TaylorMade SpeedBlade irons: Editor Review

by   |   October 16, 2013
speedblades
TaylorMade SpeedBlade irons: Editor Review John Iaciofano
Performance
Looks and Feel

Summary: Awesome distance and forgiveness, with a better sound and feel than RocketBladez.

4.5

Distance machines


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Pros: At address, SpeedBlades are an absolute confidence booster with a thin(ish) top line. They have a great trampoline-like feel when flushed, and mishits won’t punish your joints. The ball flight with the long irons can look down right majestic.

Cons: Trendy-ish design. The long irons are a bit clumsy for working the ball, and the generous amount of offset is a touch worrisome for any golfer that is potentially considering “regressing” towards the game improvement family from a player’s stick.

Bottom Line: Forceful, forgiving and pretty freaking awesome. But low-handicap golfers might want something more workable.

Overview

Speedblades are a cavity-back, cast iron with a moderate amount of offset and a brushed finish. The size and shape looks appealing and doesn’t look as forgiving as we now know they are.

The SpeedBlade irons have a two-tone, satin nickel chrome plating with dark smoke satin ion plating that looks great.

More importantly than the finish these irons feature a newly engineered speed pocket, a handle-bar shaped slot in the sole of the 3-7 irons that enables a large area of the face to flex and rebound at impact, resulting in faster ball speed, higher launch and better feel.

TMag’s research indicated that 72% of shots by 5- to 25-handicappers are impacted below the center of the face, which typically results in low-launching shots of inconsistent distance.

taylormade speedblade

They build on the technology of Taylormade’s RocketBladez irons, which were the first of the company’s irons to have a “Speed Pocket.”

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Above: The new SpeedBlade (Left) and the older RocketBladez (Right).

The SpeedBlades have a slightly different Speed Pocket than the RocketBladez, however, as it is now longer, wider and has a handlebar shape that TaylorMade says adds more forgiveness than the RocketBladez irons.

Click here to read more about the technology in the SpeedBlade irons.

TaylorMade touts its latest Speed Pocket as “a deep slot behind the clubface that allows the face to flex and rebound faster, increasing your ball speed and launch angle to boost your distance dramatically.”  This club purportedly differs from the RocketBladez irons in that TaylorMade has “lowered the [Speedblade's] CG to further increase your launch angle. Shots scream high into the sky and stay there longer, equaling longer carry and more distance.” Hey, I’m all for it if it works.

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Above: The handlebar-shaped Speed Pocket of the SpeedBlade irons is longer and wider than the RocketBladez irons. 

The SpeedBlade irons retail for $799 with the company’s stock SpeedBlade 85 steel shaft (available in regular and stiff flexes), and $899 with TaylorMade’s Velox T graphite shafts (available in senior, regular and stiff flexes).

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Performance

TaylorMade’s branding posture is not a subtle one. I still snicker recalling the excessively brash “IER” campaign from early 2013 to promote the RocketBladez (“I. PLAY. A DISTANCE IRON.” said a scowling Justin Rose). The Speedblade’s advertising has a similar bravado: “The Speed Pocket makes all other irons inferior. It’s nothing personal. It’s innovation” according to the TaylorMade Website. Well, TaylorMade, insulting my beloved (and aesthetically superior) AP2′s I DO take personally, so pipe down a bit, ok? Let me hit them on my own and decide for myself.

taylormade 2014 irons

But I must say, the performance of the SpeedBlades is eyebrow raising here, in a good way. Long and mid irons explode off the club face and reach soaring, green-holding heights. In a few instances, well-struck shots appear to fly past my target. Short irons, while still forgiving and powerful, are also precise. It’s an impressive display of ball striking all around. I’m reminded of that scene from Demolition Man where Wesley Snipes’ character (Simon Phoenix) finds the futuristic ray gun in the museum, fires it and is immediately dazzled.

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Off-center hits are quite playable. I spent a couple of hours hitting these on a brisk New Jersey fall evening and mishits didn’t die miles short of my target. I was surprised at how balls that were struck outside the sweet spot ended up achieving a respectable ball flight.

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Above: The SpeedBlade “A Wedge” (50-degrees) and is noticeably more compact than the longer irons.

