As far as equipment goes, PGA Tour pros are among the most catered-to golfers on the planet.
The pros oftentimes get paid to play a certain brand’s equipment, and even if they don’t have a contract, they get their clubs for free, fitted to their exact specification from various reps on-site every week, which makes the tale of 2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel all the more intriguing.
Schwartzel is making his first start of the 2019-20 season on the PGA Tour this week at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, and the equipment free agent showed up to the Arizona desert with some unusual clubs in his bag.
As it turns out, Schwartzel took matters into his own hands over the offseason and hopped online to buy a set of Miura MB-001 irons. The only problem was the clubs were too heavy for Schwartzel, boasting a swing weight of D6.
Instead of getting them fit to his personal specs by a Miura rep or certified club fitter, Schwartzel decided to make his changes himself.
Early leader in the clubhouse for best gear story of 2020: Charl Schwartzel is using a set of @MiuraGolfInc irons he bought online — and plugged with a hand-held drill. https://t.co/MEDqAn8H7t pic.twitter.com/VFEcqG7MjS
— Jonathan Wall (@jonathanrwall) January 30, 2020
“When I bought (the clubs), they were too heavy, so I had to drill holes in them to get them lighter,” Schwartzel told Golf.com’s Andrew Tursky. “That’s how they used to do it. I spoke with Nick Price and he used to build his own clubs back in the day. That was the only way — way back when they were playing — to get weight out. You have to drill holes.”
For a (famous) point of reference, Tiger Woods had Scotty Cameron “plug” the back of his famous putter to achieve a similar goal.
— Jonathan Wall (@jonathanrwall) January 22, 2020
The matter-of-fact way in which Schwartzel explained his thinking makes him much more of a gearhead than a lot of his fellow Tour pros who wouldn’t consider taking a drill to their clubs, but that’s exactly what Schwartzel did.
— Fully Equipped | GOLF.com (@Fully_Equipped) January 28, 2020
“I have my own drill press at home,” Schwartzel said. “It’s a normal steel drill that we use. It’s a hand-held drill. We held (the irons) on a piece of wood. I drilled holes, and then I would weigh it, and then I would drill holes until it’s the right weight.”
Schwartzel got the clubs down three swing weight points to a D3, which required a different number of holes for different clubs. Some have two hole plugs, while others have up to four.
“You’d be surprised how many holes you have to drill to get 0.3 of a swing weight out,” he said.