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Tommy Fleetwood’s TF Proto “2.5-iron” at the 2022 U.S. Open

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For the last several years, Tommy Fleetwood has been part of a new wave of PGA Tour players who mostly opt to use a 7-wood in place of a 3-iron. High-lofted fairway options in the modern game help offer increased forgiveness, enhanced workability, greater versatility and higher launch for more stopping power on slick greens from long distances.

However, when the winds are high, or on particular courses, Fleetwood carries a 3-iron for a more penetrating ball flight. His latest 7-wood replacement provides even lower launch; it’s a long iron that his caddie refers to as a “2.5-iron.”

On Wednesday at the 2022 U.S. Open, Fleetwood had two 3-iron options in the bag; one is a TaylorMade P-7TW 3-iron (20 degrees), and the other is a TaylorMade “TF Proto” 3-iron (18 degrees). He won’t keep both in the bag during competition, so he’ll make the decision between them come competition time on Thursday.

Fleetwood’s caddie Ian Finnis calls the 18-degree TF Proto iron a “2.5 iron” due to its lower loft. Finnis also says that Fleetwood hits the 18-degree option “about 20 yards further” than his weaker-lofted P-7TW.

If the TF Proto iron does end up going into play at the U.S. Open on Thursday, it wouldn’t be the first time he’d be using the club in competition.

At the 2022 Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club, Fleetwood switched into the TF Proto 2.5-iron to hit low-flighted missiles that better navigated the blustery Texas winds.

But his experience with the TF Proto iron actually goes back even farther than that.

In 2019, as an equipment free agent, Fleetwood was using TaylorMade’s P-7TW prototype irons, which were designed for Tiger Woods. Then, in September 2020, just months before officially signing with TaylorMade that December, Fleetwood switched into his own set of TaylorMade “TF Proto” irons. The TF Proto name and aesthetics of the iron were reminiscent of the company’s other custom builds for players, such as Rory McIlroy’s “Rors Proto” irons, Justin Rose’s “Rose Proto” irons, and Dustin Johnson’s “DJ Proto” irons.

The TF Protos didn’t last in Fleetwood’s bag, as he switched back into P-7TW irons in 2021, and he still plays them currently. Well, that is, aside from when he dug back into his stash of TF Proto irons to bring back the low-lofted “2.5 iron” at Colonial late last month.

The TF Proto iron might just make another appearance at the 2022 U.S. Open this week, too. We’ll be on the lookout and update this story with more info when we confirm his game-time setup.

See more photos of the TF Proto 2.5 iron here.

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He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team and earned a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

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Equipment

Rounding out the lineup: Fujikura Ventus TR Red, Black

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What you need to know: Fujikura introduced the second-generation of its Ventus line with Ventus TR Blue in January. As expected, and as was the case with the original Ventus Blue, Fujikura is now adding Ventus TR Red (mid-high launch), and Ventus TR Black (low launch) to the family.

What’s new

Spread Tow: Improving on the original Ventus Red and Ventus black design, and like Ventus TR Blue, TR Red and TR Black feature “Spread Tow” fabric in the butt-end section to increase torsional stiffness. Spread Tow, essentially, is a checkerboard-like design that weaves fibers together to increase strength and reduce weight. According to Fujikura, the torque is 10 percent stiffer in the section that uses this design.

Additional technology

The Ventus family’s secret sauce is still “VeloCore,” which is a multi-material construction that uses ultra-stiff Pitch 70 Ton carbon fiber to increase stiffness. This enables players to hit the center of the face more often due to a reduction in twisting and droop on the downswing.

Per Fujikura, Enso analytics continue to shown one of the highest stress points of the shaft is the mid/handle section during the transition and downswing. Accordingly, engineers focused on this section of the shaft in the development of Ventus TR with the goal of minimizing twist and ovalization — and maximizing consistency and stability.

In terms of feel, Fujikura says feel is similar to the original Ventus Red and Black but with increased stiffness and lower launch/spin.

What Fujikura says

Fujikura’s Product Marketing Manager, Spencer Reynolds, explains exactly what Spread Tow is and why it’s effective:

“Essentially, there’s a standard carbon weave and then there’s a Spread Tow carbon weave. What a Spread Tow does is it takes all these individual strands of carbon and irons them flat into a tape, and then weaves those over-under, over-under almost like a checkerboard pattern. So there’s very little space for resin to accumulate, you get super low resin content, and then you also get a lot of strength in varying directions. It can take pull and load in multiple directions. Another benefit is that it’s super lightweight. You’re getting an incredible amount of strength, in an ultra-lightweight package.”

Read much more about Spread Tow and the Ventus TR profile in our Ventus TR Blue launch piece.

Regarding the line extension, Reynolds said:

“Any time we incorporate a new technology into a shaft offering, it’s always in the conversation to expand and integrate that technology into additional profiles. The immediate adoption, success, and performance gains we saw from VENTUS TR Blue led us to enhance the line with additional profiles. Expanding VENTUS TR offerings provides fitters more options in the VENTUS line to fit, and ultimately help a wider range of players improve the performance of their drivers and fairway woods. With six VENTUS profiles available with varying performance characteristics, the VENTUS line is truly firing on all cylinders.”

Pricing and availability

MSRP: $350 through 600-plus authorized Fujikura Charter Dealers and select OEM custom programs

Available at retail: End of August

Flexes: TR Red (R2-X flex, 59 grams – 89 grams), TR Black (S-X flex, 59 grams – 89 grams)

 

 

 

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Whats in the Bag

Sungjae Im WITB 2022 (August)

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Driver: Titleist TSi2 (8 degrees, 0.75 degree flat lie)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI 7 X

3-wood: Titleist TS3 (15 degrees, 0.75 degree flat lie)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI 8 X

Hybrid: Titleist 818 H2 (19 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI 105 X

Irons: Titleist T100 (3-9)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM7 (48-10F @47, 54-08M @53, 60-04L)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Putter: Scotty Cameron Flowback 5 Prototype
Grip: SuperStroke Traxion 1.0PT

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet

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Whats in the Bag

Joohyung Kim’s winning WITB: 2022 Wyndham Championship

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  • Joohyung Kim what’s in the bag accurate as of the Wyndham Championship. Kim’s decision between 2-iron, 3-iron, hybrid is course dependent. More photos from the event here.

Driver: Titleist TSR3 (9 degrees, A1)
Shaft: Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X

3-wood: Titleist TSR3 (13.5 degrees, A1)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei 1K Pro White 70 TX

Irons: Titleist T200 (2-3), Titleist T100 (4-PW)
Shafts: Fujikura Ventus Black HB 10 TX (2), Project X 5.5 (3), Project X 6.0 (4-PW)

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM9 (52-12F, 56-10S), Titleist Vokey Design WedgeWorks Proto (60-A)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Putter: Scotty Cameron TourType GSS Prototype
Grip: SuperStroke Traxion Tour 2.0

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

Grips: Golf Pride MCC, Golf Pride MCC Align (2-PW)

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