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WRX Insider: An exclusive and very rare look inside the bag of Hideki Matsuyama

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Not many bags on tour carry the mystique and secrecy that Hideki Matsuyama’s does. Yes, we have seen pictures and general WITB info, but the why and the how have been under lock and key. The only other player I can think of that shuns information snoopers as much as Hideki is Brooks Koepka. It’s not necessarily a negative thing, a player’s bag is his own and whether he chooses to share the exact ingredients is his decision.

However, today is a new day, and I was finally given an inside look into the why and how of Hideki’s bag. At a glance, it might look like any bag on tour, but it’s the nuance and the process that pique my interest. I’ve been inside the Cleveland/Srixon headquarters in Huntington Beach, California, and the guy has his own wall. That’s right, some players have a drawer or cupboard—this guy has a wall. It consists of old sets, prototypes, extra sets, and things that could work at some point. Besides Tiger’s cage at Artisan, it’s the most fascinating space I’ve seen dedicated to one player. Bryson’s old stock at Cobra is a close third, but I don’t understand half of the clubs that are in there—it’s golf nerd sightseeing on steroids, Jolt cola, and Pop Rocks.

For the purpose of this deep dive, I was able to ask some very targeted questions to one of the members of Hideki’s team who is tasked with keeping the bag humming at all times.

Thank you to Yoshihiro Iwamoto for the awesome photos!

Hideki Matsuyama WITB: The Set Makeup

Driver

Yoshihiro Iwamoto

Yoshihiro Iwamoto

Yoshihiro Iwamoto

JW: Historically, Hideki has preferred heavier shafts and swing weights. Is that to complement his unique tempo, or is it to satisfy launch conditions more?

Srixon: Hideki is constantly testing driver shafts, including lightweight options. He has found that heavier shafts allow him to generate more clubhead speed with his swing. Hideki also believes that heavier shafts help create and support his unique tempo.

JW: What launch data numbers are his sweet spot, what does the driver have to do numbers-wise?

Srixon: Hideki is very protective of his launch monitor numbers, and he is constantly tracking them and analyzing them. Based on PGA Tour launch monitor data, he averages mid-to-high 170s ball speed, low to mid-2,000s RPMs backspin, and 100 feet peak height.

JW: Any internal weighting to the driver head?

Srixon: Through the fitting process, we did quite a bit of testing and definitely explored different internal weighting options with hot melt. Hideki enjoys the test process and exhausting all options before making a final decision. With the ZX5 driver, we ended up finding a very unique place to put the hot melt, but that is a secret we prefer to keep.

JW: Is there a certain acoustic he prefers?

Srixon: Hideki has a very sensitive sense of hearing. This drives his extremely particular passion for finding the perfect sound and feel. For drivers, he prefers a higher pitch sound over a muted tone, which may also be a reason he prefers the larger game improvement shapes on woods. In addition, Hideki’s sense of sound even trickles down to his ball preference. It is incredible what Hideki can sense when ball testing, specifically in his short game and putting.

JW: What about the ZX5 has he responded the most to?

Srixon: The key factor for him was the ball speed. The ZX5 was a touch hotter for him compared to the ZX7 and it beat his previous gamer. In addition to the ball speed, he really likes the new shape of the ZX5 from the address view. This is a critical step in the introduction process. If Hideki has any issues with the address shape, he will not test the product. We included a lot of his feedback into the ZX driver shaping and masking. He prefers a very straight topline with a nice contrast between the crown and face.

JW: In testing, how did the 7 perform for him, and what were the deciding factors getting into the 5?

Srixon: We had success with both the ZX5 and ZX7 drivers. Hideki played both models in numerous PGA tournaments this year. The deciding factor for Hideki to choose the ZX5 over the ZX7 was distance. The ZX5 setup generated more ball speed and carry distance. The ZX7 setup allows him to maximize his control. During a tournament, Hideki played the ZX7 and hit over 80 percent of his fairways, but it was not carrying as far as the ZX5. He went back to the ZX5 mid-way through that event.

Irons

Yoshihiro Iwamoto

Yoshihiro Iwamoto

Yoshihiro Iwamoto

Yoshihiro Iwamoto

JW: In regards to the sole grinds, how has the sole been modified to give him the preferred turf interaction? In addition, Hideki is a player that prefers offset vs no offset?

Srixon: We are constantly adjusting to Hideki’s swing and changes to his thought process. Recently, we have added a small C-grind to the leading edge of his irons along with a flat “full” sole design. In addition, Hideki is one of the leaders in developing the toe and heel notches. He strongly believes the toe and heel notch creates a more consistent, smooth turf interaction. Hideki has always had these notches in his irons, and he was a huge part of bringing the notches back in the ZX line.

