The Omega Dubai Desert Classic is the longest-running European Tour event in the Middle East and celebrates its 30th anniversary this week. The Majlis Course at the Emirates Club was the first all-grass layout in the Gulf and it’s still recognised as one of the finest tracks in the region. With smaller and firmer greens, the course differs from last week as tee shots and driving the ball are a main focus for a lot of players.
Defending champion Haotong Li arrived in Dubai in good spirits and is aiming to become only the second player to successfully defend the title. Working with the team in Abu Dhabi, Haotong had been testing the new M5 driver and asked the team to bring different set ups to Dubai in which he could test.
Comparing the M5 driver to his previous driver, the team noticed that Haotong favoured a shot that started left then faded, which for this weeks course he needed more versatility. Haotong tested a M5 9° driver set standard upright but one notch lower with one weight positioned in the middle of the centre track and then the other towards the toe. His dispersion was a main factor as he was able to hit a variety of shots, at least 2 or 3 different ball flights and carried the ball 4 yards longer and increased his ballspeed by 1mph.
As Haotong prepares to make his 2019 PGA Tour debut, he’s requested for a set of P760 irons to be built in his exact specification, currently he plays P750 irons with a M3 3 Iron but is looking to clean up his irons and feels the progressive nature of the P760’s will have the performance he’s looking for.
Adrian Rietveld has been working closely with Martin Kaymer during the off season looking at his ball and club speed. Towards the end of last year Kaymer had been at 165mph ballspeed and looking at his TrackMan data this week, has increased to 174mph – a monumental shift from 5 months ago. Kaymer had been testing a 9° M5 460 driver and from the first shot he loved the feel of the club and also the sound. When the weights were positioned in his previous driver the sound of the club differed, however with the M5 driver the sound is consistent wherever the weights are placed. This worked for Kaymer and the team were able to add slightly more loft to the club (8.75°) and he loved the driver and it went straight in the bag. Within 3 shots, the M6 fairway found a place in Kaymers bag, he went from 167mph ballspeed to 169mph and launched the ball 0.5° higher and found at least 8 yards more carry.
‘First on the range, last off it, he’s [Kim Koivu] extremely hard working. He seems like he’s very easy with the equipment.’
– Adrian Rietveld
Currently playing a P750 4 Iron and P730 irons Kim Koivu worked with the team this week as he wanted his 4 Iron to go further. Last week the team strengthen his P750 4 Iron, however this week the team built a P760 4 Iron and it was perfect for his bag, the team didn't have to strength the loft on the iron and Kim got the ballspeed he wanted, the ball launched higher and he was able to fill the gap between his 5 Iron and his 5-wood.
‘His confidence and ambition to be the best he can be, I think he’s a great signing for TaylorMade Golf, he’s going to turn some heads’
– Adrian Rietveld