Phil Mickelson is a GEARHEAD. It’s confirmed now that I’ve seen it firsthand. The guy thinks about everything little thing. When it comes to his driver, however, the process of swapping into the new Epic Speed took a little while longer.
If you have been following him closely this year, you may have noticed that his trusted Mavrik SZ driver stayed firmly planted in the bag. In the background, however, Phil and Callaway master fitter Gerritt Pon (Phil’s main guy) have been working diligently to work Lefty into an Epic Speed head. The process is a Club Junkys dream. Imagine having a company retool everything and make you prototype heads that works JUST for you.
I saw/held/gawked the new club that is now in the bag 2 months ago at ECPC when it was getting shafted up to send to Phil. It gave me a good chuckle to put it simply. At address, it looks like if you don’t hit up on it at wicked speeds, the ball will literally fly off the face and burrow into the ground. Pretty cool huh?
The trick with Phil isn’t necessarily matching it apples to apples, it has to give him more in terms of ball speed, dispersion all while complimenting Phil’s desire to go full tilt when he needs to. That’s where the process finds its nuance, any new stick needs to provide the stability that Phil needs to hit 💣💣💣💣💣 AS WELL as softening the big miss more than the last one.
Let’s think about that for a minute as it’s more of a needle in a haystack than it sounds.
The new driver has to:
-Have tight dispersion at playing speed
-Have tight dispersion in fully activated mode
-Mitigate the big miss in full activation
-Mitigate the big miss at playing speed
-Move both ways at playing speed
-Pass the eye candy test at address (IE doesn’t flop open)
All of these boxes need to be checked off for the club to make it in. The process is similar to a game of Rubiks. Every decision, remedy, or adjustment may shift the balance off in another category. This driver switch represents hours of testing between Phil and Gerrit that has finally produced a club that is “Nasty Bomb” worthy.
This is what Gerritt had to say on how we arrived here and the unique aspect of the “Phil head”
“At the beginning of the season when Phil decided he was committing to the long driver, he was in a Mavrik head with low enough loft and spin to work at 47.75 inches. When he tested the Epic Speed line there was always something in the mix that didn’t work so we redesigned an Epic Speed head just for Phil with a lower CG and a lower loft (then retail) that supported everything he was looking for. The reason it took a bit longer was due to a redesign (for Phil), production time, and the testing of the new head which usually happens in the winter. So what we have now is a head that checks off all of the boxes. It’s fast, it mitigates the left mess, and he can spin it at under 2K (1850-1900RPM) for a draw and his fade is just over 2K (2200-2300RPM). That’s right in the pocket for Phil.
This head is the shape that you would find at retail (which is our fastest) with Phil modifications to accommodate his longer build and the fact that his AOA is now hovering around 5 degrees up. The other trick was finding a face angle that didn’t appear too open which was another reason we designed the 6-degree head, now it sits just a bit open at address (almost square) which also aids in avoiding that left miss.”
Another fun nugget in regards to these longer builds is finding a shaft that has the tip stability to support a long driver for distance and ensures acceptable dispersion. The new Fujikura Ventus Black TX is in simple terms pre-tipped 2 inches and was designed to accommodate the longer builds. This combo with the lighter 189G head (most Tour heads hover between 195-200), square look, and tree trunk shaft has given Phil a weapon he trusts as he chases Major #6.
For the gear heads, as you can see making the decision to go longer isn’t as simple as you might want it to be. You are not only adding length but it’s also changing your angle of attack quite a bit. IF you choose to go down this rabbit hole, please GOD go get fit for it. Leave this decision to the experts, it’s glorious when it’s right and a complete disaster if not. I guess you can use this PSA for any equipment you purchase lol.
Whatever they did seems to be working, Phil is leading the PGA Championship at -5. This weekend could be EPIC. See what I did there?
BIG. HIGH. NASTY. BOMBS