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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

GolfWRX Classifieds (08/05/20): Titleist TS4, Byron putter, Nike tour driver

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At GolfWRX, we love golf equipment plain and simple.

We are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment for the game in many ways. It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball, it even allows us to share another thing – the equipment itself.

One of the best ways to enjoy equipment is to experiment and whether you are looking to buy-sell-or trade (as the name suggests) you can find almost anything in the GolfWRX BST Forum. From one-off custom Scotty Cameron Circle T putters, to iron sets, wedges, and barely hit drivers, you can find it all in our constantly updated marketplace.

These are some of the latest cool finds from the GolfWRX BST, and if you are curious about the rules to participate in the BST Forum you can check them out here: GolfWRX BST Rules

Member Golfr19 – Titleist TS4 almost new

Low Spin bomber… It’s shafted with a HZRDUS T1100 Prototype/Handcrafted 6.5 75g shaft and a genuine Titleist SureFit adapter. If you play in a lot of wind, this might really help!

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Titleist TS4

Member ngjg21 – Byron Morgan DH89

Although he might not be a household name Byron Morgan has been producing great putters for a long time, and here is your chance to pick one up for a great price.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Byron DH89

Member joe2282 – Nike VR Tour driver head

One of the great classic fixed hosel Nike drivers, the VR Tour. This head is in great shape and ready for your mid-2000’s “retro” bag!

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Nike VR Tour head

Remember that you can always browse the GolfWRX Classifieds any time here in our forums: GolfWRX Classifieds

 

 

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All-new Titleist Tour Speed golf ball builds on EXP•01 lineage

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When you are the maker of the number 1 ball in golf, it could be easy to become complacent, but the engineers at Titleist aren’t known for resting on their laurels. Instead, they are constantly looking for ways to innovate and provide performance benefits to golfers across categories, and today Titleist introduces the all-new Titleist Tour Speed golf ball.

Titleist Tour Speed golf ball: The details

Although the Tour Speed is new, many golfers might be familiar with the prototype ball that lead to the Tour Speed becoming a full-blown release—the EXP•01. It was through that extensive testing process, conducted on a scale that Titleist had never done before, that the team—including designers and engineers—had the opportunity to get valuable feedback from golfers of all skill levels. It was that direct feedback, along with controlled player testing, conducted at Titleist’s Manchester Lane R&D facility that lead to the final product.

“Every new Titleist golf ball must exceed our stringent machine and player testing targets in order to advance from the R&D phase,”  -Scott Cooper, Titleist Golf Ball R&D’s lead implementation engineer for Tour Speed.

Although the EXP•01 was released only 10 months ago, the Tour Speed has been years on the making as Titleist worked on producing a new proprietary thermoplastic urethane cover to produce the fastest ball in its market segment.

Not only is the cover material different, but the process to create the new ball involved a 4,300 square foot expansion of the Titleist Ball Plant 2, which demonstrates a huge commitment to the new Retractable Pin injection molding process and a belief in the product.

“Our golf ball scientists and engineers have gone to extraordinary lengths in the development of Tour Speed – testing numerous core formulations and aerodynamic patterns, while formulating and analyzing hundreds of TPU cover blends – to deliver on that promise. We have made every investment necessary in these new technologies, including a significant expansion of our manufacturing facility and process.” – Michael Mahoney, Vice President, Titleist Golf Ball Marketing.

Let’s talk about that performance

The Titleist Tour Speed is a three-piece thermoplastic urethane (TPU) covered ball designed to deliver distance and greater green stopping power. Titleist still believes that a cast urethane cover like those found on the Pro-V1 series offers the absolute best short game control and performance, but TPU allows them to combine enhanced distance with precise scoring control. The TPU formula used in the cover is proprietary and was formulated from scratch by Titleist’s internal team of R&D chemists to enhance distance while still maintaining feel.

The last piece of the cover puzzle is the new 346 quadrilateral dipyramid dimple design that provides a lower, more penetrating flight, so the ball is less affected by the wind.

Underneath the TPU cover sits a what Titleist calls its fastest ionomer casing layer ever, designed to create maximum speed leading to more distance.

Availability and price

The Titleist Tour Speed will be available in the U.S. at Titleist accounts beginning Friday, August 7, and they will be priced at $39.99 a dozen.

 

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The Callaway ball plant: A legacy rooted in innovation

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A little over two years ago, I had the opportunity to visit the Callaway golf ball plant in Chicopee, Massachusetts (GolfWRX behind the scenes at the Callaway ball plant). It gave me the chance to take a deep dive into the history of not just the physical structure that is the plant but a look into the people and the machines that work to produce Callaway’s tour line of golf balls.

