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Tech Talk: TaylorMade SpeedBlade irons

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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.

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Click here to read about the SpeedBlade iron launch at the BMW Championship.

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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).

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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.

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Click here to see what GolfWRX members are saying about the SpeedBlade irons in the forum.

Click here to see what GolfWRX members are saying about the SpeedBlade irons in the forum.

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41 Comments

41 Comments

  1. james saden

    Apr 22, 2014 at 8:14 am

    Was wondering how durable the polymer in the speed pocket is. I don’t store my clubs in a climate controled environment. Is it affected by heat/cold? If the pocket fails wouldn’t the face deform? Only a two year warranty. $800 is a lot to spend. The clubs I am using now have lasted six years.

  2. Conrad

    Sep 17, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    man my 4 iron is 24 degrees loft. thats between a 5 and 6 speedblade…

    • Ola scholander

      Sep 18, 2013 at 11:30 am

      So? Whats important for you, loft ( number) or trajectory ( result) ?

      • Frank Garrett

        Sep 28, 2013 at 9:05 pm

        Flat bill hat is the most important to me

    • Frank Garrett

      Sep 28, 2013 at 8:37 pm

      Yea those guys at intech need to get with the times

  3. Ola

    Sep 15, 2013 at 9:22 am

    I dont get you guys. I hit higher and longer with these, with more control. Why should i not use them. The game is about least shots to get the ball in the hole. If you wanna use hogan edge irons from the late eighties, feel free to do so.

    Secondly, id like a company to release new stuff when they have improvents, not waiting 2 years to put them in. When i buy my new club i want the latest, dont want a 2 year old product

    • Frank Garrett

      Sep 28, 2013 at 8:35 pm

      Don’t forget to click in at your taylormade job monday

    • Frank Garrett

      Sep 28, 2013 at 9:04 pm

      2 things …..
      1st U couldn’t hit it high on the moon probably
      2nd. It don’t matter about the least amount of strokes
      u will still lie on the card

    • Kieran

      Feb 10, 2014 at 12:46 pm

      I didn’t know everyone on this forum worked for Golf Digest Magazine. WOW you guys should be the one reviewing the hot list.

      Diff golfers want diff equipment and something must be right with these if they made gold on the hot lit. I somebody wants to enjoy the game and easy too hit irons to give them most enjoyment go ahead and use these clubs so what if there cranked. who cares.

      I will see all you guys on the PGA tour then YES ? Oh no wait. Cowboys!!!

  4. Jay Randle

    Sep 15, 2013 at 12:34 am

    Taylor Made needs to stop…pretty weak offerings. I mean the best companies put out the least amount of equipment…read Mizuno, Titleist

    • NG

      Sep 19, 2013 at 1:13 am

      What makes these the best companies? FYI- TMaG iron share is 32%

    • Frank Garrett

      Sep 28, 2013 at 9:01 pm

      Really? Mizuno??? Is it April 1st already

  5. lloyd duffield

    Sep 13, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    it about time taylormade stopped messing around releasing new stuff every week and bring some decent forged irons out

    • Frank Garrett

      Sep 28, 2013 at 8:58 pm

      Come up with a catchy not-even-close name and they will

  6. paulmuehlboeck99

    Sep 13, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    I think Taylormade doesn´t help the sport. They bend down de lofts by 4 degrees and make the shafts longer by inches. That doesn´t make it easier to swing

    • Frank Garrett

      Sep 28, 2013 at 8:56 pm

      U keep playin those spalding blades from ’74 and tell me how that helps

  7. Bri-guy

    Sep 13, 2013 at 12:06 am

    Wow I just cannot wait until these things come out. Ill be the first to buy. I just love how Taylormade switched from the lime green to the blue, and changed the insert in the cavity a little and called it a speed blade. Trading in my rocketblades immediately. The fact it says speed blade means I have to gain some ball speed, right? Also, little will me buddies know that when I hit 2 less clubs than them, its really because my lofts are crazy strong. “Oh you hit a 7 iron from 165? I hit a 9 iron. I’m the man!” That is what I’ll be saying every Saturday. Also, I am so glad I did not pull the trigger on those ATV wedges. They were good when they were released 6 months ago or so, but these new speed blade wedges are so much better. Yea, they look like the same thing you may say to yourself, but you’d be wrong. These wedges are going to be bombers! SPEED and DISTANCE! Exactly what I want in a wedge. Distance control is so overrated. Thinking I will order a 89* wedge in these though for the 120 yard shots and in. I mean with how far these clubs go I’ll need something for those shorter shots.

