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11D AGO

How Davis Thompson changed his irons, became a PGA TOUR winner

3 Min Read

Equipment

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    Written by GolfWRX GolfWRX.comGolfWRX.com

    Pairing the right golf equipment with the right golf ball is often a balancing act.

    Players look for a driver with high speeds, long distances and low spin. Optimized irons correlate with specific launch windows, consistent spin and stopping power on the greens. Wedges are all about spin and control. Often, the furthest-flying golf ball isn’t the same one that is most accurate with the irons or produces ideal wedge spin.

    Equipment fitting is all about finding that right balance. Davis Thompson, 25, found it at last week’s John Deere Classic, securing his first TOUR title after months of methodical equipment and golf ball testing to find that right balance.

    Thompson entrusts Craig Allan, director of Sea Island’s Golf Performance Center, who works with various PGA TOUR players on their fitting needs. Last year, Thompson informed Allan that something wasn’t right with his irons. He’d been striping his driver with a Titleist ’21 Pro V1 and Titleist TSR3 driver, but he was struggling with distance control with his irons due to low spin, while catching too many fliers out of the rough.

    Allan offered Thompson three solutions: weaken the lofts of his current irons, test out some higher-spinning golf balls, and test out different iron heads and shafts. Thompson didn’t want to hit the ball higher with his irons; he wanted to address the golf ball instead. Initially, Thompson decided to change into a Titleist Pro V1 Star prototype golf ball that offers higher spin rates.

    Although the ball change provided a nice solution for his iron play, his driver play suffered.

    “(At the) Memorial (Tournament presented by Workday) last year, I started playing a spinnier Titleist golf ball, and it was great for my iron setup at the time,” Thompson said. “But kind of over time I saw my driver's stats kind of go down, which is kind of a strong suit of my game. So we were trying to figure out after Valspar (Championship) this year how we can get the driver back going.”

    Following the Valspar, Thompson and Allan got back to work in the testing center. Thompson was ready for Allan’s third option, which meant he would switch back into his previous Titleist Pro V1 ’21 golf ball, restore his driver dominance, and begin looking at different iron heads with weaker lofts and different shafts to gain spin and distance control.

    After two weeks of testing different iron head-and-shaft combinations with the lower spinning golf ball, Allan and Thompson decided on the Titleist 620 MB irons (5-9) equipped with True Temper Dynamic Gold Mid Tour Issue X100 shafts, which offer slightly higher spin and launch compared to the True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 shafts that Thompson was playing previously.

    Thompson used those irons and shafts to win the John Deere Classic by four strokes, setting a tournament scoring record (28-under 256) in the process.

    For amateur golfers who are also trying to figure out their correct golf equipment setup, Allan recommends changing just one variable at a time.

    “If you’re trying to change your golf ball and your clubs and your shafts all at once, you won’t be able to tell what variable is having the positive or negative effect,” Allan said. “I encourage players to try and change one thing at a time and follow the process.”

    Golf equipment fitting is a process, and the end goal is finding an overall balance that improves performance on the course and on the scorecard. Thompson and Allan methodically worked through that process, and in the end, the Georgia Bulldog captured his first PGA TOUR win.

    Perfect balance.

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