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Fitting Fleetwood: The inside story of getting new TaylorMade staffer Tommy Fleetwood dialed in for 2021

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If you have read any of my material over the past year, you know I am a huge Tommy Fleetwood fan. Yes, the hair game is strong and his affinity for a mixed set of clubs is awesome, but down to the core, it’s the way he plays that keeps me engaged. Beyond the Big Cat, the last time a player got my attention this much was David Duval. Something in the swing, the strike, and what it looks like when that particular player is in full flight. Something is very special about Tommy Fleetwood.

It was the day after the Masters that I learned that Tommy would be signing with TaylorMade. At the time, the Rahm conspiracy theory was running wild, so the speculation around Tommy wasn’t all that nuts. It’s got to be said that TaylorMade and all manufacturers have been trying to sign Tommy Fleetwood for years. What excited me most about the signing was this

  1. It’s time for Tommy to take full flight and win a bunch, and I think TaylorMade was the perfect fit to get him there.
  2. I was excited for my friend Adrian Rietveld who has been a friend and fitter to Tommy for a long time. Adrian cares deeply about all of his players but needless to say, for him, this one was well earned and special.

I’ll deliver the full WITB with specs below, but first, I reached out to ask Adrian about the process of getting Tommy dialed and what we can expect as we go through the rest of the year.

JW: You have been working with Tommy for a long time. What’s it like now having Tommy officially on Team TaylorMade? Knowing he has been in plenty of TM gear in the past, how does he being a staff player change things?

AR: It gives us more time and structure to get things better, to find measurable performance gain, to help him grow as a world-class player. Tommy believes it is a vital piece of the puzzle that, when done right, gives him the best chance at success. Tommy didn’t come to this decision lightly.

Tommy and I have always had a great relationship, but as a free agent we would only get certain windows of time to work. One of the main factors for him joining our staff was that he felt giving this relationship more time to grow and breathe would give him the best chance to grow and ultimately win. Personally, I’m excited for the challenge, Tommy has very high standards and getting him to where he wants to go will push us all in such an awesome way.

JW: Once it was official, where did you start?

AR: Oddly enough, the first official call to duty wasn’t any fitting or product presentation but rather a conversation between Tommy and I (on Zoom of course) just talking thru our philosophies and how we were gonna push each other to get better. We had one of those inspiring conversations where any question or idea was on the table, and by the end of it, we both knew there was so much work to be done, and it was going to be an awesome journey. This is just the beginning. After almost a month of being in the trenches, it’s a bit surreal to be at round 1. I’m living and dying with every shot, and it’s only day 1!

JW: You use the term “equipment sensitivity” in regards to the greats. Where does Tommy fall on a scale of 1-10?

AR: If you ask me, he’s an 11. Master class. If you ask Tommy, he’d probably think he’s a 5 or a 6. He knows far more than he thinks he does, but he’s still a young lad with talent. He has the work ethic and potential to reach the pinnacle of the game. He’s done well to trust his team up to this point but as he grows and succeeds, I think he will start to believe in his instincts around his gear. That stuff comes with time.

JW: Any changes to his iron setup? 

AR: Well it’s a brand new fresh set of irons. I wanted to build a clean set to start. He only played four TaylorMade irons before (6-9), he had a different 4 and 5-iron in his previous setup in their own spec and has always leaned towards a pitching wedge in a different head and shaft to his irons.

In this case, I built two sets for him, one that was flawlessly matched blades (3-PW) and one that was closer to what he had which could blend with a combo. The blades (3-PW) set was built around the new ball, I knew that the combo of a clean matched set in combo with the TP5X ’21 ball that there would be no turning back, a ball striker of his quality, and a golf ball that’s performance is unmatched with long irons would make him a better player. My instincts were correct, the testing just showed the class of the player. He is as dialed in as ever and it’s an absolutely perfect set of irons.

JW: In regards to the wedges, it sounds like that will take a bit longer. What potential options do you have and what was tested?

AR: How can you prove a golf ball performance is better if you are switching wedges at the same time? Impossible not to second guess where the performance is coming from? His wedge play is supreme, and it was more harmonious to leave that part constant to let the ’21 TP5x shine like I knew it would, and boy did he put the ball through its paces…particularly from 125 yards and in…There has to be a constant, and switching the ball and wedges over complicates things for no reason. The ball is impressive, so I wanted it to shine without any distraction.

