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2015 Gear Trials: Best Game-Improvement Irons

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Golf is a game of choices, and that’s true of golf equipment as well — especially when it comes to irons. No other club category is as personal as a golfer’s irons, which is why equipment companies make them in so many different shapes and sizes.

The largest, and most forgiving irons are most often referred to as “game-improvement” models, because they can drastically change the way a golfer navigates a course. Give a 20-handicap golfer a blade iron, and he might need to hit a 5 iron on a par-3 that measures 150 yards. But give that same golfer one of the game-improvement models below, and he may be able to hit a 7 iron to the same green.

That’s a big difference that can lead to lower scores.

For this year’s 2015 Gear Trials: Best Game-Improvement 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 each 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 equipment.

To make this list of the top-eight performing game-improvement irons currently available, we asked each Gear Trials Panelist to leave looks and feel out of the equation, and 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 something smaller? Click here to read our 2015 Gear Trials: Best Players Irons list. 

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_GIirons_v2

The Ratings

Below are the distance, forgiveness and overall ratings for each of our 2015 Gear Trials: Best Game-Improvement 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

TaylorMade RSi 1

geartrials_slider_GIirons_RSi1

  • Construction: Cast
  • Pitching Wedge Loft: 44 degrees
  • Stock Shafts: Reax Steel, Reax Graphite (graphite)
  • Price: $799 (steel), $899 (graphite)

Our Gear Trials Panel voted TaylorMade’s RSi 1 irons the longest on this list — no surprise given its long-flying predecessors. But according to the fitters, the RSi 1 irons are much better rounded than TaylorMade’s previous game-improvement irons: RocketBladez and SpeedBlade.

[quote_box_center]”An all-around performer,” said one of our Gear Trials Panelists. “A nice, high trajectory, plenty of ball speed and distance … solid feel and sound compared to what you think it might feel and sound like. It’s a favorite among testers in this category.”[/quote_box_center]

The most noticeable feature of the RSi 1 irons is their slots — one in the sole of the 3-7 irons (called a “Speed Pocket”), and two on the faces of the 3-8 irons (called “Face Slots”).

[quote_box_center]”Even though the slots look gimmicky, they really work on mis-hit shots,” said one of our Gear Trials Panelists. “They have a mid-high launch and good ball speed.”[/quote_box_center]

Another Gear Trials Panelist added: “The slots seem to help [the RSi 1 irons] launch relatively high, and with good distance on off center shots.”

[wrx_buy_now oemlink=”http://taylormadegolf.com/RSi-1-Irons/DW-WZ134.html#start=1″ oemtext=”Buy them from TaylorMade” amazonlink=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00OISPX6G/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00OISPX6G&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20&linkId=YFL2CGAPFITSVH4X”]

Callaway XR

geartrials_slider_GIirons_XR

  • Construction: Cast, Multi-material
  • Pitching Wedge Loft: 44 degrees
  • Stock Shafts: True Temper Speed Step 80 (steel), True Temper Project X SD (graphite)
  • Price: $799 (steel), $899 (graphite)

Callaway’s XR irons have the company’s new 360 Cup Faces, which are independently welded to the iron bodies to create more ball speed, and maybe more importantly, a higher launch angle.

[quote_box_center]”[The XR’s] predecessor, X2 Hot, was just about the lowest-launching and fastest-ball-speed iron we had ever seen,” said one of our Gear Trials Panelists. “The XR produces that same very high ball speed, but flies higher … So we can get more guys into it, relative to last year, when most guys swinging in the [70-mph range] couldn’t hit it high enough.”[/quote_box_center]

The XR irons also feature Callaway’s “Internal Standing Wave,” a specially designed part of the sole that lowers center of gravity (CG) and improves moment of inertia (MOI), a measure of forgiveness on mishits. The XR’s are still one of the lowest-launching irons on this list, but it’s clear that the improvements have kept Callaway’s flagship game-improvement iron a distance monster, while making it a better fit for a wider variety of players.

