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Best irons in golf of 2019: The shotmakers

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What are the best irons in golf for 2019 and possibly 2020?

It’s an interesting question to ask anyone who works in golf equipment since it opens up a Pandora’s box of debate and discussion, which inevitably results in the conclusion that every player has to go out, work with a fitter, and find the best set for him/her. There is no one single best iron for every golfer in 2019, but there is a best iron of 2019 for you—and that’s where we come in to help you find your ideal set.

2019 has been a big year for irons, with OEMs taking bigger steps to push the science of structure, materials, and processing to move mass and further optimize MOI and COG to provide improvements across the board. In certain iron categories, clubheads are generating maximum potential speed over larger areas of the face, just like a driver, while in other parts of the market, some iron models have been shrunk to improve workability for the players looking for shot-shaping control.

So what do you look for? What do you need? With so many great irons released in 2019, the decision-making process can be overwhelming, and that’s why at GolfWRX, we are here to help you go through that process and help you ask the right questions to find the iron set for you.

Best irons of 2019: How we did it

Even before starting the process of building the survey, we reached out to our trusted fitters to discuss how they sort through the endless number of iron options available to golfers. The consensus was simple—the best fitters in the world see all the options available in the marketplace, analyze their performance traits, and pull from that internal database of knowledge and experience like a supercomputer whenever they are working with a golfer.

It’s essentially a huge decision tree derived from experience and boiled down to a starting point of options—and it has nothing to do with handicap.

Since modern iron sets are designed into player categories that overlap the traditional “what’s your handicap” model, we at GolfWRX believe it was important to go beyond handicap and ask specific questions about the most crucial performance elements fitters are looking at to help golfers find the best set of irons for them. From overall performance, to shotmaking, to helping players achieve better trajectories and speed, we strived to ask the right questions.

We have developed separate categories that will help you the reader determine what rankings are most important for your swing and game. 

Just like with our Best Drivers of 2019 survey, we consulted leading fitters in the industry and compiled our results anonymously. The methodology is simple: We want to give you the tools to go out and find what works best for you, with recommendations for your individual needs, with feedback from the people that work every single day to help golfers get peak performance out of their equipment.

Trackman

We at GolfWRX then worked internally to craft a survey that allowed the fitters to be honest…we want the truth just as much as you do, and to prevent anyone from feeling they couldn’t be, we allowed all of the results and quotes to remain anonymous unless otherwise stated. We can’t thank the fitters enough for their time!

Best irons of 2019: Meet the fitters

Ben Giunta: Owner, The Tour Van
Alex Panigas: Fitter, TXG
Chris Kendall: Fitter, TXG
Cam Kennedy: Fitter, TXG
John Sawatsky: Fitter, TXG
Ryan Johnson: Fitter, Carl’s Golfland
Brent Norton: VP Shop Operations, Miles of Golf
Craig Allan: Golf Performance Manager, Sea Island Performance Center
Timothy Briand: SVP Customer Experience, True Spec Golf
Shawn Zawodni: Fitter, Miles of Golf
Nick Sherburne: Founder, Club Champion
Dominic Choma: Fitter, Miles of Golf
Matthew Sim: Fitter/Director of Operations, Modern Golf

Best irons of 2019: Shotmaking

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.”

These are the top 5

(Question for fitters: What are your best for irons for shotmaking?)

Srixon Z785: Forged from a single piece of soft carbon steel, the Z785 is the next generation of the legendary Srixon 700 series that took off after the 745 years ago and had a cult following. A further refined V sole, short blade length, and shape from address cement this one at the top.

From the fitters:Distance, spin control and turf interaction are all very important parts of shot making and the Srixon Z785 produces a nice balance of control and forgiveness in a great looking package”

TaylorMade P7TW: The irons that set the internet on fire earlier this year include a “hidden” tungsten weight to help concentrate mass behind the sweet spot for “a unique blend of feel, flight and control.” Add in a milled sole for consistency from iron to iron, set to set and you have a shotmakers dream.

From the fitters:What else is there to say except these irons are both stunning to look at and offer all the control any player could want – including Tiger Woods” … “The Tungsten plugs makes an already solid feeling club feel even better, and the mill grind sole design glides through the turf”

Ping Blueprint: The Blueprints were born from the idea of creating a club for the most exacting of golfers. Ping meticulously prototyped and tested with their tour staff on everything from preferred shots and grinds, to blade size and shape. These are 100 percent about total golf ball control and nothing more.

