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2014 TaylorMade SpeedBlade Iron: At Least Try It Before You Hate It

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Written By: Tony Covey

Some of you aren’t going to want to hear this. You hate their marketing, their accelerated releases, and what’s often viewed as just another gimmick. That’s fair, but the reality is that, right now, TaylorMade is making some really good shit.”

Earlier this evening outside of Chicago at the site of the PGA Tour’s BMW Championship, TaylorMade announced their first new product in over a month (We covered the event live). I’ll have to check our equipment history books, but it’s entirely possible that is the single biggest gap between TaylorMade announcements in almost 5 years.

Everybody slows down at the end of the summer.

As we’ve come to expect from TaylorMade launches, a lot of noise was made, CEO Mark King made some pretty bold statements, guys (including an MGS staffer) had some fun, and when the dust settled, all of you got your first opportunity to see TaylorMade’s latest iron offering – the 2014 SpeedBlade.

Another game-improvement iron…let me offer a very sarcastic hooray.

Maybe even a yippee.

Somebody point me to Facebook, I need to vent.

This is typical TaylorMade. It’s another gimmick. It’s more release cycle acceleration. It’s more mass-produced crap from China. Titleist would never engage in this this sort of bullshit. I’m done with TaylorMade (and this time I really, really, really mean it).

Did I miss anything?

Somewhere there’s an adidasGolf guy whose ClimaCool knickers are so twisted he just pooped on his own desk.

Settle down. Let’s all try and be rational for 10 minutes while we work through this. It’s really not that bad. It’s actually pretty good. Maybe even really good.

SpeedBlade is lot of things, but what it isn’t is a re-badged RocketBladez, and it’s most certainly not crap.

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A Great Year to be Not So Great at Golf

While we seldom give them the attention they deserve, the last year has offered up a pretty incredible selection of game improvement irons. There was RocketBladez, and XHot, and Mizuno’s JPX-825s, PING’s G25s, Cleveland’s 588 MTs, and Adams Speedline Super S.

2013 has been a great year to be an lousy improving golfer.

With the caveat that we didn’t put all of them head to head; I hit most of them, and I will tell anybody who’s willing to listen that TaylorMade’s RocketBladez was the best of the lot…and by more than a little.

Sure, they weren’t the prettiest iron (the mustard yellow didn’t help), and yes…lofts were strong, and shafts were long, but for those who tolerated their appearance, didn’t worry about the specs and actually took the time to hit the clubs; some pretty special things happened.

I said it at the time, and I’ll say it again today – RocketBladez was a phenomenal game-improvement iron.

I’ve heard good things about RocketBladez Tour as well, but I never got a set.

I’m not bitter.

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RocketBladez Evolved

While some inside of TaylorMade would probably suggest that the new SpeedBlade iron is equally as revolutionary as what came before it, in my opinion the SpeedBlade represents only evolutionary progress.

TaylorMade will tell you that the new SpeedBlade is longer than its predecessor. That’s not surprising given that they extended shaft lengths by half an inch, and weakened lofts by 1.5 degrees throughout the entire set.

That is a lie.

I made it up… every single word of it. But I’m willing to bet more than a few of you believed it.

One of us should be ashamed of himself.

speed-blade-impact

The TRUTH is that shaft length is unchanged from RocketBladez. Lofts are comparatively stronger on only three clubs (3-iron/1°, 8 and 9 irons/.5°), and for the 8 and 9 iron, the slightly stronger lofts have very little to do with absolutely maximizing raw distance.

TaylorMade has put a lot of effort into creating precise yardage gaps between each iron in the set. To hit the numbers they wanted to hit, TaylorMade needed to smooth out the transition between the clubs with goo (the ones with slots), and the ones without. As it happens, that transition occurs between the 7 and the 8 iron. By taking some loft of the 8 and 9, TaylorMade was able to get both the distance and trajectory they wanted from those irons.

And for the love of god people…trajectory matters. There’s more to this than lengthening shafts and reducing loft. The irons need to fly right, not just go long.

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Any actual increases in distance aren’t the result of loft-jacking, or shaft lengthening, or any of that other evil stuff golf companies sometimes do to make iron shots fly farther.

This time around the distance increases are the result of collaboration with TaylorMade’s metalwoods team (thin faces and optimized CG placement), and an improved understanding of their own slot technology. TaylorMade goo slots are still in their infancy, and there’s almost certainly room left for improvement.

Worth noting for all those (myself included) who are keen to point out every instance of loft-jacking we come across, TaylorMade’s Brian Bazzel made a point of telling me that the company has chosen to anchor the Pitching Wedge at 45°. While it’s always possible that TaylorMade might eventually (maybe even next year) change their minds, for now, they’ve made a commitment of sorts to not go any stronger with the pitching wedge than they are today.

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*TaylorMade offers just about everything you’d want as an upgrade/alternative to the stock shaft. For those who choose something like a Dynamic Gold or a KBS C-Taper, finished lengths will be shorter than stock to help offset the additional weight and keep swingweights comfortably playable.

The most significant of the technological improvements to the SpeedBlade is a larger (longer) slot. Extending the slot from toe to heel creates more consistent ball speeds, even on mishits; particularly those below the center of the face (that story hasn’t changed from last season).

In addition to being physically larger; in the long irons the updated slot also features new cut-throughs. These smaller internal slots allow some of goo to bleed through the cavity and rest directly against the face. The result is improved feel, and yes…greater ball speed.

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Before you get all worked up about the latest round of TaylorMade bullshit hype, it’s important to understand two things:

  • When golf companies talk about distance, they talk in terms of averages, and very often those averages are calculated from shots hit all over the face.
  • When golf companies talk about the sweet spot, they’re not talking about the true sweet spot (where the center of gravity projects to the face). Instead, they talk about an area of the face that produces near max COR (90%+ depending on the company) on impact.

With SpeedBlade what TaylorMade claims to have done is enlarge the so-called sweet spot. That leads to greater distance across the whole of the face (greater average distance); from an iron that pushes COR to the USGA limit.

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Not So Ugly This Time

I’ll say it…I already said it. Last year’s RocketBladez were ugly; a big, bulky, mustardy concoction of slotted ugly. Actually, it probably wasn’t that bad, but when you see the old next to the new, there’s really no comparison. It’s sort of like Charlize Theron in Monster vs. Charlize Theron any other day of her life.

This year things are better…so much better. If not for too much offset for my eye in the long irons, I might be inclined to tell you they’re actually good looking (you know…for a TaylorMade game-improvement iron).

Screw it…they are good looking. The wedges off-set my issues with offset.

The SpeedBlade offers a more compact appearance, slightly less offset, a thinner topline, an improved (blue) color scheme, and killer “smoke satin ion” plating which most of us would probably call dark matte gray.

Finally, while the differences may seem purely cosmetic, the bending notch has also been redesigned to make it even easier for fitters and builders to adjust lie angles.

As far as the game-improvement category goes for TaylorMade; it’s the best looking iron they’ve produced since they started popping obnoxious cavity badges into everything.

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Damn the Offset

In case you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m not an offset guy, and while I’ve got no issues with the way the short irons look, once you’re down around the 6 iron and into the 5, there’s definitely more visible offset than I’m comfortable with.

From a performance standpoint, TaylorMade’s Brian Bazzel told me that there are no guarantees as to how offset will change ball flight from golfer to golfer. For some it offers benefits. For other performance can actually suffer because of it. For me…offset just makes my eyes hurt.

Personal design preferences aside I’d be astounded if I found one guy who, even if he didn’t care for the new design, would tell me that the new irons aren’t a substantial aesthetic improvement from last year’s.

It’s not enough to be functional. Irons should look pretty too. TaylorMade seems to finally be catching on.

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4.9 Years

One of the big marketing pushes around the release of SpeedBlade will be this 4.9 thing. Basically a 2011 study found that on average golfers replace their irons every 4.9 years. I’m more of a 4.9 month guy myself, and I’m guessing the average gearhead probably doesn’t go much more than 2 years either, but for the rest of the world…the whole average thing, 4.9 sounds about right I suppose.

As part of the 4.9 thing, TaylorMade wants to show golfers how much better the modern distance iron (SpeedBlade) performs when compared to TaylorMade’s (and everybody else’s) distance irons from 5 years ago.

Not surprisingly, when compared to the 2009 Burner Tour iron, the SpeedBlade is almost 10 yards longer, and perhaps more significantly, produces a peak trajectory that is 4% higher on average.

10 yards? Who didn’t see that coming?

Re-queue the outrage.

Even if you’re willing to accept that TaylorMade irons are substantially longer than they were half-a-decade ago, there’s still one hurdle that might be difficult to overcome.

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Distance Irons are Stupid

Hey I’m right there with you…at least I was. What’s the point of making irons longer? There’s a reason why we carry 8 of them. Distance irons are an abomination to golf.

They’re ruining the game…or so I’ve heard.

In my mind the distance iron thing has become an almost philosophical issue.

If you believe that the marketing that surrounds drivers, fairway woods, and even hybrids is complete bunk; that because of USGA limits on CT, it’s simply impossible for any golf company to make their woods go any farther than they did…let’s say…4.9 years ago, then I understand your thinking.

You definitely don’t need a distance iron. You probably don’t even need a modern cavityback.

If, however, you believe that by doing things like optimizing the center of gravity, improving aerodynamics, or engineering more consistent faces, golf companies are actually getting better at optimizing launch conditions and have actually made drivers longer…and have made fairway woods longer…and even hybrids longer, then, well, you may have noticed a widening distance gap between your shortest wood, and your longest iron.

If you’re like me and find yourself hitting a modern 4 hybrid, upwards of 20 yards longer than your traditional 5 iron, well…it’s possible it might be time to start thinking about a distance iron.

And that’s before we even talk about whether or not we could use a bit more forgiveness from our irons.

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On the Course With SpeedBlade

In addition to spending some time hitting balls at TaylorMade’s Kingdom (where we quickly learned me and the SpeedBlade’s stock 85g shaft are never going to be friends), I had the rather unique opportunity to put the unreleased irons into play at Torrey Pines South.

I’ll admit that other than the Torrey Pines part it was pretty much a nightmare scenario for me. To keep Torrey from playing like your average par 3 track for TaylorMade’s stupid-long-hitting Tom Kroll we played from the 7000 yard blue tees (so much for Tee It Forward, I guess).

I had no idea (and I still don’t) how far I hit anything at sea level, nor did I have any idea how far I would generally hit a jacked-up distance iron like SpeedBlade.

Despite all of that uncertainty, I managed to more or less hold my own (for 9 holes I out-played the guy who designed the irons).  We…that is to say Tom played well enough for us to take $20 off the other TaylorMade guys, and I suppose it’s only fair to report that despite the offset, I actually hit a pretty good 4-iron (ok…a really good 4-iron) into #12 for one of a handful of pars I managed on the day.

Did I just get lucky? Maybe. One swing is one swing – you can’t judge an iron by that, but I’m certain there’s no way I get the distance…not at sea level, with my current 4-iron…and I definitely don’t hit mine solid with any regularity.

I play progressive blades (and I love them), and that probably makes me an idiot.

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Can’t Leave Out The Wedges

It’s reasonably safe to say that last year the gap wedge (A Wedge) was the star of the RocketBladez iron family. It was smooth. It was clean. And to its benefit, it looked almost nothing like the rest of the set. Even guys who hated the iron, kinda liked the wedge.

If there was anything wrong with the design it’s that it was almost too clean. This year TaylorMade has moved the loft designation from the sole to the back of the iron. They’ve added a touch of color to the logo, while keeping the matte dark gray finish.

As was the case with last year’s set, the wedges steal the show. Golfers are going to love them, and I suspect cries for TaylorMade to make an entire set that looks like these wedges are only going to get louder.

From a performance perspective, I don’t know if it’s possible to make the design practical in a long iron, but it sure would look sexy.

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Is the SpeedBlade Right for You

How the hell should I know?

