Caddies have a reputation for enjoying a beverage or two when they are away from the course. But when Chris Callas looks down in Shawn Stefani’s bag this week during the U.S. Open and sees two 3-irons, he won’t be seeing double.
“One is a 3-iron that’s been jacked down to a 2-iron loft,” Stefani explained on the range Wednesday at Merion Golf Club. “I’ve tried hitting some of the hybrids and they just don’t work for me, so I took a 3-iron and dropped it down to a 2-iron loft.”
Stefani, 31, uses Mizuno MP-68 irons with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour issue shafts. That set includes a 3-iron with 21 degrees of loft. His extra 3-iron is a Mizuno MP-69 with the same shaft, but the club has been bent to 18 degrees.
“My stock numbers with the clubs change from week to week,” Stefani said. “The 2-iron is about a 235 club, but this week [at Merion] it’s probably more like 225 carry.” He said the standard-loft 3-iron carries the ball about 10 yards less.
A resident of Houston, Stefani said he uses the lower-lofted 3-iron off the tee. “You normally don’t get on a lot of par 5s where you’re going to have to hit a 2-iron into the green.”
Stefani said that he played with a 2-iron for a long time, but during the last few seasons he tried using hybrids instead. He concedes that hybrids are great out of the rough and bad lies, but says that he gets more control and consistency with a 2-iron.
“Sometimes I would spin [hybrids] too much and hit them too high,” he said. “But really, the problem was that I’d hit one too good and the ball would come off too hot.”
Stefani didn’t make this iron adjustment just for the U.S. Open. He played with both 3-irons last week in Memphis during the FedEx St. Jude Classic, where he finished tied for seventh.
“It’s going to be in the bag for the rest of the year,” he said. “It’s a club that I should have probably never taken out.”