When you’re offered a few minutes to chat with Justin Thomas about equipment, you take it. After his victory at the BMW Championship, Thomas spoke about his clubs, what number golf ball he never uses and his relationship with Alabama football coach Nick Saban. Thomas also discloses the most unusual thing he keeps in his golf bag.
A little bit was made before the Open Championship about you changing out your driver. How long does it take you to get acclimated to a new gamer?
You shouldn’t have to do any work. I should know that if someone stole my driver, I wouldn’t have to hit a [test] shot with the new one. That’s the point of a backup. I should be able to throw it right in my bag, and it’s good. That’s a great comfort level. It was an easy transition to the one I have now. I hit balls with it for about five minutes, and it was good. It wasn’t even my backup. It was just a new head. My backup, I honestly couldn’t tell you the last time I hit it.
Do you use the adjustable features on the driver, and if so, what was the last adjustment you made for an event?
I’ll sometimes change the hosel setting, but not very often. The only time I think I changed it this year was in Mexico when I bumped the loft up to take advantage of the thin air and get a little more carry.
You have one of the new irons in the bag, the T-100 4-iron. What appealed to you about that club that you put it in mid-season?
It goes higher, which is what I needed from that club. I can still hit it low if I want to or need to. But the height I can get with it coming into greens is just a huge advantage.
One of the things in your specs that I noticed is that the shaft in your 46-degree Vokey wedge, which you use as your pitching wedge, is a True Temper X100, which matches the rest of your irons, but the rest of your wedges are True Temper S400 shafts. Why that setup?
I just found that out last year. I actually had no idea that was the case, so I’m not a very good person to ask about that.
We spoke a couple of years ago about your equipment, and you mentioned that your irons had no offset on them. Is that still the case?
It is. Ever since I saw a set about six or seven years ago, I’ve loved the look at address of them. The clean look from the shaft down to the hosel is just awesome. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to use an iron with offset again. They just look so nice.
You hit such a great shot on the 10th hole Saturday at Medinah—a 5-wood from 260 that ended up within a couple of feet of the hole. That club is an older model, the Titleist 915 Fd. What about that club gives you that comfort level that makes you keep it in the bag?
I don’t dislike the new woods at all; I think they’re great, and I use the new TS3 3-wood. But with the 5-wood, I just had an issue that it was too hot and went too far. I was flying it 260 to 270 yards, and I needed a club to go 250 in the air. So that’s the reason I have it in the bag and like it.
Any equipment superstitions?
I won’t play a ball with the number 4. No particular reason other than I never really have. I don’t really know why, but I just don’t like them, so I don’t use them. I know, it’s a little bizarre.
Is it more difficult to test clubs or golf balls?
Golf balls are harder. Clubs you can hit on the range and look at numbers, but golf balls you have to hit a lot of different shots, and you have to go play with it in different conditions. You do a lot of back and forth hitting. The differences are also a little harder to detect, so definitely golf balls.
You went to the University of Alabama and have touched base with football coach Nick Saban a few times. What have you learned from those interactions with him?
Coach Saban is awesome. He reached out after this last win, which was really cool. I love talking to him. He’s a very hard worker, and I think he gets a bad rap from some people who might not realize just how serious he takes what he does. He wants to be the best, and he doesn’t want to settle for anything else. That’s pretty cool in my eyes, and I like to think that’s how I approach my golf.
What’s the most unusual thing you keep in your golf bag?
I happen to have my bag with me right now, so let me think. Probably the fact I keep an extra pair of contact lenses in there. It’s an emergency pair just in case something happens to the pair I’m wearing. Kind of difficult to play golf if you can’t see.