[quote_box_center]”Tremendously fast ball speeds lead to increased distance compared to other models in this category,” said one of our Gear Trials Panelists. “They have a slightly lower launch and spin due to stronger lofts, and fit a variety of player types — from slower speeds up to better players.”[/quote_box_center]

[wrx_buy_now oemlink=”http://www.callawaygolf.com/golf-clubs/irons-2015-xr.html” oemtext=”Buy them from Callaway” amazonlink=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00QVPVJH6/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00QVPVJH6&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20&linkId=QXJGFLBJKMJKZ47U”]

Cobra Fly-Z

geartrials_slider_GIirons_FLYZ

  • Construction: Cast
  • Pitching Wedge Loft: 45 degrees
  • Stock Shafts: FST Steel, Matrix graphite available
  • Price: $699 (steel), $799 (graphite)

The good news about Cobra’s Fly-Z irons? They don’t do anything poorly, according to a Gear Trials Panelist. The bad news? They don’t do anything the best, either. But they’re pretty much near the top in every category.

[quote_box_center]”A mid-launch and mid-spin iron with good ball speed,” said one of our Gear Trials Panelists. “An underrated club here.” [/quote_box_center]

Looks, feel and affordability can play a big role for golfers shopping the game-improvement iron category, and the Fly-Z irons excel in all three areas.

At address, the Fly-Z irons look more refined than other game-improvement irons, and they sell for the budget price of $699. That makes them the most affordable set of irons on this list. The Fly-Z’s also feel surprisingly soft at impact thanks to their Harmonic Cavity Inserts, which put TPU material directly behind the impact area to muffle vibration.

Into personalization? The Fly-Z irons are available in one of six colors — orange, red, black, white, blue and green.

[wrx_buy_now oemlink=”http://www.cobragolf.com/fly-z-irons” oemtext=”Buy them from Cobra” amazonlink=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00PITS88Y/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00PITS88Y&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20&linkId=GVFPKXFHYTFZMMS4″]

Mizuno JPX-850

geartrials_slider_GIirons_JPX850

  • Construction: Cast
  • Pitching Wedge Loft: 45 degrees
  • Stock Shafts: True Temper XP 105 (steel), Mizuno Orochi (graphite)
  • Price: $799 (steel), $899 (graphite)

Mizuno’s JPX-850 irons were released in September 2014, and as a result they don’t have as much buzz as some of the newer irons on this list. But as equipment aficionados know, buzz is not always synonymous with performance, and the JPX-850’s are one of the most well-rounded offerings on this list.

[quote_box_center]”In the “mid-handicap” line, this is one of the more forgiving options,” said one of our Gear Trials Panelists.”[/quote_box_center]

The JPX-850 irons have thinner faces for more ball speed than the JPX-825 irons they replace. They use Mizuno’s “Power Frame” design, which pushes their coefficient of restitution (COR) right up against the USGA’s legal limit for ball speed, according to the company, and also makes them more consistent on mishits.

[quote_box_center]”The JPX-850 iron are a solid performer, and people love the way they feel,” said one of our Gear Trials Panelists.[/quote_box_center]

In the end, choosing the JPX-850 irons over one of their competitors could come down to something as simple as the fact that Mizuno offers a wide range of shaft offerings — 13 steel and graphite models — that help fitters dial them into each golfer’s swing.

[wrx_buy_now oemlink=”http://www.mizunousa.com/golf/products/jpx-850-irons#.VUPoq9NVhBc” oemtext=”Buy them from Mizuno” amazonlink=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00NCXLFWO/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00NCXLFWO&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20&linkId=3TXJF5KYBDBJIU4J”]

Nike Vapor Speed

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 3.49.23 PM

geartrials_slider_GIirons_SPEED

  • Construction: Cast, Multi-material
  • Pitching Wedge Loft: 44 degrees
  • Stock Shafts: True Temper Dynalite 105 (steel), Mitsubishi Rayon Fubuki Z 70 (graphite)
  • Price: $799 (steel), $899 (graphite)

Nike’s Vapor Speed irons aren’t tops for distance, but what they lack in ball speed they make up for with a very high launch, ample forgiveness, and a relatively soft feel.

