From August 29-31, six GolfWRX Members took to TaylorMade Headquarters for an all-inclusive, once-in-a-lifetime trip to The Kingdom in Carlsbad, California. There, they participated in “The TaylorMade Forged Experience,” which included an iron fitting with TaylorMade’s Master Fitters, a personal session on GEARS (essentially an MRI for your golf swing), a set of TaylorMade’s new P-790 irons built to spec, meetings with TaylorMade’s engineering and marketing team, a behind-the-scenes tour of TaylorMade’s Headquarters and Manufacturing facilities, and two rounds at local golf courses with Team TaylorMade.
For a full breakdown of the experience, trip members updated this thread live from Carlsbad, and later left their full reviews of the TaylorMade P-790 irons.
Related: For pricing, availability and in-depth tech info on the P-790 irons, which are highlighted by their all-new SpeedFoam technology between the forged face insert and rear cavity, click here.
But the real question is, did the TaylorMade P-790s help the games of the GolfWRX Members? To answer that question, we had each member — who had handicaps ranging from 2 to 8 — bring their gamer set of irons out to The Kingdom during the fitting, where they tested the new P-790 irons versus their previous set. Read on to find out their thoughts and results.
Editor’s Note: Member reviews have been edited for brevity and grammar.
Mike Randall (lvmike)
Mike Randall out of Las Vegas came to the Kingdom with a set of Callaway Apex Pro irons. His miss, according to him, was a weak baby-fade that lost distance and trailed off to the right of his target; he thought it was due to an over-the-top move. His GEARS session showed that he was actually square with his path, but his club face did tend to stay open, thus causing that weak miss to the right that Mike was sensitive to.
With his Apex Pro irons, Mike averaged 106.2 mph of ball speed, a launch angle of 21 degrees and a spin rate of 6915 rpm. With the TaylorMade P-790 irons (Nippon Pro Modus105 Stiff shafts) that he was fit into, he saw a jump to 110.5 mph of ball speed with 20.6 degrees of launch and a spin rate of 6511 rpm. So while the launch and spin was slightly lower than his Apex Pro irons, he saw significantly faster ball speeds, leading to more distance.
IN MIKE’S OWN WORDS
I averaged 80 mph with my Apex 7 iron, and I averaged 84 mph with the P-790 iron. I went from XP 115 shafts to Modus 105 shafts. Trajectory was dead even at 20 degrees but picked up 8 yards on average in distance. “But it’s a degree stronger.” At my swing speed, a degree doesn’t equate to 8 yards.
The biggest plus for me is feel. While the P-790s are not as buttery as the P-730 (blade irons)… yes, even I striped that 5 iron that was making its rounds. That said, after 2 solid swings I knew it couldn’t get any better, so I passed it off to Inkoo (dude has a legit swing!). Anyway, the Apex have a notable click that’s not that muted forged feel that I get off of a Mizzy JPX Tour 900 (as a point of buttery reference). The P-790s are much closer to that. It’s got a ton of technology but it’s all hidden by a forged face attached to a ‘softer’ forged body.
Even though I was trying to bring my launch angle down, TJ (my fitter) showed me that with the same launch angle, the Modus 105 was getting me 4 mph faster club head speed, 400 rpm less spin and ball speed up to 111 mph. These 3 components were key to me because I was getting more distance without having to worry about run out on the greens.
Face on, I prefer the P790s. The overall shape is a bit more boxy, which I prefer and the top line merges smoothly into the hosel with a crook or dip (see Callaway Steelhead irons or Ping irons). I love that transition. The bottom line of the sole is fantastic. It’s not a hard straight line. It has just a bit of radius without getting too round.
The overall satin finish is a huge sell to me. Love that look. The slim piece on the back that’s polished reminds me of something else that’s pretty classy; my wedding band. It’s satin with a polished edge in the middle. We’ll see if these irons will stand the test of time like that has.
The sole is nothing special to look at…no v-sole like Srixon, no beveled edge like Mizuno, but it certainly doesn’t have to be. I realize this section is about LOOKS, but the performance of the sole has been fantastic so far. No high bounce thin shots to note and, well, I don’t hit too many fat shots (unless it’s a chip), but nothing there either. Speaking of which, I’ve chipped a few times with the AW, which is something I don’t do, due to sole interaction (chunk) and it’s batting 1,000 percent. May start incorporating that into the short game.
The hollow iron ‘look’ has no bearing at address. If anything, it hides it well for those who might think it would bother them. The bonus of the whole hollow iron look? Cleaning the clubs is a breeze! No nooks and crannies to clean if you’re a cavity back guy. My first shot with my 5 iron (hit the green to 15 feet with a punch shot from under a tree!) beared witness to that. I was irritated to be under that tree in the first place and it was broken up by, ‘wow, that was a nice surprise. Note! Quick and easy to clean!’
