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Our Readers Test the Newest 2010 Irons
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Tom Landers
 
By Tom Landers
Published on 04/27/2010
 

Our Readers Test the Newest 2010 Irons

Today’s Irons Make the Game Easier and More Fun

The most significant development in irons during the last several years has been the popularity of what is commonly called a “mixed” or “combo” set.
With the emergence of the hybrid (i.e., a fusion of design elements found in both traditional irons and fairway woods) and its acceptance among the buying public, almost all equipment companies offer combo sets that replace long irons with hybrids, while maintaining traditional clubhead shapes in the mid- through short-irons and wedges.

As Lee Trevino once joked, “Not even God can hit a one-iron.” He may as well have thrown in the two, three- and even four-iron for recreational, mid-handicap players. Today’s “super game improvement” combo sets make is far easier for players to get the ball airborne consistently with hybrid three- and four-irons. This is due to the club’s profile and playing characteristics, such as a lower center of gravity and a larger sweet spot on the clubface.
Other features of the combo sets--such as lower centers of gravity and maximum perimeter weighting in the mid- and short-irons--help instill confidence and allow golfers of average or lesser ability to get the ball in the air on a proper trajectory with greater ease.
Now, this is not to say that equipment companies have eschewed the form and functionality of classic iron designs. Single-digit handicappers can benefit from more modest game improvement irons that combine the thinner topline found in blades with cavity or muscle back clubheads. These sticks offer greater forgiveness and playability thanks to perimeter weighting and a lower center of gravity that progresses through the long- to short-irons. Better players still favor the clubhead shape and feel found in today’s forged irons, some of which are designed with new materials that make for hotter ball flight and more carry.
With so many choices, it is vital to try out irons to determine what’s best for you. Indeed, you may be a better player but like the feel of a hybrid in your hands instead or a three- or four-iron. Or, you might be an accomplished golfer who likes a little forgiveness in his clubs, but also feels more confident at address with the thinner toplines more modest game improvement irons offer. The best players will almost always opt for a blade. Yet, even here, designers have incorporated helpful elements, such as improved scoring lines on the clubface and state-of-the-art shafts that can be custom fit to that allow for maximum shot shaping.
Buying a new set of irons should never be an impulse purchase. You’ll likely have your new irons for a long time and they can make or break your game. So, find a set that appeals to both your eyes and ability, test drive the product, get fit and have fun.

PLAYERS IRONS:

GAME IMPROVEMENT IRONS:

SUPER GAME IMPROVEMENT IRONS:

$899(graphite)
Bridgestone J38 Forged (CB)
www.bridgestonegolf.com

Unique Features: The Bridgestone J38 Forged Cavity Back(CB) irons have a magnesium composite insert, which optimizes perimeter weighting for more forgiveness on off center hits. In addition, the new insert dampens vibration at impact for a smooth energy transfer and a purer and softer feel.


$799 (steel)
Cleveland CG1 Tour
www.clevelandgolf.com

Unique Features: The split cavity back long irons and muscle back mid/short irons maintain a traditional look while providing extra forgiveness and workability. The CG1 Tour features a surface roughness technology - Laser Milled. Using the precision accuracy of a laser, each face features four perfectly calibrated texture lines milled between each groove exactly to the conforming roughness limit.


$799 (steel)
Cobra S2 Forged
www.cobragolf.com

Unique Features: Aimed at better players who prefer a Tour-inspired shape and seek more control and workability, the Cobra S2 Forged Irons pair performance and feel. The clubheads are forged from 1025 carbon steel, the grooves on the clubfaces are CNC milled. While forged, the Cobra S2 Forged Irons are not blades; the cavity back boasts extreme perimeter weighting to target more forgiveness on off-center strikes.


$1199
Fourteen TC-910 Forged
www.clevelandgolf.com

Unique Features: The Fourteen TC-910 Forged irons have traditional shaped heads made with soft, forged S20C steel and feature a slightly offset shape. The center of gravity moves progressively higher as the clubs get short, creating optimal spin rates for each club. They are designed with a clean, muscle-cavity back head to produce a classic forged feel.


