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2015 Gear Trials: The Best Clubs in Golf

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What are the best clubs? It’s a question we see asked over and over again on GolfWRX, and we’ve done our best to answer it with our 2015 Gear Trials: Best Clubs Lists.

To get the most objective information we could, 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.

To create each of the lists below, we asked each of the six custom-fitting teams to leave looks and feel out of the equation and rank only the drivers, fairway woods, hybrids, and irons that they saw performing best in their fitting bays.

The 2015 Gear Trials Panel includes:

Learn more about our Gear Trials: Best Clubs Lists

If you’re in the market for new clubs, make sure you know what our hand-picked panel of experts has to say first. Enjoy these lists of what we think are the best drivers, fairway woods, hybrids and irons in golf.

Drivers

You could test every driver in your local golf store, but in the end, we’re confident that these seven choices (or their lower-spinning equivalents) will perform best for you.

composite_drivers

Fairway Woods

If you’re a golfer who primarily hits your fairway woods from the tee, you’ll want to look closely at the 2015 Gear Trials Winners that excel in distance. Those who mostly use their fairway woods from the fairway, on the other hand, will want to pay closer attention to those models that excel at forgiveness. If both are important to you, check out our overall ratings.

best fairway metal 2015

Hybrids

While reviewing each of the 2015 Best Hybrids below, remember the purpose of the clubs. They bridge the gap between a golfer’s shortest fairway wood and the longest iron they can hit consistently. Some golfers can make that transition without a hybrid, while others may need several hybrids. The hybrids that scored highest in our Distance Ratings tend to work best for golfers looking to shed spin, while the clubs that score high in our Forgiveness Ratings tend to be more consistent on mishits.

best hybrid 2015

Game-Improvement Irons

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. If you’re looking for more distance, accuracy and consistency from a game-improvement iron, you can’t do better than the eight models below.

best game improvement irons 2015

Players Irons

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.

best players irons 2015

Blade Iron Shootout

This list of the best blade irons in golf isn’t like the Gear Trials: Best Clubs Lists that we’ve published for 2015. It couldn’t be, because the type of golfers who are generally using blade or blade-like irons are generally looking for something more specific than adding distance or forgiveness to their iron game.

For that reason, we went about this story in a different way. We’re calling it our 2015 Blade Iron Shootout, and we hope it will help golfers understand the differences between some of the most popular blade irons currently available.

2015BLADE_SHOOTOUT4

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. max

    Jul 14, 2015 at 5:01 pm

    Not having AP2’s in the top players irons is downright baffling. I fit a lot of players and the AP2s are consistently among the best performers.

  2. Gautama

    Jun 9, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    “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.” As a bona fide club ho who buys irons like Imelda Marcos bought shoes, in my opinion “drastically change” is really overselling the value of GI irons. Yes, the best of them (cough, ping g series, cough) can definitely make the difference between things like hitting the green or carrying a hazard on slightly mishit shots that come up short, but but it’s not nearly as night and day as all the marketing would have us believe. Like 10 strokes a year kinda territory.

  3. Christosterone

    Jun 7, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    My srixon z945 never get tested….they are Japan only but played by a ton of the Cleveland/srixon guys.
    It is the most beautiful blade I’ve owned and plays really well…

  4. Rich

    Jun 7, 2015 at 9:36 am

    Please hurry up with the best blade irons list. Very keen to see what’s on that list. Cheers

    • Mike

      Jun 17, 2015 at 2:46 pm

      Hey Rich:

      I can save you the wait. #1 – Miura MB-001.

    • ABgolfer2

      Jul 19, 2015 at 9:26 am

      20:20 hindsight. The list was littered with cavity backs.

  5. gabriel

    Jun 6, 2015 at 6:59 pm

    were the nike vapor pro…. best driver this year not because i play it but i work in a golf shop and it always win agains a lot of driver

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Equipment

Review: Miura MC-501

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Pros: The most forgiving blade you’ll ever hit. Miura has made what seems like the hugest oxymoron in golf clubs that we club buyers have been dreaming of!

Cons: The Miura MC 501s are only offered to right-handed golfers. My lefty friends again are going to have to wait and hope that Miura will bring this superior work of golf art to life.

Bottom Line: The Miura MC-501, the newest weapon from Miura golf in their blade line, is the newest weapon for more than just the better golfer. If you’ve been loving the look of Miura blades and have felt that you just weren’t good enough to play them, this might be the model you’ve been waiting to try. All the superior looks Miura has been famous for, the butter-soft feel and a touch of forgiveness in an amazing package!

Overview

Miura has famously made some of the most gorgeous irons ever produced in the world. Their muscle back blades have garnered cult status and many of the better players have always gravitated towards their designs. They have made cavity back irons but the models that have drawn the most attention from all skill levels are the muscle backs. Unfortunately those muscle backs weren’t for everyone but the very low handicaps.

The MC-501 is the muscle back model that was made to change that. It is the longest heel to toe blade model they’ve ever made. Through engineering they’ve repositioned 20 grams of weight to the sole, which not only made the sole wider but moved the center of gravity to allow ease in getting a higher trajectory. The MC-501 also incorporates Yoshitaka Miura’s iconic Y-grind sole that blunts and softens the club head’s leading edge and improves turf interaction.

Precision forged from S25C carbon steel in Miura’s factory in Himeji, these clubs were developed under the most stringent and fastidious craftsmen that you could only wish were making your set.

The MC-501 is are available from authorized Miura dealers/fitters worldwide. They carry a suggested retail price of $260 a club, though the prices may vary with different shaft options.

