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Equipment Report
  • Round Recaps

    How defending John Deere Classic champ Dylan Frittelli gained nearly 20 yards

  • Round Recaps

    Dylan Frittelli wins by two shots at John Deere

Let’s begin with some trivia: Looking at the past 10 years, which PGA TOUR golfer has made the biggest distance gain year over year? “That’s an easy one,” you say. “Bryson DeChambeau.” Correct. But who’s right behind Bryson and his 19.8-yard increase in distance from 2019 to 2020? 

Who picked up 18 yards off the tee from 2020 to 2021, increasing his average drive from 291 yards to 309? 

Here’s a clue: He’s the defending at this week’s John Deere Classic.

While the riddle would have been much more difficult without a headline and image atop this story, it takes nothing away from Frittelli, whose driver clubhead speed is now an impressive 118.7 mph. 

“If you hit it 10 yards longer, you increase your prize money by $1 million,” Frittelli said earlier this year, citing statistics. “Things like that are non-negotiable in my mind. It’s fun for me. It’s re-invigorated my game. I’m excited to hit tee shots and see how I can play holes on golf courses differently. Not going full bore, just adding a little speed training in certain situations.”

After doubling down on his fitness — “two solid years of lifting,” according to Frittelli — he wasn’t seeing his increased strength translate to a boost in distance.

“Basically July last year, I looked at my trainer and I said why am I not hitting it any longer? I’ve been doing all these power workouts, strength workouts in the gym, and I’m getting stronger for sure because I can see my PRs moving up in each exercise. I then figured out that he said to me you actually want to hit it further? I didn’t realize that. Yeah, so we switched that up had a little more speed in the workout, so instead of just power and strength, trying to lift heavy and lots of reps, went down to fewer reps and lighter weight.”

In addition, the South African has made some interesting adjustments to his driver setup. And as this is the Equipment Report, we wanted to get more information on the artillery the bomber-come-lately is employing. 

We spoke with Callaway’s PGA TOUR manager, Jacob Davidson, to learn more.


GolfWRX: When did the discussion about switching to a longer driver shaft begin, and what was that process like to get him into his current setup?

JD: It started last year. His driver cracked and he put the same model with a new shaft in play at THE CJ CUP @ SHADOW CREEK. We did some more work the next week at the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP @ SHERWOOD, and we moved him into a Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero D head that was a little bit wider. We did a bunch of testing at that point with different shafts, tipping. He played the Mavrik Sub Zero D through the fall. Around the Farmers Insurance Open, he did some new testing with the Epic Speed and did some more testing at the Waste Management Phoenix Open and ended up putting the Callaway Epic Speed Triple Diamond LS in play for the PGA Championship with a 46-inch Mitsubishi Tensei AV White AV 65 X tipped 1.5 inches.

The head was a natural fit. His misses had been a little right. With this head, he got lower spin with a more neutral start line. It has a little weight back so it’s more forgiving. 7.6 degrees of actual loft. N-1 hosel setting.

GolfWRX: How did the longer shaft experiment begin? 

JD: When he started his speed training, we made him some longer shafts — 46, 47 inches — just for him to swing to get his clubhead speed up. He said, “I’m seeing big gains. Let’s work on a head that gets me in the right window for launch in spin.” Once we got it dialed in, he figured out he wasn’t driving it that much less accurate and the gains in the distance were significant.

GolfWRX: From a technical standpoint, is he delivering the driver differently to the ball now? How have his needs changed? 

JD: Not as much as you would think. His path and angle are pretty similar. His angle of attack is about 1.5 degrees more up. I think this is partly due to all the core work and being physically stronger. He trained hard before making the switch, which I think made it successful.

GolfWRX: Finally, do you have any advice or guidance for the average golfer who might be considering a longer shaft in the pursuit of more distance? 

JD: They definitely need to train for it physically. And with a driver head, you need to go wider with head weight, stiffer on the shaft. You have to make adjustments to swingweight. You need to make sure (with your teacher) that technique is correct. Ultimately, you have to have the strength to be able to control a longer shaft and maintain accuracy.