[quote_box_center]”These are a great looking iron with tons of forgiveness,” said one of our Gear Trials Panelists. “They’re not the longest iron in this category, but the long irons can fly properly and get out there. Fitting is important with this model because of the longer-than-standard shaft lengths.”[/quote_box_center]

The irons are also a good fit for golfers trying to decide between bigger and a smaller game-improvement model, with a progressive design that blends bigger-than-average, hollow-cavity long irons (3-7) with RZN cavity-back short irons (8-A) that are smaller and allow for more trajectory control.

[quote_box_center]“They’re arguably just as long as [Callaway’s] Big Bertha, but at a way better price point,” said one of our Gear Trials Panelists. “They also come in a 3 iron for better players looking for a ‘driving iron.”[/quote_box_center]

If you’re a low-ball hitter, and want to hit your irons higher, these should be the first game-improvement irons you try.

[wrx_buy_now oemlink=”http://store.nike.com/us/en_us/pd/vapor-speed-irons-golf-club-set/pid-10260095/pgid-10260096″ oemtext=”Buy them from Nike” amazonlink=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00O43CN18/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00O43CN18&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20&linkId=AB4OJBUTE4VLGQS5″]

Callaway Big Bertha

geartrials_slider_GIirons_BIGBERTHA

  • Construction: Cast, Multi-material
  • Pitching Wedge Loft: 44 degrees
  • Stock Shafts: True Temper Speed Step 80 (steel), UST Mamiya Recoil 460 (graphite)
  • Price: $999 (steel), $1,099 (graphite)

The Big Bertha irons have a large, hollow-body construction and very wide soles that make them the largest, highest-launching irons on this list (and noticeably higher-launching than Callaway’s XR irons).

[quote_box_center]”These are very fast off the face, and VERY high launching — even with their strong lofts,” said one of our Gear Trials Panelists. “Customer feedback is that the ball really jumps off the face.”[/quote_box_center]

Like the XR irons, the Big Berthas use Callaway’s 360 Cup Faces, and their hollow-body construction drives CG low and rearward, creating their high ball speeds, high launch, and mid-to-low spin rates. That’s a great combination for golfers who struggle to hit their iron shots high enough, and those who need the extra forgiveness a larger game-improvement iron can provide.

[quote_box_center]”The look builds confidence at address, and more offset performs better for higher handicap players,” said one of our Gear Trials Panelists.[/quote_box_center]

A selling point for many golfers is the stock graphite shaft: UST Mamiya’s popular Recoil 460. They’re available for $100 more than the stock steel option. The Big Bertha irons are also available as a combo set with Callaway’s Big Bertha hybrids, which made our 2015 Gear Trials: Best Hybrids list.

[wrx_buy_now oemlink=”http://www.callawaygolf.com/golf-clubs/irons-2015-big-bertha.html” oemtext=”Buy them from Callaway” amazonlink=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00NINIX1E/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00NINIX1E&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20&linkId=7LUQPVO6OUUKGQSW”]

Ping G30

geartrials_slider_GIirons_G30

  • Construction: Cast
  • Pitching Wedge Loft: 45 degrees
  • Stock Shafts: Ping CFS Steel, Ping TFC 419I (graphite)
  • Price: $110 per club (steel), $125 per club (graphite)

When most golfers think of game-improvement irons, they think forgiveness… and maybe of one of Ping’s G-Series irons, too. There’s a reason for that. Ping’s newest model, the G30, is Ping’s most-forgiving G-Series iron to date, and was voted the most forgiving iron on this list by our Gear Trials Panel.

[quote_box_center]”The G30 is so good for 90 percent of players, and our bestselling irons due to its ease of use,” said one of our Gear Trials Panelists.”[/quote_box_center]

The G30 irons are cast from 17-4 stainless steel, and designed to give golfers the most forgiveness possible. Their solid-face construction doesn’t create as much ball speed as other irons on this list, but the G30’s offer acceptable distance with progressive shaft lengths and a low, rearward CG that creates the high-launch, high-spin launch conditions that are optimal for the majority of golfers interested in game-improvement irons.

