ClubTest 2006: Game-Improvement Irons

Fred Vuich
Callaway X-18
callawaygolf.com

WE TESTED: 3-PW with System 75 CW and System 85 CW graphite shaft

THE COMPANY LINE "Our 'Extreme' notch weighting produces amazing stability and solid, crisp feel to maximize playability. A deeper 360-degree undercut channel maximizes perimeter weighting."

OUR TESTERS SAID

Pros

  • "Blue and black details and dramatic cavity make it the most attractive Callaway to date."—Jeff McKinney (handicap 15)
  • "Johnny Mathis-like soft sound at impact."—Kevin DiNapoli (19)
  • "A reliable, if unspectacular performer. It accounts for bad swings and rewards good ones."—Ken Stauffer (14)
  • "Keeps shots in play, even in strong crosswinds and out of tough spots."—Don Ytterberg (15)
  • "These really drive through high grass."—Eric English (12)
  • "With a little adjustment, shots from uphill and downhill lies come out fine."—Victor DeMarco (12)
  • Cons
  • "Would prefer more head feel during the swing."—Jeff Bones (10)
  • Cleveland CG4
    clevelandgolf.com

    WE TESTED 3-PW with True Temper Action Lite steel shaft

    THE COMPANY LINE

    OUR TESTERS SAID

    Pros

  • "Crisp in my ears and soft in my hands. What more could I want from sound and feel?"—Doug Lair (handicap 10)
  • "It's a light head that remains stable through impact."—Eric English (12)
  • "Corrects weak shots well."—Michael Jo (14)
  • "Mis-hits with the CG4s hang in there distance-wise." —Kevin DiNapoli (19)
  • "No surprises or jumpers here."—Jeff McKinney (15)
  • "Shots from awkward lies are hardly a challenge."—Stacey Fitts (17)
  • "So what if the results aren't electric. If you crave consistency from shot to shot, club to club, they'll satisfy."—Ken Stauffer (14)
  • Cons
  • "I couldn't turn shots much at all."—Gary Wilson (13)
  • Mizuno MX-900
    www.mizunousa.com

    WE TESTED 3-PW with True Temper Dynalite Gold steel shaft

    THE COMPANY LINE

    OUR TESTERS SAID

    Pros

  • "Not crazy for the look of hybrid-like long irons but the offset softens through the set and the topline is thinner in short irons."—Lynn Altadonna (handicap 15)
  • "Cottony soft at impact, with no spine-rattling vibrations."—Kevin DiNapoli (19)
  • "Easy launch and plenty of forgiveness. Just about any swing gets the ball airborne with ease."—Stacey Fitts (17)
  • "The MX-900 long irons are the big news. They reduced dispersion by one-third compared to mine."—Gary Wilson (13)
  • "There's a gallon of forgiveness here in a quart-sized head."—Doug Lair (10)
  • Cons
  • "All my shots flew high. These controlled me; I didn't control them." —Roger Liau (17)
  • Nike Slingshot Tour
    nikegolf.com

    WE TESTED 3-PW with True Temper Dynamic Gold steel shaft

    THE COMPANY LINE

    OUR TESTERS SAID

    Pros

  • "The less-beefy, less-offset look is easier to aim than the original Slingshot." —Don Ytterberg (handicap 15)
  • "More forgiving than blades, but they still keep me honest."—Stacey Fitts (17)
  • "Versatile, but not so sensitive that consistency is a problem."—Michael Jo (14)
  • "Nice middle ground between a player's and game-improvement club."—Jeff Bones (10)
  • "They offer workability, finesse-shot capability and bad-lie versatility."—Doug Lair (10)
  • "These hit it higher than most."—Eric English (12)
  • Cons
  • "Mis-hits are sometimes numbing."—Kevin DiNapoli (19)
  • "I expected more feedback, given the 'Tour' name."—Jeff McKinney (15)
  • Ping G5
    pinggolf.com

