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TOUR Question: What Makes Jon Rahm an Elite Driver of the Golf Ball?

I think it’s essential at this point to give everyone a bigger window into what TOUR equipment looks like. The WITB pictures are cool, but how does that translate into what the player sees in the air?

Launch data, is always attached to the countless swings and player bag combo I document. With the help of Foresight GC Quad, I can tell a richer story about what I see every day. In this case, it’s Jon Rahm and his Rogue ST 💎💎💎LS Driver.

Driver: Rogue ST 💎💎💎 LS 10.5.@11.2 (STD COG, 10GF, 4GB)
Shaft: Aldila Tour Green 75TX (45.25 Inches, Tipped 1, D4)

I start with Rahm in this new series because as driver numbers go, he is as close to perfectly optimized as it gets on the PGA Tour. In my opinion.

His stats over the past two seasons don’t lie. As you can see, Jon’s overall distance has increased since moving into the Rogue ST💎💎💎 LS. AVG Swing speed went from 118MPH in 2020/2021 to 120MPH in 2021/2022.

2020/2021 CO PGA Tour
2021/2022 CO PGA Tour

That’s a giant leap. Is it all the driver? No. But the driver’s stability has played a considerable role; Jon mentioned early on that he couldn’t believe we could make a driver better than his Epic Speed 💎💎💎LS, but we did.

“I have a hard time believing that anything new could even be as close to this good…but I was wrong.”

-Jon Rahm

Click the video to see what Jon has to say on the benefits of the Rogue ST 💎💎💎LS….

But what about the shoes?
I think this is fascinating. I spoke with Jon’s performance coach Dave Phillips on the main factors on this added horse power and this is what he had to say…

“Jon’s increase in speed came from a few places; for one, the Rogue ST 💎💎💎 Driver was obviously a big part of it, and the lower body work he did over the offseason with his strength coach in Scottsdale.

The exciting thing that we discovered in some winter research (using force plates) was that his shoe (although cool looking) wasn’t giving him the ability to use the ground efficiently. We worked with Cuater on “The Ringer,” and I believe that has made an enormous difference. He’s roughly 6-8 yards longer across the bag, and on Tour, that’s a huge deal.”

-Dave Phillips

The Ringer

Ok, now to what the numbers look like; keep in mind that Jon has four main shots he hits off the tee.

  1. Stock: Which is a mid-tee straight ball that falls right, AOA @3.5
  2. Vapor Fade: Aim left, tee it high and smash it. 15-yard cut, AOA @4.5
  3. Vapor Draw: Aim down the right center, tee it high, soft draw, AOA @4.5
  4. Low Cut (AKA Fairway Finder): Teed low, Left center, AOA @3

It’s funny how tee shots resemble an MLB Aces repertoire. In Rahm’s case, he’s more Jacob DeGrom than anything else.

STOCK:
Launch: 10.5 degrees
Spin(RPMs): 2500
AOA: 3.5

VAPOR FADE:
Launch: 10 degrees
Spin(RPMs): 2550
AOA: 4.5

VAPOR DRAW:
Launch: 11.5 degrees
Spin(RPMs): 2250-2400
AOA: 4.5

LOW CUT:
Launch: 9
Spin(RPMs): 2500
AOA: 3

What we can learn:
I love Jon’s lack of variation in the launch and spin rates. That should be something we all strive for. If the spin rates don’t dip UP and DOWN depending on the shot shape, it’s only to your advantage.

Up close, the three shots have very different shapes, but the data tells the true story of just how well Jon strikes the ball. Especially with the driver. Now we don’t all hit the ball at the elite level Jon does; VERY few on the planet do. However, it’s his commitment to simplicity that I believe has always made him such a unique study. His shafts don’t change, the lofts stay in the same pocket (give or take .5 degrees), and his recent uptick in speed didn’t require any change in his delivery. It’s still Jon Rahm…just faster. That’s scary.

Could Jon find even more yardage by getting his draws closer to 2000RPMs? Sure. But why? Spin that low invites unpredictability, and Jon doesn’t play that way. And never will.

For me:
The best drivers I’ve had in my bag all stayed in a 300-500 RPM window. If you have read some of my past write-ups, I have used the term “Golf Course driver VS Launch Monitor driver…this is what I mean. For example, I am playing around with a Rogue ST Max retail head at the moment, and although the others I’ve played have been amazing, this particular head keeps me in that 2100 (Draw) to 2500 (Cutter) window. Is that every day? No. But way more often than not. Stay tuned for a video on that endeavor is coming very soon:)

Happy Hunting

JDub

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