At this point, the story of the development of Tiger Woods’ TaylorMade irons has been told and told again. There have been numerous articles, YouTube videos, and even a TV documentary on how they were made—and even a Tour Championship and a Sunday Masters telecast to validate both models.
But I wanted to know the differences and similarities of the two TaylorMade iron models Woods has played since signing with the company in January of 2017: the Phase 1, and the final masterpiece the, P7TW.
Fortunately, in this job, you become friends with a good number of R&D people, so I went to my buddies and TaylorMade Lead Engineers Paul Demkowski and Matt Bovee to fill in some blanks.
This is what they had to say.
Matt Bovee Sr. Manager Product Creation
JW: The Phase 1 iron was based on what previous iron of TW? What inspired it?
MB: The PH1 iron was based off of the set he was playing just prior, the TGR set. Inspiration for the P7TW is really founded in all the years of TW’s career. From the numerous victories, countless hours grinding, and all his majors… the P7TW is really a culmination of what he specifically wants in an iron design after years and years of being the best ball striker in the game.
JW: What was the testing process like going from his TGR into the Phase 1?
MB: The PH1 set was a collaboration between TaylorMade and Mike Taylor with a new cosmetic design we created. We didn’t want to change any significant performance attributes because the immediate goal was to get TW into a TM iron. We partnered with Mike Taylor to help with the creation of PH1 as well as the learning process required for the development of P7TW. For us, it was a learning experience as TW went through his testing protocol for a new set. Making sure everything was dialed in and felt right.
JW: What are the similarities of the two irons, PH1 and P7TW?
MB: There are a lot of similarities between the PH1 and P7TW from a performance perspective. It’s been said before, and I’ll say it again, TW is very, very specific in what he wants. Launch, spin, carry, look, feel…he has every attribute for each iron defined in his head. Nothing more, nothing less. They use the same lofts, lie, scorelines, essentially the same CG, etc.
JW: What kept PH1 from being the “Tiger Iron”?
MB: The PH1 irons were built from an existing forging profile. By using an existing forging he was familiar with it allowed us to minimize variables as we learned and dissected what works best for him. Even after the PH1 iron performance matched what he was looking for, TW requested the MG sole technology for his irons so he could replace them more frequently with much less testing from set to set. We needed to take this into account with a new TM forging design.
*The milled grind sole was designed specifically for this benefit. It has allowed TM to duplicate the sole of irons and wedges which in turn eliminates a number of steps during testing and/or mid season replacement.
JW: The name Phase 1 suggests a new version was to come, was that always a bridge iron into the current?
MB: Yes, we knew designing a TaylorMade iron for him from the ground up would take some time and we needed a “bridge” of sorts while the new design was in development.
JW: When TW began testing irons in the beginning, (knowing the challenge which is well documented) what was the original process like? Who was involved?
- Participants: Tiger, Tomo Bystedt, Brian Bazzel, Keith Sbarbaro, Paul Demkowski, Mike Taylor, and Matt Bovee.
- The development process was a longer road than we anticipated. Much back and forth between TM and Mike Taylor to start. We needed to unpack years of learning as to what works best for the Big Cat and what he likes. From that point, it was a lot of back and forth testing of individual sticks. Starting with the 6i and not moving on from that until we got it perfect. It actually took 7 different CNCs prototypes before we nailed the 6i. From there we added in the 3i and the 9i to serves as bookends for design. After these three SKUs got TW’s blessing we filled out the rest of the set.
JW: How many PH1 sets were made?
MB: As far as we know just the 1 set. Mike Taylor would be the only person who would know differently
JW: What are the differences between P1 and P7TW?
MB: The largest differences are:
- Built from different forgings
- Addition of MG sole—when Tiger needs replacements due to wear, the Milled Grind soles are exactly the geometry that he needs and so any opportunity for slight variations has been removed. That’s why the P7TW is ultimately Tiger’s gamer irons.
- Milled channel along the back bar of the iron. Cosmetic was designed to fit with the PSeries.
- Cosmetic design is different, the back bar geometry is slightly different the milled channel was used in 730 to reposition mass, TWs is a much smaller version of that
JW: Does TW only have input (R&D) on his irons or all the TM irons (forgings of course)
MB: TW’s R&D input on irons has been limited to his P7TWs up to this point…which was extensive. All the way down to a modified font for the sole number making it easier from him to read and therefore more confident he had the right stick. He has provided some input in other categories however, wedges most specifically.
JW: In your opinion is the P7TW the best muscleback TM has ever developed?
MB: “Best” is such a relative term that lies in the eyes of the beholder… It is certainly the most prestigious with the most design iterations and R&D development.
JW: If you could project into the future, what improvements if any could be made to a TW iron?
