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2015 Gear Trials: Best Players Irons

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What are players irons? To answer that question, it’s easier to start with what players irons are not.

Players irons are not “game-improvement irons,” which have oversized club heads, thin faces and wide soles to help golfers hit their shots higher and farther, particularly on mishits. They are not “blades” or “blade-like irons,” either, which have small club heads, thick faces and narrow soles that better golfers often prefer because of their versatility.

Think of players irons as something in between, mixing different elements of both game-improvement and blade-like irons to give golfers a blend of distance, forgiveness and versatility. So how do you know what players irons are for you? That’s where we come in.

For this year’s 2015 Gear Trials: Best Players Irons list, we polled six of the top custom club fitters on the planet. That’s not our opinion. Four of the six are rated top-100 club fitters in America by Golf Digest, while the other two (Modern Golf and True Spec Golf) are top international club fitters. Each club fitting team also performs in excess of 1,000 professional fittings per year.

The 2015 Gear Trials Panel includes:

Learn more about our Gear Trials: Best Clubs Lists

Our Gear Trials Panel combines the experience of dozens of club fitters who, as a group, perform hundreds of Trackman-Based fittings each month with the latest clubs.

To make this list of the top-seven performing players irons currently available, we asked each Gear Trials Panelist to leave looks and feel out of the equation, and to base their votes solely on performance. 

This list gives golfers the information they’ve always wanted: What clubs are performing best for real golfers in real fittings?

Related: Looking for more forgiveness? Click here to read our 2015 Gear Trials: Best Game-Improvement Irons list. 

We learned from last year’s list that many of our readers are searching for irons that are more compact than the winners on this list. For that reason, we’ve added a Something Smaller section underneath certain winners. These irons have similar technologies as the winners, but are designed with more compact blade lengths, less offset, thinner top lines and narrower soles. Each of these irons also received votes from our Gear Trials Panel, but not enough to make it into our Top-7.

Before you scroll down to the list, we want to make one thing clear: We encourage every golfer to be fit for their next set of irons (and all their clubs) by a reputable fitter. We can make recommendations on what irons might be best for you, as we have below, but keep in mind that nearly every iron set is sold with slightly different lofts, lie angles, and stock shafts that will affect performance. They also have different blade lengths and sole widths, which will work better for different golfers depending on their needs.

This is the starting point for your next set of irons, not the finish line.

Editor’s Note: If you’re more concerned with the looks and feel of your irons than you are distance and forgiveness, STAY TUNED. We are in the process of finalizing 2015 Gear Trials: Best Blade Irons list that was created for golfers like you. 

The Winners

chart_geartrials15_bar_playersirons_v2

The Ratings

Below are the distance, forgiveness and overall ratings for each of our 2015 Gear Trials: Best Players Irons. The ratings (scaled 1-10) represent the votes of our Gear Trials Panel in each category.

Note: In cases of ties, irons are listed alphabetically.

geartrials_slider_playersirons_CALLAWAY

  • Construction: Forged, Multi-material
  • Pitching Wedge Loft: 45 degrees
  • Stock Shafts: True Temper XP 95 (steel), UST Mamiya Recoil 660/680 (graphite)
  • Price: $1,099

When you design a great players iron, it will stand the test of time. Case in point? Callaway’s Apex, which was launched in the fall of 2013 and continues to dominate many iron fittings across the country.

[quote_box_center]”The Apex offers high ball speed, and a relatively low launch and spin,” said one of our Gear Trials Panelists. “It’s going to look slightly bigger than most players irons, but it’s definitely one of the longest forgings. It’s great for high-ball hitters and those who tend to have too much spin with their irons. Apex often works great as a combo set with Apex Pros, too.”[/quote_box_center]

The Apex’s big ball speed comes from the merging of their 1020 carbon steel forged bodies with extremely thin, heat-treated 455 carpenter stainless steel faces. Each iron also undergoes a 40-minute milling process that enhances perimeter weighting for more forgiveness.

[quote_box_center]”[These are] one of the most popular irons, specifically for guys with high ball flights,” said one of our Gear Trials Panelists. “Quite possibly the lowest-launching and lowest-spinning iron with great ball speed.”[/quote_box_center]

Something Smaller: Callaway’s Apex Pro irons are noticeably smaller at address than the Apex irons, and lack their fast faces. But thanks to Callaway’s addition of a tungsten sole weight in the long and mid irons, extensive milling in the cavity and slightly stronger lofts (the pitching wedge is 46 degrees), they’re a great compromise for golfers who can’t stomach the larger size of the Apex, or don’t want to hit their irons quite as far.

[quote_box_center]”[The Apex Pros] are really long for their size, and they’re a lot more workable than Apex,” said one of our Gear Trials Panelists. “At address, they look pretty much the same as a blade.”[/quote_box_center]

[wrx_buy_now oemlink=”http://www.callawaygolf.com/golf-clubs/irons-2014-apex.html” oemtext=”Buy them from Callaway” amazonlink=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FYJVYO8/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00FYJVYO8&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20&linkId=2TFUJ4TQNLGIXB4B”]

TaylorMade RSi 2

geartrials_slider_playersirons_TAYLORMADE

  • Construction: Cast, Multi-material (wedges are forged)
  • Pitching Wedge Loft: 45 degrees
  • Stock Shafts: KBS 105 (steel), Matrix Program F15 (graphite)
  • Price: $999 (steel), $1,199 (graphite)

[quote_box_center]”The best feeling iron of the bunch more times than not was TaylorMade RSi 2,” said one of our Gear Trials Panelists.”[/quote_box_center]

That’s generally not the feedback you get on one of the longest-flying irons on the market, but with TaylorMade’s RSi 2, it’s a reality.

The RSi 2 irons debut what TaylorMade calls “Face Slots,” two vertical, polymer-filled slots just outside the grooves of the faces on the 2-8 irons that improve ball speed on mishits. They work with yet another slot — a “Speed Pocket” in the sole of the 2-7 irons — that raises launch, lowers spin and improves ball speed — three important ingredients for more distance.

[quote_box_center]”These are so much better than TaylorMade’s previous past slotted players irons,” one of our Gear Trials Panelists said. “The size and shape are right where they need to be for this category, and they’re crazy long and forgiving.” [/quote_box_center]

Something Smaller: TaylorMade’s RSi TP irons use the same Face Slots and Speed Pocket as the RSi 2 irons, but don’t have the bulk. The technology still works, however — according to our Gear Trials Panel — even in an iron that’s barely bigger than a blade.

[quote_box_center]”We noticed that they launch really high, and without as much spin as irons in their category,” said one of our Gear Trials Panelists. [/quote_box_center]

The RSi TP’s won’t fly as far as the RSi 2’s — the pitching wedge measures 47 degrees, 2 degrees weaker — but they’re plenty long for golfers in need of an iron of this size.

[wrx_buy_now oemlink=”http://taylormadegolf.com/taylormade-irons-rsi/” oemtext=”Buy them from TaylorMade” amazonlink=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00OIT73MC/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00OIT73MC&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20&linkId=DVISKR4ZKXVKQ7OL”]

Ping i25

geartrials_slider_playersirons_PING

  • Construction: Cast, Multi-Material
  • Pitching Wedge Loft: 46 degrees
  • Stock Shafts: Ping CFS (steel), Ping TFC 189I (graphite)
  • Price: $99 per club (steel), $125 per club (graphite)

For the second-straight year, Ping’s i25 irons were identified by our Gear Trials Panel as the most forgiving players irons in the world. But two other things are still true about the i25’s, as well: they’re shorter than the other irons on this list, due to their slightly slower ball speeds, and they’re also the highest-spinning. But if it’s pure forgiveness you want, you simply can’t do better than the i25’s.

The i25’s are cast from 17-4 stainless steel, and use a progressive design that includes larger, wider-soled long irons and smaller, narrower soled short irons to give golfers more of what they need from each end of the set.

[quote_box_center]”They don’t go as far as leading models, but they’re deadly accurate … and for a cast club, they actually feel pretty soft,” said one of our Gear Trials Panelists.[/quote_box_center]

Something Smaller: If the i25’s are too big for your liking, but you’re still looking for big forgiveness, give Ping’s S55’s a shot. The blade-like irons are cast from 17-4 stainless steel, but incorporate tungsten weights in the toe area of the irons to improve performance on mishits. Thermoplastic elastomer inserts behind the iron faces also help soften feel at impact.