What I can say is that after back to back releases of solid…really good actually, game improvement irons, I’ve finally started to look at TaylorMade irons differently (I hate myself).

Despite the fact that they enjoy a comfortable lead in iron sales, until very recently I didn’t exactly hold TaylorMade irons in high regard.

Thanks to Facebook; at least I know I’m not alone.

Drivers. Absolutely. Fairway woods, and definitely hybrids too. But irons…not with Mizuno, and Adams, and well…anybody but TaylorMade making solid product.

Now…even though the SpeedBlade probably won’t make it into my bag (I’m currently golfing like a boss with my gamers), I will absolutely suggest…almost demand that anyone looking for more distance, more forgiveness, or more consistency from his irons check these out as soon as you can.

Speaking as a guy who’d love nothing more than to tell you that TaylorMade’s latest iron offering is complete garbage, the new SpeedBlade is much better than I’d like it to be.

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Pricing and Availability

SpeedBlade irons are available in 8-piece sets, and are equipped with a stock 85-gram steel shaft ($799) or a VELOX-T 75-gram (stiff), 65-gram (regular), 55-gram (senior), or 45-gram (ladies) graphite shaft ($899).

SpeedBlade irons hit retail starting Friday, October 4. Wedges are available separately for $100 apiece.

TaylorMade SpeedBlade Gallery

{ 152 comments… read them below or add one }

Adam Staelin September 9, 2013 at 9:33 pm

Thorough as usual. The 4.9 thing is legit. I have played the Burner 2.0 and Rocket bladez. I think there is a difference between the two, albeit not super huge. But if my last set of irons was pre-burner 2.0 then the new Speed Bladez would be a huge improvement. I have always been a TM fan so I am looking forward to checking these out.

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Hutchy September 11, 2013 at 5:54 am

Why why why…! can taylormade….adidas ever bring out a iron of any quality at all…?

I think NOT…shit shit and more shit every couple of months…no substance only shit…!

Can any one tell me why TM has turned so shit…? Japanes forged is the new PING & TM
all the brands might as well be dunlop or supermarket specials.

I guess what i am saying is shit shit shit shit shit shit shit and more shit and that wouldn’t even cover the amount of shit releases in the last couple of years by TM.

Have adidas ever heard of quality over quantity….what do you think…

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Nick November 20, 2013 at 4:17 am

Have you actually hit these irons yet? I currently play with Titliest 712′s (stiff shaft) and i play off 6. I was looking for new irons as the new 714′s are on their way and I like to keep up with the times. I was indeed reluctant to try these irons as the reputation of TaylorMade meant that there would be a new version out in 6 months or so, but when I actually hit them, it was a completley different story. I was carrying 175, WITH A 7 IRON. and it’s not asif i was sacrificing accuracy or spin rates for the extra distance!

These are brilliant irons and shouldn’t be slandered against by people that haven’t actually tried them.

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dr. bloor September 9, 2013 at 9:46 pm

“If you’re like me and find yourself hitting a modern 4 hybrid, upwards of 20 yards longer than your traditional 5 iron, well…it’s possible it might be time to start thinking about a distance iron.”

No, it might be time to start thinking about a hybrid to replace your five-freaking-iron.

“Game improvement” and “3 iron” should never appear in the same blog post.

Long clubs, strong lofts, and hype. Rinse, lather, repeat. Once upon a time, I appreciated this site’s ability to see through snake oil marketing ploys.

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hckymeyer September 9, 2013 at 11:59 pm

So then the gap can be between hybrid and 6i instead of hybrid and 5i? All you’re doing is moving the problem gap, not fixing it.

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Chris September 9, 2013 at 10:06 pm

These do look cool. I like the idea of the Speed Slot but when I hit the RocketBladez all it did was give me a 200 yard 7 iron. Which is awesome, but not really usable. I typically hit my 6 iron 190 yards so the gain was huge. I guess I could carry 6 wedges and a 7 iron? I actually carry 2 – 3 woods. 1 is a Ping G10 which I use for up to 250 yard shots and an old original burner 3 wood that works for up to 220 yards. The old burner kind of reminds me of some of the original hybrids, only less loft. Nice job introducing us to the SpeedBladez. I will probably go hit them once they are in stores.

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Hutchy September 11, 2013 at 6:05 am

They look cool if you have had about 50 beers and have wrapped one around your mates head because you thought it was funny….!

As for speed slot…It says greyhound on a bus but it doesn’t mean its the fastest bus in the world, next adidas will have a promo on bondi beach with some topless surf girls and call their irons super rocket tity’s…wouldn’t that be super…!

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Chris September 11, 2013 at 12:17 pm

Thanks for the laugh, but that made absolutely no sense.

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Hutchy September 11, 2013 at 2:26 pm

It wasn’t meant to make sence; it was meant to be completely ridiculous like ADIDAS clubs, I think their chief designer had a taste the rainbow touch the rainbow moment about 3 years ago; he has worked his way through a pack of skittles with all the recent adidas golf club colours.

If you want to see what a company can do with a range of clubs to suit all that will not be outdated next week check theck this link out………. http://epongolf.co.jp/en/#/Product

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blu September 12, 2013 at 12:58 pm

like you can afford them.

You are comparing a boutique iron that cost 2-3 times, to mass produced irons in two different markets. That is like comparing a VW to a Porsche and saying they are the same.

Rick September 12, 2013 at 8:59 am

I agree, I am sick of all the BS on on club sales today. I have a Taylor made sticker on my desk it reads; (Head) made in Vietnam (shaft) Made in China) and Assembled) in Vietnam. When are golfers going to learn that they can’t by a game.

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Tony Covey September 12, 2013 at 9:28 am

So golfers should never buy new clubs? You’re right, you can’t buy a game, and the smart guys know that the quickest way to lower scores is to work on your putting and your short game, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t measurable improvements to be made through technology…and of course, fitting. Do you serious believe that today’s technology isn’t better than what we had a decade…or two, or three decades ago. Nobody is making huge leaps forwards year after year, baby steps at best, but it’s not like all of us buy new clubs on the same schedule. These are businesses and to succeed you need fresh product every year.

As for China, and Vietnam, etc… A quick point of fact, TaylorMade, like PING, now does its assembly in the US. Production abroad…EVERYBODY manufactures elsewhere. Most in China, a few in Japan, and the majority of shafts do come out of Vietnam (has nothing to do with TM, it’s where the shaft companies do their business). The tolerances people complain about are the result of volume, not inferior Chinese blah blah blah. Higher tolerances come from smaller production runs. You want tighter specs, you have to pay for them. You want made in the USA…good luck, nobody does it because it costs too much, and the consumer isn’t willing to split the difference at retail.

It’s horrible…it’s ruining golf (or so I’m told). But new rule…no whining about everything that’s wrong unless you’ve got a viable solution.

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johnloft September 12, 2013 at 4:56 pm

Every company’s products are made overseas.

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Joe Golfer September 9, 2013 at 10:42 pm

Decent looking irons.
I still wonder about the distance gaps though.
The article mentioned that TM really worked on that issue, but it is hard to figure when the gap between 9 iron and PW is greater than five degrees.
It gets tiring when the gap between longer irons is 10 to 12 yards and the gap between short irons is 20 yards.

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RoverRick September 9, 2013 at 11:39 pm

Please can they make a complete set of Player Irons just like the Wedges. SpeedBladez Blades. I do not care if it redundant. Bladed SpeedBladeZ Blades. Whatever they want to call them. I am good with it.

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hckymeyer September 10, 2013 at 12:00 am

You left out the Cobra Amp Cell’s in the list of quality GI irons released this year!

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Barbajo September 10, 2013 at 10:19 am

Ditto!

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golfercraig September 10, 2013 at 4:20 pm

No, he only listed clubs that sold more than 15 sets, nationwide.

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Blade September 10, 2013 at 12:16 am

Not the best looking. But a HUGE improvement from rbladez.

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aotearoabrad September 10, 2013 at 5:50 am

personally i am a little in love… much better looking than the Rocketbladez. Really interested in the performance difference between the ‘RBladez’ and the ‘SBlade’.

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Hula_rock September 10, 2013 at 8:40 am

“TaylorMade announced their first new product in over a month” Good Stuff……

These seem better on the eye compared to the rocket bladz. TMaG is losing touch with the Low handicap golfer. Ya Ya Ya I know, the market is much larger catering to the Weekend Hacker BUT TMaG needs a decent “players iron”, I’m sure we will see one real soon…….

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Chad L September 10, 2013 at 10:42 am

Tour Version of the SpeedBlade coming?

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Hutchy September 11, 2013 at 6:08 am

Please NO no more adidas golf clubs for at least 10 years….!

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Fleeter September 10, 2013 at 10:43 am

The Rocket Bladz in my opinion are pretty ugly. That being said, the Rocket Bladz tour’s are one of the nicest looking irons I’ve ever seen. I’m not sure I want to be hitting irons too much longer but the game improvement factor is always nice to think about. Longer shafts and stronger lofts – are they really necessary? I play a set of Titleist AP1′s and they are about 4 yrs old and I’m seriously looking at irons for next year. I plan to try everything pretty much before I buy and I will give these speed blades a look.

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Cmiskimins September 10, 2013 at 4:25 pm

try the adams idea cmb’s! very beautiful irons, amazing kbs c-taper shaft that comes stock. very forgiving for the style of club it is. give ‘em a try, you won’t regret it!

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Howie Alter September 10, 2013 at 11:09 am

Wedges look spectacular! It looks to me like they handed over the engineered heads to an artist and asked him/her to design something modern and sleek. The finish and front profile look very much like the burner 2.0s but the backs really highlight the evolution in engineering from the CGBMax irons(which still hold their own) through to last years RBZs. I’m glad someone figured out that you need to fill that slot unless you provide a pick with the clubs. I finally got rid of my RBZ fairways because I couldn’t stand the required cleaning after hitting them off turf.
I’m anxious to actually see them in my hands and yes I agree with other posts that they should also be thinking of the lower handicap players in these designs too. I guess there will shortly be a Tour model released in addition.

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John Ineson September 10, 2013 at 11:10 am

A 26.5 degree 6 iron? No wonder thrilled owners are saying, “Wow! I can hit my 6 iron as far as I used to hit my 4 iron!” In 1980, the average 4 iron was 26 degrees. Your year 2000 vintage 6 iron was 4 degrees weaker than ole SpeedBlade. Honestly, folks, who in God’s name do they think they’re kidding??!!

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golfercraig September 10, 2013 at 4:21 pm

TaylorMade INCREASED their market share lead in irons this year. Clearly–they are kidding people with wallets.

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johnloft September 10, 2013 at 4:44 pm

And your point is?

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Tony Covey September 10, 2013 at 4:47 pm

And compare the trajectories…same total distance, totally different ball flight. You might look at the loft and convince yourself that it’s the same, but if you actually hit your 1980 4 iron side by side with the new 6, you’d see a tremendous difference.

They’re not kidding anyone…guys who are stuck in the 80s, for whatever reason, can’t seem to see past their glory days.

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Dan September 10, 2013 at 11:14 am

No love for Cleveland Golf. How do these compare to the Cleveland 588 MT and Altitudes? I’ve hit both and plan on getting the 3 & 4 Altitude with the rest of the set consisting of the 588 MT 5-SW. GREAT GI irons. No gap issue either! Look for a new iron set out from Callaway soon so, they can keep up with TM. :)

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Go Low September 10, 2013 at 11:14 am

you could not pay me to play with this shit!!!!!!!!!!

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johnloft September 10, 2013 at 4:45 pm

As per usual, haters are in fact going to hate.

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Hutchy September 11, 2013 at 2:34 pm

I agree man complete utter shit…..!

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Desmond September 10, 2013 at 11:15 am

Put some Nippon Shafts in these things for the average guy, like me, and you might have happier golfers.

Also, as an average Joe, who doesn’t play a 3-5i most of the time, or not even a 6i at times, what is the temptation to buy slotted irons when you’re playing one slotted 7l?

