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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

WRX Spotlight Review: TaylorMade M5 fairway Rocket 3

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Product: TaylorMade M5 fairway Rocket 3

Pitch: The TaylorMade M5 fairway Rocket 3 is a stronger-lofted version of the standard TaylorMade M5 3-wood. The Rocket is 14 degrees. The standard M5 is 15.

Our take on the TaylorMade M5 Rocket 3

“WOW, you really hit that 3-wood like a rocket!”

” Not like a rocket… an actual Rocket!”

The beloved 3-wood. A favorite club of both average golfers and pros alike, a club that many will hold onto well after what some might consider their “best before” date. But with new options and improved technology, these old faithfuls are getting the boot quicker for a lot of reasons including the ability to better dial in a fit and help minimizing misses.

Since making a club faster off the middle is becoming more and more difficult thanks to the limits set forth but the USGA, OEMs are changing the way we think about clubs and putting a greater focus on decreasing dispersion and optimizing misses. TaylorMade is doing this with TwistFace, which was originally introduced in drivers a generation ago, and has now been included in the M5 and M6 fairway woods.

I got to spend some time with the knowledgeable crew at TaylorMade Canada in their new indoor facility just north of Toronto (lets call it Kingdom North) In that time, we went through a driver fitting, and then to the new M5 fairway woods to try and replace one of my oldest faithfuls: a 14-degree SLDR Tour Spoon. To say I have a unique ability to elevate a fairway wood is something that even my fitter was a little surprised by. My numbers with my cranked down to 12 degree (measured) fairway off the deck were good but could be improved. I can hit it both ways (as much as a 6-handicap can actually claim that) but my trusted go-to shot is a slight fade with some heel bias contact because of my swing. I am willing to sacrifice some distance but usually hit it where I want.

What I saw at the end of the fitting was a club that produced longer shots along with a tighter dispersion without having to make or to try and make any changes to my swing. The final fit was a 14-degree “Rocket” M5 fairway set to 12 degrees. It beat out my SLDR by a total of nine yards, which is an increase of just over a total of three percent, including an additional six yards of carry.

To say I was honestly surprised would be an understatement. The SLDR TS is a club that the first time I hit it I went WHOA! Low spin, workable, looks exactly how I want that club to look (small and compact). You can see from the numbers below when it works it works.

Why does TwistFace work?

Let’s explain and get a little deep in the technology weeds for a second. Bulge and roll is not a new concept. In fact, it would be a lie to claim that all OEMs haven’t done something similar to this is the past or played with these two variables to help golfers hit better shots. Fact: Every OEM optimizes the bulge and roll on their clubs to increase speed and maximize performance. Tom Wishon actually had a line of woods at one point that went the other way had VERY limited roll from the top tine to the sole. With this design, more loft on the bottom of the head helped players who miss low or need help elevating the ball off the deck increase launch and spin. It worked. Cobra also has what it calls E9 technology to tweak bulge and roll to help maximize the speed and forgiveness of their woods. It also works.

What makes TaylorMade’s TwistFace different is that it is the most aggressive iteration of this bulge and roll tweaking yet, and by introducing it into the fairway woods and hybrids, it’s proving to be a winner — even for this now-proven wrong skeptic.

At the end of the day, the M5 Ti “Rocket” was a measurable improvement over my previous 3-wood. Now it would be disingenuous to say “if you aren’t using TwistFace in your fairway woods you’re not maximized,” but if you are someone that struggles with fairway wood dispersion and looking to find some extra distance for taking on par-5s, taking a look at the new M5 and M6 fairway woods as part of your next fitting should be very high on your list.

 

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Forum Thread of the Day: “Low handicapper switching to game improvement irons”

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Today’s Forum Thread of the Day comes from jasonTel3 – a low handicap player who plays blades but who has had his head turned by game improvement irons. According to jasonTel3, every ball was hit straight when testing out a set of Ping G400’s at a simulator, and he’s been asking fellow members for advice on whether he should make the move to GI’s.