With regards to offset, Hideki prefers some offset over zero offset in his irons. He has the most specific eye, and he loves to tinker and test all products. The key areas for Hideki when it comes to irons are the general hosel shape and taper consistency, the blend between the face flat and hosel, and most importantly the smooth transitions from the hosel into the leading edge–there needs to be offset as he wants the transition to be smooth and almost straight.

JW: Beyond the sole grinds what other accommodations are made to get his irons dialed in?

Srixon: Hideki’s general iron shape has stayed consistent throughout the years. We have done some testing with different offsets, CG location, muscle and flange shaping, and topline thickness, but we generally come back to his baseline gamer. He enjoys the testing process and making sure he has the best product for his game in his bag at all times. Currently, we have been tinkering with his long irons, and he will change what is in the bag depending on the tournament. He has tested all of the new ZX products (ZX Utility, ZX5s, and ZX7s) long irons and has put the ZX Utility and ZX7 4-iron in his bag. The ZX5 and ZX7 irons had his sole ground to his spec.

Similar to the head design, he likes to test shafts all the time. Hideki is constantly looking for the best combination of the length, loft, and lie to hit the gaps he needs for that week. In terms of builds, Hideki has a very heightened sense of feel and one area that constantly comes up is how he can feel the weight. For his builds, we weight sort and document everything for each club build. We also travel with pre-cut lead tape in half-gram and one-gram increments, and Hideki will apply the tape to different areas of the club (muscle, flange, hosel, shaft), depending on how the club feels while testing. When iron testing, Hideki likes to have a full set built rather than just a few lofts. We do this because if he likes the iron while testing, then we have the full set ready to go for him to test right away.

Wedges

JW: From 52 to 60, it appears that Hideki has multiple angles ground into his clubs. Can you explain each nuance and what purpose it serves?

Srixon: All three sole grinds have a similar characteristic. Hideki doesn’t change his 52-degree sole often, but he is constantly tinkering with his 56 and 60.  All three soles have a subtle C-grind shape. The 56 and 60-degree have an aggressive heel relief. Hideki also utilizes a similar subtle leading-edge grind that is in his irons. Hideki will vary the width and bounce angles of the three surfaces depending on the conditions and shots that he is looking to hit. These three tiers as well as the sole radius (the sole curvature from heel to toe) allow us to manipulate the sole design to achieve the turf interaction and versatility that he may be asking for without changing the address shape. In the 56 and 60, Hideki plays a very straight leading edge with little-to-no offset. He plays his 60 and 56 weaker to help remove the offset and maintain a very straight, smooth transition from the hosel to leading-edge

GENERAL

JW: Is there a miss you tend to build out of his clubs (left or right)?

Srixon: Hideki does not like to see the ball go right. He likes to hit it straight and see the ball fall left. If a driver has a right miss, it has no chance to make it in his bag.

JW: He prefers higher MOI heads. Why is that? And what is he trying to achieve more than anything?

Srixon: Spin, forgiveness, launch, speed, etc. This is driven by the address shapes. Hideki always gravitates toward larger heads at address because they look easier to hit. As stated with the irons, Hideki has an extremely critical eye, and if a product look does not meet his expectations, he won’t even try to hit/test it. This also means Hideki is always looking at all driver shapes and giving us feedback on his preference.

JW: Can you explain the detailed testing process Hideki goes through to put any club in his bag?

Srixon: Once he finds a shape he likes, we will start to dial in the performance of the driver. We typically need to manipulate the masking line between the crown paint and face to achieve the topline shape, face angle, and lie angle that he wants to see at address. Ball speed is always critical for him. The new ZX driver with Rebound Frame has really helped us improve our competitiveness this year and it has been unmatched for him, in particular with the ZX5 driver. When ball speed is sufficient, we work through the fitting process (adjusting loft, CG location, and shaft) to dial in the ball flight and spin numbers that he wants to see. If it feels good on the range, Hideki will take it to the course to confirm he can hit all the shots he needs.

JW: With his unique tempo, what types of shafts does he respond the best to?

Srixon: Hideki tests many different shafts, but the tendency is to fit him in higher kick point shafts.

Hideki Matsuyama WITB

*Hideki’s detailed specs are under lock and key. We will update WITB with any changes when he makes his first PGA Tour start of the year. 

