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TaylorMade R11 Irons Review: 'First Look'


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#1 HipCheck

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 06:07 AM

The Forward
I have been fortunate to have had these irons in my bag for a few weeks as TaylorMade provided these at no charge at a recent launch event, looking for feedback.  I've played 3 rounds and logged several hours on the range. With all the talk out there about these, I've been dying to give a little insight. Finally they've been announced, and I can, so on to the fun part!  I've tried to put some of what I remember from the presentation I saw with my own opinions.  My opinions are my own - TM didn't ask for a review - but they're really positive.  I'm surprised at how much I like these.  On the the TaylorMade R11 Irons Review!

My Game
I'm a shade under a 9 handicap. Good driving sets up my game for good scoring. Typical solid rounds are a lot of pars and some bogeys, limiting the damage to a double-bogey or two.  1 or 2 birdies a round is my average.  I'm not a very high-ball hitter and prefer lighter weight shafts, but standard swing weight irons. I can effectively play 'off-the-rack' setups out of the box as they're very close to my actual specs. I've been playing TaylorMade MCs for the better part of the summer with success. I've ONLY played forged irons for several years because I LOVE forged feel. I've tried some cast clubs and disliked every one.

R11 Irons Tech Talk
A bit of inspiration for the R11 iron came from the CGB Max. Remember those? They were loaded with technology and also about $1300 new. A few years back, TaylorMade would perform full fittings for customers. They'd be all set and ready to order...and then they'd hit the CGB Max. A whopping 80% of those who hit the CGB Max ordered that instead, despite the higher price! The club just flat out performed. So, the goal is to create a more attractive club with CGB Max-type technology and better feel -- all at a $799 price point. A big task indeed. The resulting R11 Iron is a marriage of the Burner and Tour Preferred lines.

The set I have is off-the-rack: KBS 90 shafts, standard length, loft, lie. TM grip.

Performance
Let me reiterate that I have been playing the TaylorMade MC irons. I was fit for them. I bought them. I like them a lot. They're solid. I've tried Burner 2.0s and the feel/size of the club heads just weren't for me.  These fall in the middle.  If you like the Burner 2.0 concept but dislike their feel, these will surprise you.  Not only do these feel nice for a cast club, but they have good feel overall.  Frankly, I'm impressed.

Most surprising to me are the short irons.  They feel solid and are very accurate.  Turf interaction on dry and wet days has been great, and they're very consistent.  I don't find them clunky, even coming from playing MCs.

Overall, the clubs just feel very solid.  I feel like I can really hammer the ball, but the results will be positive.  On poor swings, distance loss is more than acceptable -- I still found the green on numerous occasions.

The Grooves
Something I'm surprised TM did not mention in their webcast or tech specs are the grooves.  The are not milled, but cast.  This is odd, but it works.  These irons impart a good amount of spin on the ball.  The presentation I saw stated that on shots hit out of rough, the R11 irons put 1600 more RPM on the ball than Burner 2.0s.  Pretty significant.  On course, I can say that this is absolutely true.  On shorter irons, a ball hasn't spun more than a few feet from its pitch mark for me -- most stopping a foot away.  On longer irons, the spin / trajectory is excellent.  The other day, I had 189, slight uphill to a back pin.  I hit a smooth 4 iron that landed 189 and rolled out about 6 feet, still on the putting surface.  Perhaps if you're a high spin player, this won't be what you're looking for, but for me this is significant, giving me more birdie chances.

Distance
These are longer than my normal clubs by about 1 clublength.  I'd say the long irons are a bit longer than that, possibly a club and a half.  I'd add a 3 iron if I could.  I think it's easy to hit.  With Burner 2.0s, every once in a while, there'd be that flyer that would travel 15 yards further on an dead, solid perfect strike.  I have not experienced that with these.  Distance is long and consistent.

Looks
The heads are larger than a typical players club.  These are geared for scratch to 20 handicaps, so they will be larger than others.  The heads are progressive in shape, but that's not noticeable when playing like Burners.  The leading edge is sharper and there's less camber to appeal to a better player.  I don't mind clubhead size as much as I do offset.  The  R11 offset is less than I thought.  

SO much has been made red weight.  If there was a black weight in the port, it'd be end of story.  Maybe 'Optimus Prime' Red (as my son says) isn't what everyone wants, but you don't see this from address and you haven't hit the iron yet.  For me this is a non-issue.

