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GolfWRX Members Choice: The best players irons of 2018

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The bedrock of GolfWRX.com is the community of passionate and knowledgeable golfers in our forums, and we put endless trust in the opinions of our GolfWRX Members. No other group of golfers in the world tests golf clubs as frequently or as extensively, or is armed with as much in-depth information about the latest technology.

So we asked our GolfWRX Members, “What are the the best players irons on 2018?” (Blades excluded. The membership voted on those here). As part of the voting process, we allowed members to vote for up to three irons they felt most worthy of the title, based on their testing of the forged offerings from 17 different manufacturers.

GolfWRX 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 full thread here).

No. 5: Ping iBlade (8.26 percent of votes)

Ping’s new iBlades fit the broadest definition of blade irons; they have the narrow soles, thin top lines, short blade lengths, minimal offset, maximum workability, excellent feedback and soft feel blade players want. They aren’t forged like most blades or blade-like irons, though, instead opting for a multi-material, cast chassis that Ping uses to boost forgiveness and distance. Think of them as “intelligent blades;” they’re a much smarter choice for blade players who don’t compete for a living, and even some who do.

The iBlades offer more distance and more forgiveness than their predecessors, Ping’s S55 irons, as well as more refined look and feel that makes them more “blade-like” than they’ve ever been.

Related: Review: Ping iBlade irons

No. 4: Srixon Z 765 (8.41 percent)

Srixon’s no-frills approach to iron-making is refreshing in today’s golf equipment climate. The company forges its irons from 1020 carbon steel, and offers three distinct models than can please anyone from traditionalists (Z965) to forged cavity-back enthusiasts (Z765) to distance- or forgiveness-seeking crowds (Z565).

Low handicappers have a difficult decision to make between Srixon’s Z765 and Z965 irons. The Z965’s are musclebacks that are slightly more “workable,” as blade-lovers like to say. That’s another way of relaying that they’re smaller-sized irons that spin slightly more. Both irons, though, have similar profiles with little offset and thin top lines. Both also use Srixon’s Tour V.T. Soles, and utilize a new heat treatment to make the irons more durable. For blade players, the Z765 won’t look clunky or have too much offset. Low, single-digit handicappers could really go either way, or create a brag-worthy mixed set.

Related: Review Srixon Z765 irons

No. 3: Callaway X Forged (10.36 percent)

X Forged irons, like Callaway’s Apex Muscleback, are also single-piece forgings, the blade lengths are slightly longer, the overall head shapes are slightly larger, and they are cavity-back irons made for a bit more forgiveness.

Like the Apex MB irons, the soles of the X Forged irons are built for the turf interaction that’s desired by Tour players, and the head profiles are tour-inspired. The lofts are slightly stronger throughout the set than the Apex MB, but are still weaker than the game-improvement style irons in Callaway’s stable. That means better players will see the ball launch in the “desired window,” according to to the company.  The X Forged irons are “triple net forged,” according to Callaway, and they have progressive CGs with 20V grooves on the face.

Related: Callaway finally launches new Apex MB and X Forged irons

No. 2: Titleist 718 AP2 (16.22 percent)

With fast-face technologies and stronger lofts off the table (the 6-iron is 30 degrees), Titleist investigated new ways to improve the AP2 recipe. The result was a new main ingredient, a high-strength steel known as SUP10, which is used to make the forged bodies of the 3-6 irons. Titleist also used SUP10 to form the face inserts for the 3-6 irons. Because SUP10 is stronger and lighter than the 1025 carbon steel bodies and 17-4 stainless steel face inserts Titleist previously used to create the AP2, designers were able to move the CG of the new irons lower in the club heads for higher ball speeds and a higher launch angle.

Like the 718 CB, the 718 AP2 irons are also co-forged to concentrate high-density tungsten weights in the corners of the club heads to improve MOI and exactly center the CG of the irons.