JW: Tommy’s TF Proto, any tweaks adjustments made VS the P7TW, or are they just stamped differently? We know the lofts will be a bit stronger than TW’s gamers.

AR: No changes beyond being stamped with TF, which is our way of showing him some love.

JW: He was loyal to the M6 fairways for a long time. What did he like in that head and what you were able to improve on with SIM2?

AR: Simply, the new fairways give him better gapping coverage into the irons. He now has a 3-wood that gives him 280 to 260 coverage and a 5-wood that gives him 260-240 coverage. With his 4-iron carry up to 230 yards, his gapping is dialed. Honestly, I’m so impressed with these new TaylorMade SIM2 fairway woods. With the M6 5-wood, he had a club that just went too far, leaving so much room from 5-wood to 4-iron. That caused the 7-woods, GAPR Irons, etc to come into play. Now that hole is plugged up, and he doesn’t have to mess with the bottom part of his bag to accommodate. That’s a huge benefit.

JW: Let’s talk about the ball switch which in my opinion is huge. Where did he see improvement in regards to Driver, irons, and wedges. I noticed Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, and Tommy Fleetwood have quickly switched into this new TaylorMade TP5x ball…Something special is going on when those three names are mentioned?

AR: Since it’s a prototype ball, I can’t say much in regards to the tech, but I will say in 4-5 weeks of testing, the golf ball never failed once. It’ll be exciting to see him grow into this ball even more and I can’t wait to share more on the ball when the time is right.

Where he was: #WITB 2020 Masters

Driver: Titleist TSi3 (9 degrees @ 8.25, D2 Surefit)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 7 X (tipped 1 inch, 44.75 inches)

3-wood: Titleist TSi2 (15 degrees @ 14.25, C1 Surefit)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black  7 X (42.5 inches)

5-wood: TaylorMade M6 (19 degrees @ 18)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Kuro Kage XTS 80 TX (41.25 inches)

7-Wood: Titleist TSi2 (21 degrees, B1 Surefit)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black  8X (41 inches)

*7-Wood and 4 Iron would flip flop along with a TaylorMade GAPR 3 (21 bonded) w/ a Project X 6.5

Irons: Srixon Z785 (4,5), TaylorMade P7TF (6-9)
Shafts: Project X Rifle 6.5

Wedges: Callaway MD5 Jaws Raw (48-10S @47, 52-10S, 60-08T @59)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue  S400

Putter: Odyssey White Hot Pro 3
Grip: SuperStroke Mid Slim 2.0

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Cord (D, 3W, 5W, 7W and wedges), Iomic Sticky @1pm (Irons)

Ball: Titleist Pro V1

New Tommy Fleetwood 2021 TaylorMade #WITB

Driver: TaylorMade SIM2 Max (10.5 @8.5)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana DF 70TX (tipped 1 inch, 44.75 inches cut)

3-wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Rocket (13.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana DF  70 TX (42.5 inches)

5-wood: TaylorMade SIM2 (19 degrees @ 18.5)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana DF 80 TX (41.25 inches)

Irons: (4-PW) TaylorMade P7TF
Shafts: Project X Rifle 6.5

IRON SPECS: “The Dialed Set”

Loft/Lie/Length/SW

4-22/59/38.5/D3

5-26/59.5/38/D3

6-30/60/37.5/D3

7-34/60.5/37/D3

8-38/61/36.5/D3

9-42/61.5/36/D3

P-47/61.5/35.75/D3

Wedges: Callaway MD5 Jaws Raw (52-10S, [email protected], 60-08T @59)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue  S400

Putter: Odyssey White Hot Pro 3
Grip: SuperStroke Mid Slim 2.0

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Cord (D, 3W, 5W, 7W and wedges), blue Iomic Sticky @1pm (Irons)

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x ’21 Proto #19

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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

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Pingback: Tommy Fleetwood WITB 2021 (October) – GolfWRX

  2. Colin Gillbanks

    Jan 24, 2021 at 6:27 pm

    Love the ‘Everton FC ‘ stamping on his wedge.

    Makes me like even more.