    • MWP

      Sep 13, 2013 at 10:18 am

      oh my gosh bri-guy, I couldn’t agree more! But personally, I just cannot wait until they come out with the “speedbladez” putter! I mean i just can’t ever hit my putts fast enough or far enough! hopefully they’ll make some type of putter with a speed grove on the bottom so i can putt better. if they do, how could I not become a PGA Professional?!

      And the really good news is that I ONLY use mallet putters. And since taylormade LOVES calling things bladez when they aren’t blades….. im sure the speedbladez putter will come as a mallet!!!! Oh man, gonna go work some overtime so I can save up for that bad boy when they release it.

      • paulmuehlboeck99

        Sep 13, 2013 at 3:42 pm

        you´re defenetly right man

      • Frank Garrett

        Sep 28, 2013 at 8:53 pm

        I think the putter will be an old skool l/r putter…. It’s gonna be called switchblade

      • Hyoga

        Oct 1, 2013 at 3:54 am

        Thank you bri-guy and MWP, you made my day.

    • virgil

      Feb 9, 2014 at 2:48 pm

      Hilarious

  8. Mitch

    Sep 12, 2013 at 11:16 pm

    ill go find a stick and a rock in my backyard… tie them thangs together and call it the new and improved “twigzblades” and i’m starting to think somebody would buy them.

    • Frank Garrett

      Sep 28, 2013 at 8:50 pm

      Tell me where I can find the specs

    • Frank Garrett

      Sep 28, 2013 at 8:51 pm

      What’s the kick point of the stick

      • Mitch

        Nov 7, 2013 at 12:09 pm

        Kickpoint: No kickpoint, its a pretty thick stick

        Loft: rock

        Lie: rock

        Length: 76″

        Distance: infinite

  9. JHM

    Sep 12, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    USGA Museum has a set of Ben Hogan’s irons. His 5 iron measured 37 inches and 30 degrees. Now that’s a 7 iron.

    • Frank Garrett

      Sep 28, 2013 at 8:49 pm

      Why don’t u post something about his driver being smaller than current ones

  10. Jack

    Sep 12, 2013 at 11:04 pm

    I might have to see how much better these are over my AP2s, which I love.

    • Frank Garrett

      Sep 28, 2013 at 8:48 pm

      Yea I love my fingers stinging after I hit the ball too

      • Ryan

        Oct 1, 2013 at 1:19 pm

        Don’t really feel like you should blame the guy above you for your inability to hit irons half decently…

  11. corey

    Sep 12, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    a 17 degree 3 iron? slapping the number 3 on a 1 iron wont make it any easier to hit

    • Frank Garrett

      Sep 28, 2013 at 8:47 pm

      If youre complaining now just wait for 3 yrs when tm busts out negative loft long irons

  12. Tim

    Sep 12, 2013 at 10:40 am

    Does anyone else find it weird that whenever equipment companies release new equipment, they always have somehow found a way to lower the CG and enlarge the sweetspot (enlarge the speed pocket in this case)? It’s even more disturbing that we, the naive consumers, will pay MSRP to purchase new equipment that’s so much better than the one before.

    • Frank Garrett

      Sep 28, 2013 at 8:30 pm

      Yea I have …. I think the cg of drivers gotta be outside the clubhead by now….. But I read a few weeks ago that they move it 1 milimeter

  13. Jay

    Sep 11, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    Any word on when the SpeedBlade Tour model will be released?

