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TaylorMade RocketBladez Iron (Non-Tour) Review

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TaylorMade RocketBladez Irons

Summary: The RocketBladez irons incorporate a slot in the sole of the iron, which gives golfers more ball speed and a higher launch.

TaylorMade introduced this “speed pocket” in 2012 with its RBZ fairway woods and hybrids. In conjunction with the speed pocket, the RocketBladez feature an improved Inverted Cone design that allows for a slightly bigger club face area, as well as the elimination of hot spots.

In summation: longer and straighter shots with tighter dispersion. Click here to see the press release and watch the TaylorMade video about the RocketBladez Irons.

Pros:

Sean2: (Reviewer #1) Lives up to the billing. These clubs are longer than other game improvement irons I have tried, and they are straight.

The RocketBladez also have a forged feel to them. Yes, some may say that the lofts are a bit strong, but that is the trend these days with game improvement irons.

tbowles411: (Reviewer #2) They are longer than my irons and straighter without a crazy amount of offset, but rest assured high cappers, it’s there to help.

The insert seems to work as advertised.  No hotspots, which was a common complaint with previous TaylorMade irons (and I complained too).  The ball comes off in a hurry and the feel is very good.

Cons:

Sean2: This is a game improvement club, those looking for a players’ iron will have to look elsewhere, or wait until February, when the RocketBladez Tour are set for release.

tbowles411:  Cons – If you’re less than a 15 handicap and consider yourself a “Playah”, you’re probably going to be disappointed:  Wait for the Tours.

rocketbladez irons review

Conversely, if you’re having ball striking issues OR are over a 30 handicap, you might need to look elsewhere because the soles are not as wide as someone who needs a SGI club might need for an immediate impact.  You CAN grow into them though.  Just practice and play with them.  Don’t give up.

Tech Video interview with TaylorMade at the headquarters Carlsbad California.

[youtube id=”QpmrytE3gLI” width=”620″ height=”360″]

Specs of gear reviewed by our two (2) testers:

Sean2: TaylorMade RocketBladez irons (4-SW), +0.75 inches, 2º upright, from TaylorMade standard, with RocketFuel Graphite shafts 65 grams, stiff flex.

tbowles411: TaylorMade Rocketbladez irons (4-LW), + ¾ and +1 inches (depending on the iron – the AW, SW and LW were the same length), 2 degrees up, Matrix Program 95, Regular Flex (to prove a point), Golf Pride Tour Wrap 2G (white) +6 wraps.

Click here to see the discussion for these reviews in the forums

Appearance:

Sean2: This is a very nice looking iron and should appeal to wide variety of golfers, from the traditionalist to the mid and high handicapper alike.  Unlike the RBZ irons, whose green badging some found a bit loud, the black/gold is very understated. The club has a satin-like finish that I find very appealing. The sole, where the speed pocket is located, has a chrome finish.

2013 taylormade rbz irons

The term “speed pocket” is a bit of a misnomer. It’s not a pocket at all since it is completely filled in so you don’t have to worry about it getting jammed up with dirt or debris when you hit a shot.

taylormade rocketblades irons

The pocket is actually filled with a specially formulated polyurethane developed by 3M. You will find the speed pocket on the 3 through 7 irons. It’s not on the 8 iron through AW it becomes “less active.” The sole of the RocketBladez is narrower than some game improvement irons, and the look is a bit more understated as well.

The graphite shaft is black with the same, understated gold graphics found on the club head. It’s quite sharp looking. The grip is similar to a Golf Pride Tour Velvet in feel, but perhaps a bit softer, and follows the same black/gold theme.

Purists may find the topline a bit thick and the sole a bit wide (though not as wide as the G20s for example), but both are fairly standard for a game improvement iron. One nice feature is a notch located near the base of the hosel, which makes adjusting the lie angle much easier. Overall this is a very nice looking iron.

Click here to see the discussion for these reviews in the forums

rocketbladez 2013

tbowles411: You all know how it is, when a long brown box arrived from UPS, it’s Christmas at that very moment. But in all their shiny glory were my Rocketbladez irons. But of course, being almost winter, I had to plan my attack when I could, between Christmas parties, rain, and bitter cold, and of course work.  These are good looking irons:  Kind of edgy and modern.  I like that.

rbz iron

The Speed Pocket — oh yes, the holy grail of technology that people love to say has been done before. Here’s the difference. TaylorMade made it work better. I have a 70-something-year-old neighbor who still has a set of Wilson Reflex in his basement. I held up the iron, and you can see its roots.

