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ULTIMATE REVIEW! – BEST FORGED CAVITY-BACK IRONS

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Introducing – “The Ultimate INTERACTIVE Golf Club Review System!” (Alpha Version)

While most review sites and magazines seem content to award a never ending stream of gold, silver, and bronze medals, or simply claim that every club they test is as awesome as every other, that's not good enough for us.  While it's next to impossible (and probably boring as hell) to keep one's opinions entirely out of the review process, we want you to know that our opinions are based largely on the data we collect during testing.  Of course, we don't want you to take our word for it, we want to show you how we arrive at our winners.  We want to show you all the data, but the data we think is important may not be important to you, so now for the very first time on any golf club review site you will actually get to pick and choose what data you want to see.

So as we began to write this review of what really are 8 of the nicest set of irons we've ever hit, we decided the time was right to launch what you might consider an early Alpha release of the 2nd generation of our Ultimate Review System.  Beginning with this review, we're giving you the option to interact with our data in whatever way is meaningful for you.  In the coming weeks and months we will be collecting even more data (some of the things you've specifically asked for) during our tests.  As our data sets expand and we grow our capabilities, we'll finalize our updated scoring system, and begin providing you the  power to evaluate our data in any way you see fit.  So expect to see even more bells & whistles in the next series of reviews as we take the next steps towards creating the type of golf equipment reviews we’ve always envisioned since day 1 at MyGolfSpy.  That being truly the “Ultimate Golf Club Review System!”

Best Forged Cavity-Back Iron Review 2010 - (How We Tested)

For this iron faceoff we tested the leading forged cavitybacks in the industry.  These type of irons are generally targeted to low and mid-handicap golfers, although they appeal to golfers of all ability levels, including some higher handicap golfers.  We requested and received iron sets from Cobra, Fourteen Golf, MacGregor, Mizuno, Scratch, Titleist, TourEdge, and Wilson.  Srixon turned down our request to include their Z-TX irons in our tests.  Callaway did not respond to our request for a set of their X-Forged irons.

Using the 3Trak equipped simulators from aboutGolf  at Tark's Indoor Golf in Saratoga Springs, NY we collected detailed ball flight data from a select number of golfers, and solicited subjective opinions from countless more who had the opportunity to hit each of the clubs over the last several months.  Formal testing was done using the 7-iron only, however; golfers were encouraged to hit as many clubs in the set as they felt were necessary to draw conclusions and form their opinions.

Final rankings were based largely on the combination of accuracy numbers and the results of our user surveys.  While iron distance may be a consideration among some golfers, it's not to us.  That, coupled with the differences in shaft length and lofts between manufacturers makes it extremely difficult to draw any meaningful conclusions about distance.  In the end, we decided distance should not be a factor in our scoring.

Unless there is an absolute tie, it's pretty much our policy to give only one award each for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place.  Of course, we'd be lying if we said it was easy to draw a clear distinction between the irons in this test.  It's our opinion that a solid case could be made for 6 of the 8 irons we tested.  That said, 3 really stood out with us either for their outright performance, their popularity with our testers, and in the case of our winner, the undeniable combination of both.

1st Place - Mizuno MP-53

Mizuno MP-53 Irons

It's not exactly a secret that here at MyGolfSpy we're big fans of Mizuno irons, but even we were pleasantly surprised by the company's new MP-53 irons.  While the MP-52 was a great iron in its own rite - an instant classic, which could explain why Mizuno continues to make them available as part of their Signature Series, the MP-53 offers a slight cosmetic upgrade, without sacrificing one iota of performance.  Mizuno borrowed a page out of the Scratch playbook and added a bit of leading edge relief to the MP-53.  They also tweaked the cavity design a bit, giving it cleaner lines, and an ever-so-slightly more of a modern look, while still maintaining the classic Mizuno look that many golfers love.

Performance

From a performance perspective, the data we collected suggests the MP-53 should be at the top of the list for those looking for a new set of forged cavityback irons.  We collected tons of data during this review (and plan on collecting even more next time around), but the number we think matters most is accuracy.  With an average dispersion of only 5.6 yards off the center line, the high launching, low spinning  MP-53 was the 2nd most accurate iron we tested.

As you'll notice from the chart below and on our interactive data page, ball speed and distance numbers for the MP-53 are below average, however, this isn't a surprise given the shorter than average shaft of the MP-53.

Subjective

The MP-53 finished 2nd with our testers for feel, it also received more than it share of first place votes.  It wasn't our tester's overall favorite in the looks category, but it more than held its own.  Although it finished behind our 2nd place club on the list of clubs our testers would most like to take home with them, its overall well  above average subjective scores, coupled with rock solid accuracy numbers, have us plenty convinced that the Mizuno MP-53 is the best forged cavityback iron on the market today.

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2nd Place - Cobra Pro CB

Cobra Pro CB Irons

Not long after we received our test set, Cobra announced that its replacement, the S3 Pro CB, would be available soon.  That said, we don't feel like we're testing an obsolete iron here, by any stretch of the imagination.  Advancements in the forged cavity back space come slowly (there is a reason why Miura only releases new irons every few years), and if the current capabilities of Pro CB are any indication of the future performance of the S3 Pros then Cobra fans have a lot to be excited about.

Performance

With an average shot dispersion of 5.57 yards off the center line, the Cobra Pro CB  finished just inches below the average for the shots we tested, which is why despite its popularity with our testers, we simply couldn't put it in the top spot..  We certainly would have liked to see a bit tighter numbers from our testers, but when comparing the actual data, the Pro CB was just a hair over ½ of an inch further offline than our #3 most accurate club, so we're not talking about a huge gap here.  For those interested in distance from their irons, the Cobra low-launch, mid-spin Pro CB registered the 2nd highest ball speeds, and finished 2nd in overall distance with our testers combining for 163.85 yards on average.

Subjective

While I was initially hesitant to award 2nd place to a club that finished outside the top 3 for accuracy, our testers left us feeling like we didn't have a choice.  The Pro CB was a runaway winner when we asked to pick what they thought was the best looking iron of test bunch.  Likewise, the Pro CB finished near the top in feel, and was the top choice among our testers as the iron they'd most like to bring home with them.

There's no arguing that the Pro CB is a standout offering.

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3rd Place - MacGregor VIP

MacGregor VIP Irons

To say that the once lauded MacGregor brand has taken a nose dive over the past several years might be an understatement.  Many of our testers told us that while they had heard of MacGregor, they didn't actually think the company was still producing new clubs, let alone a quality forged cavityback capable of holding its own against the industry giants.  Though some brandwashing may have prevented the MacGregors from scoring higher in our subjective surveys, we didn't find a single golfer who, once he tried the MacGregor VIP iron, would tell us he didn't like the VIP irons.

Performance

We look at a lot of numbers even beyond what we're publishing in this review, but as we've already said,  no data point in our minds is more important than accuracy; and when it comes to accuracy, MacGregor's VIP irons finished first.  It was the only club we tested that finished inside 4 yards of the center line on average.  That's more than a yard and half better than the average miss, and bests everything but the MP-53 by more than 3 feet.  It doesn't sound like much, but we all know that 3 feet can mean a world of difference once the putter is in your hands.

Though perhaps not a true performance indicator, we're duly impressed that MacGregor chose one of our personal favorites, the KBS Tour, as its stock offering on their VIP irons.

Subjective

Although we can't find any fault whatsoever with the performance numbers, not all of our testers were enamored with the MacGregor Pro VIP.  While every tester told us they liked them just fine, to a man, each found something he liked better.  If only because something has to, the VIP finished near the bottom for looks and feel, so it shouldn't come as any real surprise that they didn't rank highly on the list of clubs our testers wanted to take home with them.  To an extent we feel like our testers missed the boat on this one.  We like what the data tells us,  and we think the MacGregor Pro VIP is an easy choice for 3rd place.

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Wilson FG Tour

Wilson FG Tour

I'll come clean right now with this bit of truth; I had ZERO expectations where the Wilson FG Tour was concerned.  Here's the thing; in my mind, Wilson is a football company.  They must make a damn good one too based on how long they have had the NFL stamp on it.  Of course it's a far cry from football to golf.