[quote_box_center]”The S55 is outstanding for blade lovers, because it offers more forgiveness than the traditional blade,” said one of our Gear Trials Panelists. [/quote_box_center]

Nike Vapor Pro Combo

geartrials_slider_playersirons_NIKE

  • Construction: Forged, Multi-material
  • Pitching Wedge Loft: 46 degrees
  • Stock Shafts: True Temper DG Pro (steel)
  • Price: $1,099

One of the most popular trends in players irons is what’s called a “progressive design,” which merges larger, easier-to-hit long irons with smaller, more blade-like short irons. That gives golfers more distance and forgiveness on longer shots, and more versatility and trajectory control on shorter shots.

Nike’s Vapor Pro Combo irons fit that description, using “Spring Steel” faces in the 2-7 irons and a “Muscle Cavity” design in the 8-AW to give golfers the best of both worlds. There’s a slew of other new features as well: Nike’s “Modern Muscle design,” which moves more weight to the toe section of the cavity to position the CG in the true center of the club head, and the company’s “RZN Cavity” in the long irons (2-7), which saves weight from the center of the club heads to make them more forgiving.

[quote_box_center]”Low-ball hitters do great with these,” said one of our Gear Trials Panelists.[/quote_box_center]

While not as distance-driven as other winners on this list — the pitching wedge measures a relatively tame 46 degrees — the Vapor Pro Combos aren’t short by any means.

[quote_box_center]”[They] actually hit it pretty far while not trying to be a distance iron,” said one of our Gear Trials Panelists.[/quote_box_center]

If you like the sounds of a progressive design, and you’re into forged clubs, it’s hard do better than the Vapor Pro Combos in the players iron category.

[wrx_buy_now oemlink=”http://store.nike.com/us/en_us/pd/vapor-pro-combo-irons-golf-club-set/pid-10260089/pgid-10260090″ oemtext=”Buy them from Nike” amazonlink=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00O43CIRM/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00O43CIRM&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20&linkId=UJQJGIV5XFZDHHZ5″]

Srixon Z745

geartrials_slider_playersirons_SRIXON

  • Construction: Forged, Multi-material
  • Pitching Wedge Loft: 46 degrees
  • Stock Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold
  • Price: $999

[quote_box_center]”Forged irons that really fly.”[/quote_box_center]

That’s what we were hearing from fitters in the Fall of 2014 about Srixon’s Z745 irons, and it rang true when the Gear Trials votes came in.

The Z745’s are forged from 1020 carbon steel, and have a medium-sized head shape that delivers one of the best blends of distance, forgiveness, feel and versatility of any of our winners. To help boost performance, Srixon also gave the long irons (3-6) tungsten weights in their toes, which broadens their sweet spot.

[quote_box_center]”On solid hits, these perform a lot like [Callaway’s] Apex irons,” one of our Gear Trials Panelists said. “They’re not quite as forgiving, but most golfers tell us that they feel better.”[/quote_box_center]

[wrx_buy_now oemlink=”http://srixon.com/clubs/z-745-irons/” oemtext=”Learn more from Srixon” amazonlink=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00O1W4TVE/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00O1W4TVE&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20&linkId=QAAP5KPGLCGJ5GKR”]

Epon AF-503

Epon

geartrials_slider_playersirons_EPON

  • Construction: Forged, Multi-material
  • Pitching Wedge Loft: 45 degrees
  • Stock Shafts: n/a
  • Price: $280 per head

Most golf equipment aficionados have heard of Endo, the forging house that produces forged irons for many of golf leading equipment companies. But they many not have heard of Epon, the company’s in-house equipment brand.

Epon makes a full line of equipment, including drivers, fairway woods, hybrids, irons and wedges, but it’s the AF-503 irons that have the attention of our Gear Trials Panel.

[quote_box_center]“What amazes me is how high the Smash Factor is with the [AF-503] versus other brands, thereby creating higher ball speeds and more distance,” said one of our Gear Trials Panelists. “Launch is high and the spin tends to be on the lower side of optimal, but since they fly higher it’s OK to have a bit less spin.”[/quote_box_center]

The AF-503’s have a one-piece body that is forged from S20C carbon steel. The design uses a deep undercut to position center of gravity low and deep in the club head, and Epon’s “Spring Steel Faces,” which are billet forged, drive their brisk ball speeds. The inclusion of a shock absorbing gel in the cavities of the AF-503’s creates the blade-like feel that many discerning golfers prefer.

Another feather in Epon’s cap? According to club builders, the tolerances of Epon’s clubs are exceptionally tight.

[quote_box_center]”From a builders perspective, the head weights are always very good, and they always come very very close to spec,” said one of our Gear Trials Panelists. [/quote_box_center]

Mizuno JPX-850 Forged

geartrials_slider_playersirons_MIZUNO

  • Construction: Forged
  • Pitching Wedge Loft: 45 degrees
  • Stock Shafts: True Temper XP 115 (steel), graphite available
  • Price: $999 (steel)

Mizuno’s JPX-850 Forged irons are made from a boron-infused steel, which Mizuno claims is 30 percent stronger than the 1025e carbon steel the company uses to create its other forged irons. Because of the increased strength, Mizuno opted to skip the face inserts used for many irons in this category, thinning the faces of the JPX-850 Forged to make them longer and more forgiving than their predecessors.

[quote_box_center]”Many of our customers like the look and feel of Mizuno’s MP irons, but they often need a set that’s easier to hit,” said one of our Gear Trials Panelists. “The JPX-850 Forged are more forgiving, and really consistent for as far as they fly.”[/quote_box_center]

Maybe more than any other winner on this list, you’ll need to be a pretty good ball striker to get the most out of the compact JPX-850 Forged irons.

[quote_box_center]”Mizuno says they’re for golfers with handicaps from 6-to-16, but I think that’s a little high,” said one of our Gear Trials Panelists. “We’ve seen more success with lower handicappers.”[/quote_box_center]

[wrx_buy_now oemlink=”http://www.mizunousa.com/golf/products/jpx-850-forged-irons” oemtext=”Buy them from Mizuno” amazonlink=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00NCXM05U/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00NCXM05U&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20&linkId=WY7KD6ANY4OS6XX6″]

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105 Comments

105 Comments

  1. Pingback: OT golfers

  2. Kathrin

    Nov 4, 2015 at 10:22 pm

    I’m curious to find out what blog system you have been working with?
    I’m having some small security problems with my latest site and I would like to find something more risk-free.

    Do you have any suggestions?

  3. Geobea

    Jun 28, 2015 at 8:15 am

    I have a question regarding the scores between your categories of irons. Does a 9.5, in forgiveness in the players category equal a 9.5 in forgiveness in the game improvement category? Same question regarding distance. So, for instance, is the TM RSi 2 (9.75) comparatively as long and forgiving as the TM RSi 1 (9.75)?

  4. JAK

    Jun 26, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    Having played Ping i25’s for almost a year, I find the write up of them to be spot on.

  5. stephenf

    Jun 6, 2015 at 8:47 pm

    So how about some forged irons, dudes? Especially normed for loft? (You can do this with math even adjacent lofts don’t match or near-match, you know…)

  6. mpierce

    May 14, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    Where are Miura’s?

  7. Bunty

    May 9, 2015 at 10:21 pm

    The i25s are a great club and have unbelievably soft feel and consistent distance on slight mis hits which is great for avoiding those hazards lurking short of the greens. Didn’t go with the stock cfs shafts (pro said they were shitty) and put s300s in them which may be helping there.

    Love the titleist and mizuno fan boi comments on here. Such overrated sticks and over priced, esp. Here in australia.

    Would like to give the nikes a hit if I can ever let the i25s go

  8. Jon

    May 9, 2015 at 10:46 am

    Great test and better results. Zak, try not to get offended by these comments. It is the 3% equipment junkies that are blowing steam. You have +4 players playing these clubs and even more forgiving heads in my state am tournaments.

    This is the modern players cb and you fitting team that voted are the reason that they are on your list, not because you decided. Good job doing what is right and not what is popular.

