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 »  Home  »  Equipment  »  Play Testing  »  Irons  »  New on the tee: 2014 Irons
New on the tee: 2014 Irons
By Tom Landers | Published  05/11/2014 | Irons | Unrated
New on the tee: 2014 Irons

Irons
This New Batch of Irons May Be The Best Yet!”

Each season we’re bombarded with explosive marketing campaigns touting the latest and greatest new driver that’s going to give us “eye popping distance” compared to the model that gave us “jaw dropping length” just last year!
As a rule, changes in iron technology don’t occur as rapidly as with drivers. The rational explanation might be that we are more open to changing one club as opposed to an entire set. The skeptic might argue that the marketing machines of the major manufacturers feel that the golfing public is more open to emptying their pockets for sexy claims of enhanced distance than the boring things like feel, accuracy and consistency, even though the latter is more directly related to lower scores.
Well all of that is changing and if you haven’t checked out new irons in the last couple of years, you’re in for a real treat! Up until just the last few years the words “forged” and “forgiveness” were never used in the same sentence. “Forged game improvement iron” was an oxymoron. Companies like Mizuno, a stalwart in the forged arena, offer some very forgiving choices. Adams Golf offers “super game improvement” sets containing forged irons. Even Ping, the pioneer in cast cavity back technology offers a forged iron!
But don’t confuse the term forged with feel. More top touring professionals are using clubs that are cast and use multi materials than ever before. Industry veteran, Dr. Benoit Vincent, Chief Technical Officer at TaylorMade sums it up as follows, “the things we’re capable of now I didn’t even dream of only five years ago.”
Check out these new iron offerings at your favorite golf shop. These babies aren’t your grandpa’s blades!

Players Irons

Appearance 5 stars
Forgiveness 4.5 stars
Feel 5 stars
Consistency 4.5 stars
Distance 5 stars

Adams XTD Forged
www.AdamsGolf.com • $1100

Unique Features: The Adams XTD Forged irons are constructed using a multi-piece forging process with Cut-Thru Slot technology. Its hollow forged design along with floating face delivers a faster face and more forgiveness, even on off-center hits. It also features a thin topline and tungsten weighting in the sole for an optimal center of gravity location. Better players will appreciate the playability and aesthetics.

Tester Comments: These irons have a great feel and are well balanced, not too heavily toe-weighted … launch angle of the long irons is nice and high … Like that set comes with a players hybrid


Appearance 5 star
Forgiveness 4 stars
Feel 5 stars
Consistency 4 star
Distance 4 stars

Bridgestone J40 cavity Back
www.BridgestoneGolf.com • $700

Unique Features: The J40 Forged CB’s traditional design is tailored for better golfers who prefer a no-frills look and thin top-line at address. Forged from 1020 Carbon Steel, the muscle back design places greater mass directly behind the hitting area for maximum workability. Relief at trailing edge, leading edge, toe, and heel along with a tapered sole aid in versatility and shot making. The J40’s compact head with a higher face progression provides enhanced control and feel.

Tester Comments: Great look at address and phenomenal feel at impact … Exceeded my expectations in terms of forgiveness and distance. … Very workable … You have to hit these to understand how solid they feel.


Appearance 4.5 star
Forgiveness 4.5 stars
Feel 4.5 stars
Consistency 5 stars
Distance 4 stars

Bridgestone J40 Dual pocket cavity
www.BridgestoneGolf.com • $700

Unique Features: The Bridgestone J40 Dual Cavity Back Iron Set is constructed of forged 1020 carbon steel and has Dual Pocket cavity benefits, which removes discretionary weight to the perimeter for more forgiveness while providing more mass directly behind the hitting area for better feel. The tapered sole design offers versatility in shot-making for better performance from a variety of lies.
Tester Comments: Much more forgiving and longer than you might expect … more forgiving with the middle and longer irons than the J40 CB … The ball flight is penetrating, and the sound they make at impact is very solid.


Appearance 4 star
Forgiveness 4 stars
Feel 4.5 stars
Consistency 4.5 star
Distance 4.5 stars

Cleveland 588 TT
www.clevelandgolf.com • $500

Unique Features: Constant blade height with progressive blade length promotes more forgiveness in long irons and controlled, penetrating trajectory in short irons. A modest cavity back with engineered undercut improves ball speed and accuracy on off-center hits. Face Forged technology plus a new cavity back design improves ball speed and accuracy. A multi-layer dampening plaque helps optimize feel and reduce vibration.