    WE TESTED 3-PW with CS Lite steel shaft

    THE COMPANY LINE

    OUR TESTERS SAID

    Pros

  • "I want these in my bag in pressure situations. All over the face, the distance and direction is reliable and consistent."—Doug Lair (handicap 10)
  • "They take sidespin down to nil."—Gary Wilson (13)
  • "They don't let the ball go offline; I believe these could fix a flat."—Don Ytterberg (15)
  • "High and straight was the recipe for the day."—Kevin DiNapoli (19)
  • "Soft and cuddly. No harm came to my hands."—Roger Liau (17)
  • Cons
  • "At times, the offset causes more left than I wanted."—Stacey Fitts (17)
  • "Chipping from tight lies takes some getting used to."—Victor DeMarco (12)
  • TaylorMade r7 XD
    taylormadegolf.com

    WE TESTED 3 (15°), 5 (19°) and 7 (21°) with Fujikura graphite shaft

    THE COMPANY LINE

    OUR TESTERS SAID

    Pros

  • "These distance demons are consistently one club longer than my irons."—Jeff McKinney (handicap 15)
  • "They cover up just about everything on mis-hits."—Stacey Fitts (17)
  • "A great club for masking your swing errors."—Gary Wilson (13)
  • "Been a long time since I hit a 3-iron as well as this one."—Roger Liau (17)
  • "Hit it on the sweet spot—nothing. But hit it anywhere else and your hands know the location of impact." —Tom Jennings (12)
  • "They're just plain fun to hit."Lynn Altadonna (15)
  • Cons
  • "The long blade has trouble getting through the rough."—Jeff Bones (10)
  • "I struggled with the big head to handle all types of on-course situations."—Michael Jo (14)

    \n \nWilson Ci6
    $899, steel; $999, graphite; wilsongolf.com

    WE TESTED 3-PW with Nanotech by UST graphite shaft

    THE COMPANY LINE "For players seeking maximum control in a more traditional look. An elastomeric damping layer in the cavity reduces the head's resonant frequency."

    OUR TESTERS SAID

    Pros

  • "A player's club look, but game-improvement performance." —Stacey Fitts (handicap 17)
  • "Reminiscent of classic Wilson Staffs—with a fatter top line."—Tom Jennings (12)
  • "Communicates with me from takeaway through contact." —Gary Wilson (13)
  • "The biggest surprise of the week. It's the nimblest of the bunch, the ball flies one club longer and misses get a second chance."—Roger Liau (17)
  • "I was shocked by the consistently long length of the short irons."—Eric English (12)
  • "No problem in wet, heavy rough. The heads cut right through it."—Jeff Bones (10)
  • "Three words come to mind: performance, reliability and consistency."—Ken Stauffer (14)
  • "Nicely weighted head and graphite shaft provide a cushioned sensation for constructive feedback."—Michael Jo (14)
  • "Feels as though the face gripped the ball." —Victor DeMarco (12)
  • Cons
  • "The graphite shaft is too light for me. Would like to whack 'em in steel."—Doug Lair (10)
  • How They Stacked Up
    Club Nike
    Slingshot Tour
    Callaway
    X-18
    Ping
    G5
    Cleveland
    CG4
    Mizuno
    MX-900
    TaylorMade
    r7 XD
    Wilson
    Ci6
    Look 3 stars 4 stars 3 stars 4 stars 4 stars 4 stars 4 stars
    Feel 3 stars 3 stars 4 stars 4 stars 5 stars 4 stars 4 stars
    Playability 3 stars 3 stars 5 stars 5 stars 4 stars 5 stars 4 stars
    Forgiveness 3 stars 3 stars 5 stars 5 stars 4 stars 5 stars 5 stars
    Distance 3 stars 3 stars 3 stars 4 stars 4 stars 5 stars 5 stars
    Total Performance 3 stars 3 stars 3.5 stars 4 stars 4 stars 4 stars 4.5 stars

    More From the Web

    HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
    OUT
    HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
    IN