[quote_box_center]”G30 will work for almost every player in this category,” said one of our Gear Trials Panelists. “Only the look or sound may give get it bad feedback.”[/quote_box_center]

[wrx_buy_now oemlink=”http://ping.com/clubs/ironsdetail.aspx?id=17126″ oemtext=”Learn more from Ping” amazonlink=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002BUAZ7U/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B002BUAZ7U&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20&linkId=D5Z53X3REFZXZOK5″]

Titleist 714 AP1

geartrials_slider_GIirons_AP1

  • Construction: Cast, Multi-material
  • Pitching Wedge Loft: 44 degrees
  • Stock Shafts: True Temper XP 95 (steel), Mitsubishi Rayon Kuro Kage 65 (graphite)
  • Price: $799 (steel), $999 (graphite)

Titleist’s AP1 irons were released in October 2013, and along with Ping’s G30 irons, they’re noticeably shorter-flying than the other irons on this list. But for their size, which is a bit smaller than the others, they’re impressively forgiving. That makes them great for better players looking for additional forgiveness — especially from their long irons.

[quote_box_center]”Nice forgiveness, adequate, but not great distance,” said one of our Gear Trials Panelists. “Traditional look and solid feel.”[/quote_box_center]

The AP1’s are cast from 431 stainless steel, and have a progressive design that includes wider-soled, higher-launching long irons and narrower-soled, lower-launching short irons that create a more penetrating trajectory.

[quote_box_center]”These are the least ‘game-improvement’ irons we sell in this category, which is a plus for most players,” said one of our Gear Trials Panelists. “The tungsten Titleist adds helps them play more forgiving than they look, and customers love that these are a bit smaller than the others. “[/quote_box_center]

If you don’t currently play a gap wedge, you’ll probably want to add one to this set. The pitching wedge measures 44 degrees, but Titleist offers two other wedges with the set — a 48-degree “W wedge” and a 52-degree “W2 wedge.”

[wrx_buy_now oemlink=”http://www.titleist.com/golf-clubs/irons/AP1.aspx” oemtext=”Learn more from Titleist” amazonlink=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GJ7XHEY/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00GJ7XHEY&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20&linkId=6C5EX2WX6RGLDXCS”]

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24 Comments

24 Comments

  1. Stan

    Sep 28, 2015 at 6:44 pm

    Just an observation. Seems like titleist clubs are always bringing up the rear in these comparisons. I find that curious,especially since the. Number one player in the world
    Plays titleist. Hmmm. Isn’t that odd? Don’t get me wrong
    I really don’t have a dog in this fight. Other than the old
    975J Driver in my bag. I don’t own any other titleist clubs. I’m 65 years old still hit my driver pretty well,however it’s
    Time to put down my old Harvey pennicks. Well I suppose you guys are smarter than me and it’s probably a fluke that
    JS won 22 million this year playing those horrible clubs of his. Guess I better look at some irons that say speed or rocket or some such thing. I’ll keep doing my research
    Thanks for all the info. I’m thinking maybe Api 716
    Or Taylor made rsi2. Like to hit the ball lower. Any
    Suggestions?

    • Jared

      Jan 6, 2016 at 1:44 pm

      Distance seems to be a big factor in these types of comparisons and Titleist keeps their lofts more true with their irons. If you cranked the ap1 down 3 ° per club like the other manufacturers do they would go just as far. They don’t sacrifice being able to stop the ball at the other end for a few extra yards. The AP range are great clubs.

  2. jc

    May 11, 2015 at 12:13 pm

    I have had adams, callaway game inmprovement irons before…this is/was my first set of Pings, g30..
    I don’t know how any others could be straighter and higher….I mean I am not leaving the stick and have actually hit the flagsticks….they set up nice and square and I like that fact that they DON:T have slots, and different finishes on different parts of the head…the pw is 45 degrees so that is the common loft I guess but all of them leave a huge gap between that and the sw. I noticed that if I had also bought the gw, sw, lw of the set, they are 50, 54, 58 so even those are lower.
    What Ping does very very well is the fitting since you can start with the proper lie angle to begin with and make minor tweaks rather than bending the heck out of the so-called standard lie.

