• Su­per Game Im­prove­ment Irons

When you need as much help as you can get to launch the ball higher, fur­ther and con­sis­tently

Golf Asia - - CONTENTS -

MIZUNO JPX900 HOT METAL golf.mizu­noeu­rope.com Avail­abil­ity: 4-LW Stock shaft: Modus Tour 105 (s) Project X LZ (g) 7i loft/length: 31° / 36.75”

TECH: Mizuno have used 4140M Chro­moly steel and a 360 Cup Face to bring spe­cific prop­er­ties to the cast JPX Hot Metal. They reckon it’s al­lowed them to cre­ate their thinnest club face ever for ex­tra pop and ball speed no mat­ter where you hit shots on the face.

WE SAY: There aren’t many iron de­signs that boast ul­ti­mate for­give­ness yet man­age to marry it to an ap­peal­ing head shape that masses of golfers want to play with. This is one of the very few that man­age to pull off the trick. Its head re­ally doesn’t look like a SGI model be­hind the ball; its satin fin­ish and gen­er­ous head size are just what lots of club golfers love. They aren’t all show and no blow, ei­ther, as there’s plenty of game im­prov­ing tech squeezed into that chas­sis. From a 7-iron loft 2.5° weaker than our long­est iron it posted ball speed and carry dis­tances right on our test av­er­age across all three players.

VER­DICT: A real plea­sure to use. We love how just like with ev­ery other Mizuno iron you buy them in­di­vid­u­ally and you get a huge se­lec­tion of shafts.

TITLEIST AP1 www.titleist.com Avail­abil­ity: 3-GW Stock shaft: True Tem­per XP90 (s), MRC Kurokage (g) 7i loft/length: 31° / 37”

TECH: Titleist’s high­est MOI iron has a thin, fast club­face to max­imise ball speeds, a 360° un­der­cut cav­ity to max­imise playa­bil­ity and a 42g tung­sten toe weight to ramp up the MOI.

WE SAY: Titleist is keen not to pi­geon­hole their irons into cat­e­gories; they pre­fer to fit the iron to the player rather than vice versa. So while we la­bel the AP1S as SGI irons, you’re just as likely to find the long irons at the top end of a bet­ter player’s bag. For us, they have one of the nicest look­ing heads you’ll find in this cat­e­gory. Com­pared to many the soles are a bit nar­rower, there’s less off­set and they cer­tainly aren’t any­where near as bulky. The lofts are 2-3° weaker than the long­est on test, so it’s un­fair to com­pare them for dis­tance, but across the board they per­formed very solidly.

VER­DICT: A very strong op­tion if how a club looks is im­por­tant to you. We love how such a game im­prove­ment de­sign doesn’t have the usual “junk in the trunk” traits associated with the SGI cat­e­gory.

CALL­AWAY BIG BERTHA OS www.call­away­golf.com Avail­abil­ity: 4-PW, AW, SW (stock set 4-PW or 5-SW) Stock shaft: True Tem­per Speed Step 80 (s), UST Re­coil ES 460 (g) 7i loft/length: 30° / 37.25”

TECH: A light­weight, strong Exo-cage frame in­side the head elim­i­nates in­ef­fi­cient weight, mean­ing Call­away’s engi­neers had more weight to po­si­tion to in­flu­ence for­give­ness.

WE SAY: The con­struc­tion method of this lat­est model is noth­ing like the very suc­cess­ful orig­i­nals. The OS’S new cage head has parts welded onto a very light­weight frame to cre­ate a se­ri­ously for­giv­ing iron, un­like oth­ers. Simon was a big fan of the very tidy shape and chunky top edge, and from a loft 1.5° weaker than our long­est iron the OS posted a ball speed 3mph faster and car­ried shots 6.4m fur­ther than our test av­er­age. Im­pres­sive.

VER­DICT: If your game needs full-on for­give­ness, this is a great op­tion. How all that for­give­ness is rolled to­gether into a de­sign that’s much more ap­peal­ing than the orig­i­nal is very im­pres­sive.

CO­BRA KING OVER­SIZE www.co­bragolf.com Avail­abil­ity: 4-PW, GW, SW (stock set 4-PW/5-SW) Stock shaft: True Tem­per XP 85 (s) UST Re­coil 460 (g) 7i loft/length: 30° / 37.50”

TECH: 12% big­ger than last year’s F6. A Pwrshell face has springi­ness very close to the driver limit.

