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Best irons in golf of 2019: Pure enjoyment

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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 there 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: Pure enjoyment

It’s no mistake that we are seeing overlap in the way the top irons are defined by fitters in this category. The most playable irons are most likely to be higher launching, and shots that fly higher make the game more enjoyable for everyone. This reiterates the point previously made that your iron selection should not be defined by your handicap but instead what gives you the best opportunity to play your best golf.

Here are the top 5

(Q: What iron do you believe offers the absolute most amount of enjoyment and playability for the average player?)       best irons Taylormade P790

TaylorMade P790: It’s no surprise to see the best-selling iron of 2019 find its way atop this category. The TaylorMade P790 offers so much versatility to so many types of golfers; it’s easy to see why fitters enjoy working with these clubs to help golfers play better.

From the fitters: “If you like to hit the ball high and far you’re going to have fun hitting these irons” … “The forgiveness and speed along with the great looks makes the P790 the best iron of the year and should be in everybody’s top 3. Easy, long, enjoyable.”

srixon best irons 2019

Srixon Z 585: Hitting if far is fun, plain and simple. Whether you’re a traditionalist or not, the majority of golfers truly struggle to hit the ball high enough and with enough spin to hold greens. This is where a fast forgiving iron like the Srixon Z585 can make the game more fun.

From the fitters: “Another amazing feeling iron that appeals to a lot of players because of its look from address. The forgiveness and speed offered by this head make this club endlessly versatile in fittings and the game more enjoyable for a lot of golfers ranging from low handicap players with speed to slower players needing launch.”

best iron callaway epic 2019

Callaway Epic Forged: If it’s been said once, it’s been said a hundred times: get over strong lofts and realize that the number on the sole is just a reference point for distance not loft. The Epic Forged irons have an extremely low center of gravity and high MOI keeping mis-hit shots online. With these irons, missing the middle of the face by a fraction doesn’t correlate to hitting your next shot from the greenside rough or bunker—you’ll probably still be putting!

From the fitters: “Easy to enjoy the game when you are crushing it (for the average golfer) and these irons certainly do that.”

best iron cobra 2019

Cobra King F9 SpeedBack: Multi-material construction with boundary-pushing geometry that goes beyond conventional iron shaping. The F9 SpeedBack offers a forged face, CNC milled grooves, and Cobra Connect powered by Arccos. First, the irons help your ball striking, then Arccos helps you tighten up your weaknesses—what’s more fun than playing better golf?

From the fitters: “Cobra F9 SpeedBack is top choice for golfers looking to get enjoyment out of their game. It feel fantastic and produces great ball speed but not with the sacrifice of extreme strong lofts”PING best iron 2019

Ping G410: “Play Your Best” is Ping’s motto, and the G410s help any golfer do just that. With endless fitting options, an attractive visual from address, and enough technology to help even struggling golfers get the ball in the air, the G410 easily makes golf more enjoyable.

From the fitters: “Ping’s softest CTP ever once again improves on feel, and they offer a look that most will find appealing. The forgiveness and ball speed makes the G410s a fun to use, easy to hit set.” … ” One of the easiest heads to achieve higher launch conditions – something that can be harder to find in the stronger lofted game improvement category.”

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

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Equipment

Srixon ZX7 irons: A development deep dive

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Upon their release, Srixon ZX7 irons became the fastest irons to be put into play by Srixon staff members—and at GolfWRX we took notice. ZX7’s even replaced some of the most long-standing irons in play on the PGA Tour including multiple sets of the cult classic Z745’s.

As someone who has always been enamored by the engineering and design process, I reached out to Srixon to get the inside scoop on how the ZX7 irons were so successful from the start. I spoke with Srixon’s Tour Engineering Manager Patrick Ripp about the development process.

Ryan Barath: How long is a development cycle for irons, and what does that timeline look like? 

Patrick Ripp: Development is non-stop, and we typically work on two-year product cycles roughly broken down into six-month blocks.

  • Research phase: This involves blue sky research for new technologies—new materials, performance directions for a specific market segment, and doing research into new manufacturing techniques.
  • Design (industrial design): This is the “whiteboard phase” and includes a lot of early sketching before moving into 3D CAD ( computer-aided design).
  • Development: This is all about working with our manufacturing partners on new capabilities, confirming our design will be achievable with the manufacturing techniques that we are pursuing before a pilot run sampling and final spec setting.
  • Production: The final step is to start mass production to hit forecasts for product launch dates.

There is quite a bit of overlap and a lot of collaborations across the teams, but that is the simplest way to break it down.

