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Justin Thomas secured victory at The Player Championship in no small part thanks to this incredible display off the tee.
Throughout his career, Thomas has ranked as one of the best drivers on the PGA Tour thanks to his power and precision with the big stick.
We spoke with Liam MacDougall, Titleist’s European Tour rep and driver fitter extraordinaire, to explain the process behind fitting Justin Thomas.
How does the driver fitting process begin on tour?
“The first thing I do when working with any player is to look at what they are currently using and try and find a similar set up. I will also look at previous notes the pro might have made. We weigh up our options in terms of head, shaft and set-up and get to work.”
When did Justin Thomas first get his hands on the TS3 driver he currently uses?
“Before our main TS metalwoods tour launch in 2018, we worked with some of our high profile players off-site and went through in-depth testing with them. This is a crucial part of the tour validation process for Titleist. A colleague and I were over in Florida early in 2018 where we did some work with Justin and a few others.
“He opted for the TS3 model down to the launch and spin characteristics it delivered. He felt he could shape the ball better with the TS3 versus the TS2 and the added adjustability it offers allowed us to dial it in a little more.”
Justin Thomas’ driver spec: Titleist TS3 9.5, Setting B1, Mitsubishi Diamana ZF 60 TX
Can you talk us through that fitting with JT?
“We spent a good hour on the range at first, looking at ball speed, launch, spin, sound, and so on, and taking down our own notes.
“Justin Thomas is one of the most efficient drivers of the ball on the PGA Tour thanks to his high launch, low spin combination. We worked to try and dial in the clubhead to where he wanted it, tweaking the set up to promote the efficiency of the product and get him into a good position. He then went out and played a few holes and gave us some more feedback.
“However, this was just phase one of the process. There were several follow-up sessions, including ones at the US and French Opens. It is a fairly lengthy process but these guys are playing with a lot on the line, whether it is a major, WGC or at the Ryder Cup for instance. Before they change, they have to be fully committed, as do I, their coach, caddie and their entire team.”
Justin Thomas’ driver numbers: Clubhead speed 119mph / Ball Speed 176mph / Launch 12.5˚/ Spin 2350rpm / Land Angle 40˚ / Carry 307 yards / Total 330 yards / Smash Factor 1.50
Will he often change his driver set-up?
“If Justin finds something he likes he generally sticks with it for a while. A good example would be the 915 Fd 5-wood that has been in his bag for a number of years.
“He has been using the TSi3 model a lot in 2021 but recently went back to his TS3.
“He will also make slight adjustments from time to time. Shortly before he won the 2018 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, we actually shortened his shaft length by 1/8th of an inch.
“I did it at Le Golf National at the French Open a few weeks prior to that event. By shortening the shaft length, and effectively changing the lie angle, we helped to improve his strike location and maximise the efficiency from the club. It just shows how small changes can make a big difference and the importance of custom fitting for all golfers.”
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