Related: Titleist’s 718 irons offer endless possibilities

No. 1: Mizuno MP-18 SC (16.82 percent)

The MP-18 Split Cavity irons feature what Mizuno calls a half-cavity design. Mass has been taken of the upper portion of the irons, focusing CG (center of gravity) lower in the club head for an easier launch and more forgiveness.

The MP-18 SC irons are only fractionally longer from heel-to-toe than the MP-18 muscleback irons. They’re also 0.5 millimeters taller and have soles that are 1.5 millimeters wider. With identical specs (aside from swing weight in the longer irons) and offset, these irons are designed to blend seamlessly into a combination set with the MP-18 muscleback irons regardless of where golfers decide to split their set.

Related: Mizuno brings the MP family closer together

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27 Comments

27 Comments

  1. shane

    Aug 18, 2018 at 1:59 pm

    PXG fad is finished now. Anybody with PXGs in their bag is a loser!!!

  2. stephenf

    Aug 4, 2018 at 3:25 am

    Okay, but can you see that this is really not the best way to get an idea of what the best irons are? It’s a little like figuring out what the best hamburger is by looking at where the biggest sales are. So McDonald’s, then. Or if you limit it only to non-fast-food, maybe Red Robin or something. But the odds of finding the _actual_ best burger that way aren’t good. It just means it’s the one with the widest distribution and the one the most people know about.

    Quite obviously, several really excellent irons are not even on this list. Wilson, for instance, has put out some great irons for the past 10 years or so.

  3. Dave

    Aug 2, 2018 at 1:09 pm

    wilson c300 forged should be on this list. in fact i think they will be better than almost anything to come out for years to come…..trust me i have had a almost every set available to me to try. the difference is in the distance if you need any help at all and the forgiveness is out right amazing. thin shots tend to go near correct distance, but the toed shots are almost identical to pured shots. i found out by on course testing. i couldnt believe it then i saw their promo material for the c300 forged and saw that the toe area of these actually get the most help from the power holes…..the only reason i moved on was simply i hit them too far…much to far…i am looking forward to having them again with a heavier shaft. i miss the 5-7 iron for sure. i currently game the v6 forged. nice irons as well. i was hoping to do a mix set but the distance on the v6 is almost under standard which i like but id have to play like 5-7 forged and 7-pw v6 to get the gaps i need. it would bug me to no end to have 2 7 irons 🙂

  4. Miuralovechild

    Jul 14, 2018 at 1:48 am

    My Miura CB 1008’s would run circles around those mizunos! I love mizuno btw. Always have but after I hit a miura in 07, things changed.

  5. patrick floyd

    Jul 12, 2018 at 9:15 pm

    So we asked our GolfWRX Members, “What are the the best players irons on 2018?” (Blades excluded. The membership voted on those here).

  6. ben jones

    Jul 12, 2018 at 3:02 pm

    Still loving my Adams CB1 irons which look a lot like the Mizzys.

  7. joey

    Jul 12, 2018 at 1:02 am

    My circa 1980 RAM Tour Grind TW276 forged 2-PW irons are better than all the supposedly game improvement current models… because I keep impact in the sweet spot. All these “best” irons are just cosmetic designs to scam the gullible golfers with more money than brains or talent.

    • @LivenearPar_Golf

      Jul 27, 2018 at 9:18 am

      Doubtful with zero grooves left….unless you’ve left them in the garage all these years. Can you even hold a green anymore?

  8. 2putttom

    Jul 11, 2018 at 3:55 pm

    lol…wow really…this is shocking. I voted three times

  9. Carmen Sandiego

    Jul 11, 2018 at 1:45 pm

    Shame that Mizuno doesn’t sell those irons in LH….

  10. Al Czervik

    Jul 11, 2018 at 12:47 pm

    Like running for student body president in middle school, this is nothing more then a popularity contest. Yawn… Mizuno’s most popular Yay!

    I tell you what… Dollar for dollar, I’ve tried 4 of the irons on this list and my Honma Tour World irons blow them all away. You’re welcome.

    • The dude

      Jul 11, 2018 at 7:20 pm

      Aaaand…how do you think they (Mizuno) won the popularity contest??