Now, when it comes to tour products, the schedule is pulled forward when we introduce products on tour prior to the public release. This introduction phase is one of the most valuable research periods for the next generation products. The introduction allows us to get the most in-depth testing and performance feedback as players work the new product into play.

Tour product research is generally non-stop as we are constantly fitting which can turn into testing based on the fitting results. If we need to solve a specific issue, we can easily and quickly prototype new concepts for further testing. If the testing goes well, the new feature or technology may end up in the next generation product line.

RB: As far as product creation is concerned, you talked about the sketching process—are there specific points of inspiration for creating new products?

PR: In terms of inspiration, it is different for every individual. For engineering, there is definitely a lot of inspiration pulled from other sports products. Aerospace is another big influence with a lot of our engineers studying or even coming from that background. The designers seem to pull design line inspiration and details from the automotive industry. Modern tech products and sports products are always on the inspiration boards during presentations.

Like so many others, the R&D team is always sharing YouTube clips of new manufacturing and finishing techniques that we might be able to take advantage of in the future.

RB: How do you decide on the final aesthetics, and how much does that relate to performance?

PR: We have a talented internal industrial design team within our R&D structure, and they handle a lot of the early design research. Typically, starting with 2D sketching, then 2D rendering, and then moving into the 3D CAD files to confirm CG properties. The engineers will work closely with the design team throughout that process.

In the 2D work, engineers provide CG targets and feedback on the design feature and how they might influence the CG properties good or bad.

For a one-piece forged cavity back iron like the 7 Series, the design has a massive influence on the performance. You need to adjust all your discretionary weight through design features. This makes it very important to choose the correct design early and then have a lot of collaboration between the engineers and industrial design to achieve the final production design.

RB: One of the most popular iron Srixon ever produced was the Z745. Was this the starting point for the new ZX7, or was it a from-scratch process working with tour players to deliver on their requests?

PR: We didn’t start from scratch on the ZX7’s, especially with the success of the 785’s on tour, but we did make a point to take a step back and reassess our Srixon iron lines. With the rebranding to the ZX line from the previous numbering system, we wanted to make sure this product line was more than a subtle evolution from the previous generation of irons.

For the 7 Series specifically, we wanted to understand what has been successful on tour and why certain models resonated with our tour staff. Obviously, the 745’s and even the 945’s have been really successful for us on tour, and the few players who were not playing the 785’s or Z-Forged were definitely in the 45 Series products. With the 45’s and 85’s being the most successful tour products, we started to iterate off of what made those irons lines so popular and how we might be able to improve on them.

As you may have picked up on the ZX7 irons, they are basically a beast of the Z745’s and Z785’s for shape and sole with upgrades all over, including tweaks to the V Sole specs. The other upgrades in the design are all thanks to the new tour cavity, which puts the sweet spot closer to the scoreline center and offers improvements to hi/low MOI for greater consistency.

The ZX7’s tour introduction has been the most successful iron introduction in our company’s history, even with the restrictions that we have had on tour throughout the introduction phase. Since the restart of the PGA Tour on the west coast, after players have had time to test over the winter, we have 90 percent (20 out of 22) of our PGA Tour staff playing in-line irons. Four of those 20 sets are Z-Forged and the rest are ZX7.

We only have one set of 785’s and one set of 745’s still in play. We have also had four players switch out of blades into the ZX7’s. It has been amazing to see the conversion and hear the positive feedback about the new ZX line.

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Best hybrids of 2021: By club fitters for you!

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The best hybrid for your game is going to be the one that gives you the greatest opportunity to both score and save shots during your round of golf.

In 2021, we have seen a continued expansion of hybrid options from every manufacturer with models designed to fit golfers of all skill levels and clubhead speeds to the point that some manufacturers offer models all the way down to 8-iron-replacement lofts. These hybrids all utilize new technology and manufacturing methods to launch golf balls higher, faster, and farther, while also offering forgiveness. It’s now easier than ever to find the right one that matches your swing and fits into your set.

You have to think of your set of clubs like a toolbox with a 14-tool capacity. It’s extremely important to make sure each and every tool has a defined role to make navigating around the course as stress-free as possible. Hybrids play an important part in that selection process.

That being said, ultimately the best way to find the best hybrid or hybrids for you is to work with a professional fitter using a launch monitor and gap them accordingly. The difficult part is a lot of people don’t have easy access to fitters, launch monitors, and club builders—so at GolfWRX, we have done a lot of the work for you.