Tester Comments: The heads are just the perfect size. The forgiveness is amazing … I like the feel and added distance, the D club is a nice extra … The forged faces make the perfect blend for this iron.


Appearance 5 star
Forgiveness 4.5 stars
Feel 4.5 stars
Consistency 4.5 star
Distance 4 stars

Nike VR Forged Pro Combo
www.NikeGolf.com • $999

Unique Features: Precision forged 1020 construction featuring pocket Cavity 3 – 6 irons that are polymer filled to improve feel and sound while providing higher trajectory. Split Cavity 7 iron – PW enhance scoring club control, stability and precision coming into the greens. Plus, updated Dynamic Gold DG Pro shafts come with a progressive design that features high trajectory performance in long irons and a penetrating, targeted flight in the short irons..

Tester Comments: These clubs are by far the best from NIKE … My distances are so much more consistent and accurate and I can move the ball left and right on command so much easier … Very clean look.


Appearance 4.5 star
Forgiveness 4.5 stars
Feel 4.5 stars
Consistency 5 star
Distance 5 stars

Ping i25
www.Ping.com • $800

Unique Features: From the 3-Iron through the Lob Wedge, the i25 Irons are engineered to look and perform as a complete set. They offer a progressive set design. In the long irons, the heads are bigger and the soles wider for launching the ball high with maximum forgiveness. The mid-irons and wedges are more compact, with thinner top rails and narrower soles to promote a lower ball flight for hitting greens with precision.

Tester Comments: The i25’s live up to the hype. The clubs are excellent … A Players club with great forgiveness … The long irons also have a decent amount of offset and are easy to hit in the air..


Appearance 4.5 star
Forgiveness 4.5 stars
Feel 5 stars
Consistency 4.5 star
Distance 5 stars

TaylorMade MC Tour Preferred
www.TaylorMadeGolf.com • $875

Unique Features: The TaylorMade Tour Preferred MC Irons are designed for the better player and have a precision engineered cavity which gives them a combination of workability, feel and stability. TaylorMade has included a Speed Pocket in the 3-7 irons for higher ball speed on balls hit low on the club face. The short irons are forged, providing better feel and spin with the scoring clubs. They come standard with KBS Tour shafts.

Tester Comments: Good shot makers feedback … Distance should not be your problem with these clubs, they go a good distance … The Speed Pocket delivers extra ball speed and a little higher launch angle.


Appearance 4.5 star
Forgiveness 4.5 stars
Feel 5 stars
Consistency 4.5 star
Distance 4 stars

Titleist AP2 714
www.Titleist.com • $1100

Unique Features: The AP2 714 provides Tour-proven performance and looks, and with innovative tungsten weighting for precise iron play. The long irons, have a lower center of gravity and produce a marginally higher flight than the AP2 712s. By contrast, the new AP2 short irons have a thicker upper face to raise the CG and improve feel, plus stronger lofts so shots fly on a lower, more piercing trajectory. True Temper Dynamic Gold shafts are standard.

Tester Comments: These, without a doubt, are the best irons Titleist has put out … really like the reduce top line and rounded leading edge, especially in the 8-PW irons … Very forgiving for this size of a club.


Appearance 4 star
Forgiveness 4 stars
Feel 4.5 stars
Consistency 4 star
Distance 4 stars

Tour Edge Exotics CB Pro h
www.TourEdge.com • $699

Unique Features: Advanced engineering allowed Exotics to develop a hybrid iron set that combines two distinctive, purpose-driven iron designs that deliver tour caliber distance and consistency. The seamless blending of hollow hybrid long irons and mid irons and cavity blade score irons for unprecedented playability. Irons #2-7 feature full-hollow design combined with a very thin forged face to create an extremely high C.O.R. while the scoring irons, #8-PW incorporate a cavity blade made of soft 431 stainless steel and feature a multi-material vibration dampening iron plaque for consistent feel and ball control on approach shots...

