Easy Hitting Irons

Monday February 26th, 2007

GOLF MAGAZINE ClubTesters spent a full day with each of sets of irons you will read about in this test.

They pounded balls on the range in the morning at Grand Cypress Resort in Orlando, using clubs with the appropriate flex and loft for their swing speed and ability. Our testers then wrapped up their evaluations on the course.


Adams Idea a2 OS
$599, graphite
adamsgolf.com

WE TESTED
3iWood, 4 iWood, 5 hybrid, 6 hybrid, 7-PW with Grafalloy ProLaunch 75 graphite shaft

THE COMPANY LINE
"Our set combines iron-woods, hybrids and hollow-back irons. This takes the guesswork out of putting hybrids in your bag by replacing hard-to-hit long and mid-irons with easy-to-hit hybrids."

OUR TESTERS SAID
PROS: The Adams performed well overall, but it was the set's forgiveness that seemed to stand out ot our testers.
"Heel and toe shots work toward the target. Few bad misses" reported Dave Lucarelli (handicap 15). Rich Sullivan (12) agreed, "Thin shots with 5 and 6 hybrids still get up and fly pretty far." Playability was also a big hit with the Adams Idea. "These perform well from all lies," said Paul Brecht (18). "You can sweep the ball off the turf and get it in the air quickly with 3 and 4 iWoods," agreed C.J. Bush (19) "Sweeping the hybrids makes the ball fly crisply with little effort," said Rich Bernstein (15)
CONS: "Club appearance changes radically from 8-iron to 6-iron to 4-iron. The clubs perform well in action, but you have to make a big psychological adjustment, Jim Esther (20) finds. "The 3-in-1 set is too much to adjust to," said Don Skeahan (20).

Additional comments
"The 5 and 6 hybrids are lively and the heavy heads have more feel than other hybrids." -Michael Kaye (14)

Nike Slingshot OSS
$799, steel; $899, grpahite
nikegolf.com

WE TESTED
3-AW (attack wedge) with True Temper Speed Step Light steel shaft

THE COMPANY LINE
"The lowest and deepest center of gravity of any Nike iron promotes higher, longer, straighter, softer landing shots. The wide 'Dual Glide' sole reduces the risk of fat shots. A trailing beveled edge of the sole limits turf drag."

OUR TESTERS SAID
PROS: The slingshot carries some extra girth, a fact that did not go unnoticed by out testers. "Extra weighting helps get the ball up quickly while the quarter-mile-wide face increases the size of the sweet spot," said C.J. Bush (handicap 19). "While not the most responsive set, the weight allows for stability through impact and awareness through the swing," agreed Tom Jennings (12). "Big, heavy heads plow through the rough and get the ball up easily," added Don Wilson (15). "The wide sole lets you hit knockdowns without the fear of digging too deep," said Rich Bernstein (15). "No iron has a bigger sweet spot," exclaimed Robert Record (16).
CONS: "These don't look easy to hit. They're too bulbous," said Michael Kaye (14). "You may find it difficult to play touch shots with these," added Dave Lucarelli (15).

Additional comments
"Great out of rough and sand -- really cuts through these obstacles." -Eric English

Callaway Big Bertha
$460, steel; $999, graphite
callawaygolf.com

WE TESTED
3-PW with Callaway Golf graphite shaft

THE COMPANY LINE
"Extreme notch weighting provides forgiveness while 'Constant Width Sole' reduces digging and imparts smooth turf interaction."

OUR TESTERS SAID
PROS: Another high scorer, the Big Bertha really did it for our testers, especially in the "feel" department. "Rock solid through impact," reported Paul Brecht (handicap 18). "Soft touch for hitting running chips and pitches," said Michael Kaye (14) "I've never had so many sweet-feeling shots with long irons. You can use the whole clubface and still won't feel negative feedback," agreed Dave Lucarelli (15). Playability also worked in Big Bertha's favor. "Great from all lies, but especially from the rough. The heavy sole cuts through thick grass effortlessly to launch your ball," said Rich Sullivan (12). "Autopilot design prevents shots from flying off-course," concluded Robert Record (16).

Additional comments
"Nothing goes to the right so they are a slicers' dream." -Don Wilson (15).
"You'll love the distance control and consistent carry. Pitching wedge handles tight lies, too." -Don Skeahan (20).

Taylormade r7 CGB MAX
$1,376, steel; $1,560, graphite
taylormadegolf.com

WE TESTED
3-PW with T-Step steel shaft

THE COMPANY LINE
"The CNC-milled, high-strength 455 stainless steel clubface and 'Enhanced Inverted Cone Technology' contribute to consistently longer shots."

OUR TESTERS SAID
Our testers loved pretty much everything about the new Taylormade's. Here are a few reasons why it was our top scorer. "It's easy to see when the face is either slightly open or closed at address," said Don Wilson (handicap 15). "Mis-hits are muffled, creating soft feel on impact," added Jim Esther (20). Rich Bernstein (15) said, "Both center and off-center hits carry 10 to 15 yards farther than my irons." "Slices are controlled and less severe than you expect," Paul Brecht (18) agreed. C.J. Bush (19) was also on-board, saying, "It is really hard to mis-hit these clubs. The faces and sweet spot are gigantic."

Additional comments
"Longer than mine by one club on solid hits." -Don Skeahan (20)
"Heavy shots don't dig, resulting in similar distance to good shots." -Robert Record (16)
"The muscular clubhead corrects mis-hits both in terms of distance and direction." -Dave Lucarelli (15)



How they stack up: Testers voted on their faves using a 100-point scale. Our star system rewards the top picks

Club Adams
a2 OS
Nike
Slingshot OSS
Callaway
Big Bertha
TaylorMade
r7 CGB Max
Look 3 stars 3 stars 4 stars 5 stars
Feel 4 stars 3 stars 5 stars 4 stars
Playability 4 stars 4 stars 4 stars 4 stars
Forgiveness 5 stars 5 stars 5 stars 5 stars
Distance 4 stars 4 stars 4 stars 5 stars
Total Performance 4 stars 4 stars 4.5 stars 4.5 stars

*Ratings 5 Stars
Excellet
4 Stars
Very Good
3 Stars
Good
2 Stars
Average
1 Star
Poor

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