The one thing that stood out during that visit beyond the massive scale of the operation was the people and the pride they have in producing something in the United States for golfers to enjoy.

Chicopee & Spalding Manufacturing History

The ball plant and surrounding area where it is located is rich in manufacturing history dating back to the American revolutionary war, and the facade of the historical red brick building in Chicopee has remained mostly unchanged since it was the original Spalding manufacturing plant dating all the way back to the late 1800s. It was during this time in history when the plant produced baseballs, gloves, footballs, basketballs, tennis rackets, persimmon woods, irons—and of course golf balls, starting in 1896.

A lot of innovations relating to various sports have occurred inside of these walls and the funny thing is, Callaway’s marketing slogan for Chrome Soft— “The ball that changed the ball” could apply to a multitude of sports including:

  • Baseball – since Spalding developed the first Major League ball to become the official baseball of the National League in 1876.
  • Football – with Spalding creating the first American football with a material and workmanship guarantee in 1887.
  • Basketball – since Dr. James Naismith (Canadian—just wanted to get that in there—Go Raptors!) had the Spalding company develop the official basketball in 1894.

It is now 2020, and in the same building where all of these sporting innovations have taken place, an innovation of a new kind is underway because the ball plant has undergone multiple renovations and upgrades since 2018. Callaway has invested over $50 million in capital upgrades in order to increase quality control—and the ability to manufacture the newest Chrome Soft and Chrome Soft X balls to the highest level.

Investment in innovation

Although the plant has always operated to the highest possible level of quality control when it comes to balls, Callaway has admitted that, before 2018, there were some small holes in the production process that prevented them from reaching their potential as far as production standards go. The biggest consistency issues revolved around polymer compound mixing and the centeredness of the cores in dual-core golf balls. These weren’t wide-sweeping issues but they were enough of a problem, Callaway knew they needed to be addressed as quickly as possible, especially if they wanted to continue to innovate in the competitive golf ball market.

In an effort to not just be equal to the competition but to surpass them, the initial investment was in state-of-the-art machines that could take and process 3D X-Ray to measure ball construction and the core centeredness of every single ball. It is during this automated process, that if any ball shows an issue, then it is removed from the final stages of production and will never find its way into a golfer’s bag.

The biggest investment though came in the form of an all-new synthetic polymer mixer allowing Callaway engineers and plant staff to monitor parts of the process with a level of precision that they never could before. Now, if it wasn’t obvious by the pictures, this is not the type of machine that you can just pick up at a local “golf ball plant supply store”— these types of mixers are multiple stories high and offer the same type of precision you would find in the medical industry.

When it comes to the unassuming red brick building, it’s what’s inside that counts. And speaking of “inside,” Callaway engineers are now able to precisely control all of the compounds that go into producing golf ball cores. With the state-of-the-art mixer now in place on the factory floor, from the very start of production through to the final packaging, every Callaway ball is manufactured to the highest level of quality available in the industry.

The state of the art mixer now in place on the factory floor means that from the very start of production through to the final packaging, every Callaway ball is manufactured to the highest level of quality available in the industry.

Technology on the inside and outside

The other part of the plant that continues to see large investments is the Truvis and Triple Track printing area. As we touched on in the original piece, what was perceived by many to at first be a bit of a gimmick, including some of Callaway’s own employees, has proven to be an absolute slam dunk. The pentagon pattern provides a tangible benefit by creating an optical illusion that makes the ball look bigger and also gives visual feedback for short game shots and putting. If you haven’t tried chipping around a green with a Truvis ball, I highly suggest it—you can actually see how much difference in spin you create hitting various shots.

What started as a toe-dip with one machine has turned into an area of the plant with more than a dozen, with Callaway also producing Truvis balls with custom colors and logos.

What followed Truvis was the development of Callaway Triple Track, which is three high-resolution parallel lines printed onto the golf ball to help with alignment. It would not have been possible to print this alignment tool without the machines that were developed to precisely print the Truvis patterns. Triple Track has been so popular and effective for golfers that this year, Callaway even introduced the alignment tool onto a number of their Stroke Lab putter models.

Odyssey Stroke Lab 2-Ball with Triple Track

If history is any indication, this investment will continue to push golf ball innovation for Callaway, as well as continue to build on the strong legacy of proud American manufacturing in Chicopee, Massachusetts. To take an inside look inside of the newly renovated plant, as well as get a deeper understanding of the history and the people behind Callaway golf balls, check out their mini-documentary below.

The Ball that Changed a Town

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