Forget it.

They need another set for the average Joe, with slots all the way to PW…

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Desmond September 10, 2013 at 11:16 am

Oh, I forgot, that’s TM’s next year’s iteration of the iron – the Average Joe Set.

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Ed - TourOnly September 10, 2013 at 11:41 am

Wow… what happened to these people. I have 3 sets of the older RAC TP irons that were forged by Miura. No offset, no jacked up lofts, no BS. I guess I will play these until my death if TaylorMade keeps this up. WOW… what another mistake.

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Tony Covey September 10, 2013 at 12:15 pm

Ed – with every new TaylorMade release you have people talking about what a mistake it was, and each and every time TaylorMade succeeds.

You’re comparing apples to oranges…or maybe tomatoes. You simply can’t compare a forged players iron to a modern GI iron. Different strokes for very different folks.

SpeedBlade is anything but a mistake…for what it is (GI distance iron) it’s really, really good, and I suspect 12 months from now it will have proven to be best in class.

As I find myself saying frequently…I get it, these aren’t your thing (they’re not mine either), but for what they are, and who they’re for…they’re really good.

Crossing my fingers though…I’m with you…I’d love to see TaylorMade do a better job with the SCRATCH-10 HCP market.

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golfercraig September 10, 2013 at 4:32 pm

Tony–I think i have a great analogy, and this is the perfect day for it

TaylorMade is Apple. Callaway and the rest are Microsoft.

The products, while very similar, draw the same ire in that world. Apple has the iPad. Microsoft has the Surface. They are very similar, and the Surface is AT WORST the equal of the iPad. Apple (TaylorMade) markets well and sells the hell out of their product. While they are selling the hell out of it, a small portion of the marketplace gets pissed off that what they prefer (Surface/Callaway) is COMPLETELY ignored in the marketplace. They strike back. “SHEEP! IT DOESN’T EVEN HAVE WORD/THE LOFTS ARE JACKED! (ignoring the lofts are jacked by every OEM at this point) I NEED A CARDSLOT/I NEED A TRUE BLADE! PEOPLE ARE SO SICK OF APPLE/TAYLORMADE!!” The forums are abuzz with SURFACE ROCKS! X-HOT irons are the bees knees! At the counter? In the real world? They do not sell at all. Apple’s (TM’s) marketshare grows larger. Microsoft (Callaway) continues grasping at straws, wondering why their product is ignored. There’s no good answer other than the market could not care less what they release. It will probably change, but reality is reality at this time. The anger is amusing. It’s an inferiority complex. People concerned that since what they play is ignored in the marketplace it reflects poorly on them. Why would someone who wants a players club give a shit what the lofts are in this club?

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benseattle September 10, 2013 at 11:45 am

Two thoughts.

First, as we continue to see companies return to the “thin-faced” concept of the Wilson Reflex irons of the 1980′s, I will recall something that Tom Kite told me about these clubs. (At the time, I was a sportscaster at KVUE in Austin.) Kite didn’t like the Reflex — even though they were longer — because THEY WERE INCONSISTENT. He told me that he didn’t need a 7-iron that would fly 160 on one shot and 180 on the next. Were the Reflex irons a hit? Hardly. Perhaps TaylorMade will have better luck this time around.

And this business of “longer” irons simply makes not bit of sense. Your 8-iron is longer than mine? Well, with your longer shaft and jacked-up lofts, I would hope so. I yearn for the day when the ONLY number you see on the bottom of a club is the LOFT. “What are you hitting on this par 3?” “Oh, I think I’ll go with my 38 degree club.”

Today’s 7-iron is yesterdays’ 5-iron so it all means exactly nothing. So go ahead, jack up the lofts on your “distance” irons but don’t forget your FOUR wedges to fill in the gaps at the bottom of the bag.

Just how STUPID do these equipment companies think we are? (“Well, when we get PGA Tour pros doing commercials about how they play a “distance iron,” we think you’re VERY stupid!”)

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Tony Covey September 10, 2013 at 12:11 pm

You do realize that the 80s were 30 years ago, right? I think it’s reasonable to assume given the advances in manufacturing, CAD, and general advancements in knowledge that any golf company (TaylorMade, Callaway, or anybody else) is fully capable of engineering and manufacturing more consistent faces (regardless of thickness) than they did 3 full decades ago.

Unfortunately many golfers are extremely rigid in their view of loft. It’s a great starting point, but it does not allow any consideration for center of gravity placement, effect of the shaft on launch conditions, etc. What ever number a golf company wants to put on the sole…I can promise you that a TaylorMade 7 iron will launch higher and land softer than the so-called traditional 5 iron. It won’t even be close.

It’s actually time golfers stopped asking “How stupid do they think we are?”. Really, how stupid do you think club designers are? You really think that there’s nothing more to these modern distance designs than stronger lofts and longer shafts? That absolutely is a part of it, but what good is a 7 iron that flies like a 5 iron? Zero…and through things like CG placement (and yes slots and other less visible technology from other OEMs that all play a role), companies are creating 7 irons that produce what is traditionally regarded as 5-iron distance and doing it without sacrificing trajectory. That’s the overlook piece in all of this.

There is legitimate engineering here.

If you want traditional irons…play them. Nobody thinks that distance irons are for everyone, but it would be foolish to ignore the largest segment of the market simply because some old school guys have philosophical issues with them.

Here’s the thing…compared to Tom Kite’s irons (and even modern player designs), these will be longer, more consistent, and more forgiving. If you think the longer shafts make them inherently harder to hit; first I’d say try them before you speak with absolutely certainty to that. And if you do find the shafts unwieldy, you can take some length off them. You’ll give up distance, but without sacrificing forgiveness or consistency.

Ok…they’re not for you. I get that, but I can promise you that the guys designing these things are anything but stupid.

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Hutchy September 11, 2013 at 2:42 pm

Yes I agree not stupid; just monkeys working for the adidas organ grinder.

What happened to TMs consideration for the forged club Joe, gone just like the company.

If you want a good club check this link ……… http://epongolf.co.jp/en/#/Product

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NG September 11, 2013 at 5:44 pm

Jeez Hutchy…you really don’t like adidas do you?

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Dav September 12, 2013 at 4:58 pm

What exactly is your issue with adidas? Not sure I get what you’re talking about when you keep banging the drum against them. The fact that you’re trying to compare this club to Epon says a lot…

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Ola September 15, 2013 at 1:43 pm

Comparing epon to taylormade? 2 epon clubs cost more than an entire tm set.. And for functionality. You are talking to a price insensitive man here: i left my epon af701 w steelfiber shafts for ping g25 with stock everything. And it took me from 16-12 hcp in 3 months.

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dave m September 10, 2013 at 12:19 pm

I cant beleive that great golf companies of the 80s go under and this circus golf company is still doing good , it so unreal.

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johnloft September 10, 2013 at 4:48 pm

Sounds like someone has the above mentioned inferiority complex.

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Tom54 September 10, 2013 at 12:20 pm

4.9 years, yep. I had my Titleist AP1s for just about 4.9 years until March of this year when I mothballed them for… drumroll… you guessed it, the RocketBladez. The RocketBladez are great. And now it’s, what, 4.9 months or so, and TaylorMade has already moved on. Sigh.

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DAD September 10, 2013 at 12:23 pm

anither piece of junk from Taylormade

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johnloft September 10, 2013 at 4:49 pm

Maybe try them out before the rash generalization? Why so much anger?

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Hutchy September 11, 2013 at 6:18 am

Gday lofty

i think you need to pull your head out of the proverbial adidas arse hole and buy yourself a decent set of clubs…in fact you tell me what a decent set of clubs is and I will score you out of 10 and if you even mention a post RAC TM set I WILL HUNT YOU DOWN LIKE THE ADIDAS BITCH YOU SEEM TO BE AND CUSTARD PIE SLAP YOU…!

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blu September 12, 2013 at 1:05 pm

Hutchy you have a real bad case of JIZZBREATH.. the only bitch here is your punk arse

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johnloft September 12, 2013 at 4:59 pm

Ok, then tell me what a decent set of product would be? Let me guess… titleist? mizuno? What a joke.

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blstrong (SeeRed) September 10, 2013 at 12:56 pm

I have to admit that 7-iron trajectory with 5-iron distance is an intriguing thought. I think the real story should be whatever increased forgiveness these provide, especially for their target market (GI irons). I personally can’t get past the clunky, thick look of them, or their distracting offset. But I don’t play GI irons and those who do are likely used to that kind of look. And they do look much better than many other GI offerings (including and especially the RocketBlades). I’ll just pile on here and add that they really should consider a set that captures the look of the wedges. Maybe 4.9 months from now we’ll see that.

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Dick De La Cruz September 10, 2013 at 1:34 pm

Many years ago TaylorMade made an extremely innovative set of
irons that played beautifully and had the most fantastic sound.
I could never understand how they let this one slip through the
cracks.

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Sam Joseph September 10, 2013 at 1:48 pm

Don’t know if this was intentional or not, but the Tour Burner irons actually came out in spring of 2008, not 2009 as TaylorMade says.

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Gerry Stratford September 10, 2013 at 2:18 pm

Got the RBs last year with graphite shafts. Took the shafts out preparatory to puring them and discovered huge variation in flex from dramatically soft to extra stiff. Threw away the TM shafts and replaced them with standard length steel Fiber shafts. Love the irons now.

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John22615 September 10, 2013 at 2:23 pm

Perhaps TaylorMade buyers should invest in lessons rather than hype. These, and all of the other TMG’s offerings, can’t hold a candle to Mizuno and Titleist products. If TMG doesn’t address the better player with a decent players club, they will go the way of MacGregor and others who relied solely on the hacker crowd for sales volume. Wilson is coming back after years in hackersville with a good blade and GI clubs. You need the players clubs to attract the low handicaps that drive the mindset of the wannabies. Equipment will only take you so far. Most of the pros advertise the crap, but play blades or highly modified GI lookalikes. There is a reason for that!

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johnloft September 10, 2013 at 4:52 pm

I’d like to see data behind any of the above statements.

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Tony Covey September 10, 2013 at 5:04 pm

True low handicap golfers represent somewhere in the ballpark of 5% of the market. As an OEM you could make an argument that you can basically ignore those guys and be successful.

It’s interesting you would mention Miuzno. Part of the reason why their numbers aren’t better is that they got themselves pigeon-holed as a brand for better players. More golfers than not came to believe they weren’t good enough to play Mizuno.

The low handicap guy is the last guy you should develop a marketing strategy to target. Again, we’re talking about a very small segment of the market, and it’s a segment that’s much less likely to purchase new gear with any regularity.

The Tour matters, but I don’t believe in any specific sense. It’s about being able to claim #1 status (#1 driver on tour, #1 ball on tour, #1 iron on tour) at the brand level. From their the association is that company X makes a great…driver, ball, iron, so I’ll find the one I like best from their catalog. Doesn’t matter what Justin Rose or Dustin Johnson actually plays, they fact that they play TaylorMade will help sell the SpeedBlade.

And FYI…lowest lofted pitching wedge in any TaylorMade iron set – 45°. Lowest lofted pitching wedge in any Titleist set – 44°.

Just as the perception that TaylorMade makes crap isn’t the reality, so is the notion that Titleist is a brand that caters to the serious golfer and would never engage in any “trickery” that the others do to increase iron distance. Check the specs…if making distance irons makes you dirty, there isn’t a clean company in the game.

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Hutchy September 11, 2013 at 3:08 pm

it doesn’t matter what you play as long as you get fitted properly, I would say CB for beginner, MC for intermediate MB for v good, but like I said it doesn’t matter all that matters is getting fitted correctly. I would say TM CAST metal of the shelf clubs are ridiculously poor quality steel and that does affect the way a club feels. I do believe TM is gone forever it is just the adidas machine at work, gone are the days when you will see a TM set sent out to be forged by ENDO or MUIRA; why..? because the “golfer” is no longer a concern to adidas as it was to the origonal Taylormade, adidas only cares about the 75% who think they are golfers and will buy the same rubbish every year…!