  11. Milton Taylor

    Jul 11, 2018 at 12:35 pm

    Not one set of pure blades?

  12. Doug Roberts

    Jul 11, 2018 at 12:08 pm

    If you visit a top private club…You will see bag after bag full of PXG irons.

    • Milton Taylor

      Jul 11, 2018 at 12:34 pm

      I’m at a private club and I don’t see it. No disrespect

      • greg taylor

        Jul 11, 2018 at 12:44 pm

        I agree but you have to go to a TOP private club. As you go to the top privates you will see a lot of PXG for sure. But you will see a lot of 150k + cars as well.

    • G

      Jul 11, 2018 at 1:24 pm

      I work at a top private club with approximately 900 + members, A ton of PXG and Miura. A lot of guys shouldn’t even be hitting the Miuras, but money is spent here!

    • Rich

      Jul 12, 2018 at 7:51 pm

      Because they cost too much so they are still in the display bags?

    • Funkaholic

      Jul 20, 2018 at 12:51 pm

      Because it is all about show, more money that skill. Look at the JDM market, over the top prices, flashy designs and endless customization because it is more about a statement of wealth than functional club design. PXG is overrated give me a pure set of well forged irons any day.

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19th Hole

GolfWRX Spotlight: Evalu18 – ‘Evaluating golf architecturally’

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When it comes to course directories with an emphasis on past and present architects, Evalu18 is likely to be one of the most in-depth—for UK and Ireland golf courses—you’re ever likely to see—highlighted by the site’s wealth of information and user-friendly navigation.

Jasper Miners, a Canadian now living in London, is the brains behind Evalu18. He explained to me how the concept began as a map with courses that he wanted to play based on his extensive research, which was then added to based on the recommendations of others. Frustrated by the lack of an easy way to access the information in a modern format – he created Evalu18.

“After some time I shared a map with a good friend, an American from New York whom I worked with who was a very keen golfer. The map and my notes allowed him to find great golf wherever he was and to plan a trip easily. 

Everyone has heard of the Open rota courses and perhaps some of the courses which are intimately linked to the history and origins of the game. However, for every well-known course, there are 10-20 that may be just as good that we and even locals may never have even heard of. Evalu18 exists for those – sound golf is the criteria for being listed.” – Jasper Miners, founder of Evalu18

Beginning with the site’s interactive map the depth of research and information available is striking. The filter option, which has been crafted down to the minutest detail, puts the directory in a league of its own and allows golfers to plan for the perfect day out or golfing trip.

Whether you are looking for a particular golf course from a specific architect or consultant, to whether the track is dog-friendly. or is suited to trolleys or buggies, Evalu18 has you covered. The directory allows you to filter courses based on the level of difficulty their walkability is, what is available practice facility wise or if you’re looking for a course which has ever hosted a specific event as well as much more.

Another cool feature of Evalu18 is its “Collections” element. With taste and preference regarding golf courses being so vast amongst golfers, the site doesn’t separate courses by ranking but lets you home in on that ideal course in a simple fashion.

The Collection section showcases courses that are grouped according to identifiable characteristics. Featured in this area of the site are nine-hole courses, truly unique courses, bunker-less courses, hidden gems, bang-for-your-buck courses as well as so many more cool categories.

Each course on the site contains information that a typical guest would want to know, with plenty also featuring full reviews written to enhance the experience.

Additionally, a “discover” section of the site allows golf-enthusiasts to explore golf course architecture books, magazines and pertinent works with the company confidently claiming to have “the most thorough collection of GCA book reviews anywhere online.”

 

As for what’s next for Evalu18, international growth along with a unique travel guide, says Jasper

“We are working on improvements to the site and a unique travel section that will have substantial guides. Every course can also have included recommended accommodation, food and drink venues and tourist sites. We engage with the clubs and have them help us tell their story – what makes them unique and worth your time, attention and $.”

