How TaylorMade’s BRNR Mini became a reliable weapon in Tommy Fleetwood’s bag | Wall-to-Wall
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TaylorMade’s Tour release of the BRNR Mini Driver at the RBC Heritage was strategic. Contested on one of the tightest layouts around (Harbour Town Golf Links), the equipment manufacturer figured if there was a spot on the schedule where players might consider the idea of using the course-dependent club, it would be that week.
Tommy Fleetwood figured the club had a chance to make the cut after testing it on the range with TaylorMade’s senior tour manager Adrian Rietveld, but he wasn’t completely sold on the versatility. With a larger head than a standard 3-wood (at 304cc’s), Fleetwood felt it offered more than enough distance and workability to be a viable option off the tee. But the jury was still out on off-the-turf performance.
If there was a knock on previous mini products, it was that they performed exceptionally well off the tee but lacked the sole design for consistent turf interaction. The lack of versatility usually rendered the club a course-dependent option for many pros during the season, but with the re-introduction of a popular K-Sole design — originally found on the Ti Bubble 2 — things were about to change in a big way.
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TaylorMade BRNR Mini Driver
After using BRNR Mini off the tee on the par-5 2nd hole during a practice round, Fleetwood kept the club in his hands and eyed a 280-yard approach with Rietveld looking on. In a video Rietveld still has on his phone, Fleetwood unloads on the ball and finishes with a club twirl. You can’t see where the ball lands on reentry, but it doesn’t matter. Fleetwood’s “Ah!” is the only positive confirmation needed.
The shot just happened to be the first time he’d hit the club off the turf.
“He needed to hit this high cut and was just messing around,” Rietveld recalled. “He goes and hits one of the best golf shots I’ve ever seen with the BRNR Mini. It had plenty of height and launch to it. I think that’s when he realized that eh could hit that thing off the deck as well. It was a very nice fit for him.”
Fleetwood went on to use BRNR Mini at RBC Heritage, but a funny thing happened along the way. Instead of pulling the club out of the bag for his next start at the Wells Fargo Championship, Fleetwood kept his 3-wood on the bench and continued rolling with the mini.
Fleetwood’s trust in BRNR Mini speaks to the work TaylorMade R&D conducted behind the scenes to make the new mini product more than a secondary option off the tee.
“I think it’s going to be a great option at the Open Championship,” Fleetwood’s caddie, Ian Finnis, told GOLF.com. “He can hit it off the tee and from the ground. There’s a reason why he removed the 3-wood for it.”
Fleetwood, along with Bryson DeChambeau, has found a regular spot for the BRNR Mini in the bag. The confidence he has in the club can be attributed to the work Fleetwood and Rietveld put in to find the ideal build early on. At 42.5 inches, Fleetwood’s finished 3-wood length is on the shorter side, which made Rietveld believe he could go slightly longer (43.75 inches) and give the 32-year-old the distance and control he wanted.
To get the build to D3 swingweight, Rietveld added 7 grams of weight to the head — the retail version comes with adjustable 1.5- and 13-gram weights — and positioned it in the rear position to start. But the club spun too much. However, once the weight was placed forward, Fleetwood found his launch window.
According to Rietveld, the ability to manipulate weight — center of gravity (CG), to be specific — has been a game-changer for BRNR Mini. It’s the chief reason Rietveld believes the club has staying power in the bag this time around.
“We can actually dial in the weights and needs for a player,” he said. “I think that’s going to help us in R&D moving forward. I love having a weight port in the front and back. For us, we can move as much weight as we want or partially. From a spin standpoint, you can fit launch and spin with two variables, which are loft and center of gravity. You’re able to stand there with the player and move weights around with a wrench and dial in the spin 300 or 400 RPMs. We can do that internally if there was no moveable weight, but this is a lot cleaner and easier.”
This week at the Charles Schwab Challenge presented another opportunity for Fleetwood to put BRNR Mini to the test on a tight layout. Certain courses seem to be a good fit for the club, but as Fleetwood is quickly finding out, BRNR Mini is more than a one-trick pony.
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