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New 2019 TaylorMade P790 irons: Subtle changes improve a modern cult classic

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2019 taylormade p790 7 iron back

It’s been almost two years since TaylorMade introduced the P790 irons, and I can safely say the positive response and popularity surpassed even TaylorMade’s expectations. It’s a technology-packed, foam-filled players distance iron that had even elite players putting it in the bag.

TM was able to create something that disrupted normal bias for better players. When this group of players typically had eyes for a P730, P750, or P760-type iron, the P790 had some scratching their heads—and ultimately a bunch putting the whole set in the bag. That’s rare in my experience. Let’s be clear, the 2019 TaylorMade P790 irons are first and foremost players distance irons, that’s the category they were designed to live in. But as we discovered, it was one of those rare irons that felt like a true forging, flew and performed like a game improvement club but sacrificed nothing on looks. A unicorn basically. There are very few like it. In golf club design, there is always a sacrifice somewhere but seemingly not in this case.

2019 taylormade p790 4 iron back

2019 TaylorMade p790 4-iron

So why change it? How do you improve on something that checks off so many boxes? Is the risk of messing it up worth it just to get a new product to the market? Why would TaylorMade release a product when the P790 is still in high demand?

I guess this depends on your motives. In this case, it was making something great just a touch better. This is simply a polishing of an already great product. My hunch is TaylorMade is not necessarily trying to convert the current P790 players to the new but to capture those that were on the fence. Smart move, in my opinion. There were a couple of things to do here, and TaylorMade addressed them. Now, these changes are subtle from an apples-to-apples comparison. However, the main things that kept certain players away from the P790 were the top line optics, offset and short iron shaping….

2019 taylormade p790 7-iron back

2019 TaylorMade p790 7-iron

Now, we land on the 2019 TaylorMade P790 irons, and in my opinion, TaylorMade will succeed in converting a few more of these holdouts. Simply put, TM addressed all the main critiques of the original but kept intact the DNA that made the first generation P790 so popular.

2019 TaylorMade P790: On the outside

Like the original, the 2019 P790 has a hollow-body design built with 8620 carbon steel body, forged 4140 carbon steel with a wrapped face construction.

Thinner topline optics are accomplished by a higher blade length out toward the toe, which is a look preferred by elite players. At first glance, you will notice that the topline has a slightly different look, which isn’t a huge change, but that, coupled with the now higher pinched off toe, will be pleasing to the player who prefers a thinner profile up top.

The sole has been tweaked a little to improve turf interaction.

Progressive offset in 3 through 6-irons and a more compact blade length in the 7-PW round off to check off all the better player requests from an optics standpoint.

2019 taylormade p790 Pw iron back

2019 TaylorMade P790 pitching wedge

2019 TaylorMade P790: On the inside

SpeedFoam is still the anchor of the technology in this hollow body design. It’s the glue(-like substance) holding the improved P790 together and critical to the interplay of the elements inside the head. However, what TM added was 15 percent more tungsten mass in the cavity (low and across the face) which helps lower the CG even further.

The original P790 was known for a very hot face but now TMAG has created an even thinner face (seven percent, to be exact), which equals a higher COR for faster ball speeds and improved feel.

I think the biggest feature that you can’t see is the newly introduced Progressive Inverted Cone Technology (PICT), which allows a bit more forgiveness and accuracy across the face. This new technology is enhanced with a new more flexible speed pocket that helps even out misses out of the bottom of the face.

Specs

Shafts

True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 steel shafts
UST Mamiya Recoil 760/780 ES SmacWrap graphite

*custom options available

Grips

Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360

Retail availability/price

September  6. $1,399.99 USD (steel); $1,599.99 USD (graphite)

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Johnny Wunder is the Director of Original Content, Instagram Manager and Host of “The Gear Dive” Podcast for GolfWRX.com. He was born in Seattle, Wash., and grew up playing at Rainier G&CC. John is also a partner with The Traveling Picture Show Company having most recently produced JOSIE with Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner. In 1997 Johnny had the rare opportunity of being a clubhouse attendant for the Anaheim Angels. He now resides in Toronto, On with his wife and two sons. @johnny_wunder on IG

16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Luke keefner

    Aug 17, 2019 at 6:53 pm

    I bought a full set this spring with the recoil shafts. I was always a Titleist or Mizuno guy but liked the look of these. I hit them at a demo day and ordered them the next week. I played them once and sold my hook prone hybrids. I’m 62 and pretty beat up from work but I can squeeze 175 out of my 6 iron and needed a 4 hybrid for that distance last year. I’m keeping these irons for a long time. (At least until they’re paid off, maybe longer????)