Overall
One word: Fun.  These irons are a lot of fun to play.  You feel like you can go after it and hammer the ball with great results.

So far I'm really surprised.  I like the solid feel, excellent distance and good spin -- even in the short irons.  Of course they won't be for everyone, but you may be surprised after hitting them.  Now if I could only find a way to get a custom built set   ;)   Enjoy the pics and feel free to pepper me with questions.

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Edited by HipCheck, 02 August 2011 - 09:20 AM.
'Overall' section edit.


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#2 indygolfer72

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 09:32 AM

Thanks for the review! As for the irons, I'm still not interested in clubs with bolts in the back.... At least Taylormade didn't make them all white Posted Image

#3 bmorejared

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 09:41 AM

Is it possible to get a 3-PW set?

#4 HipCheck

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 09:46 AM

View Postindygolfer72, on 01 August 2011 - 09:32 AM, said:

Thanks for the review! As for the irons, I'm still not interested in clubs with bolts in the back.... At least Taylormade didn't make them all white Posted Image

They do make a 3 iron, so I would think so.

#5 SheriffBooth

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 09:49 AM

Nice review, Rob.  I actually like the look of these irons, and I like that the weight port means these irons can be easily fitted and refitted.  Address position to me is reminiscent of Callaway FT irons.

Can you talk a little more about turf interaction?  Have you played then in dry/firm conditions?  How was the bounce?

Off topic - where can I get headcovers like yours?  PM me with a hint, please!

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#6 tackotis

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 09:51 AM

These look like great clubs,  i'm surprised they're not a bit more white colored.

#7 Gooth

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 09:55 AM

Not a huge fan of the big, red hex nut on the back, but if the shot itself looks good nobody will be looking at the club anyways. Thanks for the review.

#8 Sakman

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 10:00 AM

Great review Rob! Can you toss up some comparison pics between these and the MC's when you get a chance?

#9 SMUGamer

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 10:02 AM

Thanks for the review HipCheck.

#10 HipCheck

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 10:09 AM

View PostSheriffBooth, on 01 August 2011 - 09:49 AM, said:

Nice review, Rob.  I actually like the look of these irons, and I like that the weight port means these irons can be easily fitted and refitted.  Address position to me is reminiscent of Callaway FT irons.

Can you talk a little more about turf interaction?  Have you played then in dry/firm conditions?  How was the bounce?

Off topic - where can I get headcovers like yours?  PM me with a hint, please!

You caught that too? You know, I played FTs for a short time and that's what I first thought of, but these have much less chunk and offset.  

First round was at a Trump National course on a 100 degree day.  Very firm. I had no issue with the club head bouncing into the ball, but my divot taking is more like Luke Donald rather than insert name pretty much anyone else.

As far as head covers, I'll let you know!


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#11 WVP

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 10:23 AM

Great review, thanks HipCheck.

From address these look like a progression from the R9 irons which I loved and almost pulled the trigger on a few times if it wasn't for that meddling wife, haha.

The red screw still gives me pause as I am not really a flashy person but I am positive these will perform. Shouldn't be that hard to change the screw to black or another color if it really bothers you - I think Will's pics from his ebay auction looked pretty sweet.





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#12 SheriffBooth

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 10:27 AM

View PostHipCheck, on 01 August 2011 - 10:09 AM, said:


You caught that too? You know, I played FTs for a short time and that's what I first thought of, but these have much less chunk and offset.  


TM could do a lot worse than to take design cues from the FT.  That was really a great design for the "0 to 20" target group.  If the R11's are similarly playable, but with just a bit less offset, these could be a big winner.

If you can say, is there an R11 TP iron also in the works?  Or is this going to be a catchall offering?
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#13 easyyy

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 10:28 AM

Nice Pics. I will get mine up ASAP.

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#14 HipCheck

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 10:45 AM

View PostSakman, on 01 August 2011 - 10:00 AM, said:

Great review Rob! Can you toss up some comparison pics between these and the MC's when you get a chance?

Done!  I am surprised at how similar the PW are!  Wow. Don't know if my pics do it justice. I took these real quick.  These are PW and 6 irons.

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#15 Gunner22

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 10:55 AM

I can't wait to get some.

