By SCOTT KRAMER
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Iron Clad: The latest irons are solid improvements
By SCOTT KRAMER