"For any golfer looking for a player's cavity-back, you'd have to be a fool not to consider the Dynacraft Prophet Tour Forged. With just about any shaft and grip combo you could ask for, the price would still be below $450.00."
Dynacraft Prophet Tour Review
I'm really looking forward to the next several reviews I'll be posting to MyGolfSpy. In addition to being able to test out some of the clubs that were on my radar this season, we'll also be testing a number of clubs that you might call the next generation of clubs I've previously reviewed here at MyGolfSpy. It's in that spirit of next generation products that we bring you this review of the Dynacraft Prophet Tour Forged Irons from the folks over at Hireko Golf. If you read last year's review, you'll note that the look of the iron (besides the finish) is eerily familiar, and that's not coincidence. Apart from the satin chrome which replaces the Black PVD finish from the clubs we reviewed last year, the new models are forged. That's right, the original Prophet Tour's were so popular that Hireko brought them back in forged model. The idea was to create an iron with the playability of the original Prophet Tour, with the enhanced feel offered by a premium forged iron.
The Dynacraft Prophet Tour Forged are a modern slot cavity iron which manages to preserve a classic (or Timeless as Hireko calls it) appearance at address. The cavity itself is CNC milled, and the grooves conform to USGA regulations.
About Last Year
Unfortunately what seems to have resonated most with last year's review was a 3 iron that was well outside of stated tolerances. And while that one club was admittedly the single most flawed of any we tested last year, the rest of the set was right in line with what we received from other manufacturers. There's a rather prevalent myth I run into all the time. Many golfers believe that their "custom fit, custom assembled" clubs, ordered from their local Pro Shop or Golf superstore, are custom made to exacting tolerances specifically for them. And because these clubs were built just for them, they're perfect; spot on for lie, loft, length, and even flex. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth - we proved that time and time again before abandoning SpecCheck altogether (what's the definition of insanity?). My point is that there isn't an OEM large or small that's providing perfect clubs to the consumer. You want perfect, work with a knowledgeable club fitter. Most everywhere else, things aren't going to be spot on, but on average, the Dynacraft product line is as good as most anything else.
Material Composition: 304 Stainless Steel
How We Tested
The 6 golfers for whom we collected detailed performance data were asked to hit a series of shots on our 3Track Equipped simulators from aboutGolf. As usual, testing was done at Tark's Indoor Golf, a state of the art indoor golf facility located in Saratoga Springs, NY. Detailed data for each and every shot for which we collected data is now viewable in the interactive portion of this review. This data serves as the foundation for our final performance score. As a supplement to our 6 performance testers, a subset of additional golfers were given the opportunity to test the Dynacraft Prophet Tour Forged Irons and provide feedback in our subjective categories (looks, feel, sound, perceived distance, perceived accuracy, perceived forgiveness, and likelihood of purchase). This information, which we also collected from our performance testers, is used as the foundation for our total subjective score.
New Radius-Based Scoring
This review is the first to use our new radius-based scoring format. In the past we've asked our testers to simply hit the test club as far as they can and as straight as they can. While that makes lots of sense for drivers, fairway woods, and maybe even hybrids, for irons and wedges, we realized it didn't make much sense at all. When it comes to our scoring clubs (irons and wedges), we're almost always trying to hit a specific target at a specific distance. To replicate that experience in our iron tests we set the target green at 150 yards, and asked our testers to choose the appropriate club for the distance, and basically take their best shots.
It's worth noting that for all radius-based testing, our golfers are given the opportunity to hit several test shots in order to determine the appropriate club for the distance (we all know that distance can vary tremendously from set to set). In the case of the Prophet Tour Forged, I chose to hit the 7 iron along with Jeff. Mark and Nick both hit 8 irons, while Dan and CJ both hit 9 irons.
The highest percentage of the performance score was calculated based on where each shot fell in proximity to the hole. Closer is obviously better.
Finally, we apply a formula to normalize the data across varying handicap levels. It stands to reason that a low handicap golfer should be more accurate than a high handicap golfer. Our scoring accounts for these differences in ability levels and makes a reasonable attempt to level the playing field (much like the Handicap system itself), so that it's possible to achieve similar scores for all golfers. As we always do, we've made the details of each test shot available to you in the interactive portion of this review. Definitely check out that page, and let us know what you think about the new scoring system.
