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Justin Thomas: What makes him an elite wedge player

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It might be easy to say that a player like Justin Thomas is near the top of the leaderboard because

  1. He hits it the best
  2. He drives it long and relatively straight
  3. He is having a good putting week

I would agree and disagree with all three. Yes, they are definitely factors, but in my opinion, it’s his wedge play that has been the most notable part of his game—especially in 2020.

If you look at the stats, you will find a player who is not only damn-near deadly from 150 yards and in, but also a player who gets out of trouble about as well as anyone in the top 10 in the world.

We are talking about 2020 as a whole FYI.

(Stats via PGATour.com)

Now strokes gained wedge stats have multiple variables affecting the ultimate stat, fairways hit, where a player misses it, out of the rough vs out of the fairway, putting, yada, yada, yada….

At this point, if I had to pick a player to get it done around the greens it would JT or Jon Rahm. True artists. Go back and watch some of the shots from the FedEx at TPC Southwind or even Kapalua this year, it was the reliance on his wedges that became the secret sauce. Like the putter, good wedge play can be an equalizer when anything else is falling short. And when the rest of the bag is decent, for a player like JT, good wedge play equals wins.

I wanted to dig in a little deeper, so I asked my old friend, Vokey’s Aaron Dill a few questions on what makes JT unique with a wedge in his hands…

JW: As far as technique, what in his action makes JT so good? And if you could compare him to someone who would it be?

AD: Justin’s technique is really something to watch. His ability to stay loose, calm, and maintain effortless speed while delivering the wedge accurately really shows his comfort with a wedge in his hands. Justin keeps the club out in front of him and he has mastered the ability to control his golf ball’s flight and spin.  I could compare him to many, but I sometimes feel he is in a league of his own.  

JW: Beyond the great shots we see on highlight reels, where does JT really get it done from an SG perspective? What do you see that the average person wouldn’t? 

AD: Justin does it all very well. You know this because he is 9th in SG around the green and this is partly due to his spotless technique but his ability to scramble in difficult situations. Something he does that amazes me is his creative vision of shots. There are times when he is in a situation where he hits a shot we don’t expect or think of. His comfort with a wedge is fun to watch, he makes all short game shots seem like they are no big deal and you can see this by his free-flowing, loose and speedy wedge action. You can tell he feels at peace with his wedge technique.

JW: He has an interesting set up for his wedges that has been well covered, but since you first met him, how has his understanding and approach to his wedges and wedge play evolved?

AD: Justin’s wedge set is unique, however, a lot of thought and intelligence has gone into crafting this matrix. Since the first time I met him, he has worked hard and he has always had the desire to want to improve and push himself. You can see it in his strength training, his increase in ball speed, and his general approach to competitive golf. His knowledge of his short game has improved over the years and it shows in his success. You can see how comfortable he feels when a wedge is pulled from the bag, you can bet he will be landing the ball close to the hole setting himself up for a makable putt.

Justin Thomas’ wedge specs 

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design Raw SM7 (46-10F @47.5, 52-12F @52.5), Vokey SM8 (56-14F @57), Titleist Vokey Design WedgeWorks (60T @ 60.5)

Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 (46), True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 (52-60)

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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

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Bob Jones

    Oct 26, 2020 at 9:24 am

    The people who wrote The Search For the Perfect Golf Swing did their research and came up to the same conclusion. It’s long approaches that win tournaments.

  2. Jason G

    Oct 24, 2020 at 3:25 pm

    The most correlated stat to winning on the PGA Tour is proximity to the hole from 175-225 yards. EVERY SINGLE WEEK if you look at that stat, you will find the leaders.

    • Jbone

      Oct 24, 2020 at 5:02 pm

      Really? I’ll have to look into that.

      Hank Haney is always stressing that the winner comes from the Top 10 in SG Putting

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2020 GolfWRX Holiday Gift Guide: Golf gifts for the Purist

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It’s that time of year again, GolfWRX members, the moment we start filling our wish lists with the golf gear we want this holiday season.

The GolfWRX Holiday Gift Guide was created to ensure that our readers give (and hopefully receive) the very best golf gifts on the planet. These gift ideas will suit any budget, and each item was hand-picked by our staff. 