Driver: Srixon ZX5  (9.5 degrees/flat)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI 8 TX

3-wood: Taylormade SIM Max (15 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD TP 9 TX

Utility: Srixon ZX (4, 23 @ 22 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI HY 115 TX

Irons: (4) Srixon Z7 (5-P) Srixon Z Forged
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Wedges: Cleveland RTX 4 Forged Prototype (52-10, 56-8 @57.5, 60-08 @ 62)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

*Hideki found in testing that a stiffer profile in his wedges suited his launch preferences.

Putter: Scotty Cameron Circle T GSS
Grip: Scotty Cameron Standard Pistol

Grips: Iomic

Ball: Srixon ZStar XV

Yoshihiro Iwamoto

Many thanks to Noelle Zavaleta at Srixon for facilitating!

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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

22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. Pingback: Hideki Matsuyama WITB 2021 Masters | GolfTechie

  2. Pingback: Hideki Matsuyama WITB 2021 Masters – GolfWRX

  3. Jo Momma

    Jan 25, 2021 at 11:48 pm

    I’d really like to see how the 56 & 60 look at address both square and open. He’s one of the only guys who, like me plays a stiffer shaft in the wedges than the irons. I don’t know why anyone would want a loose shaft in a wedge

  4. ericsokp

    Jan 23, 2021 at 2:03 am

    Although I never owned one (don’t recall even ever seeing one in my local golf shops), I think Srixon makes some great looking drivers!

  5. gwelfgulfer

    Jan 10, 2021 at 12:31 am

    Not sure having a wall of stuff on the guy that doesn’t really win anything matters. maybe get a better stable of players and see what happens.

    • Mtnh87

      Jan 20, 2021 at 10:18 am

      He’s won 5 times on the PGA Tour and 8 times on the Japan Golf Tour. He’s a proven winner. Do your research before spouting mindless statements.

  6. Michael

    Jan 9, 2021 at 4:56 pm

    The buried lede is that Hideki is a nightmare to work with.

  7. DFWCanuck

    Jan 7, 2021 at 12:30 pm

    I would have to agree that he is a horrific putter.
    When watching him on the putting green and he is using his alignment aids, he’s lights out.
    His problem is his set up. He sticks the toe of the putter up so far that he misses everything to the left of the hole. He will hit great putts from time to time, but they are generally right to left putts. Watch his putts and prove me wrong.

  8. Matt

    Jan 6, 2021 at 3:29 pm

    Looks like he has put a black DI in his driver this week

    • John Wunder

      Jan 6, 2021 at 6:09 pm

      Its actually a new Proto Tour AD MD. A beefed up tip on an XC profile

  9. Iñigo_Kolbe

    Jan 6, 2021 at 11:12 am

    For a dude that is a notoriously horrific putter, I’d have assumed at least a mention of that part of his bag. If he ever learned to putt, he could win multiple times per year…

    I mean, I know that was a Srixon rep, so a discussion of his Scotty wasn’t gonna happen, but I’d have hoped for some mention of it somewhere.

    • CJ

      Jan 7, 2021 at 12:02 am

      Hot damn u need to look up the word horrific! I know the guy works on it constantly…so between the ears has much to do with it. Great stuff to the author thanks!

  10. Cody

    Jan 6, 2021 at 10:25 am

    Wish the retail z forged had the toe and heel notches..

  11. Rob

    Jan 6, 2021 at 10:12 am

    Is there not going to be any discussion around the long hosel version of his ZX5 that’s different than the retail model? If we’re going to get deep, let’s get deep!

  12. Kenny

    Jan 6, 2021 at 10:05 am

    I don’t understand why they’re secretive about his specs. It’s not like others will suddenly copy his swingweight and lie angle or something

  13. Travis

    Jan 6, 2021 at 9:45 am

    Agree with an above comment, this was hardly a “deep dive”. There are still the exact same unanswered questions and mysteries around Hideki’s bag than before…

    Also, good god, check your articles for typos before you post. There’s at least two or three in the first half alone.

  14. Jdogg

    Jan 6, 2021 at 9:32 am

    Not really a deep dive. If it was, you’d get into why the iron shape, sole and muscle is completely different than retail? Why? Does he not like the v sole?

    • Benny

      Jan 7, 2021 at 7:14 pm

      Most of the Srixon Pros have grinned away the V Sole. Those soles are more for retail and to help us hit better shots.
      I remember him putting well with some flow neck Scotty’s and he bagged them a couple years ago but he continues to go back to a standard offset plumbers necks. .
      This article shows how amazing of a ball striker and player he is.
      Great article JW. I don’t see any typos. Know why? I could care less.

  15. William Davis

    Jan 6, 2021 at 9:17 am

    What every bag needs most is nuance.

  16. Jordan

    Jan 6, 2021 at 9:13 am

    You’re going to need a whole article just to talk about this dude’s putters. He is testing new Scotty’s almost weekly.