  2. Spencer

    Aug 13, 2019 at 11:51 am

    Irons look amazing and exactly what was said is true, top line optics kept me from considering the irons, but now they look more appealing and will be something to consider for next year.

  3. Jaxharley76

    Aug 12, 2019 at 9:20 pm

    Love my P790, was one of the first guys to get them and helped sell a bunch at my club here in N Florida. Expensive as crap, but worth it. Love Taylormade.

  4. pelling

    Aug 12, 2019 at 8:47 pm

    So basically the Rocketbladez Tour Iron From 2015!

    • jgpl001

      Aug 13, 2019 at 4:09 pm

      The Rocketbladez Tour were ugly, lumps of metal with all the feeling of a rock, but boy did they perform

      Now the ugliness is gone and I can’t wait to try these new p790’s, the old p790’s were just a tad too chunky, but these look good.

  5. TexasSnowman

    Aug 12, 2019 at 8:38 pm

    I am not a TM player (although I could be in the future) but they got it right with the p790. Clean look and the Technology is hidden, Thats what I prefer and I expect many players prefer. Give me the tech in a clean, almost classic looking package. No need for orange, green, big logos or visible badges, etc. I think Titleist may have a problem with the ts3 irons….and maybe the ts2 as far as looks go. Yes, of course its how it performs that is most important, but most players like an iron that also looks good in the bag. (Pavin won the open with the VAS irons, but I don’t think they sold may sets because they were just ugly.)

    • Brandon

      Aug 13, 2019 at 12:17 am

      The VAS titanium driver was the first club I ever owned that truly changed golf for me. Probably because it was when I transitioned to full size clubs from juniors, but I swear I gained 50 yards over the Tommy Armour I was hitting with a steel, short shaft.

  6. Adam

    Aug 12, 2019 at 8:24 pm

    I love the simple logo on it. TM usually loves to pack words and logos on their clubs but they resisted

  7. ken

    Aug 12, 2019 at 8:20 pm

    $1400 for a 8 club set. In five years or less, new iron models will eclipse $200 per club.
    Last week Titleist rolled out their T-100( pro model forged) T-200 (Players type cast head, forged face) and T-300 ( Game improvement) 100% cast head.
    All three models are priced the same. 4 thru Gap or 3 thru pw these are $1200- $1400 depending on from the retailer which one pre orders.
    Titleist states the clubs will become available on 8/30

    • JThunder

      Sep 19, 2019 at 1:30 am

      That’s capitalism for you. It’s a wonder anyone can afford golf at all, considering the cost of healthcare, cable, internet and cell phones.

  8. Cody

    Aug 12, 2019 at 11:10 am

    I know the 790 irons are long(er)… but are they consistently long? Like… is there a chance to hit a hot spot and all of a sudden you are air mailing greens?

    • Curt

      Aug 12, 2019 at 12:05 pm

      Yes, hot spots will still be there! 25 yard flyers here and there.

      • Scooter

        Aug 13, 2019 at 1:40 pm

        This is where I have trouble calling them “players” irons. In a forged/players club, you would hope hot spots wouldn’t exist.

        In theory, better players want a mid/low iron that is consistent in its flight and distance. I’d be afraid of hitting one “too good” with these and flying greens or hitting the occasional knuckle ball that doesn’t spin and flies and extra 15 yards.

        Distance iron with better feel than others in this category: Yes.

        Players Iron: Not so sure.

      • Brad

        Aug 13, 2019 at 5:32 pm

        How does one know this already?? Could this not be improved?

  9. Terry jones

    Aug 12, 2019 at 9:28 am

    Hopefully you can now get the udi in left handed version

    • Jay

      Aug 13, 2019 at 12:04 am

      TXG has said they are not doing a lefty UDI. 🙁

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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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