    • Frank Garrett

      Sep 28, 2013 at 8:41 pm

      Probably a week before speedierbladez come out

    • Andrew Cain

      Oct 8, 2013 at 10:47 am

      TaylorMade Rep states Feb 2014 for Tour version

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Accessory Reviews

Review: FlightScope Mevo

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In 100 Words

The Mevo is a useful practice tool for amateur golfers and represents a step forward from previous offerings on the market. It allows golfers to practice indoors or outdoors and provides club speed, ball speed, smash factor, launch angle, spin rate, carry distance and flight time.

It also has a video capture mode that will overlay swing videos with the swing data of a specific swing. It is limited in its capabilities and its accuracy, though, which golfers should expect at this price point. All in all, it’s well worth the $499 price tag if you understand what you’re getting.

The Full Review

The FlightScope Mevo is a launch monitor powered by 3D Doppler radar. With a retail price of $499, it is obviously aimed to reach the end consumer as opposed to PGA professionals and club fitters.

The Mevo device itself is tiny. Like, really tiny. It measures 3.5-inches wide, 2.8-inches tall and 1.2-inches deep. In terms of everyday products, it’s roughly the size of an Altoids tin. It’s very easy to find room for it in your golf bag, and the vast majority of people at the range you may be practicing at won’t even notice it’s there. Apart from the Mevo itself, in the box you get a quick start guide, a charging cable, a carrying pouch, and some metallic stickers… more on those later. It has a rechargeable internal battery that reaches a full charge in about two hours and lasts for about four hours when fully charged.

As far as software goes, the Mevo pairs with the Mevo Golf app on your iOS or Android device. The app is free to download and does not require any subscription fees (unless you want to store and view videos of your swing online as opposed to using the memory on your device). The app is very easy to use even for those who aren’t tech savvy. Make sure you’re using the most current version of the firmware for the best results, though (I did experience some glitches at first until I did so). The settings menu does have an option to manually force firmware writing, but updates should happen automatically when you start using the device.

Moving through the menus, beginning sessions, editing shots (good for adding notes on things like strike location or wind) are all very easy. Video mode did give me fits the first time I used it, though, as it was impossible to maintain my connection between my phone and the Mevo while having the phone in the right location to capture video properly. The only way I could achieve this was by setting the Mevo as far back from strike location as the device would allow. Just something to keep in mind if you find you’re having troubles with video mode.

Screenshot of video capture mode with the FlightScope Mevo

Using the Mevo

When setting up the Mevo, it needs to be placed between 4-7 feet behind the golf ball, level with the playing surface and pointed down the target line. The distance you place the Mevo behind the ball does need to be entered into the settings menu before starting your session. While we’re on that subject, before hitting balls, you do need to select between indoor, outdoor, and pitching (ball flight less than 20 yards) modes, input your altitude and select video or data mode depending on if you want to pair your data with videos of each swing or just see the data by itself. You can also edit the available clubs to be monitored, as you will have to tell the Mevo which club you’re using at any point in time to get the best results. Once you get that far, you’re pretty much off to the races.

Testing the Mevo

I tested the FlightScope Mevo with Brad Bachand at Man O’ War Golf Center in Lexington, Kentucky. Brad is a member of the PGA and has received numerous awards for golf instruction and club fitting. I wanted to put the Mevo against the best device FlightScope has to offer and, luckily, Brad does use his $15,000 FlightScope X3 daily. We had both the FlightScope Mevo and Brad’s FlightScope X3 set up simultaneously, so the numbers gathered from the two devices were generated from the exact same strikes. Brad also set up the two devices and did all of the ball striking just to maximize our chances for success.

The day of our outdoor session was roughly 22 degrees Fahrenheit. There was some wind on that day (mostly right to left), but it wasn’t a major factor. Our setup is pictured below.

