The new lines of irons by some of the best known club manufacturers seem to offer the best of both worlds – playability for the average golfers and a look and feel the pleases the better players. Some of the clubs take new directions in materials while others have refined earlier designs in hopes of adding precision to every shot. We take a look at five sets of these new irons.
The new Mizuno MP-15 irons take a little something from their predecessors – the MP-59 and the MP-64. The clubs have the peripheral weighting of the Ti insert from the MP-59 and the profile, trajectory and feel of the MP-64. The MP-15 has the combination of carbon steel and titanium found in the MP-59, though in different volumes. The MP-59 removed 20 grams of weight and added 11 grams of titanium, but the M-15 removes 38 grams of weight, replaced by 10 grams of titanium. The clubs retain some of the compact look of the MP-64 that appeals to better players. Mizuno says the goal in making the new clubs was to refine the feel of the Ti Muscle technology without losing the extra stability it gives from off-center strikes.
Callaway is giving a golfers a blast from the past – Apex irons, which used to be a popular line of Hogan clubs. Callaway bought Hogan some years back and eliminated the Hogan and Apex brands. The revived Apex irons are unusual for Callaway in that they are forged. The body is in soft carbon steel and the club face is of a thinner, stronger steel. The company calls the Apex a distance iron that is also forgiving. It has a low center of gravity to increase launch angles from all lies. The club comes in either XP95 steel shafts or lightweight graphic shafts.
The Hopkins DJ-21 irons are all about soft feel and great control. Made from heat-treated 8620 carbon steel, the clubs have an undercut channel in the cavity and a thinner top line that suits the eye of the better player. The clubs have a satin chrome finish to cut glare. Maximum USGA dimension grooves are in every club face to improve spin rate. The clubs also have a milled pattern to bring even more spin and control. The pitching wedge, at 47 degrees, is one degree weaker than some of the more popular irons.
The latest generation of the Ping G-series is the G30, an iron designed to give distance but control through a slight bending of the club face. The Ping G-series has been around since 2003 and is built on foregiveness of missed shots. In the G-30, the idea is to do that with a shape that is not too unconventional. The G30 is slightly thinner than the G25, giving it extra ball speed while shifting some of the mass of the club to the low back side. The head of the G30 is traditionally large but with plenty of offset, with softer lines. The club also has a little Karsten in it, but is not quite as jumbo in design. It is crafted to give more height and stopping power to the shots. The club has some of the sole contours of the Ping i25.
Medicus Golf, best known for making golf training products such as the dual-hinged shaft, has moved into making the real thing – clubs you can play. After producing some woods, the company this summer introduced the Kick X stainless steel MA-9 tour irons, which are intended for all levels of players. They feature precision heel and toe weighting, creating an expanded sweet spot that the manufacturer says will create greater distance and direction, even if the ball is not hit solidly. The clubs have a tour-forged construction, with an optimal center of gravity and a rear cavity design for balance through the swing.
The newest line of TaylorMade irons is the SLDR, released in June. The club has what TaylorMade calls a Speed Pocket, with a slot in the sole designed to produce more face flex in the 3 through 7 irons. The company says the technology produces fast ball speed and high launch across the face for distance and consistency, all while promoting a soft feel. The 8, 9 and wedges have a sole without the speed pocket and are touted for accuracy. Unlike the TaylorMade SpeedBlade irons, the SLDR has only a small offset, with a thin top line and sole favored by many skilled players. But the cavity backs have the forgiveness that average players appreciate.
The irons take up the most space in the bag and tend to be the least often replaced as well. Perhaps it’s the investment that gives pause, but with properly fitted irons, the game of golf can be much more enjoyable. Take time to work with a club fitter when trying out these or any other irons.