Scotland’s highest ranked golfer has a new set of irons in the bag.
MacIntyre is just one of a number of TaylorMade staffers to stick the brand’s new P•700 Series irons in the bag.
Prior to the WGC - FedEx St. Jude Invitational and PGA Championship, the 24-year-old first made a stop in Carlsbad California so he could visit TaylorMade’s testing headquarters, The Kingdom.
At The Kingdom he spent time getting to grips with the new P•700 Series irons with the help of Adrian Rietveld, TaylorMade’s Senior Tour Manager.
We spoke with Adrian to find out why Bob switched into the new irons straight away, what he is like to work with and why he thinks Bob has what it takes to become a major contender.
Was Bob eager to put the new P•700 Series irons in the bag?
"He had just about worn out his set of P•750 irons, so with coming to The Kingdom for full day’s session, we saw it as a perfect opportunity to build him a couple of sets of the new P•7MB, P•7MC and P•770 irons to test.
"He loved his P•750 irons but during that first testing session it soon became quite clear that he wouldn’t have them in the bag for much longer."
Can you talk us through his fitting?
"The session totalled about six hours, with him just taking a few short breaks throughout it. He was absolutely phenomenal. It was one of the best fitting sessions and one of the best ball-striking displays I have ever seen from one of our players, and that’s including the likes of Rory, DJ, Rahm etc. He possesses such immense talent.
"One reason why Bob used the P•750 model was because we simply didn’t produce a left-handed blade option. With the introduction of P•7MB we are now able to give lefties that pure muscle back design. Watching him stripe those blades was just phenomenal.
"The new P•7MC is of course a closer match to his old P•750s so it wasn’t all that surprising to see him gravitate more towards it as opposed to the blade."
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Was he seeing any performance gains with the P•7MC irons?
"With a player as a good as Bob, and with a forged players iron like the P•7MC, we aren’t looking for jumps in ball speed and distance like we might with a new driver. Instead it is about giving Bob the level of precision and confidence he needs to hit his numbers under pressure.
"With the P•7MC we were seeing slightly tighter back-to-front distance dispersion and slightly more consistent spin rates when compared with his P•750. The gains with irons like these are so marginal but they can make a huge difference when you’re playing on tour.
"He was hitting his windows beautifully with the long irons and also commented on how good the new irons felt through impact.
"He also spoke a lot about the toe sections of the new irons. Our designers work hard to ensure the shaping of the irons are as aesthetically pleasing as possible so it was great for him to pick up on the slight rounding of that section and how each of the new P•700 models flow seamlessly into one another.
"We sent him away with a fresh set of P•750s, a set of the P•7MCs and a few of the P•7MB blades. The proof was in the pudding as he teed it up in his first start at the WGC - FedEx St. Jude Invitational with a full set of MCs in the bag"
Why did the MCs make it into his bag and not the MBs?
"Every player has his or hers miss-hit. It can be a bit towards to toe, striking out of the heel or, in Bob’s case, he misses it about half a groove low on the face. Just a fraction thin you could say.
"There is a certain noise that a blade always makes when you catch it a hair thin. So, with Bob’s miss, we could hear this sound during the testing session. Because he had never played blades before it was a new sensation and a new sound for him.
"When catching it that fraction thin on muscle cavity like the P•7MC you have a little bit more meat in that section of the head. This added forgiveness means you can retain that 1 or 2mph of ball speed and in turn continue to hit close to your intended number even when it isn’t a pure strike.
"As an entirely new sensation to Bob, but something I’m all too used to seeing and hearing with the likes of Rory, DJ and Morikawa, I was able to quickly spot that the MC would probably be the better fit and it makes it likely he’ll stick to the MC for the foreseeable future"
Is it common to see someone switch irons so quickly?
"Not usually. You need to look at irons as individual clubs, not a set of club that are all the exact same.
"Each iron is doing a specific job and has to be viewed individually. It can sometimes take players two to three weeks to dial in a driver so times that amount of testing by eight when you’re talking irons.
"It’s not often that we get a whole day like we did with Bob to work on getting a new set of irons in the bag. It was a massive help and one of the reasons why he was able to switch to the P•7MC so quickly.
"Also, catering for lefties can be tricky sometimes as we won’t always have all of the equipment we need out on tour to make the fitting process run as smoothly as possible. There were no limitations to the session and that is why Bob is probably the player that has benefitted the most from a session at The Kingdom.
"One thing I would add is that we have seen a lot of our pros switching to the new P•700 Series irons over the last few weeks and months so clearly they aren’t taking much time to bed in"
What is Bob like to work with?
"I have two boys. They are five and eight years old. Forget the golf, if they turn out to be like Bob, with the manners, respect, outlook and intelligence that he possesses then it would be a dream come true for me. I would know that I had done my job as father well. He is an absolute class act.
"Although he was European Tour Rookie of the Year last season it’s fair to say that a decent chunk of our US based team weren’t too familiar with him before his visit to The Kingdom.
"I decided to send an email around to give some of my colleagues the heads up that he would be there and asked them to spare five or ten minutes to come and watch this young man at work on the range and to meet him.
"He blew everyone away, not only with his ability to flush the golf ball, but also with his demeanour, personality and passion for the game"
You’ve worked with many talented young golfers in your time on tour, where does Bob rank among them?
"He’s certainly right up there. Bob has all of the attributes to be a great player. He has already shown that with his performances on the European Tour.
"As I mentioned earlier, he is one of the best ball strikers I have worked with but, more importantly, I believe he has the right mind-set and temperament to kick on and start winning big events."
Robert MacIntyre – What’s in the bag
Driver: TaylorMade SIM (9˚, Graphite Design IZ 6X)
Fairway woods: TaylorMade AeroBurner TP (15˚), TaylorMade SIM Max 18˚)
Irons: TaylorMade P•7MC (4-PW, True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100)
Wedges: TaylorMade Hi-Toe (52˚, 56˚, 60˚, True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400)
Putter: TaylorMade Spider X Copper
Ball: TaylorMade TP5x