Tester Comments: The clubs are very forgiving but give you the distance and accuracy that you need to hit most greens … Very consistent distance gaps with these irons.


Appearance 4.5 star
Forgiveness 4 stars
Feel 4.5 stars
Consistency 4 star
Distance 4 stars

Wilson Staff FG Tour M3
www.WilsonStaff.com • $900

Unique Features: The Wilson FG Tour M3 irons feature a compact head size with minimal offset. What sets it apart is the progressive cavity for increased MOI to deliver more forgiveness on long iron shots and enhanced feel on short range approaches. Forged from 8620 carbon steel with a matte black PVD finish the thin topline allows for a lower center of gravity and a player’s look at address.

Tester Comments: Nice forgiveness and a little more spin in the long irons while remaining workable for the better player … Nice higher trajectory with long irons and ability to flight short irons how I wanted … Nice matte-black finish.


Appearance 5 star
Forgiveness 4 stars
Feel 4.5 stars
Consistency 4.5 star
Distance 4 stars

Wilson Staff FG Tour 100
www.WilsonStaff.com • $1000

Unique Features: Inspired by the iconic 1971 Wilson Staff “Button Back” model, these blades are forged with modern shape, size, styling and technology. A Fluid Feel bore-through insert paired with a milled face, scorelines and topline provide the ultimate in consistency for the better Feel (F) players. The forged, 8620 carbon steel and nickel-chrome plating combined with a high polish mirror finish give the FG Tour 100 a premium look..

Tester Comments: Beautiful and love the old-school feel … Really impressed with the solid feel at impact, and the fact that the ball flies lively off the clubface.


Player’s Choice Awards

Best Appearance
Adams Forged XTD
Nike VR Forged Pro Combo
Wilson Staff FG Tour 100

Best Feel
Adams Forged XTD
Bridgestone J40 CB
TaylorMade MC TP
Titleist AP2 714

Best Forgiveness
Adams Forged XTD
Bridgestone J40 PC
Nike VR Forged Pro Combo
Ping i25
TaylorMade MC TP
Titleist AP2 714
Tour Edge Exotics CB Pro

Best Consistency
Bridgestone J40 PC
Ping i25

Best Distance
Adams Forged XTD
Ping i25
TaylorMade MC TP

Best Overall
Adams Forged XTD
Nike VR Forged Pro Combo
Ping i25
TaylorMade MC Tour Preferred
Titleist AP2 714


Game Improvemnet Irons

Appearance 4 star
Forgiveness 4 stars
Feel 4 stars
Consistency 4 star
Distance 4.5 stars

Adams XTD
www.AdamsGolf.com • $700

Unique Features: The new XTD irons feature the industry’s first-ever cross-cavity design, combined with Cut-Thru Slot Technology, to create distance through technology instead of stronger lofts. Constructed for players of all skill levels, XTD irons boast a center of gravity moved off the face to generate gear effect similar to a hybrid. The result is corrective spin to straighten off-center hits. Available in steel: KBS Tour 90 or graphite: Matrix Program Q.

Tester Comments: This irons is a performance iron that is easy to hit … I hit as straight as any other iron, just further … Nice solid feel at impact, no vibration.t.


Appearance 5 star
Forgiveness 5 stars
Feel 4.5 stars
Consistency 5 star
Distance 4.5 stars

Callaway X2 Hot
www.CallawayGolf.com • 800

Unique Features: The New Deep Central Undercut increases the rate the face flexes and rebounds, increasing ball speeds to make this iron even longer than last years X Hot. Sound and feel at high ball speeds comes from a stabilizing arch that reinforces the face. The lightweight Speed Step 85 steel shaft helps feel and control while producing higher launch angles.

Tester Comments: A ton of ball speed of the face, but also really good feel and really good sound … Lots of distance, and with great accuracy … a soft, balanced feel without sacrificing explosive distance and accurate mis- hits thanks to its perimeter weighting.


Appearance 4 star
Forgiveness 5 stars
Feel 4 stars
Consistency 4 star
Distance 4.5 stars

Cobra Bio Cell
www.CobraGolf.com • $700

Unique Features: The long and mid irons feature heavy tungsten weights strategically positioned in the heel and toe for more forgiveness, while the short irons have the tungsten positioned directly behind the hitting area for a solid feel, optimal spin control, and versatility as you approach the green. The Cobra Bio Cell irons also feature Cobra’s largest unsupported face ever to create more face flex at impact for increased ball speed and maximum distance.

