2015 Irons Review: Getting the Work Done

Some terrific advice an experienced player once offered was to simply let the club do the work, and that advice is never truer than for irons. This month’s equipment feature focuses on the clubs that do the most work tee to green. You’ve got more of them than any other kind of club, so, let’s grab the right irons and put them to work.

Apex irons

Callaway’s newly-revived Apex irons are designed to provide high performance, a consistent spin and pinpoint control. Tungsten weights in the sole provide a low center of gravity and boost launch angles. A forged carbon steel body allows forgiveness while a thinner face increases distance. XP95 steel shafts or optional UST Recoil graphite shafts improve club feel. Apex irons are built to be your workhorse clubs.

Callaway’s XR and XR Pro series

Slower golfers who want to take a step down to even more forgiving irons will do well with Callaway’s XR and XR Pro series which features Cup 360 for improved ball speed across the entire club face. These irons are well designed for the average golfer.

Titleist’s AP2 714 irons

Titleist’s AP2 714 irons are excellent clubs for the creative shot-maker. The multi-material forged irons have height-progression center of gravity with tungsten weighting in the heel and toe to give the club superior balance and stability. The True Temper steel shafts provide excellent feel and top players appreciate the finely-beveled shape which lends well to making a quality shot from a difficult lie. The popular AP1 irons are much more forgiving, whereas the AP2 irons have surrendered a bit of distance to enhance accuracy and control. If you’re a player who enjoys crafting a pinpoint approach, the AP2 will fit your game.

Mizuno JPX850 Forged irons

Mizuno JPX850 Forged irons are power clubs. Six years in development, these top-rated clubs regularly place among top clubs rated for distance. With weight pushed to the corners of the club head, players will experience some forgiveness on mishits. The Ultra CNC Milled Pocket on clubs 4 through 7 induce better launch angles, while a thin face provide good ball speed. The new material is 30% stronger than traditional steel irons, making these irons among the strongest forged clubs on the market. Average golfers will enjoy the added distance while these irons can be powerful weapons in the hands of competitive players.

TaylorMade’s new RSi series

TaylorMade’s new RSi series (RSi 1, RSi 2, and RSi Tour) feature Face Slot Technology on clubs 3 through 8; the pair of slots (heel and toe) on the clubface provide flexibility, consistency and improve club speed when striking the ball off center. Missing the center of the club will no longer cost players significant distance or accuracy. Face Slot is further evolution from Speed Pocket Technology introduced last year. RSi 2 adds tungsten weighting for 3, 4, and 5 irons. Solidly-built with a good feel but surprisingly adaptable to difficult lies, the RSi series irons are built to forgive mishits.

Ping’s newest irons

Ping’s newest irons have a season in the books, earning top marks. The i25s are designed for distance and accuracy. The steel clubs have tungsten toe weights which help center the striking area. Meanwhile, an ultra-thin face increases ball speed. It’s a well-balanced club which helps a player’s control. The i25s are especially well-suited to better players who can take advantage of the clubs’ distance, but the average golfer will also appreciate the accuracy and consistency produced by these strong, competition-caliber irons.

Nike’s Vapor Pro and Speed irons

Nike’s Vapor Pro and Speed irons combine style with substance. The Vapor series are designed for superior feel and aimed at difficult shot making ability while the Speed series pushes power and forgiveness. Players can also enjoy all of these features with Vapor Combo clubs. All three irons look sharp and utilize new “Modern Muscle geometry,” a low, deep, face-focused center of gravity which provide strength and high trajectories. The Vapor Pro irons are good for the improving golfer, while the Vapor Speed clubs are best for competitive players.

Bridgestone’s J15 series

Bridgestone’s J15 series give players excellent feel with improved forgiveness. The J15 DPF (Dual Pocket Forged) irons are aimed at the improving player but may be a better fit for players at the higher end of that spectrum as they reward especially well-struck balls with distance and accuracy but aren’t as helpful when missing the sweet spot. The hollow cavity on the J15 DF (Driving Forged) irons give the experienced player tremendous distance with high trajectories and some of the best accuracy of any competitive irons, making them some of the best irons available for the better player.

Z 545 irons

Srixon has released a range of irons for golfers of every stripe. The Z 545 irons give improving golfers a solid performer with a low center of gravity and a strong stroke, but its relative lack of distance makes it a lesser choice for competitive players, who will be better served with the Z 745 or Z 945 models. These higher-end irons provide accurate range and tremendous precision, and are very good choices for creative shot-making. Golfers won’t get a great deal of distance from the Srixons but they’ll be pleased with their placement.

New Irons Bring New Advantages To Your Game

Irons

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.

mizuno-mp15-individual-260
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.

Cal-Apex-Iron
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.

Hopkins-DJ-21
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.

G30-iron_Ping
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
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.

sldr-iron-4
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.