Here are a few posts from the thread discussing jasonTel3’s conundrum, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • balls_deep: “My first thought is to say don’t do it.. but then if you’ve hit them, liked them, and the numbers were right, it could be a good option. A friend I play with uses G400 and they have too much offset for my liking. I also don’t like that you can see the cavity on the 4 and 5 iron. Top line is actually very nice for a SGI iron. I just read the Ping Blueprint article on Golf Digest where they were talking about how some players hit small heads better. I definitely fall into that category. That said, I just ordered a set of i210 to try as I had really good luck with the i200 and should never have sold them. Have you tried the newer I series? IMO it’s GI help in a players look with an acceptable sole width. Long story short though – if you felt comfortable and the fit was right, why not try them? If you don’t work the ball a ton, I don’t see any issue with it. High and straight is a good way to go!”
  • hammergolf: “I’ve been playing Ping G25’s for 6 years. Still can’t find anything I like better. I can hit any shot I need to whether it’s my stock draw, fade, high, or low. And when I hit it a little thin, or on the toe, it still lands on the green. My thought is why play golf with a club that will punish you for mishit when you can play one that will help you.”
  • azone: “Everyone has an opinion, and here is mine. If you are/have been a good ball striker with a sound mental game, your mind will keep writing checks your body may not be able to cash as you get older or don’t practice enough. Those “ugly” forgiving irons look beautiful when a miss ends up on the green, and you are putting– not in rough or deep in a short side bunker. Those irons won’t be AS ACCURATE as, say, a blade, BUT if you aren’t as dependable as in the past, your results will be better. I used to keep two sets of blueprinted irons; blades for practice and CB for play. I play with guys that have cashed checks playing…and they don’t care how ugly the iron is.”
  • Jut: “As a decent player (and ball striker) and a sweeper/picker (I could hit off of a green and not take any landscape with me), I’ve found much success with the F9s (which, with the wide sole, are very similar to the G410 irons). In the past 4 years I’ve gone from Mizuno MP-68 to Callaway Apex CF16 to Ping i500 (a brief and bad experience) to the Cobra F9’s. For what it’s worth, the Cobras have been the best of the bunch by far.”

Entire Thread: “Low handicap going to game improvement irons”

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WRX Spotlight: Stitch headcovers

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Product: Stitch headcovers

Pitch: From Stitch: “Your game should match your style. At Stitch, we aim to merchandise our line of products so you can easily put together items that not only match your bag and what is it in it, but also match your style and personality. We want to make it easy for you to have a unique and color-coordinated golf bag. We have designed unique products that have defined color schemes so that choosing which items to put in your bag becomes easier. We aim to provide you with various looks, mixing and matching our head covers to give you confidence that the purchase you make for your bag will take you to the course in style. Let us help you dress your game.”

Our Take On Stitch Headcovers

Stitch is a relatively new company – founded in 2012. The company initially only created premium headcovers but has grown into so much more, with all sorts of golfing accessories now on offer on their site StitchGolf.com. Their bags, in particular, are now some of the most popular amongst golfers, with the quality and uniqueness provided leading multiple Tour players to sport them in tournament play.

That sign of quality in the bags bodes well for what the company was founded on – their headcovers. Stitch provides both leather and knit headcovers in a variety of designs that do as good a job as any in covering the needs of all golfers.

Stitch describes the companies Monte Carlo headcover as being their “classic, timeless design”, and for those looking for that vintage style to add to their set up then they can’t go wrong with this headcover. A mainstay in the likes of multiple tour winner Paul Casey’s bag, the Monte Carlo headcover, as with all of the companies leather covers, is hand-crafted from 100% leather and is both water and stain resistant. The cover comes in four color codes: Black, White, Navy and Red, and at $68 is the most affordable of all their leather headcovers.

Other options in the leather department range from their intricately designed Camo cover which comes in a multiple color design, as well as Stitch’s tribute to “The King”, through their Arnold Palmer headcover.

The AP cover comes in a minimalist black with white stripes for a classic feel, but it also comes in a white color code decorated with red, white and yellow stripes which, for myself at least, looks even more alluring. Part of an exclusive collection, the only issue with the AP cover is that only those located in the U.S. are currently eligible to get their hands on one. But for those in the states, the company is now offering a set of three AP leather covers for $128 instead of $298 should you use the code APLEATHERS on their site.

From their Tour Racer, USA, Shamrock and Bonesman editions, Stitch provides a great choice when it comes to their leather covers, and as previously mentioned, all are hand-crafted from 100% leather, water and stain resistant and will assure an excellent fit on your clubs.

Stitch also provides knit headcovers which contain not only excellent designs but also the same quality which has gone into their leather covers. All of the companies knit covers are made from Techno Wool, which is 100% acrylic and designed in order for your clubs to stay entirely dry. Another feature of the knit covers from Stitch is their smart fit design which ensures all of the covers retain their shape over a long period, as well as providing for a cover that will reliably stay on your club.

The knit covers from Stitch cost $68 ($72 for the limited AP cover), and there are currently seven different designs available to choose from over at StitchGolf.com. The leather covers are, unsurprisingly, a little pricier, but still very affordable, ranging from $68-$98. The covers deliver in both style and performance, and for a relatively new company, it speaks volumes that the likes of Jim Furyk, Paul Casey, Bryson DeChambeau and many more tour pros are now sporting the company’s creations.

 

 

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