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2013 TaylorMade RocketBladez Tech Specs & Video

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TaylorMade RocketBladez Irons

The best part of TaylorMade’s RocketBladez irons isn’t the long distances that they fly, according to TaylorMade engineers. It’s the consistent distance that the irons fly on mishits.

TaylorMade has made long-flying irons in the past, one of their most popular being the two-year-old Burner 2.0 irons. But those and other “game-improvement” irons haven’t been popular with better players because they tend to cause problems with distance control. Irons such as the Burner 2.0s have what’s called a hotspot, a place above the center of the clubface that when struck with clean contact causes shots to fly longer-than-anticipated distances. This is bad because unlike drivers, skilled golfers aren’t trying to hit their irons as far as possible. They’re trying to hit them a controlled distance.

[youtube id=”QpmrytE3gLI” width=”600″ height=”350″]

Click here for more discussion in the “Tour/Pre-release equipment” forum.

Bret Wahl, TaylorMade’s vice president of R&D for irons, said that he and his team have spent the last five years designing irons with a higher coefficient of restitution, or COR. A high COR is achieved by making clubfaces thinner, increasing the spring-like effect and making the ball fly farther. But even though engineers were able to increase speed on shots hit on the center of the clubface, they struggled to add a similar amount of speed to mishits, especially shots hit on the stiff, lower portion of the face that is attached to the leading edge of the club.

The performance of the lower portion of the clubface is important for golfers because according to a TaylorMade study 72 percent of shots are struck below the center of the clubface. That means that almost three-quarters of all golf shots are not hit with optimal speed.

Last year, TaylorMade released its RocketBallz fairway woods and hybrids, the first of the company’s clubs to include its “Speed Pocket,” a slot on the bottom of the sole near the leading edge that increased COR. This added speed and forgiveness to the clubface, especially on shots struck below the center where the Speed Pocket functioned to make the lower portion of the clubface more flexible.

RocketBladez bring Speed Pocket technology to irons, and like the RocketBallz fairway woods and hybrids before them, the company is promising more speed and forgiveness. How much speed and forgiveness a golfer will get, however, depends on which model of RocketBladez irons they choose.

RocketBladez Tour Irons

TaylorMade’s two most popular irons on the PGA Tour are the company’s Forged MB and CB models, thick-faced irons that provide slow speeds on center strikes. But even though they lack the speed of distance irons on shots hit on the center of the face, the MBs and CBs are more consistent than other models on slight mishits and have no hotspots.

According to Gary Gallagher, market manager for metal woods for TaylorMade, there was no desire on Tour for substantially longer-flying irons. That’s why instead of giving RocketBladez Tour irons the “full steroid” treatment that designers gave the non-Tour RocketBladez, engineers held back, only adding “a quarter of a steroid” to their ingredient list.

 Click here to see the RocketBladez Tour irons Matt Bettencourt put in his bag at the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic. 

The RocketBladez Tour irons were designed to mimic the aesthetics of the Forged CBs. They have thin soles, a small amount of offset and similar blade lengths and toplines. But the Speed Pocket in the sole increases the COR to 0.819, adding at least 1 mph of ball speed to center strikes and making the sweetspot of the RocketBladez Tour five times larger than the Forged CBs (note: TaylorMade defines the sweetspot as the area of the clubface where there is less than a 1 mph drop off in speed).

Like the RocketBallz fairway woods and hybrids, the Speed Pocket increases ball speed as well as launch angle, which gives Tour players two options with RocketBladez Tour irons. They can:

  1. Hit the RocketBladez Tour irons higher and a little further than their current irons (the current average off added distance according to Gallagher is 8 yards).
  2. Bend the lofts stronger, giving them an iron that flies as high as their current model but goes substantially further.

The RocketBladez Tour 3 iron through 7 iron are cast from 17-4 stainless steel, which adds the necessary stiffness for construction. To make the irons feel softer, the Speed Pocket is filled with a special polyurethane developed by 3M that still allows the pocket to flex and reduces vibrations. It also limits debris that could enter the pocket.

The Speed Pocket is not used in the 8 iron, 9 iron, pitching wedge and “attack wedge,” however, because Gallagher said the speed pocket becomes less active and thus less important as loft is added to the club. Since the short irons are slotless, they can be cast from a softer material, 431 stainless steel. The distance gap between the 7 iron and 8 iron is bridged gradually by varying the different variables of the irons — mainly loft, face thickness and the depth of the speed pocket throughout the set.

