HILTON HEAD ISLAND — It has been one year since Tommy Fleetwood put the “mini-driver” in his bag. The versatile metalwood is a popular trend on tour. Fleetwood was an early adopter of the special club, and a year later many of Tommy’s peers are following his lead.

RELATED: RBC Heritage odds 2024: The post-Masters bets I’m making

On the range today, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas and others were experimenting with the new hybrid wood. The reason why? Harbour Town Golf Links does not require a driver for the world’s best. In the case of Tommy, he carries a regular driver and the mini version. Why did Fleetwood free himself from a traditional 3-wood? Players don’t use a 275-plus yard club off the turf. The frequency of that shot/distance really isn’t needed in the modern game.

RELATED: RBC Heritage DFS picks 2024: Why I’m concerned about Rory McIlroy

The evolution of the mini has everyone’s attention, and Hilton Head is the perfect venue to use one. Fleetwood gains the control and workability of a fairway wood shaft/loft combined with the forgiveness/length of a small driver sized head! Thomas used one in competition the final day at Innisbrook last month. (The Copperhead is an incredible comp course for Harbour Town.) Approximately 10 percent of the field has a mini-driver in their bag. The mini driver allows these guys to get “driver-like” distance along with shot-shaping workability.

RELATED: Masters 2024: What it’s like sweating a big bet at Augusta National with no phones

Equipment plays a vital role in winning on the PGA Tour. Tommy’s innovative thought process to use the mini driver a year ago shows how well he understands what it takes to succeed here. Fleetwood won’t be laying up for position on these framed fairways. Instead, he will be on the attack. I love Tommy Fleetwood to grab his first PGA Tour win at the RBC Heritage (+2000). The combination of form, confidence and equipment shows me why he finished third at Augusta National.

RELATED: RBC Heritage picks 2024: Our expert panel is on a heater—see all of our picks for Harbour Town

Keith Stewart is a five-time award-winning PGA professional, a betting contributor and content partner with Golf Digest and founder of Read The Line, the premier on-site live golf betting insights service covering the LPGA and PGA TOUR. Subscribe to Read The Line’s weekly newsletter here and raise your golf betting acumen. Keith’s winning content can also be found on Sports Grid, Bleacher Report and The Sporting News. Follow him on Twitter @readtheline_.

This article was originally published on golfdigest.com