Iron Clad: The latest irons are solid improvements

While irons look relatively stagnant from one year to the next – there aren’t ever really many large changes – this year’s crop stands out. That’s because of some technological advancements and cosmetic improvements.
The latest irons seem to feel more solid and offer loads of forgiveness – even the better players’ models. They can essentially be categorized into three types: Game-improvement irons, super game improvement irons, and better players’ models. Game-improvement irons feature big cavity backs, weighting at the heel and toe, thick lines, oversized clubheads and plenty of different materials, to help spread the weight around. They help mid- and high-handicappers hit the ball further and with more accuracy.
Super game-improvement irons are the former on steroids: That is, the perimeter weighting is extreme, the cavity backs are even deeper, and the center of gravity is even lower and deeper. They’re solely for high-handicappers.
The new generation of better-player irons are no longer forged blades that offer little or no forgiveness. They aren’t all musclebacks that sting harshly when you mis-hit them. Instead, they’re made of multiple materials, and still bear some of the essential aesthetics of blades, while discreetly packing in downsized game-improvement features, as well. Previous attempts to combine the best of blades and game-improvement irons never seemed to appeal to better players. But this year, some manufacturers bring to market excellent models that are definitely worth trying. If you’re a low handicap, you’ll surely notice the improved feel and performance — and the sleek lines that you prefer.
Regardless, there’s something for everyone.

Cobra S2 Max
Cobra S2 Max

Cobra S2 Max
These super game-improvement irons enhance forgiveness and launch, for mid- to high-handicappers. The low-profile, wide-sole design negotiates get turf easily. An expanded sweet zone means off-center shots will feel solid.
($630/graphite, $500/steel)
Tour Edge Exotics XCG-3
The thin topline and extra-heavy sole take perimeter weighting to the extreme. The thin clubface is fortified by a pair of lightweight, thermoplastic dampening inserts that temper feel.
TaylorMade Burner SuperLaunch

TaylorMade Burner SuperLaunch
Benefiting mainly slower swingers and players who produce a naturally low ball flight, these will help get the ball up and be very forgiving. The generous offset helps straighten a slice and promote a draw, to boot.
($799/graphite, $599/steel)
MacGregor Tourney M85i
Designed for players of all skill levels, these provide forgiveness and feel. A deep undercut back cavity highlighted plus a classic wing back design translate to a low/deep CG. Each cavity contains vibration-damping properties, to enhance feel.
Fourteen TC-910
Designed for low handicaps and professionals, these strive to enhance for controllability. The compact head is made of soft forged steel, then finished in a nickel chrome satin. The wide sole and rounded leading edge maximize playability.
Adams Idea Black CB1

Adams Idea Black CB1
Forged from soft carbon steel, these are for skilled players. The nickel-chrome plating and black physical vapor deposition finish look rich, while a precision milled cavity helps yield long, consistent distance with improved accuracy.
($1,099.99/graphite, $899.99/steel)
Nike SQ Machspeed

Nike SQ Machspeed
A thin alloy face results in a hot center area that extends to low on the clubface where the ball’s more likely to make contact. The patented PowerBow and deep undercut form a deep CG, to help the ball get airborne and land softly.

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