The lack of colors, badging, and various other potential tackiness is also a big plus. It’s just a clean look. TaylorMade knows players in the handicap range they’re targeting prefer that look. Good job there!
Overall, a really good looking club. Better than most when it comes to this category. Best looking iron ever in my bag? Maybe not, but definitely top 3 (MP-32s…c’mon guys. Although I’d argue that face to hosel transition is executed better by TM on the 790s).
I think they are legitimately one club longer.
To sum it up, the feel and sound are better than the Apex, the offset (or lack thereof) is just very nice to look down at, and the fact that I’ve picked up length and haven’t sacrificed any accuracy is just tremendous for me.
Bobby Stroud (imburningstarIV)
Texan Bobby Stroud came to the Kingdom donning a set of Mizuno MP-53 irons with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts. He says he prefers a fade, which made sense since his GEARS session showed an outside-to-in swing path and an open club face. Who can argue with wanting to play a reliable fade? Not me, and not his fitter.
After getting a baseline with his gamer 7 iron, his fitter had Stroud try a few different shafts — a KBS Tour and a Nippon Pro Modus to no avail. Stroud said he didn’t like the weighting of the KBS Tour or the kick point of the Modus. Back to the X100, and Stroud regained his comfort. If it ain’t broke…
Ultimately, Stroud gained 2 mph of club head speed and 4.3 mph of ball speed with the P-790 7-iron head vs. his Mizuno MP-53 iron with the same shaft. He also peppered his target, or at least the center line of Trackman, more often.
IN BOBBY’S OWN WORDS
I was fit for P790’s with Tour Issue X100’s, 2 degrees flat, 3-AW.
I really think anyone who played Mizuno MP-53’s, 54’s and into the H-4/5 will really be drawn to these.
Well it took me about four holes to start hitting anything good, but very impressed with the feel and looks. Now that said, these things are LONG, maybe not so much in the shorter irons, but as I go up through the set towards the long irons they get really long, like maybe I have 12-15 yard gaps in the set as opposed to the 10 yards I’m used to. Just going to take some rounds to figure things out, but forgiveness is incredible. I got away with a couple of stinkers today, including a 3 iron off the tee I know my MP-53 3 iron might not have even made the fairway.
So far I have been extremely surprised with how good and how solid the P790’s feel. I’m not sure I’ve ever had an iron this forgiving, and I thought my MP-53’s were forgiving irons, but this is just different, not to mention the confidence when you have a long iron in your hand from the fairway to just swing.
I would say 4-7 (3 iron is an absolute monster off the tee, and a huge weapon for my course) I’ve still not had enough shots with to get them figured out exactly, but getting there. Reactions from playing partners have been very positive, everybody loves the look and feel. I have to say I’m becoming more impressed with them each round.
As someone who has only ever just played your standard forged cavity back, I was impressed with the amount of tech packed into this iron. Seems to me like the SpeedFoam is the real breakthrough here, and is what is allowing these clubs to feel and look like a players iron. Now I have been known to be extremely whiny and critical of new club prices these days, irons and drivers seem to just be getting too expensive, but I’m going to be honest, after Tomo Bystedt’s presentation to us on the P790’s I’m kind of shocked they’re at the price point they are, and it seems very reasonable when you compare it to similar clubs.
I was really impressed with the feel of the P790, so solid.
I was fit for the same shafts I was playing, the lofts on the 790’s are stronger than my 53’s, but if I take same lofts and compare 6 iron example; MP-53 5 iron: 27 degrees and P790 6 iron: 26.5degrees, I was 185 yards tops in the Mizuno 5 iron, and had no problem hitting the 790 6 iron 195 yards, BUT with a bit higher flight, and it still hit and stopped no problem.
I haven’t encountered one single shot yet that had the “hot spot” feeling. I was actually thinking about that during testing and the couple of rounds I’ve played since because of the design. VERY consistent with the yardages so far.
My miss tends to be thin and the 790’s are WAY better than my Mizuno’s on thin shots, almost like it doesn’t even effect the shot, just comes off lower and still stops on the green. But noticeably more forgiving all around than what I was playing. I hit a lot of 3 irons off the tee and can honestly say I’ve had two fat ones end up OK, that I don’t think would have been saved from my MP-53 3 iron. I think a 10-12 handicap will be perfectly fine with these.