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golfercraig September 10, 2013 at 6:03 pm

See, when you make a comment on a blog post that is just full of factual inaccuracy, your opinion is useless. You clearly have no idea what happened to MacGregor, and clearly no idea of what is going with Wilson, and their “comeback.”

Comments on stuff like this indicate the worst of the internet–confirmation bias. 10 guys get together, scream about how awful something is, then think EVERYONE feels that way. Don’t let sales figures and marketshare FACTS get in the way of group-think. If a guy wants to, I’m sure he can find 8 guys who like sex with horses. They’ll talk to each other enough that they can then justify what they feel as “normal,” and feel like what they think is the general consensus. No, the marketplace is NOT sick of TM.

And “invest in lessons?” Seriously? I’m not even a TMaG guy, and I get sick of the tired tripe from small minds on this subject. These irons compare to the AP1′s. You honestly think they are inferior to those? Even thought the AP1 has JACKED UP LOFTS!!!! Does Titleist think you’re stupid?

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golfer4life September 10, 2013 at 2:54 pm

“With the caveat that we didn’t put all of them head to head; I hit most of them, and I will tell anybody who’s willing to listen that TaylorMade’s RocketBladez was the best of the lot…and by more than a little.”
By what type of measurement? Just wondering, because that’s the first time I’ve heard anyone say that that’s not employed by TM. A technology that didn’t result in the performance that it was suppose to, so they made the lofts in the 6 and 7 irons stronger. And why those two clubs? Because that is what is sent in fitting carts and for demo clubs.
I actually hope these clubs are a big improvement. I think it would do them well to restore some honesty and trust back into the consumer. They sure haven’t done very well at it in the last year or so.

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Justin Taylor September 10, 2013 at 2:56 pm

Looks good but doubt they will be hugely different to the rocketbladz. Refined a little more but would a high to mid handicapper have enough consistency and control to really notice a difference. I doubt it.
I game a set of Adams Redlines that still hit as far as any of the latest GI irons that I have tested.

Maybe the 5 year thing has merit. Maybe it will take a couple more years for me to see a significant enough gain to warrant changing my current irons.
It goes to show that even TM inadvertently acknowledge that the improvemts made with each new GI set is so small that it will take 4.9 years to justify the change.
TM are smart and understand that there are the gear junkies that have to have the latest offering and the 4.9 year thing doesn’t apply or have any affect on those sales figures. I guess there just hoping that by reminding some of how old their club technology is ie 5 yrs old, they might convince them that they are truly missing out and make that long awaited upgrade. Covering all angles TM and why not, its a buisness. they are smart operators and are extremely profit driven. The substandard quality of there stock shafts demonstrate the desire for the bottom line above all else (reputation be damned).
They are responsible for providing a livelihood to many many people that they employ so I wish them continued success.

I just wish they would stop the cheap std shaft thing and the cavity design like the xhots catch a lot of crap in the back cavity.

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Berniez40 September 10, 2013 at 3:20 pm

I actually like the looks of these, and will definitely try them. I currently play Burner 2.0′s and used to play Wilson Staff. I like my Burner 2.0′s and guess I just didn’t care for the RocketBladz as much. I will keep an open mind when trying these SpeedBlades. They seem to be following the same colour scheme as the new SLDR Driver, which I can say from experience is a real winner. Considering TaylorMades’ inconsistency over the years, it is nice to see them hit two good releases in a row. I hope I am not speaking too soon. The SLDR feels as if they brought a couple of Mizuno Designers on board, and if they transferred that type of feel to The SpeedBlades–this could get very interesting.

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DaveMac September 10, 2013 at 3:48 pm

I am sure it is a competitive set within the marketplace, but form me personally I can’t engage with Taylormade equipment anymore. The tone of this article is somewhat subdued and apologetic which is a direct result of all of the unrealised claims that have come before.

If this product had replaced the original RBZ with the promise of evolutionary performance benefits, my view might be difference. It is hard to take a company seriously when the ‘little thing’ that was so revolutionary last year has already been bettered.

A word of warning for potential purchasers, the advice on custom shafts is important, custom orders will be built to a standard 1/2 inch progression (38 inch 5 iron)
I got caught out by this with a set of burner 1.0 back when I naively bought into the hype.

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JOEL GOODMAN September 10, 2013 at 4:01 pm

SAME OLD HYPE AND BULL ABOUT AN AVERAGE PRODUCT. ALL ARE SO STRONG LOFTED AS TO BE SILLY. NO LOW HANDICAPPER WOULD BE SEEN WITH THESE THINGS EXCEPT TO POSSIBLY KILL A SNAKE CRAWLING IN THE ROUGH. TO USE THE TERM “BLADE” IN ANY DESCRIPTION OF THESE CLUNKERS IS A JOKE WITHOUT THE LAUGHTER.
IF YOU WANT “BLADES” GO TO MIZUNO OT TITLEIST AND BUY SOMETHING THAT IS REAL AND NOT ALL HYPE AND BLUSTER.

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johnloft September 10, 2013 at 4:55 pm

Why not try the product before bashing? It really makes no sense.

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Hutchy September 11, 2013 at 6:11 am

How many products would you like us to try in the last 2 years, wake up to yourself man and buy a decent J forged club

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5footers September 10, 2013 at 4:28 pm

I can’t believe someone has yet to mention how overwhelming ecstatic the ladies will be over these. That color motif is pretty sweet … but TM will probably release a new version in six months in red/yellow/black combo …. with a Tour version, and … a healthy price increase !!

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Eric Cockerill September 10, 2013 at 4:56 pm

There is a gapping issue…that’s why the pros who were at the event will not yet use them and there will continue to be a gapping problem unless the USGA allows 15 clubs in the bag. The goal should not be to have 12 y gaps with the long irons and 20 y gaps with the short irons/wedges, it should be the opposite. I have not doubt that they go longer (they’re jacking up the COR, duh), but that just means that eventually you’ll drop the 2i or 5w and have to add a wedge to gap properly…what’s the point? Just to way your hitting a 7 when you’re playing partners a hitting a 6 or 5?

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Tony Covey September 10, 2013 at 5:15 pm

Eric – I’d say yours is one of the few valid criticisms I’ve read about distance irons, but I think it’s important to draw distinctions between different market segments.

We’re talking about a clubs designed for mid to high handicap golfers, and the single digit guys are crapping all over them. It doesn’t make any sense.

I get the philosophy that the short game matters more, and you should have smaller, more precise gaps in your scoring clubs, and that probably makes a ton of sense for better players.

My thinking is that whatever club you put in my hand, I can make it go as short as I need it to, but on a full swing I can only hit a club so far. With the short game I think it’s important to practice for the reality that regardless of how many wedges you have, what lofts are stamped on them, or how far you hit them, you’re ALWAYS going to have awkward distances.

Whether you do it through choking up, shorting your swing, opening the face, playing it back, playing it forward, or some combination from that list, I think most golfers need to get better about dialing distances with their wedges instead of worrying about precise gaps or the number on the sole.

I want something that can ALWAYS get me the distance, if I need to dial it back from there, I can.

Others may feel differently.

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Peter Ciambrone September 10, 2013 at 5:37 pm

I was a big Taylor Made guy back in the day until they turned into a marketing company that gave me buyers remorse multiple times.
For me it really does not matter if I try the irons or not, hey maybe I would like them but the bottom line with the marketing company called TMAG is that in a month or two they will have another set of irons that claim to be the worlds greatest, best color, more distance, #1 this or that, it does not matter what they do now or in the future I will never play their stuff for the way they do business, to me they are just another marketing company selling the hype of today’s newest and greatest.
I do not drink the TMAG Kool aid nor will I ever.

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johnloft September 10, 2013 at 7:23 pm

Apparently coming out with more than one product a year is too much for some ol’ timers.

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RAT September 10, 2013 at 5:54 pm

Sick,Sick,Sick .First you try to be all things to all people .Can’t decide what colors to represent your label, and you are trying to change gapping sets! why not A FLAVOR OF THE MONTH set. Im over it a long time back.

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Nigel September 10, 2013 at 6:35 pm

I’d rather be looking down on my mizuno mp 59′s than these ugly grey offset strong lofted lumps of gel filled crap . Come on , we at all handicaps want to know exactly our yardage s . And if I hit my 8 iron 138 why do I need to hit their 9 or pw the same ? Plus your pre club house beer while your clubs sit outside looking cool in the sunlight , well the mizuno s do .. Think people will leave the bag cover over these things as long as possible .

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Drew September 10, 2013 at 7:27 pm

“With SpeedBlade what TaylorMade claims to have done is enlarge the so-called sweet spot”

By what %?

And is the slot really longer than the previous model?

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Tony Covey September 10, 2013 at 7:57 pm

Working on getting you numbers on sweet spot. The illustration I saw, if I remember correctly, used progression from nickel to quarter…something like that, but was also told that it wasn’t precise.

The slot is visibly longer with the most significant change being the “handle bar” shaped edges at the toe and heel. The design helps maintain ballspeed and improve feel at the edges of the face.

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gunmetal September 10, 2013 at 9:58 pm

The sweet spot is the size of a needle point. It always has been and always will be. Companies and technology have reduced the penalty for missing the sweet spot over the years but you still lose something when you miss the sweet spot.

Going from the size of a nickel to a quarter in terms of reducing the penalty for missing the sweet spot is astronomical. That’s like nearly a 20% increase. Did 12 months (or whenever the Rocketbladezzz were released) really afford TM designers all of the R&D and technological advancements in metallurgy and ball deflection properties needed to increase the forgiveness by 20% over the Bladezzz, Burner 2.0, and all of the other GI models? NO. But who cares, it’s TM – these will sell a crap ton when Rose, Day, Johnson, Sergio lie to our face about how they play distance irons all the while rocking their old Tour Preferred MC, CB, etc or their new forging that will be coming in a short while.

And FWIW, anyone who thinks that their “slot” is flexing at impact whereby increasing ball speed needs to stop slurping the cool aid. The hotter faces these days have nothing to do with slots and everything to do with thinner faces. However, the slots are a much better marketing story.

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gunmetal September 10, 2013 at 9:59 pm

I take back what I said about Sergio. He actually played the Bladezzz Tour unlike the other posers.

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MikeB September 10, 2013 at 9:07 pm

I hate to admit it but I like the looks of these irons. I’m not too proud to avoid using game improvement irons and these are appealing. I will try these out when they become available.

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Yohanan September 10, 2013 at 10:15 pm

PING G5 for 5 years. 8 through U were great. 7 through 4 was an adventure at best.

May 2012 got fit for jpx 800 and could not do 10% of the shot shaping other than a push slice fade with the burner 2.0 and rbz with the same kbs tour shaft.

Got rid of the jpx 800 in October becuase of distance control issues as i was + or – 10 yards based on where i hit the face. Yeah i a GI level player with consistency being my biggest issue. So this bigger sweet spot sounds interesting.

Got a set if cobra amps at dicks had them bent 2* and added a 1/2″. Like them a lot. Not as much as the Pings 8 -U but no comparison 7 – 4.

I will wait for the new adams cmb with the slot and compare these AND the new Cally offerings.

Hit the G25 and wasnt really impressed. Maybe the i25?

These at least dont look too bad?

And i am done paying full retail with any of these companies. What for? I can wait 4 months.

Cheers

Cheers

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blu September 12, 2013 at 1:12 pm

sounds like you should invest in lessons, rather than irons.

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Eric September 11, 2013 at 12:51 am

Eh, blah when do the new Bridgstones come out?

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MkII September 11, 2013 at 4:14 am

Snooooooooooz fest.

Yes I would also like to know when the Bridestones are coming out. Quality over quantity eh??

