What golf clubs and ball does Rory McIlroy use? Our in-depth review of what’s in the four-time Major champion’s bag for 2023.
Today’s Golfer’s ‘What’s In The Bag’ insight is brought to you in association with Fujikura
JUMP TO: How TaylorMade fit Rory’s equipment
Rory McIlroy is a TaylorMade staff golfer whose 2023 bag is mostly made up of the brand’s latest clubs, including the Stealth 2 Plus driver – one of the best drivers of 2023.
The Northern Irishman began his professional career as a Titleist player and 2023 sees him using their Vokey SM9 and Vokey Wedgeworks wedges.
McIlroy, one of the most influential people in golf, lifted his first two Majors (2011 US Open and 2012 US PGA) using Titleist clubs and the Pro V1 golf ball before joining Nike in 2013. He signed a ten-year deal rumored to be worth $150m with the American sports giant, and used the brand’s clubs, ball, bag, clothing and shoes.
In 2017, following Nike’s decision to leave the golf equipment market, McIlroy signed a ten-year clubs, ball, and bag deal with TaylorMade, worth $100m. He also renegotiated his Nike apparel and shoes agreement, signing a fresh ten-year contract worth a reported $200m.
The 34-year-old turned pro in 2007, shortly after he’d topped the world amateur ranking, and won his first European Tour title in 2009 at the Dubai Desert Classic. His first PGA Tour win followed in 2010 at the Quail Hollow Championship.
He’s gone on to win a further 24 PGA Tour victories, including the Players Championship, Tour Championship, and Arnold Palmer Invitational, and 16 European (DP World) Tour titles, including flagship events such as the BMW PGA Championship and Genesis Scottish Open.
In his first event of 2023, Rory got his first Rolex Series success, with a victory at the Dubai Desert Classic and his third victory in the tournament.
Not long after the first Rolex series success of his career in Dubai, came his second at the Genesis Scottish Open where he won for the first time on Scottish soil and completed the trifecta of National Open wins having now won at the British Open, Scottish Open and Irish Open, something that no one else in the history of the professional game has done.
He first topped the rankings in 2012 with victory at The Honda Classic, and has spent more than 120 weeks at the helm – the fourth-best total in rankings history. He returned to World No.1 in 2022, a year that saw him win three times, finish in the top-10 at all four Majors and lift the FedEx Cup and Race to Dubai for the first time in the same season.
Let’s take a closer look at what’s in the bag of Rory McIlroy for 2023, and hear from TaylorMade’s Senior Tour Rep Adrian Rietveld about his set-up.
If you’re in the market for some new equipment, find out how all of Rory’s clubs performed in our tests of the year’s best equipment.
Today’s Golfer’s ‘What’s In The Bag’ insight is brought to you in association with Fujikura.
What driver does Rory McIlroy use?
Rory McIlroy uses a TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus Driver (9°) with a Fujikura Ventus Black 6 X shaft
Longest driver on test
The Northern Irishman plays a shorter shaft (44 inches) and wasn't getting enough spin from his Fujikura Ventus Black 6 X so switched to the Fujikura Ventus Blue TR 6 X ahead of the WGC-Dell Match Play. He could have upped the loft on the head but he doesn’t like the look of excessive loft on the driver.
McIlroy's switch into the blue shaft came after he'd switched into the same model in his fairway wood at The Players.
“It’s nice; it’s a bit more of a lively feel,” McIlroy told GolfWRX. “I’m liking playing the driver shorter these days, and that black shaft just got so boardy. (The TR Blue) still has got that real stable feel in the handle. … I hate looking at loft, so if I’m not playing a driver with more loft, I have to get the spin from somewhere.”
“We’ve dialed Rory into where he’s freely hitting both shots with his driver. The one where he teases it down and lets it fade slightly into the fairway. Then the one that’s high and turning over that’s part of his DNA,” says Rietveld. “When he’s in control of both those shots, he can go around any course in the world and win.”
For a player with McIlroy’s speed, the focus is always on dispersion and accuracy. To achieve it, TaylorMade's team shortened the length slightly for added control. He didn’t lose anything on the distance front.