    COYB!

  3. BoomBoom

    Jan 22, 2021 at 7:56 pm

    What caused his old 5 wood to fly farther than the sim2?

  4. Brandon

    Jan 22, 2021 at 7:43 pm

    Absolutely perfect iron specs except for the pw is 1 degree weaker than I like it. Great bag.

  5. Joel Farris

    Jan 21, 2021 at 8:15 pm

    I’m surprised more Taylormade players don’t use the TW irons. Excited to see how his season comes together. Also excited to see this new ball!

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Equipment

KBS TD, 1 One Step: Get to know the first KBS shaft for woods and new putter shaft

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KBS’ TD “Tour Driven” wood shaft is the company’s first entry into the driver/fairway wood market, and the line remains as relevant as it did at launch two years ago

As a refresher, the TD Graphite wood shaft has been designed as a mid-launch/low-spin performance Graphite golf shaft that is designed to optimize the maximum performance and efficiency of spin and launch angles at various swing speeds.

The KBS TD Graphite wood shaft plays lighter and stiffer than other graphite wood shafts on the market in design for excellent performance and superior feel – aided by the new KBS Category Swing Speed System to fit shafts off swing speed alone instead of weight and flex.

KBS TD: The creation

The shaft is designed to fit the widest range of players, with the concept centered around the Kim Braly (KBS R&D and Tour Operations Director) Signature shaft geometry. The shaft features equal reduction in stiffness throughout the length of the shaft for an efficient engine while also loading and unloading for players at an incredibly efficient rate

The TD driver shaft was designed with an El curve that applies the formulas from the KBS Tour iron shaft. The result is a driver shaft that produces a piercing ball flight, with a smooth, extremely stable feel as well as a tight dispersion. 

Instead of then applying the standard R, S and X “flex” principles, Kim Braly developed a fitting matrix that could be applied to fit players into their flex profile.

To do this, Braly looked at swing speed as the baseline while assuming that all other variables the fitters address are neutral, including tempo, ball speed, launch angle, spin rate, angle of descent, distance and dispersion.

The result? The development of a matrix of weights and categories. 40, 50, 60, 70 and 80 grams. And categories 1-5. The baseline swing speed chart is as follows: 

If a player then wanted to know what category represented what flex, it would be the following:

The system, though, as with other KBS shafts, is not designed or fit to a “flex” but a flex profile.

Speaking on the new addition and the first foray into the driver/fairway wood market, Kim Braly, R&D and Tour Operations Director stated

“I’ve been asked the question of when we were going to enter the wood shaft market for many years and my answer was always not until we’re 100% happy with the product and we can make an even bigger impact with a full set of shafts throughout the bag.

We’ve worked tirelessly with our Tour players and R&D team to perfect our first wood shaft which has all the characteristics of a KBS shaft. We’ve designed it to offer optimized spin rate and launch, which equals more power and distance on every shot with the driver and fairway woods.”

KBS 1 One Step putter shaft

In addition to the TD Graphite wood shaft, KBS has also recently introduced its new 1 One Step putter shaft.

Weighing six grams more than conventional putters at 130g, the 1 One Step Putter Shaft is a single bend, straight tip model .370 in diameter that provides golfers with more flexibility in creating a pure amplified feel and reduced vibration at impact for more accurate and consistent putts.

On the 1 One Step putter shaft, Braly had this to say

“On average, around 45% of strokes per round involve your putter, so we wanted to create a shaft with varying putter head weights per stroke that puts more confidence in the hands of those who currently aren’t that confident on the greens. 

“A lot of time and investment has gone into producing another putter shaft that can be played by a Tour pro or a higher handicapper. On the green it’s all about feel and the 1 One Step creates that pure feel, enabling a smooth stable stroke each and every time. The research we did saw many more putts holed, so I’m excited to see how golfers react to it.”

As the second putter shaft to be created by KBS, the 1 One Step shaft follows the popular CT Tour version launched in 2019 and comes in Chrome, Black Matte, and Black Gloss finishes.

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Bettinardi unveils 2022 BB Series and Inovai Series putters

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Bettinardi Golf has today announced its updated production putter lines: the 2022 BB Series and Inovai lineup.