  9. Hippocamp

    May 8, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    Below is the ranking for each of the discussed clubs on distance.

    In parentheses after each club is the loft of a 6-iron, the club that is probably most often used for demos and fitting.

    WRX Distance Rank
    1. Callaway Apex (27)
    2. TM RSI2 (27)
    3. Srixon Z745 (28)
    4. Nike Vapor Pro (30)
    5. Epon AF-503 (28)
    6. Miz JPX850 forged (28)
    7. Ping I25 (30)

    The only exception to a perfect relationship between distance ranking and loft was the relatively high rank of the Nikes.

    Many have wondered why the AP2s didn’t make the list. Well, they had a disadvantage on at least one dimension, distance. The loft of a 6 iron is 30 degrees.

    • Golfistough

      May 8, 2015 at 3:25 pm

      I really like what you did here. Very transparent. Thank you.

    • Lee

      May 9, 2015 at 12:03 pm

      I wonder

      • Lee

        May 9, 2015 at 9:13 pm

        I wonder what the distance gap for everyone is between #1 and #7.. I tested the i25 and Apex 4-irons side by side extensively. The i25 was bent to 22 degrees.. The Apex iron is 23 degrees. When struck well the i25 flies higher, the Apex is about 4 yards longer.. Though, the Apex seems to land, bounce and roll to the back of the green and sometimes off. Whereas the i25 lands softer and stops quicker, for me at least. XP 115 s300 in both.

    • Mat

      May 13, 2015 at 3:58 pm

      I can answer the Nike question… their iron shafts are longer by almost an inch on stock.

      Boys and girls, if you’re using overall distance as a judge for which irons to buy, you’re going to be very disappointed. No one gives a prize for how far your 6-iron goes; just how close you get it to the pin. If you want to hit the net at TopGolf with a 7-iron, go get yourself some loft-jacked irons. If you’re trying to hit a target, pay attention to other things.

    • Bert

      Jul 2, 2015 at 7:31 pm

      And so is the loft of the Ping I-25. Yet Pings and Titleist don’t go as far. Really?

  10. Eric

    May 8, 2015 at 11:27 am

    I’m mostly with WRX on this one. This is THEIR test and these are THEIR results. If you don’t like them, go read somewhere else. Or better yet, start your own publication and do it your way so you can get $&*^ talked about you by a bunch of trolls.
    At this point in the game, if you’re playing blades, I think it’s for reasons other than your golf score. Maybe overcompensating? If tour pro’s are going to something more forgiving, it’s probably time you should too.
    That being said, I do feel the comment’s regarding the AP2’s need to be answered. Were they not in the top of this test, will they be involved in the blade test, or did you just write them off?

  11. KK

    May 7, 2015 at 10:22 pm

    No AP2? Seems like half the tour plays it. It is the epitome of players irons.

  12. Tom Duckworth

    May 7, 2015 at 8:27 pm

    This “test” fell flat for me. I would have liked more info on the test itself and the full list of clubs tested. It was a pretty short list too many good clubs left out. So for me it was a shank.

  13. Oldplayer

    May 7, 2015 at 6:48 pm

    Players irons are not “game-improvement irons,” which have oversized club heads, thin faces and wide soles to help golfers hit their shots higher and farther, particularly on mishits.

    The Apex’s big ball speed comes from the merging of their 1020 carbon steel forged bodies with extremely thin, heat-treated 455 carpenter stainless steel faces.

    Am I being too picky?
    Perhaps, but these are two cut and pasted lines from the top of this article. They seem to contradict each other. The winning iron has a face that you don’t categorize in the “players iron” category.
    I think that this highlights some of the problems when trying to categorize different irons to make the testing fair, equal and credible.

    • Zak Kozuchowski

      May 8, 2015 at 9:58 am

      Oldplayer,

      Below is how we defined a players iron. It’s two sentences below the sentence you quoted.

      “Think of players irons as something in between, mixing different elements of both game-improvement and blade-like irons to give golfers a blend of distance, forgiveness and versatility.”

      In this case, the Apex irons mix the thin faces typical of a GI iron with a forged construction and a size that’s roughly halfway between Callaway’s Apex Pro and XR Pro irons.

      Many of the commenters here say that they would never play something as large as an Apex iron, and we respect their feedback. I know that our definition of a players iron is not the traditional one, and we expected these types of comments. We are asking a lot — for golfers to consider irons that they may have never considered in the past, but the GolfWRX Team and our Gear Trials Panel have seen the fantastic results these irons produce on Trackman! They’re not for everybody, but most golfers should at least try them if they’re in the market for new irons.

      Food for thought: There is a PGA Tour player using a full set of Apex irons at The Players Championship this week. There are also several players using Ping’s i25 irons, Nike’s Vapor Pro Combo irons, Srixon’s Z745 irons and TaylorMade’s RSi 2 irons.

  14. RobG

    May 7, 2015 at 10:10 am

    I’m a single digit handi cap and if I’m buying a set of “players irons” distance is definitely not at the top of my list. I’m looking for workability with a touch of forgiveness. I’m going to look for a club that can hit all the shots but offer up just enough forgiveness to correct the slight miss-hits. I think I speak for a majority of people who would be in the market for a set of clubs like this. So why would you rank/judge “players irons” on the same parameters as GI or Max GI Irons?

    • Zak Kozuchowski

      May 8, 2015 at 9:59 am

      Rob,

      I think you’ll be pleased with the way we’ll present 2015 Gear Trials: Best Blade Irons. Stay tuned! The list was created just for golfers like you.

      • Golfraven

        May 8, 2015 at 6:08 pm

        I think this is a poor statement. Don’t make promises you can’t hold.

        • Lee

          May 9, 2015 at 11:42 am

          No promises were made.. I like the idea of a Best Blade Irons category as I think it will definitely strengthen the other tests. So many questions and comments regarding cathegories, well we are getting an additional category…I’m happy.. I look forward to learning what the fitters and testers think about the s55’s if they make it on the list.

    • petie3_2

      May 20, 2015 at 10:08 am

      My number one consideration is distance consistency. If I know my PW hits 96-105 yds 9/10 times then I know I have a 15 foot birdie putt or better. My 15 year old Titleists can do better than that. I don’t want a wedge which hits 125 but is 115- 130 range.

  15. David W

    May 7, 2015 at 8:28 am

    These comments just go to show you, rankings are just starting points. Different irons fit different swings. I tried to like the Apex but just couldn’t, I could not hit consistent shots with them. I really like the JPX forged and the Srixons, I can hit them pretty well. But nothing came close to the i25s for me, they just fit my swing.

  16. Lee

    May 7, 2015 at 12:09 am

    Example: Player Iron — Ping s55. Game Improvement Iron — Ping G30. Player Improvement Iron — Ping i25. Just my take on it. New Category!!!

    • Rich

      May 7, 2015 at 6:15 am

      So Lee Westwood (i20), Mark Wilson and David Lingmerth are players but they need improvement? This petty hair splitting about the name of a category is getting ridiculous.

      • Dave S

        May 7, 2015 at 9:22 am

        I don’t think the category name is the issue; it’s more about comparing the right clubs. It’s unfair – when giving performance rankings with metrics – to compare two clubs that are not targeting the same demo.

        I get what your saying though. Jordan Spieth play AP2s where McIlroy played with MB Blades when he was with Titleist… does that mean Spieth needs improvement? No. But it does mean that for whatever reason Spieth prefers a little more forgiveness over workability in his game. It’s all about what fits your game. He doesn’t bomb it like Rory, so he has to make sure his long irons go where he thinks they will (almost) every time. All that said, it would still be unfair to compare the performance of MBs to the AP2s (not that the author is trying to do so, but as an example).

        I think there needs to be more than three categories. If manufacturers are making more than three type of irons, they obviously believe so too.

      • Lee

        May 7, 2015 at 9:52 am

        Did you just split hairs while complaining about splitting hairs?..! So Zach Johnson and Ben Curtis aren’t players? They’ve used AP1’s in the past. No, what’s ridiculous are the numerous negative comments and feedback, and the dissection of each category. I, myself, have no issues with the gear trials and the choices (love it actually), but most here do. So I have offered my resolution.. Apex, i25, RSI 2, AP2, JPX-850 Forged, J15 DPF—-Player Improvement Irons. It’s just a name, the important thing is that they fit in a specific category that is becoming more popular each year: players-type irons with progressive set design, multi-material, packed with technology or a little of all of those. Playeresque.

