ClubTest 2007: Game-Improvement Irons

1 of 9 Greg Lord
ClubTest 2007: Game-Improvement Irons GOLF Magazine asked asked golfers with a handicap between 10 and 20 to hit the newest game-improvement irons on the market. Here's what they had to say. Bridgestone GC.MID $599, steel; $699, graphite; bridgestonegolf.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 in Nippon N.S. Pro 1050GH steel shaft Company line: "The two 'gravity disks' are progressively placed throughout the set for ideal performance and feel. Versatile sole design gives players more forgiveness in all turf conditions. New scoreline design increases spin and control." Our Test Panel says: Top-shelf playability, feel and look; satisfactory forgiveness; quite versatile on chip shots; disappointing length — both solid and off-center shots come up a bit short versus others tested. Soft feel and terrific responsiveness means options around greens. — Jeff Bones
2 of 9 Greg Lord
Callaway X-20 $699, steel; $899, graphite; callawaygolf.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 in X-20 Men's graphite shaft Company line: "Progressive 'wall reduction system' lowers the center of gravity by 6 percent versus X-18 for improved feel and playability. Extreme 'notch weighting' redistributes more weight to perimeter to create a high MOI for greater forgiveness and more stability. " Our Test Panel says: This is the anti-right club — repeating shot is a high draw; very good length on center hits; covers up mis-hits with little distance loss; smooth, muted feel with graphite shafts; lacks distinct feedback on misses. The words 'miss' and Callaway X-20 rarely collide. But when you do miss, you'll end up okay. — Jon Kotraba
3 of 9 Greg Lord
Cobra FP $499, steel; $599, graphite; cobragolf.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: 4-Gap in Nippon N.S. Pro 1030 steel shaft Company line: "The undercut cavity and mid-width sole increase forgiveness and playability. A urethane insert in the cavity dampens vibration and softens feel. The N.S. Pro shaft increases launch." Our Test Panel says: Reliable but lacks 'wow' factor; heavy bottom weighting and sole help to handle the rough; favors shock absorption over providing mis-hit feedback; elliptical groove pattern is a somewhat useful aiming device; progressive offset and heel weighting help to take right side out of play. Good distance control and high, repeatable ball flight. — Mike Gorski
4 of 9 Greg Lord
MacGregor MacTec NVG2 Mid $699, steel; $799, graphite; macgregorgolf.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 Triple Action graphite shaft Company line: "The entire steel face is plasma welded to the body using 'Cup Face 360' technology. This produces the largest sweet spot on the market." Our Test Panel says: These babies are long — explosive jump at impact; meaty heads reduce damage caused by mis-hits; not much of a finesse club — short chips and pitches difficult to control due to lack of feedback; long and mid-irons do their job better than short irons. Misses are forgiven. Accuracy and repeatability are king. — Mark Waldheim
5 of 9 Greg Lord
Mizuno MX-25 $750, steel; $850, graphite; mizunousa.com We tested: 3-PW in True Temper Dynalite Gold steel shaft • Go to Equipment Finder profile Company line: "A deeper, wider and longer CNC-milled pocket cavity delivers a low, deep center of gravity (CG) for high, easy launch with maximum forgiveness. Grain Flow Forged mild carbon steel provides the ultimate soft, solid, consistent feel." Our Test Panel says: Well-rounded sticks; love the ability to vary shots; good synergy between forgiveness and playability; off-center hits don't sting or rattle; very good feel and control with short irons, which leads to confidence and touch around greens; distance not a strength. Fine blend of workability, look and feel. — John Moore
6 of 9 Greg Lord
Ping Rapture $999, steel; $1,199, graphite; pinggolf.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 in TFC909i graphite shaft Company line: "The titanium face insert, steel body and tungsten toe weight combine for maximum forgiveness and high launch. An elastomer custom tuning port in the back cavity improves feel and sound." Our Test Panel says: True performers; best of class for forgiveness and distance; Ping's most forgiving iron; big head produces straight, high shots in all situations; lively, yet controlled feel on chips; consistently on-target from rough; unexpectedly workable. Club wants to go straight. The most helpful iron I've hit. — Dave Daumit
7 of 9 Greg Lord
TaylorMade r7 $699, steel; $899, graphite; taylormadegolf.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-SW in T Step 90 steel shaft Company line: "Our proprietary 'inverted cone' technology boosts distance on mis-hits. The deep cavity design promotes optimal launch and carry while moderate offset aids accuracy and control." Our Test Panel says: Superior distance and distance control; minimizes mistakes; hit it anywhere on face and expect a reasonable result; delivers subtle information to hands; could use more feedback on good and bad shots; acceptable playability. One-half club longer than mine both on center and off-center hits. — Michael Jo
8 of 9 Greg Lord
May 2007: Game-Improvement Irons Titleist 775.CB $799, steel; $899, graphite; titleist.com ClubTesters Video | Equipment Finder Profile WE TESTED: 4-W in Nippon N.S. Pro 100 steel shaft COMPANY LINE: "Traditional short irons designed for shot control and playability. Oversize long irons have enhanced offset for higher, straighter flight. Aluminum bar in 3-, 4- and 5-irons reduces vibration and improves sound and feel." Our Test Panel says: Love the look, feel and playability; rewards senses on wellstruck shots; clubhead eases through rough with no hang-ups; short irons have blade-like performance with cavity-back forgiveness; hits darts from 130 yards and in; chipping is fun — hit it high, low, soft, hard, runners, spinners; distance and longiron help aren't its forte. Excellent combination of skill enhancement, precision and game improvement. — Tom Jennings
9 of 9
WHAT THEY BOUGHT Testers tried all the latest and greatest sticks. Here are the clubs that they bought with their h a rd-earned cash. Bridgestone GC. MID Rich Bernstein (handicap 13) Cobra FP Tom Jennings (9) Mizuno MX-25 Marshall Schattner (10) Ping Rapture Jon Kotraba (10) TaylorMade r7 Doug Lair (14) Titleist 775.CB Michael Jo (11) Dave Daumit (12) Robert Record (13) Gary Wilson (13)