Read our TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus driver review
- Expect a 10% higher MOI than the previous Stealth Plus model.
- A sliding 15g sole weight lets golfers dial in shot shape or max out ball speed by positioning behind their typical impact location.
- A second-generation carbon fiber face helps maximize impact energy transfer.
- Not the most forgiving TaylorMade driver.
|Lofts||8° / 9° / 10.5°|
|Stock shaft||Mitsubishi Kai’li Red (Mid Flight), Project X HZRDUS Black 4G (Low Flight)|
What fairway wood does Rory McIlroy use?
Rory McIlroy uses a TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus Fairway Wood (15° @ 13°) with a Fujikura Ventus TR Blue 8 X shaft and (19°@ 18.25°) with a Fujikura Ventus Black 9 X shaft
Best fairway wood for ball speed
Rory’s 3-wood is pushed to maximize distance and accentuate the strength of his game – hitting the ball a lot farther than everyone else. That creates a substantial gap in yardages when you jump from his 3-wood to his longest iron. Insert the 5-wood. It’s a club that needs to cover 250 yards or 290 – and every number in between.
“It’s really a unique club for Rory because of that versatility,” says Rietveld. “It’s shorter than a standard 5-wood and has a slightly stronger loft at 17.5°. It’s like watching an artist at work seeing all the different shots he can hit with it.”
Read our full TaylorMade Stealth 2 fairway wood review.
- Very fast ball speeds
- Impressive distances
- High spin and shot height help hold greens
- Aimed primarily at good golfers
|<strong>Stock shaft</strong>||Mitsubishi Kai’li Red|
What utility iron does Rory McIlroy use?
Rory McIlroy uses a TaylorMade Stealth UDI (16°) with a Project X HZRDUS 65 105 shaft
What irons does Rory McIlroy use?
Rory McIlroy uses TaylorMade P760 Irons (3-4) with Project X Rifle 7.0 shafts and TaylorMade P730 Rors Proto Irons (5-PW) with Project X Rifle 7.0 shafts
The lofts of his irons are close to standard with 4° increments between irons, while lie angles change at a .5° increment. They weigh in at D4.5 with Project X Rifle 7.0 shafts and 6.5 in his wedges (Tour pros generally use softer shafts in their wedges for added feel).
Read our TaylorMade P760 iron review.
What wedges does Rory McIlroy use?
Rory McIlroy uses a TaylorMade MG3 Raw Wedge (54°) with a Project X Rifle 6.5 shaft and Titleist Vokey WedgeWorks Proto Wedge (58° bent to 59°) with a Project X Rifle 6.5 shaft
Best blade golf wedge
Read our full TaylorMade MG3 Raw wedge review.
- Beautiful looks
- Very high spin rate
- Extremely consistent distances
- Less forgiving than cavity backs
|Lofts:||46° / 50° / 52° / 54° / 56° / 58° / 60°|
|Grind options:||Standard Bounce, Low Bounce, High Bounce, Tiger Grind|
|Finishes:||Satin Chrome, Satin Black|
|Stock shaft:||True Temper Tour Issue S200|
What putter does Rory McIlroy use?
Rory McIlroy uses a TaylorMade Spider X Hydro Blast Putter with a Flow Neck and Superstroke Pistol GT Tour grip
It will be interesting to see how long he uses the blade as he's previously acknowledged his need for a more forgiving model.
“I think the thing with the blade is the good days are really good but the bad days are pretty bad, as well," he told Golf.com. "There’s quite a lot of inconsistency in it for me. It’s almost like I need to practice with the blade at home because you have to get your stroke spot-on to hit good putts with that style of putter.
“But then when I come out here, I started hitting putts with the Spider again, and it felt so easy. Felt like I couldn’t not start it on line. It was sort of there’s a lesson in there somewhere about maybe just keeping the blade at home and practicing with it and then coming out here and putting with something that’s got a little more technology in it.”
Read our TaylorMade Spider X Hydro Blast putter review.