Jonathan Duncan (Duncan6226)
Long-hitting Jon Duncan from Indiana set the Kingdom’s range on fire with his 310+ yard drives, but we’re here to talk about irons. Using his Srixon Z-765 irons, with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts, he was carrying the ball 181 yards, but he was suffering from a sprinkling of “el hosels” and wayward strikes.
Fitter Jason Werner, who said shanks are often a product of length, put him into shorter iron shafts, and experimented with KBS Tour C-Taper shafts. Any trace of shanks disappeared, and even with shafts that were an inch shorter than his gamers, Duncan picked up nearly 4 mph of club head speed, 13 yards of carry, 12 yards of total distance, and was hitting the ball 19 feet higher at its peak height. He was launching the ball about 2 degrees higher, although spin dropped about 700 rpm.
Werner said he was a “perfect candidate for a fitting,” and Duncan said of the P-790 irons, “the feel and sound is absolutely outrageous.” The performance improvements also speak for themselves.
IN JONATHAN’S OWN WORDS
I was using standard loft, length, lie Srixon Z-765 irons with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts. My specs are now 1 inch short and 2 degrees flat with KBS Tour 130X C-tapers. I couldn’t be more excited about these new irons. I will say I am a half a club to a full club longer with the P790s vs the Z-765s even with them being shortened.
I told him that my main goal was to reduce the big misses and hopefully gain some consistency. I explained that my misses were a block and hook, with the occasional Shank. He had me warm up with my Srixon 765 7-iron with TI X100 shaft. After I was good and loose, he got some baseline Trackman numbers. I was pretty much spraying my 7 iron and even managed to hit a shank with it. Jason handed me a P790 7 iron with a TI X100 shaft. The results were much of the same, which did not surprise Jason as he figured the shaft was not good for my swing.
Jason handed me a P790 7 iron with the Modus 130X shaft that was an inch short. My dispersion improved and I liked the feel of the shaft. Trackman showed that the shaft was spinning too much. Jason switched out the shaft for a KBS C-taper X flex that was also an inch short. This combo felt great!
For me, I create quite a bit of lag with 100ish mph club head speed with 7 iron and my hand were moving roughly 16 mph. The typical ratio is hands travel 20 percent of the speed of the club. I was referred to as the “problem child” that would likely hate most shafts and be very reluctant to change once I found one that worked well with my swing.
I absolutely love the look and the feel of these irons. I can attest to what has been said about thin shots not being affected as much. The only issues I have come across so far are fliers out of the rough and I have a pretty big gap between my 50-degree wedge and my P790 PW. My 50-degree Callaway MD3 wedge carries about 120-125 yards but my P790 PW carries 150-155 yards. I’m going to look into adding the AW with the set. Other than that, the clubs have been great!
Inkoo Kang (inkoo4)
Inkoo Kang came to the Kingdom with a set of Titleist AP2 irons strapped with True Temper Dynamic Gold AMT S300 shafts. Based on his GEARS session, Inkoo had basically a straight-through swing path but was suffering from a toe down condition at impact and a closed face.
Due to his club head speed in relation to his hand speed, his fitter felt he needed a softer-tipped shaft. So they tried different shafts in the P-790 heads… a whole bunch of different shafts. Eventually, Kang found comfort with KBS Tour Flighted shafts, helping him square up the club and achieve greater consistency.
Compared to his gamer AP2s, Kang picked almost 1 mph in club head speed and over 6 mph of ball speed. He was launching it a touch higher, although spin rate dropped about 500 rpm. While he said his AP2s fit his eye nicely, he said the P-790s feel “really, really good.”
IN INKOO’S OWN WORDS
The GEARS fitting blew my mind to be honest. It was able to capture every aspect of where the club is throughout the swing, and compiled data about the club face at every point in the swing, specifically, set up and at impact. There were some things that surprised me, especially how much “toe down” I was at impact. It also measured the ratio of hand/grip speed to club head speed at impact, which for me, was on the lower end, and my fitter Kurt Donahoo immediately knew that something with a softer tip may help.
I got into a groove with the KBS Tour Stiff FLT, and ultimately that was what I was fit into.
The feel, especially at impact, with that shaft with superb. I loved how the club head felt as I released through impact, and the height and spin was really solid. I could feel the difference of the single wall tip construction for the KBS’s vs. the double wall construction of the DG’s. IMO, the KBS had a little more “snap” or “oopmh” as I got to impact, and I really enjoyed that feel.
They’re so easy to hit. Knowing that the P790’s were about a club longer than my AP2’s, I hit a lot of knock-downs and 3/4 swings.
I’m quite excited to get out and continue putting these irons to the test, pretty excited about them, and I think Taylormade has something very exciting in their hands with the SpeedFoam technology.