In an effort to provide more value and tailored recommendations, we’re presenting our guide as a series this year, targeting “the purist,” “the gearhead,” “the value seeker,” “the golfer looking to get better,” “the clothes horse,” and “the big spender.”

You know the purist by his/her love forged irons, natural fibers, and Golden Age golf courses. 

Here are our best recommendations for “the purist” in your life.

Titleist Pro V1, Pro V1x: $47.95

 

 

The No. 1 ball in golf, yes, most widely played on the PGA Tour by a wide margin, yes…The performance of the Titleist Pro V1 is doubtless best-in-class. But for the purist, there’s nothing in the golf ball space quite so iconic as the “Titleist” script stamped on the Pro V1.

Buy here.

The Golfer’s Journal: $75/year

Do you subscribe to The Golfer’s Journal? If you consider yourself a purist, it’s surprising if you don’t. And if you’re buying a gift for the purist in your life, TGJ is the perfect pick for superb reading material, best-in-the-golf-media photography, and of course, as a coffee table adornment that signals your aesthetic sensibilities are as high as your appreciation for our maddening game.

Buy here.

Vintage Hogan blades

Classic blade models can be had from many manufacturers, but there’s something about the Ben Hogan Apex—one of the most iconic and influential iron models of all time—that warms the heart of every purist. The 1999 model was an excellent vintage. 

MacKenzie golf bag

The carry bag of choice for golf hipsters and purists alike. We’re big fans of the Waxed Canvas Original Walker (and the “Mac” custom builder).

Buy here.

Louisville Golf: Classic 50’s Series Persimmon Driver

Among companies still making persimmon, Louisville Golf is best in class. And as we all know, nothing resonates in the purist’s soul like a well-struck shot with a persimmon wood. (Our Peter Schmitt took a trip to Louisville Golf and filed this report). You can’t go wrong with the 50’s Series Persimmon.

Buy here

BB&F ferrules

It may seem counter-intuitive that the purist would want something more bold than the traditional black ferrule, that is until you remember that historically, ferrules were often times ringed with at least one color. BB&F is the best (only?) player in the bespoke ferrule game.

Buy here. 

Best Grips

The purist loves all things leather and antiquated. Grips were originally made of leather. Ergo, the purist will be entirely enamored of Best Grips offerings—we recommend the MicroPerf Leather Golf Grip.

Buy here.

Goodwood putter

No shortage of putter makers sit near to the purist’s heart. Tad Moore, T.P. Mills, and Scotty Cameron, among other, fill the wooden racks of both the purist’s home and the corridors of his equipment fantasies. Goodwood, however, which was “Founded on the idea that tradition still holds an important place among new technology in an ever evolving industry,” is plenty appealing to the purist.

Buy here. 

Western Birch Golf tees

Premium wooden tees in classic designs are plentiful, yes, but nobody does it better than Western Birch.

Buy here. 

Golf trip: Sweetens Cove, Bandon

While this is certainly for the budgetarily endowed, what could be better than sending the purist—with his golf architecture obsession—to one of his dream destinations for a round or two? The tracks at Mike Keiser’s Bandon and the Tennessee King-Collins gem are deeply etched on all purist bucket lists.

Buy here.

 

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2020 GolfWRX Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts for the Big Spender

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It’s that time of year again, GolfWRX members, the moment we start filling our wish lists with the golf gear we want this holiday season.

The GolfWRX Holiday Gift Guide was created to ensure that our readers give (and hopefully receive) the very best golf gifts on the planet. These gift ideas will suit any budget, and each item was hand-picked by our staff. The GolfWRX Holiday Gift Guide was created to ensure that our readers give (and hopefully receive) the very best golf gifts on the planet. These gift ideas will suit any budget, and each item was hand-picked by our staff.

In an effort to provide more value and tailored recommendations, we’re presenting our guide as a series this year, targeting “the purist,” “the gearhead,” “the value seeker,” “the golfer looking to get better,” and “the big spender.” In an effort to provide more value and tailored recommendations, we’re presenting our guide as a series this year, targeting “the purist,” “the gearhead,” “the value seeker,” “the golfer looking to improve,” “the clothes horse,” and “the big spender.”

You know the big spender by his/her when the math “golf bag + 14 clubs = more than the value of your car…and maybe house.”

