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Top 5 insider takeaways from Hideki Matsuyama’s 2021 Masters WITB

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When it comes to players on the PGA Tour, there are few as detail-orientated as Hideki Matsuyama. His equipment testing sessions are non-stop week to week in his tireless pursuit of accomplishing greatness on every swing.

Even as recently as two weeks ago, Matsuyama was spotted at the WGC Matchplay testing no less than 5 different putters. He eventually settled on the one that ultimately helped him win the Masters—but what about the rest of his clubs?

Earlier this year GolfWRX got an insider look at Hideki’s “what’s in the bag” including the how and the why and these are the top five most interesting notes.

He plays a heavy driver shaft

The general rule in club fitting is golfers with smoother tempos can use lighter weight options since their load profile puts less stress on the shaft—we’ve even seen some extreme examples of lightweight options being testing on tour by other players.

For Hideki, using a Graphite design DI 8 goes against that even though he has a fairly smooth tempo and a tiny pause at the top of his swing, but it should be noted he also swings his driver between 115 and 120 mph. It just goes to show the importance of player preference and feel when it comes to finding what’s right.

Srixon tour team – “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.”

He prefers a more “game improvement” look to his driver

Even with his ballstriking ability, Hideki—like many other players on the PGA Tour—prefers to use a driver that offers a higher MOI to increase ball speed and forgiveness on shots hit around the face. That means choosing the Srixon ZX5 over the ZX7, even though he has used both with great success.

Srixon tour team – “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.”

Hideki is very specific about lead tape

Some golfers just slap on lead tape until it feels right, but not Hideki. He takes his lead tape and testing seriously to the point where he uses precut pieces around iron heads to get things just right.

Srixon tour team – “We 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.”

He players softer iron shafts than his wedge

Much like his heavier driver shaft, Hideki’s shaft of choice in his wedges goes against conventional fitting wisdom. He uses True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 wedge shafts compared to S400 iron shafts and for most players on tour, it would be the other way around.

According to the team at Srixon, he prefers the stiffer profile to help with flighting the ball down and controlling his launch window.

He is always tinkering with his highest-lofted wedges

With course conditions varying week to week, Hideki is always working with different bounce variations to maximize the efficiency in his short game. Even though he does play with his bounce combinations, the overall sole shape stays constant along with the look he prefers from address.

Srixon Tour team – “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. 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.”

Read the full GolfWRX Insider piece here.

Full Matsuyama WITB here.

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Ryan Barath is a club-fitter & master club builder with more than 17 years of experience working with golfers of all skill levels, including PGA Tour players. He is the former Build Shop Manager & Social Media Coordinator for Modern Golf. He now works independently from his home shop and is a member of advisory panels to a select number of golf equipment manufacturers. You can find Ryan on Twitter and Instagram where he's always willing to chat golf, and share his passion for club building, course architecture and wedge grinding.

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Pingback: Hideki Matsuyama WITB 2022 (January) – GolfWRX

  2. Pingback: Hideki Matsuyama’s winning WITB: 2021 ZOZO Championship – GolfWRX

  3. Branson Reynolds

    Apr 13, 2021 at 12:04 pm

    No comment on his Taylomade clubs? Why are srixon players opting for other fairway clubs?

    • chip75

      Apr 13, 2021 at 12:51 pm

      I’d imagine it’s because they can, not all of them are contracted to 13 club or full bag deals and fairway woods and long irons are tough to replace/replicate once you find one you like.

      • Branson Reynolds

        Apr 13, 2021 at 6:54 pm

        I get club deals. It was more a question for the Srixon “insiders” and why they can’t make a fairway wood their players game

  4. Mike

    Apr 13, 2021 at 11:03 am

    Turn on your spell check bud

  5. Jerry

    Apr 13, 2021 at 6:12 am

    “He players softer iron shafts than his wedge”

    Edit?

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Equipment

TOUR REPORT: Details on JT’s new ultra-custom Scotty Cameron putter

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The PGA Tour is in McKinney, Texas this week for the 2022 AT&T Byron Nelson at TPC Craig Ranch, where players will have their final opportunities to tune up for the year’s second major, or to qualify for the event if they haven’t already.