WE SAY: Hol­low bod­ies are proven for for­give­ness, as they of­fer new op­por­tu­ni­ties to pre­serve ball speed no mat­ter where you im­pact shots on the face. If we gave out awards for the largest head, this would be our win­ner; it’s huge. The King felt re­ally good and flighted shots re­ally eas­ily. But be­cause of the head size and the dis­tract­ing ball-shaped pat­tern in the grooves (which some golfers will feel gives a good im­pres­sion of where they should be im­pact­ing shots), along with the just above av­er­age num­bers, it didn’t quite beat the best.

VER­DICT: They feel very easy to launch, which is partly down to the ex­cel­lent True Tem­per XP shaft (which you’ll also find in Call­away’s Apex CF 16 and Tay­lormade’s M1). Thanks to the size there’s ex­cel­lent of­f­cen­tre for­give­ness.

WIL­SON STAFF D300 www.wil­son.com Avail­abil­ity: 4-SW Stock shaft: KBS Tour 80 (s) Ma­trix Speed Rulz A-type (g) 7i loft/length: 29.5° / 37.5”

TECH: Wil­son’s FLX Face tech means just 26% of the face touches the head which Wil­son say im­proves face de­flec­tion by 16% over the pre­vi­ous D200 model. More face flex equals more ball speed.

WE SAY: Not many golfers will pick the D300s from a rack and fall for its head shape. But the beauty lies in its per­for­mance, not its looks. It’s cer­tainly not a crit­i­cism when we say the head’s a typ­i­cal SGI de­sign, which fo­cuses on for­give­ness rather than looks. It turned in a very strong per­for­mance for all three testers. With an av­er­age ball speed 3mph faster and 5.5m fur­ther than the av­er­age, the D300’s abil­ity to pro­duce speed (which is en­hanced by an ex­cel­lent light­weight KBS Tour 80 shaft) and dis­tance, as well as pre­serve ball speed on of­f­cen­tre hits, speaks for it­self.

VER­DICT: If you want for­give­ness, dis­tance and de­cent value, th­ese should be on your list. Trust us, get over the big long, shiny heads and the FLX Face tech and tons of toe and heel weight­ing will come into their own.

‘THE OS POSTED A BALL SPEED 3MPH FASTER AND CAR­RIED SHOTS 6.4M FUR­THER THAN AV­ER­AGE’

YONEX EZONE XPG www.yonex.com Avail­abil­ity: 5-SW Stock shaft: KBS C-ta­per 90+ (s) Yonex EX310 (g) 7i loft/length: 29.5° / 37”

TECH: The XPG fea­tures a dou­ble un­der­cut cav­ity be­hind an ul­tra-thin chro­moly spring steel club­face to max­imise ball speeds even on mishits. A “Dual Tung­sten Power” sys­tem adds 4g to the head­weight, mean­ing you swing at the same speed but the head trav­els quicker.

WE SAY: The head’s quite large from toe to heel, there’s not much off­set and a slimmed down top-edge gives a sleek look. For us it’s much more a club for those af­ter a good look­ing but for­giv­ing iron, in­stead of golfers want­ing out and out dis­tance and for­give­ness. Loft-wise the XPGS are pretty strong so it’s nat­u­ral they gave us pow­er­ful carry num­bers. In­ter­est­ingly Chris Ryan’s two long­est shots came from toe (10mm) and heel (9mm) strikes, sug­gest­ing Yonex’s “chro­moly” steel faces are do­ing ex­actly what they should and max­imis­ing face flex.

VER­DICT: A re­ally solid iron. We par­tic­u­larly like how the light­weight KBS C-ta­per 90 comes as the stan­dard steel shaft, which thanks to its lower weight has the abil­ity to im­prove club speed.

BENROSS HTX COM­PRES­SOR www.ben­ross­golf.com Avail­abil­ity: 4-SW Stock shaft: KBS Tour 90 (s) Kuro Kage Black (g) 7i loft/length: 30.5° / 37”

TECH: A heat-treated face is teamed with a com­pres­sion cav­ity in the sole to min­imise ball speed drop-off on off-cen­tre hits.

WE SAY: You only get what you pay for? Rub­bish. For us, a lower price doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily mean lower qual­ity, but it does mean you of­ten get less tech. Com­pare the HTX to the Benross Type R and there’s no face cup or com­pres­sion chan­nel in the sole, which ac­counts for some of the US$90 price dif­fer­ence (on a steel shafted set at RRP). The HTX has a sim­i­lar lowheel, high-toe ap­pear­ance to the Type R, which wasn’t a mas­sive hit with any of our testers. But to be fair it posted a ball speed 2mph quicker and car­ried shots 3.6m fur­ther than our av­er­age.

