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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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Equipment

L.A.B. Golf now offers DF 2.1 putter with Electroless Nickel finish

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When you have an award-winning product, you don’t need overhaul it.

Instead, from time to time, you just need to give it a little tweak, and in the case of L.A.B. Golf’s DF 2.1—featuring lie angle balanced technology—that means offering a new highly durable nickel finish.

This isn’t the first time the team at L.A.B. Golf has changed a few things up with the DF 2.1. Just this May, on “Star Wars day” May 4th (because May 4th also kinda sounds like “May the force… be with you”) they released a hyper-limited 5 putter series featuring Start Wars graphics.

The new nickel finish on the L.A.B. DF2.1 is applied using Electroless Nickel Plating which is applied in a nickel bath through a chemical reaction. This reaction doesn’t require the traditional electric current for the plating process and it deposits a uniform layer of nickel onto the surface of the putter.

This nickel plating makes the finish on the putter almost impossible to scratch, and based on the properties of pure nickel, it isn’t affected by moisture.

Price, Specs, and Availability

The L.A.B. Golf DF 2.1 is available now with a base price of $425, with the new nickel plating being offered for an additional $30.

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TaylorMade P Series irons: Talking tour integration

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Now that the cat has been let out of the bag on the new 2020 TaylorMade P Series irons, I wanted to get some intel on how these new sticks will start to infiltrate the major tours and what that might look like.

TaylorMade’s Adrian Rietveld is one of the individuals that players like Rory, Rahm, and a number of the European staff trust to transition into new product.

I had a chance to chat with him this week on all things P Series, and this is what he had to say.

JW: In a general sense, what is the process for you when integrating a new product on Tour?

AR: I never like to do [more than] one product at a time, unless I’m at the Kingdom or off-site. On tour, it’s essential the focus stays in a bubble and we deal with one thing at a time. We typically will speak before any testing is done and I’ll get a sense from them what is looking to be gained or if there are any glaring issues.

The main place to start is going apples-to-apples spec-wise—old product vs new product. At that point we can see what the new product is offering, i.e. where it’s good and also identify what we need to do to get dialed across the board.

JW: Of the main Tour staff, who is testing now, and who will be testing after the season is over?

AR: Can’t answer exactly who is currently testing because all players test at different times, but I know our U.S. and European core staff players all have sets including non-staff players that also have our equipment in play.

The cool thing is the players who have had the time to test put them in play quickly which is a good sign.

JW: Rory put the P7MB in play quickly. What did he respond to on the P7MB that encouraged the switch?

AR: He did, but by the time, he got them he had been testing with us for a good while. When he got the set he has now, he was already quite familiar with them, so the transition was easy. This iron was designed with a lot of his input (as well as DJ) and both players had very nuanced but similar preferences, so it’s safe to say he was comfortable with them when they came outta the box.

It’s not a huge switch from his 730’s. He liked that he picked up marginal improvements across the board and was particularly pleased of the simplicity of the set—especially in the longer irons with less offset.

JW: What improvements are you seeing so far vs old models?

AR: For MB, using Charley Hull as an example, the 730 for her seemed to turn over a bit and was a bit less forgiving. With the 7MB, she neutralized her ball flight all while keeping her spec identical to her old set.

In the MC the long irons seem to launch a touch higher with a fraction more speed. Every player who has tested has made the switch, and that’s with no pressure to do so. We are patient when players irons hit in regards to player switches. I believe in the next 6-9 months you will see a ton of MC’s in bags, whether its staff or non-staff.

JW: Do you think you will see more combo sets than before?

AR: To be honest most setups these days are combo sets in some way shape or form. What I think we will see are players having the P7MB play further down into the set. For example, the player that was 4, 5, 6 750 and 7-P in 730 will now start to have the MB in the 5 and 6. That little addition of forgiveness will give players enough confidence and performance to make them comfortable.

JW: Using Rahm as an example, what is his process when he is getting into a new product?

AR: He spends a lot of time at The Kingdom and does any major switching there. He’s not a player who tends to tinker at a tournament site. As with most of our staff, his process is about making sure any switch in the bag is a step forward in performance. Since he lives in Arizona, getting to Keith and me in Carlsbad isn’t a long trip and that gives us ample quiet time to focus, test, and experiment.

*according to TaylorMade, eight sets P Series irons have been built for players on the European Tour with seven going into play immediately.

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Best tips for shopping for used golf clubs

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We’re in the middle of the golf season, and there is still lots of time left to lower your handicap, post a personal best score, and have some more fun along the way—but it might require some news clubs to get there. The best part is today, new doesn’t have to mean brand new—it can just be “new” to you.

Before spending any money shopping for used golf clubs, it’s important to pay close attention to a number of small details to save you time—and prevent you from having to spend more money down the road to correct for purchasing mistakes.

Here is our how-to guide to shop for used clubs

Shop the big sellers: Unless you are buying locally and have the opportunity to inspect clubs and know their source, the safest and easiest way to shop is from the big online sellers that inspect and verify the clubs they sell are legit.

Although thanks to a very concerted effort by OEMs to mostly eliminate counterfeit gear, it can still find its way into the marketplace and big sellers help stop the spread and prevent you from wasting your money. Also, most of the big sellers use photos of the actual clubs you are buying – not representative photos so you know exactly what you are getting.
**(We also have a great Buy/Sell/Trade board here on GolfWRX too)**

The telltale signs of counterfeit clubs are

  • Badge and brand colors slightly off
  • Poorly installed shaft bands (the stickers on steel shafts)
  • Awful smelling grips – they can feel thin and smell like very cheap rubber or solvents
  • Club weight seems very off – for irons and wedges they might feel extremely light and for drivers and woods they can feel a lot heavier because of the extremely poor quality graphite shafts being used.

Confirm specs: You don’t need to have a shop worth of tools to quickly and easily take some simple measurements to make sure you and getting clubs that match the right spec you are looking for, although a very specific tool is needed to check lies and lofts.

Specs you can check without tools – irons and wedges

  • Lengths: If lengths arent stated and you are buying in person, just simply bring a few of your own clubs to compare.
  • Grips: A quick check that all of the grips match for size and style can save you money, and make sure they feel good when you go to use them. Don’t forget though, grips are an easy and affordable way to make used clubs feel new again.
  • Matching shafts: A quick visual inspection to make sure the shafts match up will make sure you are getting what you pay for. Along that same line, checking to also make sure the ferrules match will show whether any club in the set was potentially repaired at some point.

Shopping for used clubs can feel like a treasure hunt and is a lot of fun—it’s also a great way to save money on equipment. Just be sure to not get caught up in what might seem like a deal too good to be true and take your time when evaluating what you are buying.

Happy (used golf club) shopping!

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