  17. Lee

    May 6, 2015 at 10:46 pm

    I have the perfect resolution to all the negative feedback: it’s time to introduce the “Player Improvement Irons” category. Players Irons > Player Improvement Irons > Game Improvement Irons. What do you say, GolfWRX?

    I love these Gear Trials by the way.. no complaints here

    • Zak Kozuchowski

      May 8, 2015 at 10:03 am

      Thanks for the positive feedback, Lee.

      We did our best to create a performance-first list with the help of the fitters we trust the most. It seems that many of our readers would like to see us classify things such as workability, feel and versatility — in addition to launch angle, spin rate and ball speed. We’ve taken their feedback to heart, and are doing our best to create a list that helps golfers make the best buying decisions they can.

      I hope that many of the unhappy commenters read the intro and realize that there is another Gear Trials coming soon that revolves around the types of irons they say that they want to play.

      • Golfistough

        May 9, 2015 at 3:12 pm

        Zak,
        I like that you do these tests and am appreciative of the time and energy that must go into them. That being said, it seems that the only “performance-first” metrics used were distance and forgiveness. Were there any other metrics used besides these to determine the results in this “players irons” categories? You mention several others that one would think would be included in a “players irons” category, but may have been left out. The mention of a blade/muscleback test coming up tells me that this category should have been called “cavity back irons” or something of that sort. Perhaps that’s what it was called in the past and the golf industry/golfwrx are just trying to change the vernacular. What do you think? Thanks.

  18. jgpl001

    May 6, 2015 at 6:14 pm

    What an unbelievable let down – surely a candidate for the most misleading test ever on Golfwrx?

    Clubs categorised as “Players Irons” do not extend beyond irons like AP2, MP54, TM MC’s, etc

    A scratch player can easily play G25’s, etc., and many do – they are a fine club, but they and many on this test cannot be categorised as “Players Irons”

    Please repeat the test and add Apex Pro’s, MP15’s, RSi TP, etc

    • Zak Kozuchowski

      May 8, 2015 at 10:04 am

      Keep in mind that this list is based entirely on the feedback of the top fitters who we trust the most. We did perform a test, as mentioned in our FAQ, and used it to verify the votes of our fitters.

  19. Rich

    May 6, 2015 at 6:01 pm

    The comments on here about this gear trial are a carbon copy of last year. I think most of you people failed comprehension at school. They clearly define what they classify as a players iron. It’s very clear in the preamble to the test. None of the irons on the list fall outside the definition they give. It doesn’t matter what your definition of a player might be. If you don’t like it, too bad. They gave a scope at the start of the list and they covered it. It doesn’t mean that all players are going to like all irons on this list, it just means each of these irons incorporate game improvement and blade like features in some combination. Get over it, please!

    • Golfistough

      May 6, 2015 at 8:18 pm

      Actually, defining “player” is important. I comprehend that “player” is an adjective when used in combination with “iron”: players irons. Players is a descriptive term used to give clarity to irons. If you don’t define what “player” is, then it holds no meaning as an adjective and shouldn’t have been used, but it was.

      • RG

        May 6, 2015 at 9:37 pm

        Correctly stated. “Player” is an abstract that holds no meaning.

      • Rich

        May 7, 2015 at 5:57 am

        Oh for goodness sake, don’t be ridiculous. Players iron is terminology used in the golf industry, we don’t need to split this up into nouns and adjectives and define each one. The comments on here are becoming ridiculous. This is not an English language lesson, it’s a golf website that told you why they were listing the irons they listed. If you don’t agree with the reason they listed these irons, fair enough but don’t try to be a smart alec about it. If you don’t want to use any of these irons because you think you’re a “playa” then I’m sure somewhere down the track they will do. A blades or blade like list. Can we please move on.

        • Large chris

          May 7, 2015 at 8:00 am

          I agree with Rich

        • Golfistough

          May 7, 2015 at 9:05 am

          I am NOT a “player”, just wanted to know how the authors of this article defined what a player is, since this is a golf site and the term was used. Honestly, the only reason I responded by breaking it down into noun and adjective was because of your original “comprehension” remark.

          • Rich

            May 7, 2015 at 10:31 am

            Ok fair enough but it’s not about the word player. The definition is required for the phrase players iron, because that’s what they were testing. They could have called it the “sick irons” category and defined it the same way for all I care and it would have been exactly the same article except in that case player = sick. Trying to define sick in that case would have been pointless. See what I’m getting at? It doesn’t matter what the category is called as long as there is a definition for the category and there was.

  20. Golfraven

    May 6, 2015 at 5:39 pm

    Well, what defines a player? First of all that he/she has a consistent, repeatable swing and can predict where the ball will fly, play different shots like Fade, Draw, high/low and have some degree of distance control. Scoring on and around the green is a different topic because this does come with practice and experience – what you put in is what you’ll get out.
    Those clubs in this list are certainly not defining a Player, period. However those clubs will certainly help mid handicappers become Players over time.

  21. MHendon

    May 6, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    I guess like many on here I’m a little confused. Maybe we need to define what a player is. I consider myself a serious player my handicap is 1.6. Like many on hear I would consider MP54’s, AP2’s, S55’s, RSi TP’s etc. to be players irons. Although from what I know of the Srixon Z745’s thay do seem to fit the category of players iron. I’ve been very interested in giving them a try.

  22. retlod

    May 6, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    I stopped reading when I didn’t see any Titleist or Mizuno MP offerings.

  23. Golfraven

    May 6, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    Now I am very confused. No Titleist or Bridgestone clubs – Srixon and Epon instead. What’s up? And if you are talking of players clubs, please just bring up those clubs in comment like the S55, Apex Pro and RSi TP. The rest are game improvement clubs for better players.

    • Scooter McGavin

      May 6, 2015 at 5:45 pm

      Because these are the top 7 in that category. The others didn’t make the cut for this article. Titleist irons are overrated.

      • Bobby

        May 6, 2015 at 11:16 pm

        Do you mean the titleist irons that won the masters ?

        • Scooter McGavin

          May 7, 2015 at 2:14 pm

          Last I checked it was a person that won the Masters.

          • Bobby

            May 8, 2015 at 10:53 pm

            Ok did you mean the player who won the masters useing the overrated titleist… Is that better… Let me guess your a sneaker guy I mean Nike guy

            • Scooter McGavin

              May 9, 2015 at 10:06 pm

              Yes, that is better. The “2nd best golfer in the world with a contract with Titleist” won the Masters with his “good” quality clubs. I didn’t say Titleist irons weren’t good, but there isn’t really anything special about them, and this is a list of the “best” irons. And sorry, no, I don’t have any Nike clubs in the bag now (even though they also make very good clubs).

  24. CK

    May 6, 2015 at 4:19 pm

    I can understand the struggle in trying to qualify a certain set as “players irons.” It’s my opinion that, although you may have miscategorized what we all typically understand to be a players iron, you were at least consistent in choosing similar sets across the board from different manufacturers. You may then need a subcategory apart from blades to include sets such as Mizuno’s MP line (apart from the MP-4 and maybe the MP-H5) and Titleist’s AP2.

    Also, others have commented that irons should not be judged on distance. I agree and disagree. I agree in that for solid players who have no problem with reaching specific distances with their irons, I, personally, know of some regular golfers in the 55+ age bracket that would love to maintain their swing while gaining a few extra yards. However, for most single digit cappers, all we care about is consistency. What will my dispersion be on mishits? How readily can I draw or fade a ball when necessary.

  25. Mke

    May 6, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    Wow Taylormade

  26. carrera

    May 6, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    Surprised to see the Mizuno 850 Forged described as “compact”. To my eyes, it is a larger head than any of the clubs listed above.

  27. Rob

    May 6, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    No J15 CBs available? Can’t believe they wouldn’t be in the top with the Srixon.