This job, however, requires that you stop looking at labels, check your preconceived notions at the door, and just hit the damn club.

Performance

If you're one who believes iron testing begins and ends with accuracy, I won't argue with you too much.  In that respect, the Wilson FG Tour offers the slightest of letdowns, finishing a tick behind the Cobra Pro CB, which if we're grouping things would put it in the 2nd flight.  From a raw distance perspective (if you are about such things), the comparatively low-spinning, low-launching FG Tour is one of the longer clubs we tested, fishing 3rd overall; inches on average behind Cobra's Pro CB.

Subjective

While performance was squarely in the average range (most clubs we test are), our testers came away with the opinion that Wilson FG Tour was anything but ordinary. It was rated in the top half of the pack for looks, but that's just the beginning.  It finished #3 in feel (behind the MP-53, and Fourteen's TC-910), and tied for third with the Titleist AP2 as the club our testers would most like to bring home with them.

The more time I spend looking at and hitting these irons, the more I grow to love them.  While FG Tour has just a hint of modern flair to them (though not over the top), it definitely has what you might call "classic lines".  To say I was blown away by the feel would be an understatement.  While you'd never convince me the MP-53s aren't the best feeling of the lot, I'm hard pressed to discern between the Fourteen TC-910 and the Wilson FG Tour for the 2nd place spot on my list, which is damn impressive, and why, if not for the MP-53s, the Wilson FG Tour would be the ones I'd put in my bag.

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Fourteen TC-910

Fourteen TC-910 Irons

The TC-910 are the 3rd product from Japanese company Fourteen Golf we've been able to test.  As we've said each time, the Fourteen Golf brand is a relative unknown in this country, so it's been a real privilege for me and our testers just to swing these clubs as often as we have.  While the driver wasn't among our favorites, the only fault we could find with the wedges was the price tag.  Now we're taking a look at the TC-910 irons, and from our perspective, with respect to Fourteen Golf, it just keeps getting better.

Performance

With an average dispersion of 6.45 yards off the centerline, the Fourteen TC-910 produced the best results of the bottom 3 clubs in that category, which amounts to miss of just under 1 additonal yard when compared to the average for all clubs tested.  So while it's not horrible, it's not great either, which is the only reason why the Fourteen TC-910 finished out of the money.  That said, the other numbers we gathered suggest that in the right hands, the Fourteen TC-910 could be an absolute superstar.  With a spin rate of only 5,128 RPMs, the TC-910 was the lowest spinning club we tested by better than 500 RPMs on average.   When considered along with the lowest launch angle (tied with Cobra), and the fastest ball speeds (by almost 2 MPH), and it shouldn't come as any real surprise that the TC-910 was the longest iron we tested by more than 2 yards.  Even if distance isn't on your priority list, it will no doubt raise your eyebrows.

Subjective

As far as looks are concerned, the Fourteen TC-910 may have gotten stuck in the middle a bit.  Those who love clean, traditional lines came away favoring the Cobra Pro CB, TourEdge CNC Forged, and the Mizuno MP-53.  Those who more of a modern flair rated the Wilson FG Tour and Titleist AP2 iron ahead of it.  In the end the perfectly good looking TC-910 ranked 6th on our list of 8 clubs for looks.  Of course, with all that said, I'd be lying if I said this one wasn't growing on me.  On looks alone it's quickly becoming one of my personal favorites.

In the feel category, the TC-910 pulled what I think might be the upset of the century. Though I personally had it rated 2nd, our testers rated the 910 1st overall for feel, ahead of the Mizuno MP-53.  Wow! While not ranked number 1 on anybody's list, Fourteen's forged cavitybacks did receive several 2nd and 3rd place votes for the club our testers would most like to bag.

As an interesting side note, though we don't actually score on "easiest long iron", we give all of our testers the opportunity to hit any club in the set, and strongly encourage them to swing the four and five irons.  Those who did almost unanimously told us that the Fourteen TC-910 was easier to hit than the other clubs.  It was also the favorite among our higher handicap testers.

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Titleist AP2

Titleist Ap2 Irons

If there is a club most nearly all of our testers wanted to love, it's the Titleist AP2.  It's a well-known, well respected iron.  Many of our testers had already hit it, a couple of them actually own it.  We had some concern that the popularity of the club might influence our subjective polling, while that doesn't seem to be the case, the AP2 did prove to be a sneaky popular iron.

Performance

Let's get the ugly out of the way right out of the gate.  In our accuracy tests, the Titleist AP2 finished 2nd to last, just behind Fourteen's TC-910, and ahead of the TourEdge CNC Forged.  For those who might be willing to accept an accuracy trade-off for distance, the AP2s couldn't come close to matching Fourteen for distance, finishing just 1oths above average.  The Ap2s also finished close to average for launch angle, spin rate, and ball speed, which for our money makes for a good, thought not a standout performer.

Subjective

This is where the results get interesting, at least I think so.  For all the familiarity, and despite my fears of brandwashing, the AP2 is an iron that more or less flew under our radar during testing.  While testers raved about the Cobra CB's looks and the feel of the Fourteen TC-910, the AP2 very quietly found its way on to nearly every golfers list for every category we survey.  Thought it finished outside the top 3 for feel, it finished T2 for looks as our testers seemed to appreciate its position as players iron, with a bit of a modern, yet sophisticated design.  Most impressively, the Titleist AP2 was the only iron to appear among each and every golfer's surveyed top 3 irons they'd most like to bring home with them.

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Scratch EZ-1

Scratch EZ-1 Irons

Scratch's EZ-1 was the first iron we received for this review.  Our friends, and testers who got an advance preview really liked the iron, but as new clubs trickled in, it seems as if everyone found something they liked better than Scratch's most forgiving iron.

During the testing period several of our testers pointed out that the grips on the irons were misaligned, causing the iron to set up open when using the indicator lines on the grip as your guide.  For what it's worth (and we think not much), the grips were similarly misaligned on every club in the set, so at least they were consistent.  At the end of the day, it probably didn't affect performance one way or another (we all know how to modify our hand position accordingly), but considering the irons retail for over $1000 a set, we're more than a little put off.  The bottom line is that if I installed a set of grips like that, I would have been told me to do it over (and rightly so).  There's no excuse when an entire set comes from an OEM like that, and our testers probably took that into account during our subjective surveys.

Performance

Here's the bottom line on the performance of Scratch's EZ-1 irons; #3 in average accuracy.  Based on that alone, you could argue they deserve to be ranked higher.  A look inside some of the other numbers doesn't paint quite as pretty a picture.  The EZ-1s are, on average, the 2nd shortest club we tested.  That in and of itself isn't that big of a deal, but the EZ-1 also produced the slowest ball speeds, and although we haven't started including it in our reviews (yet), the 2nd lowest smash factor of the clubs we tested.   Spin numbers were the 2nd highest, while the launch angle was very close to the statistical average.

Like the MacGregor VIP, the Scratch EZ-1 come stock with KBS Tour shafts.

Subjective

We've already mentioned the grips, and perhaps that played a role in the fact that the Scratch EZ-1 was the only club to not register on a single golfers top 3 list for looks, feel, or the general desire to take home.  Though testers told us they liked the no frills look of the clubs, in every case there were at least 3 other irons they liked better.

The accuracy numbers speak for themselves.  This is an iron that clearly belongs in the discussion, and we'd expect much better survey results when we test the other irons in the Scratch lineup.  The bottom line, however; despite being among the irons our staff was most looking forward to testing, it's clear the EZ-1 was a bit of a flop with our testers.

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TourEdge Exotics CNC Forged

TourEdge Exotics CNC Forged Irons

Realistically, TourEdge's CNC Forged probably didn't belong in this particular test.  Although they are forged, and they are cavitybacks, they are much more of a true players iron than anything else we tested for this review.  Everything about them, from their very small head, to the incredibly thin topline screams low single-digit handicap.  They are truly in a class by themselves.

Guys looking for forgiveness (especially on the worst of swings) may want to look elsewhere.  Stronger players, however, should most definitely take a look at this compelling offering from one of the industry's smaller, more innovative companies.

