March 23, 2022
By GolfWRX, PGATOUR.COM
- A look at one of Scottie Scheffler's TaylorMade irons. (Courtesy of GolfWRX)
When Scottie Scheffler signed with TaylorMade on the eve of THE PLAYERS, he joined a TOUR staff that also includes Tiger Woods.
Scheffler’s signing came shortly after he picked up his first two PGA TOUR wins at the Waste Management Phoenix Open and Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard. Those victories vaulted him atop the FedExCup standings.
Scheffler and Woods don’t just have the same equipment sponsor now. They use the same irons, as well. Scheffler was a free agent before signing with TaylorMade a couple weeks ago, but he began using the company’s P-7TW irons last year. The clubs bear Woods’ initials because he had a hand in designing them. He also used them to win the 2019 Masters.
To learn about the birth of the P-7TW irons, you’d have to go all the way back to January 2017, when Woods first signed with TaylorMade Golf (and Scheffler was still at the University of Texas).
TaylorMade had an arduous task back then. The company had to design a set of irons that Woods felt comfortable using in competition, and that would live up to his incredibly high demands in regards to looks, feel, performance and specifications.
“Throughout my career it’s been based on hands and feel,” Woods said in a 2019 YouTube video by TaylorMade. “My dad used to always tell me that the only direct contact you have with your golf club is with your hands. And if I feel something is slightly off, even a grip diameter could be just a fraction off, there might be a bubble underneath the grip, I can feel that. But then it’s the feel of the shot. If I feel something as it comes off that shaft, and I know where that ball should be in that window, and it’s not there, we have a problem. We need to address that, we need to talk about it, and we need to fix it.”
For decades prior to joining TaylorMade, Woods used irons made by master craftsman Mike Taylor (formerly of Nike Golf, and currently with Artisan Golf). Woods is notoriously exacting when it comes to his irons, and as the legend goes, he can feel even the slightest difference in specs.
“I think the biggest thing when we looked at Tiger’s (previous) specs was the level of granularity, and how in-depth and precise it was,” said Paul Demkowski, Manager of Product Development at TaylorMade. “A human hair is like six thousandths of an inch. His specs are down to the thousandths of an inch, and he can see that and feel the difference.”
With that level of precision needed, TaylorMade began crafting prototypes. As expected, the task wasn’t easy.
“I’m not sure how many different 6-irons we made him initially, but I would have to say it’s eight or nine before we actually got to a place where we actually got the flight, launch and spin right,” said Keith Sbarbaro, TaylorMade’s VP of Tour Operations.
Woods initially started using TaylorMade’s “TW Phase 1” irons in 2018, and then switched into the TaylorMade P-7TW irons that hit the retail market in 2019 (and end up in Scheffler’s bag two years later).
The P-7TW irons are special because they match exactly the look, feel and performance that Woods was looking for. That means the blade lengths, face height, center of gravity locations, and sole geometries all were fit to Woods’ liking. They also use heavy tungsten weighting behind the face to provide the deep feel and flight windows that Woods prefers.
“My iron game got better when we put the tungsten in the head just behind the sweet spot,” Woods said. “For some reason, it not only made it feel deeper, but more importantly, my ball flight became more consistent. I didn’t have the kick-ups; it had a much more penetrating ball flight. I’ve always liked a harder, deeper feel to it. The tungsten gave me that type of feel and that type of reaction that I had been looking for. It’s been a lot of years and we never really got it right until these versions.”
The TaylorMade P-7TW irons also go through TaylorMade’s “milled grind” machine milling process to ensure every iron has the same exact specs. That allowed Woods to have confidence that when he wore out a set, he could switch into a new set without worrying that something was amiss
“The fact that I’m getting the same exact head that I just wore out is huge,” Woods said in a YouTube video by TaylorMade. “There’s really no variance between club-to-club, set-to-set. Now having the milled grinds, well, duh, I can have a new set every week.”
Now, as Scheffler takes on the field at the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play, he’ll be using the same P-7TW iron heads that Woods, a three-time winner of the event, helped design. Scheffler also is using the same True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 Tour Issue shafts that Woods uses, as well.
Given Woods’ unmatched dominance in match play, maybe the irons can help Scheffler add another title to this year’s impressive haul after finishing runner-up last year at Austin Country Club.