TaylorMade P7MB: New Muscle Back Blades? Risk of traffic jam on the Player range?

During the summer of 2020, the American brand TaylorMade significantly reworked its product portfolio, and in particular, its series of irons for golfers looking for precision, rather than additional distance. Now, TaylorMade is going to offer you 8 different sets of irons, including the new P7MB, a series of blades called Muscleback. How do you navigate in this offer? What are the real selection criteria? And most important, is this P7MB series really unplayable for an amateur golfer?

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In recent years, golf equipment brands have started to increase the series of irons, and in particular with a view to fitting, to offer a head adapted to each profile of golfer.

Mizuno, Srixon, Japanese brands were among the first brands to create variations, which one could wonder if they were really so necessary?

In fact, the brands saw that there was a new opportunity to increase sales, ultimately copying the model already seen in the shafts: Increase the number of combinations, and solutions.

Golfers, better informed about the equipment, more demanding, and for the most passionate and consumers, more concerned with details, first of all set out to find the right shafts, and adapted to their game project, their wish. trajectories ...

Regarding the heads, finally between 30, 32 or 34 degrees of loft, there are indeed 2 degrees of gap each time!

Why not close this gap, and offer a set for every possible loft?

If, until recently, we could segment the range of irons into 2 main families and 6 sub-families, this fragile nomenclature (brands wrongly like to maintain a form of opacity on reading or interpretation of their offers) was shattered again.

For example, today TaylorMade offers 8 sets of clubs, for as many different needs.

If the American brand, like the rest of the market, maintains a separation between “Improvment” and “player”, on the one hand, the sets for amateur golfers in search of progression, and on the other hand, the set for golfers already in a strong logic of performance, a third separation appeared, which at the beginning was an embryonic market, and now, has taken a significant place, a kind of bridge between “improvment” and “player”.

At first, I called this category "Forged Tolerant" before changing my mind, and trying to call it "player large back".

The difficulty I encounter is that no brand really takes responsibility for giving a name to this new hybrid category, halfway between two great, yet very different universes.

Like the TaylorMade P770, this is a set of irons that look like blades, but are not really, to the point that you might be mistaken.

Forged Tolerant is an effective and meaningful name, but it does cause a problem.

The club is not necessarily always forged in the best sense of the word, namely forged in one piece.

Still taking the example of the P770, if the club was forged, in addition, we added tungsten in the cavity, and dig a slot under the sole to insert the Speed ​​Pocket!

"Player large back" then seemed to fit better, because the club does have a slightly wider sole compared to a P7MB, a much more traditional blade.

However, seeing the new TaylorMade 2020 clubs, P7MC, P770 and P7MB, I wonder if the word "player" still makes sense.

What if we had to admit that golfers no longer break down into two single large families, improvment and player (roughly, more than 10 handicap and less than 10 handicap to caricature in the extreme, and while the index is not the right benchmark to distinguish clubs), and now rather in three categories: Those who seek distance at all costs (especially because they lack of it, and need help to lift the ball, those who who seek precision at all costs with P7MB type blades, and finally a third category between the two.

This third category would represent amateur golfers who have improved enough to begin to have ambition in distance control, while still being a little intimidated, at the idea of ​​playing "champion" clubs.

We could call these players the "future players" or apprentice good players in the making.

This definition would thus make it possible to better understand the brands' strategy, and in particular how they could help you progress with suitable clubs.

If I don't do this definition work, then it's impossible for me to justify the existence of the new P770, compared to the new P7MB.

The P770 represents precisely this new category of irons that seems to be blades, without having precisely the characteristics of lofts, offsets, and sole widths.

Unlike the new P7MB, the P770 is a bit like the Canada Dry of the blades: It has the color, the shape, and possibly the “feel”, but it's not exactly a muscleback blade with the most characteristic features. more critical.

Although this article should be dedicated to the P7MB sets only, I felt compelled to go over the whole classification of the 8 new TaylorMade series, and in particular to see more clearly.

This table therefore transcribes for a 7 iron, the essential characteristics that can help you in your choice.

By the way, this helps to illustrate the real small differences between the new P7MB sets, and the P7TW sets already offered by TaylorMade, and yet on the same niche, namely Muscle Back blades.

The sets are classified from the most accessible to the most delicate to handle (in theory).

It is mainly the loft, the size of the sole, the offset and the swing weight that determines this.

On reading this table, we understand more clearly the logic of the manufacturer.

Let's take an example: Your main problem is the slice, and what's more, a lack of distance.

At TaylorMade, you'll need to go for the sets with the most offset and the smallest lofts.

Conversely, distance is not a problem for you, and you do not slice.

On the contrary, your balls can go left on hook (if you are right handed), in this case, limit the value of the offset.

Running out of swing speed?

The length of the shafts of the SIM MAX and SIM MAX OS series has been extended ...

A blade, is it really difficult to play?

Just because a head is only more compact doesn't mean it's not suitable for you.

