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TaylorMade 2017 M1 and M2 irons: What you need to know

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Did you miss Face Slots? They’re back.

With TaylorMade’s RSi irons, released in 2015, the company introduced a never-before-seen, ultra-visible technology on its club faces. Two polymer-filled slots — one on the heel, one on the toe — were added to help raise ball speeds on off-center hits.

Face_Slots_TaylorMade_M2_Irons

Face Slots have been added to TaylorMade’s new M1 and M2 irons.

With the company’s 2016 game-improve release, the M2 and M2 Tour irons, Face Slots went away. But for TaylorMade’s 2017 release of the irons bearing the same name, the forgiveness-based, Face-Slot technology is back.

According to TaylorMade, Face Slots are most effective on shots hit high and on the toe of the club face, an area where the majority of golfers contact their irons shots. The Face Slots couple with several new design features to further increase distance and forgiveness compared to the 2016 M2 irons.

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TaylorMade’s M2 (left) and M1 irons use Speed Pockets, slots in the sole that make the club faces more flexible.

Also new for 2017 are TaylorMade’s M1 irons, the first edition of irons with that name. They replace the M2 Tour irons in the company line, a compact distance iron that we’ve spotted in the bags of PGA Tour players, who use them as long-iron and hybrid replacements.

The M1 name in TaylorMade’s M-Series is synonymous with more compact heads, clubs that serious golfers tend to prefer. Keeping with that theme, the M1 irons have smaller bodies, thinner soles and thinner top lines, but are made with many of the same technologies as the 2017 M2 irons.

Learn more about each of the new iron designs below.

2017 M2 irons

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TaylorMade’s new M2 irons are made with 33 percent thinner top lines, meaning they will look sleeker at address than their predecessors. They also have a 7 percent shallower blade height, helping to lower center of gravity (CG) for a higher launch.

Speed Pockets in the 4, 5, 6 and 7 irons, which were used in previous iterations to increase ball speeds on off-center hits, were made 20 percent deeper to improve the flexibility of the club faces. They help improve ball speed on center strikes, but more importantly they promote more ball speed on off-center hits than their predecessors.

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As seen in the 2016 M2 irons, the 2017 M2 irons also have fluted hosels to save weight, except the six-sided flutes are now wider and thinner, saving an additional 2 grams that was used to lower the CG of the iron heads. With what may be music to club fitters’ ears, TaylorMade added a slot at the hosel bend, allowing the clubs to be bent easier for less restriction on loft and lie angle adjustments.

As with the M1 and M2 drivers, the M2 irons have a “Geocoustic” design to improve sound and feel. For the irons, that means there’s a vibration-dampening badge behind the face, and a rib structure tucked below the topline that creates better sound and feel.

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The M2 irons are also available with a sand wedge (54 degrees) that’s designed specifically for bunker play, rather than full shots from grass. It uses more bounce to help golfers more easily move the club through sand. A 59-degree lob wedge has a low-bounce design to perform better from tight lies.

The M2 irons (4-LW) will sell for $799 with steel REAX HL 88 shafts by FST (S and R flexes) and $899 with M2 REAX graphite shafts (S, R, A, L flexes). They will be available Jan. 27, 2017.

M1 Irons

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Although TaylorMade’s M1 irons are made to be more compact and sleeker than the M2 irons, they use tungsten in the toes of the long irons (3-7) to ensure forgiveness is not sacrificed. The addition of tungsten in the M1 irons allowed TaylorMade to nearly center CG in the irons — about 1 millimeter from center, according to TaylorMade — from heel-to-toe, and drop CG lower in the head for a higher launch and a greater MOI (moment of inertia, a measure of forgiveness).

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The M1 irons also have a fluted hosel to save weight, but it’s used only on the under portion of the hosel, effectively blocking the weight-saving design from a golfer’s view at address.

Compared to the 2017 M2 irons, the M1 irons have many of the same technologies, including a “Geocoustic” design for better sound and feel. They also have Face Slots and Speed Pockets in their soles (also used in the 3-7 irons) to improve forgiveness on off-center strikes.

