ERNIE ELS sat down with Golfmagic Assistant Editor Andy Roberts on the eve of this week's BMW PGA Championship, just moments after unveiling the new state-of-the-art Adams Golf Second Shot Centre at Wentworth.
The 44-year-old South African, with four major titles to his name, spoke about his new Adams Golf equipment and the importance of #OwnTheSecondShot, his new ECCO footwear, goals for this week's flagship European Tour event and the remainder of his golf career, as well as a series of quick-fire, off-course questions...
Ernie, thanks for taking the time to speak to Golfmagic. Could we begin by talking about your move to Adams Golf earlier this year and how proud you are to be apart of the team?
My contract with my previous company came to an end and I needed to make a decision as to whether I wanted to continue with them or make a change, and I felt I needed a change. I wanted to play a different ball and I wanted a fresh start. When you've played this game for as long as I have, you need a change and a kick in the butt! I thought Adams Golf was the right fit. I saw Badds (Aaron Baddeley) play with Adams equipment and I liked it from the word go. I was using hybrid equipment with my previous company but Adams Golf is renowned and refined with that kind of equipment so I decided to go with them. The guys have been brilliant. The thing I'm working mostly on is going to the long putter to short putter. My equipment is unbelievable.
#OwnTheSecondShot is the clear marketing strategy for Adams Golf this year. What do you make of it and how successful do you think it's been so far?
Well I love the #OwnTheSecondShot slogan. I see with so many amateurs in Pro-Ams or when I'm at home with my mates that the most difficult part of the game is the long iron or fairway wood and so forth. Companies have concentrated on driving and distance for so many years so they've been driven by length in the driver. I feel the heart of the game is in the second shot. If you keep missing second shots, it's hard to score. I feel as though Adams through the years, through the Tight Lies and its hybrids have done a very good job and are now pushing into the market with the whole bag with the XTD irons and everything else. I love the slogan #OwnTheSecondShot because that for me is the heart and soul of this game.
Which part of your game would you say has improved most since you've joined Adams Golf?
Funnily enough my proximity to the hole, from 150 to 175 yards, my middle irons have been really good. I'm 14th in that category this year, whereas last year I was 156th. My distances from 225 to 250 yards have also improved, and that's all down to the Adams Tight Lies fairway woods and Adams hybrids.
Could you talk us through what you've got in the bag right now?
I've got a TaylorMade SLDR driver (10-degree), Adams Tight Lies fairway woods (14.5- and 18.5-degree), I go back and forth with an Adams Pro Mini and Adams Super 9031 hybrid (18- and 23-degree), Adams Golf XTD Forged irons (4-iron to PW), Adams Puglielli wedges (52-, 56- and 60-degree), I'm back to the short putter with a counterbalanced Yes! Callie-12 (4-degree loft; 70-degree lie) and I'm now using the new TaylorMade Tour Preferred X ball, which I find works great in the wind.