He told me there were a set of slotted Walter Hagan irons that came out around the same time that were actually better looking and in his opinion performed a little better.  In his words, “The Reflex irons were crap! They helped kill Wilson!” I wasn’t going to argue with him because I was only 8 when they came out, so don’t sue me Wilson. I’m only passing on what a Korean War vet told me.

rocketbladez

I like the color scheme of the head. It’s not gaudy like some complained the RBZ irons were:  Black, gold and gray, a nice combination.  My shafts were the Matrix Program 95 in regular flex. My point:  I ordered regular flex to help produce a bit more spin as this shaft can be a stout one. I’m a pretty big dude, so while I didn’t want rebar, I also didn’t want a noodle either. I think this was a nice compromise. While I can’t say these are the “real deal,” they feel very similar to the ones I used to play in my Vega irons.

As a guy who uses GI irons, I liked the thick topline.  It’s there for a simple reason:  To give mass to the back of the iron and to make it more forgiving.  It’s going to forgive the bad swing, but not the REALLY bad swing. For me, this is the run of the mill GI iron. There is a small cavity, which gives even more forgiveness. And it gives confidence. And I’m all about some added confidence standing over a shot.

The wedges have a “cavity” as well. It’s not really a cavity, but its there for forgiveness as well.  It makes those off center shots behave.  But the wedges look outstanding.  To me, it really is one sexy looking wedge.  But how do they perform?  More on that in a bit. LOOK:  4.75/5 STARS

Click here to see the discussion for these reviews in the forums


Performance:

Sean2: Having owned both the TaylorMade Burner 2.0’s and the Ping G20’s, I was able to compare the RocketBladez with both.  The first thing I noticed about the RocketBladez is the feel. When you hit a shot on the sweet spot it feels like a very well made forged iron. Yeah, I know, surprised me too.

Unlike the Burner 2.0s the RocketBladez exhibits none of the “hot spots” the Burner 2.0’s are known for. What really stands out is how straight the ball goes, the consistency in distance, and the nice high trajectory I was seeing with each shot. Make no mistake though, the ball wasn’t ballooning, but pierced through the air. Even shots hit off the toe would go straight without a terrible loss in distance.

I had replaced the Burner 2.0’s with the G20’s because I found I my distances were inconsistent with the Burner 2.0’s.  The G20s took care of that inconsistency very nicely. The RocketBladez also gives you a very consistent distance shot after shot. It’s comforting to know the club in your hand will give you the yardage you are shooting for.

Click here to see the discussion for these reviews in the forums

While I like the G20s very much, I’d give a slight nod to the RocketBladez. Yes, the lofts are stronger in the RocketBladez from the 7 iron on up, but when I took my G20 6 iron and the RocketBladez 7 iron (29 degrees and 30.5 degrees respectively), I found I was hitting the RocketBladez slightly further. In addition, I was hitting the RocketBladez a tad higher and straighter as well. And finally, the RocketBladez had a slight better feel to them. However, I think the finish on the G20 is more robust than on the RocketBladez. Compared to the Burner 2.0s, the RocketBlades surpassed them in all the categories mentioned above even more so.

There are two models of the RocketBladez Irons. The standard model (this review is on the “standard” model) and a “Tour” version. The Tour Version is not as long and a smaller, more player-type iron for lower handicap. The upside to the standard is the hot face and distance gains we saw vs. the Tour version.

Photos of the standard RocketBladez

rocketbladez 2013

Photos of the standard RocketBladez Topline (Below). It’s thicker in the standard version than it is in “Tour” version, which also has a smaller blade length, a narrower sole and a reduced amount of offset. 

rocketbladez standard version

I’ve even had some success hitting the long irons, especially off the tee. I was surprised at the distance I was getting, especially with the 4-iron, however, it does have 20 degrees of loft. Does that mean I’ll ditch my 7 wood? Not just yet, because for the most part I hit it really well. However, I’ll keep working with the 4 iron and see where it takes me. Either my golf swing is getting better, or it’s all about the technology, or a little bit of both.

Photos of the “Tour” model of RocketBladez (slightly smaller head and thinner top line, but not the same distance and the standard version). 

tour rocketbladez

Photos of the RocketBladez “Tour” Version Topline

rocketbladez tour 2013 iron

The higher trajectory, sans the ballooning, gives you the added benefit of landing the ball on the green softly without all that nasty rollout. When it comes to the scoring clubs, 8-AW, high and straight will translate to lower scores. I also hit a few low punch shots with the pitching wedges into a brisk wind, and had no problem keeping the ball down. The graphite shafts feel quite smooth and have a very nice feel to then. For an OEM shaft it performs quite admirably.

