Super game improvement irons
When you need as much help as you can get to launch the ball higher, further and consistently
We reveal the longest, most forgiving irons on the market this year.
MIZUNO JPX900 HOT METAL £105 PER CLUB 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 £93 (S) £107 (G) PER CLUB www.titleist.co.uk
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 £849 (S) £1,099 (G) 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 7 yards 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 £699 (S) £799 (G) www.cobragolf.co.uk
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 off-centre forgiveness.
WILSON STAFF D300 £579 (S) £659 (G) 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 6 yards 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 off-centre 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 7 YARDS FURTHER THAN AVERAGE’
MIZUNO JPX900 HOT METAL CALLAWAY BIG BERTHA OS TITLEIST 716 AP1 COBRA KING OVERSIZE WILSON STAFF D300