5 things I learned from looking inside the bags of golf’s elite amateurs
Mere hours after they helped the U.S. clinch a third-straight Walker Cup title, University of Texas standouts Cole Hammer and Pierceson Coody made the trip back home to the Lone Star State to prep for the AT&T Byron Nelson. While GOLF.com’s gear team is used to highlighting the equipment used by the best professionals in the world, we figured it was a good week to switch gears and look at the tools used by two of the game’s elite amateurs.
Here are 5 things we learned from peeking inside their bags.
1. Simple tools
You don’t need high-tech training aids to see noticeable improvements on the course. Both Coody (pictured) and Hammer sported simple alignment sticks that can be had for less than $20. Just remember to pick up two sticks so you don’t wind up using them incorrectly.
The putting arc training aid (pictured on the right side of Coody’s bag) helps groove your stroke over time and is relatively inexpensive at less than $40. Combined, that’s about what you’d spend on 15 premium golf balls for two reliable training aids. We’ll let you decide which purchase is more beneficial for your game in the long run.
2. Tour goodies
One of the perks of teeing it up in a Tour event is getting to try out the latest gear — for gratis. Resting next to Coody’s bag was a new Sik putter featuring LAGP’s popular composite shaft and a JumboMax grip. Hammer was toting around fresh wedges and a new Ping G425 Max 5-wood with a Mitsubishi Diamana BF shaft. Only this wasn’t just any BF shaft. The green version happens to be from Tony Finau’s personal stock (notice the TF logo below the grip).
This is once again a friendly reminder that it’s nice to be an elite amateur teeing it up in a Tour event.
3. Mixing it up
Blended iron sets remain a popular options in the professional ranks for player who want to reap the benefits of forgiveness and ball speed at the top of the set but don’t necessarily want to sacrifice workability and control in the mid and short irons. Both Hammer and Coody had similar split sets with at least three different models. Coody opted for a TaylorMade P790 3-iron and P7MC 4-iron before transitioning into a traditional set of P7MB blades.
Hammer was one of the only players in the field this week carrying a graphite-shafted Ping i210 2-iron. With high lofted fairway wood usage on the rise, Hammer still sees the benefits of using a game-improvement long iron — albeit a very forgiving, high launching option. The rest of his setup consists of i210 (3-4) and iBlade (5-PW) with burnt orange (Texas’ school colors) paint fill around the iron numbers.
4. Plenty of options
Many golfers are told to play the same shafts in their irons to keep the feel and weight consistent. It’s a tried-and-true gear recipe that continues to work for a large majority of golfers. While that isn’t a bad idea, there’s nothing wrong with trying out different flexes and weights if you’re a better player.
As highlighted in the previous note, Hammer employs a Graphite Design AD DI 95X Hybrid shaft (99 grams raw) in his 2-iron, but immediately transitions into True Temper Dynamic Gold 120 X100 steel (120 grams) in the 3- and 4-iron and Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 (130 grams) in the 5-iron through pitching wedge.
It’s clear from Hammer’s setup that he’s been busy testing to find the ideal launch and spin characteristics for every club in the bag. In his case, he’s better off using three different shaft models throughout the iron setup. Is it unconventional? No doubt. But it works.
If you’re going to test out different shafts for your iron set, make sure you get a certified club fitter involved to ensure the swing weights stay consistent.
As mallet usage continues to rise, Hammer and Coody continue to keep it traditional. Both were wielding Anser-style blades on the practice green, including a relatively new Scotty Cameron Special Select Newport 2 for Hammer. Like a good pair of blue jeans, classic blades will never go out of style.
Want to overhaul your own bag for 2021? Visit the expert fitters at our affiliate company, True Spec Golf. For more on the latest gear news and information, make sure to check out our recent Fully Equipped podcast in the Spotify link below.