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TaylorMade’s M2 (left) and M1 irons at address.

The leading edges and sole widths are thinner on the M1 irons when compared to the M2 irons, helping improve turf interaction for better players who are likely to have slightly shallower angles of attack.

The M1 irons (3-PW) will be available on March 1, 2017, and will come stock with True Temper’s XP95 steel shafts ($999) or Mitsubishi Rayon’s Kuro Kage Silver graphite shafts ($1,199). Additional shafts options are also available for no upcharge.

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Bryce

    Jun 28, 2019 at 7:08 am

    After installed, players will have the ability to enroll to get a actual money
    consideration or even a follow bill where they
    could try the game risk free.

  2. Mad-Mex

    Dec 11, 2016 at 8:30 pm

    Wait,,,,,, Wilson already did this !!! back in the 80’s they released the “reflex” irons, same thing, a slot cut and filled with plastic,,,, Come on TaylorMade !!!!!

  3. LOL

    Dec 9, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    The comments in the linked RSi release story are sadly prophetic.

  4. Specs

    Dec 9, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    Why aren’t you dead yet

  5. Steve S

    Dec 9, 2016 at 11:50 am

    Where are the specs on lofts? Are these “de-lofted like past years? I like the fact that Mizuno went back to more loft in their MP-H5 irons.

    • DrRob1963

      Dec 12, 2016 at 1:07 am

      Souped up lofts like you would not believe! Look at this:
      Hogan Apex 1988 blades vs Taylor Made M2 2017
      9-iron 45* 38*
      7-iron 37* 28.5*
      5-iron 30* 21.5*
      3-iron 23* LOL!
      My blades are “an elegant weapon for a more civilized age”

  6. Dave

    Dec 9, 2016 at 11:01 am

    TM……your face slots were so revolutionary that you got rid of them for a year and now are bringing them back? Come on……

    • Knut

      Dec 11, 2016 at 11:29 am

      Got rid of them? Huh? They’ve been on the M2 and PSi this whole time. Wha?

  7. Bob Chipeska

    Dec 9, 2016 at 9:49 am

    Can’t wait to see the thread about these face slots caving in.

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Equipment

Confessions of a gear junkie in Korea: My new Ballistic Golf irons

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As an avid golfer and a self-professed equipment junkie, few things in life are better than discovering a piece of shiny new golf gear that brings a smile to my face and a dent to my wallet. And in Korea, where outpacing the Joneses is a national pastime, one has to be vigilant to stay ahead of the crowd.

To onlookers, most Korean golfers might come across as posers who seem more interested in looking good than playing well. It is not unusual for a set of clubs and golf bag to exceed $10K, and the 500-plus custom golf fitting studios across the country are our playground.

The colorful world of Korean golf.

Searching for the latest and greatest

The equipment and fashion we use and wear here will probably make most golfers in the Western hemisphere question our masculinity. But as the saying goes, “When in Gangnam…”

Koreans have a word to describe this expensive affliction, called “Jang-bi-byung.: It translates into “equipment-itis.”

I’m sure that such an insatiable desire for the latest and greatest gear isn’t limited only to Koreans, but I’d wager it affects a lot more of us than in most golfing countries.

And our scope of search isn’t limited only to this side of the world either.

Ballistic Golf MB proto iron heads – bullets and ball not included.

Meet Ballistic Golf, a fledgling golf brand hailing out of Iowa. And if the initial reactions from my friends are any indication, it may well be the next “it” brand for many Korean golfers.

Love at first sight

Back in mid-December, I was scouring the internet, as usual, looking for that special something when I first came across the Ballistic Forged MB irons.

I was immediately won over by the universal language of the classic muscleback—the name and logo instantly resonated with me.

I’d like to say I did the due diligence and carefully weighed the pros and cons of owning these beauties. But the truth is, I didn’t.

Luckily, the price of the clubs was lower than initially expected, thanks to the DTC (direct-to-consumer) model, and I soon became a proud owner of a set of MB irons (5-PW) and two bad-ass looking Covert wedges (52, 56).