It is worth mentioning the SpeedBlade A Wedge (a gap wedge), Sand Wedge and Lob Wedge, which are not cavity backs like the rest of the set, and have more of a blade appearance. They are impressive tools; very accurate and crisp at impact.

One minor gripe: Working the ball with long irons was a bit challenging because of the clubhead size and offset, which does indeed lessen as the set progresses. Nonetheless, TaylorMade’s general assertion that your “shots scream high into the sky and stay there longer, equaling longer carry and more distance” was true for me.

Looks and Feel

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I wouldn’t say the SpeedBlades are necessarily beautiful, but there is a handsome, albeit a bit hunky presence about them (perhaps a bit more Mustang than Maserati). The top lines are thinnish for a game-improvement club, and the brushed steel looks soft, receptive and ready to compress the ball. The finish also serves to negate glare. If placed in your golf the bag, the blue font/decal on the back of the club adds some ”pop” without being (too) tacky.

taylormade speedblade

The feel of the SpeedBlade irons is more muted than the RocketBladez, which will be a big selling point for them. As stated above, there is a springy, energetic response on flushed shots; it’s almost marvelously violent on occasion. Perhaps it is the slot technology at work, but it is at times an addictive, pulse-pounding sensation that leaves me periodically giggling and feverishly positioning more range balls to be thoroughly pulverized.

Again, I wish to praise the merits of the wedges here; a “player’s” looking club with a soft, yet crisp feeling at impact with a downright precise look at address. With a nice click, these club send the ball exactly to your intended target.

Nonetheless, this is a cast set of irons. The sensation experienced on flushed shots never quite approaches euphoric levels of sensory ecstasy that one could can encounter with a finely crafted forged club. It’s just a touch less solid.

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Above: A SpeedBlade 6 iron at address

Feedback on mishits is also a bit numb at times, but I suspect that could be a goal and not a defect. The more than moderate amount of offset is also not going to be for everyone, although it’s essentially non existent in the shorter irons.

The Takeaway

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One word definitely comes to mind here: long. These SpeedBlades send the ball a long way, particularly with the lower lofted irons that, let’s face it, are the clubs most golfers struggle with and the reason hybrids were invented.

I’m also a fan of the “toned down” design in the Speedblade vs the Rocketbladez, whose loud appearance and color scheme was a bit “much” for me in the looks department. The Speedblade has a more tasteful, pleasing presence. You could be proud to slip these into your bag.

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The short irons are also “player-like” enough to create curiosity from better golfers, who might like more forgiveness in their long irons, but also the smaller size and additional feel and precision from of their shorter irons. They would not be disappointed here.

About

Lawyer, Bachelor and Golf Nut. John also writes for his and his sister's Italian culinary and lifestyle blog at www.johnandelana.com, maintains an honest GHIN handicap, and is from New Jersey; all of which he is proud of.


52 Comments

  1. Bar

    October 30, 2014 at 9:09 am

    Would be nice if you could get them. Ordered and paid for mine ( kids birthday present to me ) on 1st October. A week later I was told they had no heads for the seven and s/wedge so I would have to wait. Last thursday 23rd I was told they were being built. This wednesday 29th I was told oops we could not build them because we are out of stock shafts but we are hoping for a delivery on 11th November. TM stink.

  2. marcel

    October 1, 2014 at 1:05 am

    had a hit with Speedblades… same distance as my j38 CB… but must say they fell easy to hit… i can see the point of Speedblades to help the get the ball higher but if your game is solid this does not bring any benefit and distance wise its the same…

  3. Longpar5

    August 25, 2014 at 11:04 pm

    Dear old heads stuck in the “I play a blade” category, and new bucks who want to step up past these “game improvement” irons to a real “player’s iron”..Wake the heck up, this is the new, long, accurate, easy to hit beast. “Working the ball?”, well if you are good as you think you are you can work ANY club on the planet, really and seriously. Get real people. The Speedblades in STANDARD length (37.75″ 5I), and TT DG X100 SL are inexplicably good, FACT. Argue about marketing, and color, and pockets, and lofts, and lengths, and blah and blah and blah all you want but these irons would improve 99.5% of anyone’s game. Swallow your ego, or suffer someone like me hitting a 4I 50 yards past your “blades” that you miss hit by 1mm and lost 20 yards. Good luck.

