Golfing Magazine Online -
2005 Irons
Tom Landers
By Tom Landers
Published on 11/9/2005

Our Readers Test The New 2005 Irons

The good news for the golfer is that there is an incredibly wide range of options from which to choose when it comes to buying a set of irons. 

For scratch golfers, or those who aspire to be, a number of sleek, new muscle back irons are available from the usual suspects and a surprising entry from SMT Golf to meet your shot shaping desires.

 For those who consider themselves good players looking for a bit of extra help with their ball striking, there are plenty of choices in the mid-sized cavity back category that provide ample forgiveness on miss hits.

When it comes to cavity-back or “game improvement” irons, lower and deeper centers of gravity, wider soles and plenty of offset has become the standard, so that even the least-accomplished player can find a club or clubs to help them advance the ball on target more consistently.

The growing trend in irons, however, is combining three styles (blade short irons, cavity back mid irons and game improvement long irons) together to form one unique set. While this mixing and matching has been in vogue among Tour players and accomplished amateurs for years, the concept is being offered to the masses by more and more manufacturers. These combo sets offer the best of all worlds, which is what a golfer, regardless of his or her ability, can appreciate.

Hybrid irons or iron/woods are growing in popularity. Iron sets that incorporate hybrids in place of long irons are now commonplace. Designed to replace the hard-to-hit long irons, hybrids are a bona fide new club segment that deserves attention.

Their acceptance and use by PGA Tour players and women especially, is making hybrids a major category of clubs. Some models offer tremendous playability benefits, while others fall short of performance targets. Testing a number of designs before making a final selection is always the wise choice.

When considering sets labeled as hybrid sets, make sure you understand what you are getting. Some manufacturers are calling sets that incorporate hybrid clubs, hollow and cavity-back irons hybrid sets. A better term would be combination, or combo, sets. A complete set of hybrids is made up entirely of iron/wood combination (hybrid) clubs.

Indeed, the equipment industry is moving away from the concept of “sets of clubs” to the concept of “bags of clubs” in order to make the game more enjoyable for every golfer.

So mix, match and find the combination of clubs that is right for your game.

TaylorMade rac TP Forged | (800) 456-8633 | $1200
Outstanding Feel & Excellent Playability

The Tour Preferred line optimizes launch conditions for tour professionals - and players that swing like tour professionals - equaling maximum performance. The clubs made for the Tour Preferred Line are identical to the clubs that Taylor Made makes for tour pros. Not “almost like,” not “similar to,” they’re the same. These Muscle-cavity irons are coin-forged of S25c carbon steel and blend tremendous looks with outstanding feel and excellent playability. A Thin top-line and progressive offset and great shape will catch your eye. The tour-cambered sole and leading edge limit turf-resistance for improved power and accuracy.They have a chrome finish that protects and highlights this iron’s masterful craftsmanship

Clubhead: S25c carbon steel
Clubface: S25c carbon steel
Design: Muscle-Cavity Irons
Size: Standard
Clubs Available : 3-PW, #2
Shaft: Steel shaft R300, S300 and X100 flex

Nike Forged Pro Combo OS | 800-922-6453 | $899
A Forged Club for Every Golfer

The Forged Pro Combo OS Irons deliver excellent feel with the use of soft/forged 1030 carbon steel and Nike’s two-step forging process, most-commonly used in high-end blade irons. The clubheads are precision forged to shape, then squeeze forged to align the grain. This process creates a much more consistent ball-striking surface than those associated with cast irons. The milled flat faces offer predictable distances and shot patterns.  Nike proprietary U/V Scoring Grooves, the perfect blend of square and angled grooves, channel water and grass away from the clubface more effectively, allowing cleaner contact and better control. Three Pro Combo OS designs maximize this set’s performance, with Deep Undercut long irons, Full Cavity mid-irons, and Muscle-Cavity short irons. The Pro Combo OS long irons deep undercut and wide sole position the center of gravity lower and deeper in the clubhead to more efficiently get the ball airborne.

