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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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What GolfWRXers are saying about the best “5-woods under $125”

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@golfexchangeapp

In our forums, our members have been discussing 5-woods, with WRXer ‘gary3aces’ looking for a 5-wood for between $100 and $125. He’s looking to replace his current “M2 5 wood with something a little easier to hit”, and our members have been discussing the best options 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.

  • C6 Snowboarder: “Take a look at a used Callaway Heavenwood in the Epic Flash model = pretty Friggen sweet. It is Heaven!”
  • Golf64: “Bang for the buck, hard to beat Cobra, but find Ping one of the easiest to hit off the deck. Since you are limited in the funds dept., maybe an older model Ping 5W would do the trick?!”
  • tilasan1: “G400 7 wood turned down or just use it as is.”
  • jbandalo: “Fusion fairways. Highly underrated, cheap, easy to hit and go for miles.”
  • RyanBarathWRX: “PING G fairway would be hard to beat and easily in price range:
  • Nelson.br.1515: “Another vote for the Callaway Big Bertha Fusion. Great stick!”

Entire Thread: Best 5-woods under $125″

 

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What GolfWRXers are saying about “blending Ping i500 irons with Blueprints”

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In our forums, WRXer ‘ballywho27’ has asked for thoughts on combining his current Ping i500 irons with the brand’s Blueprint irons. ‘Ballywho27’ is considering going “i500 in 3-4 iron and blueprint 5-W” and has asked for fellow member’s thoughts on the idea – who have been sharing their takes 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.

  • jblough99: “I had a combo set for a minute, 3-5 I500 and 6-PW Blueprint. I could not get used to the transition, HUGE difference in looks at address. If I had it to do over I would just go 4-PW Blueprint and maybe a 3 I500 with graphite shaft as a driving, iron.”
  • animalgolfs: “iBlade{5i} – BP{6i-pw}. That’s my combo.”
  • Chunky: “I have i500 4-5 and Blueprints 6-PW. As mentioned above, there is a significantly different look at address. More importantly for me, the i500s are 1/2 to 1 club longer than the BPs (they fly much higher, too). Make sure you account for that added i500 distance when blending lofts or you’ll have a large gap.”
  • howeber: “I’ve done that exact set — 3 and 4 i500 and 5-PW Blueprint. It’s perfect for me since the 3 and 4 are more like a traditional 2 and 3.5. 4 is usually the longest iron I carry, so I like a little extra oomph out of it. At the end of the day though, when I finally tested them vs my MP4s, the Blueprints performed identically, while the i500 launched a little higher (same specs same shafts). Mizzys are still in the bag.”

Entire Thread: “Blending Ping i500 irons with Blueprints”

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GolfWRX Vault: Avoid these 5 club building disasters

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It’s never too late to go back to basics, especially when it comes to club building.

Even with modern new club release cycles the do’s and don’ts of building clubs haven’t changed much in the last few decades except for clubs with adapter sleeves and greater amounts of multi-materials incorporated into the design.

With that in mind its time to revisit an article from the GolfWRX Vault from June 2016.

——————

I’ve been fitting and building golf clubs for more than 15 years, and in that time I’ve seen a lot of really poor workmanship—stuff that would make most GolfWRXers cringe. But like anyone who ever did anything new, I didn’t start being naturally good at putting together clubs. It took a lot of time, ruined components, and trial and error to get where I am today.

I believe my attention to detail now stems from the fact that my dad was a machinist by trade, and anytime we ever worked on something together his attitude was to take your time and do it right the first time. My dad’s approach always had an impact on me, because I feel that if you do something right — even when it takes a bit longer — the job is not only more satisfying but also makes things work better and last longer.

The goal with this article is to help WRXers avoid the most common mistakes and assumptions in club building that lead to broken or ruined clubs, as well as real danger.

Over-prepping a graphite shaft

The shaft on the left has been prepped properly. The one of the right, which has noticeable taper, shows signs that layers of graphite have been removed.

This happens far more than it should, and can ruin an expensive new shaft purchase. To prepare a shaft properly for installation, you only need to remove enough of the paint to make sure that the epoxy adheres to the graphite. This is also true for the inside of the hosel.

Be careful to remove residual epoxy, dirt or rust (common with forged carbon steel club heads that have been sitting around for a while), or some type or solvent like the one used to put on grips, as it can cause of bond to break down very quickly. A proper reaming tool, a wire brush and some compressed air (either a small can or a large air compressor) can make cleaning simple, and prevent a golf club from falling apart.

UPDATE: Over prepping specifically applies to shafts that are designed to go into parallel heads and is especially important for 335 shafts with less material at the tip going into drivers and fairway woods. For information on how to properly taper a shaft to go into a tapered head, check out the video below:

Overheating a Shaft When Pulling it

This is what happens to a graphite shaft when overheated.

This is what happens to a graphite shaft when overheated, and the resin holding the graphite sheets together breaks down. It’s not always as noticeable, but if the shaft starts to fray it means the bonds have been compromised and it’s more likely to fail. 

Overheating a shaft when pulling it is another common mistake that can result in ruining a golf shaft. It also highly increases the chance of breakage. There are quite a few methods I’ve learned over the years to remove a shaft from a club head, from heat guns to large propane torches, but personally I find that using a small butane torch with a regulator for graphite offers the best results. It allows a club builder to easily control and focus the heat only where it’s needed. Bigger torches are fine for iron heads, as long as you don’t damage any plastic badges in the cavity or materials in slots around the head.