Tester Comments: Great forgiveness and distance … Good ball speed off face and a straight flying club … The feel of the irons are sensational and they launch high.


Appearance 4 star
Forgiveness 5 stars
Feel 4 stars
Consistency 4.5 star
Distance 4.5 stars

Cobra Bio Cell +
www.CobraGolf.com • $800

Unique Features: The Bio Cell Plus Iron Set features multi-material construction with tungsten cell weighting. The long and mid irons feature heavy tungsten in the heel and toe providing a higher MOI and faster ball speeds for greater distance and control. Cobra’s E9 Face Technology enables more discretionary weight movement to provide a thicker section behind the typical impact area as you progress through the iron set.

Tester Comments: More trajectory control with the Bio Cell+ than the Bio Cell … BiO Cell+ irons are slightly smaller than the standard BiO Cell irons … Good forgiveness on these.


Appearance 4.5 star
Forgiveness 4.5 stars
Feel 5 stars
Consistency 4.5 star
Distance 5 stars

Nike VRS Covert Forged
www.NikeGolf.com • $1100

Unique Features: Forged S20c Carbon Steel body and SAE 8655 face material with premium looks and high-speed cavity back design for longer and straighter shots. Progressive sole design for an optimum look at address and performance through the turf. NexCOR face technology improves ball speed across the face.

Tester Comments: This club is really good … was expecting the typical loss of distance going to a forged iron but these have performed better than the cast clubs … they go just as far as you think they will … terrific forged feel and a nice click at impact..


Appearance 4 star
Forgiveness 4 stars
Feel 4 stars
Consistency 4.5 star
Distance 4.5 stars

Nike VRS Covert 2.0
www.NikeGolf.com • $700

Unique Features: Forgiving irons for a wide range of players, featuring deep, undercut cavity back, high-speed NexCOR face, and thin, no-weld sole all claimed to deliver faster ball speeds and longer, higher, straighter shots. Available with True Temper Dynalite 105 steel or Mitsubishi Rayon Kuro Kage Black 70 graphite shafts..

Tester Comments: The flight was very high, forgiving and had a really hot feel … sat more compactly behind the ball and the chrome finish made them look larger than they are with great forgiveness … Better looks, improved performance and plenty of forgiveness than previous models.


Appearance 4.5 star
Forgiveness 4.5 stars
Feel 4.5 stars
Consistency 5 star
Distance 5 stars

Mizuno JPX-EZ
www.mizunousa.com • $700

Unique Features: Max Pocket Cavity 4 thru 7 irons have a large sweet area for tighter dispersion and easy launch characteristics. Deep pocket cavities in the 8 thru GW increase accuracy and launch control. Harmonic Impact Technology delivers feel and sound tuned through cavity frame design. Available in mixed / combo sets or with JPX Fli-Hi long iron alternatives..

Tester Comments: The easiest set of clubs I ever hit … Ball launches off the club face nice and high and comes down soft … I found myself hitting my 6 iron 190 yards on short par threes off the tee, great added distance … If you are trying to score, you need to try these clubs


Appearance 4 star
Forgiveness 4.5 stars
Feel 4.5 stars
Consistency 5 star
Distance 5 stars

Ping G25
www.pinggolf.com • $900

Unique Features: Tester Comments: The relatively thin top line and moderate offset of the Ping G25 provides a look which appeals to a wide variety of golfers looking for a game improvement model. The sole widths go from wide to narrow in the 3-iron through pitching wedge to provide higher launching, more forgiving long irons, and short irons with added.

Tester Comments: They feel awesome through the hit and the darker look is very pleasing … If you want more yardage and accuracy, then try these .. The G25 offset is progressive throughout the set and the sole, while large and forgiving, has a players club feel


Appearance 5 star
Forgiveness 5 stars
Feel 4.5 stars
Consistency 4.5 star
Distance 5 stars

TaylorMade SpeedBlade
www.TaylorMadeGolf.com • $800

Unique Features: The new elongated Speed Pocket of the SpeedBlade Irons creates a faster face and more ball speed across a larger area of the face. With the lowest center of gravity of any TaylorMade iron, the SpeedBlade is easier to launch, delivers more speed, forgiveness, and distance than any TaylorMade iron. Matte gray finish reduces glare and a multi-material badge absorbs unwanted vibration to promote sound and feel.