$1200
Mizuno MP-58
www.mizunousa.com

Unique Features: The Mizuno MP-58 Dual Muscle back titanium irons were designed with multiple materials during a Grain Flow Forging process to deliver a solid feel and superb playability. A rolled leading edge, flattened mid sole, and rolled trailing edge deliver consistent ball striking ability from all types of lies.


$388
Dynacraft Prophet Tour
www.hirekogolf.com

Unique Features: The Hireko Dynacraft Prophet Tour irons are designed with an exclusive Stability Slot in the rear of the clubhead to optimize the center of gravity’s location. This is done by pushing weight further back from the face and redistributing it directly in the center of the face to create a pure feel found in the best blades.


$899
NikeVR Forged SplitCavity
www.nikegolf.com

Unique Features: Designed for consistent ball flight and distance control with an element of forgiveness, the forged split cavity back design keeps weight behind the sweetspot of the clubhead for ball control while providing forgiveness. Forged from 1025 Carbon Steel with a CNC milled face, wider sole and thicker topline, the split cavity delivers a high degree of workability and ball control.


$142 per club graphite, $115 per club steel
Ping i15
www.ping.com

Unique Features: The Ping i15 irons were created as a progressive set with long-irons that are larger for more forgiveness and higher trajectory, and mid- and short-irons that transition to slightly smaller sizes for workability and control on approach shots. A stabilizing bar and Custom Tuning Port provide the feel and sound preferred by better players.


$899
Srixon Z-TX
www.srixon.com

Unique Features: The Srixon Z-TX irons are made of soft stainless steel through a proprietary heat treatment and a chrome finishing process to provide a soft, yet responsive feel. Five-gram tungsten weights in the toe and heel of the club increases stability through impact with the ball and allows for more firmness in the long irons on off center hits.


$899
TaylorMade R9 TP
www.taylormadegolf.com

Unique Features: Like the R9 irons, these feature a foam-filled chamber behind the clubface in the long irons (2-iron through 5-iron). This allowed designers to construct a face that’s just two millimeters thick for optimum springlike effect. The KBS Tour Series shaft (used by the PGA Tour’s Kenny Perry and Dustin Johnson during victories in 2009) are the stock offering.


$125 per club graphite,
$100 per club steel
Titleist AP2
www.titleist.com

Unique Features: A modified sole on the Titleist AP2 irons provides improved ground control for cleaner shot making. A thin face with integrated aluminum and a soft elastomer Tuned Feel System in the back cavity improves sound and feel at impact for a hot, lively feel. Shorter hosels in the long-irons helps bias weight low for improved launch.


$159 per club graphite,
$135 per club steel
Tour Edge Exotics
www.touredge.com

Unique Features: Tour Edge’s Dual Density Dampening System (3DS) covers the entire cavity with an ulra-light carbon and thermal plastic elastomer (TPE) enabling a thinner face design for improve feel and forgiveness and longer shots. The key to the 3DS system is the use of two different TPE inserts with varying firmness. The inserts are softer in the 7-SW irons for feel and greater spin. In the mid and long irons a denser insert promotes greater rebound, added distance, and a firmer feel.


$999 steel $999 steel
Wilson FG Tour Irons
www.wilsonstaff.com

Unique Features: These Irons are intended to cater to the demands of Tour Professionals and highly accomplished players alike. Precision forged from soft carbon steel, the new irons have a compact head shape that offers a moderate amount of forgiveness desired by better golfers. The irons feature a forged cavity-back design that redistributes weight from the heel to the toe, repositioning the center of gravity towards the center of the clubface. This promotes more stability through the swing.


Player’s Choice Awards
Players Irons

Best Appearance
Cleveland CG1
Mizuno MP-58
Wilson FG Tour Forged

Best Forgiveness
Cobra S-2 Forged
Ping i15

Best Feel
Bridgestone J38 Cavity Back
Fourteen TC-910 Forged
Mizuno MP-58

Best Consistency
Bridgestone J38 Cavity Back
Mizuno MP-58
TaylorMade r9 TP
Titleist AP2

Best Distance
Cobra S-2 Forged
Ping i15
Tour Edge Exotics XGC3

Best Overall
Mizuno MP-58
TaylorMade r9 TP
Titleist AP2
Bridgestone J38 Cavity Back

$799 graphite, $599 steel
Adams Idea a7
www.adamsgolf.com

Unique Features: The Idea a7 from Adams is designed to be the future of irons sets, with every club in the set individually optimized to fully blend together and outperform traditional irons. Intended for mid-handicap players, the set features two Tour-inspired a7 hybrids that deliver increased carry distance and extra forgiveness, along with six carefully configured irons that maximize scoring potential.


