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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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Whats in the Bag

Adam Scott’s winning WITB: 2020 Genesis Invitational

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Driver: Titleist TS4 (10.5 degrees, A1 SureFit setting, 2-gram weight)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Kuro Kage XTS 80 X

  • Scott put the Kuro Kage in play this week. Per Titleist’s J.J. VanWezenbeeck, “Adam Scott switched to the TS4 driver at the ZoZo Championship due to head size, shape, and improved launch to spin ratios. This week, after discussions with Adam, he went to a shaft he had previously played for increased stability. He felt the shaft went a little far and he lost head feel. We went on course with lead tape to get the feels to match up then weighted the head to preferred swing weight after testing.”

3-wood: Titleist TS2 (16.5 degrees, A1 SureFit setting)
Shaft: Fujikura Rombax P95 X

Irons: Titleist 716 T-MB (3-iron), Titleist 680 (4-9 irons)
Shafts: KBS Tour 130 X

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM8 (48.08F, 52.08F, 56.10S), Vokey Design SM8 WedgeWorks (60.06K)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold AMT Tour Issue X100

Putter: Scotty Cameron Xperimental Prototype Rev X11 (long)

Ball: Titleist Pro V1

Scott marks his ball with dots in the pattern of the Southern Cross, which is featured on the Australian flag.

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet

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That one time Tiger switched driver shafts and NOBODY noticed

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It seems like pretty much everyone on the planet has an idea of what clubs Tiger has in play at any given moment. Especially now in the age of social media. However, his bag was still analyzed and tracked immensely from the beginning of his arrival on the golf scene. Point is, when the guy switches anything out, the world will know.

But did you know that, during the 2002 and into the 2003 season, he switched driver shafts? It was a pretty substantial switch too, but it fell completely under the radar. As a Tiger junkie myself, I noticed it, but in those days 1) The internet wasn’t what it is today and 2) I was bartending in Newport Beach and didn’t have access to info like I do today. So, it went in my Tiger vault…until now.

Always known to have a True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shaft in his driver, Tiger and the Nike team wanted something a bit lighter, all while maintaining the stiffness profile of his X100.

We now introduce you to the 118-gram DGSLX100 Tiger Proto (a stock Dynamic Gold X100 shaft is 130 grams).

UNITED STATES – OCTOBER 28: Tiger Woods (Photo by Stan Badz/PGA)

A complete one-off made specifically for Tiger Woods. If you look at the pictures you will see an unfamiliar step pattern that starts off a bit wide towards the handle but gets progressively closer down towards the tip section. Basically, the step pattern (diameters) dropped lower to keep stiffness across the board.

“That’s the shaft we used to get him out of Titleist 975D and into Nike Blue 275cc driver in 2002.” – Anonymous Nike source

In theory, this was Tiger accepting the fact that he was going to have to get used to the feeling of a lighter shaft to begin the inevitable transition into graphite, which ultimately happened for good in 2004.

With the mystery of his bag completely gone these days with minute-to-minute reporting, I thought it kind of nice to still have a couple of nuggets to discover.

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Equipment

GolfWRX Spotlight: Precision Pro NX7 Pro Slope rangefinder

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If you are looking for a premium full-feature laser range finder at a price normally reserved for more entry-level units, the PrecissionPro NX7 Pro Slope is exactly what you are looking for. Clear optics, easy-to-use, pulse vibration targeting, and last but not least: Free batteries for life. You heard that right, for as long as you own the rangefinder, Precision Pro will make sure you never run out of juice on the course.

NX7 Pro Slope features

Generally, a product that fits into the affordable category has to compromise along the way to meet a certain price point. With the NX7 Pro Slope from Precision Pro, you don’t have to compromise to get everything you would want from a top-of-the-line rangefinder at a less-than-top-of-the-line price.

The NX7 has pulse vibration, which notifies the user the laser has locked onto the target. Having used a lot of other rangefinders in the past, I always thought of a “pulse” as being a bit of a redundant feature to someone with experience using a rangefinder. I was completely indifferent but was quickly proven wrong! To me, the pulse is just the extra reassurance to know that I am locked onto the flag instead of something behind. The NX7 Pro Slope does this with a priority target acquisition process to make sure you are getting the flag and not a tree behind the intended target.

As the name would lead you to believe, the NX7 Pro Slope comes with a slope feature that can be turned on and off for casual mapping of a course or competition—just be sure to check with any tournament committee for conformity during an event. It’s easy to see both the measured and calculated distances in the viewfinder without ever being cluttered.

The extras

Each rangefinder comes with a well-made protective case that allows you to store the unit either on the outside of your bag or tucked away for safekeeping during travel to and from the course. Although it seems like a small feature, details matter, and having the case latch with a mini elastic cord makes getting the rangefinder out just that much easier—no need to zip and unzip 40 times per round.

The rangefinder also comes with a cleaning cloth, pre-installed battery—and don’t forget those batteries for life. All you need to do is register your rangefinder and go through the form on the Precision Pro website.

For $289, it’s one of the best buys in the rangefinder market.

 

 

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