RocketBladez Irons

 

Click here for more photos of the RocketBladez irons 

The RocketBladez (non-Tour) irons lose the wacky geometry of last year’s RBZ irons in favor of a more traditional game-improvement iron shape, resembling the Burner 2.0 irons at address. They have the same COR as the Tours, but they have thicker soles, thicker top lines, more offset and a longer blade profile to support a deeper center of gravity (CG) position. This makes makes them more longer and more forgiving than the Tours and 5 mph faster than the Burner 2.0s, which accounts for double-digit distance gains.

Like the Tours, the RocketBladez employ a slot in the 3 through 7 irons and no slot on the 8 iron, 9 iron, pitching wedge and A-wedge. They are also available in a 55-degree sand wedge and 60-degree lob wedge that use TaylorMade’s ATV sole grind. Take a look at the specs below for more information.

Click here for more discussion in the “Tour/Pre-release equipment” forum.

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Zak is the Editor-in-Chief of GolfWRX.com. He's been a part of the company since 2011, when he was hired to lead GolfWRX's Editorial Department. Zak developed GolfWRX's Featured Writer Program, which supports aspiring writers and golf industry professionals. He played college golf at the University of Richmond (Go Spiders!) and still likes to compete in tournaments. You can follow Zak on Twitter @ZakKoz, where he's happy to discuss his game and all the cool stuff that's part of his job.

14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. john

    Jan 3, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    Just received a flyer from my local golf store abot a pre-order for rocketbladez max irons. Speed slot is in all clubs from 4-AW. Anyone heard of this or seen the sceps?

  2. Falcon

    Dec 16, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    was in Bangkok recently…accidentally got to shoot on a swing simulator…i normally hit my 7 iron 150 yards on average with my R11 irons with KBS 90 R…the fitter gave me a japanese manufactured forged cavity blade with a Miyazaki C. Kua shaft…first shot went 170 yards…i was dumbfounded…then hit a few more and similar result…then bought a set of Rocket Bladez and had the same miyazaki shafts installed..and now my buddies are utterly confused how on earth i manage to hit so much longer

  3. paul

    Nov 27, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    I just tried these at my local golf shop and i didn’t find the distance to be a huge gain. maybe 1 club over my current Adams a1s but the ball took off a lot faster and higher. mishits low on the face were still very good. Distance control was very good. i hit my first 5-6 shots within 2 yards of each other. i don’t think these live up to the hype but i will buy a set when i can afford new clubs in a few months.

  4. Jeff

    Nov 24, 2012 at 3:23 am

    I just tested the new rocketbladez against my i20s. Rocketbladezs launched 2 degrees higher, spun between 800 to 1200 rpm less had a 10 foot higher peak trajectory and had a 2 degree steeper descent angle comparing an i20 5 iron to a rocketbladez 6 iron both having similar lofts. Both were roughly the same max distance but my thin mishits were 50 percent closer to my max distance with rocketbladez. My i20 6 iron has 3.5 degrees more loft than rocketbladez 6 iron and the same peak trajectory but was about 12 yds shorter with about 1500rpm more spin. I would like to try the rocketbladez with a dynamic gold to see if it performs better than the rocket fuel shaft. Either way distance is increased with the .819 cor face but the distance consistency is what will sell this club to mid and low handicappers.

  5. Pingback: GolfWRX.com – 2013 TaylorMade RocketBladez Tech Specs & Video | Golf Products Reviews

  6. Lee

    Nov 14, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    Just love the 6 iron comparison chart on the TM website – 6.9 yards longer than Ping i20. Considering the RocketBlade has a loft of 26.5 and the Ping i20 30 degrees aren’t we comparing a 5 iron with a 6! Then of course where it matters the scoring clubs we get larger loft spacings to fit them in. I guess the good thing is you don’t need the 3 & 4 now as they really equal 2 & 3 and you can adjust the bottom of you’re bag accordingly.

    • Justin

      Nov 15, 2012 at 1:34 pm

      Lee, you are correct seeing the difference in lofts, but what I’ve heard is that even though it’s a lower loft the ball flys higher than say a pings 6 iron for example.