Performance

It's true.  The Exotics CNC forged finished last in accuracy, although it wasn't that far behind both the EZ-1 and the AP2.  The CNC forged is clearly not the iron for hackers.  It's also not the iron for those demanding more distance (it finished tied for 2nd shortest).  Of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that the total length of the CNC forged is visibly shorter than everything else we tested, which, in part, accounts for the relatively small distance numbers, despite the above average ball speed.

What's truly noteworthy about the CNC Forged is that it produced both the highest average launch (18.4°) and highest average spin (6965 RPM) of any of the clubs we tested.  Whether high spin, high launch is right for you completely depends on your swing, and your game, but the numbers do suggest this club is a bit different than the others.

Subjective

I've already mentioned that small head and thin topline.  This is a club that most definitely has that players looks to it; significantly more-so than the other clubs in this test.  Of course, the results say it's a look that clearly appeals to our testers.  The Exotics CNC Forged finished tied 2nd for looks.  It has to be noted that the TourEdge finished last for feel, a result with which we won't disagree. Though they didn't crack the top 3 among the irons our testers most wanted to take home with them, they received some 2nd and 3rd place votes.  They're also 3rd on my personal list of favorites.

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{ 100 comments… read them below or add one }

Reg December 13, 2010 at 1:40 am

Looking at the numbers the Macgregor should be #1, how is the feel, firm, hard? I have Mizuno’s and love them, Mizuno is the standard for feel that everyone else is compared, how is compared to the mp-53

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Justin December 15, 2010 at 9:23 am

Pricepoint plays a big part in what determines “best” to the average golf consumer. The MacGregor’s are going for $600 at Golfsmith… everything else on the list is near, at, or over $1,000. Granted, forged clubs are going to be more expensive- there are more hand operations to get to a finished product- but most people wrongly equate “expensive” with “good”.

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GolfSpy T December 15, 2010 at 9:32 am

We’ve scored on value in the past, but we’ve found it to be the most subjective of all subjective categories; so much so that it’s nearly impossible to quantify. Having said that, if we did offer a “Best Value” or “Best Bang for the Buck” award, I don’t think you’d find much dispute that MacGregor should run away with it.

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Mike November 6, 2011 at 7:39 am

I bought the MacGregor last year based on this review. I have played Mizuno MP-33 and Bridgestone J33B prior and am a 10 handicap. Nothing beats the forged blade for feel when you pure it, which for me is less than 50% of the time. Even pure, the blade accuracy is just OK. I can’t tell you how the MacGregors compare with others in this review but I can tell you this: With them, my accuracy has improved dramatically. The “feel” is that I am hitting pure shots almost always. I am literally walking up the ball and telling my buddies, watch this, I’ll hit it stiff….and do it…even with the 4 iron. The ball flies straight and true. This has been going on for months now. It is not a one time event.
These have provided me with something that feel and distance can not…confidence. There is no substitute.
No, I do not work for MacGregor. Just a VERY satisfied customer. Golfsmith bought MacGregor and they will take a trade and will negotiate price. I paid $300 and traded in my much used J33B. Best $300 I ever spent.

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mark December 13, 2010 at 1:55 am

A review can never be taken seriously if the level of subjectivity changes with each review. After admitting that the reviewer has a preference for Mizuno, then admitting that it didn’t win in the subjective panel but it still won overall gives the feeling of bias. Why not be explicit with how much each category weighs? You need to somehow assign a numerical value to subjective categories. Maybe the fact that the cobra was the favorite club by the testers should be worth 60% of the review. Or maybe you give a certain number of points per vote from a tester. There needs to be a concrete comparison such as Accuracy-50%, Looks- 20%, Feel-5%, Want to purchase-10%, etc… Otherwise you can have all the data in the world but if you have no way to compare it in a way that leaves bias out, then you’ll always skew the results. Is a half-inch off line really important enough to the consumer that it should drop the favorite down a ranking? What if it were the least accurate club of the group but the variance of the entire group was only 1/8th of an inch? Is that even enough to distinguish that one is better than the other, especially when they’re being tested by humans and not robots? Maybe this is a lot of words to get my point across but a clearly outlined weighting structure would give me much more confidence that your reviews will be consistent each time.

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jim palmer December 15, 2010 at 8:57 am

I agree with what you are saying; Also, I own the Nike Split Cavity forged, and I would like to see them in here with the Adams CB line. I love my Nikes, but the Adams are the best feeling, longest forged irons I have ever hit.

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Justin December 15, 2010 at 9:31 am

I agree with your feelings of bias, Mark. It’s unfortunate that clubs can’t be blind-tested. If someone doesn’t know what they’re hitting, results may be MUCH different.

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GolfSpy T December 15, 2010 at 9:42 am

Justin, while I personally believe I do a very good job of checking my biases and pre-conceived notions at the door when I do my testing, individual tester biases are largely unavoidable especially in the subjective portion of our reviews (thankfully I haven’t observed anyone trying to tank a performance test).

When I’m talking with our testers, I’m at times completely fascinated by some of what I hear. With some individuals, clubs they haven’t heard of (Fourteen) will fare better than less expensive brands they’ve known in the past (MacGregor). It’s better to be unknown then almost forgotten.

When we did our adjustable driver review, we had one tester score TaylorMade a 9, on “ease of adjustability” while giving Cobra’s a 3. Apart from TM having a a couple of additional settings, most who have tried both will tell you that the systems are fundamentally the same. It sometimes boggles the mind.

I would love to hide manufacturer logos and whatnot, but they’re on the head, the shaft, the girip, basically everywhere. And of course, as soon as we put tape on the head, we’d no doubt hear how our tests are invalid because tape (even if it’s not on the face) alters the performance characteristics of the club. Ideally we’d get unmarked heads from the OEMs, but I’m not holding my breath.

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GolfSpy T December 13, 2010 at 4:58 am

@Reg – none of the irons in this review felt bad by any stretch of the imagination. Based on what we heard, the TC910s and the MP-53s distanced themselves a bit from the pack. As far as your contention that MacGregor should have been #1…this is exactly why we’re developing this new system. Different golfers have different criteria for choosing their clubs. Our goal is to provide as much data as we can within the confines of our system, while eventually providing you with the flexibility to decide for yourself based on what matters to you.

@Mark – We’ll be including similar charts for our subjective surveys in future reviews. As more data points (subjective or otherwise) are added we’ll publish the EXACT details of our updated scoring system. Finding a balance between subjective and the actual data, and then determining the appropriate balance between sub-categories (looks, feel, etc.) is difficult when you’re in the position of basically deciding what should matter to anyone and everyone.

As far as bias is concerned, I disclosed my bias for Mizuno clubs, however; I’m just one of many who hit these clubs and whose opinion counts for this review. I’ve disclosed as much in the past and will do so in the future. You may recall, in the past I’ve revealed anti-Nike and anti-Adams biases as well. I think you’ll find that clubs from both of those OEMs did more than fine in our tests. My opinion never carries any more weight than that of our numerous testers .

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Reg December 13, 2010 at 4:22 pm

I meant just looking at the numbers you’d think Macgregor would be #1. But feel and looks are pretty important, if you don’t like what you are looking at or how it feels when you hit it then you aren’t going to like a club.

I’d be interested in smash factor, distance can be misleading with clubs having different lofts and lengths. For example the scratch irons having the highest loft so they obviously would be short on distance and ball speed.

I think some way to have a formula that can calculate the distance/ball speed versus loft and length would make for a more fair review. For someone to look at the distance/spin rate of a 34deg 7i versus a 36deg and not acknowledge the difference of loft isn’t fair, that’s half a club difference in loft.

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Jeff Kinsley December 13, 2010 at 8:38 am

I am surprised that you did not test Adams, there forged irons are great, that is one company that deserves some credit….

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mygolfspy December 13, 2010 at 8:43 am

Jeff, we would have loved to have them take part…although at the time they told us they were backordered on the Adams CB1 irons.

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Braden Powers December 13, 2010 at 8:47 am

Great review. For me it is actually between the the mp-53 and ping S-56 for my next set of irons.

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Derek December 13, 2010 at 12:13 pm

I have hit the new Adams CB1& MP53. The CB1 are very close to the 53′s in feel. Wish they could have been tested too. Would have been interesting.