  28. Jason

    May 6, 2015 at 1:49 pm

    Why were the wilson fg tour v4 irons not on there? Or the apex pros? The regular apex’s don’t belong with the rest of these irons. And to be honest, not many people outside of this site have even heard of epon. Why not replace that iron with something more people would actually recognize and have better access to?

    • Zak Kozuchowski

      May 8, 2015 at 10:06 am

      Jason,

      Are you suggesting that we don’t award an iron that was voted a top performer by our Gear Trials Panel simply because people are not familiar with it? Sorry, that’s not our style.

  29. Pipes

    May 6, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    Just got the Srixon z745 irons. I tried everything on the list (except the Epon) and couldn’t get over how good the Srixon looked compared to the rest. I hit my clubs far to begin with so the whole distance ranking didn’t really mean anything when I came to choose.

    Besides, a true player knows how important the shaft is. The testing they did was hardly scientific albeit still helpful for some I’m sure.
    Shaft fitting > Club fitting.

  30. Hippocamp

    May 6, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    Here are the lofts for the Apex irons, compared with my current set of Bridgestone J40 CBs.
    No wonder the Apex irons are “low launching” and “low spinning”. They are essentially a full club stronger. Lower loft = lower launch and lower spin.

    Apex J40CB
    3 19° 21
    4 21.5° 24
    5 24° 27
    6 27° 31
    7 31° 35
    8 35° 39
    9 40° 43
    PW 45° 47

    • Johnny Mac

      May 7, 2015 at 8:48 am

      I’m with Hippocamp on this one. When you are comparing the i25s vs the Apex irons, are you comparing apples to apples. i.e. are you saying the 6 irons are paired up in the test or are you comparing a 27 degree with another 27 degree? That’s a very different game.

  31. Blake

    May 6, 2015 at 11:51 am

    There isn’t a single “Players” Iron on this list IMO… If the category is “non-blade players irons” I would think that AP2, Apex Pro, MP-54, etc would be the correct sticks for this category.

    • mlecuni

      May 6, 2015 at 4:01 pm

      I check the title twice when i saw the non pro apex …

    • WILSON

      May 6, 2015 at 6:53 pm

      The Srixon Z745 is absolutely a player’s club… albeit the only one in the test.

      • Adam

        May 17, 2015 at 1:03 am

        @Wilson absolutely agree with you that the Srixon Z745 are player’s Irons. I tested them the other week with the stock standard NSPRo 980 GH DST shafts – great feel and lighter shaft for a slower swinger like me.

        @Golfwrx – But I don’t understand why Golfwrx says the 745’s Construction is Forged/Multi-Material. My understanding is that the 745s& 945s are a single piece forged iron head (Endo forged). with a tungsten insert. Whether that constitutes a description “multi-material” IMHO it doesn’t. The Z545 irons are a forged body/frame with steel face which i would believe constitutes the description Forged/Multi-material – that description is apt. My understanding is that a fully forged single piece head, does have different feel to a head that in parts are forged. Judging by the list it is only the Mizuno JPX850 and the Srixon Z745 are the only true forged heads listed. I would be interested if other readers have any opinions on this – particularly whether there should be a distinction between fully forged and in part forged irons.

  32. Hippocamp

    May 6, 2015 at 11:37 am

    I’m confused. Why judge players’ irons on distance? Distance matters only to the extent that they fit nicely within the rest of the set (and don’t create gaps by being too long or too short). Accuracy, consistency, flight characteristics, and feel are the only relevant factors once the distance is in the right range.

    Companies are maximizing iron distance by cynically making the lofts ever stronger. Why encourage them by giving high marks to clubs that go TOO FAR?

    • Golfistough

      May 6, 2015 at 12:00 pm

      Completely agree that distance is irrelevant for this category. Consistency and yardage gaps matter to good players. I’ve never met a “player” that cares what the number on the club is. They care that whatever club they hit goes the distance they want it to.

    • MT

      May 6, 2015 at 12:19 pm

      Yeah I’m totally with you on this. If they were to test a “player’s” iron then they should have tested workability, trajectory control, looks, feel and distance control. I understand that other companies do these same tests and Golfwrx may have wanted to have done something different, but a player’s iron is a player’s iron and what a “player” wants from their iron will not change, so why change the variables that are being tested?

    • Dave S

      May 6, 2015 at 1:06 pm

      Because WRX knows that the word “Distance” in conjunction with any club test = page clicks.

  33. Bryan P

    May 6, 2015 at 11:26 am

    Were the Titleist AP2’s not considered for this test? Or the Cobra Fly Z+? Just surprising to me. I found them just as easy to hit as the PING i25 or Mizuno JPX 850 Forged.

  34. stan

    May 6, 2015 at 11:21 am

    It would’ve been nice for them to actually adjusted things like loft and shaft length to all be EQUAL, then we could see who would really win…

    I have a feeling Mizuno would’ve won.

    • Danny C

      May 6, 2015 at 2:57 pm

      +1 on that. Any independent clubfitters want to take that on? Or, if any WRXers know where to view this info, point us in the right direction.

      I did watch a Mark Crossfield video where he bent some TM clubs to a weaker loft with a shorter shaft and they performed very closely to his current gamers. There were some differences, but not enough to warrant a new set.

  35. The ball

    May 6, 2015 at 11:10 am

    You’ll have to pry my Cleveland MB irons out of my cold dead hands

    • Dave S

      May 6, 2015 at 1:09 pm

      I can assure you no one will be trying to do so 😉

  36. Brad

    May 6, 2015 at 11:05 am

    There are two completely different categories of irons in this test. There are players cavity irons and regular cavity back irons. If you can’t even get compare the proper groups, then nobody will take your tests seriously.

    Switch the Taylormade RSi2 with the TP CB, the Ping i25 with the s55, and the Callaway Apex with the Apex Pro to have the correct models for comparison. Next test on GolfWRX, what has more forgiveness Ping G30 or Miura baby blades? Come on.

  37. Dave S

    May 6, 2015 at 10:44 am

    So you make special mention in your preamble that looks and feel will be left out of the equation, and then one of the first bracketed quotes I read under the RSI1s is “’The best feeling iron of the bunch more times than not was TaylorMade RSi 2,’ said one of our Gear Trials Panelists.”

    WHY?

    • Zak Kozuchowski

      May 8, 2015 at 10:10 am

      Dave,

      We aimed to provide readers with all the information we felt was relative to a buying decision in the description of each iron.

      Although we did not consider subjective elements such as looks and feel in the ratings of each iron, we felt that it was important in many cases to add details on looks and feel, as many golfers still base buying decisions on those factors.

  38. Golfistough

    May 6, 2015 at 10:41 am

    The article begins with “what are players irons?”, but never defines “player”. I’m interested in how a player is defined FIRST, before a discussion/evaluation of irons those players may prefer. Is a player a golfer with a certain handicap, ability to shape the ball, etc.? I’ve always felt a “player” is, at the very least, a good ball striker. They can play with any set of irons. So, how does the author define a “player”?

  39. marcus

    May 6, 2015 at 10:17 am

    “Players”?
    I’d think players irons would include the likes of the PING s55 and Mizuno MP15.

    • SBoss

      May 25, 2015 at 8:17 pm

      The Nike Pro Combos were the same size, or extremely close, to the MP15. I get a kick out of AP2 lovers. Most of the guys that I play against that have AP2’s can’t hit them. I like the way that the AP2 looks, but it’s not a great iron for 95% of golfers. I hit the Titleist CB’s better.
      The AP2 isn’t an easy club to hit and I even hit MP-4’s considerably better. I was hitting balls with a Titleist pro rep whose a professional and he can’t hit them consistently. He said because he works for Titleist, he hates saying it, but it’s hard to recommend the AP2 to most players.
      I’ve played with a guy who doesn’t break 85 that plays with the AP2’s. When you ask him how he likes them? He says he LOVES them. But, he’s a poor iron player.
      What he really likes is telling people he plays AP2’s…..I can guarantee him that there are 10 sets of irons better suited to his game than the AP2.

  40. Mike

    May 6, 2015 at 10:10 am

    Before I clicked on this article I told myself that a Callaway iron would be the top club. Why did I think that? Every single gear trial has their clubs as the number one club.

    I don’t dislike Callaway, just an observation.

