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GolfWRX Members Choice: The best blade irons of 2018

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We asked GolfWRX members for their three selections for best blade irons of 2018 based on their testing of the forged offerings from 17 different manufacturers.

And as all forum members generate in excess of 120 mph clubhead speed and need to carve the ball to tucked pins, blades are the only choice, so the data set is sure to be solid (kidding!). But really, WRX members are both discerning and carry handicaps lower than the general golfing population, so OEMs ought to (and do) take note of their feedback.

With the votes tallied, it’s time to take a look at the top-five vote getters of the bunch. And many thanks to all who voted! (See the thread here)

No. 5: Srixon Z 965 (8.19%)

The better player’s weapon from Srixon’s Z-65 lineup, Srixon’s Z 965 beat out some bigger name blades. Building on the popular Z 945, the 1020 carbon steel 945 irons feature V.T. Soles for improved turf interaction and five percent larger grooves.

Check out our review of the Z 965 here.

No. 4: TaylorMade P730 (10.43%)

TaylorMade’s successor to the 2014 TP MB iron line was developed in collaboration with TaylorMade staffers, and it looks like GolfWRX members liked the result. Clean, compact,with a smaller blade profile and milled rear channel, the P730 is popular both on Tour and in the forums.

Related: TaylorMade expands forged iron offerings with P730, P790

No. 3: Callaway Apex MB (16.38%)

Another club with a long release cycle, Callaway made the faithful wait for an update to the 2013 Apex MB. These irons have the shortest blade lengths, the thinnest soles and the smallest overall heads in the vast line of Callaway irons. They’re designed for maximum workability, for tour-desired turf interaction, and to cut through the thick rough that tour players face week-in and week-out on Tour, as we wrote in our review last October.

Related: Callaway finally launches Apex MB

No. 2: Titleist 718 MB (17.67%)

A favorite of purists everywhere, Titleist’s traditional-looking 718 MB irons scream “classic,” but the company optimized CG locations for maximum shotmaking possibilities using capabilities that those who first forged similar-looking irons could only have dreamed of. Big and bold “Titleist” stamping was a hit, too.

Related: Titleist 718 MB irons

No. 1: Mizuno MP-18 (27.16%)

Nearly 10 percentage points more preferred than the No. 2 iron, the Mizuno MP-18 is the clear winner. The least forgiving/most workable member of the mix-and-match MP-18 family (MP-18, MP-18 SC, MP-18 MMC, MP-18 MMC Fli-Hi) is immensely popular. The irons are forged from 1025E Pure Select Mild Carbon (a departure from some recent boron offerings), and are smaller than both the MP-4 and MP-5 models. WRX members were particularly drawn to the irons’ simple, clear, classic look.

Related: Mizuno brings the family closer together

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44 Comments

44 Comments

  1. toyzrx

    Jun 20, 2018 at 12:02 am

    Such as the women in our lives, we’d all be better off with something a little bit chunky and forgiving,

  2. tlmck

    Jun 12, 2018 at 3:13 pm

    It’s not a muscleback, but I prefer the Maltby TE.

  3. David Floyd

    Jun 7, 2018 at 9:50 am

    When is a survey going to happen that would be helpful to the majority of consumers?

    • joro

      Jun 8, 2018 at 11:46 am

      Good question, and the answer is never. It is all about the tour and scratch players, of which there very few. Fact is todays MB is much more forgiving easy to hit then the ikd days, yet that is all we had and learned to play with until PING came along.

      It is past time some of the smaller companies get in on the act also and not just the big ones that spend Millions to convince we should play their clubs.

  4. The dude

    Jun 7, 2018 at 9:35 am

    Bring back the TN 87’s!!

  5. rex235

    Jun 7, 2018 at 12:43 am

    Both the Taylor Made P-730s and the Mizuno MP-18s are RH Only.

    The 2018 NCAA Champion uses LH Titleist AP2s.

  6. Dave r

    Jun 6, 2018 at 3:27 pm

    No surprise at all .

  7. SV

    Jun 6, 2018 at 8:29 am

    I vote for Titleist and Callaway. Being left-handed they are the only two of the five I have access to and it’s not any better with other brands. As a generalization, it seems most manufacturers think left-handers are all hacks and only need SGI clubs.

    • Thomas A

      Jul 6, 2018 at 10:19 am

      No, they are just a small enough market to ignore.

  8. S

    Jun 6, 2018 at 8:25 am

    I’ve been gaming my MP-37 for about 10 years but I would have to go with Apex MB if I was forced to replace mine because they look the closest to MP-37 especially at address. And I miss the M logo… not a huge fan of this new hip younger gen runbird.

    • DS

      Jun 6, 2018 at 9:29 pm

      I hate the term ‘gaming’.

      • Boyo

        Jun 7, 2018 at 6:17 am

        +1000

      • The dude

        Jun 7, 2018 at 9:33 am

        Not when he’s working on his dead arm traj….

      • Reggie

        Jun 8, 2018 at 9:49 am

        I hate the term “gaming” too for some reason, but I have to agree that in the lexicon of golf logos, the run bird is a nonsequitur.

