Equipment Q&A: Justin Thomas explains his perceptive reason for switching golf balls
7 Min Read
Written by Andrew Tursky @AndrewTursky
Justin Thomas' winning highlights from BMW Championship
Justin Thomas, the winner of the 2019 BMW Championship, spoke with PGATOUR.COM following his recent victory about a number of topics, including his equipment testing philosophies, why fewer golfers should use blade irons, the story behind his “radar” wedge stampings, his ridiculously perceptive reason for switching golf balls, the state of rap music, and much more.
Enjoy the full, equipment-centric interview with Thomas below!
PGATOUR.COM: Getting into the equipment side of things, you typically don’t switch equipment much, but you have made some recent changes. I think you put in a new T100 4-iron and have been bouncing around on golf balls a bit going back and forth between Pro V1 and Pro V1x; have you settled in on a golf ball?
Yeah, I used the Pro V1 Star it’s called for however many months, but I went back to the ball I was playing, the [Pro V1x], at the Travelers.
Is the Star different than the Left Dot?
Yes, it’s a lot different. It’s a lot softer and it’s a lot more spin.
What made you go back to the ball that you were playing? Was the Star spinning too much?
No. As weird as it sounds I wasn’t putting very well and I felt like the feel of the ball while I was putting was effecting my speed, and I just didn’t know if it was or not. So I just wanted to switch and see if I felt that way. I knew that other ball worked really well, and I’m glad I switched back.
That’s pretty in-tune with your feel on the greens to be able to even think that.
Yeah, I don’t know if it was true or not, but that’s the thought that came to my head. We thought that could have been true.
When it comes to equipment, every week I see guys on the range grinding on shaft testing and club testing, and it doesn’t really seem like you get into that game. It seems like you’re more focused on your swing and working on that. Is that true, or do you do testing away from the event?
Yeah, I don’t do much testing just because if it’s not broke, there’s no reason to fix it. I mean, I’ll do drivers or 3 woods sometimes, but my driver and my 3 wood has been good, so no reason to really change there. So yeah, when I’m on the range and we’re working on stuff and I’m trying to hit yardages and that’s about it.
Will we ever see you switch out of that 915fd fairway wood? It feels like that’s been in your bag forever.
Yeah I mean I love it. I love the new woods, it’s just honestly the new 5 wood just goes too far. It has nothing to do with … I like the feel of [the TS fairway wood] more and everything, but I just know exactly what this 915 does and I can do anything I want with it. I know how far it goes, and it’s a great club for me. The new one really just goes too far so it doesn’t rally serve it’s purpose.
Do you ever use a hybrid anymore? I know you used to back in the day.
No I haven’t used a hybrid since probably I was on the [Korn Ferry Tour].
Oh wow, I didn’t realize it was even that long ago. Have you tried the new 620MBs? Do you like them?
Yeah, they’re awesome. They look incredible. I love the feel. They’re all really good.
Do you think you’re going to make the switch?
Yeah, for sure. They’re so similar to my irons already just in terms of the look and the feel and how they made mine. I’ve just been hitting my irons great this year, it’s been a big asset to my good play so I felt like there was no reason to switch midseason. After this week (at the TOUR Championship) I’ll throw them in the bag.
I’m sure you play with a lot of amateur golfers, and maybe even high-level amateur golfers. Do you think golfers in general play blade irons too much?
Yes. For sure.
Can you expand about that a little bit more? I know, for me, I always have people ask me about the latest blade irons, and I try to remind them that there are irons with more technology that could be helpful.
I agree. It’s just, I think everybody think they’re better than they are (laughs). The thing is, Titleist makes all of those different irons that benefit everybody. Look at, you know, Jordan. He’s a great iron player, but he uses the T100s, because they look great and they’re forgiving. There’s no reason to not use that, and use it to your advantage. Sometimes people need to go into it with a little bit more of an open mind.
What have you seen with the T100s? I think you had an AP2 4-iron in your bag before switching into the T100 4-iron.
I love them. I like the look a little bit more, but I really like the performance. It goes higher and with the distance that I need it to go. It’s a great, great club.
Kind of a similar conversation to the blade irons I guess, you came into the PGA TOUR using a blade-type putter, and you’ve since made the full transfer over to using a mallet. Do you feel like people are too stubborn switching over from a blade putter, too?
Um, not necessarily. I feel like putting is so different for everybody, and you have to be comfortable with what you’re using and what you like. But yeah I think if you’re going into it fresh, it’s definitely good to have an open mind.
Do you still test with the putter at all, or are you pretty happy with what you have?
I’m very happy with what I’m using right now.
I was talking to Aaron Dill recently about a bunch of different players’ wedge stampings, and your “radar” stampings came up. Can you talk a little about how the radar name came about?
Yeah, what I tell people is that it’s a nickname that nobody calls me. I got it on my wedges when I was a kid because of the guy at Titleist who helped me out, Phillip James. He just said I had a really good wedge game and it was kind of like a radar when I hit wedges. So he gave me that nickname. He would refuse to send me wedges if anything else was stamped on there, so I didn’t really have a choice. So that kind of stuck.
I know you don’t put lyrics on your wedges anymore, but it was always pretty entertaining when you did. Instead of radar, if you were to put lyrics on your wedges now, what are you listening to these days? What would you have on there?
I still listen to rap. That’s really all I listen to so I’d have a rap lyric on there, but it’s pretty hard to find some clean ones to get on there.
What’s your favorite song out right now?
I don’t know, the music hasn’t really been coming out that fast lately, I feel like. Nothing really stands out to get a line from a song or anything like that, so that would take some thinking.
Last question: What’s that band you’ve been wearing on your wrist? Is that a fitness tracker?
Yeah, it’s called a Whoop. It helps with your sleep and recovery and your heart rate and stuff like that. It gives you feedback and I feel like I’m able to look at it, and based off of what I did that day, or ate, or drank, or worked out or whatever, I can use it to my advantage.