    • marcus

      May 6, 2015 at 10:19 am

      indeed. It’s more than an observation. Remember, golfwrx used to be affiliated with Golf Digest. They know where their break is buttered.

      • Dave S

        May 6, 2015 at 1:12 pm

        This is why the MyGolfSpy.com Most Wanted tests are the best in the industry. There’s no ad dollars or sponsorship coming form club manufacturers. And no, I don’t work there or have any interest, financial or otherwise of you checking out their site. Just a golf lover and gear-head trying to spread the good word 😉

  41. birdeez

    May 6, 2015 at 9:57 am

    Good thing the Bridgestone j15cb weren’t available for testing or they would’ve embarrassed the competition.

  42. other paul

    May 6, 2015 at 9:57 am

    I tried all but the srix and epon. I generally agree with the assessment. I do like that in this article everyone doesn’t win. Those apex irons are crazy long. I hit my 6i 175 and I hit the apex 6i 195 carry, that’s nuts.

    • Hippocamp

      May 6, 2015 at 12:01 pm

      That’s because your 6I has 27 degrees of loft, which is the standard loft for a 5I. No mystery why they go a long way…

  43. Brett

    May 6, 2015 at 8:50 am

    How are Callaway’s Apex ‘Players irons’?? Apex Pro’s, yes but the Apex has to be game improvement I would think.

    • mark08

      May 6, 2015 at 1:19 pm

      what are they if they arnt players irons? Game improvement? They are somewhere in between but more towards the players side.

      • WILSON

        May 6, 2015 at 6:56 pm

        They absolutely are Game Improvement Irons. The Apex irons are HUGE CHUNKY things compared to the apex pros, AP2s, Srixon z745, etc.

  44. Greg V

    May 6, 2015 at 8:34 am

    After reading this article, it would appear that you have classified AP2’s as “blades”.

    Either that, or they were such poor performers as not to be qualified to be included in the results.

    I’ll go with “blades”.

  45. Brian

    May 6, 2015 at 8:07 am

    I’m really shocked to see the AP1 not on here. I was considering my next set to be a mix of 4 & 5 AP2 and 6-9 AP1.

    • Greg V

      May 6, 2015 at 8:31 am

      AP1’s were included on the Game Improvement category. If you want a “small” game improvement club, AP1 or G30 is your club.

      • Andy

        May 6, 2015 at 8:43 am

        I think he meant the AP2s. It wouldn’t make sense to have a set of 4/5 AP2 and then 6/7/8/9 with AP1s unless I’m missing something.

        But you are correct, AP1s were in the GI category.

        • Brian

          May 6, 2015 at 2:06 pm

          Yeah sorry. I thought I made a comment right after correcting my mistake. I accidentally swapped the AP1 and AP2. I think Michael Breed set his irons up similar to what I said.

          I rarely hit my 4 or 5 irons at my country club, so I’d like them to be a little more forgiving. I’d probably just go AP2 5-iron actually since I play a 3 and 4 hybrid. Then AP1 6-9s. Currently playing TM Rocketblades Tour.

          • Golfraven

            May 6, 2015 at 5:07 pm

            just go with the full set of AP2 up to 6 iron and get additional hybrid for the 5 iron or have the AP1 as 5 iron. I bet you would not see see huge difference between both.

            • SBoss

              May 25, 2015 at 8:27 pm

              AP2’s are the most overrated irons in golf. DON’T get the AP2’s unless you want a substandard iron in the category. Guys that play AP2’s are usually all about telling people that they play AP2’s….
              Try a LOT of irons and make sure that you get the proper iron for your actual ability.

  46. Flow

    May 6, 2015 at 8:03 am

    I’d like to know if you tested the Cobra Fly-Z + irons. I have a handicap index of 8.6 and I hit all of these irons except the Epon and Srixon and my favorite by far was the Cobra’s, which I purchased and absolutely love. They are workable, forgiving, and longer then expected. I picked up an additional 5-7 yards per club which is nice. Cobra never gets any love and they make great equipment! Just my opinion.

    • alan

      May 6, 2015 at 1:15 pm

      youre an 8.6 and youre working the ball?

      • Rich

        May 6, 2015 at 5:54 pm

        Why not? Can’t an 8.6 work the ball? I’m an 8.0 and I can. Doesn’t always work but it doesn’t mean I can’t do it just because I don’t always pull it off.

  47. Jonny B

    May 6, 2015 at 8:00 am

    The Mizuno’s are one of the best looking irons I’ve ever seen. And I 100% agree about the Apex irons – it’s amazing how many fitters match people to those irons still to this day, some 2+ years after they were introduced. Speaks volumes to their playability.

    • mark08

      May 6, 2015 at 1:17 pm

      How true. The apex has been out for a full year and still gets respect on year 2. Look in the forums and you can see the same comments from the members. Apex are simply great irons.

  48. SBoss

    May 6, 2015 at 7:51 am

    I just tested all of these irons (except the Epon) and it came down to the Srixon 745 and Nike Vapor Combos. I went with the Nike Vapor Combos because every shot felt incredible and I was wearing out the middle of the face. I actually wanted the Srixon 745’s to win out but I couldn’t get them to perform like the Vapor Pro Combos.
    I’ve never been a Nike iron fan so my purchase is surprising. But, I wanted to buy the best irons for my game. The irons were soft like butter and my control and dispersion was incredible.
    The biggest disappointment for me was the JPX 850 forged, and it doesn’t surprise me to see them knocked down here. The feel wasn’t like a Mizuno, the dispersion was all over the map, and the distance was poor. They look nice.
    Obviously, different strokes for different folks. You’ve got to try them all intensely and see for yourself. Of course, a good fitter is critical.

    • WILSON

      May 6, 2015 at 6:58 pm

      did you use the same shaft, length, lie, etc.? can make a huge difference. I have the srixons and they are incredible.

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Iron Reviews

Review: Honma TW737-Vs Forged Irons

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Equipment

GolfWRX Member Reviews: TaylorMade 2017 M1 and M2 Irons

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One of the many benefits of being a GolfWRX Forum Member is exclusive access to Giveaways and Testing Threads. For Giveaways — we give away everything from golf clubs to golf balls to GPS units — all it takes is a forum name. Enter any Giveaway, and we select winners randomly. You’re then free to enjoy your prize as you wish.

For Testing Threads, the process a bit more involved. GolfWRX Forum Members sign up to test the latest and greatest products in golf, and then they provide in-depth reviews on the equipment. Being the intelligent golf-equipment users they are, GoflWRX Members are able to provide the most-informed and unbiased reviews on the Internet.

df5745825623a9697f92315cd9d8f1d7

In this Testing Thread, we selected 75 members to test a TaylorMade M1 2017 7-iron and TaylorMade M2 7-iron. Each of the clubs were built with the stock lofts and shafts — M2 2017 (28.5 degrees) with a TaylorMade Reax shaft, and M1 2017 (30.5 degrees) with a True Temper Dynamic Gold S300 shaft — and the testers were instructed to post their review of the clubs here.

Below, we’ve selected what we’ve deemed the most in-depth and educated reviews out of the 75 testers. We have edited each of the posts for brevity, clarity and grammar.

Thanks to all of those involved in the testing!

Brock9007

To be honest, looking down on the TaylorMade M1 and M2 irons at address, there is really not much difference. I would have to pick one up to see which is which.

The first 10 balls I hit were with M1 and 6/10 felt great, while the other 4 were toe hits, which I felt and the distance reflected that. Kinda what I expected with a club design for lower-handicap players. Distance was about 1/2 longer than my Srixon iron and dispersion was close, as well. I will say they did not feel as good as the Srixon on center hits.

Next 10 (ok, 15) balls were with the M2. Wow, can you say “up, up and away? The ball really popped of the club face, but wasn’t a ballon flight. Waited for the ball to come down and WTH, with the roll out it was 5-8 yards longer than balls hit with M1, and that is with a few toe shots. I did some smooth swings and then very aggressive swings and was a little amazed at this iron. Just like the M1, it does not have the forged feeling and does have a clicky sound (which I hate).