The methodology is simple: We want to give you the tools and information to go out and find what works best for you, and we’re offering recommendations based on exactly what you need from your hybrids.

GolfWRX best hybrid of 2021: Meet the fitters

Nick Sherburne: Founder, Club Champion
Clare Cornelius: Fitter,
Cool Clubs
Eric Johnson: Fitter, True Spec Golf
Shaun Fagan: Fitter, True Spec Golf
Kirk Oguri: PGA Professional/ Club Specialist, Pete’s Golf
Sue O’Connor: Fitter, Cool Clubs 
Scott Felix: Owner, Felix Club Works
Mark Knapp: Club Fitter, Carls Golfland
Ryan Johnson: Club Fitter, Carls Golfland
Eric Hensler: Manager & Fitter, 
Miles of Golf
Brad Coffield: Fitter Carls Golfland
Nick Waterworth: Fitter, Haggin Oaks Golf Super Shop
Adam White: Co-Founder & Director of Club Fitting, Measured Golf
Scott Anderson: VP of Sales, Fitter, True Spec Golf
Matthew Sim: Director of Operations, Modern Golf
Ian Fraser: CEO & Founder, Tour Experience Golf
Mike Martysiewicz: Director of Club Fitting & Building, Tour Experience Golf
Shawn Zawodni: Fitter, Miles of Golf
Ben Giunta: Owner, The Tour Van

Best hybrid of 2021: The categories

We have broken our 2021 best hybrid list into two categories.

  1. Best hybrid for golfers seeking forgiveness 
  2. Best hybrid for golfers seeking versatility

We selected this format for hybrid clubs because every golfer fits into one of these two “want” categories, regardless of age, handicap, or gender. For many golfers, forgiveness is the number one factor when selecting the hybrids that will go into their bag.

Before we started building the survey, we reached out to our trusted fitters to discuss how they sort through the hybrid club options available to golfers. Forgiveness and versatility were the highest-ranked choices.

We can’t thank the fitters enough for their time, and we hope that in your search for your best fairway wood for 2021, we can help you find it!

Most forgiving hybrids 2021

Ping G425

The best way to describe the Ping G425 hybrids is as mini iron-replacing fairway woods. The hybrids share all of the same Facewrap and Spinsistency technologies as the G425 fairways but are intended to launch higher and stop faster to create playable trajectories for golfers who need stopping power—all the way down to a 7-iron-replacing 34 degree.

For the full technology breakdown, check out our 2021 Ping G425 Max fairway wood launch piece.

Fitter Notes

  • The shallower look of the Ping G425 hybrid is a confidence-boosting club for golfers of all skill levels. Even with the shallow face, spin stays in a very manageable range even on the common lower face miss.
  • This should be a go-to hybrid for anyone buying off the shelf because of its extremely stable performance and the ability to adjust the hosel to reduce dispersion.

TaylorMade SIM2 Max Rescue

The new SIM2 Max hybrid offers everything golfers loved from the previous version with a newly refined sole geometry to increase forgiveness and deliver more consistent results. The SIM2 Max Rescue has a C300 maraging steel face and comes with the now-familiar Twist Face, which only became a feature in the Rescue line last year.

For the full technology breakdown, check out our 2021 TaylorMade SIM2 Max hybrid launch piece.

Fitter Notes

  • The SIM2 Max took everything that was great about the 2020 version and just made it that much better. For players who use their hybrid out of the rough to advance the ball as much as possible, the rounded leading edge and V-Steel sole are a big help.
  • The slightly upright lie angle and internal weighting made the SIM2 Max ever so slightly draw-biased to help reduce the right miss and help get the ball in the air quickly.

Titleist TSi1

Titleist has never put a large focus of its R&D into hybrids designed for moderate speed players. Instead, most of the work has been used to focus on hybrids designed for higher speed golfers—that is until now. Like the rest of the TSi1 metal woods, the hybrids are about greater MOI and launch, and the new TSi1’s are the highest MOI hybrid Titleist has ever built. They are on average 20 grams lighter than a standard hybrid and feature a larger profile “wood-style” design to generate more green holding spin.

For the full technology breakdown, check out our 2021 Titleist TSi1 hybrid launch piece.

Fitter Notes

  • As a stock package, I don’t believe there is a hybrid that wants to launch higher than the TSi1. If you need some extra speed and height, you need to try this.
  • You can almost think of the TSi1 hybrid like a mini fairway wood—it just wants to go high and straight. If you find yourself hitting shots on the front portions of greens and they are rolling all the way through the green then you need more spin and a steeper descent angle and you will get that with these hybrids.

