There is little question that Justin Rose enters this year's Open Championship at Royal Liverpool as the hottest player in the world. But could some of that form be down to a hot, new weapon in his bag?
In the run-up to the links challenge of the Open Championship, TaylorMade have designed a Tour Preferred driving iron designed to offer the distance and playability of a hybrid, but with the accuracy and workability of irons. Thus, the UDI, or Ultimate Driving Iron, was born.
Justin put a 3-iron UDI into play the very first week they were available on Tour, at the Quicken Loans National event at Congressional. And he hasn't looked back.
Rose went on to win the event in a playoff. Two weeks, and 3,500 miles of travel later, Rose was hoisting the Scottish Open trophy, having won by two shots at Royal Aberdeen.
Here's Justin Rose himself on why he liked immediately liked the TaylorMade UDI:
I put Tour Preferred UDI in play the first week it was out because it gave me higher launch than my other long irons and the feel was so solid. It definitely is more consistent for me on mis-hits, which really helps my game. Also the workability and high flight really allows me to hit a number of shots, especially when I need to hit a draw. Overall, putting it in the bag after a few swings told me everything I needed to know about UDI…so it’s a new weapon in my bag.
Whilst Rose has put the 3-iron model in play, TaylorMade offer 1 and 2 iron options meaning players can choose from 16, 18 or 20 degrees.
Each iron features a hollow construction with a strong, 450 Carpenter steel face. The UDI also features a internal dampener, within the top of the face, that works to improve the sound and feel of the club, which is especially important for any club designed for use off the tee as well as the fairway.
As with TaylorMade's Tour Preferred range of irons, the UDI features the company's latest Speed Pocket in the sole. The filled slot in the sole allows the face of the UDI to flex more at impact, particularly on low face strikes, which TaylorMade say increases ball speeds and launch.
As is the case with any club in the bag, but especially in the longer hitting clubs, the shaft is a crucial component. For that reason TaylorMade have selected the KBS Tour C-Taper Lite shaft for the UDI. It provides Tour players with the a strong, steel shaft that is lighter and more stable.
Whilst several Tour players have put the UDI into play in the last few weeks, the iron will not be available to the public for a while yet. TaylorMade have just told us that the UDI is "coming soon", so keep a look out for more information later in the year.
Until then, here is the thoughts of 2011 Open Champion, Darren Clarke, on his 2-iron UDI:
Leading into The Open Championship, I needed something that would go far and cut through the wind to battle the conditions that can change in a heartbeat. The easy launch and ability to work UDI is a perfect fit for a lot of courses on Tour and I believe it gives me an advantage out there. For me, anything that goes that far consistently had to go in the bag.