Daniel Billingsley (Dbill)
Power-player Daniel Billingsley came to the Kingdom with a set of Callaway Apex Pro irons, shafted with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 shafts. His irons were bent 2 degrees flat, but after his GEARS session, his fitter found he should have a standard lie angle or even 1 degree upright.
So he began hitting P-790s with a standard lie angle and in his gamer shaft. His fitter then experimented with Nippon Pro Modus 130X shafts, and Dan found his match.
Compared to his Callaway Apex Pro irons, Dan gained nearly 9 mph of ball speed, carried the ball 15.8 yards farther, gained 17 feet in peak height and dropped just 200 rpm. He also said the P-790s felt “more powerful off the face, and had way better performance.”
IN DANIEL’S OWN WORDS
I was fit into the P790 4-GW with Modus 130X. I was previously playing Callaway Apex Pro’s 5-AW, which were bent 1-degree strong.
These are the real deal guys, make sure to add them to the list of irons to try.
In short, the short irons from the 790 series performed just as well as my Apex Pro irons and felt very soft.
I was playing Apex Pro 2016 bent 2 degrees flat. I had them bent flat because my setup position is kind of low for my hands even though I am 6 feet tall. After going through GEARS, I learned that I did not need to be playing 2 degrees flat, but standard lie angle or 1 degree upright. Even though my static address with the club would warrant a flat lie angle, my dynamic position with the club face was different. Again, this was super eye-opening.
The first thing I noticed about the 790 irons were the soft feel and almost spring like face. They felt very powerful in the long irons.
I always want my 6-iron spinning in the 6k range, which both clubs did just that. You can see the increase in every category across the board, some were very significant like ball speed and carry distance. Again these are AVERAGE carry distances with a 6 iron from each, around 8-10 balls a piece. The 790’s which worked best for me were with the Modus Tour 130 X flex shaft. The dispersion really came together with these. I was playing tour issue x100’s in the my apex pro irons.
The Modus 130X brought dispersion in for me and through the GEARS fitting, we learned I needed a slightly softer tip than the X100 I was playing.
We tested both the X100 and Modus 130X in the 790’s and the Modus were the clear winner with spin rates, dispersion and feel for me. I had never tested the Modus before and was never fit before.
First thing I noticed is the high ball flights and increased distance in long irons. The short irons were very workable, up and down.
All in all, I am really liking the new irons and they feel really good. I will keep playing them.
Kyle Pidgeon (Kyle75)
Kyle Pidgeon came from Ohio to the Kingdom with a set of Callaway Apex irons, shafted with Project X 95 Flighted 6.0s. Kyle’s GEARS session showed his path was about 6 degrees in-to-out, and he either hit a straight ball or left it out to the right.
With this in mind, Kyle and his fitter began experimenting with different shafts in a TaylorMade P-790 iron head. Eventually, they stumbled on the True Temper AMT S400 shaft that Kyle felt comfortable and was performing well with.
Compared to his Callaway Apex irons, Kyle gained 1.5 mph club head speed, 2.1 mph of ball speed, 4 yards of carry and 3.4 yards of total distance with TaylorMade’s P-790 irons.
IN KYLE’S OWN WORDS
The irons play exactly like you would expect a forged players iron to play. They are not clunky in the slightest bit to me. I think we all found that we had a higher trajectory with these irons, but nothing ridiculous. I don’t think you would have to worry about your shots ballooning. The feel of these irons are good, the SpeedFoam gives them a great, soft feeling you get from forged irons. Definitely not a hollow feeling.
What I’ve found to help with the gaping between the PW to my wedges was to add the A-wedge to help the transition, so you don’t have such a big distance gap. My fitter at Miles of Golf (Derek Skidmore) recommended this and Tom Fisher, my fitter at The Kingdom, recommended the same.
My fitter was Tom Fisher and he was a real pleasure to work with. From the GEARS, we learned that a soft tipped shaft would work best for my swing and release. I had a case of one good swing and one bad swing going. We finally settled on True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 AMT shafts, 3/4 inches long and 1-degree upright. I was seeing about 4mph faster with the P790 vs my Callaway Apex CF 16’s.
My final thoughts about the P790 irons are that TaylorMade has created a players, distance club. The feel of these irons might remind you of PXG irons, but the SpeedFoam gives these clubs pop that the PXG do not have.
My ball speed was 4-5mph faster with the 790 and I was seeing about 6-8 more yards on carry.
I don’t feel that I’m trading any precision with the 790’s. The 790’s are very much players irons in my opinion, they just happen to have more distance than other player irons.
Discussion: The full TaylorMade Forged Experience thread