    • Marty

      August 27, 2014 at 9:13 pm

      I love it. Yuk yuk yuk,

  4. David

    August 3, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    Work, wife, home, and horses leave little time for golf. Although I’d like to play more, I just don’t have the time. However, each year for a couple decades, I get together with my old mates for a weekend golf outing. The first day low score gets the pick of available sleeping arrangements. This year I was first to pick. I credit my new speed blades — long, high and straight, pretty much says it all.

  5. paul

    June 23, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    I bought these and although enjoyed hitting some great shots i found them a little too bulky to get any consistent feel on so i have decided to go for a more traditional players club.

    • Longpar5

      August 25, 2014 at 10:50 pm

      Yes, because how it “feels” or how “bulky” is more important than how it performs. “Great shots” = great shots, period

  6. Lefty247

    May 15, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    I have these in 4-AW, DG S300, hard stepped once, 1 degree flat. Easy to hit, accurate, nice trajectory, and looong. The trajectory was key for me. I know the lofts are strong but the ball flight on a 7 iron just “looks” like a 7 iron… not some jacked up 6 iron (if I’m making any sense). I wasn’t a fan of the superlight stock shaft so I went with the DG s300 HS and it was a perfect match. They sound great too… a nice solid thwack. I know TM takes a lot of heat around here but these are the real deal. The looks are very underrated as well, love the blue/gray finish over the RBZ yellow.

  7. Bumpon

    May 10, 2014 at 7:56 pm

    Demo Day today, tried quite a few irons all brands. The Speed Blade was crisp, straight, longer than the 2.0 burners currently played. The difference is worth a change.

  8. Ron from Canada

    May 7, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    Just picked up a set and I am so impressed. I carry a 12 handicap at the moment. I have been a TM fan for a while, and decided to make the jump this year from my Burner 09 irons. These are long, so long. Felt better than the RBZs. I don’t feel they are any more accurate on well struck shots, but off centre shots still fly high and with good distance. I know people who have debated about the difference in lofts among sets over the years. It’s not all about the lofts people … the face on these clubs launches the ball so much higher that the loft has to be stronger. I hit the 7 iron 175 on the monitor and the flight was beautiful. My old Burners made it out to 165 on average. Try them A/B with your old clubs on the monitor … you will see how much different the flight is on the tracker. Who wouldn’t want to land long irons a bit more softly on the green? They are pricey for sure, but if you can swing a deal or a promo I say go for it!

  9. jrratmuff@aol.com

    April 14, 2014 at 10:52 pm

    First of all I have never reviewed a golf club ever. Im leaving this review because of how happy I am. I am a 14 handicap who’s previously best score was a 78. Ive shot 78,79,72,81 since getting these clubs and dialing them in of course. I hit my irons very far already so I didnt see any improvement in distance. I really didnt want to hit them further. I went to my brother who is a local asst. pro and got fitted. .25 over. kbs x shafts, 3 degrees up .I used to snap hook my irons very bad and after this set up i hit a slight fade on my misses. These iron are very straight. Like pull a string straight. Seems like no matter where I hit it on the face I get the same distance. No flyers like my ping g5′s and I15′s I will say if you are a 7 or below handicap these clubs are hard to work each direction. They are mostly straight flyers. Im excited for the upcoming golf season! I also purchased the SLDR driver which is amazing also. New technology is amazing. These clubs feel way lighter than my pings but I got used to it fast. I feel like I have more control over the club face. Thank you TAYLORMADE!

  10. Puddin

    March 31, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    WOW! Just broke 80 on my new SpeedBlades maiden voyage yesterday. I’m a 12hcp. Haven’t broke 80 since 2006! I cannot say enough about these irons. High and far was the play of the day and it was very windy (20-30mph) I tried the AP2′s and X Hot’s before buying. Highly recommend these for the game improvement crowd.

  11. Peter Mauersberger

    March 1, 2014 at 3:53 am

    John, I am a HCP 26 player (started end April 2013) and wonder whether this could be a go for me. How do you compare them to Mizuno JPX 825 resp. EZ and Wilson Staff C100 resp. D100? (Today playing Jack Nicklaus set for beginners). Thanks!!

