The latest Masters champion Danny Willett recently gave us a ring from England to talk about the Callaway clubs he used at Augusta National.
Willett’s sticks — which include an XR 16 driver, XR 16 fairways, Apex utility and Apex Pro irons, and Mack Daddy 2 wedges — are all set up to promote a fade, which is his preferred shot shape.
Here’s what he had to say about the gear that won him the Green Jacket:
GOLF Magazine: You drove the ball particularly well at Augusta — how long have you had your current XR 16 and what do you like about it?
Danny Willett: I started playing the XR 16 at the end of last year and it’s been working exceptionally well. It’s not the Pro model but rather the standard XR 16. I like the shape of the head and the fact that it’s bigger in the back, it just suits my eye better. I also get a slightly higher ballfight and higher apex. We adjusted it to sit a little bit open, which I prefer, and which helps promote the fade I like to hit.
GOLF: Normally you carry 2, 3, and 4 Apex Utility Irons but at Augusta you dropped the 2 and replaced it with an XR 16 5-wood. Can you tell us why you made the change and also why you use the utility irons rather than hybrids?
Willett: Yes, I decided to add the 5-wood for Augusta because it flies a bit higher and lands softer than the utility 2-iron and is also easier to draw. A lot of the tee shots at Augusta call for a draw so I thought it might come in handy and the 5-wood is also more useful for hitting into par-5s. I do like the utility irons quite a bit and they definitely work much better for me than hybrids. I’m just not a hybrid player — they don’t suit my eye as well as a long iron and as a player who wants to fade the ball most of the time they don’t suit my game.
GOLF: How about the rest of your irons? You’re playing the Apex Pro?
Willett: Yes, they have a nice forged feel that I prefer and a bit of a fade bias. I guess that’s a common trait of most of my clubs. The sole has just the right amount of bounce so they go through the tight turf as Augusta really well. The guys at Callaway who work on my equipment are mostly former players and they really know how to build clubs that look and feel the way I want.
GOLF: You played Dynamic Gold X100 SL (superlight) shafts in all your irons at Augusta. They’re significantly lighter than the standard X100, which is one of the most common shafts on Tour. Is that a new thing for you?
Willett: People have asked me that and if I changed to add more speed to my swing, but actually I’ve always played the SL model. I like the feel of a slightly lighter shaft not only because it’s easier to swing fast, but also because I can get a slightly higher apex on my shots if I want.
GOLF: You made some incredible up-and-downs in the final round of the Masters. Did you set up your wedges any differently for Augusta?
Willett: No, I have my MD2 wedges set up to perform well on just about any golf course. I have the T grind on mine, which sits a little closer to the ground and they work really well at Augusta. There’s a lot of grain there and obviously the lies tend to be very tight and having the clubface very close to the ground helps nip it cleanly. Making sure you have both right amount of bounce and the correct sole design on your wedges is critical for good short game performance.
GOLF: How about your putter? It’s a model the company doesn’t make anymore, for now at least.
Willett: It’s not in the current lineup but I’ve had good luck with it so it won’t be going anywhere soon. The contrast of the white/black/white color scheme creates perpendicular lines to the line on my golf ball and it’s great for confidence at address and accurate alignment. Putting well is mandatory if you want to do well at Augusta and this putter was a big key for me.