  3. rlee1027

    May 8, 2015 at 4:22 pm

    Were these tests performed ONLY with the Pitch wedge?

  4. KK

    May 7, 2015 at 5:21 pm

    I have a hard time believing the Vapor Speed is more forgiving than the Big Bertha and AP1. The Vapor looks like a muscle cavity iron like the AP2.

  5. Me Nunya

    May 7, 2015 at 12:27 am

    I’m sorry but this and the players iron page are broken for me.
    The text is hidden behind picks and just a mess.
    Has anybody else noticed?

  6. Tweedie

    May 6, 2015 at 8:31 pm

    I went in to get fit for new irons (my first custom fit set) a couple months ago, intending to get the TM RSi1. One of the alts he offered was the Callaway XR however he accidently gave me to Pro head to try and I loved it – far better than the standard and it was instant love. I’m far from a “Pro” player either, handicap would be around 20.

    A definite +1 for those so try them also if you are looking at the standard XR’s.

  7. Mke

    May 6, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    I love the Ap1’s..

  8. M smizz

    May 6, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    Why no spin numbers?

  9. Ryan

    May 6, 2015 at 12:08 pm

    Speaking of looks, the JPX 850s look better in daylight than in the store. The badge doesn’t appear so plaasticky.

    • Rich

      May 6, 2015 at 5:41 pm

      That’s interesting. Very hard to love this club on the store shelf.

      • Ryan

        May 11, 2015 at 12:44 pm

        I will say, though, that the Gear Trials has me giving them a shot this weekend. The G30s and 545s will be there too …

  10. Dj

    May 6, 2015 at 11:59 am

    Can we stop saying these irons are super long when they have 44* pw? Please?

    • RG

      May 8, 2015 at 1:52 am

      Agreed. My 9i is 44* , so if you hit a 44* PW does that mean your “long”? So much hype and BS in clubs and distance.

  11. Court

    May 6, 2015 at 11:45 am

    I agree about the 545 irons. To me the Apex and the 545 belong in this category and the Apex Pros belong in players irons.

  12. Adam

    May 6, 2015 at 11:29 am

    Not saying this is wrong, but I own G30s and don’t see any issue with the distance compared to others I have tried. Was the loft of each club considered or are you going 7 iron to 7 iron, etc.?

    • Golfgirlrobin

      May 6, 2015 at 4:20 pm

      I found the G30’s to be at least a half club, sometimes a full club, shorter than the G20’s I played previously. It seemed like a natural upgrade but I lost huge distance with them. Really disappointing to catch one squarely and come up short, especially when I knew the 20’s would have reached. Turned them in on the Callaway XR’s and hit them significantly further, higher and straighter. Have never enjoyed hitting any iron set as much as this one.

  13. Tomuch23

    May 6, 2015 at 11:23 am

    I had tried a few of these sets a couple months ago and came away with the rsi 1’s. They are really helping my game this year and quite happy with them. They are the real deal.

  14. Jon Silverberg

    May 6, 2015 at 11:11 am

    I find it difficult to imagine that some of the eight chosen got higher ratings than the Adams Idea Tech…was there some reason that iron was ruled out?

  15. Craig

    May 6, 2015 at 10:45 am

    If these so called best fitters had any idea what they were doing, they would have had the Wishon 771CSI as one of their game improvement irons on this list. None of the irons that were tested have won a Golf Digest award as a best performer. The problem I have with this test is that it steers toward the big 4. These fitters will not go outside the square to actually fit the best irons around

    • RG

      May 8, 2015 at 1:55 am

      Have you not noticed which companies advertise on this site?

  16. Rich

    May 6, 2015 at 10:08 am

    Super surprised the Srixon Z 545 irons are not part of this list considering the 745 irons are on the players iron list. They are super long, they have nice feel and they look amazing. They are plenty forgiving as well. They would easily be as forgiving as some on this list and look 1000 times nicer. They look nicer than a couple on the players iron list if you ask me. Nice list though. Love the G30’s too.

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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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