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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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Equipment

TaylorMade SIM and SIM Max driver review

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New for 2020, TaylorMade has launched the new SIM driver family. First the lower spinning SIM then a more forgiving higher spinning SIM Max and a SIM Max D head to help draw the ball for those that need it.

We have seen the tour players using all three of the SIM drivers.

Technical Details

The SIM, SIM Max, and SIM Max D drivers from TaylorMade feature an asymmetric sole shape as well as a redesigned Inertia Generator. The asymmetric sole shape of the drivers is designed to reduce drag while providing faster clubhead speed, with the redesigned Inertia Generator redistributing weight at the very low-and-back portion of the club in a bid to provide improved forgiveness.

The SIM Max D clubhead contains a heel-bias internal weight with a topline masking to make the clubhead look more open at address to help golfers who struggle with a right-miss.

Other features of the SIM, SIM Max, and SIM Max D drivers includes a speed injected twist face, inverted cone technology, a thru-slot speed pocket, multi-material construction and an adjustable loft sleeve.

Exclusive to the SIM driver is sliding weight technology which allows face angle and flight bias preferences of up to +/-2° loft change and up to +/-20 yards of draw-fade bias.

(Top Left to Right) 2020 TM SIM Max & 2019 TM M6, (Bottom Left to Right) 2020 TM SIM & 2019 TM M5

Reviews

Here are the individual reviews from GolfWRXers’ trip to The Kingdom.

Tester: Rob “osubuckeyes691

I’ll start by saying this. SIM is very good. It’s not a magical 30 yards like everyone is talking about here. That comes from being properly fit. But it is good, and with a proper fitting I’d be shocked if you couldn’t find at least slightly better numbers with SIM over any gamer you have.

My current set up is a Callaway Epic Flash SZ Double Diamond with a Fuji Ventus Black 6x. LOW LOW LOW combo…and I still hit it high haha. I live in the low to mid 170s ball speed with spin sometimes getting up to 2700 2800. Drives I hit well, spin around 2100. My miss is a big push slice.

But it is good, and with a proper fitting I’d be shocked if you couldn’t find at least slightly better numbers with SIM over any gamer you have. -Rob

I ended up being fit in to a SIM 9* with the new KBS Tour Driven 70 Category 5. This shaft is super interesting. It’s really hard for me to describe but it has feel, and a lot of it. Spin dropped to about 2400 on my miss right and really, that’s what I was hoping would happen. I wanted something that when I missed, wouldn’t lose me 30 yards. We put the weight in the heel and it really did help straighten out the miss. Huge advantage for me. I knew as someone who swings 120ish I wasn’t going to pick up 20 yards. I wanted to reduce my miss and that’s exactly what SIM was able to do for me.  Here is a link to his post in the forums.

Tester: Will “fillwelix

For my driver fitting, I was with Perry, who was a blast to get to work with. I started by hitting my gamer on Trackman, talking with Perry about what my misses usually are, and what I wanted to get out of the fitting.

I usually don’t have a problem with distance so I told him the biggest thing I was looking for was a tighter dispersion. I don’t have the trackman numbers yet but with my gamer, I was averaging about 110 club head speed, 160-something ball speed, 270-275 carry, 285-290 total. Launching a bit too high but spin was okay.

The thing was seriously nuclear. My club head speed bumped up only about 1 or 2 MPH, but the launch and spin were incredible, as well as ball speed. I topped out at 170 ball speed, which I had never gotten before. -Will

We tried the 10.5 SIM in a Ventus Black 6x, and he gave me a couple tips in my setup, because my AOA was something like 4 or 5 degrees up. The thing was seriously nuclear. My club head speed bumped up only about 1 or 2 MPH, but the launch and spin were incredible, as well as ball speed. I topped out at 170 ball speed, which I had never gotten before. Carrying 295-300, total of 315-320. One shot carried the fence of the driving range at The Kingdom.

Spent some time going through different shafts to see if there was an improvement, played with weights, etc. but the best numbers were with the 10.5 SIM with Ventus Black 6x and the weight all the way in the toe, because my miss is usually left. Here is a link to his post in the forums.