From the fitters: “The Blueprint is definitely not a club designed for a wide audience but for those capable, it is one of the most solid irons we’ve ever tested” … “Tiny precision instrument. You won’t find much forgiveness with the Blueprint but what do you expect for a club designed for the most discerning players”

Mizuno JPX 919 Tour: The JPX iron with the Mizuno MP player in mind offers stability and moderate forgiveness in a club that boasts feel and control. Grain Flow HD Forged of mild select carbon steel, the JPX 919 Tours are an iron built for shotmakers, with just enough help to keep misses closer to the intended target.

From the fitters:Tour proven performance that carries over to a broad spectrum of good players. The irons are forgiving yet easy to control flight. Plus that feel spectacular!” … “Its fun to put a JPX iron into a good players hand and watch their reaction to the control they get with the iron”

Titleist 718 CB: Although recently refined and replaced by the Titleist 620 CB, I believe we can draw the conclusion that what made the 718 so great applies to the new model as well. The long irons feature tungsten inserts to increase MOI while maintaining a player preferred small shape. The sole has a lot of camber front-to-back for great turf interaction over a variety of playing conditions. The 718 CB is everything you expect from a Titleist forged CB iron.

From the fitters:The CB iron for us is one of the best, classic-looking irons with moderate forgiveness. For a pure small cavity back the design of the 718 allows you to do anything with it.” …  “The Titleist CB franchise is always a competitive option in the shotmakers category. The clubs looks good and offer extremely consistent distance and flight control.”

Read all the comments or make your own in the discussion thread in the forums here.

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Equipment

New Mizuno JPX923 irons: Everything you need to know

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What you need to know: Mizuno is launching the successor to its JPX921 series. Engineers leveraged the company’s custom-fitting program — including data from 350,000 golfers — in the creation of the JPX923 series, which includes five models: JPX923 Tour featuring a new V-Chassis and thinner topline, JPX923 Forged with features Mizuno’s third generation of chromoly forging, JPX923 Hot Metal, JPX923 Hot Metal Pro, and JPX Hot Metal HL all featuring new, faster 4335 nickel chromoly, which is 35 percent stronger than Mizuno’s original chromoly.

Mizuno JPX923 irons: What’s new, key technology

JPX923 Tour

Featuring a copper underlay for “Mizuno feel,” the JPX923 Tour is one-piece Grain Flow Forged in Hiroshima Japan from 1025E Pure Select mild carbon steel. Narrower top line and sole in tandem, more rounded trailing edge for cleaner turf interaction.  Features Mizuno’s new ‘V-Chassis’.

“The goal was to engineer a compact, players cavity back that looked and felt like a muscleback at impact. With the copper underlay and new topline, the JPX923 Tour is right there,” says David Llewellyn.

JPX923 Forged

Mizuno’s third-generation of chromoly forging places a wider milling slot heel to toe in the 4120 chromoly 4 through 7-irons as well as well as a thinner clubface. JPX923 Forged are mid-sized, full body Grain Flow Forged irons with a thinner topline and bevelled sole throughout. The scoring irons (8-GW) also feature more compact design and are forged from 1025E Pure Select mild carbon steel.

“The new JPX923 Forged pulls off two impressive achievements. First it feels more solid even though it’s faster from the face. Second, it looks sleeker with a thinner topline and narrower sole even though it plays more forgiving,” says Chris Voshall, Mizuno’s Director of Product.

JPX923 Hot Metal, Hot Metal Pro, Hot Metal HL

With the JPX923 Hot Metal, Mizuno introduces “4355 nickel chromoly,” which is 35 percent stronger than the original Hot Metal material and allows for an eight-percent thinner clubface. Cup face construction works in tandem with a deep center of gravity for high launch with stopping power.

Mizuno developed Hot Metal Pro, Hot Metal and Hot Metal HL (High Launch) from 175,000 real golf swings recorded via Mizuno’s Swing DNA system and describes the three models as follows.

  • JPX923 Hot Metal Pro is a player’s speed cavity that’s compact, with minimal offset for confident ball-strikers seeking maximum ball speed. It’s suitable for low to mid handicap golfers.
  • JPX923 Hot Metal is a forgiving speed cavity suitable for mid to high handicap golfers. It features a full speed, high stability cavity for straight flight and distance.
  • JPX923 Hot Metal HL is a high launch speed cavity delivering a higher launching option for players with moderate swing speeds or aggressive shaft lean, it’s suitable for mid to high handicap golfers.

