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Phase 1 vs. P7TW: An inside look at Tiger Woods’ TaylorMade irons

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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?

Tiger Woods matching things up at The Kingdom in Carlsbad

MB:

  • 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.

Tiger Woods and Keith Sbarboro at The Kingdom

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!

TaylorMade’s Keith Sbarbaro and Paul Demkowski look on at The Kingdom

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Johnny Wunder is the Director of Original Content, Instagram Manager and Host of “The Gear Dive” Podcast for GolfWRX.com. He was born in Seattle, Wash., and grew up playing at Rainier G&CC. John is also a partner with The Traveling Picture Show Company having most recently produced JOSIE with Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner. In 1997 Johnny had the rare opportunity of being a clubhouse attendant for the Anaheim Angels. He now resides in Toronto, On with his wife and two sons. @johnny_wunder on IG

18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. gticlay

    Aug 5, 2020 at 4:57 pm

    I know what the TW is, but why are they called P7?

    Can we have any more details on the X100 dowels? I’ve never liked how the X100 feels and maybe the dowels make a big difference in feel.

  2. Benny

    Jul 15, 2020 at 5:27 pm

    Aweeome read and great comments guys!

  3. Mower

    Mar 31, 2020 at 2:54 pm

    Alright, going to Home Depot for some wooden dowels.
    😛

  4. RayDon

    Mar 31, 2020 at 6:17 am

    Where are the wood dowels positioned?

    • Tiger Fan

      Mar 31, 2020 at 10:21 am

      Wooden dowels would be in the shaft tip like his old Titleist PT fairway woods.

    • Craig McMahon

      Mar 31, 2020 at 1:13 pm

      Down near the tip

  5. Cody

    Mar 30, 2020 at 5:54 pm

    Good article.

    There is some good info here. These irons are great for Tiger, specific to him. That does not make them magical or better than anything else. Still a great iron for someone that wants it.

  6. Brandon

    Mar 30, 2020 at 3:54 pm

    What do the wooden dowels do?

    • Craig McMahon

      Mar 30, 2020 at 4:35 pm

      Supposed to just be a dampener I think

  7. Jarnio Bubly

    Mar 30, 2020 at 2:56 pm

    In other words Mike Taylor and TW told Taylormade to get out of the way and we’ll let you know when we’re ready for logo stamping.

  8. 15th Club

    Mar 30, 2020 at 1:05 pm

    If his X100’s are “tipped 1/4 inch” does that mean that they are parallel tip shaft blanks?!? If so, his irons are all hosel-drilled at .350″ right? That would sure explain the custom build (as if a “custom build” for Tiger Woods would even require explanation).

    I guess I just never imagined Tiger playing PT iron shafts. Gotta make Ralph Maltby and Tom Wishon smile.

    • TG

      Mar 30, 2020 at 6:48 pm

      No they are still taper tip shafts (0.355) by tipping them a quarter inch it is reducing the taper at the hosel making them play just a touch stiffer then a “standard” straight in X100. They just take the tour issue tag to another level and make sure that they are exactly 130 grams. Standard TI Dynamic Golds are +- 2 grams i believe. It may be +- 1 gram but either way its just making sure they are perfect.

    • Mike T

      Mar 30, 2020 at 7:12 pm

      No I think the standard DG tour issue x100 with 1/4″ tipping will still fit into the hosel as is

    • 15th Club

      Mar 31, 2020 at 4:01 pm

      I typed.350, but PT iron shafts would actually be .370. Minor self-correction.

      btw, I also accept the notion that a small bit of tipping like 1/4” is something you could get away with in a taper tip. Appreciate the replies.

  9. stephen hall

    Mar 30, 2020 at 12:29 pm

    GREAT…

  10. Jordan

    Mar 30, 2020 at 10:50 am

    Well looks like I’m ripping all the labels off my shafts now since the boss man does it

  11. Ryan

    Mar 30, 2020 at 10:12 am

    Wish the retail release would have been to his actual specs, would have been cool.

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Equipment

Golf 101: 5 Tips to building your golf bag with CH3 (+ Charles Howell III WITB)

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I think at this point it’s safe to say that Charles Howell III is the adopted son and patron saint of WRX.

Not only is he a member of the site and visits regularly, but he’s also an avid club nerd and tester. I’ve become friends with CH3 over the past couple of years and have had some fun gear geek sessions with him. Want to know the coolest thing of all? He’s still as passionate and curious about gear as we are and not just Titleist (who he is on staff with) he’s curious about it all.

So who better to ask about how to build a great golf bag than with a man who knows it, does, and plays for his livelihood week in and week out?

These are 5 Charles Howell III golden nuggets that any golfer can learn from—and oh yeah, his take on the future is spot on.

Rule #1: Stability over speed no matter what

“Even for the guys on tour, stabilizing the clubface is paramount to good driving. One of the reasons I love testing shafts so often is to see if there is that magic combo of speed and control. However, the stability of the clubhead and shaft have to be there—I could find a combo that’s 20 yards longer, but if it’s something I can’t control, it doesn’t have a place in my bag. Extra yardage is fun until it isn’t.”

Rule #2: Find wedges that can do it all

“I chose the Vokey SM8 M Grind in the 56 and 60, because as the grind spectrum goes, they fall dead in the middle for me but everyone is different. I discovered that finding a middle ground grind wise solves the “different wedges for different grass problems” some players find themselves in. Even at Augusta, there was more Bermuda sticking out than normal which made shots from behind 15 different for example a little trickier. Not only are you chipping back towards a downslope with water behind, but it’s also now into the grain. Knowing I had wedges to combat either scenario made it that much easier. As a player, you have to put all the grinds through the paces and see what one checks off the most boxes. It might be something you never considered.”