Here are our best recommendations for “the big spender” in your life (and yes, in this scenario, you are a big spender as well).

JuCad Phantom Titan eX 2.0 Electric Push Cart: $4,990

Built from titanium and carbon fiber, the Phantom Titan eX 2.0 is one of the wildest pushcarts in golf. Super minimal design that hides the electric motors and battery in the frame on the cart. Comes with a remote control and double-sided electronic parking brake. Folds up small enough to fit in a large briefcase-sized case.

Buy here.

TAG Heuer Connected Golf Edition: $2,500

A smartwatch geared towards golf and crafted by one of the biggest names in luxury watches. TAG Heuer’s Connected Golf Edition gives you GPS data to any point on the golf course and its screen is bright and easy to read. It has the most comfortable band I have ever strapped on my wrist to keep it in place throughout the swing.

Buy here. 

Foresight GCQuad Launch Monitor: $20,500

This is one of the best launch monitors on the market and the best option for anyone stuck practicing indoors. The GCQuad accurately measures your clubbed through impact and has a Putting Analysis option to dial in your flagstick. The GCQuad will accurately measure your ball speed, clubhead speed, launch angle, spin, carry distance, and many more metrics.

Buy here.

Footjoy 1857 Shield Tip Golf Shoes: $495

Is there a more classic and well build golf shoe out there? Crafted from soft calfskin leather the 1857 Shield Tips are built with full leather linings and outsole. A Good Year rubber welt keeps the waterproof and a cork underlay cushions your feet hold after hole.

Buy here. 

Kjus Gemini Rain Suit: $1,048 ($549 jacket/$499 pants)

The Gemini series is lightweight, breathable, stretchy, and quiet. Creme de la creme of rain suits. It features a reversible design that allows you to also wear it inside out as a warm and ultra-breathable jacket. The Gemini features fully taped seams and an adjustable hem with a drawcord to get the perfect fit.

Buy here.

PXG 0311 Milled Wedges Black: $2,250 ($750/wedge)

Triple forged from 8620 carbon steel and then CNC milled to exact specifications. The iconic PXG weight screws help increase MOI and fine-tune CG location. Weight in the toe moves the CG higher for increased spin and better consistency on open-faced shots.

Buy here.

Titleist CNCPT Irons: $4,500 ($500/iron)

CNCPT irons are an exercise in engineering and pushing the limits of iron design. Titleist uses the CNCPT line to try new materials that have never been used in the golf space as well as packing more tech into smaller spaces. With three different models available, there is a set of irons for the low to high handicap player.

Buy here. 

Dormie Workshop “The Green Jacket” Headcover: $190

Who isn’t still thinking of the Masters and that green jacket? Dormie Workshop created this amazing headcover to pay homage to the most iconic piece of clothing in golf. Made from high-quality leather, this could be the crown jewel of your golf bag accessories.

Buy here. 

Full Swing VG2 Virtual Putting Green: $61,000+

This has to be one of the most advanced and customizable putting greens in the world. Dozens of individual actuator modules shape and mold the green into real-world topographies so you can practice any putt you can think of.

Buy here.

 

2021 Mercedes-Maybach GLS: $160,000+

If it is good enough for Rickie to promote all weekend during the Masters, it should be good enough for any unlimited budget golfer! With massaging seats and every luxury option you can think of, the Maybach GLSGLS could be what you need to relax after a rough round. Just remember, Joe Skovron (Rickie’s caddy) says the back seats should be set to 38 degrees of recline for optimal seating!

Buy here.

 

 

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GolfWRX Classifieds (11/24/20): Button Back, Titleist TSi2, Bettinardi tour department DASS

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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 KingKong – Titleist TSi2 3-wood

It’s new, it’s fast, it’s forgiving, and it can now be yours for a great deal!

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: TSi2 fairway 

Member bigD77 – Tour Dept DASS Bettinardi

This is one very good looking putter. Made from Bettinardi’s DASS it also comes with a custom weld neck and Fit Face. Feel good, look good, putt good with this in your bag.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Tour Bettinardi

Member Beege35 – Scotty Cameron Button Back

Cameron “Button Backs” also known as TEi3 putters are highly sought after for their looks and feel, and this Newport is in stunningly mint condition—so you better act fast.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: SC Button Back 

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

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