Jin Young Ko: What was in her bag at the ANA Inspiration

Jin Young Ko’s equipment and bag set-up maximize her on-course strengths ~

Jin Young Ko made her 4th career start at the ANA Inspiration without much of a record at Mission Hills and with a very modest goal. She wanted to be “the happiest golfer on the golf course.”

However, the 23-year old golfer brought some powerful juju to the 2019 season’s first major championship – a hot game and a caddie who had already leapt into Poppie’s Pond with Grace Park in 2004 and against with Lorena Ochoa in 2008. And while everyone who plays golf knows we can’t buy a winning game, the golf clubs in Jin Young Ko’s bag were selected to capitalize on her strengths and maximize her shot-making accuracy.

The ANA Inspiration was Ko’s 5th start this year and she was in peak form. She brought a victory at the Founders Cup and top-5 finishes at the Women’s World Championship and the Kia Classic to her Mission Hills game. I ranked her inside the top-5 in the field in my pre-event power rankings.

Her caddie, Dave Booker, knew coming in that the golf course was a perfect fit for Jin Young Ko’s game. She’s not especially long off the tee – she averaged 263 yard tee shots at Mission Hills – but she’s remarkably accurate.

Ko consistently kept her ball in the short grass and in play, got onto the putting surface without much trouble, and routinely polished off the hole with a steady, reliable flatstick. The clutch putts were there when she needed them.

In the end, Ko’s ability to recover from the bad shots and take advantage of the opportunities proved the magical combination that brought her that first major championship title.

Jin Young Ko

Hyo Joo Kim (R) of South Korea and Jin Young Ko (L) of South Korea. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

What was in Jin Young Ko’s bag at Mission Hills?

Jin Young Ko’s bag set-up looks much like mine and probably yours. She doesn’t carry driving irons and relies heavily on a 25° hybrid to deliver laser-sharp approaches. She combines clubs from Callaway, Bridgestone, and Ping and like many pros, she plays a Titleist ProV1 ball.

Let’s take a peek at her equipment.

Driver: Callaway Epic Flash (9°) – Jin Young Ko is getting maximum performance from the new Callaway technology that promises to deliver faster ball speed and longer distance. The Epic Flash is priced at $530 from Callaway.

3 Wood: Callaway Epic Flash (15°) – The Epic Flash fairway woods are also designed to deliver greater distance and feature a shorter, lighter hosel system that reduces and redistributes center of gravity. The Epic Flash fairway woods are priced at $300 from Callaway.

5 Wood: Callaway Epic Flash (18°)

Hybrid: Titleist H1 (25°) – One hybrid is all Jin Young Ko needs in her bag and while the H1 is available in five lofts, ranging from 17° to 27° Ko’s choice of the 25° loft perfectly bridges the gap between her 5 wood and her 5 iron. MSRP is $315.

5 iron – PW: Bridgestone Tour B forged – I find it interesting that Jin Young Ko seems to favor her hybrid over long irons for work from the fairway. With compact heads and wide soles, these irons give her distance control and enhanced forgiveness, an ideal combination for navigating a track like Mission Hills.

Wedges: Ping Glide (50°, 52°& 58°) – Jin Young Ko is a walking advertisement for the playability and versatility of the Ping Glide, a club I also carry in my bag. I like everything about these clubs and while I don’t wield my wedges with the same accuracy as Jin Young Ko, I can assure you that these clubs deliver! MSRP is $150-$200.

Putter: Ping Sigma 2 ZB 2 – The Sigma’s adjustable length shaft goes a long way toward correcting a problem many golfers have, playing with the wrong length putter shaft, and three head styles (blade, mid-mallet, and mallet) add to the putter’s customization. Ko plays with a traditional blade. If you’re shopping for a new putter, check out this Sigma 2 review for additional information. MSRP is $200-$215.

A club upgrade combined with a tune-up to your swing could cut several strokes off your game. Mickey Wright, whose legendary golf swing easily rivals Jin Young Ko’s, explains the step-by-step tune-up process.

How do you select your golf clubs? Are you using a boxed set or have you been custom fitted?