It’s the proverbial calm before the PGA Championship storm next week at Southern Hills in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Of course, there’s nothing calm about the Texas wind this week, but you get the point.

As always, GolfWRX was live on site ahead of the Byron Nelson to take a look into players’ bags and see what gear they’re playing, and why.

We saw two particularly interesting custom clubs this week (Justin Thomas’ new putter, and Maverick McNealy’s super custom irons), and caught up with two players’ bags we haven’t photographed in a while (Jason Day and Justin Leonard).

Let’s dive right into this week’s Tour Report from Texas.

Max Homa speaks after his Wells Fargo victory

Following his fourth career PGA Tour victory, Max Homa joined our Two Guys Talking Golf (TG2) podcast to speak on his latest Titleist gear changes, his dream celebrity foursome, and what it feels like to win on the PGA Tour. As a biased co-host of the show, I suggest listening to the entire episode, but if you’re only in it for the Homa interview (understandable), skip to the 41:10 mark in the SoundCloud embed above. Or, check it out on YouTube here.

Odyssey’s Texas wedge

With the dry and windy conditions in Texas, the “Texas wedge” is more of an option this week than usual. For those who may not get the reference, a “Texas wedge” is when you decide to use a putter from off the green rather than chipping the ball into the air. Personally, as someone who has struggled with his chipping in recent years, the Texas wedge can be a savior of wasted strokes around the green.

Need work on your chipping? Check out this GolfWRX article: 5 “secrets” to improve your wedge game.

Details on Justin Thomas’ new Scotty Cameron putter

Justin Thomas has won 14 times on the PGA Tour, and most of his victories have come using the Scotty Cameron X5 Tour putter pictured above. Take particular note of the back cavity, the short slant neck, and the milled face.

Despite his prodigious performance with the trusty X5, Thomas came to the 2022 AT&T Byron Nelson with a new putter in the bag. Pictured below, it’s an ultra-custom Scotty Cameron T5 prototype.

While the head shape is nearly identical to his previous gamer, it has smoother milling marks on the face, a plumbers “knuckle” neck, and a plate added to the back cavity.

The “knuckle” neck features a silvered-out shaft piece that helps extend the neck to give Thomas the look and feel that he wants. The slightly different toe hang compared to his previous gamer works to help stabilize the face better throughout his stroke for a more consistent strike and starting direction, according to Scotty Cameron tour rep Drew Page.

The lightweight aluminum back plating in the cavity helps provide the right sound for Thomas. Back at the 2021 British Open, Thomas put a similar prototype putter into play that didn’t have the back plating, and he was looking for a slightly different sound.

“He started working with a knuckle neck last year before the British Open,” Page told GolfWRX on Tuesday. “He put the first version of it in play at the British Open. Then afterwards he came back with feedback for us, what he liked, what he didn’t like, and what he wanted to see out of it. We were able to create that…

“He was like, ‘Alright lets get into current product,’ so that’s why we went that direction. He can see something new, and he knew if he does get into it as a full time thing, there’s no shortage of current product to get, or head shapes, or new heads in that line if we want to alter necks.

“We’re still learning a little bit about everything it helps him with and what he loves. It stabilizes the stroke a little bit. His open to closure rate is just better, it’s more consistent as far as his strike and starting on line. He can feel it throughout the stroke a little bit. A player like that, it’s very much about honing in and being in touch with what they feel throughout the stroke. That produces confidence in being able to make putts, which is huge.”

See more photos of JT’s new putter here.

Embrace yourself

Cooper Dossey, a Ping staffer playing in the 2022 AT&T Byron Nelson, speaks with a slight stutter when saying certain words (such as “root beer”), or in certain situations.

Rather than shying away from the speech impediment, Dossey embraces it by stamping his Ping PLD putter with “Stutter King,” and stamping “Root Beer” on his Ping Glide wedge.

Kudos, Cooper.

Cooper Dossey’s Full 2022 WITB. 

Jason Day’s scratched up red Spider, and custom Odyssey protos

This week, we caught up with 2015 PGA Champion Jason Day to check out what clubs he’s using as an equipment free agent in 2022. Click here to see his full WITB.

