Justin Thomas is heading into the 2020 PGA Championship hot off a win at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational that lifted him to the No. 1 spot on the Official World Golf Ranking. Thomas, a Kentucky native who was an All-American at the University of Alabama, is seeking his second PGA Championship this week at TPC Harding Park.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, members of the media are not currently allowed on the range or the practice green at PGA Tour events, or this week in San Francisco. They can not go inside the clubhouse or the locker room either. That makes getting close-up looks at elite golfers’ equipment challenging, but Titleist made a back-up set of Justin Thomas’ gear available to senior writer David Dusek and shipped it to his home in Connecticut.
Here’s what our gear guy found when he opened the box.
DRIVER: Titleist TS3
Justin Thomas’ Titleist TS3 driver. (David Dusek/Golfweek)
J.T. is a fader who creates a lot of clubhead speed off the tee, so the TS3 driver is a good match for his game. The driver has 460 cubic centimeters of volume, but it has a more traditional pear shape and slightly taller face than the 460cc TS2 driver. It has a very thin face and all-titanium construction, along with an aerodynamic shape that helps golfers generate more speed and distance.
Thomas has the adjustable hosel in the B1 setting, which maintains the stated 9.5 degrees of loft but flattens the lie angle, slightly, to encourage Thomas’ fade.
The club is fitted with a Mitsubishi Diamana ZF 60 TX flex shaft. The Diamana ZF has a very stable butt and tip section, while the middle is slightly softer. The idea is to help the shaft feel solid, but deliver a smoother energy transfer and easier acceleration throughout the swing.
FAIRWAY WOODS: Titleist TS3, Titleist 915 Fd
Justin Thomas’ Titleist fairway woods. (David Dusek/Golfweek)
While most recreational golfers crave more distance, pros like Thomas are more concerned with finding fairway woods that hit the ball to a specific distance both off the tee and from the fairway. That can be tricky, which is why JT has been playing a relatively-new 3-wood and a “vintage” 5-wood.
The 3-wood is a Titleist TS3 and it first appeared in Thomas’ bag in the summer of 2018. The club has a stated loft of 15 degrees and the SureFit adjustable hosel is set in the A1 position, which maintains both the loft and the lie angle. The club is fitted with a Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Blue 80 TX shaft. It’s the heaviest and stiffest Tensei Blue shaft the company makes, having carbon fiber and Kevlar in the butt section to help it create a moderately-high launch with low spin.
Thomas’ 5-wood is a Titleist 915Fd with 18 degrees of loft that has been fitted with a Fujikura Motore Speeder VC 9.2 Tour Spec X shaft. However, the SureFit adjustable hosel is set in the B3 position, so the club’s playing loft is really 19.5 degrees and the lie angle is .75-degrees more upright. Thomas added the club in late 2014, but at specific events, he pulls it in favor of a 2-iron that creates a lower launch angle and keeps the ball flying below the wind.
IRONS: Titleist T100, Titleist 620 MB
Justin Thomas Titleist irons. David Dusek/Golfweek)
Thomas has traveled to PGA Tour events with approximately 20 clubs for several seasons, swapping out 5-woods and 2-irons depending on the course conditions. These days, the 5-wood has been in the bag most of the time and Thomas has opted to go without a 3-iron, making room for a fourth wedge. That means his 4-iron has to be versatile. In past seasons, he had used an AP2 4-iron, but Thomas added a T100 4-iron last season to complement his 620 MB blades.
The T100 has a thinner topline than the 718 AP2, a thinner face and slightly more pre-wear in the leading edge to help it work through the turf more efficiently. Tungsten in the heel and toe adds perimeter weighting for forgiveness and creates a higher initial launch angle, which is excellent in long irons. It gives long clubs a steeper descent angle and more stopping power on firm greens.
Thomas has been played Titleist’s muscleback blades for years. He supplies feedback to Titleist designers, so he is aware of the refinements made from one generate to the next, and has said that switching to new blades is typically not a problem.
Thomas plays True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 shafts in all his irons. At 130 grams, they are heavy, reduce spin and promote a low, piercing ball flight.
WEDGES: Titleist Vokey Design SM7, SM8
Justin Thomas’ Titleist Vokey Design wedges. (David Dusek/Golfweek)
Thomas is currently playing a Titleist Vokey Design SM7 pitching wedge and gap wedge, along with an SM8 sand wedge and lob wedge. According to Titleist’s Aaron Dill, that speaks to how quickly JT wears out the grooves in different clubs. He said Thomas wore out the grooves in his old sand wedges and lob wedges, including all the back-ups he had, so he happily transitioned into the new model this season. He wears out his pitching wedges and gap wedges more slowly, but once his gamers stop producing the spin he needs and he runs out of back-up SM7 wedges, Dill expects Thomas will quietly transition into SM8 clubs seamlessly.
Thomas’ lofts are unique because a few years ago he had Dill measure the loft in his clubs after failing to get his lofts and lie angles checked for several weeks. He had been happy with his wedge game but knew the lofts had weakened after intense practice, so he told Dill to bend the lofts back to their stated numbers. Afterward, Thomas found he was hitting the ball too far. He returned the clubs and asked Dill to put the old, weakened lofts back on the clubs. Since that time, he has played the unique loft setup: 47.5 degrees in the pitching wedge, 52.5 degrees in the gap wedge, 57 degrees in the sand wedge and 60.5 degrees in the lob wedge.
The low-bounce 60.5-degree SM8 T Grind lob wedge was added to the bag before the 2019 Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne and has stayed in ever since. His pitching wedge, gap wedge and sand wedge all have F Grinds.
PUTTER: Scotty Cameron Futura X 5.5 prototype
Justin Thomas’s Scotty Cameron putter. (David Dusek/Golfweek)
This is the putter that Thomas put into his bag in late 2016 after being frustrated with his performance on the greens. Having played Newport-style, heel-toe weighted blades for his entire career, Thomas rummaged through Titleist’s PGA Tour van and found some putters that offered him a different look. The Futura X 5.5 was one of them, and after setting it down, Thomas found that he liked the look.
Thomas’ prototype putter has a short single-bend neck that has been hand welded onto the head. In the photo, you can see there is excess sodering material at the base of the hosel. Thanks to that hosel, the putter balances with the toe pointing down about 30 degrees. That amount of toe-hang is very similar to toe-hang found in many Newports, so the Futura X 5.5 matches Thomas’ stroke. However, the compact mallet had more heel-toe weighting, thanks to the weight in the sole and winglike extensions, so it offers more forgiveness too.
Justin’s initials have been stamped into the face, and there is a stamped Scotty dog and crown on the toe along with a Titleist T and crown on the heel. On the top, there is a single black alignment line.
After starting to use the Futura X 5.5, Thomas’ strokes gained putting average jumped from -0.185 (131st) in 2016 to 0.332 (43rd) in 2017.
BALL: Titleist Pro V1x
Titleist Pro V1x
J.T. has been using the four-piece Titleist Pro V1x for several years. Among Titleist’s premium balls, it flies the highest and creates the most spin off the tee, but it has a thin, soft cast-urethane cover. Grooves in wedges and short irons can grab easily and that allows golfers to generate more green-grabbing spin on approach shots, chips and pitch shots.