On a closing note, I don’t find the RocketBladez to be “ridiculously long”. They are longer, but not ridiculously so. I am more impressed with how straight they are and how they feel when you hit the sweet spot. 4.50/5.00

Click here to see the discussion for these reviews in the forums

tbowles411: With the onset of winter, I had to time this well.  I hate playing on a wet course, but of course, I was out of options.  For you nice people I did it.  Because I’m a giver.  :)  I took my Garmin GPS, extra golf balls to compare shots, my primary set of Callaway clubs forged wedges and the Rocketbladez and rolled out.  Yes I’m a Club Ho and have multiple sets of clubs and bags.  What’s it to you?  ;)

I pick the ball clean off the turf with a very small divot.  I had no issues with playing on wet ground with these, though the divots were a bit deeper than I’d like.  I couldn’t help it.  Since it was a wet day, I went out as a single, so I could take my time.  I had the course to myself, so where I tried to take two shots to compare distances.

As former user of the Burner 2.0’s, I liked them, but one of the things I absolutely did not like were the hot spots.  \I could hit a 200-yard 5 iron, a 220-yard 5 iron, or a 190-yard 5-iron.  It made it pretty hard to plan out what I was going to do. It didn’t matter how easy they were to hit, I just couldn’t tell how far they were going to go. I had no such problems with these irons. I was wary given my last experience with TaylorMade irons. I know with my Callaway Razr XF, I hit my 5-iron, 195 yard with a smooth swing, and a little over 200 yards if I lay into it harder. I’m happy with that. I know the loft is 2 degrees weaker than the Rocketbladez in the long irons, but only 1 degree weaker in the short irons (the 9 iron was the same), so I expected a distance gain, but I was unsure how much.  Keep in mind, I was using a 10g heavier and stouter shaft then what I was using in my Callaway’s.

I’ll just say they were longer. Even with the heavier shaft.   know if I want to gain distance, I can go with a different graphite shaft, that’s not only more flexible, but kicks higher. However, the ball came off very hot. It seemed to hang in the air, but the ball didn’t balloon. It got out there in a hurry, even with the wetness of the course. It wasn’t cold, just wet. So it scares me to think how these will perform in warmer weather. I made an effort to mishit these, taking the shots more towards the heel and the toe. The ball still went straight with a negligible distance loss, so that was impressive, to say the least. I was having issues with the 4-iron, as I don’t carry one as a rule.  However, once I got used to it, it was a little more preferable off the tee.  Though the fudge factor wasn’t as great as a hybrid, you can still get very good distance, but crazy accuracy with it.  It just wants to go straight.  Oh, my 4-iron distance?  233 yards.

Click here to see the discussion for these reviews in the forums

But another word on the Speed Pocket: But I understand the premise of the Speed Pocket. It’s placed lower where most golfers actually hit the ball and across the entire face. It provides an added “trampoline” effect which gets the ball up at a higher trajectory (launch angle) and out not only faster, but farther. In basic terms, it has to do with the dynamic loft of the club which can increase launch angle. These irons were designed to help the average golfer get the ball up with the likelihood there would be a mishit. So the center of gravity is lower and the dynamic loft fires the ball at a higher launch angle. A higher launch angle, a faster ball speed, more distance.  Sorry. My geek was showing.  Where was I…?

The wedges are a different story. My usual setup is 50, 55, 60. I was pleased to find out my gaps were already standard. I knew these were built on the ATV wedges.  However these have a “cavity” in them to add forgiveness.  They worked better than I thought they would.  They don’t give as much spin as my primary wedges, but they still get good bite, but the cavity adds mega forgiveness.  Wedge play isn’t my thing, but with the cavity it made shots from 110 yards and in very simple.  A sand wedge with a cavity is like cheating. Out of the sand, it’s money. Even I could get the ball out! And I actually got the lob wedge with the set and wanted to see what it could do: 60 yards with spin. Flops were easier with a cavity. Very nice. Get the wedges. Don’t even hesitate. You’re welcome.

THE CHALLENGE:  THE HOLE

There is a hole on the course that is my nemesis:  A 235-yard Par 3, with the pin center, and a little tucked (the Super was in a bad mood I see). Why this hole is on a local muni is beyond me.  I almost never hit this green and if I do, I’m sure it’s going to barely make it, but usually, I take my 4 hybrid and roll with it.  Well, I took my new 4 iron and went for it.  It flew a little higher than my hybrid and when it hit, it bit some and spun towards the hole.  It never left the pin:  18 feet to the pin.  I was pretty pleased. To compare (since I was alone), I took two more shots, one with my 3 and 4 hybrids:  25 and 34 feet.  A silly grin started creeping across my face.  I thought, “I think I’m going to like these…” PERFORMANCE:  4.75 STARS/5

Click here to see the discussion for these reviews in the forums

______________________________________________________________

Feel:

Sean2:  I wanted to talk a bit more about this because I was so surprised the first time I hit one on the sweet spot. I was on the range warming up (I usually start out chipping and pitching until I get loose), and I grabbed the nine iron, took a full swing, hit it well, and oh my. The shot felt very similar to a forged iron. I then took the 7 iron. Same thing. I wanted to see if this was for real and head out to the course.

