TaylorMade RSi1 Irons
Category: Game-Improvement Irons
Price: $800, steel; $900, graphite
WE TESTED: 3–PW with Reax 90 steel shaft and 3–PW with Reax 65 graphite shaft
KEY TECHNOLOGIES: Cutouts in the sole, cavity and face lead to more consistent ball speed across the face.
PLAYABILITY: Useful in tough lies—sharp, substantial sole is unfazed by thick turf; malleable trajectory manages everything from knockdowns to moon shots; mostly straight but can work basic draws and fades with a little effort; short irons are surprisingly deft around the greens.
ACCURACY/FORGIVENESS: A good balance of accuracy and forgiveness; shots fly rail-straight, like they’re on a track, with almost no curve; misses—even some thin shots—often get up around the green, which is a pleasant surprise.
DISTANCE CONTROL: The club’s strongest performance category; RSi1 short irons are laser-guided on scoring shots; less than perfect strikes go a respectable distance; good bite for a game-improvement model.
FEEL: It’s all about power, with a solid crunch at impact that packs plenty of juice; plays on the heavy side—easy to track and rock-steady through the turf; the clubface seems to take the edge out of poor contact.
LOOK: Lots of support here, with a reasonably thick topline and weight low; wears its forgiveness right on the face—channels around the hitting area are a little exotic but can be reassuring; plenty to remind you that TaylorMade’s engineers have your back.
The RSi1 has black lines framing the hitting area that can be distracting; some guys want a more rewarding or polished feel at impact; not everyone experiences ultimate consistency and distance control on misses with the mid- and long irons.
BOTTOM LINE: The RSi1’s bold, progressive design offers a nice blend of agility, length and forgiveness.
BUY THE CLUB: Get your own TaylorMade RSi1 irons
NEXT REVIEW: Titleist AP1 714 Irons
MORE INFO ON THE TAYLORMADE RSi1 IRONS
From the December 2014 Issue of Golf Magazine
To squeeze more distance out of their irons, the club makers of old could only strengthen lofts, shift CGs and strip weight from shafts. Eventually, stronger, lighter materials and undercut cavities led to thinner, more flexible faces. But check under the hood of today’s top-of-the-line distance irons, and what you’ll find looks more like a wood than ever.
TaylorMade’s been at the forefront of the distance-iron revolution. In 2009, the company’s engineers built technology from its woods into first-generation Burner irons. Those sticks utilized an “inverted cone” face design and the benefits were obvious: higher COR, faster ball speed and big distance. However, it created a significant problem—the distance was often inconsistent, particularly on shots struck away from the sweet spot. So, two years ago, TaylorMade’s R&D team came up with the “speed pocket,” a cutout in the sole to increase ball speed on shots struck low on the face. Since then, the company added a “thru slot” behind the face for even more flex and higher launch on those low hits.
TaylorMade’s new RSi irons take it one step further with slots on the face in the heel and toe, in addition to the cuts on the sole and cavity. The company says this combo provides more uniform flex, ball speed and consistency across the clubface, regardless of whether you miss it high, low, or toward the heel or toe. The RSi series consists of two models for the vast majority of players, as well as a blade-like TP version aimed at Tour players and top amateurs. Both the RSi 1 and RSi 2 feature face slots in the 3-8 irons, “speed pockets” with “thru slots” in the 3-7 irons, and the thin, inverted cone throughout the set.
The RSi 2, which replaces SLDR irons in TaylorMade’s lineup, has a more compact profile, thinner topline, slightly less offset and less sole bounce than the RSi 1. The multi material RSi 2 has cast, stainless steel long irons (3-5) with tungsten weighting to produce higher launch angles, and forged face short irons (8-PW) to enhance impact feel.
The midsize RSi 1, which replaces SpeedBlade irons, has a deep undercut behind an ultra-thin face. A larger area of the face maintains high ball speeds than in its sister irons. In addition, the sand and lob wedges have the company’s multi purpose ATV sole grind for playability from a variety of lies -- Michael Chwasky.
NEXT REVIEW: Titleist AP1 714 Irons