‘It’s a joke’: How this tour pro stumbled upon a rare driver build

chandler phillips ping driver

Ping's Alta CB 55S driver shaft first made an appearance when Phillips was on the Texas A&M golf team.

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Chandler Phillips made a driver shaft change last week at the Valspar Championship. It would’ve flown completely under the radar had it not been for the man himself, who dropped a bit of gear intel at the end of a question about the extent of his rookie season through the first three months.

The answer started with a recent putter swap and flowed right into some recent driver issues that led to the shaft change. Only this wasn’t any shaft change. After missing out on making the Players Championship field, Phillips went home and “started trying different stuff” to get the driver back on the rails. It didn’t take him long to throw the “old trusty shaft” in his 10-degree Ping G430 LST.

“It’s honestly a joke what it is,” he explained after the second round of the Valspar.

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A joke, huh? This wasn’t Phillips’ way of dunking on his own gear, but rather pointing out that he uses a rare driver setup. In fact, Ping Tour rep Kenton Oates confirmed to that Phillips is the only one playing this particular driver shaft on the PGA Tour.

“It’s just a stock Ping [Alta CB] shaft,” Phillips continued. “It’s 55 grams stiff. It’s not tipped. It’s a joke. I don’t know how it works.”

Take a peek at the driver shafts flexes on Tour and you’ll find plenty of extra-stiff (X) and tour extra-stiff (TX) offerings. Most are usually tipped at least half an inch to bolster the profile. Rarely do you see a tour pro using something untipped in the stiff category.

Phillips is the only pro using Ping’s Alta CB 55S driver shaft on the PGA Tour. Greg Moore/GOLFWRX

Even more interesting is the Alta CB 55S shaft is geared for swing speeds between 90-100 mph and just happens to be a retail offering found in Ping’s off-the-rack build.

Phillips, who currently averages 111.85 mph club head speed (about 4 mph below the Tour average), came across the shaft during his time on the golf team at Texas A&M. Ping player development manager Jeff Brown confirmed Phillips was under-spinning the ball at the time but hadn’t considered the Alta CB — a counterbalanced profile — until he “stumbled upon it” on the A&M range.

“I was actually just jacking around on the range one day, and it’s so embarrassing, but one of the girls on the golf team — and I still practice at A&M — her bag was out there, we were just hanging out, and I grabbed her driver [with an Alta CB shaft] and I hit it and I was like, No, that’s a fluke,” he said.

Except it wasn’t a fluke. Phillips teed up five more to verify the results were legitimate — and they were. Phillips’ spin rate quickly moved into a more reasonable range of 2,000-2,200 RPMs, with ball speed and carry distance seeing a noticeable uptick as well.

“I hit ’em the exact same,” he said. “And I ordered it, and I think I played the shaft for two and a half years. Then I think I did a little premature getting it out of the bag, because I was kind of hitting everything bad, and I think it was more me, not the shaft.”

Thanks to a member of the women’s team at A&M, Phillips is back on track off the tee following a T3 finish at the Valspar, his best to date since he earned his Tour card. Not bad for a stiff-flex “joke” shaft that comes stock in a Ping driver.

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