Zach Johnson doesn't overpower golf courses. His strength is getting the ball into the fairway and setting up his short irons and wedges. It's that strategy that won him the 2007 Masters, so above everything else, Johnson knows that he needs to maintain control.
So when I saw him testing and comparing his old Titleist Pro V1x ball with Titleist's new Pro V1x at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, I stopped and observed. Although he had tested the new Pro V1x in the off-season, Johnson won the Sony Open in Hawaii in January using the 2007 version of the Pro V1x.
"Someone said they spun it more," he told the Titleist tour reps on the range in Tucson. "Not with the driver, but with the irons."
Taking dead aim at a flag that was about 127 yards away, Johnson hit one pitching wedge after another as the technicians gathered launch monitor data. Each shot was tracked and averages were compiled, but shots that Zach mis-hit were taken out of consideration.
What Johnson found was that with the pitching wedge, his launch angle and ball speed were identical using the old and new Pro V1x. For a control player considering a change, that news must have been comforting.
Johnson is still playing the 2007 version of the Pro V1x, but without testing his decision would have been based on feel and guesswork. Unfortunately, that's exactly how many amateur golfers make equipment decisions. Be smart, like the pros, and take the time to get professionally fitted for your equipment.
Here is a complete list of the clubs used by Zach Johnson to win the Valero Texas Open.
Driver Titleist 909D2 (8.5°) with Mitsubishi Diamana Blue Board 73 shaft
Fairway woods Titleist 909F2 (13.5°) with Mitsubishi Diamana White Board 73 and (18.5°) with Fujikura ZCOM Pro95 shaft
Hybrid Titleist 909H (21°) with Fujikura Speeder 904HB shaft
Irons Titleist AP2 (4-9) with True Temper Dynamic Gold shafts
Wedges Titleist Vokey Design (48°), Vokey prototype (54°), Vokey 60 V (60°) with True Temper Dynamic Gold shafts
Putter SeeMore FGP
Ball Titleist Pro V1x
If you are looking for a tip or two on how to improve your wedge shots, check out this video Johnson shot for GOLF.com.
Take a look inside more PGA Tour winners' bags.
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(Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)