VER­DICT: There’s not huge amounts of ob­vi­ous tech like some of the more ex­pen­sive models, but the HTX can hold its own. We couldn’t all quite agree we loved the head shape, but that’s per­sonal. We did how­ever like the solid per­for­mance and ob­vi­ous cost sav­ing.

PING GMAX www.ping.com Avail­abil­ity: 4-SW Stock shaft: CFS Dis­tance (s) CFS Graphite (g) plus 4 s op­tions at no ex­tra cost 7i loft/length: 30.5° / 37”

TECH: COR-EYE tech­nol­ogy al­lows the club­face to be thin­ner, which in­creases flex and Ping say al­lows the face to be­have like a div­ing board to in­crease ball speeds.

WE SAY: The GMAX is de­signed for ul­ti­mate for­give­ness. Un­der­stand that and you’ll re­alise straight away why the head is so big. When we say big, we ac­tu­ally mean stretched longer from toe to heel to im­prove of­f­cen­tre hit per­for­mance. Looks aside the GMAX per­formed re­ally well, pro­duc­ing some of the high­est-flighted shots within the cat­e­gory. Yes, the heat­treated faces sound a bit “tinky” at im­pact, which some purists won’t like, but let’s re­mem­ber this iron’s not aimed at them.

VER­DICT: Ball speed drop-off be­tween cen­tre and off-cen­tre hits is slightly lower than Ping’s G, mean­ing the head is more ef­fi­cient. If your game de­mands ul­ti­mate for­give­ness, this of­fers it.

TAY­LORMADE M2 www.tay­lor­made­golf.com Avail­abil­ity: 4-PW, AW, SW, LW Stock shaft: TM REAX HL 88 (s) TM REAX (g) 7i loft/length: 28.5° / 37”

TECH: Face Slots and a thin­ner Speed Pocket com­bine to in­crease face flex ir­re­spec­tive of where shots hit the face. Geo­cous­tic engi­neer­ing im­proves the sound and feel.

WE SAY: The new M2 is as sleek as an SGI iron can be. Its head is nowhere near as large as lots of the com­pe­ti­tion and some very clever bev­el­ling across the top edge means it looks re­ally ap­peal­ing be­hind the ball, al­most like a GI iron. As you’d ex­pect from the strong­est loft (7-iron) it posted the long­est single and av­er­age carry, along with the quick­est single and av­er­age ball speeds. By all ac­counts it’s a hands-down vic­tory in this cat­e­gory.

VER­DICT: A stronger loft (even if it’s only 1°) means they are ab­so­lute rock­ets. But – and this is cru­cial – they went the same height (if not higher) than the test av­er­age. That means you’re get­ting ex­tra carry, but great stop­ping power; the ul­ti­mate SGI combo.

WIL­SON STAFF D250 www.wil­son.com Avail­abil­ity: 4-SW Stock shaft: Wil­son Staff D250 by FST (s) UST Proforce (g) 7i loft/length: 31° / 37.5”

TECH: Right Light Tech­nol­ogy re­moves ev­ery last gram of mass from the golf club’s head, shaft and grip to al­low players to swing faster with the same amount of ef­fort. A new Speed Sole ex­pands the sweetspot lower in the face where am­a­teurs typ­i­cally im­pact shots.

WE SAY: With the new D300’s price go­ing up (be­cause of the lat­est FLX Face tech) Wil­son re­alised they needed to cover off a slightly lower price point with the D250s. We’re al­ways asked about how much dif­fer­ence tech re­ally makes, and the D250s of­fer the per­fect chance for com­par­i­son. A 4mph slower ball speed and 6.4m less carry dis­tance com­pared to the D300 isn’t ideal. But com­pared to the test av­er­age the D250 was 0.9m shorter and 1mph slower in terms of ball speed, which isn’t bad at all con­sid­er­ing the cost.

VER­DICT: It couldn’t quite keep up with its more ex­pen­sive brother, but then it was never de­signed to. For those want­ing a de­cent set of for­giv­ing irons on a bud­get in 2017 the D250’s cer­tainly stack up.

‘YOU’RE GET­TING EX­TRA CARRY, BUT GREAT STOP­PING POWER; THE UL­TI­MATE SGI COMBO’

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