Cameron Smith Q&A: The evolution of a red-hot putter, sage gear advice and more
Fresh off a thrilling win at the Players Championship, Cameron Smith took time out to go through the Titleist gear that helped him secure the biggest paycheck of his career with GOLF.com. Smith discusses the Scotty Cameron putter that almost never was, why his Titleist TS2 7-wood isn’t going anywhere, and sage gear advice for amateur golfers.
You can also catch the entire interview on this week’s Fully Equipped podcast.
Can you recall having a better week with the putter than the one you just produced at Sawgrass?
CAMERON SMITH: I think I’ve had some weeks that have equaled it, but I may have not hit my irons so good. It kind of goes unnoticed, but when you’re hitting it good and you’re putting that good, obviously you’re at the top end of the leaderboard, so it’s good to mix those two.
When you’re having a good putting week, do you chalk it up to a thought when you’re standing over the putt? Is it just confidence from seeing the ball go in?
SMITH: I think it’s just seeing the ball go in, obviously early in the week through the practice rounds. I think you kind of know how you’re going to go on the greens. There are some tricky reads out there. I was just seeing a ton of plus going early in the week and I just felt really comfortable over the putter.
You’ve been using a Scotty Cameron 009M for a little over a year now. But before that, you were using a mallet. What was the reason behind going back to a blade putter?
SMITH: I just like the shape of a blade putter a little bit better. I love the shape of that 009, but I loved the hosel on the mallet putter I was using (a 1.5 Teryllium). It had this nice little neck, and I just asked them to build one up with the 009 head. It just felt really good. I really feel confident releasing that putter for some reason.
When you have a successful putter like the one you’re using, are you testing any other putters in the meantime, or is that not even up for discussion?
SMITH: It usually takes me a couple of bad putting months before I look into anything else. I have changed a few times over the course of my professional career, but like I said, I feel really confident with this one. It just flows nice.
You have an eclectic mix of stamps on your putter. There’s a Circle T, Scotty Dog, skulls, Cameron crown — even a paint brush on the heel. Do you like to have a say in what gets stamped on the head, or do you let Scotty Cameron go to town on the design?
SMITH: I usually do have a say on what’s get stamped on the head. But with this one I was like, You know what? I’m probably not going to use it. So you guys just go to town. I received that and obviously fell in love with it, and that’s the reason behind it.
So you actually didn’t think this putter was going to have a shot when you first got it?
SMITH: No, not when I first got it, but when we were building it. I’m like, I just don’t think that neck is to work with that head because it’s such a wide head and it’s so much like mass out wide. I thought that it would almost have too much swing to it. Then I hit a few putts and I just fell in love with it.
I noticed the sidestamp on your ball faces forward and isn’t used to line up the putt. How long have you been lining your ball up that way?
SMITH: I’ve been doing that now for probably since an interview with Titleist in 2020. So probably a couple of years I haven’t used the line. I just line up the Titleist logo, make it look pretty — I don’t have a line on my putter either, just a [sight dot] — so it’s just feel for me [when I putt].
I’ve been told you might be one of the easiest guys to work with in terms of getting acclimated to new gear. You literally get something new and feel comfortable enough adding it to the bag right away. Would you say that’s fairly accurate?
SMITH: I’ve never been one to hesitate with the new equipment. I feel like the guys do a really good job. Obviously, they’re trying to make that product better and better, and I just feel really confident in what they’ve built. I’ve always been one to put it straight in the bag and kind of take it as it comes. And sometimes it’ll last forever, and sometimes it lasts a few weeks and then a little switch up. But it hasn’t been too many of those.
Do you conduct most of your testing when you’re on-site early in the week at a tournament or do you like to get your gear sent back to your place to test it on your own?
SMITH: I’ll test it with the guys when I’m on tour. I’m there to play golf, and I feel like that’s what I’m swinging it my best is when I’m out on Tour. So there’s no reason for me to bring it back here and test it while I’m working on my swing as well.
Is it fair to say you’re not a gear tinkerer?
SMITH: Yeah, definitely not.
With the Masters coming up, I know some guys will alter their setup for a major. Do you make any adjustments to your setup as the season goes on or is it pretty much what you’re starting the season with is what you’re going to see in the bag come the Tour Championship?
SMITH: I like to keep things the same. The only thing I’ll change, probably week to week, is the bounces on my lob wedge. I travel with three lob wedges all with different grinds and bounces. And that just kind of depends on how the course is set up or how it’s playing.
What are the grinds on those lob wedges, and how long have you been traveling with three in the bag?
SMITH: I travel with a [Vokey SM9] 60 T-Grind with 4 or 5 degrees of bounce on it, and it has like a jeweled grind on it, I guess. And then I travel with an S-Grind that’s got 10 degrees, and a K-Grind with 6 degrees of bounce. So they’re all very different. It’s probably something that I’ve been doing now for, I don’t know, probably five or six years. I felt as though the courses over here vary so much that I was having to spend too much time changing my technique from week to week, so I went to [Vokey Tour rep Aaron Dill] and we sorted that out. I’ve been rolling with that setup for five or six years.
You have the black finish on literally club and shaft in the bag. When did you get stuck on the black finish?
SMITH: As soon as the finish was available with the old AP2, I just fell in love with it. I love the way that it looked. I think it looks a lot cleaner and I think the club looks a lot smaller. I like a smaller-looking club. I don’t want one to look real chunky, like a big shovel looking down on it. I’ve been rolling with that finish for probably three generations.
A Titleist TS2 7-wood is the oldest club in your bag, which makes me wonder why you continue to roll with it. What’s your favorite feature about that particular club?
SMITH: I just love the shape of it and feel really comfortable with that. If I did have a favorite club in the bag that’s probably it, to be honest. I feel like I can hit so many different shots with it. I can hit it so many different distances. That’s probably one that I’ll hang on to — I think for the rest of my career. It would take a lot to get that club out of my hands.
I’m sure your mates who play golf pester you for tips and suggestions about their gear. What’s one tip you’d give an average golfer to improve their equipment setup?
SMITH: I would say spend more time on the chipping green (laughs). I would say just go and get fitted. I think that’s probably the best thing. You know, I still have my mates back home in Australia that’ll buy clubs off the shelf and wonder why they’re, you know, they’re not any different to the last one. I keep telling them that they have to go and get fitted. Go and find a local guy and get it done right.
You were asked last what you’d do with $15 million if you won the Tour Championship — and your response was you’d probably buy more fishing gear. So with an extra $3.6 million in the bank, are you planning a trip to the watersports store for more fishing equipment?
SMITH: I haven’t really thought about it. To be honest, I don’t know what I’m going to do with it. I feel like my fishing set up now is pretty handy. So yeah, we’ll wait and see.
Want to overhaul your bag for 2022? Find a fitting location near you at GOLF’s affiliate company True Spec Golf. For more on the latest gear news and information, check out our latest Fully Equipped podcast below.