When Bubba Watson finds equipment he likes, he tends to stay with it. And Watson had some familiar friends in the bag during his march to the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship.
“I hate changing equipment,” Watson told Golf World a few years ago. “The feel is always new. There are times I’ll grab a new club or one that has been re-gripped and not even hit it because it doesn’t feel right.” Watson also is known not to have the grind on the sole on his wedges altered because replicating the shape was too difficult to achieve, opting instead to learn how to play with a standard grind.
One area he did recently change, however, was the loft on his putter. He put his current Ping PLD putter in play at last month's Genesis Open, and the club had 4.5 degrees loft. Previously, he had been using a putter with 3 degrees of loft and tinkered with one as low as 2.5 degrees. Watson spent some time in the offseason experimenting with putter lofts and decided he needed more. The putter worked well in his four elimination matches after advancing out of pool play on Friday. Watson lost just seven holes to his four opponents, including just one in the final match, where he dispatched Kevin Kisner, 7 and 6. The putter is 34.25 inches in length and weighs 340 grams.
Watson also had his familiar pink Ping G400 LST driver as a valuable asset at Austin Country Club. The driver is 8.5 degrees but has a finished loft of just 7.6 degrees with a Grafalloy BiMatrx shaft tipped a half inch. Watson’s driver has an enormous grip with 15 wraps of tape where he would place his bottom hand and 13 wraps on the top hand. The LST is Ping’s low-spin version of its G400 driver. Watson has fought too much spin off the tee in recent years, and the LST has brought that number down to a more desirable level.
The two-time Masters champion also has the same model irons that he used during his second win at Augusta National, Ping’s S55 model. The irons, which are half an inch longer in length, also feature an extreme heel grind to give Watson the turf interaction he desires. Watson also makes sure the lie angles are always correct. When initially testing the irons he noticed they hooked too much, requiring them to be made one degree more upright.
During the Match Play, all those little equipment intricacies added up to assist in a pretty big win.
What Bubba Watson had in the bag during the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
Driver: Ping G400 LST (Grafalloy BiMatrx), 7.6 degrees
3-wood: Ping G, 13.2 degrees
Irons (2): Ping iBlade; (4-PW): Ping S55
Wedges: Ping Glide 2.0 (51.6, 55.3, 62.8 degrees)
Putter: Ping PLD