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Richard P. Jacobs II February 19, 2011 at 12:29 pm

Derek, actually the CB2s are the newest Adams irons on the market. The tone of your comment implies that that you are undecided on which iron you like & would have used the review to finalize your decision. If that is the case, go back & hit the irons again(long, mid & short) & even better, if possible, take them out & play them. I played Mizunos for 40 years & as stated below, hit the Adams Pro Golds(PX Flighted 6.5), precursor to the CB1 on a whim in ’09 & they were in my bag 4 days later & will be there this season(over the CB1s & CB2s). In my opinion, their feel is right there with Mizuno & I actually hit them them abou 3/4 club longer than my MP 68s, even factoring in that they’re 1′ stronger through the set. From a looks standpoint, the Pro Golds are gorgeous. Obviously I like the chrome look over the black, especially after the black irons have been played(this goes for the Burner 2.0s also). I’m sorry but black irons look terrible after a season of use, nomatter how well you hit them or take care of them. So, if looks matter to you, stay away from the black irons, unless you can replace them annually. Do yourself a favor & locate a set of Pro Golds & give them a try. They’ll be an even better value than the CB1s or 2s. The set also includes the Pro Gold Prototype Hybrids(precursor to the Pro Black hybrids) for the 3 & 4 irons. Depending on your swing and ability, you might want to try the A7s. The Pro Blacks are great hybrids, though you have to put an iron swing on them & that’s why alot of people hit hybrids, cuz they have a hard time consistently grooving a 3-4 iron swing. They’re not meant to be “swept.” Well, enough of my long winded comment. Good luck & keep it in the short hair……….Greens & Fairways 4ever……..

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Eduardo March 9, 2011 at 11:26 am

I have a set of Adams Pro Gold Forged sticks with Project X flighted shafts and they are fantastic. They do punish strikes off center but bladed/cavity back clubs should punish you! It feels like the ball sticks to the face of these fantastic sticks!

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Andrew December 13, 2010 at 4:41 pm

Your comments about Wilson being mainly a “football company” was as surprising to me as those golfers who don’t know the heritage and lineage of MacGregor. Correct me if I’m wrong, but haven’t Wilson irons won more majors than any other company? And did Sam Snead play any other brand of clubs other than Wilson?

While I have always loved MacGregor golf clubs, they are essentially dead! They are no longer an independent company making golf equipment, but are now just a “brand name” in a lineup of various other brands offered by Golfsmith. At least Wilson isn’t a brand name offered by a 3rd party marketer like Golfsmith…

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GolfSpy T December 13, 2010 at 4:47 pm

Andrew, my comments about Wilson were meant facetiously…basically just trying to have a little fun with the review. Wilson makes an excellent product for sure. What I was trying to illustrate is that as brand they don’t have the same draw power as some of the guys who spend big time marketing bucks.

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Andy Greenwald December 13, 2010 at 8:08 pm

really enjoyed the review and the design of the interactive review for your 1st attempt. It had many things I really want.

“As more data points (subjective or otherwise) are added we’ll publish the EXACT details of our updated scoring system. Finding a balance between subjective and the actual data, and then determining the appropriate balance between sub-categories (looks, feel, etc.) is difficult when you’re in the position of basically deciding what should matter to anyone and everyone.”

Here’s my recommendation to truly personalize/individualize the weighting of the scoring system factors. Let me put my weights on the review categories and get generated scores for each club. For example, I may be distance focused or accuracy focused or I may not care about feel. Let me generate scores based on my criteria with your results. Hope that makes sense.

This is not a complaint, just a suggestion. I really appreciate this in depth review.

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GolfSpy T December 14, 2010 at 5:40 am

Andy – We’ll slowly be releasing additional points of interactivity (never thought I’d write that phrase in describing a golf review). Personally, I’m with you nearly 100%, but we know that some of our readers really want us to take a stand, provide an MGS score and let them move on to wherever it is they’re going next; so as much as part of me dislikes it, we’ll almost certainly continue to declare MGS winners or for individual club reviews, provide a MGS Score.

That said…

What you’ve described is exactly what I’d love to be able to do. We collect the raw data (subjective, performance, whatever), and provide you sliders, or drop downs so you can adjust the weighting as you see fit. It won’t be next review, or next month. Hell, I can’t promise we’ll ever get there, but that’s the road we’re on.

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Luke Tuzinski December 13, 2010 at 8:13 pm

I would have bet you picked the mizunos with out even looking at the reviews, so much for unbiased reviews.

Also where are the new Ping Ansers? I know this sounds crazy but if a company like say Srixon doesn’t supply you with clubs you can let the moths out of your wallet and buy a set. Only when you have all contenders can it be an “ultimate review”.

How about comparing these to some of the historically good forged irons such as some Hogan Apex’s. I guess your’re getting to be just like evryone else trying to peddle the latest and greatest.

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GolfSpy T December 14, 2010 at 5:35 am

@Luke – I applaud your powers of foresight. Of course, as we started the test process I would have sworn the Scratch irons would finish first and the MacGregor irons dead last. I guess my powers of ESP aren’t as strong as yours. The reality is that when we bring in real golfers to test, we don’t have any idea what will happen. I would never have guessed Scratch would finish near the bottom of our subjective surveys, nor would I personally have guessed that the Cobra Pro CBs would rank so high.

Yeah…I like Mizuno irons, I also really like the Wilsons, the TourEdge, and the Fourteen. Mine is just one opinion, and as such, despite what you may believe (it’s easy to sit in a chair countless miles away and hurl accusations), I only get one vote when we do these reviews. And not for anything, the irons I play every day aren’t any of the above.

ULTIMATE refers to the system, not the number of clubs. We would LOVE to test everything for these type of reviews, and in most cases companies are more than happy to provide us with whatever we ask for. It’s really the logistics of collecting data for 15+ clubs that’s the issue. Most people have absolutely no idea how much time and effort is involved in doing a reviews like this one. We’d love to get there though. For now let’s call it “ideal future growth”.

As far as we know PING didn’t provide Anser Forged irons to anyone (we tried, and likewise were turned down due to extremely limited production runs).

It’s not my place to get into the details, but some of what we do here occasionally rubs an OEM or two (or three, or four) the wrong way, so withholding product can be a way of trying to put us in timeout. The guys (magazines, blogs, whatever) that get everything from everyone are kept on an extremely shot leash by the OEMs, which is why you never see them write anything negative about a golf club, or post a picture without the expressed approval of the OEM. We do things a bit differently around here.

As for your final question about comparing clubs to older models. Our primary purpose with these reviews is to provide information to assist golfers with their club purchasing decisions. That said, we know people are curious about how much better (if at all) the latest and greatest really is. It’s something we’ve talked about doing, and may do in the future.

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Justin December 15, 2010 at 9:49 am

“The guys (magazines, blogs, whatever) that get everything from everyone are kept on an extremely shot leash by the OEMs, which is why you never see them write anything negative about a golf club, or post a picture without the expressed approval of the OEM. We do things a bit differently around here”.

But if you ask those “equipment editors”, they say they’re showcasing the absolute best of the best LOL. The only “facts” I’ve seen posted on those “hot lists” are the head specs… everything else is marketing drival and personal opinion. I’ve asked those same “editors” about that junk and they all deny it… wonder why? That said, I hope you guys keep doing what you’re doing. There’s personal bias (everyone has it) and there’s having bias because you’re compensated somehow for it. Thankfully, MGS is NOT the latter.

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mark December 14, 2010 at 2:41 am

Andy Greenwald has a very good suggestion in my opinion. Why not just review the clubs and show the data and let the people decide what is best for them? To determine a “BEST” club is always going to be at least a little subjective so why not just leave it to the people to interpret the data. Or as Andy said, maybe even create a page where you can enter your preferences and the program will spit out the answer. I could pick from drop down menus that I prefer distance and feel to be most important, then bam, it shows me which I might like best.

I also have to agree with Luke on the “ultimate” review claim. If you’re not going to test every set in the category you would have to call it the “ultimate review of every set we got for free” to be truthful.

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Christopher December 14, 2010 at 7:46 am

I’ve enjoyed reading the review and I’m surprised how accurate the clubs were. Loft is also very subjective when you consider a clubs Centre of Gravity, these are players clubs and shouldn’t be designed to give you a ‘juiced up’ yardage so a couple of degrees is arbitary.

