Titleist's Aaron Dill tells us about the more technically knowledgeable players on tour, who has the best short game, and whose wedge setup leaves him scratching his head
Aaron Dill is Titleist’s Director of Wedge Relations. In this blog for NCG, Aaron discusses some of the most unusual wedge set-ups on tour as well discussing which Titleist pros are the equipment geeks and who he thinks has the best shortgame.
There are a few really technically knowledgeable players. A lot of them approach golf club selection with a more trusting manner. They tell me they trust me to choose something for them. Jordan Spieth is one of those players. He will say he trusts me to choose what I think is best for him and that’s where I get to step in and make the decision for him.
But you get some players, like Rory Sabbatini or Scott Piercy, who are really golf and equipment smart. These guys know there are certain things about those golf clubs that work for them, because they have a lot of experience in their own personal clubs. We can brainstorm together because each knows what he likes, and I know the equipment, so we can come up with cool ideas together.
Those guys are really cool because they challenge us as club designers and stretch our imagination. How do we solve certain issues? How do we fix certain things that these guys are probably paying more attention to than some other players? It’s a strange balance. It makes us better at what we do, but some players are certainly a lot more intuitive with there equipment, they know more about their stuff, so they can certainly communicate with us on a deeper level.
The best short game player I’ve worked with might surprise you. They are all so good and make wedge play look so natural. Adam Scott, KJ Choi – all these guys make wedge play look like a part of them. But when Brett Rumford first came out and I was working on tour he would pick up a wedge and he would get up and down from everywhere. It was so easy for him.
I’ve learned a lot from that technique and it set me the foundations of what I look for in a good wedge player. It’s this free, quick-moving, smooth, confident action that Brett had. So, in my generation, he’s the best that I’ve seen.
There are a lot of guys that are right up there with him. I know if you asked Bob Vokey he would give you some names from his past – Phil Mickelson, Seve Ballesteros, Tiger Woods in the late 1990s, early 2000s. Those were his guys, I’ve got my small group but Brett is one of my guys I’ve been most impressed by.
The Titleist player with the most unusual wedge setup would probably be Justin Thomas. I’m only going to say this because when you look at his wedges he’s got very interesting lofts. When we make wedges they usually have four-degree gaps at high ball speeds. That’s a nice kind of gapping for anybody that hits it really far. That way they don’t have big gaps in their wedges, so they don’t have to guess anything.
One time, he had been taking a break for three or four weeks, and had been practising and working with his coach. He came to me and asked to check his lofts and lies.
So I measured them and I had to ask him: “Do you see anything weird?”
He said: “No man I’m flushing these things, they are perfect right now, I’m hitting them great.”
So I asked him if he was having any issues with his carry numbers and if they are flying as far as he wanted.
He said: “They are perfect. Whatever they are just keep them that way.”
They were all over the map. They used to be 46-, 52-, 56-, and 60-degrees right on the button. When he came back he ended up being 47.5, 52.5, 57, and 60.5. I said to him: “These are your new numbers.” He replied: “Well that’s weird.”
That was of one of them moments where, as a club fitter and a builder, whatever number is posted on the club doesn’t matter, as long as you know how the clubs going to perform. JT’s set is fitted perfect for him, he has exactly what he needs, but he does have some unusual numbers.
That’s the cool thing, I can focus on the numbers for him and he can just focus on playing golf. I always tell guys don’t be focusing on the grinds, or the lofts, or the bounce number. That stuffs not important as long as you’re getting good feedback from that golf club.
More from Aaron Dill:
- ‘You’ve got to be prepared to have your heart broken by players’
- ‘Some players may use a wedge for a year, some change every two weeks’
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