Photograph by Ivory Serra
By Mike Stachura
As technology improved in drivers, heads got bigger. More volume meant more technology to help you hit it farther and straighter. But with today’s irons, it’s sort of the opposite. The goal is to fit springlike face technology into a smaller, more attractive package. “The smaller you get, the more difficult it is,” says Paul Wood, Ping’s vice president of engineering. “There’s less room to pack the benefits of a larger shape.” The goal, he says, is simple: “Make an iron that looks like a muscle-back and flies like a game-improvement iron.” The result is a new category of “players distance” irons that have compact shapes and thin faces that produce faster ball speeds. Another benefit of thin faces? They flex in a way that launches shots higher than traditional compact irons, another distance booster. Here are five irons to consider.
TAYLORMADE P790 BLACK (Pictured above clockwise from left)
The matte-black special-edition irons have a sleek new look, but the horsepower is the same as the first version. The thin, L-shape face and hollow body are supported by a foam injection, and tungsten provides stability.
CALLAWAY ROGUE PRO BLACK
It’s got all the technology of the original Rogue Pro, including a thin wraparound cupface for distance and air-infused urethane in its shallow cavity for feel. The new all-black cosmetic stretches from head through shaft.
The high-strength steel found in Ping’s game-improvement G700 is used for the i500’s forged face insert. The compact hollow body has the thin topline and minimum offset that better players like.
TOUR EDGE EXOTICS CBX IRON-WOOD
Based on the company’s driving irons, this full set uses an L-shape face insert of high-strength steel that overlaps around the sole for better distance—even on shots hit a groove low. The rounded sole and progressive offset improve turf interaction and confidence at address. RRP: US$900 (six clubs)
PXG 0311P GEN2
The luxury brand’s second generation of irons includes this P model, shaped like the original but with a thinner topline and less offset. A flexible face structure and pliable polymer filling in the hollow body boost distance.