One of the best advances in club technology has been the invention and mass adoption of adjustable hosels. They not only help golfers adjust the loft, lie and face angle of club heads, but have also greatly decreased the need to pull shafts. So as long as a golfer is staying with the same metal wood manufacturer, they can usually test several different clubs heads with the same shaft, or vice versa — several different shafts with the same clubhead.

That being said, one of the most important tools that any hobbyist club builder should have or have access to is a high-quality shaft puller. It’s a necessary tool for anyone who wants to do repairs and helps prevent damage to a shaft while pulling it. The more linear pressure that can be applied to the clubhead, and the less heat used to break down the epoxy, the better. It makes sure both the shaft and the head are reusable in the future. For steel shafts, you can use a bit more heat, and twisting isn’t a problem. Again, with increased heat, be careful not to damage any of the badging, or permanently discolor an iron head.

Botching a Grip Installation

Using calipers and two-sided tape, you can replicate the taper of shafts to makes every grip feel exactly the same size in your set.

Using calipers and two-sided tape, you can replicate the taper of shafts to makes every grip feel exactly the same size in your set.

This one seems simple, but when really getting down to professional level detail, it is quite important. We ALL have a preference and different opinion of what feels good in a golf grip, as well as different sensitivities. For example, we all have the ability to figure out what apple is bigger, even if blindfolded because over time we all develop brain function to understand shapes and sizes. This also applies to grips. If you use the same grips on your 13 clubs, you could potentially have 4-5 different final sizes depending on how many different types of shafts you use, because many shafts have different butt diameters.

Some shafts have larger butt diameters, while others taper faster than others. That’s why it’s very important to own a quality set of vernier calipers, and know how to properly use them. It’s also the same for putters, since many putter shafts are smaller in diameter. I have lost count of how many times I’ve had people bring me, putters, where the bottom half of the grip is twisting and turning because the installer never paid attention to the interior diameter of the grip, the exterior diameter of the shaft, and how it changed from top to bottom.

Using epoxy that’s doomed to fail

An example of epoxy that although not completely set, is no longer safe for assembling clubs.

An example of epoxy that although not completely set, is no longer safe for assembling clubs.

I’m a bit of a physics nerd and garage engineer, so this is one of those topics that goes beyond just the physical aspects of club building and into the realm of chemistry.

Here comes my nerd-out moment: In the simplest of explanations for a 0.335-inch driver hosel with an insertion depth of 1.25 inches, the amount of calculated surface area the epoxy can bond between the shaft and the head using the internal dimensions of the head is 1.49 square inches. That’s not a whole lot of area when you consider the centrifugal force being applied to a driver head traveling at 100 mph, and then the forces of torque that also come into play when a shot is struck.

In a PERFECT world, almost zero torque is applied to a shaft when a shot is hit on the center of gravity (CG) of the club head, perfectly aligned with the center mass of the ball, while traveling in the intended direction. This is vectors 101 of physics. Unfortunately, almost every single shot is NOT hit like that, and this is where the epoxy bond is put under the most amount of stress. Lap shear strength of epoxy goes beyond me, but it proves that building a golf club is not just cut and glue after all.

Note: For those of you curious, the most popular epoxies are rated for 4500 psi. 

As far are actually working with epoxy, first things first. Always check to see if the epoxy has a best-before date (yep, just like milk). Also, never store epoxy in direct sunlight. If you are using epoxy from a tube in a dispensing gun, you are using what is an almost foolproof method. Plunge out the necessary amount, mix for about a minute (mix! don’t whip), and remember, the less air that gets into the epoxy the better. If air gets in and the epoxy cures with bubbles in it, then you end up with a club that will often “creak.”

For those using two parts in larger bottles, the best way to ensure proper ratios is to pay attention to the weight ratio rather than volume. This isn’t arts and crafts; it’s chemistry, so by using the weight to calculate the ratio you will get the right amount of each part every time, and help decrease the risk of failure down the road. If you have mixed a larger batch and plan on building quite a few clubs at a time, you really have to pay attention to the consistency and viscosity as time goes on. You don’t want to glue a club head with epoxy that has started to set.

Turning an Extension into a Shank

The difference between a good shaft extension (bottom) and a bad one.

The difference between a good shaft extension (bottom) and a bad one.

This is one of those subjects I don’t even like to talk about. I very much dislike using extensions when building clubs, especially clubs with graphite shafts. Going back to my “do-it-right-the-first-time” mentality, extensions are a Band-Aid fix to a problem that requires surgery. They also counter-balance the club, and by their very nature create a weak point because of the small wall thickness at the butt end of a shaft. The only clubs I don’t mind extending on a regular basis are putters since they are never put under the same level of stress as a club being swung at full speed. I also never extend a club more than 1 inch, because I have been witness to horror stories of clubs that have been overextended that not only break but rip through the grip and cut people’s hands very badly.

If you are going to extend a club, it’s important to make sure the fit is very snug and doesn’t cause the extension to lean in any direction. It’s also best to have the epoxied extension cure with the club on its side to avoid an excess epoxy from running down the shaft and breaking off and causing a rattle.

 

 

 

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