Clubhead: 1030 carbon steel
Clubface: 1030 carbon steel
Design: Cavity
Size: Oversize
Clubs Available : 3-PW
Shaft: Nike Speed Step Steel by True Temper

Mizuno MP-32 Forged Cut Muscle | (800) 925-429 | $1099
A Most Consistent Irons For Today’s Accomplished Player

The new MP-32™ iron with  Cut Muscle™  design technology is the player’s club for the modern game of golf. These clubs are designed to maximize performance for today’s more aggressive game. Utilizing their patented Grain Flow Forging™ technology and the breakthrough Cut Muscle™ design, Mizuno engineers were able to strategically re-distribute weight to create a consistent sweet spot location, with a deeper center of gravity, while maintaining the maximum amount of solid feel throughout the set. These features deliver an extremely controllable and predictable ball flight, producing a mid-high trajectory in long irons and a mid trajectory in the scoring irons.

Clubhead: Grain Flow Forged™, 1025 carbon steel
Clubface: Grain Flow Forged™, 1025 carbon steel
Design: Cut Muscle
Size: Standard
Clubs Available : 3-PW, #2
Shaft: True Temper® Dynamic Gold® - R300, S300

Feel Golf Competitor™ Classic Blade Irons | (877) 934-7387 | $799 / Graphite $1099
Classic blade irons with “feel” and workability

These Pressure Cast heads are as precise and consistent as any forged club. Each set is hand crafted with frequency matched True Temper shafts for maximum performance. Each set is hand crafted with shafts and head weights that are perfectly matched. Each shaft is checked for mass distribution and balance. This allows the absolute feel and consistency that is so well liked by players at all levels. The irons are made from some of the softest proprietary combination of metals of any iron on the market for great feedback and feature a 6-way camber sole with only a 1/16” of offset. The classic profile with muscle-back design provides the accomplished player a great trajectory and ball flight with an incredibly soft feel at impact.

Clubhead: Proprietary combination of metals
Clubface: Proprietary combination of metals
Design: Blade
Size: Standard
Clubs Available : 3-PW, #1, #2
Shaft: True Temper Steel or Rapport Graphite

SMT Golf 303MB Irons |888 693-4001 | $25 / clubhead
A Classic Muscle Back – a real players club.

Accomplished and Competitive golfers should love the new 303MB Muscle-Back Irons, which offer the feel and workability needed to shape their shots and attack the pin. This no-nonsense design is sure to attract the better player who is looking for a classic blade with a stronger top line. Made from 303 Stainless Steel the face is CNC Milled and the grooves are machined for increased performance and durability.

Clubhead: 303 Stainless Steel
Clubface: CNC Milled
Design: Muscle Back
Size: Standard

KZG Evolution | (800) 200-8800 | $749
Workability, Consistency and Great Feel

 KZG’s innovative Forged Evolution Irons offer every advantage a set of irons can offer: workability, consistency, control, accuracy, and great  feel. Designed by Clay Long, one of the top designers in the industry, each head is meticulously engineered for superior performance. The perimeter  weighted cavity back of the long irons achieve maximum distance with accuracy; the mid irons are a hybrid between cavity and blade to maximize the benefits  of each; and the short irons guaranty maximum control. These irons are double forged and 100% handcrafted in Japan and feature a progressive design throughout the set.

Clubhead: Carbon Steel
Clubface: Carbon Steel
Design: Cavity Back
Size: Standard
Clubs Available : 3-PW, AW, SW
Shaft: NovaTech Steel

Callaway Big Bertha Fusion Irons | (866) 444-3764 | $1280, ($1520 graphite)
The most untraditional traditional-looking irons you’ll ever play

Callaway incorporates three-piece technology in these new irons. A Thermoplastic Urethane (TPU) SenSert is used to reduce vibration and tune feel, creating an incredible ball striking experience. A Tunite alloy cradle (Nickel, Tungsten, Chromium) allows the reposition of 77% of the clubhead mass to the perimeter and a new head shape provides confidence at address for players of all ability levels.
The lightweight titanium face allows weight to be repositioned around the perimeter and increase the effective hitting area and increase ball speed while the S2H2 Technology redistributes weight away from the hosel and toward the perimeter of the clubhead, enhancing forgiveness.

