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Best irons 2020: GolfWRX Members Choice (best shotmaking irons)

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What are the best shotmaking irons of 2020?

Each one of these irons was designed with a single purpose: to provide the ultimate shotmaking weapon. You don’t have to be a tour player to appreciate the pleasure of hitting a well-struck shot with a club engineered to offer superior feedback. This category is all about control—and that doesn’t mean is “has to be a blade.”

At GolfWRX, we take great pride in our online community and the cumulative knowledge and experience of our members. Needless to say, that extends to GolfWRXers views on the best irons of 2020, best shotmaking irons.

Join the discussion in the forums here.

The bedrock of GolfWRX.com is the community of passionate and knowledgable golfers in our forums, and we put endless trust in the opinions of our GolfWRX members—the most knowledgeable community of golfers on the internet. No other group of golfers in the world tests golf clubs as frequently or as extensively, nor is armed with such in-depth information about the latest technology.

You can see the results for the best irons of 2020 “shotmaking,” as well as quotes we pulled from GolfWRX members about the irons from our forum.

Also, be sure to check out all the other GolfWRX Member’s Choice iron categories below.

Best irons of 2020: best shotmaking irons (Top 5)

best irons of 2020

Join the discussion in the forums here.

1. Mizuno MP-20

The MP-20 is “The ultimate tour blade” – Chris Voshall. Mizuno’s Product Manager & Engineer.

It design draws inspiration from historic Mizuno models like the TN-87 and MP-14, but the difference is the MP-20 provides more flow throughout the set from top to bottom, leading to more control over ball flight. This vertical center of gravity flow also increases forgiveness and launch in the longer irons with an increased ability to flight the ball lower in the scoring clubs.

The MP-20 utilizes the same Grain Flow Forged HD process that was first introduced with the MP-18 to tighten grain structure towards the bottom of the club and further enhance the much-discussed “Mizuno Feel.”

Here’s what GolfWRX members are saying

  • “First round of 18 holes with my MP20s yesterday. Clubs performed flawlessly” – Member TheInfidel
  • “Compared to my old Miura blades, these feel softer and are 100% better on thin contact, which was exactly what I needed” – Z1ggy16
  • “It’s unprecedented, Mizuno continues to improve on the look and performance of the MP line” – Launch article comment
  • Butta – Absolutely everything about this irons is PURE” – GolfWRX member survey
  • “The whole MP-20 lineup took combo sets to a new level, and the blades are both playable and gorgeous.” – GolfWRX member survey

For more information on the MP20 irons, you can check out our launch piece here.

Read the discussion in the forums here.

2. Mizuno JPX 919 Tour

The JPX 919 Tour irons are the successors to the extremely popular 900 Tour, and like their MP brothers, they’re Grain-Flow Forged from 1025E Pure Select Mild Carbon Steel for a soft feel, and solid feedback.

The irons offer a square compact player-preferred shape but are surprisingly forgiving, thanks to what Mizuno calls its “stability frame” that maximizes weight distribution around the head for off-center hits. This frame also reinforces the top line and toe areas for sound/vibration dampening. The soles are the perfect blend of thick and thin to offer enhanced playability but are more cambered from front to back for varying turf conditions.

Here’s what GolfWRX members are saying

  • “Love my 919 tours with x7’s tons of control but still have great feel” – Member Pingman2019
  • “I’ve only played two rounds with my 919T, but I’ve had plenty of range sessions. In my mind, my old Nike VPCs are the best irons I’ve ever owned…but the 919Ts are catching up. Forgiveness and feel are better than the 900T and the MP18 SCs I had last year. I’ve hit the 919F and they are at least a club longer, but I like the overall look and feel of the 919T better.” – Member Shakey
  • “The 919Tour is the best-looking iron I’ve ever seen. Compared to the 900T (I said the same about them when they came out) the 919 has a wider sole, thinner top line, and arguably better weight distribution. I’m not knocking the 900 by any means, just more in love with the 919.” – Member WidespreadPanic

You can read what other golfers are saying about the Mizuno JPX 919 Tour iron and see our launch piece here

Join the discussion in the forums here.

3. Titleist T100

Built from the ground up with direct input from Titleist’s PGA Tour staff, the mission statement from the design team for the T100 was to simply create the best performing tour iron ever. 