The accuracy score is derived using the new radius-based scoring system. Perhaps the simplest explanation is that scores are determined based on how long of a putt the golfer would have after each shot. In the case of the Dynacraft Prophet Tour Forged Irons, handicap level proved be near useless as a predictor of accuracy. While 6 handicap Dan posted the best accuracy numbers (adjusted average of just over 23 feet), 3 of our testers were actually within a foot of each other between 38.38 and 39.07 feet on average. I posted a sub-mediocre average of just under 46 feet, while 7.5 handicap golfer, Jeff (who admitted he struggled to get a feel for the club), missed by an average of almost 46 feet.
If all of that sounds bad, I assure you its not. We've got a number of irons in the pipeline right now, and we're really learning quite a bit about how inaccurate the majority of golfers appear to be from this distance. When we apply our scoring formulas, we discovered that all but Jeff were in the mid 80s and above. Dan posted the highest individual score with a 91.45.
While we're certain the Dynacraft Prophet Tour won't be the best performing iron (at least where accuracy is concerned) this year, we're fairly certain the Dynacraft Prophet Tour numbers will prove to be close to average one way or another.
MGS Accuracy Score: 87.70
As we do with woods, we have formulas we leverage to try and quantify the somewhat abstract notion of forgiveness, or as we like to call it, consistency. To determine consistency we look at how the individual shots each tester makes compares to his group of shots as a whole. This method makes it is possible for a golfer with a poor Accuracy score to put up a very good consistency score (he may miss all the time, but if the numbers are similar for each miss, at least we know the irons perform consistently).
In the case of the Dynacraft Prophet Tour Forged, most of our testers put up solid consistency numbers. As it seems I often do, I posted the lowest consistency score (82.22), which was marginally worse than Jeff's 86.92. Everyone else managed to score in the 90s, with higher-handicap golfer, Mark, posting the high number (95.28). Our consistency numbers will generally be high, so it's best to think of them in relative terms as we move through the year. It's also, in part, why Accuracy accounts for the substantial majority of our performance score.
Having said that, I expect that the Dynacraft Prophet Tours will prove to be within the average range with respect to consistency. That shouldn't surprise anyone considering the player's cavity-back design, which while workable for better players, does allow for more distance loss on mis-hits, at least when compared with the majority of modern game improvement irons.
MGS Consistency Score: 92.16
My guess is that as we start adding irons sets to our weekly reviews the Dynacraft Prophet Tour Forged Irons will stand up very nicely against the products we review from the big OEMs. While I wasn't as accurate as I like to be (allowing for the fact that I am an atrociously inconsistent iron player), my better struck balls posted some decent results, and the majority of our testers posted fairly solid performance numbers across the board.
Although we stopped asking about value (instead opting for "Likelihood of Purchase"), what I can say definitively is that for $366.80 (the price as configured), you're not going to find better performing (particularly in a forged iron) for the money.
MGS OVERALL PERFORMANCE SCORE: 88.37
It's safe to say that the majority of the golfing population has been more or less conditioned to think that anything that's not big OEM isn't worth buying. It's pretty clear to us that some of our loyal forum guys, and a good number of MyGolfSpy readers, of course, know better. Still, when we test it's readily apparent to us that for smaller companies, be they component companies, or even smaller OEMs (Solus comes to mind quickly), no matter what the actual quality of the product, getting actual golfers to buy-in can be an uphill battle to say the least.
For the most part, the Dynacraft Prophet Tour Forged Irons offer a fairly traditional appearance, albeit in a modern slot cavity design. Our testers generally approved of the looks, though only one was blown away (the lone 10). The low end of things was a 7, which isn't bad generally, and is realistically better than I might expect for a component company.
From my perspective, I understand the design is what it is, but I'd like to see the slot cavity evolve into a true muscle back in the short irons. My only other gripe is with the badge in the cavity. It doesn't look bad, but it's not as refined as others we've seen. Truthfully, I think the club would look better without it.
MGS Looks Score: 86.00
The majority of our testers rated the feel of the Prophet Tour Forged as high average (7). Once again, the low wasn't that low (a 6), with 8s and 9s accounting for the rest of the scores. It's hard not to compare the Prophet Tour forged irons with the other forged cavity-backs we reviewed recently. It's been a while since I hit those, but my belief is that these irons would have more than held their own in that field of great feeling irons.
In this guy's opinion, the feel score is probably lower than it should be, and I'm fairly certain if that badge said Mizuno or Titleist subjective feel scores would have been higher from our testers.