What golf ball does Rory McIlroy use?
Rory McIlroy uses a TaylorMade TP5x Golf Ball (#22)
As Rietveld describes it, every player at this level has a high-spin ceiling and a low-spin floor with each club. The best way to judge the performance of a golf ball is to measure how much spin jumps on their high-spin swings. When that jump is minimal, or “holds,” that when the ball is right.
Read our TaylorMade TP5x golf ball review.
- More penetrating flight than the previous model
- Long distance for quicker swing speeds
- Exceptional spin and control around the greens
- Premium feel off every club
- Urethane cover not the most durable
|Compression||TP5 - 87 | TP5x - 97|
|Feel||TP5 - very soft | TP5x - soft|
|Flight||TP5 - mid-high | TP5x - high|
|Long game spin||Low|
|Short game spin||TP5 - very high | TP5x - high|
|Color options||White; Yellow|
|Alternative models||TP5 Pix; TP5x Pix|
- New seamless tour flight dimple pattern
- Speed-layer system
- High-flex material
What golf grips does Rory McIlroy use?
Rory McIlroy uses Golf Pride MCC grips on his golf clubs
What golf glove does Rory McIlroy wear?
Rory McIlroy wears a Nike Tour Classic 4 Golf Glove
What golf shoes does Rory McIlroy wear?
Rory McIlroy wears Nike Air Zoom Victory Tour 3 golf shoes
- Super grip
- Looks great on the foot
- Breathable and waterproof
- Crease on the upper easily
|Sizes||3.5 – 16|
How does a brand like TaylorMade go about dialing Rory McIlroy into their latest clubs? We find out from Adrian Rietveld.
Every golfer wants to hit it further off the tee. Whether you’re a 20-handicapper trying to carry it 200 yards, or Rory McIlroy averaging more than 300 yards, bombing it is one of golf’s biggest draws, one that’s worth billions to club manufacturers.
Every year, manufacturers unveil new clubs that claim to go further, and, over the last few months, TaylorMade’s Senior Tour Manager, Adrian Rietveld, has had the job of convincing McIlroy and the brand’s other staff players such as Dustin Johnson, Collin Morikawa and Tommy Fleetwood, that the time has come to ditch the titanium drivers they’ve won millions of dollars with and switch to the carbon-fiber Stealth.
We caught up with Rietveld to find out how he sold and fitted Stealth to McIlroy.
We did something different because we had something different. We’d normally not reveal new products to players until we do our marketing shoot in Florida in November. It’s a way we can create buzz for the players, as it’s something new and they know nothing about what’s coming until they arrive. Because Stealth is so different, and because we wanted players fully onboard, we had our elite athletes visit The Kingdom (at TaylorMade HQ in Carlsbad, California) around the US Open (at Torrey Pines) in June last year, so they got an early test and feedback session.
This was not marketing spin, it was a performance reveal. Our elite athletes only saw the final product colors and branding at the marketing shoot, until then they’d been hitting prototype heads. The potential the product holds is immediate; some players’ first reaction was simply, “I can’t believe it”. Normally, we’re trying to find potential with each individual player, but with Stealth the potential of more ball speed was there from shot one. The fitting process was much more about getting the players’ feedback, then getting the adjustability to a point where for them it’s a no-brainer.
Rory, Tommy Fleetwood and Sergio Garcia could all have played the driver the following week. The fitting process just didn’t take that long. Remember, these are the best players in the world and their golf clubs are already dialed in, so you need something special to surpass what’s already in their bag. And the club still has to be conforming, too. The potential for more ball speed just became a given. I’ve not seen anything like it before, and I’ve been doing this for 10 years now.
We’ve seen a ball speed breakthrough. We’ve worked with all our icon athletes, from Rory to Sergio, plus a whole host of uncontracted players, too. It’s player-dependent, of course, but we’ve seen anywhere between 1-4mph of ball speed gain. And the most impressive thing is how ball speed is maintained across the face. With a titanium driver a center strike might give 175mph ball speed, but miss it on the toe or heel, while launch characteristics don’t change too much, the ball speed will drop by 2-3mph. We’re seeing Stealth give more consistent ball speed retention, across the whole face.