With a shape that is distinctly Titleist but completely redefined as far as offset, top line, sole width, camber, and blade length, the T100 gives players looking for a tour performance iron more playability than ever before. Co-forged with large amounts of tungsten (66 grams on average in the 3-7 irons) in the heel and toe, the T100 looks a lot more like a single-piece forged players cavity back than multi-piece forgiveness monster, but looks can be deceiving. It has the thinnest face they have ever built into a true forged players club, which allows designers to push more mass around the head and create greater ball speed.

Here’s what GolfWRX members are saying

  • “I have played the T100 for about a month and had a lot of range time with them… I was concerned about more offset and a larger sole than I had become accustomed to but after a month of use they are exactly what I had hoped they would be. The low amount of offset and the soles are really nice on these. They fly the distance you would expect them to and they help a little bit on slight mishits. I haven’t caught any fliers that I have read were an occasional problem with the AP series. To my eyes, these are the exact size I would like a set of irons to be. Slightly larger in the longer irons that taper down to slightly smaller in the short irons. If you are in the market for a set of irons and are a solid ball striker I would give them a serious look.” – Member Phillipsac18
  • “More firm and better/smaller profile compared to 718 AP2. Turf interaction is so good. Came from JPX 919 Tours and 718 AP2s before that and these fit right in the middle of these two sets in terms of forgiveness. Really like the T100s so far and plan to stay in this range until they release a new one in 2 years.” – Member HappyGilmore22
  • “Not much not to like… amazing looks, great feel/sound, very little offset, perfect turf interaction, basically a traditional Titleist CBs with some tech assistance. Moved to these from 714 AP2s… touch longer, about the same forgiveness. Only minor gripe would be high on the face, esp towards the toe, can be fairly dead, but if you’re playing these irons you should own that miss. Epic feedback with these can definitely tell exactly where you’re slight misses are, but you still get a very large % of the performance out of it on a slight miss compared to dead flush. Great MB/CB alternative or to mix in with those.” – Member NateDog07v

You can read what other golfers are saying about the Titleist T100 iron in the GolfWRX forums: Titleist T100 Iron discussion. and see our launch piece here.

Join the discussion in the forums here.

4.Callaway Apex Pro 19

The Apex Pro features a forged 1025 carbon steel body combined for the first time with Callaway’s urethane microspheres. The carbon steel body aims to provide players with a softer feel, while the urethane microspheres consist of over one million tiny air pockets which absorb any unwanted vibration at impact, without slowing down the face. It also has Callaway’s 360 Face Cup, which employs a shallow, flexible rim around the perimeter of the face that flexes and releases at impact with the aim of providing faster ball speed for consistent distance on center and off-center hits.

To create extra forgiveness in a smaller package, Callaway infused an average of 50 grams of tungsten into each iron for greater precision in locating each club’s center of gravity, while maintaining the flexibility of the Face Cup, which aims at promoting the optimum launch, ball flight, and pinpoint control throughout the set.

Here’s what GolfWRX members are saying

  • “I have had the Apex Pro irons for about a month now. I can say without a doubt, that they are some of the best irons I have ever owned. Excellent looks, sound, feel, and great all-around performance! These clubs will be in my bag for a long time.” – GolfWRX Reader JB
  • “I played well with my Apex Pros this year and dropped the handicap to a new low” – Member McSkier
  • “I’ve played many brands for many years. My handicap is an 8 and I don’t get to play more than 1-2 times a week, that being said no iron has been all over the pins for me like the Apex pro/ Apex MB” – Survey member response
  • “Easily workable, especially for a golfer like me who struggles with that aspect of their game. For the size of these irons, they are very forgiving on mishits, and the face cup makes them LOOOOOOOOONG!!!” – Member survey response 

You can read what other golfers are saying about the Callaway Apex Pro 19 in the GolfWRX forums: Callaway Apex Pro 19 discussion thread, and read our launch piece here.

Join the discussion in the forums here.

5. Mizuno MP-20 MMC

Mizuno has been building multi-material forged irons for close to a decade—but never like this. For the first time in the MMC’d life, the titanium piece of the iron varies in mass depending on the club. It is broken up in the middle of the set to allow better CG placement, and like its blade cousin, improved turf interaction in the shorter irons.

What is also very cool about the MP-20 MMC is all of the multi-material parts (titanium and tungsten) have ZERO chemical bond—no epoxy. They fit snug based on the shrinkage rates of the different materials. The titanium and tungsten shrink less than the steel so as the forged carbon steel cools around the titanium and tungsten pieces it creates a mechanical (solid) bond. This adds up to an iron that looks smaller than the previous version, offers more “flow” in CG like all of the irons in the MP-20 series, and at the end of the day makes it the best-engineered multi-material MP iron ever.