Whether you are already in the UK and Ireland or planning that dream golfing trip abroad, Evalu18 is a site that is a must for any golfer to check out. Once you do, it will likely place you on your ideal course—which before you may not have even known existed.

Check out Evalu18 here.

 

 

 

 

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Today from the Forums: “New LA Golf Shafts at the 2020 Honda Classic”

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Today from the Forums shines the spotlight on new LA Golf Shafts featured at this week’s Honda Classic. The new shafts have gone down well with our members, who are excited about what the company has in store for 2020.

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.

  • QuigleyDU: “Nice! The mentioned during the discussion they did here that new stuff was coming. I have heard the TRONO is straight up rebar stout.”
  • AdamStoutjesdyk: “I am so intrigued by the Trono since I saw it on one of TXG’s Videos.”
  • bfizzy: “I like how they are taking their time to bring out new products to retail and consumer-oriented channels. Will be cool to see what they come out with!”

Entire Thread: “New LA Golf Shafts at the 2020 Honda Classic”

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Top 5 modern glued-hosel drivers

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Modern adjustable drivers are a marvel of engineering and something we now take for granted—considering every OEM utilizes some type of adjustable system to assist with fitting and dialing in launch conditions.

However, as every WRXer knows, before we had these tools to our disposal, we had to rely on the good old-fashion glued-in shaft drivers.

These five models are among the best from the recent past.

TaylorMade Burner SuperFast TP

Released in the fall of 2010, the Burner SuperFast TP was the undisputed king of ball speed for a very long time. Many will default to thinking the R510 TP was one of TaylorMade’s best, but for both the average golfer and for tour pros, this 460cc driver offered a lot more forgiveness than the R510 thanks to its size and aerodynamics. For those who had one, it stayed in the bag for a long time if you got the shaft right.

Adams Insight Tech a4 Prototype 9015D

Adams. Really?

It was a question a lot of people asked when these started showing up in golfer’s bags.

The 9015D was the brother to the original Adams 9016D, which was specifically built for the long drive circuit when Adams Golf was the official sponsor. It had a high toe profile and sat open at address—something that was often hard to come by in the glued hosel era of driver design.

One fun thing to consider when looking back at this driver is the protruding mass towards the back of the head to lower the center of gravity—vaguely similar to the TaylorMade SIM’s Inertia Generator and Cobra’s SpeedBack—minus the multi-material construction. Those Adams engineers were onto something!

Titleist 905R

Titleist’s very first 460cc driver was introduced not long after the 400cc 905S and the 905T (made famous by the notorious old-club using Steve Stricker) hit the scene.

The 905R stayed in some player’s bag for an extended period of time, including the bag of Adam Scott, who didn’t switch until the 910 came along. Many golfers referred to the 905R as a big version of the famous 975J, and from address it’s hard to argue.

Callaway FT Tour

One of Callaway’s first “tour” style drivers. The original version of the FT Tour was called the FT-9 Tour Authentic and was Callaway’s attempt to compete with the popular Tour Preferred line from TaylorMade. The price tag was high but so was the performance.

The FT Tour was a workable low spin driver and the grandchild of the FT-5 TH—a tour only driver that offered Callaway’s very first traditional-style hosel and got them away from the S2H2 designs that built the brand in the 90s. At 460cc’s, it still looks small by today’s standards, but if you can find one give it a hit.

Bridgestone J33R 460

The J33R 460 will go down as one of the all-time best drivers of its era. Its popularity even made trying to find one more difficult than it should have been at the time because Bridgestone struggled to find brick and mortar stores to carry their hard goods (beyond golf balls) at a time when big-box was the king of golf retail. The J33R was the third generation of the J33 driver line that included the J33P (375cc) and the original J33R (420cc).

Stuart Appleby famously hit a 426-yard tee shot at the 2006 Mercedes Championships (Tournament of Champions in Hawaii) that nearly went over the green of the par-4 12th hole with the J33P—now imagine the punch of the 460 version!

What do you think of these selections, WRXers? Any drivers you’d add?

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