The story of Justin Thomas’ dad and his sentimental wedge stampings
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Written by GolfWRX @GolfWRX
Justin Thomas and Mike Thomas’ custom wedge
Mike Thomas is a common sight at the side of his son, Justin, during practice rounds on the PGA TOUR.
Mike, of course, pulls double duty as both the father and the lifelong swing coach for the former FedExCup champ, and he’s often seen holding a wedge while observing Justin’s swing.
The story behind Mike’s club is a special one that illustrates the strong relationship between father and son.
To occupy his hands during the long hours of practice days, Mike used to grab one of Justin’s wedges while Justin was practicing nearby. There was one problem. The habit used to aggravate his son.
“I mean he just always had to have a club in his hand from my bag,” Justin Thomas told GolfWRX. “And to be perfectly honest, it just pissed me off that I would want to chip with a club and he would always grab a 56 or a 60 (degree wedge). So I’d have to go across the green and get it from him and it was happening every week and I was like, ‘I’m done with this. I’m just going to carry an extra wedge. This is your wedge, don’t touch my other ones.’”
And that, as they say, is how this whole thing started.
It was in 2019 when Justin gifted Mike one of his old Titleist Vokey SM6 wedges to carry around. Mike still carries the same club, but it looks a little different now.
Since the 2019 Genesis Invitational at Riviera, Titleist’s Vokey wedge rep Aaron Dill – who’s the man behind many of the genius wedge stampings on the PGA TOUR – has been stamping important memories and events that Justin and Mike have shared together.
“They call it my walker,” Mike said. “I think the first stamp on it was in LA. … It says ‘Meat Coma.’ And the story behind that is we would go to Baby Blue’s BBQ every year in LA, and we basically ate ourselves into a meat coma.
“So AD, Aaron Dill with Vokey and Titleist, he put meat coma on there. I think he put ‘Meat Coma 2’ on there somewhere, too.”
Other stampings mention tournaments by their trademarks, like ‘Milkshake Invitational’ for the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday, which is known for the milkshakes in the Muirfield Village clubhouse. There’s other memories like ‘COVID-19 Quarantine’ and ‘Raising Money for Kids.’ The most recently noteworthy addition is ‘2022 PGA Championship,’ where ‘Champion’ is highlighted in a different color to celebrate Justin’s victory. That’s one of Mike’s favorites.
Mike says he never requests a stamping, but when Dill sees him at a tournament, he’ll track Mike down and make the appropriate updates to the wedge. There’s only one problem. They’re running out of room on the club.
“He’s got a great imagination for that stuff,” Mike said about Dill. “Somehow he’ll remember where (Justin) was, and he’ll go, ‘OK, we have to put the Scottish Open, the British Open, we have put the Playoffs on there.’ He somehow remembers where he was at. I don’t.”
Justin finds joy in looking back at the memories, too.
“I like looking at (the stampings),” he says, “and just laughing at the memories.”
To solve the space issue, Dill said he’s currently working on an apparatus that would allow him to sturdy the wedge and stamp on the clubface, something he’s obviously never done when building clubs for competition.
This wedge is one of a kind, however, with more stories to tell than any other club on TOUR.