      • NG

        Nov 15, 2012 at 8:54 pm

        Agree. Lee, if you had of watched the video attached to this you would find that there are many variables to determine what loft you place on each iron…you can’t and can never just compare lofts! Why does someone hit a 12 degree driver further than a 10 degree…have a think about it buddy

  7. paul

    Nov 13, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    “more longer”…

    • Christian

      Nov 17, 2012 at 12:45 pm

      Correction, it “makes makes them more longer”

  8. stephen

    Nov 13, 2012 at 11:41 am

    Why would you launch a product that can’t be bought for 3 months? I would like to try the tour version but would normally have my next seasons equipment in the bag over the winter to get used to it.

    • chris

      Nov 15, 2012 at 11:54 am

      Steven … I agree with you completely. I do a Super Bowl trip to Vegas end of January/early February and almost always the new stuff comes out a week later. Why not release before the holidays and take advantage of the buying season? Idiots….

      • Al

        Nov 17, 2012 at 2:28 pm

        Another expert with insults and all of the answers. Just maybe these companies pay a bunch of people a bunch of money to do their marketing analysis and it has been determined that holiday releases do not have maximum effect on sales. They likely have determined that the lemmings will fall for the marketing hype at another time of year and make their annual game-changing purchase.

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Members’ Choice: The top-5 drivers that golfers want to test in 2018

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Golf’s “off-season” is upon us and the PGAM Show in Orlando is quickly approaching in January, which means it’s time to start thinking about the upcoming driver releases.

We’ve seen a few companies launch their “2018” lines already — such as Cobra with its new King F8 and F8+ — while speculation swirls around the companies who have yet to announce their newest products. For instance, we’ve spotted a new “TaylorMade M4″ driver, and a new “Rogue” driver from Callaway. If history repeats itself and Titleist remains on a two-year product cycle, then we’ll see a replacement for the 917 line sometime in 2018, as well.

The question we posed to our GolfWRX Members recently was, which new or unreleased driver has you most excited heading into 2018? Below are the results and a selection of comments about each driver.

Click here to join the discussion!

Note: The comments below have been minimally edited for brevity and grammar. 

Titleist (7.39 percent of votes)

BDoubleG: I know it’s well down the road, but the Titleist 919 is what I’m most looking forward to. I played the 910 until this year and loved it, but I realized that I wasn’t getting much in the way of distance gains with the 915/917, and I was just leaving too many yards on the table. I know it’s a cliche, but I was seeing considerable gains with my G400LS, then my M2 I have now.

I feel like Titleist has been hurting in the driver market share category (and probably elsewhere), as I think a lot of people think that the 913, 915 and 917 have been minor refreshes in a world where almost everyone else has been experimenting with structure (jailbreak, turbulators) or with COG (spaceports, SLDR, G-series extreme back CG). I think if Titleist is going to recapture some of their market share, they will need to start taking an interest in stepping outside of their comfort zone to catch up with everyone else. Maybe I’m hoping for too much, but a D2-style head with ample forgiveness and low-spin (maybe a back-front weight), with the same great sound of the 917, and hopefully getting rid of the “battery taped to the sole” look would be a huge hit in my book.

I’m really looking forward to seeing what they come up with…and I hope I’m not disappointed.

Mizuno GT-180 or otherwise (8.87 percent of votes)

mrmikeac: After thoroughly testing the Mizuno ST-180 and seeing the distance gains I was getting from my Epic, I can’t wait for the GT to get here. Cobra would be next in line for me, but Mizzy really did something special with that JPX-900 and it seems to look like they’re going the same route with these drivers. Excellent feel, forgiveness and simple but effective tech. 

Callaway Rogue, Rogue Sub Zero or otherwise (17.73 percent of votes)

cvhookem63: It seems like we’re not getting a lot of “NEW” this time — just some same lines “improved” on a little. I’m interested to try the Rogue line and M3/M4 line to see if they improved on their previous models. The Cobra F8+ is intriguing to me, as well. I’d like to compare those three to see how they stack up. 

tj7644: Callaway Rogue. It’s gotta make me hit straighter drives right? It sure can’t be my swing…

Equipto: Callaway Rogue Sub Zero, and that’s about it. Most of my testing will be with shafts I presume. 

bangabain: Excited to give the Rogue a shot, although with the hope that there’s a little more fade bias despite the lack of sliding weight.

TaylorMade M3, M4 or otherwise (27.09 percent of votes)

DeCuchi: TaylorMade M3 of course, and the F8+. I’m more interested in the fairways this year though. TaylorMade M4 fairways and Rogue fairways are top of my list. 

elwhippy: TaylorMade M3 and M4. Not owned a TM driver for several seasons and want something with a bit more power than the Ping G Series…

cradd10: M3. Still rocking an OG M1. Super solid driver. Curious to see if the updated version can beat it. 