Outdoor testing setup with FlightScope X3 (foreground) and Mevo

The results of our outdoor testing are shown below. The testing was conducted with range balls, and we did use the metallic stickers. The range balls used across all the testing were all consistently the same brand. Man O’ War buys all new range balls once a year and these had been used all throughout 2017.  The 2018 batch had not yet been purchased at the time that testing was conducted.

Raw outdoor data captured with range balls including metallic stickers. Mevo data (blue) and X3 data (orange) were both generated from the same exact shots.

You’ll notice some peculiar data in the sand wedge spin category. To be honest, I don’t fully know what contributed to the X3 measuring such low values. While the Mevo’s sand wedge spin numbers seem more believable, you could visibly see that the X3 was much more accurate on carry distance. Below is a quick summary of the percent differences between each of the parameters as presented by the Mevo and the X3 in our outdoor session when separated out for each club. As previously mentioned, though, take sand wedge spin with a grain of salt.

Table showing the percent difference of each parameter between Mevo and X3 grouped by club (outdoor testing).

The first thing we noticed was that the Mevo displays its numbers while the golf ball is still in midair, so it was clear that it wasn’t watching the golf ball the entire time like the X3. According to the Mevo website, carry distance, height and flight time are all calculated while club speed, ball speed, launch angle and spin rate are measured. As for the accuracy of the measured parameters, the Mevo’s strength is ball speed. The accuracy of the other measured ball parameters (launch angle and spin rate) is questionable depending on certain factors (quality of strike, moisture on the clubface and ball, quality of ball, etc). I would say it ranges between “good” or “very good” and “disappointing” with most strikes being categorized as “just okay.”

As for the calculated parameters of carry distance, height and time, those vary a decent amount. Obviously, when the measurements of the three inputs become less accurate, the three outputs will become less accurate as a result. Furthermore, according to FlightScope, the Mevo’s calculations are not accounting for things like temperature, humidity, and wind. The company has also stated, though, that future updates will likely adjust for these parameters by using location services through the app.

Now, let’s talk about those metallic stickers. According to the quick start guide, the Mevo needs a sticker on every golf ball you hit, and before you hit each ball, the ball needs to be placed such that the sticker is facing the target. It goes without saying that it doesn’t sound like a whole lot of fun to spend time putting those stickers on every ball, let alone balls that will never come back to you if you’re at a public driving range. Obviously, people are going to want to avoid using the stickers if they can, so do they really matter? Below is a table of data showing the percent difference between the Mevo’s data and the X3’s data of what we collected outdoors with a driver and range balls with and without the use of the stickers.

Table showing how the percent difference of each parameter changes between Mevo and X3 when you use the metallic stickers and when you don’t

The FlightScope website says that the metallic stickers “are needed in order for the Mevo to accurately measure ball spin.” We observed pretty much the same as shown in the table above. The website also states they are working on alternative solutions to stickers (possibly a metallic sharpie), which I think is wise.

Another thing we thought would be worth testing is the impact of different golf balls. Below is a table of data showing the percent difference between the Mevo’s data and the X3’s data of what we collected outdoors with a driver and range balls as compared to Pro V1’s. All of this data was collected using the metallic stickers.

Table showing how the percent difference of each parameter changes between Mevo and X3 when you switch from range balls to Pro V1’s

As shown above, the data gets much closer virtually across the board when you use better quality golf balls. Just something else to keep in mind when using the Mevo.

Indoor testing requires 8 feet of ball flight (impact zone to hitting net), which was no problem for us. Our setup is pictured below. All of the indoor testing was conducted with Titleist Pro V1 golf balls using the metallic stickers.

Indoor testing setup with FlightScope X3 (foreground) and Mevo

The results of our indoor session are shown below.

Raw indoor data captured with Pro V1’s including metallic stickers. Mevo data (blue) and X3 data (orange) were both generated from the same exact shots.

Below is a quick summary of the percent differences between each of the parameters as presented by the Mevo and the X3 in our indoor session when separated out for each club.