You have to take into account the swing weight of the club.

Recently, for having made try clubs to an amateur of about fifty, and keen on beautiful clubs, by taking the P770 in the hands, he just said to me "The shaft seems too heavy for me ... but I love this head. "

He got it right in his comment!

What makes the difficulty of a sets of irons, it is not only a question of head, but much more a question of head-shaft combination, and finally of account the total weight of the club, versus the physical capacity of the player to shift that weight during the swing.

A golfer, even a beginner, who does not slice, but instead hooks, would benefit more from a club with less offset, and even a blade, provided it is on a lighter shaft!

Why is the P7TW the most precise set in the range? And in contrast, why would the SIM MAX OS set be the most powerful?

Of the whole range, the P7TW is the most precise, because in addition to the compact head, the loft will allow the most curved trajectories to stop the ball as quickly as possible on the green, coupled with a higher spin rate (backspin).

In addition, with very little offset, the player will be able to give the ball whatever trajectory he wants (sidespin).

Conversely, the SIM MAX OS presents a loft so closed that the ball will follow a much tighter trajectory.

On impact, the player will find that he will transmit significantly more speed to the ball (higher smash factor). Especially with the lengthened shaft, he will already have gained in swing speed on his own.

And the P7MB in all this?

It stands out mainly for two reasons: Its very clean Muscle Back blade look, and its offset.

Compared to the P7TW, the P7MB offers slightly more offset, while remaining in minimal proportions for this type of club.

Objectively, between P7TW and P7MB, the two products work well, and it is not certain that two products would have been absolutely necessary.

On a 7 iron, the offset is only 0.2mm different.

The P7TW having been designed to satisfy Tiger Woods (TW), can we imagine that other professional golfers expected a set with a less drastic offset choice? Or a look that is simply less “tigeresque”?

Would gifting TW blades to Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson have been in bad taste?

One thing is certain, TaylorMade is finally taking enough trouble to promote it to amateurs!

Thus, Matt Bovee, whom I had interviewed last year, explains “The brand new P-7MB has been designed for the best ball strickers in the world, looking for surgical control over the work of their trajectory, with a pure feeling on impact. The aesthetic is contemporary, with a thin upper edge and slim sole that offer a minimalist profile that appeals to the purist ... "

With such a definition, the engineer effectively locks this product into a small category of players, only professionals, and excludes the majority of golfers from a potential purchase.

Such a club is not just limited to a purist look.

The P7MB responds through well-defined characteristics to a game plan: That of producing higher trajectories, generating more backspin, and offering less trajectory constraints to golfers who do not slice.

This realistic definition opens the product to a target of potential customers, without demonizing itself, and closing off any debate such as “I am not a professional. It's not for me "

Golf professional, this is not a game project, it is a status!

I play these types of clubs, and yet I am neither a golf professional, nor a purist, nor one of the best ball hitters in the world, and I am no more presumptuous about my game plan!

Other amateurs, like me, might benefit from clubs with less offsets, which penalizes golfers who hook the ball or give too much draw.

Contrary to the prevailing fashion, other amateur golfers might benefit from adding loft to their clubs, to increase accuracy, and they would not automatically be purists or Tour players ...

On the course, between 150 and 160 yards, you can change the number of clubs if you are in doubt about reaching the green.

On the other hand, you will not be able to change the shape of your irons, especially if you want more draw or more blade ...

To conclude on the P7MBs, I could have added that they were built from 1025 carbon steel, and forged with a 2 ton press to make the grain of the steel more compact. Is this really a new argument?

The faces have been machined with precision. Why, weren't they before?

In this area, TaylorMade can neither do less well nor do better. The interest of the product is not at this level.

For such a club, a poor quality production of the grooves would be prohibitive.

In fact, the only justification for this club is its very classic look, which makes it one of the most beautiful on the market. Clearly, TaylorMade has pulled it off: To offer a magnificent golf club.

On the question of price, € 1399 for the 7 clubs is, on the flip side, within the maximum limit for this type of offer.

Perhaps it is precisely on the price that we should have been a little innovative, and try to stand out from the competition.

Titleist already presents the very pretty 620 MB at around 1389 euros for 7 irons. At the time of its launch in 2018, Callaway was already offering the Apex MB series at a price of € 1399 for 7 clubs.

Finally, it is still the Japanese who were the most innovative in this area, and in particular Srixon with the Z-Forged at only € 899 for 6 clubs!

The price will be the main way to bring golfers back to this type of product. I am convinced that golfers under 45 are tempted by this type of clubs, but held back by the price.

If the brands do not reflect the increases in labor costs seen in China, and the variations in steel, or even the consequences of COVID on the industry, it might be a good time to make the blades more accessible in price, and rework golfers with this type of club, rather than seeing, each year, sales continue to decline inexorably ... for lack of properly explaining them, and precisely locking them in a niche "only for professional golfers ".

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