Travelers Championship

TPC River Highlands



Equipment Q&A

Davis Riley on his Titleist equipment, altering clubs after a swing change and why a footwear switch was so meaningful

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Sam Hodde

Davis Riley is one of the bright young players on the PGA Tour, having claimed his first individual title at last week’s Charles Schwab Challenge. Golf Digest equipment editor E. Michael Johnson caught up with Riley after his victory at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth to talk about his Titleist equipment, the need to alter clubs when making a swing change and why one of the biggest improvements to his game was discovering he was wearing the wrong size shoe.

Golf Digest: You made a golf ball change last year. What brought that on and what benefits have you seen?

Davis Riley: I’ve always typically been a Pro V1 guy. But in the latter portion of the fall last year, I switched to the Pro V1x Left Dot [only to go] back to the Pro V1 at the start of this year. I’ve always been a high-spin player, and that was the reason I went back to Pro V1. It just gives me better launch conditions and a little bit better spin with the iron combination I have. I’m very impressed by how stable it is in the crosswinds, too.

With the driver, it looks like you’re in the neutral setting. Do you ever tinker with the adjustability features or do you set it and forget it?

I’ve done some changing around to see what effect it has, and I actually have the weight in the back a click towards the heel. That helps prevent some hanging-right misses, which was big for me because it cleaned up my start lines off the tee a bit. You have the luxury with this driver [Titleist’s TSR3] to change the lie angle and the loft and move the weight to change the center-of-gravity location, which can alter ball flight. I feel like I can match this driver to the shot shape I want to produce.

Do you ever change the settings based on conditions such as wet or windy?

Not so much on conditions but I have changed it to accommodate swing changes. It’s important to know that if you change your swing your equipment probably needs to change with it. I had a time where I was in the D1 hosel setting, which is lower loft, neutral lie angle, but I went back to A1 [totally neutral] because I’m working on covering the ball more with my upper body. That’s allowing me to move through the ball better. As a result, I no longer need that lower loft because I’m not hanging back as much.

On the irons, you have a mixed set, and I think the biggest change was replacing the 620 CBs with T100s. Why the change?

Towards the end of last year and start of this year I was struggling with some spin numbers with my irons. I spent a few hours at Titleist’s facility in Oceanside and saw more consistent spin numbers and was controlling the apex height much better with the T100s than the CBs. It was cool to see the little improvements that can be accomplished.

You also have a T200 3-iron. What do you like about that club versus a utility iron?

I played the T200 when I won in Fort Worth. I like the look at address. It blends better with the T100s versus a bigger utility iron, but it performs like a utility iron in terms of distance and forgiveness. It’s just a more comforting look for me.

Anything unique with the wedges, whether it be grind or bounce?

I carry two lob wedges every week with me: a T grind with a little more heel relief and a softer backside, and a A+ grind, which is a [Titleist Vokey tour rep] Aaron Dill special grind. I find myself using the A+ grind a lot. We play so many turf conditions and have the luxury of access to equipment that fits those conditions. I feel that is a big reason why my play around the greens and wedge play in general has improved so much since my rookie year.

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Davis Riley lines up a putt on the fifth green during the final round of the 2024 Charles Schwab Challenge.

Sam Hodde

Tell me how you came to use the Scotty Cameron Phantom X 7.2 mallet?

The way it looks, all the square lines, I feel like it frames the ball really well and just everything sits super square. I've always been a big believer that if you're really comfortable looking over it, and everything feels square, it's just going to set up for good putting.

I understand you made a change in your footwear as well. What led to that and have you found it’s made a difference?

A hundred percent it has. It’s a funny story. I was playing on Korn Ferry and for top-10s you got into opposite-field events on the PGA Tour. So, I got into the Barbasol in Kentucky and my good buddy, Bubba Kroeger, who works for FootJoy, was out watching me during practice rounds. He noticed I was losing some stability on some swings with my right foot, and he felt my 11M shoes were too big for me. I’d worn 11 medium my entire life so was a little surprised by that. He sent me some shoes a full size down, and it made an extreme difference. The shoe is your only connection to the ground, and with working on loading my right side more, it became an important change to have that stability. It’s crazy the difference having properly fit shoes has made.

What’s the last golf-related item you’ve bought with your own money?

Oh, my goodness. Not equipment but I’m a golf nerd so I have way too many golf training aids—most of them sitting in the corner of my garage. But I’m drawn to training aids so it has to be that.

I was talking with Will Zalatoris a while back and he said during COVID the two of you set up a mattress and a Trackman in your apartment to hit balls into. Did you learn anything from doing that?

True story. It made us realize how crazy we are and how much we love golf. The lengths that we went to in order to build that pseudo range in such a small space. We had the Trackman propped up on pillows and the mattress and net Will brought over from his parents’ house. I’m not sure I learned anything, and I’m sure our neighbors hated us, but we sure did have a good time.