Hopefully we’ll see a muscleback test soon. I wonder why you chose a 7-iron for review?, when in the UK at least 6-irons are widely available as demo irons (although testers were given other irons to hit as well) and you could have included some Taylor Made and Callaway equipment into the mix. Perhaps next year the Mizuno MP53′s should be included as reigning champion and to see if club design has moved on like advertised (I fear not lol).

What’s going to happen to the demo sets are they to be returned? I sense a MyGolfSpy competition (hopefully)…

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Mike Osbourne December 14, 2010 at 11:41 am

Dear sirs,

I know this test was aimed at the mid to high handicapper, I would like to see bridgestone clubs given a chance?

Kind regards

Mike Osbourne

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mygolfspy December 14, 2010 at 11:56 am

Actually it was geared more for the low-mid handicapper. Bridgestone declined the offer to be included.

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Pfingst December 14, 2010 at 12:25 pm

It’s a shame you didn’t get to test the Srixon Z-TX irons. I tried them out last year and thought they were fantastic. Srixon as a clubmaker is relatively unknown in this country, so I wonder why they declined your test request. Perhaps they don’t measure up with the better known (and cheaper) brands?

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mygolfspy December 14, 2010 at 4:01 pm

The guy I work with at Cleveland is one of the best…but it was out of his hands. It was an upper management decision that he did not have control over. It all stemmed from the Cleveland CG16 wedge images and new CG 16 Iron images we showed you guys. They did not want them posted and made all the other sites take them down. And they all did because of the relationship they had with them. They either were sponsors on their site or sold their gear in their shop. We don’t have those affiliations with them and the consumer comes first to us. Which they chose not to agree with. So they said for now they were pulling the plug on supplying us gear from their company to review as a punishment.

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GolfSpy T December 14, 2010 at 4:44 pm

This one was kind of sad. I really liked the Z-TX driver, and so did many of our testers. Our core testers as a group were really looking forward to testing out the Z-TX irons. Unfortunately, well…I think we’ve covered what happened there.

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Rico Farve December 15, 2010 at 8:47 am

Scratch Golf should stick their heads in the sand in shame. I got a Gap Wedge from them and had the same issue with the grip alignment. Love the wedge, but I replaced the grip on it even before using it for the first time. Could be one of the many reasons, Ryan Moore dropped his relationship with Scratch like a hot rock. Oh, and great info!

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MyBluC4 December 15, 2010 at 8:52 am

This was a terrific read. I especially enjoyed the positive feedback garnered from the MacGregors and Fourteen, both very clean designs. While I know an effort was made to include other manufacturers, I really would have liked to see how the new Ping Anser Forged sticks would have held up against these guys.

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mygolfspy December 15, 2010 at 9:02 am

We would have loved to include the Pings but at the time they did not have any demo media samples available because of the limited quantity of the Ping Anser Forged irons.

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Berniez40 December 15, 2010 at 9:43 am

I’m glad to see my suppositions and experiences re-affirmed in the sense that Wilson Staff remains one of the most under-rated club makers out there. It was really good to see them stomp on a lot of the competition that gets much better play from the supposedly unbiased magazines and the profit margin oriented big box stores. Sadly, Adams wasn’t on the list, and though the CB1′s are a bit much club for folks such as myself; the CB 2′s are nothing less than astounding. I’m pretty sure they would have at least knocked Cobra out of second place, and then it would be a matter of feel between them and Mizunos. Distance wise, I find the CB 2′s to be some of the longest irons on the market. The fact that they feel so good too just tells me that Adams has a lot going on, and similar to Wilson Staff–they just aren’t getting the recognition they deserve. Simply calling a club forged doesn’t due anything for me, as I’ve played some pretty harsh feeling forged clubs (The old Tommy Armours come to mind), but Mizuno, then Adams, and now Wilson seem to have a good process, or must be using the same or similar foundry for their heads.

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Alexandre Tsang December 15, 2010 at 9:43 am

Hi

Any chance that one of these days you include Miura CB202?
I tried them and I think they are awesome.

Thanks

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Bob M. December 15, 2010 at 10:02 am

If you would have included the Epon AF 302s it would have blown away the MP 53s-I have both sets.

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Bob M. December 15, 2010 at 10:04 am

the Epon AF 302s blows all of them away

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Derek December 15, 2010 at 10:14 am

Well unfortunately no one from Miura sent you a set of their new CB-501s to test. They missed out. I would have loved to see how they stack up. They are amazing.

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mygolfspy December 15, 2010 at 10:17 am

We reviewed those irons back in June as a one-off review. You can read that here: http://www.mygolfspy.com/miura-cb-501-irons-reviews/

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MURRY LEWIS December 15, 2010 at 10:28 am

I AM DISAPPOINTED THAT SRIXON DECLINED YOUR FORGED CAVITY BACK TEST. I AM VERY CLOSE TO PURCHASING THE Z-TX IRONS. I AM CURIOUS THAT BRIDGESTONE WAS NOT ON YOUR LIST. FREDDY DID VERY WELL THIS YEAR WITH THEIR CAVITY BACK FORGED IRONS.
WHAT WAS SRIXON’S REASON TO DECLINE AND WHY WAS BRIDGESTONE OMITTED?
THANK YOU FOR YOUR RESPONSE.

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Thomas P December 15, 2010 at 10:35 am

I am still playing my older Mizuno MX-23 irons and love them. I think it is about time for a new set. The M-53 sound just right. Were all these irons tested with stiff shafts only? And why not with regular shafts also for us older folks.

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Richard P. Jacobs II February 19, 2011 at 10:32 am

Thomas, I’m sure you’ve probably gotten a response by now, though in case you have not, the reason that you will usually not see many(if any) MP irons in retail stores/pro shops in the regular shaft is that this being a “Players” line, and with the vast majority of golfers playing the MP iron having a swing speed that requires a stiff shaft(I myself play a xs), the retail stores usually will not buy a club that they will probably not turn over quickly or that they may have to discount to move. You can order the regular shaft & have it shipped in though….Greens & Fairways 4ever…….

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gil davis December 15, 2010 at 11:25 am

I played the Adams cb2 all summer and also have a set of mp-52s. Not only is distance much better but the feel rivals the Mizunos

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Dan December 15, 2010 at 12:39 pm

Does anyone know if the Fourteen Irons (TC-910) are available left-handed?

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RC December 15, 2010 at 12:46 pm

I appreciate the thorough reviews. I like the comments about what the higher handicappers think because, although I’m not a high handicapper (13 but can easily play to a 16), I feel that I’m only a mid handicapper because of my forgiving equipment! (and Scotty Cameron)…

Keep up the good work!

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Kieran December 15, 2010 at 12:58 pm

Personally I don’t understand your comment about Wilson Staff being a football company. I’ve used Wilson Staff blades since ’87 until a few years ago. These were a serious candidate then and maintain some of the purest line in the business.

I’m seriously looking at these Wilsons, Mizunos or Cobras for my next sticks. Had a look at the JPX series as well yesterday and found the pro series identical to the MP60 from the top. Not sure if anyone has thoughts on that.

All in all your comments may lead me to Cobra as I’m not getting younger!

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Brad Smith December 15, 2010 at 1:51 pm

Regarding an earlier comment about MacGregor/Golfsmith…..why should it matter that they now are owned by Golfsmith and sold, I believe, only in their stores or on-line? It is easier to find them in those stores and through their online presence than to find Scratch or Fourteen irons. Those little carbon steel molecules in the head don’t know what name is on them nor who/how they are sold. Golfsmith has put the highest cost steel shaft available into them…..for $400 or so less then the other OEM’s. This is a pretty spectacular performance.

Do you think there might be a pretty huge profit margin in those big, highly advertised OEM clubs?????
Brad

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Andrew December 15, 2010 at 6:30 pm

@Brad – I definitely agree with your comment about highly advertised OEM brands having huge profit margins…or put another way, they have a “tour tax” built in.