I decided to leave all my woods in the bag and play from the forward tees with just the irons. I wanted to hit every tee shot with an iron to see if I was imagining things. Maybe the range shots were an anomaly.

No, they weren’t. A well struck tee shot, shots out of the fairway, shots out of the rough, all had a forged feel to them. Nice! Remember though, I’m playing graphite shafts here. Perhaps that had something to do with it? I don’t know. 4.75/5.00

tbowles411: THESE ARE NOT FORGED. There. I had to remind myself of that.  However, these feel very good. When you strike these on the center of the face, they feel as soft as a cast club can. For a quick moment it reminded me of a Ping iron. I’m fairly sure the insert has a lot to do with it. Hit it along the heel or toe, still feels very decent. I remind you, feel is a preference. But these are a very good feeling iron. When you get to the short irons, they did remind me of a Ping iron: Pretty soft for cast. As someone who uses forged clubs, I could totally use these and not be disappointed. I know what you’re thinking:  “Dude, you’re using graphite!”  Yes, but if you use graphite as long as I have, you know the difference of a good shot, and a great shot; a well struck, and one not so much. FEEL:  4.75/5 STARS

RocketBladez Wedges Sean2: Included with the irons for me to test was a RocketBladez sand wedge with a loft of 55º. This is a great looking wedge, with a satin like finish, and a bit of a cavity back. The sand wedge has the same ATV sole (All-Terrain Versatility) that their “players” wedges have, but with a bit more forgiveness. I’ve always been a fan of the ATV because it allows a golfer to play a variety of shots from a variety of turf conditions and not have to be to concerned about bounce. I have a 64º ATV wedge that’s been terrific. I wasn’t at all surprised at how well the sand wedge performed. It was great from  the rough, off a tight lie, and out of the sand. It had some bite to it too and a few times the ball checked up on the green. It always surprised me that people will be encouraged by their pro to purchase a set of game improvement irons, or based on an article they read in a golf magazine, or from a book they’ve read, but will still end up purchasing a set of “players” wedges. If a golfer purchases a set of game improvement irons, why not a set of game improvement wedges?

I would encourage anyone thinking of purchasing a set of RocketBladez irons to give the RocketBladez wedges serious consideration. The AW/SW/LW come in 50º/55º/60º respectively. 4.75/5.00

Click here to see the discussion for these reviews in the forums

______________________________________________________________

Summary/Overall:

Sean2: The TaylorMade RocketBladez is a game improvement iron that anyone can enjoy. These irons do everything well in a very nice looking package. They are bit longer, forgiving, straight, and feel terrific. The casting process has come along way. For those of you that believe that forged is the only way to go, but have been looking for a more forgiving forged iron, I would suggest you take the RocketBladez for a test drive. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

For those of you looking for a game improvement iron that has a nice understated look, with a hemi under the hood, you don’t have to look very far. There is a lot of technology packed into the RocketBladez, and the nice thing is you’re not hit over the head with it. If you’re in the market for a new set of irons I think you owe it to yourself to give the RocketBladez a test drive, and please don’t forget the wedges. That all said, you still have to put a good swing on whatever club you purchase, however I think TaylorMade hit a home run with the RocketBladez irons. Overall Rating: 4.65/5.00

tbowles411: The hype is true.  These will go farther.  I’m not sure about 11 yards farther, but I can see how it could.  We can argue about lofts, materials and God knows what else.  Your average consumer isn’t going to care about any of it.  They want the ball to get up, and out.  Stock offerings in steel and graphite will most certainly do that and get them to enjoy golf and have some fun with it.  I can totally see TaylorMade selling a boatload of these irons in the regular and probably in the Tour models.  They perform as advertised.  My advice to higher cappers:  Leave the 4-iron at home until you get good with it.  Get the hybrids which I’m sure will be on sale eventually, and for the love of all that’s holy, GET THE WEDGES. OVERALL IMPRESSION:  4.75/5 STARS

Click here to see the discussion for these reviews in the forums

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18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Jason s

    Oct 6, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    If you haven’t tried or experienced graphite shafts you have no idea how helpful they can be for a variety of issues…this isn’t 1979….

  2. Roman

    Aug 31, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    I have seen that the rocketballbladez irons come in a tour, hp and lp version, what do lp and hp mean?

  3. Terry

    Apr 16, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    I tried these, the SpeedBlades and the Tour Preferred CB irons. I liked the TP-CB the best, but they’re really expensive. So it came down to the RocketBladez or the Speedblades. Because of the constant onslought of new products from Taylormade there was more than $200 savings by going with these RocketBladez. So that’s what I bought and have really enjoyed them.