Cobra F8/F8+ (33.66 percent of votes)

WAxORxDCxSC: I sure want to like the F8 based on looks (I understand I’m possibly in the minority on that one at GolfWRX).

TWshoot67: For me, it’s three drivers: the Cobra F8, F8+ and TM M4. 

The General: Cobra F8 is going to dominate everything, just wait, on the F8

Ace2000: Definitely F8/F8+. Love my Bio Cell+ and can’t help but wonder if these perform as good as they look. 

Click here to join the discussion!

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True Linkswear goes back to its spikeless roots

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True Linkswear is getting back to its roots, while expanding the singular golf shoe brand’s reach at the same time.

The Tacoma, Washington, company’s Director/Partner, Justin Turner, told us that with the release of the two new models, the company is course-correcting from a move toward the mainstream, spiked golf shoes, and a loss of identity.

In addition to durability issues, Turner said the core True Linkswear customer didn’t appreciate the shift — or the deluge of models that followed.

So, in a sense, the two-model lineup both throws a bone to True devotees and casts a wider net.

Turner and company asked: “If we wanted to restart the brand….what would we value?” A commitment to the brand’s core outsider identity, style as articulated in early models, and an emphasis on quality led Turner on multiple trips to China to survey suppliers in early 2017. Eventually, the company settled on a manufacturing partner with a background in outdoor gear and hiking shoes.

“We’ve spent the last few years scouring the globe for the best material sourcing, reputable factories, advanced construction techniques, and time-tested fundamentals to build our best shoes yet. No cheap synthetics, no corners cut.”

Eventually, True settled on two designs: The Original, which, not surprisingly, has much in common with the zero-drop 2009 industry disrupting model, and the Outsider: a more athletic-style shoe positioned to attract a broader audience.

True Linkswear Original: $149

The company emphasizes the similarity in feel between the Original and early True Linkswear models, suggesting that players will feel and connect to the course “in a whole new way.”

  • Gray, White, Black colorways
  • Waterproof full grain leather
  • Thin sole with classic True zero-drop heel
  • 12.1 oz
  • Sockfit liner for comfort
  • Natural width box toe

True Linkswear Outsider: $169

With the Outsider, True Linkswear asked: “What if a golf shoe could be more? Look natural in more environments?”

  • Grey/navy, black, white colorways
  • EVA midsole for lightweight cushioning
  • Full grain waterproof leather
  • 13.1 oz (thicker midsole than the Original)

The company envisions both shoes being worn on course and off.

True Linkswear introduced the more durable and better-performing Cross Life Tread with both models. Turner says the tread is so good, you can wear the shoes hiking.

Both models are available now through the company website only. True Linkswear plans to enter retail shops slowly and selectively.

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Sean O’Hair and Steve Stricker’s Winning WITBs from the 2017 QBE Shootout

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The team of Steve Stricker and Sean O’Hair closed the QBE Shootout with an 8-under 64 for a two-shot win over Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. O’Hair made a timely eagle on the par-5 17th hole at Tiburon Golf Club to lock up the first place prize of $820,000 ($410,000 each).

Here’s a look at their bags.

Sean O’Hair

Driver: Titleist 917D2 (9.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White Prototype 60TX

3 Wood: Titleist 917F2 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana S+ Limited Edition 70TX

5 Wood: Titleist 915F (18 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana S+ Limited Edition 80TX

Irons: Titleist 716 T-MB (4-iron), Titleist 718 AP2 (5-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM7 prototype (50, 54 and 58 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: Scotty Cameron prototype

Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1

Related: Sean O’Hair WITB

Steve Stricker

Driver: Titleist 913D3 (8.5 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Motore Speeder VC 8.2X

3 Wood: Titleist 915F (13.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Rayon Tensei CK Pro White 80TX Prototype

Hybrid: Titleist 816H1 (17.0 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Motore Speeder VC 9.2X

Irons: Titleist 718 CB (3-9)
Shafts: KBS Tour Prototype

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM6 (46, 54 and 60 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 w/ Sensicore

Putter: Odyssey White Hot 2

Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

Related: Steve Stricker WITB 2017

Note: We originally reported Stricker had a Scotty Cameron putter in the bag, per Titleist’s equipment report. Stricker did, however, have a Odyssey White Hot putter in play during the final round of the QBE Shootout.

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