*Scroll down for the Q&A with Sam!!
Before I start, just watch this from Sundays final round:
If you are ever wondering what the combination of a player being in full control of his equipment looks like, that’s it: the player, the tool in COMPLETE harmony. Most players on TOUR have bags that are DIALED to the nth degree, but every once in a while, a unicorn scenario happens. Much like when Phil put his 47.75-inch Epic Speed Driver in play at the PGA or Jon Rahm switching into the Rossie S.
Does the magic last forever? No. But it’s these moments that players and TOUR reps look back on as the new model of that player’s performance.
“I switched to the new Callaway Epic Speed a few months ago and it’s really been a game-changer for me. I think as well as I drove it this week, it just set me up for a lot of the second shots on these holes, and it was a lot easier (for me) out of the fairway…That was huge having that in the bag this week.”
-Sam Burns w/ The Golf Channels Kira Dixon post round interview
What Sam did last week in Jackson will be his new standard; most clubs he tries will have to now live up to what his Epic Speed just did. This is the part of the equipment that fascinates me the most. The rare symbiotic relationship takes place when the stars align, and new standards are set.
One of my favorite things to do on TOUR is to walk along with Sam and his Caddy Travis during Tuesday’s practice round. It became a standing “thing” thru the playoffs where it was just assumed no matter what was going on, if he’s playing, I’m walking. Watching this kid live is something else, and I was thankful for the front row seat. He’s just doing things right. He’s talented as all hell, he’s humble (with swagger), and he appreciates what he gets to do day in and day out. How can you not be a fan? 🤷🏻♂️
Needless to say I am emotionally invested in how this kid does.
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We texted back and forth this morning, and I got him to answer a few questions about his driver:
JDub: On a scale from 1-10, how good did you hit the driver in the final round? What felt different compared to other weeks?
SB: I would say a 9, 10 would have to be hitting every fairway. I felt like I just had a good feel of what the ball was doing, and I could hit it both ways pretty comfortably. Spin control is such an important piece out here. In combination with the CSX, this driver gives me the ability to hit any shot I want with zero fear of hitting that no spin diver or the high spin floater. It’s been a fun few months.
JDub: You were in Mavrik for a long time; what did this new setup give you that you didn’t have before?
SB: This new driver setup for me is perfect because I love where the spin numbers are while also feeling like the ball is staying on the face a little longer. When I get that combo in a driver, I have always felt that I tend to have a ton of trust. Out here, that feeling is huge.
JDub: When you test new drivers, what boxes does it have to check off to make a switch?
SB: The numbers I look at the most are start direction, spin, spin axis, and probably carry. I have launch windows and down-range windows that I need to hit with every club. If the ball is starting on line and spinning in the right way, the rest tends to kind of fall in line. I typically have 4 “shots” I need to hit. Like a pitcher with a fastball, curve, slider. For me its the stock shot (gentle cutter), a draw (spin is a bit lower), full tilt, and the low tee fairway finder (higher spin)
Sam’s Spin “Window”
Draw: 2500-2600 RPM
Full Tilt: No less than 2500
Fairway Finder: 2700-2800
I do look at ball speed, carry, etc., but first and foremost, the ball needs to be going in the right direction. The guys on the truck know how to crank up the rest if it needs that, LOL.
JDub: Was there any drives you hit last week that you just went HOLY SHIT that was good?
SB: #16 was probably the toughest driving hole, but I hit 4 drivers that were probably all within 10 yards of each other on that hole (for the week) which was huge. When I do that, I’m turning a tough par 4 into a birdie opportunity.
JDub: Lastly, do you rely on your eyes and hands (FEEL), or does the launch data do most of the deciding?
SB: It’s def a combination of the two. First and foremost, it has to feel good off the face and then has to look good to my eye, and then I will try and back those up with the numbers from TrackMan. With all of the technology we have access to and our TOUR truck team, you can have your cake and eat it too. Out here, the Driver and Putter are two things that have to be working to have a chance.
This guy is a WORLD BEATER, trust me we haven’t seen anything yet.