Regarding the MacGregor name now being owned by Golfsmith…it matters to ME because employees like Don White (a hall-of-fame clubmaker who personally ground many top players irons including Nicklaus for 30+ years and also had a hand n their later designs) don’t have anything to do with MacGregor clubs now. Every employee was let go from their facility in Albany, GA, where all their clubs were assembled. Where are Golfsmith’s clubs assembled now? Probably China. Those things may not matter to you, but they matter to me… A LOT.

Here’s another example of what I’m trying to portray; say Ferrari decide to sell their brand name along with all their intellectual property to a Chinese company who then closed all the Ferrari facilities in Italy, and moved them overseas to China. There, this Chinese company began producing these “new Ferrari’s” with their own employees, and suppliers. Is the new car still considered to be a Ferrari? I guess so, but it’s definitely NOT the same.

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Brandon December 16, 2010 at 9:15 am

FYI: Don White now works for Scratch and those Irons didn’t do as well on this review as the new MacGregor irons did. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to say Don White doesn’t know what he is doing because he is a great club craftsman and he deserves respect for it. I am trying to say that Golfsmith is doing a good job with the design and R&D of the MacGregor brand. Try to keep that in mind.

Just because Golfsmith is a Golf Retailer doesn’t mean that they don’t know how to make a good golf club. The MacGregor VIP Irons are Forged over seas (as are a lot of the OEM brands) but they are Assembled in the USA, right here in Texas at the Golfsmith HQ.

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Andrew December 16, 2010 at 5:20 pm

I knew that Don White was with Scratch Golf but he hasn’t been there since the company’s inception and I don’t know what part he played in the design reviewed here. And since these reviews are subjective, the fact that the MacGregors finished ahead of Scratch Golf’s irons doesn’t mean it’s a better club.

A part of me still wants MacGrgeor to be successful, even if it’s not what it was before, as I can’t stand the BIG OEM’s putting the small and mid-tier guys out of business. However, I guess I’m just a sentimentalist at heart, because what I lament the most is the fact that MacGregor USED to be an independent COMPANY…now it’s just a golf retailer’s “house brand” marketed along side numerous others. Again, if Ferrari was sold and moved to China (or elsewhere) it just wouldn’t be the same in my eyes. That’s how I feel about the MacGregor name now.

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Jeffrey C Daschel June 18, 2013 at 1:05 am

But the shaft is sweet right? Lol

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Essex County Golf Green December 15, 2010 at 2:22 pm

Going to pull my usual move and put them all on the christmas and hope one is under the tree for me this year :)

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Jonathan December 16, 2010 at 5:38 am

How come you didn’t review the Titleist 710 CB? I have heard very little about them since they came out…

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Kerry Cole December 16, 2010 at 5:48 am

How come you didn’t test any Miura clubs?

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GolfSpy T December 16, 2010 at 5:50 am

We reviewed those irons back in June as a one-off review. You can read that here: http://www.mygolfspy.com/miura-cb-501-irons-reviews/

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John December 16, 2010 at 8:21 am

Those Cobra’s look sweet

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Andy Greenwald December 16, 2010 at 5:34 pm

Whats the next category for the ultimate review?

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GolfSpy T December 17, 2010 at 9:08 am

Andy – We’re probably going to do a few one-off reviews before we do another head to head. The amount of work involved in performance-based head to head review is substantial. We’re also going to use the one-offs as an opportunity to experiment a bit more with the interactivity. We know people really enjoy the head to head stuff, but there are some really cool things we can do with one-offs that, because of the amount of data involved, don’t translate well to bigger reviews.

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P-Gunna December 17, 2010 at 8:48 am

I am sad that the Adams CB2 irons weren’t in this test, seems like the exact test for them.

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Kerry Cole December 17, 2010 at 9:00 am

Let me restate my question. I did read the Miura review and it was great. How would the Miura stand up to the ones you just reviewed as to which is better and why? I ask because I am considering buying some in the future. Thanks

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GolfSpy T December 18, 2010 at 2:44 pm

What really sets Miura apart is the fitting process. While the irons included in this review are more or less off-the-rack, Miura fitters not only provide the fitting service, but they also assemble your clubs to exacting specifications (as opposed to most OEMs, where clubs are assembled and shipped to you from the factory).

There is a level of personalization and detail you won’t find with a standard set of OEMs, which is why a set of Miura’s will run you $500 more than anything we featured in this review.

I absolutely love the CB-501s, and personally wouldn’t trade them for anything (they really were built just for me). In my opinion they have better feel, and are as forgiving as anything in this review. That said, with an eye towards value, I wouldn’t claim that they’re $900 better than the MacGregor’s as an example.

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cheymike December 23, 2010 at 7:56 am

Nice review. I wonder how T. Wishon’s may have fared…..

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Rock January 19, 2011 at 9:40 am

I have yet to hit one of the “new” forged irons. However just viewing those in your list of eight[8], I have one[1] question. What about the Adams forged irons? They’re pretty good looking. Overall I agree with your rating criteria and think its pretty fair. Perhaps Adams was omitted do to their lack of caring to participate, assuming they were given the opportunity. In closing ,as usual mygolfspy did a real good job. Thanks, Rock

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mygolfspy January 19, 2011 at 9:46 am

Rock,
Unfortunately Adams Golf what out of stock of the iron needed for this review. We hope to be reviewing some very soon for you though.

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Mike Osbourne January 19, 2011 at 11:02 am

I have just been sent a set of the new RAZR tour irons and Hawk tour Driver, they are not a patch on the Bridgestone J38 irons..but the driver is Phenomenal.

I am curious why there were now Callaway irons in this test?

regards

Mike

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mygolfspy January 19, 2011 at 11:04 am

Callaway declined to be included in this review Mike.

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Jerry Positeri February 3, 2011 at 1:41 am

Someone mentioned that Cobra should have been number one as they had a bias towards Mizuno however they gave a clear concise reason why Mizuno took number 1 again. Number one if you look at the accuracty you will see that it was a clear 3 feet or 1 yard better than Cobra-Thats enough for me. As far as distance they mentioned that due to the shorter club length the distance was less than average however I normally play 1 inch longer anyway. With this I can mentioned to a club fitter and that problem will be corrected. As far as understanding the reason why they like Mizuno it is Plain Simple-Its the their milling process-They just have a better way to forge a club. They also do harmonic testing which Mizuno is tops in that category. You have better feel in the Mizuno club -Harmonic testing proves that the sounds are quite responsive in comparison to all these clubs. You will more than likely have low harmonics with the rest of these clubs-Like a bell the Mizunos ring in better providing you better response and feedback! That is why Mizuno takes the lead. Not only accuracy but also a better Forging Process with their grain flow process.

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MyBluC4 February 3, 2011 at 12:44 pm

Wondering how the new Ping Anser forged held up in your analysis.

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JasonB. February 8, 2011 at 1:42 pm

Uh … not that clubheads don’t matter – they obviously do – but unless you shafted each clubhead with the same shaft , you were only testing shaft differences between those that used the kbs vs dynamic gold. Shafts matter about 70% vs similar club heads being 30% of the equation. That’s how much shafts matter.
And who exactly is hitting your clubs that they need the softer tipped (helper) kbs to get the ball up ? And what kind of anemic swing speeds are we talking that your testers are swinging ‘stiff’ shafts ? Without an x-stiff (basically a men’s stiff compared to previous standards of years past) shaft I can’t do much with a club. Your basically telling us that your testing performance at swing speeds that, if you were hitting a 6 iron, are below 88. What’s the point of going of with a forged cavity back at this point – exactly how much compression are these guys getting out of these heads ? They need to be playing and testing game improvement clubs. You would be surprised at how much better many of you could control and hit the ball if you switched to x-stiff shafts. Speed comes from proper technique (sometimes brawn) so players with good technique should only be testing your clubs.
Hogan played xx-stiffs btw.

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Tom Crisan February 9, 2011 at 4:41 pm

When can we expect the Mizuno MP63 and Wilson Staff blades critique? Considering making my next purchase before March end.

Do you plan on doing a Cast cavity back critque? Would like to see ur reviews for the TM Burner 2.0, Mizuno 800 Pro and Cleveland CG16 tour.

