December 29th, 2009
Recent interviews with Phil Mickelson have yielded valuable insights about club selection and use, the importance of a good golf ball and how the new groove rules and technology caps will affect your game. Phil Mickelson, a veteran PGA Pro with several Majors and countless tournaments under is belt, is a Callaway Professional who isn't afraid to experiment and push the envelope. I have selected the most useful tips and listed them below. Keep reading to improve your game instantly!
Phil Mickelson Profile
- College: Arizona State University
- Turned Pro: 1992
- Tour: PGA
- Birthday: June 16, 1970
- Equipment Played: Callaway
- Majors won: 3 (The Masters: 2004, 2006; PGA Championship: 2005)
- Professional wins: 45 and counting
- Notable attribute: left-handed golfer
- Use a hybrid to get similar control and distance from the rough as one would get from the fairway using irons.
- Hybrid clubs with modified soles allow greater penetration into taller or thicker grass, and the high MOI and exotic materials afford greater forgiveness for better shots.
- Phil's hybrid: Callaway prototype
- My recommendation: Big Bertha Diablo Hybrid
- Use drivers with hosels, specifically adjustable models. The extra weight close to the head produces greater stability, and
- The ability to customize the clubhead to real-time course conditions means you can compensate for small changes in course layout and problems associated with player flexibility and inaccuracy.
- Phil's driver: Callaway FT-9
- People usually choose a putter without thinking about the head geometry -- but loft matters! A 4° (four degree) loft at impact is ideal, but is relative to the setup position.
- If the setup is back back/hands forward then more loft is needed to preserve the 4° impact loft; if the setup is ball forward/hands back then less loft is needed.
- Phil's putter: Odyssey White Hot XG 9
- Be aware of diminishing returns with high-loft wedges: the potential for greater spin must be balanced against the likelihood of the ball sliding up the club's face (the new grooves will make this balance more difficult to achieve).
- The new grooves rules will mostly affect shots of 40 yards and closer since the softer shots produce less compression on the ball, thereby producing less spin.
- Phil's wedge: Callaway X-Forged Chrome Wedge
- According to Phil Mickelson, "The ball is the most important piece of equipment."
- Find a golf ball with the desired feel and spin characteristics and match your clubs to the ball. Pair the ball and clubs to maximize performance through all-around control -- not just distance and not just spin.
- Phil's golf ball: Callaway Tour ix
Common Equipment Mistakes
- Most players are not consistent with their misses and accept the apparent randomness of their shots. If your misses are the same they become less of an issue, and correcting for the cause becomes much easier and long-lasting.
- Focus on one side of the course instead, planning shots and the targets according to your actual performance. Improve your game even more by matching clubs: if you use draw irons use a draw driver.
- Phil Mickelson travels with more clubs than the tournament limit of 14 (he gives himself 18 clubs to choose from!) and decides which clubs to use based on the par 3's.
- Swap out hybrids and long irons since the driver and putter -- the start and finish clubs -- must remain constant for consistent play. After all, full courses can't be played without a driver and putter, but the mid-distance shots will usually determine your score.
Tech Improvements & New Equipment
- Technological advancements benefit non-pros more than seasoned veterans. This may seem backwards, but Pros are much more consistent, practice and play much more often, and use custom clubs -- meaning the vast majority of players can improve their performance more with the incremental changes from new clubs, new golf balls and new accessories.
- Golf technology and new equipment compensates for the average golfer and advanced amateur's weaknesses and amplify their strengths. Therefore, investing in new gear makes sense since the commercially available golf equipment is designed for non-professionals. The improvement for pros comes from equipment, too, but relies much more on the golfer.