The story on the unusual club that propelled Mickelson to greatness at the 2021 PGA Championship

The Unusual Club That Propelled Mickelson To PGA Glory

Phil Mickelson rewrote the history books yesterday with a ground-breaking performance at the PGA Championship, becoming the oldest player to win a major championship.

Most surprising perhaps, other than lifting the trophy a month shy of his 51st birthday, was his ability to be long and find fairways on a blustery day at Kiawah Island.

Mickelson is well-known for his desire to “hit bombs” but this has often come to the detriment of accuracy. Yet Mickelson frequently found himself on the short grass, and if not he was only a few yards from it in good position to find the green.

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He led the field in Strokes Gained off the tee and was 15th in driving distance, averaging 313 yards but notably hit the longest drive of the week on the 16th hole on Sunday past playing partner Brooks Koepka.

A pivotal role in his performance comes down to the new Callaway driver Mickelson put in the bag this week.

A Jonathan Wall recently outlined for Golf.com, Mickelson began his quest for extra distance at the 2020 Masters by testing a 48-inch driver.

Fast forward to this week, after trying out multiple heads and shaft designs, Mickelson put a 47.9375” Callaway Epic Speed prototype driver in play.

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Image credit: Johnny Wunder

This driver is a long way from what you could buy at retail. Not only does the head only have six degrees of loft (playing at 5.25°) but the head weight is 188 grams, down from a normal head weight of around 200 grams, to account for the longer shaft.

The shaft itself is an untipped Fujikura Ventus Black 6TX shaft made specifically for the head, helping Mickelson optimise spin rates and dispersion.

Mickelson is no stranger to having unique custom clubs in his bag. He also had a TaylorMade Original “One” Mini driver in the bag, that was until third round.

“ Yesterday I hit a couple of squirrelly shots on 12 and 13 and the face on my 2-wood flattened. Fortunately I had a backup head and swapped it out and hit it great today,” Mickelson explained after his win.

‘Lefty’ also had issues with other clubs in his bag during the week, but luckily he had back up clubs with him that could make a substitute appearance.

“As I was teeing off today my 2-iron face cracked. Tim noticed when I put it back that it had cracked across the face. But fortunately I had a 4-wood that’s a very comparable club to that 1-iron distance-wise and I was able to use that club effectively. I used it off 3 tee, 4 tee. There was a few times that I hit it and I hit that club very well.”

“It’s just one of those things that happens and you just have to be prepared for it, which is why I bring backup clubs out here.”

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Interestingly, Mickelson also utilised the Triple Track alignment lines on his Callaway Chrome Soft X ball both off the tee and on the greens to help hit his start lines.