The lineup features an upgraded BB Series and Inovai 6.0 series while introducing the all-new high MOI Inovai 8.0.

Inovai 6.0

Featured on the 2022 Inovai 6.0 and 8.0 models is Bettinardi’s newest Roll Control face milling, which has been scientifically engineered with an asymmetrical design groove profile in design to promote more topspin at impact to put the ball into a true roll faster.

Without the use of inserts, the Roll Control face aims to give players excellent feel and optimal audible feedback at impact.

The Inovai 6.0 has been updated from an aesthetic standpoint, with the head reduced by 5% to offer a more compact head shape in design to promote optimal visual alignment.

The Bettinardi patented Roll Control face now adorns all 4 of the models in the Inovai 6.0 lineup, which includes a slant neck, a spudneck in both right-handed and left-handed and center-shafted models.

Speaking on the Inovai 6.0 models, Vice President Sam Bettinardi said

“The Inovai 6.0 has been one of the most successful head shapes we have ever created. With two years of Tour feedback, we were able to refine the 6.0 with a 5% smaller head from heel to toe, offering a sleek, more compact design than its predecessor. We are proud to bring this Tour-proven model to golfers around the world.”

Inovai 8.0

The Inovai 8.0 is an all-new addition to the Inovai family, blending Bettinardi’s latest technology with the brand’s Roll Control face milling, creating an all-new head design inspired by Tour feedback.

Precision milled from 303 Stainless Steel, and 6061 Military Grade aluminum, the bi-metal technology on the Inovai 8.0 is designed to optimize weight distribution with more mass in the rear of the putter for greater forgiveness and stability.

The 8.0 is available in four offerings, including slant neck, left-handed slant neck, spudneck, and for the first time in Bettinardi’s Armlock technology.

On the Inovai 8.0, Vice President Sam Bettinardi said

“The Inovai 8.0 adds a new level of innovation to Bettinardi Golf. We are now able to enter the ever-growing compact mallet segment with all of the performance characteristics that our Tour players have asked for. This new model is a game changer for the Bettinardi brand, and we cannot wait for players of all calibers to put this new design into play.”

BB Series of Putters

The BB series of putters feature Flymill face milling and arrive in a graphite gray PVD finish. Precision milled from 303 Stainless Steel; the release contains the new BB46 model for the 2022 lineup.

The 2022 BB Series features four unique models: the BB1, which comes in both right-handed and left-handed versions; the BB1F (Flow); the BB8W (Wide); and the new addition to the line, the mid-mallet BB46.

Speaking on the 2022 BB Series, Founder and CEO of Bettinardi Golf, Robert J. Bettinardi, said

“Bettinardi Golf is proud to continue the tradition of American made craftsmanship and ingenuity, creating our most timeless and advanced BB Series to date. Our all-new BB Series is now milled out of a solid block of 303 Stainless Steel and features our all-new Aggressive Flymill face milling, finished with our gorgeous graphite gray PVD finish that gives this series of putters a Tour inspired look, feel, and performance.”

The first opportunity to purchase the 2022 product line will take place during Bettinardi’s special-edition Black Friday Hive release at www.bettinardi.com, which is set for November 26th at 10 a.m. CST.

For this release, all new models will be available in a special blackout finish, paired with a black shaft, matching series black headcover, and Bettinardi Lamkin SinkFit grip.

The official launch of all production putters is set for March 2022.

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Best irons for tight fairways? – GolfWRXers discuss

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In our forums, our members have been discussing the best irons for tight lies.

WRXer ‘Bogeyboy15’ is down in Florida playing on some tight lies, and his current irons aren’t doing it for him. He reaches out to fellow members who have been sharing their iron picks that are most suited to tight fairways.

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.

  • scooterhd2: “Srixon. Great off tight AZ fairways.”
  • lefty1978: “Any Mizuno blade made in the past 20 years.”
  • toddba11: “Wilson Staff Blades 2020, thinner sole, but nice for tighter lies…and not that hard to hit.”
  • wam78: “Wilson Staff MB or CB. Fantastic irons! The CB have a little more forgiving sole but not overly wide. They have a really nice sole that glides through the turf. Had no issues with them in Dallas playing off hard pan.”

Entire Thread: “Best irons for tight fairways? – GolfWRXers discuss

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