ClubTest 2007: Better-Player Irons

1 of 9 Greg Lord
ClubTest 2007: Better-player Irons GOLF Magazine asked asked golfers with a handicap between 2 and 10 to hit the newest better-player irons on the market. Here's what they had to say Adams Idea Pro $799, steel; $999, graphite; adamsgolf.com Go to Equipment Finder profile--> We tested: 3-PW; 3- 4: Aldila VS graphite shaft. 5-PW: True Temper Black Gold steel shaft Company line: "Integrated set of Tour-proven hybrids and forged irons. The 3- and 4-hybrid iWoods have sleek design, no offset, low center of gravity and highest MOI of any hybrid on Tour. The 5-PW is forged carbon 8620 steel for ultimate feel and sound." Our Test Panel says: The 3- and 4-hybrids can do anything; more forgiving than long irons; short irons are more helpful and lose less distance than traditional muscle backs; little feedback on off-center shots; switching from steel to graphite within set, and irons to hybrids, can be a tricky transition. It's time for Adams to be taken seriously among low handicappers. — Mark Haberstroh
2 of 9 Greg Lord
Ben Hogan Apex Plus $800, steel; benhogan.com Go to Equipment Finder profile--> We tested: 2-E in Apex steel shaft Company line: "Forged from 1020 carbon steel for terrific, soft feel. The mid-cavity back lowers the center of gravity for optimal launch trajectories. Progressive offset enhances playability." Our Test Panel says: Unsurpassed feel; 3-iron through wedge feel like the same club; transmit data like a high-speed connection; a classy, not complicated, look; predictable mid-trajectory with a boring, not ballooning, flight; a true shotshaping players' weapon; no training wheels; accuracy suffers on mis-hits; okay length. Exceptionally responsive. So soft and communicative, these clubs almost talk to you. — Zach Fasman
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Callaway X Forged $899, steel; callawaygolf.com Go to Equipment Finder profile--> • Go to Equipment Finder profile to tell us what you think and see what other GOLF.com readers said about this club. We tested: 2-PW with Precision Project X Flighted Rifle steel shaft Company line: "Forged 1020 carbon steel provides incredibly soft, responsive feedback. The X Forged has a thin topline, narrow sole, short blade length and minimal offset. The CG is lowest in long irons and moves higher through the set, providing ideal trajectories and distance control." Our Test Panel says: Love the look and short irons are deadly accurate; easy to manipulate — you can hit draws or fades at will; minor mis-hits fall within a few yards of flushed shots; confident, predictable results from any lie; higher-than-expected ball flight; long irons make you work; chips come off softly, under control. Best-looking Callaway iron ever. — Jeremy Ross
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Cleveland CG4 Tour $699, steel; $899, graphite; clevelandgolf.com • Go to Equipment Finder profile to tell us what you think and see what other GOLF.com readers said about this club. We tested: 3-PW with True Temper ActionLite Tour steel shaft Company line: "Made from revolutionary CMM (Carbon Metal Matrix). These have a shorter blade length than CG4, and progressive offset, resulting in a compact head with increased workability." Our Test Panel says: Very happy with forgiveness; plays like game improvement iron but is workable; for players who fear blades but want to be creative; high, soft shots are its preference; decent carry distance, not awe-inspiring. Forgiving enough that misses are still valued shots. —Joe Nagel
5 of 9 Greg Lord
Nike CCi Forged $899, steel; nikegolf.com • Go to Equipment Finder profile to tell us what you think and see what other GOLF.com readers said about this club. We tested: 3-PW with True Temper Dynamic Gold steel shaft Company line: "Composite cavity insert (CCi) uses tungsten to lower CG and increase forgiveness. Polymer dampens vibration on off-center hits. CNC-milled flat faces ensure uniform ball compression for predictable distances and shot patterns." Our Test Panel says: Good sticks, but the least preferred of the group; quality shots feel smooth, never harsh; others believe this "smoothness" equates to "dullness" and a lack of crispness; chipping is fun; high trajectory throughout set; playable from most lies, adequate workability; can get more distance from other irons. Short irons are the real performers. Gives you the confidence to fire away at tight pins. — Steve Sesko
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Titleist 755 $799, steel; $899, graphite; titleist.com • Go to Equipment Finder profile to tell us what you think and see what other GOLF.com readers said about this club. We tested: 3-PW with Tri-Spec steel shaft Company line: "Midsize, stainless steel blade has a thin face for enhanced moment of inertia. Forged aluminum dampening chip in the cavity contributes to solid feel and sound." Our Test Panel says: Strong across the board; superb feel; crisp, firm sensation going through the turf and at contact; off-center hits won't "ouch" you; doesn't let you stray too far offline — smallest greens are big with these; the 755 allows you to hit any shot; long irons are relatively friendly; overall weight and balance make chipping a pleasure. These make it comfortable hitting to prescribed distances. — Lee Neisler
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Tour Edge Exotics Blade $799, steel; touredge.com • Go to Equipment Finder profile to tell us what you think and see what other GOLF.com readers said about this club. We tested: 3-PW with True Temper Dynamic Gold steel shaft Company line: "Forged carbon steel head has CNC-milled face, grooves and cavity. A cross between cavity back and muscle back. The muscle cavity provides a lower center of gravity and perimeter weighting for more forgiveness." Our Test Panel says: Best-looking, tons of responsive feel; decent forgiveness; nice feedback on chips — the ball seems to stay on the face a fraction longer than most; can shape shots with ease — no real limitations to your creativity; rough is no match for it; miss the sweet spot and lose real distance. Very good for shaping shots to a tucked pin. — Jim Hurley
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WINNER Cobra Carbon CB $699, steel; cobragolf.com • Go to Equipment Finder profile to tell us what you think and see what other GOLF.com readers said about this club. Video: ClubTesters on the Cobra Cabron CB irons We tested: 3-PW with True Temper Dynamic Gold steel shaft Company line: "Tour head design, with thinner topline, classic profile and minimal offset, leads to greater workability. The 8620 carbon steel head delivers soft, solid feel." Our Test Panel says: Tops for accuracy and distance; slightly larger heads breed confidence; mucho playability — able to shape shots with regularity; no need for hybrids because long irons are super fun to hit and to get in the air; clubs rip through rough; feel on off-center shots is immediately transferred to hands. Shots want to fly straight, like a laser beam. — Jon Tate
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WHAT THEY BOUGHT Testers tried all the latest and greatest sticks. Here are the clubs that they bought with their hard-earned cash. Adams Idea Pro Alan Dante (handicap 8) — hybrid only Zach Fasman (handicap 9) — hybrid only Jim Hurley (handicap 9) — hybrid only Titleist 755 Joe Nagel (3) Mark Haberstroh (5)