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Richard P. Jacobs II February 19, 2011 at 10:20 am

Tom, I don’t know if it was a typo, but while the TM Burner 2.0s & Cleveland CG16s are indeed cavity back cast irons, the Mizuno JPX-800 Pro is a forged iron. The JPX-800s are their cast irons. Fairways & Greens 4ever…………

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Camilo February 17, 2011 at 5:35 pm

I think you guys did an excellent job! Wanted to note a couple of things regarding peopel comments:

1. I don’t like specs. I don’t understand half of them, so having a lot of numbers really doesn’t make me feel more comfortable about buying an iron. That’s where the “personal judgment” MGS gives to the iron is helpful. Most irons perform practically the same, so its just about looks, feel, and that subjective thing you can give which makes the review worth while

2. How the hell can some say this is the same thing other Hot Lists do? Come on! Here we have brands like MacGregor which would have never ever hoped in getting into a GD Hot List for example. MGS usually tests those clubs which you won’t see reviewed anywhere else (like the FG Forged which I’m looking on buying, much more now that I read the review), and its awesome for people who try to find their clubs away from big OEM brands

3. Its a pity you couldn’t review the ZTXs or other clubs but I can understand how difficult and how much time can that take.

4. Why do people surprise and think its biased to have the Mizuno’s on top? They made some of the best irons, every model is as good as the one before, every Hot List included this year’s MP-53s. If they make irons which perform great, why is it strange to have them win? So, if I like Mizuno’s I have to take them down from the competition and vote for another brand to “avoid” being biased? Come on mates!

Great review!

Hope to have a new Wedge review as well soon! I’d really like to know about FG Tours and other new club performance now that we are living under the new rule…

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Bill February 19, 2011 at 6:11 am

Really enjoyed this in depth review. It’s probably the best I’ve read here.
It’s interesting because any “ranking” list is based on a certain set of values. Having hit the Mizuno and the Wilson at length, it was a toss up between the two. I preferred the FG Tour’s trajectory, but the feel of both were equally impressive. My game and swing couldn’t really discern a clear favorite (middle single digit handicap). It came down to a deal on the FG Tour that was hundreds less than the Mizuno and I haven’t looked back. Enjoyed the best summer of golf in many years with the Wilsons. Loved the look and performance. But had the price differential been the other direction I’m pretty sure I would say the same about the MP series.
BUT…had I read this review first, I would have made sure to hit the VIP’s also..

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Richard P. Jacobs II February 19, 2011 at 10:08 am

Nice review though I too(Andrew, 12/13/10, 4:41pm) find it amazing that being an avid golfer you were unaware of Wilson’s enviable & unmatched record on the PGA tour. The FG51s were in fact named to honor the 51 major PGA titles won with Staff blades, though Paddy Harrington made that number obsolete by adding two more to the wall during the summer of ’08. It’s safe to say that with 61 & counting, it will be a cold day in hell before any other manufacturer touches that number. Although you could not get the Adams CB1 or 2s, the Pro Golds would of more than held their own. I had played Mizuno since I was 16yo(I’m 50yo) & while I did not consider myself a cult member, I truly could not see myself hitting anything else…until I hit the Pro Golds(PX Flighted 6.5). To say I was stunned would be an understatement. I now play the Adams Pro Gold. Tried the CB1s & CB2s, and the Golds will be in my bag one more season. A friend let me hit his 9064LS(Adams) driver(RIP Alpha XS) and like you, I had zero expectations. Long story short, I now have the LS w/DFS(adjustable version of 9064LS) in my bag. My point is, a site like yours, while keeping it’s objectivity, can showcase an OEM like Adams for a population that has had Taylormade, Titleist, Callaway, etc. jammed into their subconsous mind. Regarding Luke’s comment(12/13 @ 8:13pm) about getting the moths out of your wallet, hey Luke, since you obviously have no moths in your wallet, why don’t you be the first to reach in your pocket & take one for the team! Again, nice review. It’s early in your process & I have no doubt that you’ll learn & improve the process as you go forward. Fairways & Greens 4ever………

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vicar February 28, 2011 at 6:57 am

Really, these are the best, most thorough reviews I have seen anywhere, big or small company, on line or print. Everyone and anyone doing reviews should and probably will emulate your attention to detail. Excellent job. Keep up the good work.

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Andy Almodova March 3, 2011 at 12:52 am

I really liked the in depth reviews. I play a set of PRGR Miura forged irons and love them. I have hit all these irons, except the Cobras, and they are all very good. One thing I have noticed is that up until the last half decade or so, have the main stream club companies, with maybe the exception of Mizuno, been able to, or, shall I say, willing to produce a club with the same feel as my 12 year old PRGRs. I think it’s great. And I would even have to say that the Mizuno’s and Adams, may even feel a little sweeter. I am so glad to see this trend because now I don’t have to buy a set of $1500.00 Epon’s, or Miura’s to get the feel that I have come to love.

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Tom March 16, 2011 at 3:42 pm

I’m surprised the Adams CB2 forged irons aren’t here! They were [and still are for 2011] the best looking irons on the market! T.K.

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GolfSpy T March 16, 2011 at 5:50 pm

Tom – We tried but couldn’t get a set of CB2s for this review (out of stock at Adams). I don’t believe any other iron has been mentioned and requested more than the CB2, so we’re listening to our readers for sure, and doing all we can to get a set in for review.

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Tim March 23, 2011 at 4:40 pm

Maybe I can call my bot Graeme up on the Tele and see if he can smooth things out with Cleveland so we can test the Z-TX irons. What do you say? I say you guys are doing a very good job so young in the game!

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JOEL GOODMAN March 29, 2011 at 5:05 pm

I AM PLAYING A SET OF MAC GREGOR VIP TOURNEY BLADES FROM 2004 WITH RIFLE SHAFTS.
I PLAY 5 DAYS A WEEK 52 WEEKS A YEAR AND HAVE WORN THE FACES OFF THE 7 IRON And sand wedge. I SENT THEM TO MALTBY GOLFWORKS TO BE REFACED, REGROOVED AND RECHROMED AND THEY ARE AS GOOD AS NEW. I HOPE TO PLAY ANOTHER FEW YEARS WITH THESE, AS I HAVE SEEN NOTHING BETTER, EXCEPT THE MIURA IRONS AT ALMOST 3 GRAND.. I AM 75 Y/O AND A 6.0 INDEX. MAC GREGOR WAS “THE STANDARD ” FOR MANY YEARS. TOO BAD THEY SLIPPED SO IN MARKETING AFTER GREG NORMAN SOLD THE COMPANY.

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John April 29, 2011 at 7:19 am

I just bought a set of MP53s a couple months ago. I’m still trying to get used to the feel versus my old Tommy Armour V-25 forged irons. I have to admit when I was looking I had no idea Mcgregor still made forged irons. I had a chance to play the 1025CMs. I thought they were a great set of irons. I had narrowed my search down to the ProCB, MP53, and the Callaway X-Forged irons. Would of been interested in seeing how the X-Forged set matched against the rest of this list.

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chris May 23, 2011 at 3:07 pm

u forgot miura…….they are the best!!

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Chris B July 20, 2011 at 2:03 pm

Another fine review guys. I was wondering if the John Letters Master Model forged cavitys had hit the ground with you guys states side?
I put a set of these in the bag having done some pretty extensive testing here in the UK. I trialed the Equivilant Titleist, Mizuno,Callaway Razor, Adams, Wilson FG’s and the TM forged irons alongside the Letters and the Master Model won hands down for me. I appreciate these things are subjective but feel and ball flight were hands down better with the Letters IMHO. Mine are shafted with DG S300 but they have other shaft options.
Their Tour Black wedges are excellent too combined with the DG spinner shafts and the previews I have heard of their new Tour Driver are also good.
It looks like Letters are aiming a range smack bang at the better player and they have a decent selection of players on the Senior and lower tours playing the product.
Not sure if these products are available for you to try but would advise anyone looking for players clubs to give them a try if they can.
I did my testing with no set in mind as I am not a brand follower just a 5 hcap golfer who appreciates the feel of a solid forged club,

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MyBluC4 July 22, 2011 at 11:47 am

OK, the review took place last December. It’s now moving into late July. Any luck in getting a set of the Ping Anser Forged sticks to review?