    Then I received a free Speedblade 6 iron from Taylormade. I went to the range with nothing but my existing RocketBladez 6i and the new Speedblade 6i to hit a bucket. Same day, same player (13 handicap), same conditions – the Speedblade gave me five more yards with similar feel and results. Which made even more happy with my choice.

    When I get below a ten handicap, I’ll trade these in for the Tour Preferred CB or MC irons. Let’s see what 2014 brings.

  4. bwasoon

    Jul 15, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    I went from Ping Rapture Steel Stiff +1″, to TM Rocketbladez 65 gram graphite. Reason, I could no longer generate the head speed because I’m old and I lost distance and my draw. I was a 6 just 3 years ago and ballooned to 11. I found myself trying to adjust my grip, my stance, etc to no avail. I decided to take my Raptures to the fitting cart at a local outdoor range in North Fort Myers, and compared. There was no comparison. With the TM Graphite the draw was back, the distance was back and now, 3 months later my handicap is 8 and stable. I liked the TM graphite better than the TM steel (85g) and the feel is quite remarkable. I never thought I could buy a better game. I was wrong.

    • markb

      Nov 6, 2013 at 9:50 pm

      Count me among the RBladez converts. I just spent the day at my local executive course hitting 4 balls per hole, two balls with my trusty Ping Eye2 square grooves (plus One inch, project X 6.0 shafts) and two balls with a standard Rocketbladez set, 85 gram regular steel Rocketfuel shaft.

      As it turned out, the long shafts on the Pings were exactly the same length as the standard Rocketbladez, making my adjustment to the new set very easy. The RBladez felt lighter and while their lofts may have looked a bit stronger at address, they did not launch any lower than the Pings. I tend to have too low a ball flight and struggle to get enough backspin, hence the reason I play old square-grooved Pings and why I was worried that these RBladez would be nothing more than 5 irons with “6” stamped on the bottom etc., as the TMag haters claim.

      I needn’t have worried. The ball flights across the board went as high or higher than the equal-numbered Pings. Backspin was the same or better with the Rbladez. Feel was comparable, forgiveness and shot dispersion was better with the RBladez. The RBladez strayed a tad further right, but this could probably be corrected by bending them one degree upright.

      The big, surprising difference was distance. 10 to 20 yards more per club across the board. Example: my Ping 7 goes 160 on average. The Rbladez 7 iron went 5 to 10 yards further than the Ping 6, with a higher ball flight, averaging about 175 to 180, with check equal to Ping 7. Other clubs were very similar.

      I say ignore the hype and the haters, hit the clubs.

  5. Billy J

    May 27, 2013 at 1:58 am

    Again I want to point everyone in the direction of the golfreviewguy.com. This is an awesome review but seems a bit commercialized. Check out another good review http://www.golfreviewguy.com/taylormade-rocketbladez-irons-review.html. hope this helps someone.

  6. NL

    Mar 11, 2013 at 11:26 am

    I can’t believe there hasn’t been a Rocketbladez Tour review yet. Anybody? Pretty please?

    • Frank Garrett

      Oct 13, 2013 at 7:58 pm

      Here’s your review….it’s new, it’s good
      If you hit it high, it’s high
      If you’re a low ball hitter, it will stay low
      Spend money on what you want to
      but your average golfer would do better
      spending it on lessons

  7. Mac

    Feb 25, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    if these increase ball speeds hit lower in the face, than if you were hitting from the rough and the ball hits high on the face, then wouldn’t that mean the ball would travel considerably less?

    • Frank Garrett

      Oct 28, 2013 at 7:40 pm

      More tm gimmicks if u ask me, I get plenty of distance when I thin a shot and I’m sure everyone else does too

  8. jerry

    Feb 13, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    I’m a 65 yr old lefty (male) with a bad left knee. With my knee injury I’ve lost considerable distance with ALL my clubs. I barely hit my driver 190 now and irons are horrendous. Will these help an old hacker?

    • jim

      Mar 18, 2013 at 11:40 pm

      Hey Jerry. couldn’t help but to reply. My dad is 71, never had a lesson in his life. just started golf about 8 years ago. I am 43, about a 17 HC. I’m not a great golfer ( A hack myself). I am in the market for a new set of clubs this year too. I have tried many, still haven’t got an answer yet. I see a tour professional instructor and I asked him the same question as you did. His answer was this. ” pick your clubs in this order ( 1. how it works. 2. how it feels. 3 how it sounds. 4. how it looks. in that order). Your swing is the most important part. work on your swing. Youtube is a great way to find practice techniques. good luck

    • jim

      Mar 18, 2013 at 11:44 pm

      Jerry, JIm again. about the 190 thing. the most interested, yet disturbing thing I witness on the golf course is when I play someone who is 55, 65, 75, and they kick my ass. You know why? because they hit the ball straight, everytime. they only hit the ball about 150 each shot, but its staight, and in play. Thats ALL you have to do. Keep your distances and focus on hitting it straight consistently and you will do great.

