The new TaylorMade P7TW irons, according to their co-designer Tiger Woods, are a first for the industry.
“Consumers have never had the opportunity to play irons like mine – until now,” Woods said in unveiling the public availability of the muscleback blade irons he’s been playing since January when he debuted them at the Farmers Insurance Open. It is the culmination of a two-year process for Woods and TaylorMade’s iron design team, said Matt Bovee, senior manager of product creation for irons.
“This is straight out of Tiger’s bag in every way that really matters,” Bovee said. “We tried to duplicate what Tiger’s playing as close as actually possible so the consumer can experience and feel what Tiger is feeling when he hits a golf shot.”
Of course, to experience that kind of feel requires a high level of skill. These are traditionally shaped, muscleback blade irons where the focus is almost entirely on feel, not forgiveness or distance. Perhaps surprisingly to some, that focus on feel required the use of more than just a traditional single-piece, carbon steel forging. The P7TW irons incorporate tungsten strategically placed behind the centre of the face, Bovee said. This is different than the way tungsten is typically used in irons today, where it often is pushed to the toe to add stability or concentrated in the sole to lower the centre of gravity [CG] or increase launch angle.
“If I were to describe it in one word, it would be ‘pure,’” Bovee said. “[Using tungsten] was never been about positioning the CG or adding launch or forgiveness for him. His words are that it has a deeper feel to it.
“It wasn’t until we included tungsten in his irons that we got the final seal of approval from him.”
Woods worked with both the TaylorMade team and long-time iron and wedge designer Mike Taylor. Taylor, who now runs his own custom iron design operation, was formerly part of the Nike Golf equipment team that worked on all of Woods’ clubs. Taylor was instrumental in Woods’ Nike irons and wedges, which he began playing in 2004.
It was Woods’ keen eye for sole shaping that led to a key contribution from the TaylorMade technology platform. The P7TW irons utilise the same computer-controlled milling process that was first developed for the company’s Milled Grind wedges to form the P7TW’s sole design. The process removes the inconsistencies that can be found in a hand-grinding process. That consistency has become increasingly important to Woods at this stage of his career, Bovee said.
“That’s TaylorMade’s largest fingerprints on this iron that makes this iron truly a TaylorMade iron in comparison to anything that he’s ever played,” Bovee said. “He demands perfection when it comes to the sole shape, and honestly, that’s what he used to have to do. He used to have to test eight or more irons per loft to figure out which one felt perfect, which one had the perfect sole geometry. That could be a thousand or more balls just to get the right clubs in his hands. He doesn’t want to have to do that now.
“The Milled Grind sole allows him to completely get away from that. He’s now able to have the confidence that this new set that he’s getting is the same as the last set that he had, and that’s a big win for him.”
Among the distinct aspects of the sole grind on the P7TW irons is a slightly flatter sole radius and slightly more bounce (depending on the loft) compared to typical designs. In addition, Bovee said the groove on the P7TW irons is narrower than typical designs, and there are more grooves on the face.
The lone difference in the actual gamer P7TW irons that Woods plays compared to the consumer P7TW irons is Woods’ irons use weaker lofts.
Of course, you don’t have to be an elite player to purchase the irons. They can be purchased as a collectors’ item, too, and each set will be shipped in a commemorative box that according to the company is “constructed from carefully selected materials.”
While there is no word yet on New Zealand availability and pricing, the P7TW irons are available in the US for pre-order beginning today and are expected to be in stores May 1. The standard offering features True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 Tour Issue shafts and Golf Pride’s Tour Velvet Cord grips, although full custom shaft and grip options are available. The stock set is 3-iron through pitching wedges.