Tester: Nick “n_rones

I started off with my fittings working with Joe. After some warmup we started with the drivers. Coming in I was playing a Srixon Z785 with a Hzrdus black 6.5 70 gram shaft at 45 inches.

I’m a really tough fit because I have an unusual swing and hit down on the ball heavily with every club. My AOA with the driver was between 5 and 7 down which is pretty nuts I always knew I hit down on it but not that much. I’m still waiting on the trackman date to be emailed to me but with my own driver I was somewhere in the neighborhood of 109 swing speed with a launch angle of 4 degrees and 4000 spin (Ridiculous I know right).

I was able to take it on the course with me that afternoon and hit 12-14 fairways a new record for me and ever ball was easily 15-20 yards longer than I was used to. -Nick

His main goal for me was to get launch up and spin down. The first club he handed me was the Sim 10.5 turned up to 11.25 with a Graphite design IZ 7x. Instantly my launch angle increased and spin dropped. We then went through a few other shafts like graphite design ad di 7x. We came back to the IZ and with a quick change in tee height we ended up where we wanted. We knew with my angle of attack we were never going to get me to super low spin and high launch we just wanted to get it to a manageable number.

By the end of the fit I was hitting the sim with the iz under 3k spin with a couple down at 2500 and 9 degree launch increasing my carry from the 244 range up to the 260-265 range on good swings and we neutralized my cut massively. I was fortunate enough to finish my fit while other guys were still busy so we went right into the build shop and he built me my driver on the spot and gave me a super cool kingdom exclusive headcover. I was able to take it on the course with me that afternoon and hit 12-14 fairways a new record for me and ever ball was easily 15-20 yards longer than I was used to. Most of that is me never being through a proper fitting before but a big factor was I was able to get into the sim head with high loft but it was a great spin killing head for me. Here is a link to his post in the forums.

Tester: “jimbonecrusher”

I am one that gained a good bit of ball speed from getting fit for the SIM driver. My gamer is a Titleist 915D3 9.5* with a Rogue Silver 70X. I wasn’t fit for the driver as I just bought the parts off of the BST. I always felt that I lost yardage due to high spin. The Trackman didn’t lie as I was getting 166mph ball speed and 3000 rpm of spin on well-struck shots. Where this posed a problem was when I was off-center, the ball would be a high right spinner that would lose a lot of distance. 

Where I saw great gains was in dispersion. TwistFace just flat out works. Toe shots came back to closer to center, and heal shots faded right back towards center. I also didn’t lose as much yardage. I did pick up about five mph in ball speed. There are a plethora of reasons for this gain and the resulting 20 yard gain in ball flight.

Some could attribute the gain to almost 30 feet of height in ball flight. It could also be because there was 300 less RPM, or over a degree increase in launch angle. Either way, it has proven to me that getting fit by a knowledgeable fitter is crucial. This is the first time that I have been fit for a driver. All the expectations of mine going into this fitting have been met.

The SIM is forgiving. The SIM is aerodynamically superior to what I have been playing. The SIM just flat out performs for me because it doesn’t balloon, it is forgiving on mishits with good direction and ball speed, and it reduced my spin rate. – 

The sounds of the SIM line is amazing. The solid “thwack” sound it makes at contact is extremely welcoming. Gone are the days of high pitched aluminum baseball bat sounds. Now, some sounds just sound perfect to me. Johnny Wunder posted a video on Instagram of me hitting a driver, and you can hear the sound. Here is a link to his post in the forums.

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Equipment

Building the perfect half set

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Beyond physically putting clubs together, one of my favorite games to play is trying to build the ideal half set, and taking it out for some testing on the course. The goal is to see how few clubs I can play with before it becomes a detriment to my game and my scoring—while still having fun trying to hit all kinds of creative shots along the way

Many golfers have, at some point, played the “three-club challenge” (three including a putter), but that often becomes an exercise in caution and course management instead of what many would consider a usual round of golf. Although from the conversations I’ve had with golfers about trying out an extremely reduced set, the consensus generally ends up at, “I shot one of my best scores in a long time.”