    • Mel

      Apr 13, 2013 at 11:55 am

      I have these irons, they are FANTASTIC! Tried them at Golfsmith and didn’t believe the launch monitor: (66 years old, hacker, 18 handicap) 7 iron 170 yards. On the course? Same thing! I was even able to get a “Great shot!” from my playing partner. I didn’t think those words were in his vocabulary.

      I have the steel shafts, the ball literally jumps off the club face I tried Nike Coverts, Callaway X-Hots, Ping G25 and Titlest AP1. None of these were anywhere close to the Rocketbladez.

      Great choice.

  9. ES

    Feb 5, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    Just switched from R9 irons (S300 true temper, non TP version) to these in steel/stiff last weekend. One full range session and two rounds of golf. 12 handicapper, here’s my take. Even though these are longer shafts & stronger lofts I lost a few yards. Likley due to the R9 head & shaft each being heavier than the Rocketbladez comparatively. That’s the only negative thing I can say. The flight is higher, distance more consistent so far and for whatever reason they are straighter to this point as well. They have a unique sound and feel that has grown on me already.

    • Chase

      Feb 10, 2013 at 5:46 pm

      ES – did you have the stock RocketBladez shafts in them when you compared them to the R9’s?

  10. FCM

    Jan 13, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    Jacking up the lofts will increase any clubs distance. G20 7 iron 32 degree, AP1 7 iron 33 degrees, TM RocketBladez 30.5. Enough said! And second the graphite shaft comment. TM is so overrated. They are long and that is all and we all know why.

  11. chris

    Jan 8, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    Dude using graphite shafted irons for a review. Seriously??? get out a town man, you are wasting our time…

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Equipment

See what GolfWRX Members are saying about Mizuno’s new ST-180 driver

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Mizuno has recently released a new ST-180 driver that we spotted on Tour at the 2017 RSM Classic. The company’s “wave sole” technology makes an appearance for the first time in a Mizuno driver; the design is used to push weight low and forward to reduce spin rates, and the construction contracts and expands during impact to increase energy into the golf ball. The result is a lower-spinning driver, especially for those who hit down on the golf ball, and increased ball speeds across the face.

The ST-180 drivers have a new Forged SP700 Titanium face insert that allows the faces to be made thinner — saving weight from the face while increasing ball speeds — and they feature what the company calls a “Internal Waffle Crown” that saves weight to help shift CG (center of gravity) low and forward in the head.

There’s a slew of custom shafts available for no upcharge. The stock grip is Golf Pride’s M31 360, and the drivers are selling for $399.99, available in stores now.

Below is a collection of early feedback from GolfWRX members, and make sure to join the full discussion. See more photos of the ST-180 driver here.

Note: The posts below have been minimally edited for grammar and brevity.

GolfWRX Members comment on the new Mizuno ST-180 driver

TeeGolf: I’ve seen the ST180 driver [in person] and it looks like it sits perfectly square to me. And this is coming from someone who has been playing a Titleist driver set 1-degree open for the past 3 years. It doesn’t look closed at all. 

trhode: I’ve been playing the M2 all year. In comparison at address, the ST is very closed. I had 3 customers look at it yesterday too and they all had the same reaction: closed. That being said, I did play 18 on the simulator and hit some monster drives. The head, with the Raijin shaft, seems to be just a little lower spin than my TaylorMade M2. The blue finish doesn’t bother me either. 

akjell: Hit this yesterday at the Mizuno demo day yesterday at Eagle Ridge in Gilroy, CA. Far from a hook machine but definitely a bomber. The Mizuno’s reps put me in a Mitsubishi Tensei White 70X and I could hit this this driver on a string possibly a bit better than my M1. Of the Mizuno drivers of late, this has to be the best one.

odshot68: Ordering it today. Was fit and played a round with it. Optimal launch and spin. Tensei Blue 70x at 9.5 degrees. This is definitely not left bias; first Mizzy driver ever.

nmorton: Hit this today and it’s going in the bag. Just a classic head shape that suits my eye. Been messing around with a number of drivers over the past year and haven’t singled one out. Last long term driver I had was the 850. The ST checks all of the boxes for me…looks great down by the ball, sounds solid and performs as good as any other. What really sold me was how well slight mis-hits performed. I had the 12.5 dialed down so it definitely sat open a bit. Didn’t hit the fairway but it looks sharp as well. 

