August 17, 2022
By GolfWRX, PGATOUR.COM
Inside Justin Thomas’ new custom putter
Justin Thomas won the PGA Championship in May using a one-of-one Scotty Cameron T5 Proto Tour Only putter made just for him. In addition to having his initials stamped into the lightly milled face, Thomas’ PGA Championship-winning putter had an aluminum plate added to the back cavity to adjust sound and a “knuckle neck” design in the hosel section to modify the toe hang. A “knuckle neck" is made by using a piece of shaft to connect the top and bottom portions of the hosel. The knuckle allows for the neck to be elongated without adding too much weight.
Despite the putter’s proven success and undeniable cool factor, it may actually be in danger of getting benched this week at the BMW Championship.
On Tuesday, a package arrived at Wilmington Country Club containing a new custom Scotty Cameron T5 Proto Tour Only putter with customizations made for Thomas, whose 15 PGA TOUR wins include two PGA Championships and a PLAYERS Championship One of the biggest changes was the length. This new putter is 34 inches, a half-inch shorter than his previous putter.
"For me, a tendency I have with my putting is to get a little bit this way (left shoulder up) and open," Thomas said. "I've ... been playing a lot of golf with Patrick Cantlay. He obviously has very long arms and his putter is very short. (I was noticing) just how naturally his arms go on the club, and I felt like that wasn't the case for me ... and I think that has something to do with my bad tendencies.
"If I can be a little bit more comfortable at setup, then that's obviously one less factor I have to worry about."
With Thomas’ personal “JT” logo engraved in the back cavity, and his initials stamped on the outer toe section, the new putter was undeniably built specifically for Thomas. Scotty Cameron player representative Drew Page, who was deeply involved in the fitting process for the putter, delivered the fresh arrival to Thomas ahead of his Tuesday nine-hole practice round.
But wait, Thomas wasn’t even in the market for a new putter. Was he?
For that answer, we flash back to The Genesis Invitational in February, where Thomas, his father/swing coach Mike, his putting coach John Graham, and Page had a testing session at Riviera Country Club.
During that session, Thomas tried out several Scotty Cameron T5 putters of different lengths. His typical gamer has always been 34.5 inches, but he wanted to try out shorter 34- and 33.5-inch options. Thomas wasn’t ready to make a putter change that week, though, and when he did switch into his PGA-winning putter, it was still the 34.5 inches that he was accustomed to.
Something still wasn’t right with the putter length, though. Thomas wanted his shoulders to be more level and his arms to hang in a more comfortable position to help with his eye line. Happy with the custom changes to the putter head – such as the knuckle neck, smoother face milling and back aluminum plating – Thomas wished to revisit a shorter putter.
Thus, the 34-inch Scotty Cameron T5 Proto “JT” custom mallet putter was born, and on his first day seeing the new putter, he used it.
“It just got shipped in this morning,” Page said Tuesday about the new JT-logoed putter. “It started actually back at the Genesis in February. Just going over with Justin, his dad, and his putting coach John Graham, his setup positions, what was comfortable and what was not, and just trying to get him into a better and more consistent position so that he can repeat the stroke that he’s looking for.
“We actually shipped a couple putters in that week; at the time, he was using his gamer that he’s won 13 events with: the (Scotty Cameron) Phantom 5.5. So we had shipped those in, one at a half-inch shorter than his gamer, so 34 inches, and one an inch short at 33.5. He was just trying to tinker and test what was good and what wasn’t. He wasn’t ready to make a change that week.
“After that, he putted well, almost like he scared the gamer and put it on the back burner. He revisited it a couple months later, and worked with it on his gamer, and ended up switching into the Phantom 5 knuckle-neck that he won the PGA Championship with. And still we were trying to find something that was comfortable in his setup, going through putting videos, and really trying to level out his shoulders, let his arms hang more comfortable, and help his eye line when he’s looking down at his putter.
“Once he won the PGA Championship, and that was the gamer, we wanted to revisit it at a shorter length, and he got it this week. It’s his first day with it, and we’ll see if it goes in play.”
Is this a ploy to scare his PGA Championship-winning putter into performing better? Or is he actually going to make the switch?
That answer will come on Thursday when he officially tees it up in competition.
Until then, let’s take a look at the “JT” T5 Proto in question, which features a number of new customizations. As Page said Tuesday, the new putter has Thomas’ logo stamped into the black aluminum plate in the back cavity, Scotty Cameron’s famous “cherry” dots on the face and back bumpers, a very lightly milled face, and Thomas’ initials with a Tour Only “thumbs up” logo on the outer toe section. It’s also equipped with a SuperStroke Traxion Pistol GT Tour grip.