Table showing the percent difference of each parameter between Mevo and X3 grouped by club (indoor testing)

On the whole, the data got much closer together between the two devices in our indoor session. I would think a lot of that can be attributed to the use of quality golf balls and to removing outdoor factors like wind and temperature (tying into my previous comment above).

As far as overall observations between all sessions, the most striking thing was that the Mevo consistently gets more accurate when you hit really good, straight shots. When you hit bad shots, or if you hit a fade or a draw, it gets less and less accurate.

The last parameter to address is club speed, which came in around 5 percent different on average between the Mevo and X3 based on all of the shots recorded. The Mevo was most accurate with the driver at 2.1 percent different from the X3 over all strikes and it was the least accurate with sand wedge by far. Obviously, smash factor accuracy will follow club speed for the most part since ball speed is quite accurate. Over every shot we observed, the percent difference on ball speed was 1.2 percent on average between the Mevo and the X3. Again, the Mevo was least accurate with sand wedges. If I remove all sand wedge shots from the data, the average percent difference changes from 1.2 percent to 0.7 percent, which is very, very respectable.

When it comes to the different clubs used, the Mevo was by far most accurate with mid irons. I confirmed this with on-course testing on a relatively flat 170-yard par-3 as well. Carry distances in that case were within 1-2 yards on most shots (mostly related to quality of strike). With the driver, the Mevo was reasonably close, but I would also describe it as generous. It almost always missed by telling me that launch angle was higher, spin rate was lower and carry distance was farther than the X3. Generally speaking, the Mevo overestimated our driver carries by about 5 percent. Lastly, the Mevo really did not like sand wedges at all. Especially considering those shots were short enough that you could visibly see how far off the Mevo was with its carry distance. Being 10 yards off on a 90 yard shot was disappointing.

Conclusion

The Mevo is a really good product if you understand what you’re getting when you buy it. Although the data isn’t good enough for a PGA professional, it’s still a useful tool that gives amateurs reasonable feedback while practicing. It’s also a fair amount more accurate than similar products in its price range, and I think it could become even better with firmware updates as Flightscope improves upon its product.

This is a much welcomed and very promising step forward in consumer launch monitors, and the Mevo is definitely worth a look if you’re in the market for one.

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Sergio Garcia WITB 2018

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Equipment is accurate as of the 2018 Honda Classic (2/20/2018).

Driver: Callaway Rogue Sub Zero (9 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi KuroKage Dual Core 70TX

3 Wood: Callaway Rogue 3+ (13.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi KuroKage XT 80TX

5 Wood: Callaway Rogue Sub Zero (18 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi KuroKage XT 80TX

Irons: Callaway Apex Pro 16 (3, 4), Callaway Apex MB 18 (5-9 iron)
Shafts: Nippon Modus Tour 130x

Wedges: Callaway Mack Daddy 4 (48-10S, 54-10S, 58-08C)
Shafts: Nippon Modus Tour 130x

Putter: Odyssey Toulon Azalea
Grip: Super Stroke 1.0 SGP

Golf Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft

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Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about Garcia’s clubs.

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Gary Woodland WITB 2018

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Equipment is accurate as of the 2018 Honda Classic (2/19/2018).

Driver: TaylorMade M3 440 (9 degrees)
Shaft: Acra Tour-Z RPG

Fairway Woods: TaylorMade M2 2017 (15 degrees)
Shafts: Accra Tour-Zx 4100

Driving Iron: Titleist 716 T-MB (2)
Shaft: KBS Tour C-Taper 130 X

Irons: Titleist 716 MB (4-9)
Shafts: KBS Tour C-Taper Limited Edition Black PVD 130 X

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 (48-10F, 52-08F, 56-10S), Callaway Mack Daddy PM Grind (60-10)
Shafts: KBS Tour C-Taper Limited X (48), KBS Hi-Rev Black PVD S-Flex (52, 56, 60)

Putter: Scotty Cameron Circle T 009
Grip: Scotty Cameron Pistol

Golf Ball: Bridgestone Tour B X

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Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about Woodland’s clubs. 

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