Homa replaces the loft numbers with letters on the sole of his Titleist Vokey SM9 wedges.
The gear crew at GOLF.com spends a lot of time at Tour events snapping photographs of the tools used by the best players in the world. Posting club images online without context sometimes works, but it doesn’t help the weekend golfer understand the why behind a pro’s setup. In a new GOLF.com series, equipment editors Jonathan Wall and Ryan Barath answer those questions by highlighting interesting clubs in players’ bags, unique weighting, loft sleeve settings and more. Welcome to “Bay Spy.”
Homa’s been using a mallet putter for the better part of four years, so you might be wondering why I’m highlighting something that’s been around the block. If you don’t know Homa’s backstory with a mallet, he missed six consecutive cuts to open the 2018-19 Tour season and then promptly switched to a Scotty Cameron T5 W. It just happened to be the first time he’d ever used a mallet.
One week later, he Monday qualified for the Phoenix Open and things started to click. His first PGA Tour win would come three months later at the Wells Fargo Championship.
“I had never played a big putter before. I played a Newport my whole life before deciding I was finally going to try a bigger putter,” Homa said. “When I went to the bigger Scotty Cameron, it made a world of difference. Putting it in play in a tournament was weird. I was just so used to being that guy with a Newport-style head. But, I’ll tell you, you play your first competitive round, and you shoot seven under, or whatever it was. You get used to it real quick.”
If you’re a blade guy who continually struggles to find any consistency on the greens, take a page from Homa and give a mallet a shot. With different neck options available, it’s even possible to get the face rotation of a blade with the stability of a mallet.
Homa has plenty of custom creations in the bag – check out the stamped Vokey SM9 wedges with his son’s name below — including some fun headcovers with special significance. The yellow-and-purple Scotty Cameron putter cover is a nod to the Los Angeles Lakers. As an LA native, the cover is a must-have.
And the dog headcover? That would be the mug of Homa’s dog, Scotty, dotting the exterior. It’s a creative way to remember the pup when he’s on the course.
Golf Pride’s Tour Velvet grip is the most popular model on the PGA Tour. While you can count Homa as a Tour Velvet user, he doesn’t play the standard rubber version. Instead, the 6-time Tour winner prefers the cord option that includes a tight-weave cotton twill infused into the rubber.
Adding a cotton cord to the material enhances the grip’s all-weather performance. For golfers who play in humid conditions and need a grip that wicks away moisture, cord offerings deserve strong consideration. They’re also a good choice for those who prefer a firmer feel.
By the letter
Pick up a Vokey wedge at your local golf shop and you’ll find the loft and grind stamped on the sole. For years, equipment manufacturers have stamped the loft number on the head as a way for golfers to build their wedge setup with the proper loft gaps between each scoring tool. Iron sets, on the other hand, that extend beyond the pitching wedge generally have a letter in place of the loft number, which is preferred by some golfers.
But what happens when you like a Vokey blade wedge but want a letter instead of a number on the sole? If you’re Homa, you get Vokey wedge guru Aaron Dill to add a letter instead. When I asked Homa at the Wells Fargo Championship if he was anti-loft numbers, he shrugged and offered a reasonable response.
“Nah, I just think the letters look cool on there,” Homa replied. “It’s just different.”
Fair enough, Max.
The Titleist T100S 4-iron in Homa’s bag is an interesting club. With a slightly stronger loft than the T100, it turns into the perfect long iron option when Homa wants to attack a par 5. The iron also happens to be the club that helped sway Homa to make a ball change while playing with the 2023 Pro V1 during a practice round.
“I wasn’t thinking much about the golf ball really, and then all of a sudden I got to [hole] 8 and I had like 230 way up a hill, front pin, and I hit this big high 4 iron and I stopped it real fast,” Homa said. “And I looked at Joe and I was like, ‘OK.’ […] I called J.J. and I said, ‘Hey I’m going to use the golf ball.’”
The average weekend golfer is likely going to find a hybrid, driving iron or high-lofted fairway wood (see below) to be a better fit for their gear setup, but in Homa’s case, he has the game to wield a more traditional long iron. It doesn’t hurt this one is packed with some extra juice.
The 7-wood used to be a story on the PGA Tour. Several years ago, pros started using high-lofted fairway woods at the Players Championship as a way to extract the ball from the rough with minimal effort. The 7-wood offered just the right amount of forgiveness with a towering launch angle that allowed the ball to fall out of the sky and stop on a dime.
What was once considered a course-dependent club has turned into a bag staple for some pros, Homa included.
After watching Louis Oosthuizen and Matt Fitzpatrick work their way around TPC Harding Park during the 2020 PGA Championship with a high-lofted fairway wood in the bag, Homa decided to test the club himself. It didn’t take him long to embrace the benefits.
“Before the 7-wood, I was really only using a blade 3-iron or utility iron,” Homa said. “I like having a club I can hit off the tee. Some of these courses are so demanding off the tee, you want a longer club that’s not a driver to put it in play. I had never tried a 7-wood because I figured it wouldn’t be easy to hit off the tee and hit a fairway. Through testing, I found I can hit a bit more of a driving shot with it. We’re seeing such a big advantage with the club on the par 5s and shots from the intermediate and primary rough.”
A relatively new addition to the setup, Homa switched to a 15-degree Titleist TSR2 fairway wood with a Fujikura Ventus TR Red shaft at the Players Championship in an attempt to find something that could turn the ball over with a higher launch. In fact, Homa liked the shaft so much, he ended up adding it to his 7-wood as well.
While some pros prefer to play the same weight profile throughout their woods to maintain feel, others use a progressively heavier shaft from the driver through the fairway woods. Homa falls into the progressive weight camp. He starts with a 65X in the driver and then transitions into an 8X and 9X in the 3-wood and 7-wood. The goal is to find a shaft that matches his feel and weight preferences.