Rory McIlroy switches to a 2-iron for Genesis Scottish Open and tries out a persimmon driver
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Written by GolfWRX @GolfWRX
With the Genesis Scottish Open underway, Rory McIlroy is headlining not only the leaderboard with a first-round 64 but also the equipment news while in Scotland. The reigning FedExCup champion sat three shots off Byeong Hun An’s course record 61 after the morning wave at The Renaissance Club.
As many of his fellow Genesis Scottish Open competitors are doing as well, McIlroy is testing out a new, lower-flying driving iron option to replace his usual, higher-flying 5-wood.
McIlroy hits the golf ball higher (and farther) than most PGA TOUR players, which gives him an advantage when playing golf in America, where the weather and course conditions tend to favor a more aerial style of play. In Scotland, however, hitting the ball lower and with less spin helps to keep the ball from getting blown off target by blistery wind conditions.
That’s why he’s likely adding a TaylorMade P760 2-iron to the bag this week.
TaylorMade told GolfWRX.com on Wednesday that the 17-degree 2-iron was built for him previously, and while he was preparing for the Genesis Scottish Open – and the upcoming Open Championship – he brought the 2-iron out of the garage in his Florida home.
The TaylorMade P760 iron model also matches up to the P760 3-and-4 irons that he’s been using regularly within his mixed iron set throughout this season.
GolfWRX.com spoke to McIlroy about the P760 long irons back at the WM Phoenix Open.
“This week, as well, I feel by going back to that 760 long-iron in the 3- and the 4-iron, just to give me a bit more extra flight into the par-5s — I feel like sometimes with the 3- and the 4-iron in the blades they can come in a little flat at times, where the par-5 and the second shots into the par-5s specifically this week are very, very important, so I thought having a little bit more flight on those long irons could be helpful,” McIlroy said.
“(The TaylorMade P760 has) a little bit of a shorter blade length. Sometimes the newer models, whether it be the 770 or the 790, it's a bit of a longer blade length, and I feel like the toe just wants to close over on me a little. Instead of having to mess around with weighting or different shafts or anything, I've played those 760s before, and they've worked really well. It was just an easy transition.”
Aside from the clubs that McIlroy plans to use in competition, he also made equipment news in Scotland by testing out an old persimmon driver.
Using his modern TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus driver, McIlroy is currently the longest driver on the PGA TOUR for the 2022-23 season, averaging 327.6 yards per drive and 184.6 mph of ball speed.
Persimmon drivers, however, are made from blocks of wood, rather than the metal composite designs we see today. Persimmon drivers were the popular design of choice from the 19th century until around the 1980’s when they were finally replaced by newer technologies.
McIlroy’s persimmon experiment helped show exactly how far driver technology has come in the last 40 years.
Rory McIlroy tries persimmon driver before Genesis Scottish Open
As the video above shows, McIlroy’s ball speed dropped to 168.6 mph, with 255.7 yards of carry. To put that in perspective, if McIlroy averaged 168.6 mph of ball speed on the PGA TOUR, he’d be ranked 148th in ball speed (just behind Kevin Streelman, and just ahead of Joel Dahmen).
McIlroy won’t be using a persimmon driver this week as he looks to win again on TOUR this season after victory at THE CJ CUP in South Carolina. That’s good news, too, because if the conditions are just right, he probably outdrives the persimmon driver with his new 2-iron.