By Rob Sauerhaft
Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Imagine you're standing in the fairway with a mid-iron. Are you more concerned with trouble right or left than knocking down the flag? If this resembles your state of mind, you need help-fast. These new irons from industry leaders merge tried-and-true designs with cagey upgrades that will allow you o conquer all your fears. Except that one of tri-cornered hats--you're on your own there.

Titleist Forged 735 CM

Manufacturers are always measuring driver-launch conditions to help you max out your distance. Titleist is now applying this same critical eye to foster supreme control in irons. The forged 735 CM (stands for "cavity to muscle" set) blends full-cavity long irons, shallow-cavity mid-irons and muscleback short (7-to-PW) irons. The choice of designs helps deliver targeted ball flights. In general, Forged 735 CM short irons hit it lower than their predecessors in the 690CB and 704 lines, while 735 CM long irons launch it higher than the 690CB but lower than 704. You also get to choose the look and feel: Forged stainless steel heads or forged carbon steel.

Stainless steel: $896 (steel), $1,032 (graphite); Carbon steel: $960 (steel), $1,096 (graphite); 888-TITLEIST, titleist.com

Ping G5

The game's top-selling irons--Ping's G2--just got a makeover. new G5 irons have wider soles (but narrower than G2 HL) to help you navigate a variety of lies. (In case you're curious, there's no G5 HL.) The oval metal ring, known as a "custom turning port," has been enlarged and repositioned directly behind the sweet spot. The port, which is filled with plastic and tungsten, anchors the face and enhances feel. CEO John Solheim says Ping "changed the angles and radius of the grooves and developed a more consistent manufactoring process" so the G5 will spin the ball more than the G2.

$920 (steel), $1,160 (graphite); 800-474-6434, pinggolf.com

Nike Slingshot OSS

The original Slingshot had its day but now there's something bigger and bolder. Slingshot OSS irons have Cryosteel face inserts that weigh nine grams less than the original. So what, you say? So more mass is moved to the sole and rear that's what you say>? So more mass is moved to the sole and rear, that's what. Wider soles limit thin hits and elevate shots easier and higher. More weight further back from the clubface--the Slingback plate across the cavity--limits mishaps on off-center contact. The Slingshot OSS comes standard with Mitsubishi's Diamana graphite shaft.

$799 (steel), $899 (graphite); 800-*922-6453, nikegolf.com

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