Callaway Big Bertha B21

These are a combination of everything Callaway has learned from previous game-improvement hybrid designs mixed with its most recent Super Hybrid. The B-21’s pack a major punch, all the way down to an available 8-iron hybrid.

The most important technology brought over from the Super Hybrid is the MIM (metal injection molded) tungsten weights strategically placed at the heel and toe of each club and optimized for loft and head weight. This puts upwards of 70 grams, or more than 30 percent of the club head’s total mass (depending on the loft), around the perimeter to boost MOI and raise launch. Raising launch also means shots that land with a steeper angle of descent, equalling greater stopping power.

For the full technology breakdown, check out our 2021 Callaway Big Bertha B21 hybrid launch piece

Fitter Notes

  • The Callaway B-21 knows who it is and just gets the job done—it helps golfers that slice the ball hit higher straighter shorts.
  • The higher lofts available in this club can make the game fun again for golfers that have lost speed and need help getting their mid irons up into the air.
  • Max forgiveness style hybrids need to be stable because they are going to be used all over the course and that stability around the face is where the B-21 delivers.

Titleist TSi2

The TSi2 (and TSi3) hybrids feature a forged carpenter 455 steel face, which, much like the previous generation, has allowed the designers to save mass and reposition it around the head to maximize the playing characteristics for each model, which is particularly important considering how much design separation has been created.

The TSi2 is a hybrid designed with the perfect balance between optimizing forgiveness while also offering playability for golfers with a more shallow delivery into the ball. Compared to the TSi3, which is one of the smallest hybrids Titleist has ever produced, and the TSi1 which is the largest, the TSi2 fits comfortably in the middle in terms of size and has low and deeper CG to create higher launch conditions for those who need it.

For the full technology breakdown, check out our 2021 Titleist TSi2 hybrid launch piece

Fitter Notes

  • The Titleist TSi2 hybrid offers the most “classic” profile, but it’s packed with technology to create forgiveness—most importantly the SureFit adjustable hosel. If you need help with the weaker miss to the right, an upright setting can really help with that.
  • It’s fast, it launches the ball really well, even on mishits, and its overall head design makes it easy to hit out of the rough.
  • The “stock” configurations available for this hybrid club can help add forgiveness to any golfer’s bag. You can get anything from tour-level heavy hybrid shafts to lightweight and whippy ones to shrink dispersion or really launch it.

Join the discussion here.

Most versatile hybrids 2021

Titleist TSi2

The TSi2 (and TSi3) hybrids feature a forged carpenter 455 steel face, which, much like the previous generation, has allowed the designers to save mass and reposition it around the head to maximize the playing characteristics for each model, which is particularly important considering how much design separation has been created.

The TSi2 is a hybrid designed with the perfect balance between optimizing forgiveness while also offering playability for golfers with a more shallow delivery into the ball. Compared to the TSi3, which is one of the smallest hybrids Titleist has ever produced, and the TSi1 which is the largest, the TSi2 fits comfortably in the middle in terms of size and has low and deeper CG to create higher launch conditions for those who need it.

For the full technology breakdown, check out our 2021 Titleist TSi2 hybrid launch piece.

Fitter Notes

  • All of the loft and shaft combinations make this my number one choice for versatility. You can get anything from tour-level heavy hybrid shafts to lightweight and whippy ones to shrink dispersion or really launch it.
  • If someone called me up for a hybrid recommendation and I had no idea about that person’s golf game, I would feel very confident pointing them in the direction of the TSi2. I know it sounds like we say the same thing over and over, but Titleist’s SureFit hosel is what sets them apart from other manufacturers.

Ping G425

The best way to describe the Ping G425 hybrids is as mini iron-replacing fairway woods. The hybrids share all of the same Facewrap and Spinsistency technologies as the G425 fairways but are intended to launch higher and stop faster to create playable trajectories for golfers that need stopping power—all the way down to a 7-iron-replacing 34 degree.

For the full technology breakdown, check out our 2021 Ping G425 Max fairway wood launch piece.

Fitter Notes

  • When I think “versatile,” I think of a hybrid that offers workability for players looking to control trajectory, and you get that with the G425. The new face design has shown a significant improvement in spin variation on mishits that has tightened dispersion a great deal for the golfers I have fit into it.
  • Not all, but a lot of hybrids have a tendency to want to be draw-biased, but you don’t get that with the Ping G425. Its flight is neutral, and you can seriously increase the fade bias with the flat setting on the hosel.