MGS Feel Score: 79.86
I was on the fence about even including distance as even a subjective category, but the reality is that many manufacturers insist on marketing their irons based on distance. Of course, few bother to mention that the 7-iron in your set is really what not so long ago was called a 6 iron. OEMs change the number on the sole, and then talk up the distance. As long as consumers remain receptive to the distance-based approach to iron marketing, however; we'll have to keep talking about it - even if it's just to explain it away. My contention is that iron distance is largely irrelevant (there's a reason why you carry so many of them).
With respect to the Dynacraft Prophet Tour Forged Irons, lofts are inline with other modern players irons (no distance-based deception here), so it shouldn't come as any surprise that our testers rated them as high-average for distance. I personally found them to be about half a club shorter than my own irons, but that could just as easily be the shaft as it is the head. Quite frankly unless distance numbers are ridiculously off from average, you probably shouldn't be too concerned about it one way or the other.
Tester Perceived Distance Score: 78.32
Our radius-based scoring tells the whole story about how accurate these clubs were, but our testers, certainly have their own opinions about how these clubs compare to others they have it. While two of our testers found them to be below average (6), the majority of our testers gave them 8s for accuracy (which is realistically where most of the irons we'll test will probably land). A single tester gave them a 9, although his numbers suggest he should have been among the 8s.
Overall, I think our testers more or less nailed it.
Tester Perceived Accuracy Score: 81.39
Let's get this out of the way right now. I'd be nearly shocked to find a player's cavity-back that offers anything like the forgiveness of a super game-improvement iron (think PING K15), but I'd also suggest that player's irons have come a long way as far as forgiveness is concerned. While these types of designs will never be the most forgiving you'll encounter, they're not exactly brutal either.
With respect to the Prophet Tour Forged, our testers experienced mostly what you'd expect. Hit a ball off the toe it goes short. Top it and it rolls. Hit it fat and it behaves more like a wedge than a 7 iron. That said, we did have one tester rate them as a 4, while another rated them as a 9. Everyone else was in the 6-8 range, with 7s being most prevalent. If forgiveness is your top priority, you're probably looking in the wrong place, however; if you're looking for a reasonably forgiving cavity-back, then we've got something to talk about.
Tester Perceived Forgiveness Score: 72.18
Likelihood of Purchase
We've talked about LOP scores being low in general, so a lower than average score isn't unexpected. Still, I can't help but think that in this particular case, the clubs aren't necessarily the problem, it's more of a branding issue. Most guys out there probably haven't heard of Dynacraft, and many others feel like if everyone else is playing a bag full of Callaways or TaylorMades, maybe he should be too. It's all a bit nonsensical, especially when you consider these irons are less than 1/3 the costs of some others we've tested. Even the guys who put up solid numbers across the board generally gave less than stellar LOP ratings. Go figure.
Tester Likelihood of Purchase: 67.57
Perhaps guys were put off by the perception of less distance, and less forgiveness, and I can definitely understand why some wouldn't be overwhelmed by the looks (best I could manage was a 7 myself), but the feel score is a bit baffling to me, as is the overall impression indicated by the final tally. I can't prove it (at least not yet), but taking into consideration how these irons compare to others we've already reviewed, and will be reviewing as the year goes on, I'd wager that if the Dynacraft Prophet Tour Forged had an OEMs name stamped into the cavity, "subjective" scores would be at least 10-15% higher across the board.
TOTAL SUBJECTIVE SCORE: 79.55
Here's what I think. When we start looking at accuracy scores for irons in this category, we won't find many that out perform the Dynacraft Prophet Tour Forged Irons. When we talk about feel, we'll find few that offer better. And when we talk about forgiveness, I expect we'll find similar performance among all the player's cavity-backs we test. Of course, when we start asking testers to rate those clubs, we'll see measurably higher numbers because we've all been conditioned to think big OEM is always better. It's not.
For any golfer looking for a player's cavity-back, you'd have to be a fool not to consider the Dynacraft Prophet Tour Forged Irons. With just about any shaft and grip combo you could ask for, the price would still be below $450.00. It borders on insanity, and yet people will gladly pay twice as much for identical performance.
As I said, I'm not a big fan of the looks of these irons, and that would be everything I'd need to keep them out of my bag, but considering most of our testers felt differently, I've come away from this review feeling a bit frustrated. While the final score is plenty solid, nearly everything about the Dynacraft Prophet Tour Forged Irons makes me think they deserve a bit better.
MGS TOTAL SCORE: 86.16
NEW = $314.65
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