Here’s what GolfWRX members are saying

  • “Absolutely love mine with the Modus 120 – great all-rounders. I have the 5 iron HMB but could have easily played the MMC 5 iron as they launch beautifully. Very happy with my purchase.” – Member beluga99
  • “Love mine with the black 130 $-taper. I have 3 sets of irons that are all very similar, but the MMCs stay in the bag.” – Member krt22
  • “You can’t go wrong with the MMCs! They are great all-rounders! I have played the 18s and now the 20s and really would struggle to tell the difference performance-wise. Looks and feel is a hands-down win for the 20s. I have mine all set at 4 deg gapping from the 22 deg 4 iron to a 46 deg wedge, and it works out perfectly. I also have the $taper blacks in 130X. Smooth as silk!” – Member Jetmech879
  • “The MMCs are the best combination of Mizuno feel with acceptable forgiveness for less than perfect strikes.” – GolfWRX member survey

You can also read what other golfers are saying about the Mizuno MP-20 MMC irons in the GolfWRX forums: Official Mizuno MP-20 MMC Iron discussion and check out our launch piece here.

Rounding out the top 15 shotmaking irons

  • Ping Blueprint
  • Srixon Z-Forged
  • TaylorMade P7TW
  • PXG 0311 T Gen3
  • Ping iBlade
  • Titleist T100s
  • Titleist 620 MB
  • Titleist 620 CB
  • Callaway Apex MB
  • Callaway Mavrik PRO

Join the discussion in the forums here.

Ongoing Members Choice Polls: Have your say!

We’re still looking for your feedback on the “best” items in several other categories, so head to the GolfWRX forums to have your say!

Check out the polls in the GolfWRX forums!

Join the discussion in the forums here.

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Equipment

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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Korea’s AutoFlex Shaft: Challenging the conventional wisdom of golf

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We are creatures of habit, or so I’ve been told. And God knows old habits are hard to break. Just ask my right leg that simply refuses to stop reverse-pivoting, despite my best intentions.

Equally hard to break are pre-conceived notions and superstitions. There are hundreds of them to be sure, but I want to focus on one particular idea in golf that seems to be largely unchallenged for its conventional wisdom: The more flexible the shaft, the less accurate it is.

You may have heard a similar version of the same idea. Stiffer shafts offer straighter shots, faster swingers need stronger shafts, and whippier shafts result in more slice. But a recent find has caused me to challenge this well-established notion—that an ultralight, super flexible shaft (44 grams) is claiming to be not only straighter but longer as well.

My first reaction: “NO WAY”. The shaft would practically be a fishing rod. There’s no way that it would stand up to my normal swing speed of 98~100 mph.

But the kicker was that the makers of this ‘breakthrough’ shaft doubled down on me by claiming that their fishing rod-esque shaft can hold under swing speeds of up to 150mph! That’s up in the territory of world long drive champions-and they are practically inhuman! Now I was scoffing out loud—time to put the money where their mouth was.

(Jung-hwan MOON, member of Korean National long drive team, testing out the new AutoFlex FS505 shaft)

The new shaft is named AUTO FLEX. Sounds a little cheesy, until you realize that Dumina Inc., the South Korean shaft manufacturer, also makes AUTO POWER shafts that have caused a local sensation on the KLPGA and elite amateur circles over the past few years.

Autopower shafts have proven itself to be effective, largely due to a wide range of 50+ shafts offering a much smaller gapping of about 5-10 CPMs between shafts. It allowed golfers to dial into their particular swing speed more effectively. Its use of their proprietary weaving pattern and as-yet-undisclosed material KHT (Korea Hidden Technology!?) also did what it said it would. Smooth feel, mid-high launch, and great accuracy/forgiveness.

FLEXING SOME MUSCLE

Enter AUTO FLEX, the new generation of shafts that Dumina claims will make the game of golf easier and more enjoyable for all golfers. By allowing golfers to swing more easily and smoothly with a much lighter shaft, golfers will not only feel fewer aches and pains but that their scores will improve as well.

Oh, and did I mention that there are only 3 shafts that are supposed to fit all levels of swing speeds from 65 to 150mph?

“NO WAY”, you say? I told you so.

Autoflex SF305 shaft / 38 grams / approx. 170cpm / Ladies / SS 60~80mph
Autoflex SF405 shaft / 44 grams / approx. 180cpm / Men / SS 80~95mph
Autoflex SF505 shaft / 51 grams / approx. 210cpm / Pro / SS 95~120+mph

According to the specs provided, I was fit for the SF405 shaft. The SF stands for ‘Spec Free’ meaning that these shafts do not follow the conventional labeling system of R, S, X, and weight. The first few waggles and I was at a loss for words.

