Clank. It’s a sound golfers hate, and the main criticism of TaylorMade’s RocketBlades irons. But despite their awkward sound, the distance-happy RocketBladez irons sold like hotcakes and became the No. 1-selling iron in golf.
If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, right? Wrong. In true TaylorMade style, the company decided to revamp the construction of the new SpeedBlades irons, creating a set of clubs that not only feel better, but look and sound better as well.
The most noticeable structural change engineers made the design of SpeedBlade was removing the chunky toe section on the rear part of the club. That allowed them to place more weight lower and deeper in the head, which according to TaylorMade Product Creation Manager Brian Bazzel gives SpeedBlade the lowest center of gravity of any TaylorMade iron ever produced. The lower CG helps most with forgiveness on shots hit on the bottom part of the face, where Bazzel said 72 percent of golfers contact the ball.
But again, SpeedBlade is a TaylorMade iron, and it’s not the company’s style just to make one change to a new product. The iron’s SpeedPocket, a slot in the sole of the iron, is now longer and wider than it was in the RocketBladez, particularly in the heel and toe sections. That allows the face to flex more on shots hit on those areas, enhancing ball speed to help mishits leave the face with a similar velocity as shots struck in the center.
The more important change to the SpeedPocket, however, is what golfers can’t see. The slot is extended all the way through the sole of the iron, as well as in three different spots on the back part of the irons to give the structure more flex. That creates a larger area of maximum spring-like effect, or a larger sweetspot. (Note: the SpeedPocket is only used in the design of the 3 through 7 irons, where Bazzel said it is most important for forgiveness and ball speed).
Above: A SpeedBlade 6 iron at address.
According to Bazzel, the lower CG and larger, more effective SpeedPocket allowed TaylorMade to make a change that most golfers will notice immediately: TaylorMade made them smaller. Adding to the compact look of the SpeedBlade is its new two-tone, satin-nickel-chrome finish with a dark smoke plating that creates more visual shrinkage at address. And yes, the combination of the new struction, dampening mechanism and SpeedPocket filler make the irons noticeably less harsh at address, turning the RocketBladez’s clank into more of a SpeedBlade smoosh.
The SpeedBlade irons will hit shelves on Oct. 4. They’ll cost $799 for eight irons with 85-gram proprietary steel shafts (R and S flexes), and $899 with 65-gram graphite shafts (L, M, R and S flexes).
Check out the spec of the new irons below, as well as more photos of the SpeedBlade irons and wedges in the gallery.