Xander Schauffele’s club-testing process is stunningly efficient
During Tuesday’s pre-tournament press conference at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, Xander Schauffele gave the media a peek at his driver testing process and confirmed he’ll be switching into Callaway’s Rogue ST Triple Diamond LS driver for the opening event of the year.
The general assumption is pros hit countless balls before determining if a club is good to go, but the reality is most can tell within a handful of swings if testing should continue, or if they need something else. In a 2020 interview on GOLF’s Fully Equipped podcast, Marc Leishman revealed he can tell within three balls if a club is right for his game.
Schauffele revealed he’s a three-ball guy as well, provided “two of them are good” at the outset of testing. But here’s where things get complicated with Schauffele.
“All the guys at Callaway know I’ll hit one drive and if I hit it kind of squirrely, they take it out of my hands because I won’t even go beyond one or two shots with it because they know I’ll start compensating,” Schauffele said.
That’s all Callaway PGA Tour manager Jacob Davidson usually gets to make an impression with Schauffele — one of the equipment manufacturer’s elite staffers. The average mid-handicapper would need half a bucket to determine if a driver could be a viable option, but professional golfers are a different breed.
There’s no guessing and hoping something works.
“With Xander or Jon Rahm, if the first driver they hit is not coming out of the center with the window and shot shape they’re used to seeing, more likely than not, it’s not right,” Davidson told GOLF.com. “That’s why we do so much prep work — usually a couple of hours — ahead of time to look at everything to make sure the driver we build makes a good first impression. It has to be right.
“Both of those guys are very keen on that. After that first ball, as Xander mentioned, they definitely start adjusting. If it goes a certain direction or they hit it off-center, these guys are so good that they’re going to adjust. But that then turns into compensation. For fitters at our level, you know if the first swing is right or really close, you know you’re good. If it does something it isn’t supposed to do, you pull it back from them. You don’t tell them to hit another one or say, ‘Maybe that was you.’ You might get two or three swings, but that’s it. You aren’t sitting there pounding balls to figure it out.”
So the next time you hear a pro say it took him one or two balls to know a club was worth playing, don’t assume it’s a bunch of marketing speak. These guys really are that good.
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