Dumina claimed that after three rounds with the Autoflex, I would be well adjusted and that results would be prominent. I began by hitting a few shots with the 43-gram shaft and immediately noticed that the shaft had something much more than meets the eye.

Once I got over the initial doubt that a whippy shaft would not be able to square up to the ball at impact and started to swing normally, the shots flew straight with a bump up in launch angle. The higher launch (from 9º up to 13º) gave me more carry distance over my previous gamer, but I thought it might be increasing my backspin. But a quick check with a launch monitor showed an average of 2,000-2,100 RPM, which was about the same as before.

But the most noticeable numbers were from the total distance, which was about 5~7 yards farther than my usual average. This was surprising because I felt I was swinging a little slower and smoother than before (it may be from the fear that the whippy shaft may cause a duck hook), but the average ball speed increased from 62~63mph to about 65.

I venture that because the shaft is more flexible, it causes the head speed to increase, kind of like cracking a whip of sorts. This somewhat fits into my current belief that a more flexible shaft hits the ball longer (at the expense of accuracy).

Pretty darn good numbers for me, but ZERO side spin means a straight as an arrow shot and 1.50 smash factor.

 

The numbers on the launch monitor were impressive for my standards and usual play. But it needed to be tested out on the course.

At the time of this article, I have played some 10 rounds with the new AutoFlex shaft on my Cobra F9 driver (10.5°, 45.25 inches at D2) and I couldn’t be happier with my results. My driving accuracy has significantly improved over the conventional shaft (HZRDUS Smoke 6S).

I’ve played in both fair and very windy conditions, and the results were the same. I was finding a lot more fairway than ever before. That pesky little draw at the end that rolls the ball into the left rough has all but disappeared.

To be frank, I didn’t see much change in the overall distance as well-struck shots from both my old gamer and new shaft tended to go about the same distance. However, it was the frequency of how often I was able to hit the sweet spot with the new shaft that made me feel much more confident in swinging the driver on the tightest of fairways.

I am still searching for the right words to explain it, but the driver feels whippy on the backswing and yet it feels like the entire length of the shaft firms up on the downswing and at impact. At times, I was certain that the shot completely missed the center of the face and a quick check confirmed that I struck the ball on the heel or toe, well outside the center. But the resulting ball flight is either a slight push or pull with a small distance loss of about 10 yards. Yet, no bananas or duck hooks that I’ve come to associate with such mishits and feedback to the hands. What sorcery is this?

But the most beneficial factor for me was that I was swinging the club much easier and with less energy exertion than I would have done with a heavier, stiffer shaft. I had a lower back disc surgery five years ago that prevents me from making a full turn and a limited finish. Playing with longer-hitting friends invariably leads me to try to swing harder at a faster tempo, usually leading to ballooning scores.

With AutoFlex, once I dialed into the new reality with an adjusted belief about whippier shafts, I was able to maintain both accuracy and distance for the whole round and not feel as tired. And I was better able to maintain my balance with a smoother swing and not have to worry about losing distance. Perhaps this is what let me hit the face center more often. Just like the namesake, it was as if the shaft was automatically trying to help fix my swing flaws to provide maximum forgiveness.

Whatever it is, I was sold.

I now have the same spec AutoFlex shaft in my 3-wood as well. If I had trouble getting my fairway woods up in the air previously, no one would suspect that of me now.

I would love to replace all of my shafts, irons and all if I could afford it, but unfortunately, the shafts are quite expensive. The company tells me that the “hidden technology” material and the manufacturing process is quite costly (nearly seven times over regular shaft manufacturing cost), and they are available in limited quantities at 950,000 KRW (about $775) each.

For me, the proof was in my new-found fearlessness with the driver and wood. I get a kick out of waggling my driver on the first tee to the shock of my playing partners and then bust a drive down the middle. Some still can’t come to grips with the shaft despite trying for themselves. And the makers of the shaft are keeping their lips sealed on what makes the shaft behave differently than the commonly held perceptions. In fact, Dumina has not applied for a patent at all, stating that once their secret is out, it will change the way we play golf and limit their business from copycats. So whatever KHT is about, it will remain undisclosed for the time being.

What do you think? Do you have any ideas on how the AutoFlex shaft works or what are its component materials? I would be interested in hearing from other gear heads out there!

 

 

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