An iron with feel, versatile wedges, a better-sounding putter

February 19, 2007

TaylorMade RAC OS irons

SPECS: Oversized 431 stainless steel heads with a buff satin finish.

Photographer: Bob Grier Bob Grier

WHO IT’S FOR: All handicap levels.

WHY BUY: TaylorMade applies its relative amplitude coefficient (RAC) technology — two pockets milled into the back cavity, so center hits feel solid and off-center hits aren’t quite so harsh — from its RAC wedges. The visible, lightweight cartridge low in the cavity further enhances feel and contributes to forgiveness (since weight is removed from this area and shifted to the head’s perimeter). Look for a smaller-headed Tour version by spring, when there will be plenty of bags combining RAC Tour short irons with RAC OS long and mid-irons.

PRICE: Set of eight: $680 (steel shafts), $860 (graphite)

INFO: 800-456-8633,

Ping wedges

SPECS: 7-4 stainless steel heads in 48°, 52°, 54°, 56°, 58°, and 60° lofts.

Photographer: Bob Grier Bob Grier

WHO IT’S FOR: All handicap levels.

WHY BUY: Ping’s first stand-alone wedge series exhibits the most traditional shape and styling of any Ping wedges to date. Beyond the simple good looks, each club’s sole has a ridge running from heel to toe that lets you hit the ball high or low from virtually any lie, including hardpan. This design also does a nice job keeping the leading edge low to the ground, even when you open the face to play flop shots. Some feel-enhancing features include a black polymer “custom tuning port” in the rear, a lightweight steel shaft with “constant step” pattern, and a short, flat-top hosel. Each club can be custom-built to your preferred length, lie, swingweight, and grip size.

PRICE: $130 each (steel shaft)

INFO: 800-474-6434,

Odyssey DFX putters

SPECS: Five steel-headed models include the DFX 1100 (face-balanced mallet, full-shaft offset, no hosel), DFX 3300 (pictured, heel-toe blade, short hosel, half-shaft offset), DFX 5500 (scoop-back blade, standard-length hosel, full-shaft offset), DFX 6600 (heel-toe blade, long hosel, full-shaft offset), and DFX 9900 (blade, wide flange, short hosel, half-shaft offset). Each has three degrees of loft, in lengths of 33 to 36 inches.

Photographer: Bob Grier Bob Grier

WHO IT’S FOR: All handicap levels.

WHY BUY: Odyssey’s Stronomic face insert material has long been a winner in Dual Force putters. The DFX have longer lightweight inserts across the head than previous Odyssey putters, allowing designers to move more weight deep to help reduce skidding and provide a better roll. The reformulated insert also delivers a harder-sounding click and “more pleasing feel” at impact. And on sunny days, you’ll appreciate the charcoal-colored, glare-reducing heads.

PRICE: $140 (steel shaft)

INFO: 800-228-2767,