      • Funkaholic

        Jun 22, 2018 at 2:18 pm

        Settle down Francis

  9. Mick

    Jun 5, 2018 at 10:40 pm

    Titleist , by far number 1. Just as Webb Simpson !. Wins on tours all over the world, Mizzy is good but not near the wins the Titleist has.

    • joro

      Jun 6, 2018 at 11:29 am

      Do you thing that one of the reasons Titleist wins more is because they have 50 players and Mizuno only has a couple ? Could it be ? MBs today are much easier to hit than in the old days, and that is all we had.

    • Michael H

      Jun 6, 2018 at 12:47 pm

      Wins would partially be a result of sheer numbers of playing them no?

    • Brian

      Jun 6, 2018 at 1:10 pm

      Perhaps because Titleist has nearly 40 guys on staff and Mizuno has, what, two or three?

    • Dragos Racolta

      Jun 6, 2018 at 2:55 pm

      Titleist is used more frequently on tour because the players have contracts with Titleist. Mizuno doesn’t pay as much, or as many. However, look at any players without contracts, and most will use Mizuno irons.

    • Boyo

      Jun 7, 2018 at 6:18 am

      Professional club ho’s don’t count.

    • Funkaholic

      Jun 22, 2018 at 2:21 pm

      This is just a stupid comment, I know a couple of club makers on the tour and even they will tell you there is nothing like a Mizuno forging. Taylormade has far more divers on tour than anyone so they have the most wins, it is a meaningless metric.

  10. Dan

    Jun 5, 2018 at 6:20 pm

    I hit them all and still prefer my MP 29’s

  11. shawn

    Jun 5, 2018 at 3:12 pm

    What about all those hollow blades filled with jello… and those with skrews allover the heads? They look like ‘blade’ irons too.

  12. Jeff Smythe

    Jun 5, 2018 at 2:39 pm

    At the end of the day – how much difference is there between all these and and the Nike blades of the late 90s & early 2000s – (VRs, VR red, TW VRs etc) and each other ? (gotta love frequent reference to “sole redesign for optimum turf interaction” – is Terry Koehler silently laughing?)

    • Justin

      Jun 5, 2018 at 10:25 pm

      Jeff – I doubt it, but I hope he is. . . his Fort Worth 15’s are exceptional clubs and are a whole lot more fun to play than the MP18’s

    • Bill Wood

      Jun 6, 2018 at 12:16 pm

      Jeff – there’s just so little difference in the top 3. The Titleist really does remind me of the design a decade ago. In fact I’d be hard pressed to tell the difference, other than the large Titleist logo on the back.

  13. Scott Longmore

    Jun 5, 2018 at 2:06 pm

    I have the MP18’s and love them. I love the clean look and great feel of them.

  14. Jeff

    Jun 5, 2018 at 2:01 pm

    I think the Cobra MB should be in this mix also, very solid club blew the Titleist and Srixon out of the water.

  15. Shaker

    Jun 5, 2018 at 1:37 pm

    Tested all and mizuno was dead last. Mp-18s way overrated. Surprisingly the Apexs were tied for top with the srixons. I play miura professionals so i know what im talking about.

    • HAHA

      Jun 5, 2018 at 3:30 pm

      “I play miura professionals so i know what im talking about”… do you realize how stupid that sounds?

    • Realist

      Jun 5, 2018 at 8:28 pm

      Cuz any guy playing miuras is wayyy better than someone else. Get over yourself

      • Quit the BS

        Jun 5, 2018 at 8:50 pm

        Exactly! Shaker you play Miuras so your opinion is supposedly more reputable than those that don’t?! Are you for real!? I play Miuras too and the Mizuno MP-18’s are definitely phenomenal and in my opinion tops of this list. Unreal the arrogance of some people. And I must know what I’m talking about too because of what I play…

    • Mizzle Fizzle

      Jun 5, 2018 at 11:27 pm

      At this point it’s not even… oh whatever.

    • joro

      Jun 6, 2018 at 11:32 am

      Just curious, but just what do you know about clubs, design, what makes them work, weights, shafts, etc. Please tell us.

    • Nigel Kent

      Jun 12, 2018 at 2:26 pm

      I play Miuras too , and sometimes I can break 140 .

  16. Travis

    Jun 5, 2018 at 10:12 am

    I would’ve put P730 and Cally’s far ahead of the Mizuno blades. I think Mizuno’s MP18 are one of their worst blade design so far, but clearly I’m in the minority there…

    • 2putttom

      Jun 5, 2018 at 11:13 am

      not in the minority . 14 days, 198 votes cast out of thousands of wrxer’s. In that time period MP 18 got 27% of 17 choices.

    • Realist

      Jun 12, 2018 at 11:12 pm

      Agreed….but 730’s, really? Come on guy…get over the hype.

  17. Woody

    Jun 4, 2018 at 8:15 pm

    What a snoozer list..might as well be a billboard ad.

  18. James

    Jun 4, 2018 at 7:54 pm

    I would put Titleist at 5 and move the others up one. Mizuno is the real winner I think.

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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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