January 30, 2019
By Andrew Tursky, PGATOUR.COM
- Cameron Champ recently made multiple equipment changes after leading the PGA TOUR in driving distance. (Getty Images)
After 58 measured drives this season, Cameron Champ currently leads the PGA TOUR in driving distance with a 319.9-yard average.
In the last week, however, Champ has made some unexpected changes for such a long hitter.
Prior to the start of last week’s Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, Champ switched into Ping’s new Blueprint Forged prototype irons and a Ping G410 Plus driver.
In the Ping Blueprint irons, instead of the KBS C-Taper 130X shafts he was previously using, he switched into the softer True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 shafts. According to Ping Tour rep Kenton Oates, the X100 shafts allow him to work the ball more, instead of hitting them “dead straight” with the C-Tapers.
Then on Monday during a driver testing session on the range at this week’s Waste Management Phoenix Open, Champ requested a quarter-inch longer Fujikura Pro TS White 63X shaft than he normally plays because it felt “too stiff” in the new G410 Plus head, according to Oates. Also, instead of tipping the shaft an inch-and-a-half as he normally would, Champ requested to have the shaft tipped only an inch.
While sitting in on the Monday testing session involving his previous gamer, the Ping G400 Max, against the new Ping G410 (“around 8 degrees” with a flat/heel loft sleeve), I also noticed that Oates switched the 10-gram sliding weight of Champ’s new G410 driver into the heel-ward position. Oates explained this weight shift allowed the ball flight to be more consistently straight, instead of his tendency to miss the ball right. The new settings, coupled with the longer shaft, allowed Champ to contact the center of the club head more often instead of his typical toe-ward miss, according to Oates.
Champ missed the cut last week at the Farmers Insurance Open with the new irons and driver, but keep an eye on his performance this week with the new driver tweaks.
I caught up with Oates following the driver test for deeper insight.
PGATOUR.COM: OK, so where did you end up with Champ’s (G410 Plus) driver settings?
OATES: “In his 410 (Plus) driver – there’s 8 settings within the driver – Cameron ended up with the flat-minus. So that’s going to allow the driver to play flat in lie angle and take off a degree of real loft.”
PGATOUR.COM: And why is that? Because he misses it?
OATES: “That’s not so much for a miss, that’s for launch and spin. His current G400 Max gamer is at 8 degrees of loft, and just the way the heads come in, we needed a reduction of loft from the sleeve to get there. He plays the little-minus (setting) in the G400, which takes off 0.6 (degrees), so it’s basically the same setting that he has in the G400, this one just takes off a little more loft in the 410, and that’s just because of the 8-probe sleeve.”
PGATOUR.COM: And then I think you went up in length on the shaft, is that right?
OATES: “Yeah, that was his idea. He felt that in his current gamer, he felt like he was getting a little steep and hitting spinny shots to the right, and he felt that’s because the shaft was a little too stiff. So he wanted to, in his head, making it longer would reduce the stiffness. Which it does, and we also took out a half-inch of tipping. We used to, in his 400, we tipped our shafts and inch-and-a-half, and the 410 is tipped an inch, and a quarter-inch longer, and it finishes at 45.25 inches.”
PGATOUR.COM: So the guy who hits it farthest on TOUR thought the shaft was too stiff for him?
OATES: (laughs) “Yeah. He’s actually, he’s an under spinner. Even though he swings 130 (mph) and down 4 (degrees), he always hits it high-center (on the face). He always hits it above that center of gravity so he gravitates to softer stuff than you might think just because of the way that he loads it and where he hits it on the face.”
PGATOUR.COM: What’s he seeing in comparison to his G400 Max in terms of ball speed, launch, spin?
OATES: “I think we got him … the launch and spin were identical pretty much, I would put him right between 6 and 8 (degrees), that’s pretty much where he lives. And spin was 2200-2500 (rpm), and those were very similar. He noticed that in the 410, due to all the fitting options that we have, and CGs that we can move and get all that dialed in for him, he was able to strike the center every time, where he was a little bit toe-side on his 400. And I think that just added the consistency. The launch and spin didn’t change that much … every single time we got the same number out of the 410. And then ball speed approximately 1 mph faster. Went from about 195 to 196 (mph). Max was 197 (mph), which… yeah, that’s a big number.”
PGATOUR.COM: That was fun to watch.
OATES: “He’s fun to watch, isn’t he? It’s effortless.”
PGATOUR.COM: He hits it so low, but it stays in the air forever.
OATES: “The 2-degree launch that carries 300 yards is impressive.”
PGATOUR.COM: He’s got that in the bag?
OATES: “Yeah. When he hits his low stinger, he launches it at 2 (degrees) and it carried 291 (yards) I think it was.”
PGATOUR.COM: Is that a problem at all? You guys aren’t trying to get him more launch, he likes that window?
OATES: “Yeah. If you look at ball data at that ball speed, anything over 10 (degrees of launch) is really hard to control left-or-right bias. Because you saw… normally 7 (degrees) and 2200 (rpm) looks like it’s falling out of the sky. But at 196 (mph) it just hangs out there forever.”
PGATOUR.COM: Yeah, it just chills.
OATES: (laughs) “It feels like it’s at its apex the whole entire flight.”
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