Rule #3 Forgiveness looks different for every player

“Iron set makeups have changed so much in recent years. Pay attention to the soles when choosing your irons, even in the longer irons. It would be easy to think that bigger heads wider soles would be a no-brainer to hit, but to be honest, it’s not that simple. Sometimes finding a sole that will help the club get in and out of the ground easily will get you that center contact you were looking for. Although guys on tour may choose beefier long irons, it’s pretty rare to find one with a really wide sole. Soles that large encourage a player to try and sweep it off the turf which is counter-intuitive with an iron in your hand. When getting fit, pay attention to attack angles and center contact with your longer clubs; you may find that thinner soles help you more than anything else.”

Rule #4 Enjoy the process of learning and testing

“Obviously playing for a living gives me the advantage of testing a ton of stuff, but it’s just as fun doing the research at home (online) and understanding what certain equipment can do and the idea behind it. I still rely on testing as much as I can to see what works but it’s the pursuit of knowledge that keeps it all fresh week in and week out. Technology is so good these days but like anything you have to ask questions, look around try some stuff and then make a decision. Remember it’s your golf bag, take some pride in demanding that every inch of it works for you.

Eyes on the future…

“I think as we go down this Bryson/distance chase, the ultimate result on tour will be a lot of two driver bags. Look at it this way, having a 47-inch driver for long bombs, and a 44.5 inch for tighter drives, and a 4-wood isn’t all that hard to imagine. Players can tweak lofts in the irons and wedges easily to adjust to gapping. It’s not rocket science, and I don’t think we are that far from seeing multiple players on tour doing it that way.”

Charles Howell III WITB

Driver: Titleist TSI3 (10.5 degrees, A1 SureFit setting)

Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD XC 6 TX

3-wood: Ping G425 LST (14.5 degrees)

Shaft: Fujikura Atmos Black Tour Spec 8 X

7-wood: Ping G425 Max (20.5 degrees @20)

Shaft: Fujikura Atmos Black Tour Spec 9 X

Irons: Titleist T100 (4-6) 620 MB (7-9)

Shafts: Project X LZ 6.5 (hard stepped)

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM8 (48-10F @47, 52-12F, 56-08M, 60-08M)

Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: Scotty Cameron 009M

Ball: Titleist Pro V1

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Align

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GolfWRX Classifieds (12/3/20): Mavrik SubZero, rare Scotty Cameron, Wilson Staff

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At GolfWRX, we love golf equipment plain and simple

We are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment for the game in many ways. It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball, it even allows us to share another thing – the equipment itself.

One of the best ways to enjoy equipment is to experiment and whether you are looking to buy-sell-or trade (as the name suggests) you can find almost anything in the GolfWRX BST Forum. From one-off custom Scotty Cameron Circle T putters, to iron sets, wedges, and barely hit drivers, you can find it all in our constantly updated marketplace.

These are some of the latest cool finds from the GolfWRX BST, and if you are curious about the rules to participate in the BST Forum you can check them out here: GolfWRX BST Rules

Member CLRMTgolfer – Wilson Staff forged combo set

This is one extremely nice custom combo set of irons from Wilson golf – from blades, all the way to the Staff utility, this set has everything you need for shotmaking.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Wilson staff iron set

Member EHSgolf1 – Callaway Mavrik SubZero driver

Your chance to get an almost new Callaway Mavrik SubZero for less than new price!

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Callaway SubZero

Member Champ 2430 – Scotty Cameron Timeless longneck prototype

As they say “if you know you know” and this rare Scotty Cameron Prototype longneck is a thing of beauty – the only thing is I really hope you have a big golfing budget.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Rare longneck Cameron

Remember that you can always browse the GolfWRX Classifieds any time here in our forums: GolfWRX Classifieds

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Adidas X Vice Golf launch The Vice Golf Shoe by Adidas

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Adidas has teamed up with Vice Golf to launch the new Vice Golf Shoe inspired from off the course which includes a dozen Vice Pro Drip Lime x Adidas golf balls.

The Vice Golf Shoe from Adidas contains ultraboost and a signature lime-green colorway to accent the designs for life both on and off the golf course. The shoe features a camouflage pattern in gray and white on the top of the shoe, while a brand-new drip pattern decorates the boost material at the bottom.

The shoe features branding “discoverables”, such as a subtle Vice logo on the tongue of the shoe while a collab logo is celebrated within. The company’s motto “Embrace Your Vice” runs down the spine of the heel, while another Vice logo lives underneath the 3-stripe caging on the inside of the foot.

If golfers want a brighter color pop, the alternate neon lime laces give that option.

“Based in Bavaria like Adidas, we have always looked up to this global ambassador and brand that has made big moves in both the golf and footwear in recent years. It is a great honor to finally present the result of 22 months of work with tears of happiness when the final pair of shoes arrived” – Vice Golf founder and CEO Ingo Duellmann

In addition to the shoe, the packaging of the Vice Golf Shoe by Adidas is made to look, feel and act exactly like their signature golf ball packages. 

The bottom of the box is wrapped in a neon lime camouflage pattern, and the top cover features the exact, embossed Vice logo colored in neon lime drip pattern as seen and felt on the brand’s golf ball packaging. The connection continues after lifting the lid and discovering an actual box of Vice Pro Drip Lime golf balls, with Adidas logos, sitting in its own compartment.

The Vice Golf Shoe from Adidas (plus one dozen Vice Pro Drip Lime X Adidas golf balls) costs $219.95 and is available to purchase from December 7, 2020, 11 AM EST at ViceGolf.com.

 

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