Bottom line: M2 is the longest iron I have ever hit. I love my 545s, but I could see myself playing M2 very easily. Matter of fact, I will be taking this M2 7 iron in my bag and play it more head-to-head against my Srixon 545 on the course.

deathbymuffin

These are both beautiful clubs. What surprised me the most is how much alike the two clubs look at address. I was expecting a chunky topline and significant offset in the M2, but it’s footprint looked almost exactly the same as the M1, outside of the chrome finish on the M2 versus the frosted finish of the M1. The M2 could almost pass as a player’s iron to my eye at address. These clubs both get A’s from me in the looks department.

The M1 felt a tad thicker than most player’s irons I’m used to, but it seemed to come with a bit of added forgiveness too. Well-struck shots felt good, with a nice mid-trajectory and with the workability that I’ve come to expect from a player’s iron. But true to TaylorMade’s claims, the M1 seemed more forgiving than a traditional player’s iron. Had a nice soft feel at impact, mishits didn’t sting and left you with a more playable result. A really nice combination of the better attributes of both player’s and game improvement irons. I’ve been playing with an old set of Tommy Armour blades, but I’ve been recently wanting more forgiveness for when I’m stuck with my B or C swing. Based on the early returns, I could definitely see myself bagging these.

I’m not sure if it’s the shaft, the design of the clubhead, or a combination of both, but the M2 is definitely a different animal than the M1 at impact. This club launches the ball high, arguably ridiculously so. I was hitting Jason Day moonbombs with this bad boy. Didn’t seem to matter what kind of swing I put on it, the ball launched high, flat and dead straight. The club was super forgiving and if not for the insanely high ball flight, I would love to have a set of these for when my swing is out of sorts. I didn’t really try to flight it at all, so I’m not sure what it’s capable of at this point. One other note was that the M2 had a clicky feel at impact. It didn’t bother me since it still felt so sweet… so strange as it sounds, clicky, but smooth and sweet at the same time. I think these clubs will be big winners with the mid-to-high handicap set.

The M1 is a fine iron, but doesn’t really stand out in any way from other irons of its class.

The M2, on the other hand, is an iron on steroids. I’m really starting to love this thing. It’s super forgiving and just goes and goes. According to my laser, flush shots were going 195 yards (my usual blade 5 iron distance) and very high. I can’t help but think golf would be a whole lot easier, particularly longer courses with long par 3s, with a full set of these in my bag.

poppyhillsguy

M1 feels softer than the M2 and I felt the ball flight was more consistent and what I want in an iron. The M1 did have a harsher feeling in my hands than I typically like, but I’m going to credit a lot of that to the range balls.

M2 flies very high. It was a windy afternoon and about 100 degrees. I love the high ball flight on the range, but I have a concern what that ball flight would be like on the course. I like to hit the ball different heights for different shots and I don’t think I could do that confidently with the M2, but I could with the M1. I don’t like the sound of the M2. It sounded “clicky” to me.

Fourpar18

Initially on the range I was scared because the M1 had a regular flex in it, so I took it easy for my initial 10-15 swings with it. Ball SHOT off the face, loud crack (didn’t care for it, but not too bad) and ball just kept rising and rising but didn’t balloon. I thought, “whoa,” that’s not what I expected…did it again…another CRACK and the ball just flew. I set another down and I paid attention to how it looked behind the ball, not much offset for a game improvement and I thought…”I could actually play this club!”  The 5-7 were EASY swings, aimed at a target of 170 yards away (my normal 7 iron distance) and with a EASY swing I was flying it by 20 yards or so. The next 5-10 I really went after it, same CRACK and ball just flew but to my surprise it was a nice draw, harder draw than the first but it was a nice 10-yard draw. This time the balls were landing just short of the 200 yard marker. Damn, 200 yards with a 7 iron! I know they are jacked lofts but it feels good to say “my 7 irons just few 190-200 yards!”

P.S. LOVE the Lamkin UTX grip!

Now, this was interesting, the M2 was quieter then the M1… weird!  Now, there is more carbon fiber added to this one and there is a “Geocoustic” label on the back. I am sure that it has something to do with all that carbon fiber but it does have a better sound. Other than the sound, it played exactly like the M1: long and straight. The REAX shaft felt a little weaker than the True Temper shaft and it flew a little higher but nothing else I could pick up.

noahdavis_7

Finally got out to the range after getting these bad boys in on Friday. My first impression of them is that they look really sharp. The graphics and design really stand out and really give these clubs a cool, modern look.

They were both a little to big IMO, as I am currently bagging Mizuno MP-68s. The M2 isa definite “game improvement iron”, while the M1 was similar in size and shape to my previous irons, Titleist AP1s.

They both really launch it, high and far. Ridiculous for 7 irons. I don’t have access to a launch monitor, but it was about a 20-yard difference between my gamer 7 iron and these (stronger lofts, as well).

The M1 definitely was more suited for my eye, and produced more consistent ball flights. It felt much more smooth and solid as the M2 had a clicky, cheap feel.

The M2 just isn’t for me. I felt like it was launching too high and ballooning, which could be due to the shaft (the M1 had the S300, while the M2 just had a stock “Reax” shaft). The feel off the face of the M2 just turned me off, to be honest.

While I don’t think I’ll be putting either model in play, I can definitely see the appeal for mid-to-high handicaps. Both irons were super forgiving, and they should be a dream to the average weekend golfer who has trouble with ball striking consistently.

golfnut5438

Looks: As expected, I preferred the M1 with less offset, slightly smaller sole and a smoother finish. Less glare looking down on the iron. I must say the M2 did not look as bulky, or have as much offset as I thought it might have.

Feel: This was a close race, probably due to the shafts as much as the heads. The M1 was just a slight bit smoother feeling on solid shots. But the M2 was not bad at all, just not quite as smooth.

Distance and performance: Our range has a slight incline up the length of the range, so specific yardage gains or losses were difficult to measure. Both irons had a higher trajectory than my gamer 7 iron. Neither sole dug onto the turf either. The lofts for both irons are a degree or two stronger than mine, so I would think they probably flew a little further than my gamers. Neither iron flew “too” high, however. Might be a little harder to hit knock down shots, though.

Final thoughts: I had hit both the M1 and M2 irons last year during a fitting day, but did not like either. This year’s model were both better in my eyes. I asked a fellow member at our club to hit both and he felt the M1 was his preferred model, and he is a 20-index player. So coming from both a single digit, and a high double-digit, the M1 won this battle of wills. I will try and see if I can locate both a 5 iron and 9 iron to see if a full set might be a winner for me.

DblEgl

I was surprised that the M2 was the winner in this brief session. It felt better, flew higher, easier to hit and about 1/2 club longer that my gamer Apex CF16. The feel/sound was better than I thought it might be, but really not up to the CF16. I could, however, easily game the M2’s.

Bstein74

Feel: I hit the M2 first, and found it to be very solid when hit on the screws. There was almost no feel off the club face at all. When I mishit it, you knew it was, but it wasn’t harsh at all. Hit the M1 next, and same type of feel when hit solid. Much more harsh when mishit though, but I knew that was coming.

Distance and performance: This is was where I was curious to see how they would play. The M2 went out high in the air, and just kept going forever. Now granted my eyesight isn’t that great anymore, but it looked like I got about 10-15 yards more from the M2 compared to my Wilson D300. The only thing I didn’t like about the M2 was how much I was able to turn it over. Got a lot more hook compared to my D300. Don’t know if that was from the REAX shaft, but would love to find a less spinning shaft to correct that.

The M1 wasn’t a great performer for me. Same height as the M2, but much straighter off the club face. Didn’t get any great distance advantage as compared to my D300. Can’t game a player’s iron anymore, and testing this one just reaffirmed that.

Final thoughts: Was very happy with the distance I gained with the M2 compared to my current gamer. Very good-performing iron for me, and something I would definitely consider changing them out if I could reduce the spin off the face. If you’re looking for more distance, you need to try these out. The M1 just wasn’t for me, but as a player’s iron, I can see it as a great option.