Clubs tested

  • Miura MC-501 iron set
  • 4-iron through pitching wedge
  • KBS CT95 shafts/Japan Exclusive Model, Black Finish
  • Elite Y360SV grips from Japan

Entire set custom fit and built at Miura Authorized Fitting Center, Aloha Golf Center Las Vegas.

Performance

My initial test with the MC-501s put an immediate smile on my face. My favorite muscle back and club line from Miura has always been the MB-001. There were a few shortcomings in the MB-001, but the looks and feel always made me forget them. The MC-501 seemed to address the shortcomings of the MB-001 perfectly — particularly in the missed shots. Users whose misses tend to be thin will find the movement of weight toward the sole generously allows them a bit of forgiveness and help in trajectory usually lost than other traditionally shaped muscle backs.

Users who want to work the ball will also find the MC-501s play similarly to the MB-001s despite that added forgiveness. I had to work them a little harder but I was able to move the ball either left or right with no issues. They were a little more similar in playability to the CB-57 line than the MB-001.

The Yoshitaka Miura Y Grind sole allows the usual clean strike at impact and great interaction with the turf. There is no digging and it gives a very positive thump sound to your shots. This sole grind also helps to thin the look of the wider sole. Probably the widest sole offered on any Miura muscle back. Although wide, the MC-501 never played clunky, as you might expect upon an initial look, they instead played just like all the other pure Miura blades.

The long irons were where the MC-501s particularly shined. I have never hit a Miura muscle back 4-iron with such ease. Naturally, the design of the head afforded much more forgiveness in launch, yet I was still able to knock down shots when I needed to. The MC-501, being longer heel-to-toe than any other Miura muscle back, also assist it in having much greater forgiveness in the long irons.

The short irons were definitely precision tools. From PW to 7-iron, the distance with them were consistent and playability perfect. There were no hot spots on the face and Miura’s pure forging made solid shots particularly delightful. I marveled at how accurately these clubs hit their distances once you dialed them in. This is a feature I have not been able to replicate in the filled hollow head irons from many other brands.

Forgiveness was much greater in the MC-501 versus other muscle backs from Miura like the Tournament Blade, MB-001 or Baby Blades. This was immediately obvious upon using them. The loss in yardage with thin shots was lessened, and the trajectory was much more consistent due to the design of the head.

Looks and Feel

The MC-501s have a look all of their own in the Miura lineup. The X-like design on the back almost makes you feel like they have superhero qualities! They will definitely take some getting used to if you’re a long-time user of Miura blades, but for those who aren’t as familiar, the look may appear as an exciting change to the standard muscle back.

The beautiful satin finish, which Miura has come to be the standard bearer of, appeals so much to my senses. Miura clubs are one of the few lines that I can sit and just stare at the head, marveling at the beauty that was once just a raw piece of steel. Miura’s ability to produce golf art is something many club companies strive to meet, but some miserably fail at.

The black Miura logo and name prominently in the main middle muscle of the head and a simple MC-501 stamped towards a toe just continues the classy look of Miura. There’s no need for screw heads, fancy colored paint fill, decals, and other fluff. This is just a pure Japanese forged golf club at its highest level.

For what Miura has touted as its most forgiving iron, the top line at address does not make you feel like you’re playing some huge cavity back. It’s as thin as you would expect a Miura muscle back to be. For blade lovers, and past Miura blade users, the top line will not disappoint you. The toe on the MC-501 appears more square than past muscle backs. I personally like a rounder toe, but the squareness does give a look of a bigger face — something that might please those who want a bit of a more forgiving look. The squared toe and shape of the head frames the ball well, and its easy to align the clubs.

The MC-501 design transitions very well through the set. When you line them up on a wall and look at the heads as they transition from the short to the long irons, the shapes blend perfectly. I think Miura is one of the finest makers when it comes to the transitioning of irons in their sets.

The MC-501 is a joyful feeling in your hands. Once you hit a pure strike with them, that clean, pure feeling of the ball striking the face will take your breath away. I don’t know what they put in the steel in Himeji, Japan, but I’ve yet to feel any other brand of club that makes me smile so much after hitting its clubs. The MC-501 in my humble opinion is one extremely fine feeling line of clubs.

The Takeaway

Katsuhiro Miura’s philosophy is one of not just making a new club to come out with something new, but to improve on what the company already offers. The MC-501 is the amalgamation of all his past irons and the top of their club evolutionary chain. With its eye-catching looks, superior feel, and added forgiveness, the MC-501 is a great gateway club for people wanting to try their first Miura club.

The MC-501 is also the club for current Miura muscle back users who would appreciate more forgiveness in their current set and are just not ready to move to full on cavity back irons. I, for one, am getting older and it has occurred to me to switch over to more forgiving shapes and jacked up lofts. The MC-501 is the club that will keep me playing a few more years in the designs I love to look at!

 

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Accessory Reviews

Top-3 men’s golf polos at the 2018 PGA Fashion Show in Vegas

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GolfWRX’s fashion expert Jordan Madley picks her top-3 favorite men’s polo shirts from the recent 2018 PGA Fashion Show in Las Vegas. Enjoy the video below!

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Equipment

Review: Ping Sigma 2 Putters (TG2 Video)

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Equipment expert Brian Knudson and Editor Andrew Tursky discuss their opinions of the Ping Sigma 2 putter line, along with the new technologies, in this episode of Two Guys Talking Golf (TG2). Enjoy the video review below, and click here for more photos and the full write-up on the new designs.

Click here for photos and tech.

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