Tester Comments: Wow, these irons are great for middle/high handicap players … I’m getting at least 10 yards extra per iron. It feels like they jump off the club face when you hit … A nice high launch, great distance, flies straight & lands softly, what more do you want..


Appearance 5 star
Forgiveness 4.5 stars
Feel 5 stars
Consistency 4.5 star
Distance 4 stars

Titleist AP1 714
www.Titleist.com • $800

Unique Features: The Titleist AP1 714 Iron is the longest, most forgiving Titleist iron for golfers who want longer distance, maximum forgiveness and solid feel in a game-improvement iron. AP1 714 Irons provide higher-launching long irons and lower-launching short irons for longer flight with stopping control. A pre-worn leading edge that prevents digging and more front to back camber allows the club to release smoothly from the turf.

Tester Comments: Surprisingly long, exceeded my expectations in distance … remarkable ability to hold the line on misses, especially toe misses … Just what I want longer and straighter even on misses with good feel..


Appearance 4.5 star
Forgiveness 4 stars
Feel 4.5 stars
Consistency 4.5 star
Distance 4 stars

Wilson C-100
www.wilsonstaff.com • $600

Unique Features: With playability achieved through an optimal head shape and powerful distance attained by a large, unsupported face, this iron is suited for the control player looking for a crossover of both feel and distance. The mirror black PVD finish and contrasting face, sole, and Exoskeleton help promote visibility technology. Exoskeleton weighting accounts for one-third of the total head mass, maximizing the moment of inertia (MOI) and forgiveness while still maintaining a midsize head shape. A stronger, stainless steel material allows for the thinnest-faced Wilson Staff control iron yet, creating faster ball speeds and longer distances.

Tester Comments: Provides nice distance and workability … A midsize design that from address looks similar to Wilson Staff FG Tour M3 iron … Great trajectory control and easy to hit from rough or fairway.


Player’s Choice Awards

Best Appearance
Callaway X2 Hot
TaylorMade Speedblade
Titleist AP1 714

Best Forgiveness
Callaway X2 Hot
Cobra Bio Cell / Bio Cell +
TaylorMade SpeedBlade

Best Consistency
Callaway X2 Hot
Mizuno JPX-EZ
Ping G25
Best Feel
Nike VRS Covert Forged
Mizuno JPX-EZ
Titleist AP1 714

Best Distance
Nike VRS Covert Forged
TaylorMade SpeedBlade
Ping G25
Wilson C-100

Best Overall
Callaway X2 Hot
Nike VRS Covert Forged
Mizuno JPX-EZ
TaylorMade Speedblade
Titleist AP1 714


Super Game Improvemnet Irons

Appearance 3.5 star
Forgiveness 5 stars
Feel 4 stars
Consistency 4.5 star
Distance 4.5 stars

Adams idea
www.AdamsGolf.com • $799

Unique Features: Adams’ research shows that most golfers typically hit the ball away from the center of the clubface (close to 80% of the time). Three hybrids replace traditional long irons in this set. The new Cut-Thru sole slot design in the hybrids makes ball speed and launch higher and adds extra distance on off-center shots. There’s a wrap-around slot that expands the sweet spot for up to 44% more speed on off-center shots and 23% more speed on center shots compared to the Idea a12OS.

Tester Comments: Every club in the bag is really surprisingly easy to hit. I’m a 9 handicap and can play with “player’s clubs”, but these are better for me ... Straight, straight, straight and long, long long. Mishit the sweet spot almost anywhere on the face and you’re still long and straight


Appearance 4.5 star
Forgiveness 5 stars
Feel 4.5 stars
Consistency 4 star
Distance 5 stars

Cobra Baffler XL
www.CobraGolf.com • $700

Unique Features: Built around the concept of the company’s original baffler woods, these irons have a wide rail-sole that relieves heel and toe areas for stable turf interaction and reduced turf drag. The shallow wide face of these oversized irons makes for an easy-to-hit set. Variable thickness faces provide faster ball speeds than previous Cobra irons. A combo set, where hybrids replace long irons is available.

