2018 Hot List: Players-Distance Irons

A combination instrument of precision and distance, these clubs allow you to hit one less club – at least – into the green.

 

Listed alphabetically       Handicapper  (L) Low  (M) Middle  (H) High


Callaway

Epic Pro  

Performance ★★★★½
Innovation ★★★★★
Look/sound/feel ★★★★
Demand ★★★½

Callaway Epic Pro

Verdict Driver technology has trickled down to irons for several years now. Problem is, irons are smaller than drivers, making it a more intricate task. For this iron, that meant creating a flexible face with a thin lip that wraps around the sole and topline, creating flex at impact to foster ball speed for on-centre hits and minimise lost speed on off-centre strikes. Flexibility, however, requires support. That comes from a cage-like structure with support beams.

Comments (L) It feels like a players club at impact, but the forgiveness for slight mis-hits was there when you needed it. (M) These were like a good pair of running shoes – firm and responsive with just enough cushion.


Callaway

Rogue Pro      

Performance ★★★★★
Innovation ★★★★★
Look/sound/feel ★★★★★
Demand ★★★★★

Callaway Rogue Pro  

Verdict When designing a club with power for better players, the challenge is how to boost ball speed and maintain an acceptable feel. The speed in this iron comes from Callaway’s cupface technology. The feel comes from a concept that had its beginning in golf balls: microscopic bubbles of air within a urethane material allow for a tour-like sound – even when you’re not hitting it like a tour player – without compromising the ball-speed gains of a thinner face.

Comments (L) Looks tight at address. Frames the ball nicely, and the head moves smoothly through the turf. (M) It’s shocking how far these go with just a smooth swing. You’ll find yourself screaming “Get down! Get down!” The power is the real thing.


Cobra

Forged TEC Black/One Length      

Performance ★★★★½
Innovation ★★★★½
Look/sound/feel ★★★★½
Demand ★★★

Cobra Forged TEC Black/One Length      

Verdict A players-iron shape with a thin, high-strength steel face insert for distance. Strategically placed tungsten inserts are forged into the heel and toe to increase forgiveness on off-centre strikes and to position the centre of gravity behind the impact zone. A carbon-fibre insert behind the hitting area provides vibration damping for a soft, yet solid feel. These irons also include a full set of Cobra Connect sensors to track your shot stats.

Comments (L) This is the turf interaction I’m looking for. There is no hesitation when it gets to the grass. (M) Extremely easy to hit. Surprisingly so. These could be used by anybody from a better
player to almost a beginner.


Ping

I200    

Performance ★★★★½
Innovation ★★★★
Look/sound/feel ★★★★½
Demand ★★★★

Ping I200    

Verdict The shape says better player, but its forgiveness can be appreciated by average golfers. The i200 has a thin face that isn’t only about extra distance; it’s about forgiveness and feel, too. Off-centre-hit performance starts with weight saved by the thinner face and a machined back cavity. That mass is repositioned in the hosel and toe for more stability. The forgiving sole cuts through the turf because of a contoured leading edge and an extra degree of bounce.

Comments (L) The silent assassin – no noise at all. It’s just the club and ball making contact. It has a rubbery feel in a good way. (M) This iron is consistent, predictable and powerful – all the good adjectives you can think of.


TaylorMade

M3

Performance ★★★★½
Innovation ★★★★½
Look/sound/feel ★★★★
Demand ★★★★

TaylorMade M3

Verdict The thin topline and small blade length appeal to the lower-handicapper, and an increased sole radius and improvements to the face help mis-hits. Key to the construction are beams inside the structure that stiffen the body, providing enhanced energy transfer to the ball. TaylorMade continues to use slots in the face and sole to maximise face flex. Tungsten weights are used in each iron to precisely place the centre-of-gravity location for optimal launch conditions at impact. Also, flattening the curvature of the leading edge effectively increases the bounce, reducing digging.

Comments (L) The ball not only goes long, but high. You get the distance benefit with a soft landing. (M) These deliver on the distance without having an unwieldy large head. That’s nice.


TaylorMade

P790

Performance ★★★★½
Innovation ★★★★
Look/sound/feel ★★★★½
Demand ★★★★

TaylorMade P790

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