$799, 3-iron $114aphite)
Bridgestone J38 Forged (DPC)
www.bridgestonegolf.com

Unique Features: The Bridgestone J38 Forged Dual Pocket Cavity (DCP) irons are designed for better players who seek a soft feel and a more traditional topline, but also want more forgiveness. Weight has been moved to the perimeter of the clubhead for better ball flight on off center hits, and more mass has been located directly behind the hitting area for a more solid feel.


$799 graphite, $699 steel
Cleveland CG7 Black Pearl
www.clevelandgolf.com

Unique Features: The Cleveland CG7 Black Pearl irons feature laser-milled faces to provide a perfectly consistent texture for optimal ball-to-clubface friction and maximum spin. Zip grooves maximize grove volume to channel more debris at impact than traditional grooves, thus generating greater spin and more consistent shot-making.


$700 graphite, $600 steel
Cobra S2
www.cobragolf.com

Unique Features: The Cobra S2 irons have a new cavity design with perimeter heel-toe weighting that utilizes lightweight polymer materials that allow discretionary weight to be pushed low in the heel and toe to increase moment of inertia. A mid-width stepped sole offers superior turf interaction for cleaner hits off difficult lies.


$1,199
Fourteen Golf TC550
www.fourteengolf.com

Unique Features: The Fourteen TC-550 Forged irons have been designed for the average, mid-handicap golfer with swing speeds between 90 and 100 miles an hour who wants the playability and workability of forged club in a game improvement iron. The center of gravity has been lowered to provide the ultimate trajectory with an ideal spin rate.


$900
Mizuno MX300
www.mizunousa.com

Unique Features: The Mizuno MX-300 irons with Y-Tune technology offer enhanced game improvement technology that includes a more traditional look with minimal offset, a compact head size and modest sole width. The full cavity utilized in the irons contains reconfigured Y-Tune technology for better feel, ball flight control and added forgiveness.shots


$839 graphite, $699 steel
Nike SQ Machspeed
www.nikegolf.com

Unique Features: The Nike Machspeed irons provide stability and forgiveness thanks to the company’s PowerBow technology. The design element creates an extremely deep center of gravity and produces a wide sweet spot. Some 50 grams of weight has been positioned out and back to the PowerBow for high launching shots that travel farther and land softer.: A


$135 per club graphite,
$105 per club steel
Ping G15
www.pinggolf.com

Unique Features: The Ping G15 irons provide the high-launching, maximum forgiveness benefits that most golfers rely on for consistency. A new Custom Tuning Port in the cavity design of the clubhead expands the perimeter weighting and increases the moment of inertia for a more stable hit through contact with the ball.


$800
PowerBilt Citation
www.powerbilt.com

Unique Features: The PowerBilt Citation irons feature ultra-thin titanium face inserts to provide maximum moment of inertia and COR ratings for explosive power. Twin tungsten back-weights lower the center of gravity and moves it away from the face to create a large impact area to help off center hits fly farther and straighter.


$799
TaylorMade R9
www.taylormadegolf.com

Unique Features: They offer distance and control-enhancing technologies in a classic shape. The Velocity-Control Chamber in 3-6 irons provides increased consistency, ball speed and power while the innovative shock-absorption system in 3-6 irons give a satisfying feel and sound. A deep undercut cavity and heel-toe weighting in the short-irons allow for increased forgiveness and the expertly beveled sole in every iron reduces turf resistance and promotes crisp contact.


$699 (steel), $899 (graphite)
TaylorMade 09 Burner
www.taylormadegolf.com

Unique Features: Just like TaylorMade’s driver of the same name, its Burner irons can hit the ball a long way. SuperFast Technology increases clubhead speed and COR, giving golfers explosive distance that lands surprisingly soft. A multi-material cavity badge minimizes vibration and sound, creating shots that feel good and sound sweet at impact.