After arranging for the clubheads to be delivered to Korea, I reached out to chat with Kyle Carpenter, founder and CEO of Ballistic.

Here’s what he had to say about the brand

“Ballistic Golf launched in July 2019, but I’ve been focused on the idea of starting the company for quite a while. The name was chosen because one definition of ballistic is ‘of or relating to the science of the motion of projectiles in flight.’ And that fits golf so perfectly. My main goal was to design clubs that golfers could perform with, while also keeping a classic look and feel to them.

“Confidence is a major key to good play on the golf course. At Ballistic Golf, we feel that our clubs radiate that feeling right from when you open the package to when you take your first swings. Players irons require confidence and consistency to play well with them, and having irons with a sleek minimalist design and surprisingly good feel on slight mishits, gives you that confidence.

“Wage War on Par’ is our mantra. We really wanted people to have the feeling that they can go out and kick par’s ass. So we made a club that looks and feels great and build on the confidence it gives you to execute the shots you know in your mind that you can hit.”

The hard pelican case and the Ballistic Golf dog tag were a great touch!

A match made in fitting heaven

Long before they arrived, I was snooping around various fitting shops in anticipation, looking through the many options of shafts. My goal was to find shafts that would best suit my game, while at the same time, elicit oohs and aahs from those who have yet to discover the brand.

After an in-depth fitting session with Jay Chung, a master club fitter with over 20 years’ experience, I had decided on Fujikura MCI graphite shafts. I was looking to try something lighter than my usual True Temper Dynamic Gold steel shafts, as I have struggled with elbow pain over the summer.

Jay Chung, master fitter at Fujikura center in Gangnam, Seoul.

During the club-making process, the first thing I noticed was how meticulous he was in preparation. After measuring every component from clubhead, to shaft, and grip, he proceeded to walk me through various factors and that can affect a club from performing at its optimum. He left nothing to chance and wrote everything down on a spec sheet that would be saved on file for my future fittings.

In the end, I was holding one of the finest-looking set of clubs I have ever owned.

The first Ballistic Golf irons in Korea—mission accomplished!

Ballistic performance

My efforts were rewarded with the appropriate amount of praise from friends and begrudging envy from the Joneses. But now it was time to put these beauties to the test.

The clean club head looks great at address, checking all the requisite boxes for a traditional muscle-back blade. Made from forged 1020 carbon steel, the heads are compact with a thin top line and sole. The progressive blade length is optimized throughout the set, and the reduced offset and classic loft make these clubs a true player’s iron.

I am by no means a superb ballstriker, but it wasn’t difficult to find the sweet spot with the new irons. Even for off-center strikes, the ball traveled farther than expected with immediate feedback. The MCI 80 stiff graphite shaft complimented the head and helped to absorb the vibrations from off-center hits.

7-irons comparison on indoor screen golf simulator

The numbers from the first simulator trials were quite comparable to my current gamer (Yonex N1MB with Matrix Ozik 70R graphite shaft), which is fitted with regular flex shafts a 1/2 inch longer.

The look and feel of any club are subjective, but the Ballistic irons felt great in my hands. At impact, it felt as if the ball stayed a fraction longer on the face, then rocket off with a soft yet firm feel and a pleasing sound.

I later compared both clubs on a TrackMan, and although I don’t have the pictures, the launch numbers and overall distance were much closer to my gamer. I attributed the improved performance to becoming more familiar with the new irons and shafts.

The Covert wedges performed as well as they looked. The cast head is made from 8620 carbon steel and framed the ball squarely at address. The sole design is designed for a variety of shot-making options around the green, and the laser-etched micro-grooves reminded me of Cleveland’s RTX-4 wedge.

The Patriot wedge has the same specs as the black Covert wedge and features a satin finish with an American flag etched on the back of the head.

Specs and price

So far, the design and presentation of the clubs were more than enough to draw the attention of everyone who saw them. The pairing of the club heads with the graphite MCI shafts continue to produce good numbers, and I can see them being in my bag for the start of the season.