MB: Because that iron is specific to him and what he wants, there really isn’t any way we could make it better unless his swing or style of play changes. The P7TW is dialed in for TW’s game as it exists today.
Paul Demkowski, Sr. Product Engineer was the person that worked the closest with Mike Taylor in the development of both models and this is what he had to say
JW: Are you still in close contact with Mike Taylor at Artisan? and if so is it more just to verify info or is it also for future R&D?
PD: Yes, I’m still in close contact with Mike T. He continues to build the irons for TW. He verifies all the specs as they are built and records the data.
JW: In regards to the CG placements between P1 and P7TW what is the difference?
PD: CG locations are very close. Couldn’t deviate too much as he would feel the difference and would see it in his ball flight.
JW: Random question but had to ask, did you ever attempt to make TW a specific driving iron?
PD: No, never made a specific TW driving iron. Only thing I did once make a slower P790 UDI for him. He said the standard one went too far. LOL.
It’s also noteworthy that TW’s specs don’t change much but as you can see current set up, the only real shift in his irons is lie angle which will go up one depending on his swing at the time.
Tiger Woods’ Current Iron Specs
All with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100. Irons tipped 1/4 inch, w/wooden dowels and SST Pure (Scott Garrison on Tour) at exactly 130 grams.
All lengths without grips. (Loft. Lie. Length. Swing Weight)
- 3-iron: 22.5, 59.5, 38 13/16, D4
- 4-iron: 25.5, 60, 38 5/16, D4
- 5-iron: 29, 60.5, 37 13/16, D4
- 6-iron: 32.5, 61, 37 5/16, D4
- 7-iron: 36, 61.5, 36 7/8, D4
- 8-iron: 40.5, 62, 36 5/16, D4
- 9-iron: 45, 62.5, 35 11/16, D4
- PW: 49, 63, 35 11/16, D4
Another cool aspect of Tiger’s irons (rarely spoken of) are his shafts. The shafts are True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 with no labels, and they are sorted to exact weights (130 grams) and sent to Scott Garrison (@ScottEGgolf) to SST Pure, then over to David “DR” Richey at Artisan Golf to be built. Lots of cooks in the kitchen, but it’s Tiger, so no doubt totally worth it for all involved!
Best golf gifts on Amazon
To supplement our holiday gift guides, we thought we’d give our readers some of our best picks for best golf gifts on Amazon. We’ve included 12 items to help you in your holiday gift selections, with a bonus extra for our friends in the UK!
So whether you’re looking for ideas for gifts you want to give, or even better receive, we have you covered!
Best golf gifts on Amazon
The Golf Father Gift Ceramic Coffee Mug
From the listing: “Do you need a gift idea for Christmas, Valentine’s day, anniversary, birthday, family occasion, or father’s day? This novelty mug will make a great gift for your husband, boyfriend, brother, uncle, grandparents, co-worker or friend.”
Titleist Pro V1 Christmas Golf Balls – 3 Pack (Amazon UK)
From the listing: “Titleist Pro V1 Golf Balls – 3 Pack – Printed with christmas motifs. Total performance for all golfers with the combination of exceptional distance, the best short game spin and control, and very soft feel. Exceptional Distance | Drop-and-Stop Short Game Control. Very Soft Feel.”
Nike Men’s Academy 18 Drill Top
From the listing: “Sweat-wicking Nike Dry-FIT Technology. Half-zip design. 100% Polyester. Machine Wash. Fastening: Zipper. Academy 18 Drill.”
GoSports CHIPSTER Range
From the listing: “Includes 3 Chipping Targets (12 inches, 18 inches, 24 inches) for practicing at varying distances and directions. Targets setup in seconds and neatly store in the included carrying case. Use outdoors with real golf balls or indoor with foam balls.”
Titleist Players Men’s Golf Glove
From the listing: “Ultra-thin, for maximum feel and lasting performance. Premium, quality fit means a seamless connection to your club. Utilizes proprietary breathable fabric for comfort and support. Satin reinforcement at cuff and thumb for strength and durability.”
2020 Callaway Chrome Soft Golf Balls
From the listing: “Chrome Soft takes Tour performance to another level; We’ve reengineered every aspect and element in the ball for more speed off the tee, and longer distance off of every club in the bag. A faster, larger Graphene-infused Dual SoftFast Core is designed for increased distance; The significantly larger inner core creates higher launch and lower spin. And the thinner, firmer outer core is reinforced with Graphene for better durability.”
Price: $39.99 (down from $47.99)
TaylorMade TP5 Pix 2.0 Golf Ball
From the listing: “Better visibility: Multi-Color, high contrast graphics. Better alignment: Unique clear path alignments.”
Price: $39.99 (down from $44.99)
Titleist Golf Warmer
From the listing: “Mitten style with micro fleece lining and cinch opening for comfort. Water resistant shell for performance in all weather conditions. Internal hand warmer compartment.”
