Johnny Manziel was an electric, record-setting quarterback throughout his football career, but now he’s immersed in the world of golf.
Manziel, also known as “Johnny Football,” won the Heisman Trophy in 2012 as a redshirt freshman quarterback at Texas A&M. He entertained fans with his dual-threat style of play, highlight-reel performances and braggadocious celebrations (re: Money Manziel). In the 2014 NFL Draft, he was selected 22nd overall by the Cleveland Browns, but after a couple of rocky seasons with the franchise, he was released in 2016. Over the next few years, Manziel bounced around from the Canadian Football League to the Alliance of American Football, and he’s currently out of pro football.
Flash forward to 2020, and Manziel is a full-blown golf enthusiast. He’s currently stationed in the Scottsdale area where he plays golf daily with top amateurs and pros. Manziel says he plays to about a 2 handicap, but those who frequently play with him say he’s scratch. (Of course, his opponents want Manziel’s handicap to be as low as possible so they don’t have to give up as many strokes during money matches, so take those reports with a grain of salt.)
Manziel competes on the golf course with as much fury as he played with on the football field. Like many athletes-turned-golfers, he enjoys the money games, never backs down from a bet, and isn’t shy to talk some trash.
During the Scottsdale Open Pro-Am at Talking Stick Resort on Monday, I caught up with Manziel to go through his golf bag and see what equipment he’s using. Below are the 7 most interesting things I noticed in his setup.
1. Masters headcovers
Before the global pandemic shook up the world, TaylorMade created special headcovers for the 2020 Masters. The leather headcovers feature a classic white-and-green Masters color scheme. The club denominations (1, 3, 5, X) mimic the famous Augusta National caddie bibs, and the interior of the covers feature azalea flower print.
Manziel, through a connection at TaylorMade, got the hookup on a full set of covers for his metalwoods and putter.
2. A draw-biased SIM driver
As he showed repteadly during the Scottsdale Open Pro-Am, Manziel has serious power off the tee, regularly hitting the ball 300-plus yards. He also plays a big cut off the tee that borders on a slice when he misses it. That’s why his TaylorMade SIM is set into its full-draw weight setting.
He’s not concerned with missing the ball left at all, because it rarely happens. His 9-degree TaylorMade SIM is equipped with a Mitsubishi Tensei Orange 60TX shaft. Like all of his clubs (except the putter), his driver has a Golf Pride Align Plus 4 grip on it.
3. Mixed metalwoods
Manziel is a high-speed, high-spin player, so it makes sense that he has a Ping G400 Stretch 3-wood that’s lofted at 13 degrees. Still, his 3 wood tends to balloon when he misses it. While he uses a Tensei Orange 60TX in his driver, he uses a Tensei Blue 70X in his fairway wood. It’s likely that he’ll change out this club-shaft combo in the near future after getting a club fitting.
He’s also not entirely happy with his hybrid setup, which he says he’ll be replacing soon. For now, he’s bagging a Titleist 915h with an 85-gram Oban Devotion hybrid shaft.
4. Strong-shafted irons
Manziel is all TaylorMade with his iron setup, going with a GAPR LO 3-iron and P-790 (4-PW) irons. His driving iron is equipped with a stout Project X HZRDUS 6.5-flex shaft at 85 grams, and his shorter irons have KBS Tour C-Taper 130X shafts in them.
Being that Manziel swings at Tour speeds and hits the ball high, these shafts seem to fit him nicely.
5. Blacked-out wedges
Living and playing golf often in Scottsdale, Manziel’s wedges show a bit of character after dealing with some desert lies. He plays the TaylorMade Milled Grind 2 wedges (54 and 60 degrees) with a blacked-out colorway that looks like a Texas A&M alternate black jersey.
6. A Spider putter fresh off Tour
For his flatstick, Manziel got hooked up with a copper TaylorMade Spider X Tour putter off the TaylorMade Tour truck. His version has a flow-neck hosel with a singular black dot on the crown for alignment. It has a SuperStroke grip on it, and he uses a cross-handed putting stroke on the greens.
7. Heisman golf balls
During the pro-am, Manziel played with TaylorMade’s new 2020 Pix golf balls, but he also had a litter of golf balls in his bag. According to Manziel, all of the Heisman Trophy winners are gifted with customized golf balls each year. Pictured above is a one of those Heisman TaylorMade golf balls from 2016 that he just had sitting around amongst his collection.
After the pro-am round, he threw the golf ball to Drew “The Sleeze” Stoltz, co-host of GOLF.com’s Subpar podcast. It was a perfectly Manziel moment, as if he was telling Drew that he can beat him on the golf course AND he’s a Heisman winner. Manziel loves to take lighthearted jabs on the golf course with his buddies, and he has serious game to back it up.