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Equipment

Aaron Dill gives deep dive into Nelly Korda’s wedge set-up

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Nelly Korda is flying high in 2021, winning the LPGA Meijer Classic last weekend to become the first player this year to win multiple times on tour.

The 22-year-old fired her career low-round of 62 at the event on Saturday and heads into this week’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship as one of the favorites as she looks to break her major duck.

Titleist gave golf fans an awesome deep dive into both Nelly and sister Jessica’s WITB earlier this year, and now, master craftsman Aaron Dill has provided fans with an in-depth look at Nelly’s wedge set-up.

Speaking on the process behind fitting Korda for her SM8 wedges, Dill says Nelly sent her current gamers to him, which he then spec’d out to figure out what was missing so that he could then make the perfect set for her.

@vokeywedgerep

On Nelly’s SM8 (50-08F) Gap Wedge:

AD: “This is a great wedge for her; it’s really an extension of her irons. It’s a way for her to branch out of the pitching wedge and into something a little shorter with a little more versatility and short game feel. So this is a great fit for her and matches her gaps nicely.”

On Nelly’s SM8 (54-14F):

AD: “Before, she had less bounce. She had a lot of clubs that were on the lower bounce spectrum, and it limited her on how much short game she could really do or the shots that she could get out of each one.

So as we tested, we began to realise that she was missing some higher bounce clubs in that wedge set, and this one fits that nicely because it doesn’t limit her around the greens. She can hit it from the fairway, in the bunkers, pitches and chips, into the grain – great fit for her.”

On Nelly’s former SM8 (58-08MV):

AD: “She started with a 58 M grind with a V. This was a good fit for her in the beginning, but as we began working together more, she realised that ‘these golf courses I’m playing on, the types of shots I’m trying to hit. I need a little less bounce from time to time.’

And it wasn’t a lot less bounce; it was really more ‘I just need it to be a little less here and there, especially when I’m in the sand.’ This wedge was a little bit wider.”

On Nelly’s SM8 (58-10S):

AD: “This is slightly thinner, with a little ribbon on the back. Ten degrees of bounce, but the bounce is all right here (sole). So when she’s hitting those square faced shots, she has that protection and the bounce that she needs, but when she needs to be creative, the ribbon on the back and the thinner flange helps her have that versatility around the greens. 

But then we took it a step further, and I said, ‘Hey, for you to really maximize potential, especially when you’re going from course to course, that’s when we bring in something a little bit less, into a 58T.’

On Nelly’s SM8 58T:

AD: “I think for her, it was really a moment where she could really take a breath and relax and say, ‘Okay, if things firm up, I’ve got the best wedge for that (58T), if things stay soft, I’ve got this too (58-10S).’ So she carries both. She takes them from course to course; she decides which one fits based on conditions.”

On Nelly’s Aerotech SteelFiber i95 wedge shafts:

AD: “She plays a SteelFiber graphite shaft at 1/2 an inch over as she’s very tall and Tour Velvet grips, and she’s a little bit upright. So she likes to have more of that straight to slightly draw-biased ball flight – it’s a great way to help her bring her ball flight down, keep that spin up and carry that number that she’s trying to hit at the time.”

Check out the video in full below.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Titleist (@titleist)

Follow Aaron Dill on Instagram here and Nelly Korda here.

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GolfWRX Spotted: Cam Smith’s 2021 Titleist T100 irons with black finish

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Titleist dropped some big news this week, announcing that their new T-Series irons had begun Tour seeding. Our exclusive in-hand photos of the clubs from this week’s Travelers Championship are currently in our forums, with links below on this page.

At this week’s event, we have also spotted the new T100 irons from Titleist with a blacked-out finish. Australian’s Cam Smith has the clubs in the bag at TPC River Highlands, and it’s a finish that has caught our members’ eyes.

 

Have your say on Cam Smith’s 2021 Titleist T100 irons with a black finish here.

Exclusive in-hand photos

 

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Equipment

Coolest thing for sale in the GolfWRX Classifieds (06/23/21): Axis 1 Rose putter

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At GolfWRX, we love golf, plain and simple.

We are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment of 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 we all love – buy and selling equipment.

Currently, in our GolfWRX buy/sell/trade (BST) forum, there is a listing for an Axis 1 Rose putter ($395).

From the seller (@HoganHQ): “Axis 1 Rose putter, played 1 round, 34.25 inches, Brand new Flat Cat grip, headcover included $395”

To check out the full listing in our BST forum, head through the link: Axis 1 Rose putter.

This is the most impressive current listing 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

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