Clubhead: Stainless Steel
Clubface : Titanium
Design: Cavity Back
Size: Midsized
Clubs Available : 3-PW, #2, AW, SW, LW
Shafts: Nippon 990 Steel Shaft, RCH 75i or 85i Graphite Shaft

Taylormade rac New OS | (800) 456-8633 | $736 ($960 graphite)
Power, Forgiveness and Distance Never Looked so Good

This Oversized head with generous offset and slightly wider sole promotes an unmatched combination of high launch angle, long, penetrating ball flight and maximum control. The rac OS incorporates three key technologies to deliver feel, forgiveness, and an improved CG location that makes this iron easy to launch the ball with on a high, long, straight flight. The new OS is intended for all player types, from amateurs that swing at average clubhead speeds to fast-swinging tour professionals. In the two years since it was first introduced, TaylorMade engineers have perfected their patented rac technology by refining and adjusting the shape and size of the Feel Pockets, equaling even a quality of feel at impact that had previously thought was impossible in an iron with such a large back-cavity.

Clubhead: Stainless Steel
Clubface: Stainless Steel
Design: Cavity Back
Size: Oversize
Clubs Available: 2-PW, AW, SW, LW
Shafts: TaylorMade’s proprietary T-Step Ultralite/90-gram steel and UG 65/65-gram graphite

Wilson Staff Pi5 Performance Irons | (800) 622-6486 | $1099
In the tradition of Wilson Staff – these are a winner in 2005

 The new Wilson Staff Pi5 Irons feature a soft, compact 431 Stainless Steel cast head with thin top-lines and progressive sole widths from the short to long irons. A carbon insert in the cavity absorbs vibration for smoother feel at impact. The progressive, perimeter back weighting creates maximum forgiveness during off-center hits. The Low and deep center of gravity in the long irons leads to a higher ball flight and more forgiveness while the higher and shallower center of gravity in the short irons allows for lower ball flight and creative shot making. The Thin, high COR face provides a generous sweet spot in a conventional head size.

Clubhead: 431 Stainless Steel
Clubface: 431 Stainless Steel
Design: Cavity Back
Size: mid-size
Clubs Available: 3-PW, GW, SW, LW
Shafts: Dynamic Gold Steel

Ping G2 Irons | (866) 917-5050
Innovative, forgiving and good-looking

Tour Edge has taken the lead in hybrid clubs by offering a full set of hybrid irons.
The G2 Irons represents the most forgiving iron PING has ever designed. The custom fit G2 irons feature several new design advancements, including a center of gravity moved away from the face, and a wider sole for improved launch and more forgiveness. The custom tuning port reduces club vibration for the ultimate feel. The cavity of the G2 is parallel to the ground at address to optimize the center of gravity location and increase the moment of inertia for greater forgiveness. Designed to complement the G2 Irons are the G2 HL Irons—an iron hybrid engineered as an alternative to traditional long irons (available 2-5 iron).

Clubhead: Stainless Steel
Clubface: Stainless Steel
Design: Cavity Back
Size: Over size
Clubs Available : 3- PW
Shafts: CS Lite Steel Shaft, TFC 100 Graphite Shaft

Nike NDS | 800-922-6453 | $479 ($599 graphite)
Easy To Play From Tee To Green!

Nike Golf designed the new NDS Irons from research and materials gleaned from previous award-winning projects such as the Slingshot Irons and the Ignite Driver. By applying what was learned through the manipulation of the center of gravity, progressive weighting and various shaft options, Nike Golf has been able to create clubs for golfers that will make the game more enjoyable and immensely more affordable. The clubs feature notch weighting where the notch is larger in the long irons to create more heel/toe weighting and increase forgiveness. Throughout the set, this notch incrementally decreases to increase workability and prevent shots from ballooning. NDS irons have progressive offset and a wide sole width to facilitate getting the ball airborne and to prevent fat shots.