TaylorMade SIM2 Rescue

The profile of the SIM2 Rescue hybrid is compact with a higher squared-off toe to have a more “iron-like” appearance from address to help golfers find the perfect transition club from long irons to fairway woods. The leading edge is cambered and blunted compared to the Max version for golfers who hit down on the ball and offers more familiar technology including the Speed Pocket, Twist Face, FCT adjustable hosel, and TPS weighting for swing weight adjustability through custom.

For the full technology breakdown, check out our 2021 TaylorMade SIM2 hybrid launch piece.

Fitter Notes

  • For the faster player that wants driving iron trajectory control but in a more forgiving package, that’s what you get with the Sim2.
  • This hybrid is freaky long in the right hands but requires a slightly faster or high spin player to get the most out of it off the turf since it wants to naturally flight the balls lower. It’s this level of control that makes it one of my tops picks for versatility.

Callaway Apex 21

The Apex hybrids from Callaway feature Jailbreak A.I. Velocity Blades that are engineered to increase vertical stiffness near the club’s sole and create more speed low on the face where players often mishit their hybrids. The A.I. Blades aim to allow the face cup to flex on the crown to promote better spin rate consistency and create added forgiveness across the clubface.

For the full technology breakdown, check out our 2021 Callaway Apex hybrid launch piece.

Fitter Notes

  • When you need an upright hybrid to either match up with your irons based on spec or to help reduce the miss out to the right, the Apex hybrid can do all of that.
  • The adjustability is what makes the 2021 Apex hybrid so versatile. If you are buying one of these off the rack, do yourself a favor and either work with someone with a launch monitor or take it out to the course with a few extra balls and the wrench and get this thing spec’d into your desired flight and distance—you can thank me later.

TaylorMade SIM2 Max Rescue

The new SIM2 Max hybrid offers everything golfers loved from the previous version with a newly refined sole geometry to increase forgiveness and deliver more consistent results. The SIM2 Max Rescue has a C300 maraging steel face and comes with the now-familiar Twist Face, which only became a feature in the Rescue line last year.

For the full technology breakdown, check out our 2021 TaylorMade SIM2 Max hybrid launch piece

Fitter Notes

  • Although this is more of a game-improvement style hybrid, I think Rory and Dustin Johnson proved last year with the 2020 model that you dial this into any player that needs longer approach shots to land softer.
  • It’s not just from great lies in the fairway where this club puts in work, the rounded leading edge and V-Steel sole are a big asset for players out of the rough, and when you need to hit it low you can.

Join the discussion here.

Conclusion

The fitters consulted for this piece have accumulated data from thousands of fittings with golfers just like you. From beginners to tour players, their feedback and information can’t be undervalued.

Now it’s your turn: Everybody swings the club differently and everybody has their own experience. We want to hear from you. What driver are you using? What did you switch from? What performance gains did you find in your own game? Share your experience to help others.

 

 

 

 

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Equipment

Rickie Fowler makes dramatic iron change

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Rickie Fowler’s struggles on the course have been well documented in 2021, and the 32-year-old has now made a significant change with his irons as he looks to try and regain some form.

The Californian has been playing Cobra’s ‘Rickie Fowler’ Rev33 irons with a limited number of proto irons even coming to retail earlier this year.

RF Rev 33 irons

However, at this week’s Honda Classic during the opening round, Fowler was pictured playing a set of blacked-out Cobra CB irons.

@ryan_broderick

Fowler has lost strokes to the field for his approach play in each of his last four tournaments, and despite a solid round of even-par at PGA National on Thursday, he again lost a stroke to the field with his iron play.

Here’s what some of our members have been saying about the change of irons:

  • rnolan79: “I have the RF proto’s, and the hitting area is the same as Cobra’s last MB, which I played prior. I believe the sole is also the same so not sure why he would not have confidence in the new sticks. I loved the King forged MB’s. I felt even though they were small, they were easy to hit and get good results. Sole was perfect for my swing. The RF proto’s just have about the best shape I have seen in an iron. I think he is just really struggling with swing changes, and it can be easier to switch clubs and maybe feel like he has more room for error. Plus, his putting is not even close to what it once was.”
  • bladehunter: “Yep. I’ve held them. 100 % not smaller than blueprint or Miura small blade. Not at all “ unhittable “ he’s down a rabbit hole. Period. It’s not the irons.”
  • Cwebb: “I had doubts from the beginning that he would actually hit the zero offset blades better than something else. Regardless of how much he liked the look of them.”

Have your say here.

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