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blu September 12, 2013 at 1:10 pm

my Bridgestone rep said a set of blades next March and a new version of their Tour ball

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johnloft September 12, 2013 at 4:53 pm

what a joke.

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Keith John September 11, 2013 at 7:28 am

Well that was an interesting read. I can see right away that a majority of those leaving comments are not really “Golfers”. To play this game at a high level one must treat the game, both the equipment and shot in hand with the same introspection —- what will give the best result. I started playing the 40s — that is the 1940s, not my age and turned pro in the 50s. I have seen most everything there is to see in golf. I still use Mizuno blades, pure blades not half and half cavity backs BUT the time has come to make the change. Mizuno make great clubs, and as I am going to try and be open minded about this I will try the H-4 irons, but these new TM clubs will be on the list as well. I agree with those who hate offset and notches, but let us be open to new advances in the golf tech world. I may even put the horse out to graze and try one of these new fangled automobiles.

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RickMcKC October 3, 2013 at 12:42 am

THAT was hilarious. What are you? 95 years old? ROFL

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JOEL GOODMAN September 11, 2013 at 9:46 am

SEEMS AS IF THE POT GOT STIRRED PRETTY GOOD ABOUT THESE NEW TM “THINGS” THEY CONTINUE TO MAKE THE “GREATEST” “NEW” CLUBS EVERY OTHER MONTH TO SATISFY THE DESIRE TO BUY A GAME RATHER THAN LEARNING THE GAME. AT THE RISK OF SOUNDING LIKE A GOLF SNOB, WHY NOT SPEND THE TIME AND MONEY LEARNING HOW TO PLAY. INSTEAD OF THE FUTILITITY OF TRYING TO BUY YOUR WAY INTO A GOLF SWING?. I AM 78 YEARS OLD, PLAYED THE GAME FOR 70+ YEARS, USE MIZUNIO MP68 IRONS AND HIT THEM WONDERFULLY. MY USGA INDEX IS 5.6 AND I STILL TRY TO GET BETTER, BUT NOT THROUGH BUYING NEW “MIRACLE CLUBS” EVERY OTHER MONTH.

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Bill Tetley September 12, 2013 at 9:15 am

Caps lock is not cruise control for cool. Stop.

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Dav September 11, 2013 at 6:49 pm

“Somewhere there’s an adidasGolf guy whose ClimaCool knickers are so twisted he just pooped on his own desk.”

What kind of writing is that!?

Oh Tony, how endearing you are to me!

Keep it coming.

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Jeffrey Trigger September 11, 2013 at 7:55 pm

I’m 34 years old, and for 26 of those years, I’ve been a golfer. Once I became good enough to understand the game, I knew Taylor Made was supposed to be an elite brand. If you had a Taylor Made Burner Plus driver with a titanium shaft (yeah, titanium shafts, remember those), you had the best driver money could buy. There was no question about it. Ping still made wooden woods, Wilson had the The Whale, Titleist, anybody remember late 80′s, early 90′s Titleist woods… Didn’t think so. You wanted a TaylorMade, because for years it was the best. Today, I won’t completely diss the quality of TM, as my entire bag is their stuff. However, it doesn’t feel as if you have something special with a TM product anymore. You just have today’s latest and greatest novelty. I realize the market has changed, and that something special idea just doesn’t exist. I guess I’m just bummed that is was TaylorMade that was the brand that went so quickly from something special to what’s happening now.

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Kevin Johnson September 11, 2013 at 8:10 pm

I can not try TM for a different reason, I am a golf club whore. I am a midteen handicap and switching from one offering to another does not seem to affect my game much. Maybe that’s why I am the club junkie I am…………..still looking for that gold ticket to put my game over the top. Regardless I take very good care of my equipment and get a pretty good return on it when it is time to move on. The problem I have with TM is that they come out with new equipment so fast that my clubs are “outdated”, thus harder to recoup a decent return on them! I have been burned a couple of times by them………..never again. For the record……..I realize the real way to improve is harder work at the range and maybe a lesson!

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JOEL GOODMAN September 11, 2013 at 9:09 pm

Unless you get fitted properly with a set of clubs and stick with them, and additionally take some lessons and practice, you will live your entire life as a “midteens” handicapper…that stinks, unless you are older than I am (78) or are physically impaired. My handicap index is 5.6 USGA- check it out. I am not a golf pro but know enough to tell you that you are on the wrong track to become any better. Go the right way or stink all your life.YOU CANNOT BUY A GOLF GAME..You must work at it properly.

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golf club training aids September 12, 2013 at 5:00 am

These golf sticks are so nice and these sticks will help in playing good game. Amazing post!

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Gys September 12, 2013 at 7:23 am

My friend bought the original RBladez then the RBladez Tour, both custom ordered with KBS C-Taper in S at stabdard 38″ 5 iron length. The only difference was the lofts – the Tour version had traditional lofts while non-tour was jacked up and played 1 club longer carry…

He will probably buy the Speedblade too so I asked him about a little experiment – get the RBladez bent to traditional lofts and see what happens? He did that this week at his club maker and tested his RBladez and Tour both on trackman and the results? Both went pretty similar distances…

So Taylormade saying they needed to strengthen lofts to lower the trajectory due to the higher ball flight from hotter faces is really a legitimized smokescreen to add artificial distance.

I have no problem with GI irons that are designed to be more forgiving and easier to hit, but manipulating a longer iron and label it as a shorter one creates all kinds of gaps in scoring irons. If the speed pocket really gives consistent ball speed wouldn’t that work wonders with shorter irons as well since we want exact yardages with them? What’s the reason for only having the goo in only long and mid irons?

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Tony Covey September 12, 2013 at 8:08 am

We hear these type of stories all the time. Mark Crossfield did something similar last year where he lengthened and bent a Mizuno iron to match the TaylorMade specs. He was happy to report that clubs went similar distances.

Sort of invalidates the RBladez story, right?

Well, not exactly. Similar to the story you posted…what were the launch angles? What was the apex? What were the spin rates for the shots? ALL of that matters, and that’s where the biggest differences lie.

Worth noting though hopefully obvious – The 130 gram KBS C-Taper (a legitimate option for roughly 10% of all golfers) is much closer in spec to the stock shaft on the Tour model than it is the 85g standard (where it couldn’t be more different), and that’s absolutely going to alter the numbers (significantly) as well. The stock shaft, which will be 10-1, if not more, the most commonly purchased configuration, will produce a noticeably different (height being the most noticeable) ball flight.

A similar example…last year on an OEM visit (not TaylorMade), Matt and I each hit the exact same iron. Our total distance numbers were within 1 yard of of each other. Those other numbers I mentioned…worlds apart. Distance barely told half the story, for one of us, the iron provided anything but ideal trajectory.

It’s comical that people are so dismissive of the trajectory piece of the equation, and treat it as if it’s total bullshit unique to TaylorMade. Do some basic research…you’ll find that Callaway, Cobra, Titleist, Mizuno (yes…TITLEIST AND MIZUNO) and nearly everyone else with a distance iron is telling a nearly identical story. It’s not simply about strengthening loft and lengthening shaft, it’s about optimizing CG placement to create the desired trajectory. A strong lofted 7 iron that launches and lands like a “normal” 7 iron, not a “normal” 6 iron.

It’s also true that most will admit that early incarnations of distance irons were about little more than strong lofts and long shafts. That has fundamentally changed. So while they’ll always be stronger and longer than traditional offerings for better players, as I keep saying, there’s a lot more to these stories (whether they’re TaylorMade stories, Mizuno stories, or Titleist stories) than simply jacking lofts and lengthening the irons.

Regarding the slot, and why it doesn’t exist on short irons. First, TaylorMade is a victim of their own marketing to an extent. The whole truth lies in the detail. The slot will increase average ball speed over a non-slotted iron, but the primary benefits come on shots hit below the center of the face. It’s a forgiveness feature that impacts AVERAGE ball speed and AVERAGE distance. Generally speaking, because everybody talks in averages; a more forgiving iron will be a longer iron.

As loft increases, the effectiveness of the speedslot is reduced. With the technology as it exists today (and it is technology), there is no practical benefit to including the slot in higher lofted irons. TaylorMade has put a great deal of work into creating precise gaps between all the irons. Of course, each of us is different our swing conditions may render those stock gaps smaller in some areas and longer in others, but that’s a fitting issue, and more to the point, it’s true of any set of irons regardless of length and loft.

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Hutchy September 12, 2013 at 9:43 am

Yes Tony technology has moved on but…we do not need to see a new version of it every six months, adidas is actually ruining golf with its over marketing, parents just wont buy kids that new set of expensive clubs every god damn year; but the kids want them so inevitably they get pushed in to other more affordable pursuits, all of this over marketing will destroy what golf is all about in the end…! adidas has ramped it up 100 fold since purchasing TM, if they just took a chill pill and stopped annoying every one and making other company’s have to ramp up their campaigns it would do golf the world of good, not to mention make golf slightly more respectable than spectacle. Quality over quantity mate…make the golf public wait with baited breath for the next release by slowing things down a notch or 10.

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Tony Covey September 12, 2013 at 9:56 am

Do you think so little of the game of golf that you actually believe it’s possible to ruin it through marketing?

I’ve heard the “ruining golf statement” 100 times, and yet I’ve never heard one story of how it has ruined the game for any individual golfer. TMaG is ruining the game? Do you not play it? Do you not enjoy it? Have TaylorMade press releases and new product ruined the experience you have playing clubs from other manufacturers?

You have theories (it’s too expensive), but can you show me how, adjusted for inflation, today’s equipment is any more expensive than it was 5 or 10 years ago? There’s more of it, yes, but it’s not any more costly. And finally…don’t you find it somewhat contradictory to be making a price-based argument for the destruction of the game only a few posts after suggesting everyone should go buy JDM irons from Endo?

Your characterization that they’re annoying everyone couldn’t be less true. If that were the case TaylorMade-adidas wouldn’t be #1 globally in the metalwoods and iron categories. Adidas wouldn’t be #2 in apparel or #3 in golf footwear sales.

It’s clear that they annoy you, and clearly they annoy some others as well, but the undeniable fact (based on sales – volume, dollars, and marketshare) is that you are part of very small minority. Year over year iron and shoe sales are actually up significantly. For better or worse, the best is getting bigger.

I get it…you hate them, but for better or worse, you most certainly don’t speak for anything close to a majority.

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Dav September 12, 2013 at 5:05 pm

I love the idea that a club company is ruining golf. It couldn’t possibly be the barriers to entry in playing the game (access to courses and equipment), the length of time a round takes, the archaic rules that govern too much of the recreational side of play. Yeah, its definitely a club company who would benefit from trashing the game. Makes perfect sense.

How long have you been hawking Epon clubs? Every post you make links to a product, or references one if it isn’t mentioned in the article.

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I Enjoy Golf October 23, 2013 at 2:08 pm

@ Crutchy “if they just took a chill pill and stopped annoying every one ” = you and who?
All you “great golfers” that play MB’s and traditional style this and that… probably can’t shoot under a hundred. Spread your hate somewhere else. There are alot of us out here that take advantage of GI or even SGI clubs to have more fun doing what we love.

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Hutchy September 12, 2013 at 10:17 am

Actually I don’t hate them I just hate the fact that they supersede clubs so often, that is why i have moved away from them, yes I agree that one day two or three company’s will basically run all of golf because their money will do all of the talking. If you think monopolization is good for any industry then maybe you should get a job for TM adidas as there might be a future their for you…! And yes I do play JDM clubs for one reason only…quality…and we both know were the best clubs are forged…!If you are a lover of the game then I am sure you would play with a broom stick if you had to, it amazes me that when you talk golf you seem to be spouting a lot of numbers…I get it your a numbers man but surely you don’t want global golf product monopolization…or do you?