Clubhead: 431 stainless steel
Clubface: 431 stainless steel
Design: Cavity Back
Size: Mid-size
Clubs Available: 3-PW, SW
Shafts: Fujikura NDS graphite shaft, True Temper NDS steel shaft

Ben Hogan BH-5 irons | (800) 772-5346
Maximum playability, control and forgiveness

The new Ben Hogan BH-5 irons, the first fully cast stainless steel irons in the Ben Hogan product line feature 17-4 Stainless steel cast construction with an extreme perimeter weight design that provides maximum playability, control and forgiveness. A Smooth camber/radius sole design promotes solid contact and helps eliminate mis-hits while the thin face design (.110”), deep undercut sole in the long irons produce a low rearward center of gravity for a high/hot launch angle. This iron set progresses to thicker face, higher center of gravity short irons to control short iron ball flight.

Clubhead: 17-4 Stainless steel
Clubface: Stainless steel
Design: Cavity Back
Size: Oversizew
Clubs Available: 3-PW, #2, FW, SW, LW
Shafts: Apex Graphite, Apex Steel

Srixon I-403AD | (888) 477-4966 | $599 ($699 graphite)
Science Meets Design

The New Srixon I-403 Irons combine Digital Impact distance accuracy and forgiveness with a player’s eye for design. Made from extremely soft SUS 255 stainless steel, the I-403 incorporates several features to make this extremely forgiving iron very long and very easy to hit. The Tungsten-nickel sole weights move the center of gravity lower providing ideal launch conditions. Variable hosel lengths and varied back weighting position further optimize the Center of Gravity point so the long irons area easy to square and get up in the air, while the short irons have the ideal scoring trajectory. Progressive offset and a rich, satin finish make the 403 an extremely appealing iron for players of all abilities.

Clubhead: 255 Soft Stainless
Clubface: 255 Soft Stainless
Design: Cavity back
Size: Standard
Clubs Available: 3-PW, AW, SW
Shafts: SV-3000 Graphite, True Temper Dynalite Steel

Mizuno M-17 | (800) 925-4292 | $699 ($799 graphite)
Large sweet spot for maximum forgiveness

The MX-17 combines amazing forgiveness with technologies to increase ease of play, and feature elegant, clean cosmetics to be a most playable iron. The iron offers Mizuno’s largest sweet spot area, lowest and deepest center of gravity, largest and most forgiving sole, and a generous off-set, making it the perfect game improvement iron for the mid to high handicap golfer. The extreme pocket cavity design in the 3-6 iron, delivers a high launch and maximum forgiveness while the deep undercut cavity with solid Power Bar™ design in the 7-PW, delivers solid feel and maximum control and accuracy. The irons feature precisely engineered back cavity pads that add mass behind the hitting area for greater feel.

Clubhead: 17-4PH Stainless Steel and double nickel chrome plated
Clubface: 17-4PH Stainless Steel and double nickel chrome plated
Design: Cavity Back
Size: Midsize
Clubs Available : 3-PW, SW
Shafts: True Temper® Dynalite Gold®, Mizuno Exsar® Blue Graphite

Element 21 Golf E21 Irons | 800 710-2021 | $995.00
A brand new material - Scandium (The 21st Element of the Periodic Table) brings your game in to the 21st Century.

The E21 Irons with SHOCK-BLOKTM Technology are unlike anything else on the market right now. The club incorporates a Scandium metal shaft that redirects the vibration normally felt in the hands and arms back to the club head (thus giving an extra “energy-kick” to the golf ball and subsequently increasing distance) while maintaining a crystal clear signature of the contact between the club head and the golf ball providing the golfer with a “softer feel” and unprecedented control over every shot.  E21 Golf has introduced a brand new material to the golf industry Scandium (The 21st Element of the Periodic Table) which provides the highest Strength to Weight ratio of any material used in golf today.