I’m not sure how that sentiment potentially relates to handicap or not, but one way or the other, it’s a great way to lighten the load and have some fun thinking differently about your shots.

My ideal half set consists of 7-8 clubs including a putter, but in some cases, I will take it all the way down to 5-6. I love having the option to play with a full set and most times do, but I have gone weeks playing only with my half set and don’t see a noticeable variation in my scoring.

It actually makes me question why I carry a full set and in the grand scheme of golf. I think it would be one of the most entertaining experiments to have a PGA Tour event where players are limited to seven clubs. It would have the potential to make gearheads and the general fan engage in an interesting conversation.

Whatever way you choose to build your set, this is a quick start guide to play your best half set golf.

Thinking Your way Through Building a Half Set

  • The Putter: This is the one club that probably isn’t going anywhere (unless you are a virtuoso putting with a bellied wedge). You are going to be using this club on every hole, and depending on your comfort level hitting certain shots, you might end up using it further off the green than normal—cheers to the imagination! Build out from here, because shots inside 100 yards are still going to take up the majority of strokes on your card, and your putter is going to save you shots.
  • The “Wedge”: Remember that it wasn’t until the last generation of golfers that players started using a lob wedge. Tom Watson famously never put one in the bag and only carried up to a 56-degree. The ideal loft to start your set with is 52-54 degrees, because you can still hit shots out of the sand if needed, and it’s a great club to still hit full shots with—something that many golfers struggle to do with a lob wedge.
  • Your “Go-To” Shot: I think most golfers agree that trying to get more out of a club distance-wise often ends with less than great results. This is why as you go through your set and start to pick clubs, it’s important to think about your favorite go-to shots. You want to do everything you can to avoid standing over a ball trying to manipulate a club because you don’t have “that distance” in the bag. This is hugely important when you realize that close to 90 percent of hazards are placed in front of the green or target areas and being able to get over comfortably should be priority number one.
  • Know Your Iron Lofts:  Most modern sets have 4-5 degrees between each club, but as you get to the longer irons, even towards the middle of the set (7-iron to 5-iron) loft gaps can get smaller quickly, and for some this can equal a diminishing point of return on distance gapping. Don’t just grab every other iron, take a few minutes to think about the carry distance of each club, because that’s going to be important.
  • A Driver is Still Important: We all cant be Henrik Stenson with a 12-degree 3-wood we hit 300 yards. Unless you have plans to go truly minimalist, keeping a driver in the bag is a good idea. It is the largest and most forgiving club off the tee and will help put you into places that will make second shots a lot easier.
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Equipment

What GolfWRXers are saying are the top-3 underrated blade head designs circa 2005

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@jfp2112

GolfWRXers have been discussing the top-3 underrated blade head designs circa 2005 after forum member ‘8620’ created a thread with a desire to “build a set that starts with a ‘retro’ blade head, that incorporates a modern shaft (Nippon Modus Pro 130)”. Our members have weighed in on the subject, with some inspired by ‘8620’ to follow suit in his project.

Here are what our members are saying on the subject, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below,

  • Gopher68: “Bridgestone J33 blades.”
  • BCULAW: “Mizuno MP67. Awesome blade that never really caught on due to the popularity of its predecessor (MP33) and its sister offering (MP32). Also, the small ‘cut muscle’ gives it a bit of an old school vibe like the old Wilson bullet backs.”
  • Golfingfanatic: “OG Nike Forged Blades.”
  • cardoustie: “Bridgestone MB’s, love my J15’s.”
  • OldTomMorris: “I’ve got a set of mp-37 irons that I am putting TT DG AMT white S300 shafts in right now. Curious to see if I can keep the short irons lower than my current set of irons.”
  • Rapidcat: “This interests me as I played Mizuno SPL blades for a decade and still have the heads in very good condition, thinking about a reshaft for them to have some fun.”

Entire Thread: “Top-3 underrated blade head designs circa 2005”

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