Iron designs that push the limts.
In theory, iron design is pretty simple: To achieve distance, you need a face with a fair amount of spring-like effect that precisely matches the correct center-of-gravity position, all while maintaining the feel of a one-piece club. So says Scott Manwaring, Callaway’s director of iron design. But then Manwaring explains how complicated this actually is—a science project that seems equal parts erector set and computer-generated imagery. Modern iron design increasingly requires the use of multiple materials that mix heavy and light elements, high-energy polymers and previously unimaginable internal structures to get the weighting low and the face thin—yet maintain the classic feel that Bobby Jones would recognise. Companies are sourcing new metals made for airline brakes and roll cages to allow the face to flex at rates once reserved for drivers. Often there’s a heavy metal thrown in, too, like tungsten, a dense material the military uses on the tips of its bullets and missiles. So as you look at these six new iron sets that deftly combine traditional shaping with high-tech engineering, you might wonder, What else can be done? Manwaring just shakes his head. “The theoretical limit of a playable iron design? I don’t know if we know the answer,” he says. “We’re going to keep trying to find out.”
srixon Photograph by Ivory Serra