Clubhead: 403 Stainless Steel
Clubface: 403 Stainless Steel
Design: Cavity Back
Size: Mid-Size
Clubs Available: 3 - PW
Shafts: Scandium Performance SystemTM Metal Shaft

Cleveland Launcher Irons | (800) 999-6263 | $800 ($928 graphite)
Golf Just Got Easier!

The game improvement Launcher irons have the highest moment of inertia ever in a Cleveland Golf iron. Designed with tremendous stability, these irons minimize the loss of distance on off-center shots. The low and deep center of gravity helps to get the ball in the air with less effort. Additional offset makes it easier to square the face at impact resulting in consistently straighter shots. The combination of an extra large cavity and extra large face creates one of biggest sweet spots in all of golf.  The clubs are made from 17-4 stainless steel for durability and performance.

Clubhead: 17-4 stainless steel
Clubface: 17-4 stainless steel
Design: Cavity Back
Size: Oversize
Clubs Available: 4-PW, #2, #3, DW, SW
Shafts:  Action Lite Steel Shaft by True Temper, Action Lite Graphite Shaft by Cleveland Golf

Wilson Staff Di5 Distance Irons | (800) 622-6486 | $1099
Designed For The Golfer Seeking Maximum Distance

With a unique cavity undercut and heel notch, and top-line width progressively increasing from the short irons to the long irons, weight is gradually shifted away from the face, improving perimeter weighting and forgiveness. With a low density carbon weave  support, the Di5 features a thin, high  COR face to provide a generous sweet  spot in a conventional head size. Both steel and graphite shafts in the Di5 iron provide a flexible tip section for a higher launch in the long irons progressively changing to a stiffer tip section in the short irons for a lower, controlled ball flight. Golfers who require the distance of long irons but desire greater forgiveness have the option of replacing the long irons with hybrid clubs. Hybrid clubs in 17.0°, 21.0°, 25.0°, 29.0° lofts are available.

Clubhead: Stainless Steel
Clubface: Stainless Steel
Design: Cavity /Hybrid iron- wood
Size: Oversize
Clubs Available : 3-PW, GW, SW, LW
Shaft: True Temper® proprietary Wilson Staff Taper Tech™ Steel shaft / UST™ proprietary Wilson Staff Nano Tech™ graphite shaft.

Nickent Genex 3DX Hybrid | 888-NICKENT
Up & coming Company with solid products

Nickent’s proprietary 3-D Weighting System® works by moving weight in three directions - lower, deeper (back from the clubface) and more towards the heel of each clubhead. This back-weighted design produces a center-of-gravity that closely matches the CG of a lofted fairway wood. By positioning more mass in the visible weight pads at the rear of the clubhead, each individual 3DX iron is fine-tuned to provide optimal launch angle and trajectory for its specific loft. The player benefits are a high launch angle, improved stability and better directional control.

Clubhead : Stainless Steel
Clubface: Stainless Steel
Design: Cast Cavity Back
Size: Oversized
Clubs: 3-4 Ironwood, 5-PW irons, GW, SW (available  LH)
Shafts: True Temper steel (S, R, UNIFLEX) , Speed Rated Graphite (X, S,R,L)

Adams IDEA a1 Hybrid Irons | (800) 622-0609 |  $699
Game Improvement for the 10-20 handicap player

These irons are designed for game improvement and the better player. The new IDEA a1 Hybrid Irons is an integrated set of irons designed with classic, easy-to-hit game improvement features for golfers of all abilities. The Easy-to-hit 3 & 4 i-Wood. Replaces traditional hard-to-hit long irons. The Forgiving 5 & 6 hollow back irons moves the weight low and back for the easiest-to-hit and longest mid-irons Adams has ever produced. The wide sole technology helps to reduce miss-hits and promotes consistent, solid contact. These hybrid irons are confidence-inspiring with a game improvement topline, blade length and hitting area.