evoviiiyou: Had a chance to test the driver with a couple shafts last night. The head is definitely deeper than the JPX900 and the footprint seems bigger from he set up position, very confidence inspiring like the JPX900 but a little improved. Finish and graphics are very similar to the 900 which is very nice if you like the satin Mizuno blue and I do love it just like the satin black I recently had done to my JPX driver and 3 metal. 

regiwstruk: My current gamer is a Titleist 917D3, and this is definitely replacing that. I used a JPX 900 from November 2016 through June 2017 — biggest differences are the sound and that the distance is up there with at least one of the leaders in the market. Anxious to see how it does on the course! 

Paul065: It is high launch, low spin yes but I wouldn’t say it was targeted at the average golfer. It’s basically their version of Callaway Epic Sub Zero. Rory used the Sub Zero. 

Tommyj: I went down to Carls yesterday specifically to look at the ST180. I’ve read some comments that the face looks closed. When I picked it up it was in the 10.5D position and did look slightly closed but then looked perfectly square at 9.5D and also square at 10.5D which seemed sort of odd. The shape is not for me, I had a Cobra F6 and while the ST180 footprint isn’t that big its still substantial. I like blue on drivers and the ST180 has a real quality look to it with the matte finish, having said that I’m not sure I’d want to be looking at that shade of blue all the time. The sound was an absolute killer for me, it was completely unexpected because I always associate Mizuno with being traditional and understated… ST180 launch was lower than G400 in the neutral setting, about the same when I lofted the Ping down.  ST180 was noticeably lower than D2. Longest driver of the three was G400, followed by ST180 then D2. For me the ST180 had the widest dispersion with G400 being the most accurate (by a wide margin).

Discussion: Read more comments about the ST-180 driver here

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Spotted: Justin Rose is testing a new TaylorMade “Hi-Toe” wedge

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On Twitter today, Justin Rose posted a photo of a never-before-seen TaylorMade “Hi-Toe” 60-degree wedge. As the name suggests, it appears the toe portion is raised; we’ve seen this high-toe design from other manufacturers, and the benefits of those designs included increasing face area on open-faced shots, and shifting CG (center of gravity) to where it’s more beneficial for wedge play (likely higher for more spin and a lower flight).

The wedge is also stamped with “MG” to suggest it’s a “milled grind” wedge, much like TaylorMade’s popular wedge line that’s in stores now. There also appears to be slots behind the face, likely to also shift CG to where it’s deemed more beneficial.

Talks of a TaylorMade wedge with a high-toe design were actually started by Dustin Johnson a few weeks ago in a press conference. His full comments on that wedge are above, and you can join the discussion about the wedge in our forums.

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GolfWRX Exclusive: Patton Kizzire speaks on first PGA Tour win, WITB, new 718 irons

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Patton Kizzire nabbed his maiden PGA Tour win at last week’s OHL Classic, outlasting a late charge from Rickie Fowler. He raised his first Trophy with a bag full of Titleist equipment and a Titleist ProV1x.

Following the event, our Andrew Tursky had a revealing chat with Patton about the win and the clubs he used to do it.

GolfWRX: When you’re leading down the stretch, are you leaderboard watching? Does a big name like Rickie Fowler chasing you have any effect on your mentality/gameplan?

Patton Kizzire: For most of the tournament, I try not to look at the leaderboard. I took a long look on 15…and I just wanted to make sure nobody was ahead of Rickie and closer to me, and I just went from there.

GolfWRX: Do you get defensive or less aggressive down the stretch? Are you aiming away from pins, or are you ‘head down, keep it going’?

PK: It’s all situational. On difficult holes, maybe [I] play a bit more conservatively. I certainly wasn’t willing to take any chances with a three-stroke lead. I was playing the percentages. I maybe didn’t hit the best shots of the tournament there toward the end. The beginning of the back nine — 12, 13, 14 — were not my best tee shots. But I certainly wasn’t trying to play defensive. I was trying to play aggressively to conservative targets.

GolfWRX: Were there a lot of nerves coming home down the stretch?

PK: It was a little nerve wracking, but it wasn’t my first time in contention. I was able to draw on some of my near-misses, especially the Safeway Open last year. I was in a very similar spot on the weekend on Sunday, and I didn’t get it done, but I was able to look back at that and learn a little bit.

GolfWRX: It looks like you don’t do a whole lot of switching. You’ve still got a 913 Hybrid in the bag and a putter that’s been in the bag for years, too. What does your testing process look like when Titleist comes out with new equipment?

