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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

30 Comments

30 Comments

  1. Hogan1953

    Nov 11, 2020 at 7:51 am

    The wear mark on that wedge is horrific. I actually find it hard to understand how a player of his calibre can do that.

  2. Pingback: Fred Couples finally switches irons—after 10 years – GolfWRX

  3. Larry Mooredale

    Jun 3, 2020 at 2:19 pm

    Those irons are J40s with different stampings… lol

  4. DJ

    May 11, 2020 at 10:41 am

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

  5. 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!

  6. BC

    May 7, 2020 at 2:09 pm

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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 ????

  12. 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.

  13. Tom

    May 2, 2020 at 11:15 pm

    @ John Wunder does Freddie Pure his shafts?

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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!!!!!

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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!

  21. 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.

  22. Greg

    May 2, 2020 at 12:44 pm

    Ha! Freddie has a shank proof wedge.

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Equipment

How Collin Morikawa found the putter that helped him lead the Memorial

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Editor’s note: We filed this piece for PGATour.com’s Equipment Report

Collin Morikawa jumped out to an early lead at the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide, doing so with a ‘new’ putter in the bag.

The 24-year-old has had a rough spell on the greens, finishing 2020 ranked 128th in Strokes Gained: Putting. He’s 180th in that statistic this season.

The Californian has been using a TaylorMade Spider FCG mallet-style putter, along with a ‘Saw’ grip he learned from Mark O’Meara, for much of this year, but in search of a change of fortunes on the greens, Morikawa has now switched back to a blade-style putter. He used a blade-style coming out of college and in last year’s win at Muirfield Village, at the Workday Charity Open. He added a SuperStroke grip and adjusted the loft on his blade this time.

But this isn’t your average story about a TOUR player switching putters. Morikawa settled on the putter after consulting TaylorMade’s online ordering portal that is available to everyone, from TOUR players to mere mortals. It paid off, as Morikawa shot a first-round 66 while gaining 1.8 strokes on the greens.

For more details on Morikawa’s switch, we spoke with TaylorMade’s Paul Demkowski, Principal Engineer, Product Development and TOUR Rep Todd Chew.

GolfWRX: In terms of MyTP, what did Collin see that he liked and why?

PD: Collin was checking out the options online and reached out to us with his specific needs for the head, the insert, alignment etc. What we built for him is similar to the one he was previously using – a TP Juno with a long neck and sightline on the topline.

The main difference is we machined the face to take loft away, 2 degrees to be exact. With his new setup he has his hands more forward. This allows us to then bend the shaft forward to get the loft he wants in a position where the face is square with hands forward. … If we don’t machine the loft away and simply bend the shaft forward for his new hand position the putter would have way too much loft on it.

Additionally, he commented on how much he likes the copper insert in his FCG putter. We do not have copper available for the TP putters, so we put a stainless steel insert into this putter for a harder feel.

So there are a couple of changes that were exclusive to him, but consumers can pretty much spec out 90% of his putter on our website.

Read the rest of the piece here. 

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Whats in the Bag

Michelle Wie WITB: 2021 U.S. Women’s Open

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Driver: Callaway Epic Speed Triple Diamond DS (9 degrees @10)
Shaft: AutoFlex SF505 X (45.5 inches, tipped 1 inch, D3)

3-wood: Callaway Epic Speed Triple Diamond (15 degrees @15.5)
Shaft: AutoFlex SF505 X

5-wood: Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero (17 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS T1800 65 6.0

7-wood: Callaway Mavrik (21 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Yellow 75 6.0

11-wood: Callaway Rogue (25 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Yellow 75 6.0

Irons: Callaway Mavrik Pro (6), Callaway Apex Pro ’21 (7-PW)
Shafts: Nippon N.S Pro 950 GH

Wedges: Callaway Mack Daddy Forged (50-10, 56-12 @55, 60-10)

Putter: Toulon Garage Chicago (H1 neck)

Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft X (2020)

  • Featured image via Callaway’s Johnny Wunder
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Equipment

Xander Schauffele switches to armlock putter…despite wanting the method banned

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Xander Schauffele has made a significant putting switch this week at Murfield Village, implementing the armlock method on the greens — a technique he feels should be banned.

The Californian is statistically one of the best putters on Tour and ranks ninth this season for strokes gained: putting. However, in a surprising move, he has now decided to move to an armlock version of his regular putter (Odyssey O-Works #7 CH Red) in search of more advantage.

On Thursday, Schauffele told media following his opening round that it’s still a method he believes should be banned on Tour despite the change.

“My putting coach (Derek Uyeda), my whole team honestly, we’re very against change and I had to see what the craze was about. I do feel funny, obviously being a top-10 putter on Tour, switching putters or the style of putting. It’s a distinct advantage.

“I am for banning the armlock putters, but if everyone else is going to use it and I feel like they have a bigger advantage, I may as well do the same.”

The change worked to great effect in round one at the Memorial. Schauffele needed just 28 putts during his opening round of 68, and after his round, the Californian explained his new process on the greens.

“It’s easier; it’s more consistent. My coach and I work a lot in San Diego on start lines and making sure the ball’s doing what we think it’s doing. And the fact that [the putter] is anchored to your arm…you can flinch in your hands, but you can’t flinch your entire left arm. So that’s the process behind that.”

Despite the change in process, Schauffele still believes that the game’s authorities should ban the armlock method, saying how it “takes the stress of putting out of the game”.

“It takes the stress of putting out of the game. Putting is so stressful. Obviously hitting shots and chipping and all kinds of stuff are difficult, but your putts are what give you the score on the card. It’s ruined a lot of people’s careers and it’s helped people’s career.

“So I think putting is an art in our game and when you lock it to your arm or anchor it to your body, it kind of gets rid of that.”

As for putting goals, Schaufelle has set himself a big target of ending the season ranked number one in Strokes Gained: Putting, a goal he feels he can reach now with the armlock technique.

“I know how good it can be and I think you still have to read putts and get the speed down correct. I’m in a very similar setup compared to my old putter and I know I can putt with a shorter putter, so I figured if I can get an advantage on the greens, and maybe get to first in putting, that would be something special. So I’m going to give it a go.”

Xander Schauffele putter specs

  • Model: Odyssey Wrist Lock #7
  • Length: 38 inches
  • Loft: 5.5 degrees
  • Lie: 71.5 degrees
  • Shaft: Black stepped shaft
  • Grip: WristLock SuperStroke
  • Insert: White Hot
  • Alignment aids: Top and tracers in white
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