in college golf after two years to try and pursue full-time golf, so I went back to the UK to pursue full-time golf. Had some injuries straight off the bat, golf swing related. So in an effort to try and get myself healthy, get myself back playing, I kind of saw everyone, did everything, and just wasn’t quite getting the results and help I needed.

And then I kind of had to dive down the rabbit hole of figuring things out for myself. Got some good advice from coaches like George Gankas along the way. He actually gave me some good information around how the body can set up, how the body can move to reduce the stress on the body. So driving down that rabbit hole actually got myself healthy again.

And then there’s a lot of other people in professional golf that are also injured at top amateur level. I had people coming to me saying they struggle with the same problems I had, golfing related. And that led me into the coaching route. So I coached full-time for about 3-4 years. Had some success in that. I coached a guy out of injury named Laird Shepherd. Coached him out of injury to winning a British amateur, and then ended up coaching a few guys out on the European Tour pretty quickly.

I always still wanted to play, so in the back of my mind, it was like, right, yes, I learned everything to try and help myself get better. I’ve got to continue to pursue my dreams of playing. So I got back playing pretty much full-time golf, came out to the U.S. the beginning of 2022 to see Mike Schy to actually build up a set of golf clubs. And then, one thing led to the next, and it kind of got me down the equipment rabbit hole, and that resulted in a major-winning set.

Going down the equipment rabbit is quite an accurate statement…

TB: Yeah, I’m always asking, “Why?” You know? I’m like, why why why? I’m that annoying kid that says, “Yeah, but why?”

I know Bryson is always saying why, too. So you guys linking up makes so much sense.

TB: It worked quite well. There’s a lot of things that we like to see that are similar in a golf club, as well, so that helps. It allowed me to go away and do the design work knowing that I’m looking for a similar thing, as well. I think the struggle that maybe he’s had in the past, and I can’t speak for him on this 100%, but he has an idea of what he wants to see in a club. He takes it away to someone, and they put what they want to see in a club. And it has to work for the mass consumer. The club that he’s playing, the clubs that these guys are all playing, it has to still be available to the mass consumer. So it has to have the element of being able to be used by everyone. Well, now he has the opportunity to create his set.

So when we did the first run of design work and he said what he wanted to see in a club, it was like, okay, let’s do exactly that, and let’s come back with exactly that. And then if he if he wants to make adjustments from there, he’s making adjustments on what he wants to see. So there’s no, like, fighting in the sense of what I want see in the club. If this is what you want to see, that’s what we’re going to design.

And I know he alluded to it a couple times, but is it a progressive bulge that’s going on through the set? So the 9-iron isn’t quite as curved, 7-iron’s a little more curved, and then 5-iron has the max curve? Is that correct?

TB: Yeah. Okay. So the 5-iron, his being 17 degrees in loft and him swinging a 5-iron faster than most people swing a 3-wood, it’s got to have some curvature on it. It’s got a good amount on it, and then progressively tapers off to being nonexistent. So it tapers out to his pitching wedge to where it’s minimal and then becomes flat through his wedges.

And that’s not what the consumer is necessarily buying, right?

TB: No, our products that are available are flat-faced. They are traditional one-piece premium forging. The advantage of ours are more based around how the set’s put together in terms of the length, the weighting, the shaft options, the customization on that, as opposed to the face curvature. Yeah. Right now, the face curvature is just specific to him.

OK, OK. You’re sitting on an absolutely unbelievable story here. It’s so cool from a gear perspective. A lot of things have been coming together very quickly, and of course he goes and wins the U.S. Open with them in the bag. How are you handling things on the production side?

TB: We’ve been labeled as a DTC brand straight away off the bat. We didn’t have an opportunity to be anything else. Things seemed to accelerate so quickly. So right now, we are working. Obviously, the demand’s been huge. People have been calling. We’re receiving hundreds of phone calls, fitting centers asking if they have our clubs. So we’ve got an awesome demand for people wanting to have our fitting kits and be able to offer our equipment.

I believe in that room more than anything, having someone be able to go and test the club. And if they test the club and they decide they don’t want to go with our club, great. We need to do better, and we need to bring out a better product. We’re pretty confident that when they test it, and go through our fitting system, that they will get a very, very well-fitted club that they will have a lot of success with. So getting out to a custom fitters to offer that option to people to go test.

And if we did have that in place from that first week at the Masters, yeah, business would be 10x what it is right now, but, obviously, we were very unaware that we would be in that position so quickly. I mean, we were we were on the fourth month of, or maybe even the third month at that point, of really actually having a full set. So, yeah, it’s accelerated very quickly, but we’re fast learners, and we’re going to deal with the demand. But getting out to custom fitting centers is our number one priority right now, so people can actually go test, and actually have that experience.

I definitely agree on the custom fitting aspect. Well, I’ve taken up way too much of your time, and those are all the questions I have for now. I feel like we cleared up a lot, though. Congratulations on all the success so far, and we look forward to hearing more from you next time.

See Bryson DeChambeau’s Winning WITB from the 2024 U.S. Open here

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Whats in the Bag

WITB Time Machine: Jordan Spieth’s winning WITB, 2015 John Deere Classic

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At the 2015 John Deere Classic, Jordan Spieth downed Tom Gillis in a playoff for his fourth victory of the season. Spieth entered the final round with a two-stroke lead, bolstered by a Saturday 10-under 61, and was steady enough Sunday to book passage to a playoff at 20 under par. When Gillis wasn’t up to the task, Spieth captured his second trophy at the Silvis, Illinois, event.

Check out the clubs Spieth had in play nine years ago below.

Driver: Titleist 915D2 (9.5 degrees) Buy here.
Shaft: Aldila Rogue Black Limited Edition 60 TX

3-wood: Titleist 915F (15 degrees) Buy here.
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI 7 X

Hybrid: Titleist 915HD (20.5 degrees) Buy here.
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI 95 X

Irons: Titleist 714 AP2 (4-9) Buy here.
Shafts: True Temper Project X 6.0

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM5 (46-08F, 52-08F, 56-10S, 60-04L) Buy here.
Shafts: True Temper Project X 6.0

Putter: Scotty Cameron 009 Prototype Buy here.
Grip: SuperStroke Flatso Ultra (Black/White)

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

Check out more photos of Jordan Spieth’s 2015 WITB here.

WITB Time Machine is presented by 2nd Swing Golf. 2nd Swing has more than 100,000 new and pre-swung golf clubs available in six store locations and online. Check them out here.

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