Players want to see speed and good spin characteristics. Any driver that doesn’t have those two things won’t last long with tour players. The potential with Stealth is that we don’t need to worry about those two, so the buy-in from players is amazing. When the player sees that potential, so it’s faster and more impressive when mishit, things get serious. Players then want to be a bit more specific and start looking at start lines, shot shape and height, and can they hit the shots they rely on, but it’s really cool when they discover Stealth is performing better for them. Everyone we’ve seen has been longer with Stealth.
How TaylorMade fitted Rory McIlroy’s golf clubs
You’ll see a lot of Stealth Plus drivers in tour players’ hands this year, as its sliding sole weight adjustability allows us to dial the driver in for each player. We use the 10g sole weight to dial in the shot shape players prefer, which is really important when you realize Rory (like Tommy and Sergio) likes to draw it, whereas DJ and Collin Morikawa like to fade the driver. The Plus spins about 300rpm less than the standard Stealth, which is often a better fit for players at high speeds.
Rory’s driver is a 9º head, with the hosel adaptor set a notch lower so the loft plays more like 8.5º. The sliding sole weight is in a pretty neutral position, and the shaft is a Fujikura Ventus Black 6X tipped one inch (to make it play stiffer). We work with our tour players a lot more than consumers might realize; it’s not uncommon to work through 10, 15 or even 20 iterations of a driver for a player to feel comfortable and ready to hit the golf course.
We’ve seen Rory six times over the winter and he’s still using the same first Stealth Plus driver we originally fitted him into; that’s a really good sign. What Rory really likes is the forgiveness off-center. He’s starting to hit driver where a cut (fade) will spin at 2,400rpm, a draw will spin at 2,100rpm and his high, straight bomb is at 2,200rpm. That’s a really tight spin tolerance for any driver. We’ve been surprised by the impressive numbers, so much so we’re asking our R&D guys if they can explain how we’re getting them.
For Rory, it was a straight head swap. He liked the Ventus shaft he was already playing, so there was no reason to explore other shafts. From the Olympics (2021) onwards he drove the ball well, so he’s been getting his form back. Out on tour you only start looking at new shafts when there’s a reason to, that’s called searching – there just wasn’t a reason to search for anything switching to the Stealth Plus for Rory.
Rory lives between 185 and 190mph ball speed with his driver, but with Stealth Plus he’s now consistently in the high 180s, without forcing it. To get the previous product (SIM2) to spin as Rory wanted, we needed to take weight out of the back of the head and move it closer to the face, which meant losing forgiveness on heel and toe strikes. We haven’t needed to do that with Stealth Plus. Though Rory has gained ball speed – out on tour all players want that – he’s also gained the ability to miss better.
He’s gained on forgiveness without sacrificing performance. If Rory is at 186mph ball speed on average, he’s at 186 all over the face. You could lose 4-5mph with previous and competitor products, but the ball speeds with Stealth stay consistently high. We’re not even selling the driver on forgiveness, for us, it’s about ball speed gains.
The big thing for Rory, with who we often need to create multiple iterations of a new product for him to feel comfortable, was him turning up to Abu Dhabi with exactly the same driver he was hitting 350 yards bombs with at our marketing shoot in November.
My boss Keith Sbarbaro deserves so much credit for his work with Rory, we have a great system in place to make sure Rory can play his best.
Today’s Golfer’s ‘What’s In The Bag’ insight is brought to you in association with Fujikura.
Fujikura are leaders in performance shafts, and the brand is honored to regularly be the #1 driver and wood shaft on the PGA, LPGA, and DP World Tours.
In 2022 the brand’s Ventus platform mopped up 44.5% of all available PGA Tour wins, with the Masters and Open champions both playing the brand’s headline shaft unpaid. At the 2023 Masters, 39.1% of players used Fujikura driver shafts, with five of the final Top 10 choosing the brand’s super stable models.
In short Fujikura shafts are the shaft of choice of the world’s very best players.