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#16 hyolee

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 10:56 AM

Thanks for the review and pictures.  I have Buner 2.0, cb and R9 irons.  I've been looking for something like R11.  I've been playing Razr irons since that had better forgiveness than TM irons.  I wish someone can compare the two.  either way I can wait to try and buy R11 irons.  all the spec look solid.

#17 jones137

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 10:57 AM

Very good review........I always liked the R9's because I thought they were an odd design......moderate to low offset, reasonable topline, moderate sole width but a big head. Only problem I had with them was I just hated the feel.....very dead which I attribute to the foam insert thing.

Could you elaborate more on the feel?

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#18 tbowles411

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 11:01 AM

Damn you Rob!  Damn you to HECK!  :D

Feel, Rob, what about the feel?

#19 Brizam

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 11:04 AM

great review.. thanks.. its stuff like this that make this site so good

#20 HipCheck

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 11:08 AM

View Posttbowles411, on 01 August 2011 - 11:01 AM, said:

Damn you Rob!  Damn you to HECK!  :D

Feel, Rob, what about the feel?

There's some material in there that helps enhance feel and it does a good job.

Overall? Good, solid feel.  
Feel compared to other cast clubs I've tried?  Excellent.


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#21 tbowles411

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 11:22 AM

View PostHipCheck, on 01 August 2011 - 11:08 AM, said:

View Posttbowles411, on 01 August 2011 - 11:01 AM, said:

Damn you Rob!  Damn you to HECK!  :D

Feel, Rob, what about the feel?

There's some material in there that helps enhance feel and it does a good job.

Overall? Good, solid feel.  
Feel compared to other cast clubs I've tried?  Excellent.
You are costing me money.  I poo'ed these until I read your review and saw some better pictures...now I'm reconsidering...not sure about the red weight though...

#22 TheMoneyShot

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 12:01 PM

Thanks for the review man.  I was expecting more looks wise from these irons.

#23 2659edward

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 12:20 PM

Thanks for the review. I always loved my R9 TP's and have had a hard time with my TM CB's. I just may like the R11 better. I noticed that you play Nippons in your MC, how do you like the KBS 90's?
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#24 HipCheck

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 12:22 PM

View Post2659edward, on 01 August 2011 - 12:20 PM, said:

Thanks for the review. I always loved my R9 TP's and have had a hard time with my TM CB's. I just may like the R11 better. I noticed that you play Nippons in your MC, how do you like the KBS 90's?

I like the KBS 90s a lot.  I wanted them in the MCs, but they weren't available in taper tip at the time, so I went with the Nippons that I know.

#25 ron lefthanded holmes

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 12:28 PM

nice review but still would of looked better with the black screw in the back like someone showed before,but thanks

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#26 2659edward

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 12:30 PM

Now that I am way over 50, the 110-120 gram shafts have really gotten to be to much. I have really liked the Nippon shafts I have tried so, the KBS 90's seem like a perfect option. Now if  there was only a way to get fitted. Posted Image

Edited by 2659edward, 01 August 2011 - 12:41 PM.

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#27 TheMoneyShot

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 01:40 PM

View Posttbowles411, on 01 August 2011 - 11:22 AM, said:

View PostHipCheck, on 01 August 2011 - 11:08 AM, said:

View Posttbowles411, on 01 August 2011 - 11:01 AM, said:

Damn you Rob!  Damn you to HECK!  :D

Feel, Rob, what about the feel?

There's some material in there that helps enhance feel and it does a good job.

Overall? Good, solid feel.  
Feel compared to other cast clubs I've tried?  Excellent.
You are costing me money.  I poo'ed these until I read your review and saw some better pictures...now I'm reconsidering...not sure about the red weight though...

T, I just knew you were going to post something like this;)

#28 Shaank0

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 06:43 PM

Great review, Looking forward to hitting these in the near future.

#29 yoder9339

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 07:05 PM

Great review.  I had the same problem with the 2.0s.  I have since put the CBs into play with great success.  The R11s would have to be special to knock the CBs out of the bag but I am looking forward to trying them.

#30 bob1

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 07:44 PM

Thanks for the review, those are fine looking irons and can't wait to check them out in person.

Edited by bob1, 01 August 2011 - 07:46 PM.


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