Bobcat271

Like the other testers, I found the M2 to launch the ball much higher and is 10-to-15 yards longer than my Adams XTD forged 7 iron. Of the two 7 irons I prefer the M1. I like the design of the M1 and its visual appearance at address. I feel more confident in trying to work the ball with the M1. The M1 gave me more feedback as to where the club head was in relation to my swing plane. If I had my druthers I would put the M1 in the bag as it stands now. Will continue to test, what a treat to compare the two irons.

myurick2

Once I started making solid contact with a decent shoulder turn, the M2 really came alive in my hands. Towering flat height, for me, and very long. No more clacky hollow feel, just a very mild pleasant sensation… then zoom. Once I started making better swings, back to the M1, which was a very nice iron. Shorter than the M2 (though not short) and a little lower ball flight. Felt nice and substantial without being heavy. Very forgiving on slight mishits.

But the M2 was the star for me. High trajectory and very long. Club felt lively and fun. Frankly, unless a player wanted a lower trajectory, or likes to hit a lot of knock downs or feel shots, I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t choose the M2. They are very attractive and a very fun iron. I think folks who say that the M2 feels and/or sounds clicky, clacky or hollow may be mishitting the iron toward the toe. I am not judging — I mishit a lot of shots at first. I agree on toe mishits the iron did not feel great. It almost felt like plastic. The ball still flew pretty well, but it wasn’t a very enjoyable experience. Not painful, just felt very dead. But when hit nearer the center, the iron felt fantastic. Light, springy and very lively. 

hammergolf

They are both good-looking clubs. Not too long heel to toe and toplines were not that distracting. M1 is more what I like to see shape wise, but M2 was not bad at all. Personally, not a fan of seeing the face slots. But I could see how some people may like how they frame the ball. 

Ace2000

M1 

– Has a very odd sound on contact, almost sounds a tad like a fairway wood “ting. Not a fan
– Looks very good at address with the brushed finish
– Most shots I hit with it seemed to fall out of the sky (very likely a lack of spin). Ball flight was much lower than I would have expected (not super low, just not much different than my 7 iron)
– Inconsistent misses. Next to no distance gains vs RocketBladez Tour 7 iron

M2

– Doesn’t look as good at address as the M1. Chrome finish at address is not an issue in even direct sunlight for me
– Feels and sounds quite nice to my ears at impact. Not a classic sound but very good considering what type of club it is
– Ball flight is very strong (comes off hot). Ball stays high in the air for awhile. Very high and lands soft
– 10-12 yards longer on average vs my 7 iron, it even had the horsepower to hang with my 6 iron
– VERY forgiving on thin strikes. Couldn’t believe how a near-top still traveled to nearly the front edge in the air and still went as far as the M1 did on a good strike
– Shaft is too light

Even though I’m a 2-handicap and don’t fit the M2 “mold,” I could see myself playing this club from 4-6 iron (although gapping would be a major issue mixing these with almost anything else) if it had a heavier shaft in it (I can only imagine how far this 4 iron must go… yikes)

M1 = 2.5/5 stars
M2 = 4.5/5 stars

tpeterson

Visual first impressions: The M1 7-iron is visually appealing to me as far as the finish and overall look. Even though it is classified as a player’s iron, it doesn’t seem so tiny that it would be tough to hit. I am not a huge fan of the bright-yellow badging, but I probably could get over it. The iron inspires confidence with its topline and a little bit of offset. The “rubber” piece on the hosel is a little bit funky to me.

I thought the M2 7-iron would look clunkier than it really is. Besides the finish being a little bit different, the difference between the M1 and M2 is actually pretty small. The M2’s topline and sole are a touch wider, but not by much. Not a huge fan of the fluted hosel since it can be seen at address. The M1’s fluting is only on the rear of the club.

I did notice that the sole’s finish did scratch pretty easily. Overall, I thought the M1 and M2 are pretty good looking, but I would definitely give the edge to the M1. I also preferred the stock Lamkin grip on the M1 vs. the ribbed M2 grip.

On course action: They both feel solid. I tried hitting both irons in all different types of on-course situations over a two week period. Both clubs launch the ball high but I would not say they balloon. For me, the M2 was about 10 yards longer and higher than the M1. Compared to my Cleveland irons, they are 1 to 1.5 clubs longer.

M1 loft = 30.5
M2 loft = 28.5
Cleveland TA7 loft = 33.5

I know this accounts for the distance gain but the ball definitely comes off hot compared to my set. I was hoping I would hit the M1 better since I like the appearance better, but that was not the case. The M2 definitely felt better for me and I felt more confident with it in my hands.

Discussion: Read all 75 reviews and the responses in our Testing Thread

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Equipment

Members Choice: The Best Irons of 2017

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To help golfers find the best irons for them in 2017, we enlisted the services of GolfWRX Members, the most knowledgeable golfers on the internet. They not only understand the technology used in the latest golf equipment, but they also test new clubs extensively. Following their detailed experiences and words of wisdom about the latest products is the perfect starting point for anyone interested in purchasing new golf clubs.

To gather their votes and feedback, we as a company first needed to properly sort the irons into categories. We aimed to keep the categories as simple as possible with 2017’s crop of irons, and we broke them down into three general categories:

  • Players Irons: Basically, small-sized irons. These irons have sleek top lines and soles. They place workability and control over distance, and for that reason they’re irons you can expect to see in the bag of a professional golfer.
  • Game-Improvement Irons: Basically, medium-sized irons. This category includes a wide-range of clubs that blend distance, forgiveness, good looks and workability.
  • Super Game-Improvement Irons: Basically, large-sized irons. These irons are juiced with hot faces, wide soles, thick top lines, big offset and a low center of gravity, among other engineering feats, that are often unique to each company.

Note: Because of the abundance of Players Irons currently available, we divided that category into two categories: Players Irons and Exotics Players Irons. The Exotic Players Irons list included players irons from companies such as Epon, Fourteen, Miura, PXG, and Honma, which are not as widely available for testing in the U.S.

Below you can access the full results of our Members Choice 2017: Best Irons lists, as well as feedback about each iron from the GolfWRX Community. We’d like to sincerely thank all the GolfWRX Members who participated in the voting and provided feedback on the irons. We also want to thank those of you who provided feedback on the voting process itself. We assure you that we read and consider everything, and we’re going to continue to improve our process in order to provide the best and most useful information about the latest golf equipment.

Members Choice: The Best Players Irons

Mizuno_JPX_900_Tour_Feat-1021x580

Vote Leader: Mizuno JPX-900 Tour

“WOW! Great mix of buttery feel and forgiveness.”

Overall, the Mizuno JPX-900 Tour irons earned nearly 15 percent of votes on the Players iron category, giving them top billing for players irons. One GolfWRX member said he was “weak in the knees from first look at the satin finish and compact size,” and that the “feel is excellent, and there’s just enough forgiveness.” Another said the JPX-900 Tour irons are the “best irons out there right now in terms of blending feel, forgiveness, and the ability to shape shots.”

Full List: The Best Players Irons of 2017

Members Choice: The Best Exotic Players Irons

PXG0311t-600x377

Vote Leader: PXG 0311T

“I can’t say I have ever hit anything that feels as good as the PXG.”

With more 21 percent of votes for the Best Exotics Players Irons of 2017, PXG’s 0311T irons were described by GolfWRX members as “a great looking club,” and that they “felt unbelievable.” When comparing the irons to Titleist’s 716 MB irons, one member said, “The fact that you can barely tell if it has or doesn’t have more offset than the MB 7 iron just shows how little it has.”

Full List: The Best Exotic Players Irons of 2017

Members Choice: Best Game-Improvement Irons

CallawayApexMembersChoice

Vote Leader: Callaway Apex CF ’16 

“Apex CF is simply the most explosive, best feeling iron I’ve ever hit in this category.”

Acquiring nearly 20 percent of votes of all models in the Best Game-Improvement Iron category, GolfWRX Members described the Callaway Apex CF ’16 irons as “simply the most explosive,” and that they “perform very well on center hits and almost as good on mishits.”

Full List: The Best Game-Improvement Irons of 2017

The Best Super Game-Improvement Irons 

PingGironsWRX

Vote Leader: Ping G

“The Ping G takes what Ping has done for years and added in increased ball speed, improved feel and much better looks.”

An iron that “will appeal even to Ping haters.” GolfWRX Members described the Ping G as “stupid easy to hit,” providing a “high and straight ball flight,” and “an eye opener.” The irons also accumulated more than 22 percent of the total votes in the category.

Full List: The Best Super Game-Improvement irons of 2017

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