What Mizuno says

“The new JPX923 series was planned out with Mizuno’s custom ethos at its core” says David Llewellyn, Director of R&D for Mizuno. “We already offer more than 50 unique shafts within our custom program, by expanding to five iron models, there’s an ideal combination for every type of player.”

“We’re constantly evolving the JPX series based on more than 175,000 unique swings we capture every year on the Mizuno Shaft Optimizer,” says Bill Price, Mizuno’s Director of Fitting. “Recently we’re seeing an increase in the number of players with slightly slower swing speeds being fitted – and a trend to more shaft lean. Hence a slight increase in bounce angles through all the models and the introduction of the Hot Metal High Launch.”

Resident Club Junkie Brian Knudson’s take

Note: GolfWRX has not yet gotten an in-hand look at the JPX923 Tour or Forged irons. 

Mizuno’s Hot Metal HL irons look easy to hit and high flying with their larger sole and longer heel to toe shape. You can see some of the tech that is packed into these irons around the badge like the Harmonic Impact ribs and the Stability Frame. Like you would expect from Mizuno the finish quality and badging all look very good and catch your eye without the need for wild colors.

The Mizuno Hot Metal irons look to be the bread and butter of the lineup. The Hot Metal features a little smaller footprint than the HL, less offset, thinner top line, and narrower sole. The look from address will please most golfers and it is still packed with the technology for easy distance and effortless launch.

Hot Metal Pro irons are the smallest of the three but should still offer a great combination of looks and performance. They are still a little longer from heel to toe while offering the least offset and thinnest toppling of the group. The short irons are shaped really well and the whole set flows great from 4 iron down to the pitching wedge.

What they look like

JPX923 Hot Metal Pro

Mizuno JPX923 Hot Metal

JPX923 Hot Metal HL

Pricing and availability

JPX923 Hot Metal Pro: 4-PW RH and LH
JPX923 Hot Metal: 4-LW RH and LH
JPX923 Hot Metal HL: 5-SW RH only

Tour, Forged will hit retail in February of 2023. Hot Metal models at retail late September.

  • JPX923 Tour/Forged – $187.50 per club
  • JPX923 Hot Metal/Hot Metal Pro/Hot Metal High Launch – $137.50 per club

Loft comparisons to JPX921

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Equipment

Mizuno introduces new JPX Fli-Hi

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Mizuno has today introduced the JPX Fli-Hi in a bid to meet every golfer’s demand for greater playability and easier ball-flighting potential at the longer end of the bag.

“We see a lot of players with moderate swing speeds who hit many of their longer irons the same distance – they just don’t have the clubhead speed or consistency of strike to launch the stronger lofted clubs. The JPX Fli-Hi is designed to give those players more practical distance gaps and consistency of flight.” – Chris Voshall, Mizuno’s Director of Product

The new addition features a 17-4 stainless steel face and 431 SS body in a bid to deliver an upgrade in ball speed, while the bendable hosel allows for adjustments in lie angle.

The clubs feature a lighter crown which allows for a higher ball flight, while a re-engineered Wave Soleplate is designed to increase the effective high ball-speed area of the Fli-Hi’s clubface to deliver more consistent ball speeds.

The JPX Fli-Hi is designed to slot seamlessly in to a set, with the models from #4 to #7 designed to correspond directly to the irons they have been created to replace.

The JPX Fli-Hi range features a graduating profile from fairway wood to hybrid to maximize playability. The 20 degree (#4) has a wider fairway type profile, moving towards a tighter hybrid type shaped 29 degree (#7) with a deeper face.

With a deeper center of gravity than the replaced iron, the JPX Fli-Hi is designed to produce more predictable launch and spin rates, thereby more reliable distance gaps between clubs.

The JPX Fli-Hi hits retail this month and costs $137.50 per club.

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Whats in the Bag

Taylor Pendrith WITB 2022 (September)

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Driver: Ping G410 LST (9 degrees @8)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Smoke Green Small Batch 70 6.5 TX

3-wood: Ping G425 MAX (14.5 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Smoke Green Small Batch 80 6.5 TX

Irons: Srixon ZX (3), Srixon ZX7
Shafts: Project X HZRDUS Smoke Black 100 6.5 (3), True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore (46-10 Mid, 52-10 Mid, 56-10 Mid, 60-10 Mid)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 (46-56), True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 (60)

Putter: Odyssey O-Works Black 3T
Grip: SuperStroke

Grips: Golf Pride MCC, Golf Pride Tour Velvet Cord

More Taylor Pendrith WITBs

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