$125 per club graphite, $100 per club steel
Titleist AP1
www.titleist.com

Unique Features: The thinner face and larger cavity of the Titleist AP1 irons creates a hotter, livelier feel. Other improvements include reducing the face thickness to provide enhanced heel, toe and deep weighting to the frame, and moving tungsten nickel material to the sole to provide increased stability and forgiveness.


$259
Tour Edge Bazooka HT Max
www.TourEdge.com

Unique Features: The long irons (3-5) feature a longer blade length, wider sole width, and progressive undercut cavity for greater forgiveness. The mid irons (6-7) feature a mid-blade length, less offset, more bounce, a thinner top line and a mid-sole width for greater workability. Finally, the scoring irons (8-PW) feature a smaller undercut cavity, the least offset, the most bounce, and a narrower width sole for dead-on accuracy.


$2,339
Williams Polesitter
www.williams-sports.com

Unique Features: The Williams Sports Polesitter iron series was designed with a target on the better player. This iron is precision forged with the highest grade of steel. The iron is designed with thinner top lines and narrower soles to produce the type of look that better players long for. This iron features Densimet, a Formula One specific weighting system that features the second heaviest metal in the world. The combination of precision forging with the Densimet weight systems produces the feel and playing characteristics that better players long for.


$799 steel, $899 graphite
Wilson Ci9
www.wilsonstaff.com

Unique Features: The Ci9 combines a traditional midsize clubhead that appeals to players of varying skill levels with a “players club” overall look. A confidence-boosting midsize head provides the style expected by Tour players, such as a thinner top line and a moderately progressive offset. They also have a hidden rear cavity exoskeleton that pushes weight to the heel and toe to create more stability through impact with the ball. A Soft Response insert provides a solid feel, even on off-center hits.


Player’s Choice Awards
Game Improvement Irons

Best Appearance
Bridgestone J38 Dual Pocket Cavity
Cleveland CG7 Black Pearl
Mizuno MX-300

Best Forgiveness
Adams Idea a7
Cobra S2
Powerbilt Citation CS

Best Feel
Bridgestone J38 Dual Pocket Cavity
TaylorMade r9
Titleist AP1

Best Consistency
Bridgestone J38 Cavity Back
Mizuno MX-300
Titleist AP2
Wilson Ci9

Best Distance
Ping G15
TaylorMade 09 Burner

Best Value
Adams Idea a7
Powerbilt Citation CS

Best Overall
Adams Idea a7
TaylorMade r9
Titleist AP1
Wilson Ci9
Bridgestone J38 Cavity Back

 

$799 graphite, $699 steel
Adams Idea A7OS
www.adamsgolf.com

Unique Features: The Adams a7OS hybrid set has 3-, 4- and 5-irons that are designed to produce a mid-high launch angle, as well as be easier to hit with more distance, 6- and 7-irons that produce increased distance and forgiveness with optimized launch conditions, and 8- and 9-irons and a pitching wedge that are easy to hit, with features that are forgiving and versatile


$599 (steel), $799 (graphite)
Adams Idea A7OS Max
www.adamsgolf.com

Unique Features: The 3-6 are traditional hybrid-style clubs, while the 7-PW are considered hybrid-irons that provide more control while in scoring situations. All clubs in this set are constructed with ultra-thin crowns, thin faces, and sole weighting to provide maximum forgiveness, distance, and launch conditions.


$699 graphite, $599 steel
Cleveland HB3
www.clevelandgolf.com

Unique Features: The Cleveland HB3 irons are lighter, faster and longer than any of Cleveland’s previous hybrid iron sets. Advanced internal weighting and a more forgiving sole design allows for a seamless transition through each club in the set to inspire confidence at address and ideal launch conditions for players of all skill levels.


$599 graphite, $499 steel
Cobra S2 Max
www.cobragolf.com

Unique Features: The Cobra S2 Max irons feature 9-point clubface technology, which creates an expended sweet spot that promotes consistent power and improved forgiveness and accuracy. A wide-sole, low-profile design shifts the center of gravity low and back to improve launch conditions and maximize forgiveness. A contoured sole improves turf interaction for cleaner hits.


