With the golf equipment market booming, TaylorMade is pushing ahead with the release of its three new P7 series irons – the P7MB, P7MC and the P770.
Just one guy’s opinion here but, frankly, the first two look like solid-enough designs elevated by descriptive language borrowed heavily from Mizuno’s linguistic playbook. The third, the P770, offers a simple story but packs a powerful punch that could redefine a category that has perhaps lost its way.
Each of the three models targets the better player, though there’s some wiggle room with the P770. Its market appeal should prove to be orders of magnitude higher than the other two (probably combined), so let’s start there.
TaylorMade’s tagline for P770 is Let the Sibling Rivalry Begin. That rivalry is with the P790 which is, by any reasonable measure, P770’s big brother. P770 has got Speed Foam, tungsten weighting (up to 46 grams) and Thru Slot Speed Pockets. Cosmetically, the design is cleaner than P790 (“clean” is a theme across all of TaylorMade’s new irons) but the shape is similar, though smaller enough to matter.
In nearly every respect, the P770 is P790’s Mini-Me and I say that with the greatest of admiration for what TaylorMade has done with this iron and for the category in which it fits.
That category is “player’s distance” and while I might be getting ahead of myself (P770 isn’t even on shelves yet), I believe it has the potential to be a category-redefining iron.
My thinking goes back to the Titleist T100S and the idea of putting the player back in the player’s distance category. As the category has evolved, designs have shifted to the point where the majority over-emphasizes distance at the expense of the size and shape preferred by the better player. With each passing season, the player’s distance category moves closer to something that could be labeled “nicer-looking game-improvement clubs”.
What I like about the TaylorMade approach and why I think it will resonate with the target golfer is that while it reemphasizes the player, the design remains true to what I think the player’s distance category should be. P770 is a high-tech, hollow-body (including goo-filled design) that emphasizes speed and distance while retaining a compact, eye-pleasing footprint.
Call it getting back to your roots; P770 could signal the rest of the industry to press reset on their player’s distance designs.
TaylorMade P770 versus P790
TaylorMade has fitted golfers with handicaps from plus-4 to 25 into P790. Appealing to a spread of golfers that broad is how you lay claim to the No. 1 position in the category. Across those P790 players, 30 percent have a handicap of seven or better. Those better golfers represent the meaty part of the TaylorMade P770 target demographic.
TaylorMade expects the average P770 buyer will be around a five handicap. There’s no floor, as the compact size should appeal to plus handicaps. And while the smaller design skews towards the better player, the expectation is that plenty of 15 handicaps will choose P770.
That’s not a stretch. There are plenty of 15s who choose to play blades so this strikes me as a better option.
As always, your mileage may vary, but TaylorMade says that despite the smaller package, P770 keeps up with P790 yard for yard, though it’s reasonable to assume you can expect some fall off in forgiveness.
TaylorMade P770 Specs
Know Your Audience
Across the new P-Series lineup, you’ll find plenty of Mizuno-esque language to describe the aesthetics of the new models. High buff satin designs are clean and elegant. Nothing will look out of place next to your finest flatware.
I joke, but this attention to aesthetic detail (and the promotion thereof) across the new lineup suggests TaylorMade is making a concerted effort to appeal to the better player. It’s speaking the language or, at a minimum, telling that player precisely what he wants to hear. From the MB to the P770, designs are clean, lines flow and light contrasts with dark to make each of the products more visually intriguing.
TaylorMade’s performance is seldom in doubt which leaves the task of further elevating the brand resting on TaylorMade’s ability to connect with the discerning golfer who appreciates attention to the smallest details.
TaylorMade describes the P7MC and P7MB as meticulously crafted contemporary takes on classic designs. It’s perhaps a bit of an oversell but I’ll concede what follows is some of the company’s best work in the better player space.
At face value, the P7MB might seem a curious release. TaylorMade already has the P7TW (Tiger Woods Blade) and, for the most part, a blade is a blade. What differences exist between any two in the market typically boil down to the finer details of shape – the shape of the toe flows to the topline, the thickness of the topline, that sort of thing.
Pair that with the reality that blade sales are so minimal that they could get lost in a rounding error in the monthly market share report and TaylorMade’s decision to roll out a second blade is more than a little unusual.
TaylorMade’s justification for blade No. 2 is that, on specs alone, Tiger’s irons aren’t for everyone (you don’t say!) and so it needs a mainstream blade (insomuch as such a thing exists) that’s separate from Tiger’s iron.
It’s also true in that an effort to position the P7TW as a premium, TaylorMade offers it only as a full set to address the needs of golfers who want to buy a few blades as part of a combo set, something else had to come to market.
So that gets us P7MB, and because TaylorMade pays its tour staff big money so you can bet it’s going to lean on them for some input into the design.
To that end, P7MB blade lengths are a bit longer than the P730 but it’s consistent throughout the set. That came from feedback from Dustin Johnson. Rory wanted less offset. Apparently, everyone agreed to keep the sole geometry largely the same.
Compact Grain Forging
TaylorMade is touting a new forging process for P7 MC. It’s called Compact Grain Forging – a phrase that bears a passing similarity to Mizuno’s Grain Flow Forging HD. The critical detail in the TaylorMade approach is that it’s a five-step process that leverages a 2,000-ton press to pound the clubhead into its final shape. For context, TaylorMade says that’s two to three times heavier than standard forging equipment. By Compact Grain Forging 1025 steel, TaylorMade can better control the structure of the micrograins, which results in the best possible feel.
(Pause for chin scratch.)
As with most any other blade, the trade-off curves offer you workability and control at the expense of forgiveness. While the P7MB looks pretty, unless I’ve mentioned you by name in this story, you probably have no business buying more than three of them.
TaylorMade P7MB Specs
For every blade on the market, there’s invariably a more sensible cavity-back alternative and so here you go. With the P7MC, you still get the compact design that many players crave. You get some workability, too. And while it’s not nearly as forgiving as anything in the SIM iron family or P-anything else without TW or MB in the name, you get a little bit of forgiveness by way of perimeter weighting on the off chance you don’t quite hit the sweet spot.
Like the P7MB, the P7MC is Compact Grain Forged from 1025 carbon steel. The cavity detailing reminds me of some of TaylorMade’s older RAC stuff. The contrast between the cavity and perimeter finishes makes for an aesthetically pleasing package. One of the more intriguing details is the T-Bug (the TaylorMade Logo). It’s forged into the design and has a high-polish finish that really makes it pop. TaylorMade says it speaks to the craftsmanship of the design.
The rest of the design is boilerplate for the category. Offset remains minimal. The topline is thin. The intent is to pair seamlessly with the P7MB in a combo set.
TaylorMade P7MC Specs
Combo Sets Made Easy
The majority of clubs outside the game-improvement category are designed to be mixed and matched to provide targeted performance in a way that a single set sometimes can’t. To make assembling your perfect set of TaylorMade irons a bit easier, the company has created a really cool guide. Broken down by the level of forgiveness you’re looking for, TaylorMade provides loft adjustment recommendations for pretty much every reasonable combination of P-Series irons. Even if you’re not planning to buy TaylorMade irons, it’s worth checking out for general guidance on gapping irons.
Golf clap, guys.
TaylorMade P770, P7MB, and P7MC Pricing and Availability
The TaylorMade P770, P7MB and P7MC are available for pre-order Aug. 14. Retail availability begins on Sept. 4. The retail price for all three models is $1,399. All three models are available for both right- and left-handed golfers.
For more information, visit TaylorMadeGolf.com.