Last week at the 2022 Wells Fargo Championship, Day switched back into his famous TaylorMade Spider Tour Limited Red putter that he popularized in 2016. Unfortunately, he’s since dropped the putter on a cart path and scratched the sole plate. Luckily, though, the putter still functions properly; it just has more character now.

That wasn’t the only putter he had in the bag on Tuesday, though. Although he said he plans to continue using the red Spider, Day was also testing out two different Odyssey Toulon “J Daytona” mallet putters.

More photos of Jason Day’s 2022 WITB. 

Maverick McNealy’s irons

For most of his professional career, Maverick McNealy has gone back and forth between a set of Callaway Apex MB irons, and a set of Nike VR Pro blades that he’s used for years.

For the last year, however, McNealy and Callaway have been working on an ultra custom 1-of-1 set of Apex MB irons that more closely match the looks, feel and performance that McNealy is searching for.

This week at the 2022 AT&T Byron Nelson, McNealy unveiled the set for the first time on the PGA Tour.

Check out the full story behind the custom irons here.

Here’s a snippet of what McNealy had to say about the irons:

“For me, getting that center of gravity out towards the toe, or should I say, getting that center of gravity further away from the hosel, gives me more club head awareness on the way down. It slows down the closure rate and keeps the club face square longer. I found out with other blades, because they’re so short heel to toe, and the center of gravity is so close to the heel, that I was shutting them down too fast for me. So these help keep the club face square on the way back and give me that awareness on the way through.

“We’re measuring offsets, impact height, location, lead groove height, there’s just so many little details that change the way you deliver the club, the way you feel it. The next thing we’re looking at is making sure every iron is spinning exactly the way we want through the bag especially with the new golf ball, the prototype golf ball (Chrome Soft X) that I’ve been playing from Callaway, which is awesome. It’s pretty cool to get to match an iron and a golf ball to hit exactly the flight I want to through the bag.”

Check out all of our photos of the irons. 

Justin Leonard 2022 WITB update

Justin Leonard, a 12-time PGA Tour winner from nearby Dallas, Texas, is playing in the AT&T Byron Nelson this week. The 49-year-old is now likely preparing for his Champion Tours debut in the near future, and nowadays he has a bag full of Callaway/Odyssey equipment. It’s always fun to see what clubs the legends decide to use as they continue into their later years in the game.

Make sure to check out his full 2022 WITB here.

And with that, we wrap up this week’s Tour Report from Texas. We’ll see you next week in Oklahoma for the 2022 PGA Championship!

Check out all of our photos from the 2022 AT&T Byron Nelson here.

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Best Mizuno irons of all time? – GolfWRXers discuss

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In our forums, our members have been discussing Mizuno irons. WRXer ‘Tomathist’ wants to know what model are considered the best in each iron category, and our members have been sharing their thoughts in our forum.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • Mp14forlife: “Mp14. None of this crazy has to have a razor-thin top line nonsense, or crazy has to have zero offset nonsense. Easy to hit for a blade, Little bit of offset and a top line that gives you a bit of confidence and buttery feel! Great clubs!”
  • golf_junkie_85: “MP-33, these are the irons Tiger would’ve used if Titleist didn’t sign him up.”
  • Mirsir69: “Mp-33 has to be up there. All around I would go with the Mizuno pro 223’s though as they’re so versatile and still quite appealing. My only complaint there is I wish they would have forged the 7 iron the same was that they did 8-PW. I don’t mind the 4, 5, & 6 being a little bit hotter. Maybe could’ve gotten away with the 6 being forged as well, but I’m picky about feel.”

Entire Thread: “Best Mizuno irons of all time? – GolfWRXers discuss

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Coolest thing for sale in the GolfWRX Classifieds (5/13/22): Callaway UW

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At GolfWRX, 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 – buying and selling equipment.

Currently, in our GolfWRX buy/sell/trade (BST) forum, there is a listing for a Callaway UW.

From the seller (@tmaze177): “Callaway UW 19° standard length, RDX Black 5.5 shaft. Hit less than a dozen times. $245”

To check out the full listing in our BST forum, head through the link: Callaway UW

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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