$1699
Fourteen PC-66X
www.fourteengolf.com

Unique Features: The pocket-cavity back irons feature a tungsten neck weighting for increased stability and distance. An AM355 steel face is integrated with a SUS630 body to create the two-piece pocket cavity back design. An ideal balance between the MOI and CG creates an optimal launch with consistent trajectories and spin rates. The distinctive sharply-edged trapezoidal groove undergoes a mirror-face milling process which precisely and carefully mills each groove for optimal spin.


$1,199 graphite, $999 steel
Mizuno MX1000
www.mizunousa.com

Unique Features: The Mizuno MX-1000 irons have an extremely high COR and moment of inertia for maximum distance and forgiveness. A maraging steel face has been plasma-welded to a hollow stainless steel body to produce a long, player-friendly iron. A wide sole works well from rough and doesn’t dig into the turf, even on steep swings.


$599 graphite, $499 steel
Nike Slingshot
www.nikegolf.com

Unique Features: The Nike Slingshot irons have weight moved deep and low in the clubhead to produce a larger sweet spot. Some 30 grams of Nike PowerBow weight has been positioned low and back and, when combined with a deep sole, delivers high ball flight and maximum forgiveness for mid-handicap players.


$699 (graphite), $499 (steel)
PowerBilt Air Force One
www.powerbilt.com

Unique Features: PowerBilt says its new nitrogen-charged irons are “ballistic.” The company claims filling the iron’s head with nitrogen gas allows for the construction of a thin face and a larger sweet spot. The results are longer shots with more consistent spin rates, no matter where the ball is struck on the clubface. Also, to maximize clubhead speed, a proprietary Apollo steel shaft weighing only 85 grams has been incorporated. The irons come in two styles, a 4-PW nitrogen charged plus SW cavity back, and a 4-7 nitrogen charged plus 8-SW cavity back.


$799 graphite, $599 steel
TaylorMade SuperLaunch
www.taylormadegolf.com

Unique Features: These are engineered to deliver tremendous forgiveness from end-to-end and top to bottom. These boast the highest MOI of any TaylorMade iron, ever. Features a wide, multifunctional sole, which is key to establishing the low and deep CG location that makes every one of these irons so easy to get high in the air. The SuperLaunch irons have been created to also help those golfers with slower swing speeds who produce a lower ball flight.


$799
Wilson D-FY
www.wilsonstaff.com

Unique Features: The Wilson Staff D-FY iron-combo set is designed for players with low- to mid-swing speeds. A patent-pending, half steel, half graphite design delivers the speed and soft feel of graphite and the precision and consistency of steel. The set has a 19.5-degree FY-brid utility club, a hybrid four-iron, super-wide sole mid-irons and perimeter weighted cavity backs in the short irons.


$469
Tour Edge JMax Draw
www.touredge.com

Unique Features: This Iron-Wood’s hollow, hyper steel head features an internal weight pad in the sole which lowers and progressively deepens the club’s center of gravity (CG) through the set. The CG is positioned higher and closer to the face in the scoring irons for better feel and control and is deeper and lower in the long irons for high flying shots. The advanced body design features a sculpted skirt and sole to minimize ground contact and produce clean, crisp shots.


Player’s Choice Awards
Super Game Improvement Irons

Best Appearance
Cobra S2 Max
Mizuno MX-1000
TaylorMade SuperLaunch

Best Consistency
Adams Idea A70S
Mizuno MX-1000
PowerBilt AirFoil
TaylorMade SuperLaunch
Wilson D-FY

Best Feel
Mizuno MX-1000

Best Forgiveness
Adams Idea Idea A70S
Cobra S2 Max

Best Distance
PowerBilt AirFoil
TaylorMade SuperLaunch
Wilson D-FY

Best Value
Adams Idea A70S
Wilson D-FY

Best Overall
Adams Idea a7
Cobra S2 Max
Mizuno MX-1000
PowerBilt AirFoil
TaylorMade SuperLaunch