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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

GolfWRX Spotlight: TaylorMade SIM Max Rescue review

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TaylorMade on the tech features of the TaylorMade SIM Max Rescue

  • V Steel Sole design

    The v-shaped sole allows for clean turf interaction and provides additional versatility when playing from tight or difficult lies

  • Twist Face

    Uses corrective face angles designed to overcome inherent golfer tendencies on mis-hits and to produce straighter shots

  • Thru-Slot Speed Pocket

    Our breakthrough Thru-Slot Speed Pocket technology delivers enhanced sole flexibility to create additional ball speed as well as improved forgiveness on low-face mis-hits

  • C300 Ultra-Strong Steel Face

    High-strength C300 steel allows for a stronger, faster face engineered for explosive speed performance *Only SIM Max Fairway and Rescue

How it looks: TaylorMade SIM Max Rescue

I’ll be honest here: I hate hybrids. They look goofy and I hit em high and left 101 percent of the time. However, every once in a while I’ll find one that I can warm up to. It’s happened twice in the last five years: PXG Gen 2 and SIM Max. I’m not sure what it is exactly, but this hybrid looks like it’s gonna get into the turf and I’m actually gonna hit a good shot. The color scheme is clean and simple. The lines are sleek and not boxy, which is always a bonus. Sometimes hybrids look like a brick on a stick to me. This one does not.

How it feels: TaylorMade SIM Max hybrid

This is where I got really intrigued: the feel. It’s solid. Really solid. Now, I must say that TM didn’t reinvent the wheel with this thing, but the SIM Max is just a simple solid hybrid that is easy to hit and gets through the turf. The V Steel helps that I reckon. It has a nice heavy hit which is good since this is supposed to transition from woods to irons.

Overall: TaylorMade SIM Max Rescue

It’s a winner. Not hybrid of the century or anything, but a club that could stay in the bag for a while and produce solid results. Look, we have 14 slots to play and they all have a job to do. You cannot go wrong by giving this one a slot in the starting lineup!

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Equipment

What GolfWRXers have spent more money on – Drivers vs Putters

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In our forums, WRXer ‘2down’ has got our members talking about their purchase history and whether drivers or putters have taken more of their money. For ‘2down’ the answer is putters, who has a respectable seven flat-sticks sitting around his home, and our members divulge their history with drivers slightly edging it so far.

  • getitdaily: “Putters, but I change drivers more frequently…how does that make sense? When I change putters I will go through 7-10 of them until I find my bride. Then I stick with my bride for a while. I’ve had 2 brides…an old scotty newport beach studio stainless. Took about 10 putters to find it and then played it for like 12 years. Current bride is a spider tour plumbers neck. It’s been in the bag for 1.5 years now. Took about 8 putters to get to it, including a somewhat long term relationship with a 2ball fang. Since 1996 I think I’ve had 10 drivers total. 4 in the last 4 years.”
  • platgof: “I would say 24 drivers and 12 putters thereabouts. Took a long time to find what I wanted. I am still looking all the time though, it’s a disease, totally incurable. Now it is the wedges, and the SM7’s have my eye for now!”
  • CDLgolf: “Thats a really good question. At the moment I have 4 putters and 2 drivers. Over the last 25 years I’d have to say I’ve bought more drivers.”
  • Ray Jackson: “Definitely drivers as have used the same putter for at least the last 5 years. In that time frame I’ve probably had 4 drivers.”
  • dekez: “Drivers for sure. I go 6 – 7 years before even thinking about a putter switch.”

Entire Thread: “Your history – Drivers vs Putters”

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Whats in the Bag

WITB Time Machine: Phil Mickelson WITB, 2016 Waste Management Phoenix Open

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  • Equipment is accurate as of the Waste Management Phoenix Open (2016).

Driver: Callaway XR 16 Sub Zero (8.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Fubuki J 60 X (tipped 1 inch, 45.5 inches)

3-wood: Callaway X Hot 3 Deep (13 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Fubuki J 70 X (tipped 1.5 inches)

Hybrid: Callaway Apex (18 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana S Hybrid 100 TX

Utility iron: Callaway Apex UT (21 degrees)
Shaft: KBS Tour-V 125

Irons: Callaway Apex Pro ’16 (5-PW)
Shafts: KBS Tour-V 125

Wedges: Callaway Mack Daddy PM Grind Wedge (56-13, 60-10, 64-10)
Shafts: KBS Tour-V 125

Putter: Odyssey “Phil Mickelson” Blade
Grip: Odyssey by SuperStroke JP40

Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft (2016)

Grip: Golf Pride MCC Black/White

WITB Notes: Mickelson uses the rearward weight setting in his XR 16 Sub Zero driver.

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