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Tony Covey September 12, 2013 at 12:22 pm

I hear that whole monopolization argument frequently as well, and yet despite concerns that one or two companies are taking over, there’s more diversity in the market now than a decade ago. More products, and actually more companies producing them. If you want to find fault with how the industry runs, point the finger at big box who have basically squeezed the little guy out, but at the same time the modern world makes it possible for companies like Krank, Geek, Scratch, Scor, and others to carve out their own profitable niches.

It’s ebb and flow, companies will rise and fall – today is no different in that respect. For all of TaylorMade’s dominance in some areas, they’re basically nowhere with wedges and balls, and don’t fair much better in the putter category.

As for your contention that forged irons are best? For who and by what measure. I’d venture to say that by the time you hit the mid-teen handicap golfer, the overwhelming majority would be better off in a SpeedBlade, or a G25, or an AMP Cell. I get it…I play a combo set with musclebacks in my mid and short irons, but I’m not so delusional that I believe my game wouldn’t benefit from some added forgiveness.

At the end of the day it’s to each his own. Nobody has ever said it better than the guys at Miura: Play whatever gives you the most pleasure.

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Gazza September 12, 2013 at 2:40 pm

I’ve played with most brands the past 15 years, and loved most of them….most notably Callaway X14, Mizuno MP60, Ping i15. My recent set was Cleveland TT’s and although I mostly striped them I battled with distance control, stronger lofts just don’t work for me personally. A few weeks ago I tested the best CB clubs, and the one that I hit best by a country mile was the RocketBladez Tours. These are unbelievable irons, forgiving, sits nicely behind the ball and although the lofts aren’t jacked they are long. I’m off a 8 HC and are now breaking 80 with ease game after game. I don’t care what new clubs TM rolls out in the near future, all I can vouch for is that they make quality clubs.

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Dav September 12, 2013 at 5:07 pm

And let the hate stream begin in T-minus 5…4…3…

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Hutchy September 12, 2013 at 6:03 pm

New set of TMs of the shelf $800 to $1000 Australian depending on shaft (cast rubbish)

New set of Epons-Muira-S yard Custom Fit $1300 (forged)

Hardly comparing a porscher with a VW.

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mygolfspy September 12, 2013 at 7:31 pm

There has been this perception that forged HAS to be better. If you base it off performance alone as your only barometer (which should be the case) please inform me how forged is better?

Just another one of those golf myths that constantly get regurgitated from one golfer to another without the least bit of data to back it up.

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Hutchy September 12, 2013 at 7:44 pm

Not saying better performance re distance, just a better feel and more consistent across the face, also maybe better for a better player who knows what is happening through impact..!

A couple of my mates (pros) here in ozz; one in particular who is the sole agent for epon down under and a endo club making student would disagree that forged is no better and I also concure, I supose it depends on what side if the fence your on and what you think works for you.

So I guess what I am saying is it depends on who is judging the “performance” aspect like you say

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Jeffrey Trigger September 12, 2013 at 8:57 pm

Forging has nothing to do with feel. It is the metal used in the forging process. If you cast 1025 steel, it will have a buttery soft feel as well.

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Hutchy September 12, 2013 at 9:40 pm

You need to red the question i was asked before commenting.

Can you tell me any club cast with that 1020 steel,..? didn’t think so…!

1025 is ok but I am talking about 1020 most commonly used In quality forgings…!

So your question is are forged iron better than cast…?

mygolfspy September 12, 2013 at 9:25 pm

More consistent off the face? Come on now. Forged iron designs and production do not even come close to lending themselves to being more forgiving across the face in the models you have spoken about. Nowadays multi forged designs is helping, but not a chance they can compete with designs like this when it comes to being more reliable across the face.

And Epon forged irons don’t create magical metal fairy dust that goes in to their clubs. It is the process they and MANY others use. It is not any proprietary forging system they have.

Plenty of blind studies have shown not only can golfers not tell between forged and Epon forged but they can not even tell the difference between forged and cast. It is a placebo effect.

It is about time we bust these myths once and for all so we can stop hearing about them.

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Mr_Theoo September 12, 2013 at 9:37 pm

Not to mention casting has gotten so much better that the hot spots and inconsistently that many talk about are almost non existent

Hutchy September 12, 2013 at 9:48 pm

Ok we could do this all day, but I don have the time.

So I will cut to the chase..In your professional opinion what is the (better quality) iron cast or 1020 forged.

I eagerly await your response….!

Mr_Theoo September 12, 2013 at 10:18 pm

Ping makes some of the best cast clubs

Ola September 15, 2013 at 1:53 pm

Epon prices, which country? Not europe for sure..

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Hutchy September 12, 2013 at 6:33 pm

I am not hawking epon muira s-yard or even Yamaha, all i am saying is we have easy access to better clubs now, once considered boutique brands are now slightly left of mainstream, if people remove their blinkers they might see better options.

I don’t have the time to explain endo forgings right now but keep the love coming and I will return once I have played a round with my awesome forged clubs ; )

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Mr_Theoo September 12, 2013 at 6:50 pm

Not sure if its been asked or not but is the reason the “distance irons” come with longer shafts than what would we call standard is because of their light weight and the need to keep swing weights in the D range?

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Stick September 12, 2013 at 8:49 pm

I think “consistency” is the word being misused in regard to forgings. Consistently bad on mishits. Get a history lesson. Why did cavity backs become popular in the first place? Consistency on mishits. This forging argument is like talking religion or wine. I promise you that you could fool 99% of these forged lovers. Almost every manufacturer makes a forging to satisfy this tiny group which includes some tour players. Bottom line is a forging needs to be struck in the sweet spot consistently to consistently deliver maximum distance. Period. Modern GI irons deliver consistent distance over a larger area of the face. That is a fact. If you want to play forged irons because you think they look better then by all means play them. That is the entire benefit of playing forged. You sound like a douchebag who buys an expensive sports car and then bashes everyone who drives a more practical and better performing car that meets their needs much better. Hey guess what. Just because you where the same clothes as Tom Brady doesn’t mean your going marry Gisele. Just because you play forged blades doesn’t mean you are going to play on tour. You’re probably not even the club champ at your club. That’s some kid who grew up playing cast cavity backs.

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Hutchy September 13, 2013 at 9:38 am

Hahaha, you are obviously a completely uneducated fool who thinks he knows about golf club technology, you just used the magic word…game improvement as am sure you play, I think you should marry what’s her face and get a lesson in club construction as she probably knows more than you do you imbecile. you also seem to know all the celebs names…Curious
1. consistency? what consistency are you talking about mate spin, flight & trajectory, smash factor, ball speed, launch angle, the list goes on.
2.Forged irons are better quality than cast end.
3. GI irons do not let you work the ball like a blade does(maybe you cant control that aspect of your game) or just dont understand it.
4.Most brands do not forge clubs to keep the minority happy they make cast clubs so they can produce and sell at the right price, most brands have to outsource their forgings because they don’t have the capability to do it themselves so that means the price goes up and the margin is reduced.
5. Not the club champ I only Build and sell clubs at my local cource, the club champ is my mate and he uses epon 1020 forged AF 302s with shimada shafts SW D2-D2.6, how do i know..? because I built them.
6. I Drive a van what do you drive sterling.
7. Im the kid who grew up playing GI clubs I just moved on

You need to forget about history and get yourself a lesson on modern day equipment and stop talking complete and utter drivel, Oh i get it your 5ft 2 with a chip on your shoulder and cant play golf. Go away Fool….!

What do yo think is the best quality iron cast or forged, can you even answer that…?

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Tony Covey September 13, 2013 at 10:24 am

And you’re done. I think perhaps you could use a bit of that education you spoke of…

forged irons/players irons allow you to “work the ball” is perhaps the most pervasive myth in all of golf. I will concede that different people react differently to how the irons look and that does sometimes create a perception of something like workability, and likely can influence path, however; the immutable laws of physics tell us that “workability” as the golf companies sell it to us doesn’t actually exist…at least not in any form that resembles what chronic “ball workers” seem to believe.

It’s fair to say that because of visual characteristics you personally find it easier to control your path with a smaller head, however; it’s factually inaccurate to say that forgings/blades are inherently more workable than anything else.

Unfortunately the notion of workability (because that’s what better players want to hear…and better players seem to be the ones most rooted in their beliefs), is perhaps the most pervasive of all marketing nonsense.

Please allow me to explain.

First…let me assume we’re talking about center of the face contact. If you can’t consistently hit the center of the face, why play blades, right?

So assuming one hits the ball on the center of the face, the whole of ball flight (the shape of the shot – where the ball starts, how it curves, draws, fades, whatever you want to call it) is dictated by 2 things, and only 2 things.

For iron shots, face angle is responsible for 75% (closer to 90% with drivers) of where the ball starts. Simply put, if the face is open the ball starts right. Square…it starts straight. Closed, it starts left. This is true of any club – cast, forged, blade, cavity-back…it doesn’t matter. It’s pure physics. There are no exclusions or exceptions.

Curvature is dictated by the face’s relationship to the path (which includes angle of attack). If the face is closed relative to the path, the ball will move right to left, open to the path the ball moves left to right.

These are absolute laws of physics, validated by Trackman. They are fact – as much as the earth rotating around the sun – not anyone’s opinion. There is no rotating through impact, turning the wrists over at impact, etc. to influence ball flight, etc.

I think Andrew Rice puts this in context exceptionally well: “It would take a golfer about 27 rounds of even par golf for the ball to be on the clubface for a total of one second!”

Think about that. You have to swing almost 2000 times for the all to be on the face for 1 second. And yet golfers still believe this “turning over” and “releasing” stuff.

One may believe that’s what one is doing (we all believe we have great swings until we see them on video), but it has been proven false time and time (and time) again through the use of Trackman, FlightScope, etc. The point is that perception is not always the reality.

If however you are not hitting the center of the face, then yes, less forgiving (the so-called workable) designs offer more gear affect (toe strikes will impart more left axis tilt (right to left ball flight), heal strikes will produce comparatively more left to right, but again, this is only for impacts that miss the center of the face.

There is nothing inherent in a blade design, and certainly not a forged design that makes it more workable…unless you’re intentionally missing the center of the face, and losing substantial distance because of it.

Worth noting, even in the context of off-center hits, workability is influenced by physical size and weighting, not by metallurgic composition, or manufacturing process.

Practically speaking workability is the opposite of forgiving. And the truly ironic thing is that while cavityback, and GI designs offer perimeter weighting, higher MOI, more consistency across the whole of the face; when compared center strike to center strike cast cavity backs are no less workable than so called player designs. Again, this is not an opinion, it’s physics.

Now please, before you type frantically away and recommence with the name calling and perhaps start suggesting that I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about, please take some time to do some rudimentary research. Search terms like “new ball flight laws” or “Andrew Rice Ball flight” or “Brian Manzella Ball Flight” or “Trackman Maestro” will very likely provide you with, what for me anyway, was an eye opening education. There are some amazingly informative videos out there. One simply needs to be open to the information contained within.

I didn’t invent this stuff, but I think it’s important that all of us be willing to accept that what we believe, what we’ve been told, and taught, may not always be the reality.

Some of the mostly highly-regarded teachers in golf have been teaching it wrong for years. Some have seen the light, other’s cling to antiquated ideas. It makes sense…plenty of people still believe that cold weather causes the common cold.

Best thing I’ve ever seen written in a golf forum: “It’s okay not to know something”.

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Dav September 13, 2013 at 6:11 pm

No way. Epon forever. J Forgings rule. Low quality steel is ruining golf. If you don’t play liquidy-soft 1020 carbon steel forged baby blades, you hate golf. And babies. And Jesus. And you should die a slow painful death by being (unworkably) beaten by game improvement irons by inferior brands whose only goal is to make money. J brands do not seek profit, only enlightenment that they intend to impart to the universe through flawlessly forged muscle back irons.

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Hutchy September 13, 2013 at 6:52 pm

We all have (stuff) we dont know.