The best feature aside from the eye-catching design was the price. A set of MB proto irons (4-PW) with KBS Tour steel shafts and Golf Pride Tour Velvet grips is priced at $749, and each wedge is available at $109.

When I inquired about his plans to add new club models, Kyle said he will focus only on the MB irons and the two types of wedges (RH only) for the time being; to keep things simple and traditional.

For more information, visit Ballistic.golf

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Today from the Forums: “Best sand-specific wedge?”

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Today from the Forums, we take a look at a discussion on sand-specific wedges. Alpha3 is on the hunt for a forgiving wedge for bunker play, and our members have been talking about what they have found to be the most effective wedges from the sand.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • harricli: “I play mostly desert golf with terrible sand; however, I have an old 64 degree sm5 Vokey that is about as automatic as possible out of a bunker. It goes in the bag if I’m playing anywhere that has real bunkers.”
  • nphillips0613: “Hi-Toe is great out of sand. I haven’t tried it but look into the Bigfoot hi Toe. 15° of bounce has to make it easier to get out of sand.”
  • Lepatrique: “The best place to start is a high bounce wedge. They tend to be much more forgiving from most bunkers, for most players. Low bounce wedges are great if you’re trying to nip a high shot off of a firm lie in the fairway, but tend to dig a bit in bunkers. I would recommend finding a couple high bounce wedges and seeing what you like the look/feel of best.”
  • uglande: “Depends on conditions. I like a low bounce, high loft club for firm sand (mostly what I play) and have a Vokey 62 in an M grind (8 bounce) for that. But for versatility, I would say take more bounce and keep loft high — like a 56-58 degree D grind Vokey (12 degrees bounce). That’s a great club from bunkers and plenty of bounce for full shots as well.”
  • BCULAW: “K Grind was easiest for me out of the sand. I used a little different technique with it, where, instead of splashing the ball out, I would turn the leading edge down a little almost like a chip. Ball came out fluffy and soft. Easy as pie.”

Entire Thread: “Best sand-specific wedge?”

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Today from the Forums: “Best 3-wood off the deck?”

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Today from the Forums shines the spotlight on 3-woods which are most effective off the deck. MarcellusW asks WRXers for their views on the best 3-wood from the fairway which is also forgiving, and our members have been posting their thoughts in our forum.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • uglande: “Think about a 4 wood instead of a 3 wood. But either way, PING fairways always test among the easiest to launch with the most spin. Also, the COBRA fairways are very easy to hit, and the rails on the sole are great for sketchy lies. If you want to save a few bucks, last year’s models of both the PING and COBRA fairways (G400, F9) are nearly identical to the ones offered this year (G410, SpeedZone) and can be had for a bargain price.”
  • leftylama: “Don’t be afraid to test a few, and don’t limit yourself to 2020 offerings. My 3 wood search has seen Cobra F6 and F9, Rogue and Epic, Ping G400, and TM M4 and M5. I found a Mizuno JPX850 in an old demo bag at the local shop, which I loved the look of and brought without hitting. Best 3 wood I’ve ever had.”
  • shoot4par: “Redundant but 4W. I know so many good & elite players that play a 16* head it’s not even funny. Look at tour edge. I love mine but don’t know if they’ve come along since then. I started with a CB2 and got the CB Pro Limited and re shafted it.”
  • HappyGilmore22: “I’ve never been able to consistently hit a 3 wood off the deck until I got a TS3 last year. Mine plays 14.25 deg, and it’s so easy to hit and forgiving. Actually bought it because it was great off the tee and was surprised how well I hit it from the fairway. Only use it once per round at my home course but have been getting to a long par 5 in 2 using this when I used to lay up with the dogleg over some trees into the green. Love it so much I’ve been contemplating getting the TS3 driver instead of ordering a SIM.”
  • 10of14: “This tends to be the Achilles heel of my golf bag. Now with the Cobra SZ fairway, I have a ton of confidence in launching high, long shots of the turf. The Tensei Blue shaft was the perfect fit, and I play mine at 14.5*. BTW, it is as good off the tee too. Good luck.”

Entire Thread: “Best 3-wood off the deck?”

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