    • John

      June 6, 2014 at 11:58 am

      Peter – just saw this. What did you decide on?

  12. fcruz

    February 24, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    I have used 714 AP1 did not like the size and feel, AP2 714 great on short irons, not consistent on the long irons. Bought SpeedBlades 2 weeks ago, I’m shocked of how much I like these. Easy to hit high and long, yet consistent enough to go at pins. My previous experience with long distance clubs had been distance inconsistency (too long at times), SBlades has the right amount of kick and REPEATABLE distance to allow me to play golf at the distance (these fit my swing just right). People with faster swings may overpower the stock S shaft, if you are used to hit your 8 135 yards, using S in this set will go 145 ALL DAY and straigth. My 5 normaly flies 175, the SBlades carries 185 and can go for 200 with a small draw. I love this irons. Oh yes, feel is not AP2 like, but hitting it solid more frequently is more rewarding to me.

  13. george

    February 15, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    pure garbage for hacks who cant hit their irons far -

    • adam

      March 1, 2014 at 7:59 pm

      Oh….thats right i forgot good ol’ george here is a pro, very constructive there buddy.

    • Kevin

      March 4, 2014 at 5:38 pm

      What a lame comment. These go farther because they are high launch low spin. Awesome clubs. these are just not longer, but low spin….perfect for someone with too much spin

    • Roger

      March 7, 2014 at 5:39 pm

      Well, I am sure glad that George can hit a 7-iron 245 yards. For the rest of us, a solid feel and a bit extra distance is a good thing!

      PS…I will keep an eye out for you on the Tour, George.

    • Chris

      April 14, 2014 at 10:58 pm

      I remember when ol’ george got his tour card, what a wonderful day for professional golf. Greatest club critic around.

      Don’t listen to this, these clubs do what they say they will, I lowered my average at my local club the first time out with these irons, they aren’t going to make a major difference until you learn how to shoot them for your technique, but they provide where they say they will.

  14. Lane

    January 31, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    While I have a lot of things to work on in my game these irons are definitely long. I’m not sure about the lofts but I can hit the 4 iron off the tee about 220 which is huge for me. If I could only learn to hit them off the grass! :(

  15. ktmzak

    November 9, 2013 at 12:46 am

    Great review – Thanks!! Was at my local big box store the other day and picked up an M Flex Graphite shafted 7 iron and proceeded to hit 10 shots over 190 yards and nothing more than 5 yards off the center line.. won a $200.00 gift card earlier this year.. could be a new set in the bag later this weekend

    • stylin19

      March 21, 2014 at 5:32 pm

      They go father because the irons are all stronger lofts. The 6 iron has less loft than my Mizuno 5 iron and the off-set isn’t as subtle as one thinks.

      • Rich

        April 10, 2014 at 4:31 pm

        Yeah, I use the 714 AP1 and got a free 6 iron from TM and the loft on the 6 iron is 26.5* and the loft on my AP1 5 iron is 26*.

  16. David

    November 5, 2013 at 2:26 am

    I just ordered a set of these to replace my 712 ap2 irons these are so easy to hit and the head size in the short irons is great.

  17. jgpl001

    October 30, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    In hand these really do look cheap and a bit tacky. Its hard to believe TM once had beautiful irons such as the TP smokes, TP MB satins and the 05 TP CB’s in their line up. Now we are down to this and it really is rock bottom. Spalding or Dunlop would be proud of these nasties. There is no doubt they are long, especially the long irons and they will be great irons for some players, but where to next for TM???

    They are genuinely masters of marketing, and I admire their ability to make massive sales figures every year, but all gimmicks eventually come to an end

    • Robert

      April 13, 2014 at 2:45 pm

      you know what they say about opinions

  18. Steelhead

    October 24, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    Really well written and EXACTLY my experience with these clubs.4 Iron soars majestically higher and farther than the XHot I used to like so much…SB Baby…

    • John

      October 25, 2013 at 2:47 pm

      Thank you Steelhead. They were pretty freaking sweet, i must say

      • Eugene marchetti

        December 15, 2013 at 10:42 pm

        Can you please compare in your well written reviews the new Titleist ap1 714 and the Taylormade Speed Blades. I would be very interested in your well informed opinion.