I do agree with some of your points but do disagree with others..so what you are saying is that it is just as easy to work a ball left, right or knock down with a super game improvement iron than it is with a players iron…I do agree its all about the face angle at impact but there is no getting away from what an iron will tend to make you do through the hitting zone; re offset clubs are a lot more difficult to play a power fade than a players iron (perception right) the same is opposite with a draw flight right…!

So what you are really saying is that Tm and other company’s are talking complete nonsense when they market a club that will help you hit the ball straight or stop you finding the right…you are also saying that club design has no baring on how a ball spins of the face weather it be low spin, side spin, back spin they are all the same….you need to go hit some different clubs in the nets with the same shafts and look at track man again..!

OK what club do you play and why do (perceive) it works for you smart arse…!

You have still avoided the simple question everyone seems to be avoiding in this thread………………!

I will ask again…!!!

OR IS IT TO HARD FOR YOU MATE

What is the better Quality iron in your opinion……Forged or cast….!

Facebook eagerly awaits your response….!

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Mr_Theoo September 13, 2013 at 7:05 pm

You do know that yelling your “argument” louder doesn’t mean you’re right?

Tony Covey September 13, 2013 at 9:21 pm

And once again, your comment proves the gap in your education. Worse still, you’re apparently reading words that were never written. I’m going to take one last shot on the chance that you’re actually open to learning something. If that’s not the case, hopefully others won’t be so closed in how the think about golf equipment.

As I suggested in my previous post, the false concept of workability is in reality nothing more than the opposite of forgiveness. It IS absolutely possible to engineer a club that will provide straighter ball flight and more consistent ball speed. When you perimeter weight a golf club you increase Moment of Inertia (MOI). This isn’t some nonsense that TM pulled out of it’s backside, it’s a generally accepted design principle (PING was the first) that has been integrated into designs by every manufacturer I’ve ever encountered (Endo included…I’m sure you’re familiar with cavity back designs). Functionally MOI is a measure of how much the club resists twisting and gearing.

The thing to keep in mind, as golfers our goal is to make contact with the center of the face. Industry designers however, must design clubs for those golfers who don’t. This is the reason why there are options for very good golfers (blades), not very good golfers (SUPER game-improvement) and basically every segment in-between. High MOI clubs, because they gear/twist less, are less penal (less hook/fade) on toe/heel strikes. It’s also important to understand that gearing occurs top to bottom as well, and will also impact ball flight.

What TaylorMade’s slot does is reduce the negative consequences for hitting the ball below the face. TaylorMade is the topic of the day, but worth noting is that just about every manufacturer has something internal to the face that is designed (with varying success) to serve the same purpose.

And because golf companies talk in averages across the whole of the face, if you minimize ball speed loss on low contact…and toe contact…and heal contact…and high contact, you increase the more general average ball speed measurement. Unlike musclebacks, cavity back designs allow designers to reinforce the face at other points (brace the toe, brace the heal…basically you provide additional support in the areas where golfers miss, and that support also helps reduce the consequences of off-center hits. With a muscleback, the mass is center-biased. That’s great for solid contact, but you’ve got nothing helping you out when you miss the sweet spot.

Remember we’re talking about designs built on the premise that the golfer will miss the center of the face. On center hits, GI irons are bound by the exact same rules, and are no more or less workable than any other type of iron. But blade designs are only inherently more “workable” because they have less MOI/more gearing, and that only comes into play on off-center hits.

As I said in my last post, you may perceive that one design is more controllable. That’s valid…it suits your eye, and there is something to that, but it’s unique to your eye. It’s anything but a universal truth. In terms of pure physics there’s no difference from one design to the next (center strikes).

Before I get into how spin works, I think anybody ready this needs to understand there is no such thing as sidespin. There is only backspin along a tilted axis. In very simplistic terms, an inside path will generally tilt the spin axis to the left (draw spin for a righty), while an outside to in path will generally tilt the spin axis to the right. Axis tilt plus backspin produces curvature. For side spin to exist it would require a second axis, and I can assure you (as will anyone willing to stick intersecting rods through a tennis ball), it’s impossible for an object to simultaneously rotate across two axes.

As for spin, and how design affects it. Skipping over the part the shaft plays in spin, from a design perspective spin is derived from loft and center of gravity. We’ve heard these stories for years, right? A rear and low center of gravity (GI designs) will produce a higher ball flight and more spin than blade/musclebacks (CG placement is higher and more forward). If we’re talking about SpeedBlade for example, by replacing steel with goo closer to the face, they are able to place the metal more rearward, and that’s where the high launch and soft landing (spin) come from.

If you’re not familiar with spin loft, it’s worth looking into, but the short of how spin is impact by mishits, because gi designs have more weight at the perimeter (additional mass away from the sweet spot), high face mishits will produce less additional spin than high face mishits on a blade. More spin in the scenario will be coupled with a decrease in ball speed (when compared to a gi design), which is essentially why high face mishits are less penal with GI irons than with musclebacks. While the impact on spin isn’t exactly identical, functionally the results are the same heal, toe, low, high. – different spin characteristics, and comparably reduced ball speed.

For GI designs, more ball speed is sustained because of reinforced faces and perimeter weighting.

Hopefully I’ve explained this well, but to summarize; because of their lower MOI, gearing is more prevalent in blade/MB design…and MOI is the very definition of forgiveness.

And again…this is not my opinion, this is the physics behind iron design…even Endo design. And it’s validated time and time again, by robots and humans, on Trackman, FlightScope, etc.

Also worth noting, there is a segment that believes that forged irons are inherently less forgiving. As with everything else we’re discussing, forgiveness is derived from the design of the head itself and has nothing to do with whether it was forged or cast. If you take the same exact same design and create a forging and a casting, the forgiveness will be equal.

Offset is a whole other issue. I’m not a fan, and quite frankly, while I’ve heard several different explanation for what it does, I think it boils down to whether or not it suits the eye. Some guys can’t get by without it, others (me) can’t play a lick if there’s more than a little of it.

As for the quality issue…I’m not quite sure what you’re getting at. You like forged, but what does that say about quality. Steel is not only a commodity, but it’s controlled. Endo’s steel, be it 1020, or whatever else is no different than anybody else’s of the same designation. Some steel is harder, some is softer, but that’s hardly any measure of quality – it’s a measure of hardness. Cast or forged, if the metallurgy is the same, the quality of the steel is the same. Forging does not change the composition/quality of the metal itself.

If quality is a gauge of spec/tolerance, again, there is no functional advantage to forging over casting. Forging does not produce a club to an inherently tighter spec. Tolerances are a function of production volume. The higher the volume the looser the tolerance. It’s not ideal, but it is the reality. Miura can offer the tightest specs in the industry because they have the smallest production runs.

You seem to love Endo so we’ll use that as the example. Assuming Endo’s house production runs are smaller, I would expect tolerances to be tighter, and if you want to use that as your measure of quality, then yes, that is higher quality, but what you’re really saying is they are produced to a tighter spec. That said, when Endo forges clubs for Nike (the previous VR Combos were Endo forged, I can’t speak to the new model), they were done so with the same steel as any other Endo forging, however, tolerances were in line with OEM averages. Why…not because of the quality of the steel (Endo steel didn’t suddenly degrade in quality), but simply because of volume.

Does quality mean breakage? Durability? By that definition, softer metal (again, doesn’t matter if it’s cast or forged) is inherently less durable – and so arguably of lower quality. I’m sure you will agree, when your clubs are made from softer steel, it becomes imperative that you check your specs (loft and lie) regularly (once every 6 months at a minimum) because the softer steel is pliable and will bend slightly through normal use. Loft and lie angles will change over time.

As for what I play…as I said in the post, I play progressive blades. Technically it’s a combo set (Cobra AMP Cell Pros to be specific). They’re forged, and I love them,…but I have no illusions about the realities of performance. I’d probably be better served in something with more forgiveness. There’s a reason why true muscleback usage on Tour is declining. Guys are learning that workability is largely a myth, and almost everyone can benefit from more forgiveness.

Nevertheless, my position has always been play what makes you happy.

As for my opinions being swayed by free gear…the smartass answer is – you got me. TaylorMade bought me off with a set of irons, and worse yet, I’m so pliable that I let them do it with a set of irons with shafts that would never work for me, and I probably would never play even if they did. As with you, they’re not my thing, but that doesn’t invalidate the technology.

The less smartass answer…we deal with these accusations all the time. Whoever’s equipment is featured, they bought us off with gear (or slipped us some cash). It’s nonsense…tiresome…but nonsense. I would argue that when it comes to golf companies (and especially TaylorMade who spends more on blogs and forums than anyone) – and incidentally, it is our policy to not accept advertising from big golf companies, including TaylorMade – I’m probably the single most consistently objective/balanced golf writer on the planet.

Seriously…go back, look at my history of TaylorMade articles. You won’t find anyone with any industry credibility who has been tougher on them over the last 3 years. I call them out (frequently), but when they do good work, I tell me readers as much. Read the comments in those articles too. What you’ll find is this: When the tone of the article is generally positive, I’m in their pocket. When the tone is generally negative, I have an anti-TaylorMade bias.

Here’s the truth…I call it like I see it. Sometimes I see crap, sometimes I see something that I think could actually benefit a substantial number of golfers. SpeedBlade is the latter. It really is that simple.

Hutchy September 13, 2013 at 7:04 pm

I do not write about golf for a living I actually work and this is just something I dedicate maybe 10% of my time doing.

On the other hand this is your job and clearly the your influence is swayed by the free set of clubs adidas sends you to review.

Be honest with all of us and talk some sense man….!

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Hutchy September 13, 2013 at 7:29 pm

Gday Theo

I know your right…but am just having a bit of fun you would be amazed at the love I am getting via email…Just what I need before the first round of my club champs today.

After all is said I might leave the Epons at home and take My old ISIk irons and Firesole driver I might win….!

Hutchy September 14, 2013 at 1:16 pm

Again for the 100th time

Best quality…Forged head or cast head…

One word answer please….DO YOU UNDERSTAND THE QUESTION….!

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Dav September 14, 2013 at 1:28 pm

You’re simply equating expense with quality. The two do not always go hand in hand.

Forging is a longer, more involved, more time consuming process. Thus more expensive. You could forge lead, but it would still be lead. Someone made the point earlier, but it comes down to construction AND material. So regardless of whether a club is forged or cast, if its done so out of quality material, in my opinion the quality is the same. But that’s just my opinion.

Its like asking the superiority of recording analog or digital, building a car by hand or by modern precision automation, sanding a table by hand or power tool. There is no better, its personal preference. In your mind, forged means higher quality. In my mind, modern precision and innovative construction means quality. Its tradition vs. innovation. What do you choose?

I’m fairly certain there is no convincing you otherwise, and that’s fine. Be sure to berate me in your reply because in your world nothing is as good and nothing can equate to a forged blade, fired in an ancient factory in Japan. In the product business, that’s called story telling and its what makes you buy forged blades, and by the same token, convinces others to buy from other manufacturers who choose to utilize modern innovation-driven methods.

I would be willing to bet my home and life savings on players like you, never being able to tell the difference between forged and cast clubs made from the same materials from top quality club makers. Although I’m sure you’ll claim that you can.

Perry September 12, 2013 at 9:57 pm

I like some of the concept with this but this product is not for me. It may be for others though. Why not for me? 1. Offset is way too high and not even in a reasonable range for me. 2. Lofts are way too strong. 3. Standard shaft is way too light. Is there a tour model coming? Little offset/weaker lofts/better shaft such as Project X 95 flighted/DG Pro/Dg/DG SL/PXI?

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Jeff Trigger September 12, 2013 at 10:03 pm

Cast iron quality? Anybody complaining about the quality of Ping irons? In fact, I would say of the major OEM’s, Ping has one of the highest quality control standard sets. Look at repeat Ping customers. How many Ping pros do you see leaving Ping? Hopkins golf wedges, made to your liking, are cast.

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Hutchy September 12, 2013 at 10:58 pm

You still avoided the question…cast or forged 1020 better quality.

ping have sent their latest offering…players club to be cast in Japan with 1020 steel.