Clubhead: Stainless Steel
Clubface: Stainless Steel
Design: Cavity Back / Hybrid
Size: Oversize
Clubs Available: #3 i-Wood: #4 i-Wood, #5 thru #9 irons, PW, GW, SW, LW
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Lite

Tour Edge Bazooka JMAX Iron-Woods | 800-515-3343 | $552 ($632 graphite)
Easy to hit and affordable

Tour Edge has taken the lead in hybrid clubs by offering a full set of hybrid irons.
A totally unique approach in golf club design, the Bazooka JMAX Iron-Wood is sold individually or as a set of 3-PW Iron-Woods.  The Bazooka Iron-Wood’s larger more forgiving clubhead makes it an ideal iron replacement. The over-sized top line and larger wood-like body inspire confidence on both short and long approach shots.  To give golfers the higher flight pattern they need, the Bazooka has a 2-piece, super-thin cast body constructed from Hyper-Steel. The face, skirt, and crown are made as thin as possible and then structurally supported with three internal reinforcement strands. This allows the sole to weigh up to 120-grams and gives the Bazooka Iron-Wood one of the lowest centers of gravity (CG) available in an iron.

Clubhead : Stainless Steel
Clubface: Stainless Steel
Design: Cast Iron Wood
Size: Standard
Clubs: 1-PW, SW (available LH)
Shafts: Tour Edge JMAX graphite steel (X,S,R,A,L), Steel (X,S,R,A,L)

LaJolla Knife Irons | (800) 468-7700
Unique and Innovative Design

The Knife Iron is one of the most innovative and unique designs developed by La Jolla Club.  The iron features shallow patented three-blade technology while maintaining a classic profile and topline. Shallow blades allow the golfer to better move the ball (left to right or right to left) and control the ball flight.  Hollow core weighting provides perimeter weighting for more forgiveness.  A tungsten ring back weight provides a low/back center of gravity for higher trajectory, longer, straighter shots and more consistency on off center hits.  A vibration absorption ring on the back of the club imparts a solid feel at impact.

Clubhead: Stainless Steel
Clubface: Stainless Steel
Design: Perimeter Weighting
Size: Mid-size
Clubs Available: 3-PW. Hybrid set is a 3, 4 Hybrid and 5-PW.  SW
Shaft: Steel & Graphite

Dunlop LoCo Irons | 800-235-5516 | $349

The LoCo Iron set includes a 6-PW cavity back iron combination and three forgiving hybrid utility irons.  The utility irons are intended to replace the harder to hit long irons found in traditional sets, and feature deep faces that make it easier for average golfers to get the ball up in the air.  The LoCo utility irons also come standard with a Harrison XL 85 Hybrid 100% graphite shaft which helps to increase players swing speeds, effectively generating more power for long iron shots.  The combination of increased loft and longer distance provides a great solution to longer approach shots requiring a soft landing on the green.
The cavity back irons feature stainless steel heads for incredible feel and forgiveness on mid-to-short iron shots.

Clubhead: Stainless Steel
Clubface: Stainless Steel
Design : Cavity Back
Size: Standard
Clubs: 4-5 Hybrid Utility Irons, 6-PW irons
Shafts: 6-PW -True Temper Steel, 4-5 Harrison Graphite

Square Two Lady’s Light and Easy 444 | 800.526.2250 | $599
Unique combination of woods, hollow cavity and
traditionally designed cavity back irons.

All irons are mid profile. This allows for extremely low centers of gravity which creates ideal launch angles hence greater distance. All irons are offset. This promotes the head being square at impact. 4-5-6-7 Irons have a hollow chamber in the cavity. This enlarges the sweet spot resulting in better energy transfer on off center hits. 8-9-PW-SW are traditional perimeter weighted featuring wide soles and a deep undercut design. This synergistic design produces an incredibly forgiving iron with superior torsional stability.

Clubhead: Stainless Steel
Clubface: Stainless Steel
Design: Cavity Back
Size: Mid size
Clubs Available : 4-PW, SW
Shaft: Steel or Graphite