Tester Comments: Plenty of forgiveness … high trajectory, offset helps produce draw-biased flight … good distance from any lie especially easy to hit from rough ... ... These clubs have put the fun back into the game as they’re so easy to hit..


Appearance 3,5 star
Forgiveness 4.5 stars
Feel 4.5 stars
Consistency 4.5 star
Distan4ce  stars

Cleveland 588 Altitude
www.clevelandgolf.com • $600

Unique Features: Engineered for altitude, this seamlessly blended hybrid iron set has a full hollow construction and advanced internal weighting adds forgiveness and promotes a lower, deeper center of gravity for optimal launch. Cleveland’s Face Forged Technology means that every iron has a forged club face to enhance ball speed and feel. As a fully customizable part of the 588 Irons family, Altitude Irons – which feature a bendable hosel to adjust lie angle – can be easily interchanged with 588 mid-trajectory and Tour-trajectory irons to customize a set.

Tester Comments: Hybrid-like design makes these easy to hit from short irons to long irons … all it would do is go long and straight … sound was different but distance was phenomenal.


Appearance 5 star
Forgiveness 4.5 stars
Feel 4.5 stars
Consistency 4.5 star
Distance 5 stars

Ping Karsten
www.pinggolf.com • $575

Unique Features: These high-launching irons are longer heel to toe with a center of gravity that’s extremely low and back to launch the ball high with increased moment of inertia for more forgiveness and consistency. The custom tuning port connects to the sole, reinforcing the thinner face to increase ball speed and consistency across the face while promoting a solid feel.

Tester Comments: Great Ping quality set of irons and hybrids that are very forgiving and long … was looking at the G25s but hit these better when I tested both clubs … Nice distance with consistency, forgiveness and feel


Appearance 4 star
Forgiveness 4.5 stars
Feel 4.5 stars
Consistency 4.5 star
Distance 5 stars

Tour Edge Exotics XCG7
www.touredge.com • $700

Unique Features: and one in the toe that increase perimeter weighting and forgiveness. The faces of the Exotics XCG7 irons are thicker in the center and thinner near the edges to produce more ball speed. Combo sets that come with two Exotics XCG7 hybrids and five Exotics XCG7 irons also are available.

Tester Comments: These are built to produce high, straight, long shots … The distance and ball flight was consistent throughout the set … These require no effort to hit the ball, so I get straighter shots and still get great distance.


Appearance 4 star
Forgiveness 4.5 stars
Feel 4.5 stars
Consistency 4.5 star
Distance 5 stars

Wilson Staff D100 ES
www.wilsonstaff.com • $600

Unique Features: Extreme perimeter weighting through Exoskeleton Technology drives the integrated Wilson Staff D100 ES Combo Set. The D100 ES set utilizes The Right Light Technology allowing players to swing faster with the same effort.Larger, more round hybrid and iron club heads feature Exoskeleton technology to maximize moment of inertia (MOI) and forgiveness, which can benefit a wide range of players, but is especially geared for slower swing speeds. Refined length spacing between the hybrids and the irons creates optimal launch and spin and consistent club-to-club distance gapping.

Tester Comments: Some of the longest irons tested … D 100 ES irons have a nice high trajectory … nice larger head, and expanded sweet spot … Hybrids in set much easier to hit than irons, good distance, average accuracy.


Player’s Choice Awards

Best Appearance
Ping Karsten

Best Feel
Cobra Baffler XL
Cleveland 588 Altitude
Ping Karsten
Tour Edge Exotics XCG7
Wilson Staff D100 ES
Best Forgiveness
Adams Idea
Cobra Baffler XL

Best Distance
Cobra Baffler XL
Ping Karsten
Tour Edge Exotics XCG7
Wilson Staff D100 ES
Best Consistency
Adams Idea
Cleveland 588 Altitude
Ping Karsten
Tour Edge Exotics XCG7
Wilson Staff D100 ES

Best Overall
Cobra Baffler XL
Ping Karsten
Tour Edge Exotics XCG7
Wilson Staff D100 ES