Also all of their anser irons are forged, pros do dot play the same cubs we buy of the shelf…ask Lee Westwood..!

I don’t get your point…!

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SPY ZINGER September 12, 2013 at 11:30 pm

One week ago I would have written identical responses as most if you are. The , I leaned a out the irons, tested them, and played a full round with them. It was eye opening. They’re good. Hit them first, then comment.

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Perry September 13, 2013 at 12:33 am

SPY ZINGER: I appreciate your comments but I will need a tour model. I hate offset. I love Project X 95 flighted shafts. Taper tip shafts are always preferred to parallel. If I could have them, I would have standard classic lofts with the PW, not the AW at 52 degrees loft. The lofts are way out of kilter for me. There is zero chance I would buy a set. Tour model — yes. These — no.

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Roger March 14, 2014 at 12:55 pm

I would agree, Spy! I played with a rented set at a course in California and, even with a “middle of winter” undisciplined swing, I hit some very good shots with the Speedblades. I have long since given up the “I play forged blades, so I am better than you” discussion and will accept any and all “help” that I can get from today’s current technology.

With my golfing limited to the occasional round these days, I whole-heartedly welcome the GI features that the Speedblade irons provide.

PS…I am a little confused on why everyone is so ANGRY that a club manufacturer would put out a new model on what they deem to be an accelerated time-frame. I have NEVER been forced by anyone to go get a new set of golf clubs! As a matter of fact, I dearly love the idea of the accelerated schedule as I can then go get relatively recent technology at a reduced price.

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Jeffrey Trigger September 13, 2013 at 5:55 am

Considering, I don’t know of one iron cast with 1020, you’re asking a loaded question. Of course, I can’t answer that. Again, even if I could, it wouldn’t be an Apples to Apples comparison. Back to my Ping reference, would you say a Nike VR Blade is higher quality than a Ping S55? As far as your assertion that Ping tour irons are different, the main difference is custom grinds, and prototype editions. Ping isn’t forging i20s. This website would have exposed that a long time ago.

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Hutchy September 13, 2013 at 7:22 pm

When did you hear me sy ping are 1020 forged, you need to have another look a what I said…only a couple of brands use this quality of steel, What I did say is ping was going to send its s55 to be forged in Japan you just assumed it was to be made from that steel as they were both mentioned in the same conversation.

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Jeffrey Trigger September 13, 2013 at 6:59 pm

Ping Anser is forged with 8620 steel, not 1020. I’d like to know where you got your information on Ping forging 1020 steel, because I forwarded your comment to my college roommate, who happens to be a Ping rep, and he said to the best of his knowledge, Ping has said nothing about future forged offerings. Lastly, you finally admitted your agenda, small groups vs. big groups. Again this has nothing to do with forgings. If I bought a Hopkins ground wedge, or a Titleist Vokey Hand Ground wedge, both cast, I would expect them to be of a higher quality than off the rack OEM’s as far as face consistency. Would an Edel iron be more exact than a TaylorMade? I would sure hope so, considering the cost. This has nothing to do with it’s creation process, but the volume of creation. Now, here is where I school you. I graduated with a BA in physics, and I earned another BA in molecular chemistry. I have a Masters in Quantum Mechanics. A ball has zero idea what it is being struck with, as far as material, or head shape. If you strike the inside of the ball with an open clubface, the laws of physics demand that the ball goes to the right. The consistency of the face won’t play much of a factor in that, because no matter how soft the steel is, it is considerably harder than the golf ball. The better player catches the ball with an open clubface on the inside of the ball, and it leaves on a square clubface. This creates a gear motion, meaning the ball’s spin is on an angled axis, which causes a draw. No matter what you use, KMart or Miura, this is what the ball is going to do. Average joe hits the center of the ball or the outside of the ball moving in with a square clubface, and leaving with an open clubface. The ball has no choice but to start slightly left of target and with its axis spin (because sidespin is a myth) curving to the right. The sweet spot of a club (or deviation from) will only determine how far that shot will travel. I could go further into this, but I’d have to get really technical to explain it.

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Jeffrey Trigger September 13, 2013 at 10:39 pm

I misread the 1020 forging of Ping. I still stand with no s55 forgings. I’m not sure what Tony is talking about as we both mentioned axis spin, not side spin. I’m not for or against the speedblade, I haven’t hit it, but my guess is my angle of attack, halfway to China after the ball, that sole wouldn’t be ideal. These are discussions more meant for round tables, or in my preferred case, the golf course, not online. Worst of all, we’re arguing in theoretical terms. Seriously, if you want Epons or SpeedBlades, knock yourself out. Enjoy the game. As for me, 24 hours from now, I’ll have added TPC of Avenel to played courses (nice to have friends in the right places). Regardless of my clubs, regardless of what I shoot, I’m going to enjoy it. Hope you all enjoy a round this weekend too.

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Dav September 14, 2013 at 1:35 pm

I had a chance to see these in person yesterday. I can tell you the finishing and quality feel aren’t captured very well in the photos. I didn’t like them much seeing them in photos either, and didn’t think they looked high quality. Seeing them in hand, especially the badge which looks the most suspect in photos, changed my mind. The two tone finish, and the detail in the badges is actually quite nice. A very big improvement over the RBladez in my opinion. Take it with a grain of salt, as thats coming from a self-confessed TMaG fan, but I can also objectively say I hated the original RBZ irons with every fiber of my being. Performance aside, these are a good lucking club to my eye. They’re smaller than RBladez, and of nicer aesthetic quality so I’ll definitely be giving them a hit.

Silly me, I actually enjoy living in this modern era of club innovation and a speedier product cycle. The same happened with electronics, cars, and veritably every other industry. Do I think Taylormade could do it in a better way that doesn’t make consumers feel a bit cheated, sure I do. But speed is something this game could surely use in trying to break the staleness of antiquated rules and regulations that are slowly suffocating its growth. Just look at the numbers, no one is playing, and I can assure you that has very little to do with equipment.

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Troy Vayanos September 15, 2013 at 7:32 am

I particularly like the look of the wedges. Great design and they look like the ball would come off the face really well.

Not ready for a change of irons at present but wouldn’t mind trying them out at least to see what they’re like.

Thanks for the review

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TwoSolitudes September 15, 2013 at 10:58 pm

The wedges look fantastic

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Cobra nut September 16, 2013 at 10:53 pm

Will try them then hate them lol. I will actually hit these before I voice any opinion on them.

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jordan September 17, 2013 at 8:46 am

Seriously when is Taylormade gonna release an iron that a single digit can legitimately play? I can’t look down at a club like this. Even their MBs from a few years back were not made by Taylormade. The only reason they were so good was because they contracted out to Mizuno for them to produce TM’s MBs.

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Len H September 17, 2013 at 4:54 pm

I cannot believe how negative people are when they have never tried a product. If you do not like TM or any other brand so be it, but these could be the best irons ever made or they could be the worst, but until someone has tried them, you have no right to speak negatively about it.

Just buy a decent forged club? 85% of golfers could never hit a forged club further than a football field which is one reason why game improvement irons are made. As far as TM bringing out new clubs every 6 months, they are a marketing organization as well as a golf club manufacturer. They are trying to put out a product people will like, buy, and spread the word to others so they will buy. They are trying to make money, make a profit and stay in business just like every other company out there. They are not asking any golfer to buy every new set that comes out, but are trying to have a product available for someone that does not currently use TM or someone that is ready to buy a new set. If the clubs suck, people will not buy them. Period, end of story.

One comment was about Mizunos. They make a great club no doubt from what I hear. But as one commenter said, the hype about Mizunos being for better players may have scared away average golfers is 100% correct. Know how I know that? Because it is the very thing that scared me away from ever even trying them! I am an 11 index and I now play Adams CMB’s. I have played many other brands, types of irons but never Mizuno.

So if you do not want to like or try Taylormades that is your right and privilege, but without even trying them, no one has the right to put them down, call them shit or anything else. I am not a fan of their clubs in general. I use a Titleist 913D and Adams irons, so I am not a prophet of TM, but I do have a modicum of common sense. They are the #1 company in golf for a reason, like it or not.

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RP Jacobs II September 19, 2013 at 12:16 pm

Excellent write-up T!!

Fairways & Greens 4ever

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Andrew October 17, 2013 at 3:51 am

I am a 6 HC and play with TM MC forged Irons..Brilliant irons…I am thinking of buying the Rocketbladez Tour irons…The Speedblades in question looks great to me!!!..Unfortunately it is not the right iron for me..They got a bit of offset like the R11 irons had..These are great irons for high handicap players and should they bring out a Tour Version, i will be the first one to go and test them and put them in the bag should they fit me…Go Taylormade/Adidas!!!..They are very innovative and people on this blog are dissing the fact that they are omproving all the time..So what if they bring out clubs every 6 months!!..If you cant afford to buy the new stuff, stick to the old!!!!…

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RP Jacobs II October 17, 2013 at 8:35 am

Well, not everyone disses TMaG, lol. Though I don’t play their irons, I do rotate their driver & FMs and their R&D is second to none. When you’re the King of the Mountain, people love to throw stones, however I’ve gotta strong feeling that they’re laughin all of the way to the bank!

When ya get a chance to hit the SpeedBladez, please drop into the forum and let us know your thoughts!

Fairways & Greens My Friend

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Dave January 14, 2014 at 4:51 am

Well the above comments are interesting, lots of experts, enjoyed the read, I however have been playing R9′s and i 20′s for the last 3 years in KBS stiff and CFS stiff standard L/L/L/ and I just purchased the Speedblades on a whim to check them out. I am selling the R9′s and i 20′s a.s.a.p.

Taylormade knows what they are doing, my R9′s were just slightly shorter than the Speedblades and the i 20′s weren’t even close to performing like the Speedblades, I play to a 10 and can break 80 occasionally and that is good enough for me playing just 2 nines a week in the Summer. Everyone here is passionate about their game that is why there are sites like this one. Enjoyed the article, purchased Speedblades based on your findings, however drop the 4 letter words for expletives. Thanks Dave

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Matt January 23, 2014 at 8:29 pm

I have played for many years with a set of Titleist 990′s and fought my way down to a 9HCP, I recently purchased the Speedblades and could not be happier. Yes they do go further (consistant 12-15m further in fact) however technology has come along way since my last set of new clubs so I do expect that they would. The club head weight combined with stiff shafts suits my rather fast swing speed perfectly and the feel off the face is fantastic. I am not saying they are any better or worse than any other brands mentioned above, what I am saying is they they work for me and I can’t wait to use them each week. My average score is most definitely on its way down.
Cheers.

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Scifisicko January 30, 2014 at 1:01 am

The posts about how low markers “wouldnt touch these with barge poles” make me laugh. I play off 2.7 today and last year got to 0.6. I’ve been playing mizuno mp 60s since they came out and have never thought about changing. I read your post and got hold of a set of speedblades. Im gaming them on and off. I find i can easily fly the SB 5I the same distance as the mp60 3I and the thing is, it is a much better shot. its more consistent, it stops and its low risk. Whenever I pull out the mp60 3 iron i mutter a little prayer to the golf gods. What i dont have with SB is as much trajectory control, but I think that is worth giving up for better scoring. As far as gaps are concerned, when I game the SBs, I lose the 3 and 4 irons and carry too many wedges instead. I understand how people will read this and say ive just switched the gap, but that is beside the point, which is that i have de-risked the long and mid iron shots.

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Mezza February 18, 2014 at 5:20 pm

For what it is worth, here is my opinion! I play off a 20 hcp and have had a set of mizuno jpx 600 and loved them. Tried the new speedblades, fell in love and bought some. As with anyone on my handicap consistancy is a problem – not with these clubs. The speedblade irons are so forgiving and sweet to swing. I don’t know about the gap thing, all I can see is I have improved my consistancy, distance and enjoyment of the game. That does it for me!

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