  19. Obie

    October 21, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    Wondering how these would compare to my rocketballz irons.

  20. Stu

    October 20, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    I am wondering how the SpeedBlades compare in performance and feel with the new Titlest AP1 714s. They both seemed directed at the same kind of golfer.

  21. Mac

    October 18, 2013 at 10:33 am

    Went to Rocket Bladez end of last year. I lost about a half club on the high irons, gained a club on the low irons but more accurate across the board. I ordered the Speed Blades day one and have picked up about 5 yards across the board. And the sound is almost normal except when you hit a 4 iron flush.

  22. yo!

    October 17, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    5-10 extra yards per club … guaranteed. The beauty of modern technology.

  23. Young

    October 17, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    had some time @ local shop , feels ok i don’t see much distance change but Constance and forgiveness were there just can get along with Plastic.. the plastic thing on the back of the iron really turn me down. cheap cheap cheap

    • Napco

      September 15, 2014 at 11:11 pm

      I am sure you would hit a 2×4 if it improved your game.

  24. Tom

    October 17, 2013 at 11:47 am

    Also slot technology

  25. Tom

    October 17, 2013 at 11:45 am

    Well this write up should put the nay sayer’s on pocket technology to rest.

  26. Callaway X Hot

    October 17, 2013 at 10:34 am

    Waiting to see if they are coming out with a “tour” model for the speedblades.

  27. John

    October 16, 2013 at 10:52 pm

    It is very long. I was hitting 230 yards with the 5 iron compared to 215 yards with my Taylormade MB 4 iron. Launch is high but it could be slightly lower with a stiffer shaft like X100 (shaft I currently use). Speedblade is softer on feel.

    • TJ

      October 18, 2013 at 8:54 am

      I tested out the 4 iron compared to my Mizuno JPX-800 Pro and I got about 15 to 20 extra yards. for me I don’t see a point of a 4 iron going 235 to 240 so I would not replace my set with these, on the other hand 240 yards would fit a gap between my 3 wood and 4 iron nicely so I have started to consider purchasing the 4 iron by itself and cutting it half an inch.

      • TJ

        October 18, 2013 at 8:57 am

        oh by the way the sound is terrible, sounds like a miss hit but then you watch it fly 220+(maybe I haven’t flushed on yet)

  28. matthew del

    October 16, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    I. PLAY. A DISTANCE IRON.

  29. David Smith

    October 16, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    Ew.

  30. P K

    October 16, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    Are these new clubs a huge improvement over the rocket bladez? I’m curious if it’s a better buy to get the rocket bladez, as they will obviously be cheaper.

    • paul

      October 16, 2013 at 7:09 pm

      I would love to see a distance comparison between the two. and then a distance comparison between these and the ap2s with equal loft and length. if its a review of a distance iron then there should be some numbers. otherwise its one reviewers speculation.

      • paul

        October 16, 2013 at 7:10 pm

        Although, im sure its very informed speculation .

      • Keith

        October 17, 2013 at 8:00 am

        It’s not about the loft with these kind of clubs anymore. The design of the head launches the ball much higher than a weaker lofted blade for instance. Making the lofts more traditional on these type of irons would launch the ball too high.

        • Frank Garrett

          December 29, 2013 at 8:42 pm

          Does your 8 iron launch the ball too high to be a 7 iron….I bet it don’t
          Funny how they preach distance and not launch
          I get confused when I hear more than one story….
          Idiots

    • Dakota

      October 16, 2013 at 7:33 pm

      The feel between the two is night and day, the Speedblade feels much softer than the Rocketbladz (the rocketbladz felt like a rock hitting a rock for me personally) the distance difference is maybe 5 yards 165 vs. 170 for me. Both with the stock stiff shafts I tested it on the FlightScope at Work About the same total height just like 2-3 mph more ball speed.

      • Dakota

        October 16, 2013 at 7:33 pm

        with a 7 iron in my last comment

        • P K

          October 16, 2013 at 8:41 pm

          Thanks for feedback. I demoed the rocket bladez recently, and although I was impressed with the distance and flight, the feel left me wanting. I’m just not sure if the upgrade in feel is worth the hundreds more the new set of speed blades would cost.

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