TaylorMade Pro Stand 6.0 Golf Bag
From the listing: “9″ Top stand bag. 7-Way top with a front integrated grab handle and two side grab handles with color co-ordinated air mesh. Light weight high-mount automatic stand system. 4-Point adjustable backpack strap for maximum balance and comfort. Towel loop and umbrella holder.”
Price: $79.99 (down from $129.99)
Garmin Approach S10
From the listing: “Simple, easy-to-use golf watch. Sleek, lightweight and comfortable with a high-resolution, Sunlight-readable display. Provides yardages to the front, back and middle of the Green -as well as Hazards and doglegs -on more than 41, 000 preloaded courses worldwide. Keep Score on the watch for a summary of your round, total distance played and total time.”
Price: $99 (down from $149.99)
Under Armour Men’s Spieth 3 Golf Shoe
From the listing: “Textile and Synthetic. Imported. Synthetic sole. Shaft measures approximately low-top from arch. Breathable, Clarino microfiber upper & a lightweight waterproof membrane keep you cool & dry. Smart woven forefoot panel & heel counter for biomechanically correct foot support & lightweight comfort. Integrated lacing system for a locked in fit.”
Price: $117.21 (down from $200)
Puma Men’s Ignite Pwradapt Caged Stars and Stripes Golf Shoe
From the listing: “100% Synthetic. Synthetic sole. Adaptive Fit System. Ignite Foam. Power cage. Power frame. Power adapt.”
Callaway Golf 2020 Mavrik Fairway Wood
From the listing: “MAVRIK is the longest fairway wood that Callaway has ever made. The new A. I. -optimized Flash Face SS20 is forged from exotic materials, which are uniquely designed for each model and loft to maximize ball speed and performance. We’ve combined our industry-leading technologies to deliver distance, forgiveness and performance from every club.”
Price: $249.99 (down from $299.99)
Steph Curry WITB (The Match 3)
Driver: Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero Single Diamond (9 degrees, -1/N)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue 7 X (45 inches, D3)
3-wood: Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero (13.5 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue 8 X (43 inches, D3)
Utility: Callaway X Forged UT ‘21 (18 degrees)
Shaft: KBS Tour 130 X
Irons: Callaway Apex Pro ’19 Double Dot (4-PW)
Shafts: Project X 6.5
Wedges: Callaway Jaws MD5 (50-10S, 56-10S, 60-10S)
Shafts: Project X 6.0
Putter: Odyssey Toulon Atlanta (Stroke Lab)
Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft X
Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Midsize
‘My brief blade experience’ – GolfWRXers react
In our forums, our members have been reacting to an interesting experience WRXer ‘LongJohnPeter’ had when testing out blades for the first time. ‘LongJohnPeter’ writes:
“For reasons unbeknownst to myself, I have been obsessed with playing blades lately. So I took a trip to my local range today and picked out an old Lynx USA 7 iron blade from the rental rack (I don’t own a blade and had never hit one previously). While I did see a reduction in distance (more of a result of EXTREMELY crappy range balls and a 50 degree day), I couldn’t believe how much more consistent my face contact was, compared with my Ping Zing’s I currently use. And even on the few mishits, they weren’t punished nearly as bad as everyone and their mother said they would be, and I knew exactly what had happened and could adjust accordingly.
Anyone have a similar experience? Is this just a honeymoon phase? Or is the golfing elite trying to preserve the sanctity of blade irons?”
And our members have been reacting to the post and sharing their thoughts in our forum.
Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.
- uglande: “I switched back to blades this year (had not played them in decades), and I will never give them up. They are so pure and consistent and easy to maneuver. I prefer the thinner soles, which give me better turf interaction. Blades will never produce those nuclear shots that go 15 yards longer than you expected. And, yes, GI clubs help retain ball speed on mishits, but I would rather be 10 yards short of the green than in the bunkers or other garbage on either side of the green. And I certainly don’t want to torpedo one (happened frequently with my P790s) that goes over the green, which is always where the worst hazards lie.”
- NotTheGuyOrAmi: “I ’m far from a technical expert, but I have concluded that increased MOI may give some incremental benefit, and of course less loft means clubs with a particular loft might hit father, but the point of most of the “improvement” in-game improvement irons is to allow people who hit the ground before the ball with a slow swing speed to get a better result from a lower center of gravity. This, by the way, is not a good thing.”
- CCTXgolf: “For some people a smaller club makes them concentrate a little harder, and that extra little bit of concentration can certainly help you find the center of the club face more often. Problem is it’s tough to keep that going for 18 holes. Much less day to day. I just went to blades in my short irons (8-P) and don’t really find that much difference in those shorter irons. They sure are pretty though.”
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