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Tommy Fleetwood explains why he uses a mini driver, plus a fun story from his junior days

4 Min Read


Tommy Fleetwood explains why he uses a mini driver, plus a fun story from his junior days

    Written by GolfWRX

    In 1998, just days prior to The Open Championship at Royal Birkdale Golf Club, Lee Janzen, who was coming off his 1998 U.S. Open victory, hosted a golf clinic for the public. During the clinic, Janzen asked if any junior golfers wanted to come up and hit a shot in front of the audience. The prize for doing so was a TaylorMade Burner driver.

    One of the volunteers from the crowd happened to be a 7-year-old Tommy Fleetwood. According to Fleetwood, the Burner driver he earned as a prize was his first ever real driver – or has he calls it, his first “proper” driver.

    Fleetwood, who’s now a 32-year-old PGA TOUR player, has recently brought that story full circle by switching out his previous 3-wood for a new TaylorMade BRNR Mini Driver, which is designed with callbacks to the original, copper-colored TaylorMade Burner driver.

    But wait, what’s a mini driver?

    TaylorMade’s new Mini Driver is a club that’s designed to be larger than a fairway wood, but smaller than a driver, to help golfers gain more distance and accuracy off the tee than a 3-wood, while still launching the ball high enough off the grass to use as an approach club. The BRNR Mini Driver, specifically, uses copper colorways and old versions of the TaylorMade logo to boost the Burner nostalgia factor.

    Tommy Fleetwood's 13.5-degree BRNR Mini Driver. (GolfWRX)

    Tommy Fleetwood's 13.5-degree BRNR Mini Driver. (GolfWRX)

    Fleetwood had a 13.5-degree BRNR Mini Driver in his bag at the RBC Heritage, and he’s continuing to use the club this week at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    Tommy Fleetwood's 13.5-degree BRNR Mini Driver. (GolfWRX)

    Tommy Fleetwood's 13.5-degree BRNR Mini Driver. (GolfWRX)

    Some golfers, though, remain slightly confused about the real-world benefits of a mini driver. Common questions include: “Why not just play a driver and a 3-wood? Why do you need a mini driver AND a driver, isn’t that redundant?”

    To get a better understanding of how the BRNR is used, caught up with Fleetwood on Wednesday before the start of the Wells Fargo Championship.

    The face of Tommy Fleetwood's 13.5-degree BRNR Mini Driver. (GolfWRX)

    The face of Tommy Fleetwood's 13.5-degree BRNR Mini Driver. (GolfWRX)

    Here’s what he had to say:

    “For me, if I HAD to hit a fairway, I’m more comfortable hitting a driver than a 3-wood. I would tee the driver down, and I would hit a little cut, or a neck-y cut in the fairway. The 3-wood isn’t for that. The 3-wood, generally, is a pretty hot club that I’ll hit from 270 or 280 in the fairway on a par 5.

    “You get some courses where a 3-wood is not always that necessary. [With the BRNR] you put a normal swing on it, and it goes a little shorter than a driver, and I’m more comfortable hitting it straight. It’s a replacement for a 3-wood, basically. You could almost think of it in terms of wedges at the low end of the bag. Some people have four wedges, some people only have three, and they have to manufacture a 52 to go 100 yards, or 105 yards. There are different shots. That’s effectively what you do with your main driver, you’d be manufacturing it to hit that shot in the fairway, which is great, but maybe you want something you can just hit.

    “You can still hit it off the ground, and it goes a very similar distance to a 3-wood. It spins enough. It’s not a deep enough face where it’s so far off the bottom that the ball doesn’t rise. So you get a pretty decent strike, enough to get in the air. It’s a big-head 2-wood really.

    “For me, I remember the TaylorMade Burner in 1998. It was my first ever proper driver. Lee Janzen did a clinic, when he was the U.S. Open champ, and it was the Open at Birkdale. I was 7. Some juniors could go up and hit a shot and they gave you like a Burner driver, and I went up and hit a shot, and I got a Burner. It was my first ever proper driver.”

    Tommy Fleetwood's 13.5-degree BRNR Mini Driver. (GolfWRX)

    Tommy Fleetwood's 13.5-degree BRNR Mini Driver. (GolfWRX)

    In terms of launch numbers, how different is the BRNR Mini Driver compared to a normal driver?

    “It’s down a few miles per hour, so that takes the carry off it,” Fleetwood told on Wednesday. “Spin is a fraction higher, around that 3,000-rpm mark. The ball speed is like 3 or 4 mph short of the driver. I’ve got the 13.5-degree head, but there is a 11.5-degree head, as well. If you have the 11, you actually could go mini driver, mini driver (instead of driver and mini driver) at the top-end of the bag. That really would get people talking. That would be awesome. I might do that one day.

    “But Hilton Head (host course of the RBC Heritage Classic) was a great example, because there’s some holes where you can’t actually cut the driver and get it in play. So the mini is a bit straighter and let me hit the shot I really wanted.”

    Maybe TaylorMade’s new BRNR Mini Driver isn’t for everyone, but so far, Fleetwood is finding it more beneficial than a 3-wood, especially as an option off the tee, and he plans to continue using the club this week at Quail Hollow Club.

    Tommy Fleetwood’s unique driving range practice technique

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