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Milkman July 30, 2011 at 8:57 am

Nice review. Just picked up a set of the VIP’s. $339 new at golfsmith, couldn’t pass it up!

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Paul Maclean August 11, 2011 at 5:18 am

It is a pity that Srixon has that atitude- it appears it is not only limited to the USA. I also was very interested in the ZTX irons in Australia- cannot even get any information from the rep through my retailer about them, let alone look at a set. I have played Cleveland irons and wedges for 7 to 8 years, and have had similar problems finding any Cleveland gear on the rack in stores to even look at for the last 3 years since their merger with Srixon. Yet they spend countless dollars on promotion in Australian magazines and during golf telecasts. It seems all they want to sell is Srixon balls and Cleveland wedges. I have now got a set of MP53′s on order- thanks for the review.

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froneputt November 4, 2011 at 1:38 am

The Scratch EZ-1s are about a half-decade old and long heel to toe; the 9i and PW look odd with all that offset. Yes, I demoed a set. They are forgiving, but the AR-1s (another half-decade old set) are a better iron. Scratch should either get out of irons or stick to blades and wedges, if they’re not going to conduct some badly needed updating in their cavity back irons.

Don White, formerly of MacGregor, who is presently at Scratch, does special grinds and designs and grinds blades for them (from what I can see). I’m sure his work is impeccable.

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RV December 10, 2011 at 3:05 pm

Have an opportunity to purchase VIP’s for $210. Price point is drawing me there, 5 hdcp player at home and a traveling 7; able to work the ball when needed; point here is price is not the decicing factor BUT when you’ve rated VIPs with Mizuno it matters. Also considered other Mizunos (MP58, 59); Your thoughts on just going with Mizuno MP63 and calling it day or taking a low investment chance at the VIPs? I expect I may have the lofts made stronger.

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RV December 10, 2011 at 3:06 pm

Correction – MP53 not MP63.

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LeoZ December 30, 2011 at 9:32 pm

Read the reviews and purchased the MacGregor VIP’s this past fall. My wife bless her heart gave me “permission” to get what I wanted, regardless of cost. I swung the Mizuno 53, Adams CB2, Cobra S3, Titlest 710 CB, and Macgregor VIP’s. I have to say that the VIP’s do not have as large of a sweet spot as the Adam’s, Mizuno’s or Cobra’s, so they did feel a bit harder since I hadn’t swung them long enough to be dialed in. The club head size, top line, sole width, etc., are really consistent amongst these models, so I couldn’t . I paid $399 for the MacGregor’s. I can play a lot of golf for difference ($300 – $500), or upgrade my wedges.

Anyway, the review was spot on regarding the playability of these irons. It didn’t take me long to get dialed in and start striking the ball where it needs to be struck. Incredibly accurate throughout the set. As an earlier poster commented, we’re talking post honeymoon, just point and shoot arrows. I don’t know if it’s the KBS shafts or the very, very minimal offset, but these are great irons. They have moved my Hogan Apex 50 blades out of my bag.

Thanks for this and rest of the reviews that this site provides.

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kevin bales January 18, 2012 at 11:02 am

Thanks for your efforts in this review. It added value to my purchase of a new iron set in Denver yesterday. Please continue your good work for all of pursuing golf.

Kevin

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mygolfspy January 18, 2012 at 11:04 am

Glad you enjoyed the reviews and were able to use the data to help make a more informed purchase.

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Foz April 2, 2012 at 1:30 pm

I read this review before I traded in my Cally X24 Hots for a used set of Mizuno MP-53′s. First, they already had the Project X Graphite shaft (4.5) which was a shaft I was definitely interested in.. I tried a set of MP-53′s with the Exsar graphite shaft and they didn’t even feel similar to the Project X. Golfsmith wanted $400, I got them down to $300 then got a $200 trade in on my Callys…leaving me $100 to shell out. Here’s the results from the last 4 weeks since I got them.

I play in a 40 man league every Saturday (Stableford Points)
Wk 1 1st Place….$87
Wk 2 Tied for 2nd..$68
Wk 3 $10 Closest to the Pin
Wk 4 $115 Tied for 4th + skin on the #2 handicap hole
Total: $280.00

On top of that, the feel off the MP-53′s is nothing short of awesome. I am 61 yrs old with a shattered left wrist (doesn’t rotate much) and now a 15 Handicap. The last 3 years I was a 20 Hcap at this time of the year…now I am 5 strokes less and the season is just begining!

These irons are the most accurate I have ever played……and I played Nicklaus Muirfield blades for 20 yrs. The Mp-53′s are a tad shorter in distance as the loft is weaker and the shaft is 1/2 inch shorter than the X24 Hots, but I am adapting to the changes well. I will gladly give up mid iron distance for accuracy…..Thanks Mizuno & thanks MyGolfSpy!

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jeff August 30, 2012 at 9:50 am

A very nice review of some of the available irons out there. I did not see the Ping S56 or I20 though. Also the Wilson Staff irons were the benchmark for many years.

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TK October 3, 2012 at 6:37 am

Good morning Guys,
I can’t believe that I have the opportunity to get a set of the Fourteen TC-930 irons! Unfortunately, no one around here carries them, so I can’t demo them anywhere. I currently play the original AP2s with DG S300. Like them alot, but I just can’t seem to not go for the TC-930s with the C-Taper shafts. Must resist temptation….but…cannot :) My question is how do they compare to the AP2s in terms of head size, feel, distance, etc?

Thanks for your reviews – they were great – but I just need some more in-depth info.

God Bless,
TK

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Dave the clubman February 9, 2013 at 7:04 pm

Ok there is a lot of speculation as to what tests would help determine what the best clubs of all time could be. I would skip blades. They have not truly changed in time. Cavity backs are a different story. So lets start there. Lets pick 1 or 2 from each manufacturer. We will exclude all irons copied one year to the next or are copied from manufacturer to the next. Ultimately the ping eye 2 irons will win. That’s hard for me to say. I owned them liked them but they are so damn boring. I don’t like ping but almost all of us cut our teeth on them. Noting that all pings after are just revamped copies. So what’s taylormade, titleist, cobra, Wilson, and all the others best? You decide. I’ll read to see what all of you say about your favorites. I love the Nike VR pro cavity, Taylormade r9, mizuno 23, callaway hawk eye vft, Wilson di7, titleist 704, Adams cb2, cobra fp, and ram fx. I have never hit Ben hogan or Spaulding. Those are my favorites. I have played at least 1 round with each. I went from a 25+ to an 11 handicap and I think I could play any of these today and shoot under 90 at my local course. I tried to pick ones that weren’t direct copies of another club. Again can’t wait to see your picks.

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Jeffrey C Daschel June 18, 2013 at 1:34 am

I gotta tell you guys, I love everything you do. When I read a certain brand is not as long, but then can read its 2 degress less lofted. Its great. I have worked in the golf course maintence side of things for a lot of years, and there’s a funny thing about golf, people are loyal to their irons, lots of guys that play golf never hear the truth, they’re surrounded by yes men all day and they have been told they have bar-none the best money can buy. No surprise then that they must notify and correct your misconceptions about their clubs. Because after all, THEY know. And nothing you can do will change that. I must tell you that I couldn’t be a bigger fan. I found a set of Mizuno MP-32′s on craigslist today for $140 mint. I was trying to read all I could to confirm my genious to myself, so I understand why some want to convince you. I just appreciate what you do.

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Golf Boob September 8, 2013 at 12:24 pm

Would the fact that the Scratch irons have the weakest lofts of the bunch affect distance, and ball speed?

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Lou DeSantis December 19, 2013 at 8:39 pm

With the new forged offerings coming out this year you’ll need to update this article. And not sure how the clubs like AP2 are really considered forged since they are pieced together with only a portion being forged. Maybe you could explain. Thanks.

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RP Jacobs II December 19, 2013 at 9:06 pm

I believe that since the body/face is forged carbon steel, though the badge is comprised of “soft elastomer” & aluminum, they qualify as a forged iron.

My opinion, and I played three rounds with em, they’re garbage.

I don’t give a sh!t who plays em.

They’re gettin paid-

Nuff said, lol

Thanx for postin!

Merry Christmas

Fairways & Greens My Friend,
Richard

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