PK: Titleist has been really consistent for me since I was 15…I’ve played Titleist equipment almost exclusively since I was 15 or so. Every year it seems they come out with something new, and I have so much trust in it. It’s a pretty seamless transition. I don’t switch much. I try to put the new irons in play, the new driver, the new woods.

But something like a hybrid, you kind of have a club you fall in love with over the years, and I’ve been a little bit hesitant to switch that. The new balls, the new woods, the new irons are pretty easy for me to get into. And the Vokey team…have done such a great job with wedges”

And I have to mention the putter. The Scotty Cameron GoLo putter has been in my bag for about five years. And I owe a lot of my success to putting.

GolfWRX: Do you ever look to switch out your putter, or do you just kind of love that one and it works for you?

PK: I’ve toyed around with other putters here and there, but I always go right back to the GoLo. For whatever reason, maybe because I’ve used it so long, it just seems like what a putter should be. I feel really comfortable with it. I always gravitate back to the GoLo.

GolfWRX: What makes the wedges a good fit for you?

PK: The way they go through the turf. I like to have a strong leading edge to go through the turf. And the lob wedge needs to perform well around the greens and in the bunker. I’ve really been hitting my bunker shots well with my new 60 degree. I have different versions of the same wedges. Aaron [Dill] does great work in the truck. He kind of tweaks it here and there for me, and they perform like expect them to.

GolfWRX: How often do you switch out wedges?

PK: I get a new 60 degree the most…every four or five tournaments. New 56 and 52 every six to eight tournaments. I try to keep that 60 degree sharp. If we get to a course with firm greens and my wedge doesn’t have the bite that I want it to have, I’ll definitely give the Titleist guys a call.

GolfWRX: What kind of grind do you have on that 60?

PK: We call it the “Dufner grind.” I saw Jason Dufner had one like that about a year ago, and I told Aaron, “I want one like that.” I don’t know what the grind is, but it’s really good for me. [Note: The grind is a modified K grind.]

GolfWRX: One last question… How do the 718 irons look and feel different than the 716 irons?

PK: They don’t look a whole lot different. They’ve been holding their flight better in the wind. I’m able to get the long irons up in the air a little bit. That’s something I look for, being able to control the trajectory. I kind of imagine the shots that I want to hit, and the 718s are coming out on the flight that I want them to.

The good folks in New Bedford, Massachusetts, were kind enough to furnish us with some details about Kizzire’s setup.

Titleist tells us Kizzire switched to from the 915D4 driver to the 917D3 the first week it was available at the Quicken Loans National last year. He switched to the 718 irons to start the 2017-18 season at the Safeway. After missing the cut at in Napa, he has finished T10 (Sanderson Farms), 4th (Shriners Hospitals Open for Children) and then won the OHL Classic.

Titleist Tour Rep J.J. Van Wezenbeeck had this to say about working with Kizzire.

“Patton likes traditional look throughout his bag but needs vertical help with his angle of attack.  A 10.5 degree 917D3 helps him with launch but still controls his swing.  The shaft is based on a platform he had success with us early in his career and he really loves the feel.”

“The 917 F2 was a perfect fit for Patton early on.  He loved the ball speed and having a 16.5 allows him get great launch out of a club he has had trouble with in the past.  Titleist Tour Rep Jim Curran worked extensively on finding him a shaft that felt good, was the proper weight, and yet still launched the way Patton wanted. Tour Blue 95 fit the bill – and Patton has been in it for a year.”

“Patton loves the look of traditional irons and the 718 MB fit the bill for his look and his desire to control flight.  Now, as he moves up through his bag, he has multiple options in 718 which really helps his game. He moves to 718 CB at his 5 and 6 irons, and then carries the 718 T-MB at 4-iron which helps gapping and ball flight at the top of his set.”

Vokey Design Wedge rep Aaron Dill regarding Patton’s wedges:

“Patton has a old school approach to wedge selection.  When he finds a wedge he likes he will rarely make a switch. He doesn’t blame the wedge for poor or mishit shots. His technique is smooth and accurate with mid to high ball flight. His 52 and 56-degree wedges have been in the bag for a while now, and his 60 has changed a little keeping the width but changing the bounce angle for conditions. He likes an old school look which is why we add offset to his 60.”

Kelley Moser on Kizzire’s Cameron GoLo:

“Patton has been using a Scotty Cameron GoLo model since his mini tour days. The one he is currently using was a backup that was made for him when he first earned his PGA TOUR card. He had a stock shaft and silver head version that he used for a long time, but he wanted to shake it up a little so we made him one with a black shaft and a dark finish. He loved it and after his victory said he’s pretty sure this one is in the bag permanently.”

Many thanks to Patton for the talk and the folks at Titleist for sharing some insights on the newly minted PGA Tour winner’s WITB.

You can see Kizzire’s full WITB here

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