Clubtest: Better-Player Irons

1 of 7 Carrie Boretz
Clubtest: Better-Player Irons December 2006 How We Did It ClubTesters evaluated the models in four situations on the driving range and the course. They hit shots from the tee, fairway and rough and chips to the green. Where We Did It The Saint Andrew's Golf Club in Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.
2 of 7 Greg Lord
Nike CCi Cast $799, steel; $899, graphite; We Tested: 3-PW with True TemperDynalite Goldsteel shaft Company Line: "These cast heads feature a composite-cavity insert (CCi).A high-density tungsten plug creates a lower center of gravity while polymer ports in the sole dampen vibration for softer feel." Testers' Comments: PROS "More game-improving than a full-bore player's club." — Mike Nastasi (handicap 7) "The longest of the bunch. But a club that performs this well needs a better look." — Anthony Spikes (1) "Off-center hits feel almost as good as center ones." — David Doctora (4) "Shots from the rough fly like fairway shots." — Kris Madsen (10) CONS "Can't knock down the short irons or keep them low. Which makes CCi better for 6 to 10 handicappers than 0 to 5." — Chuck Del Priore (0) "Chips come off hot. Face is too hard to playsome finesse shots." — Zach Fasman (10)
3 of 7 Greg Lord
Ping S58 $1,000, steel; $1,240, graphite; We Tested: 2-PW with True Temper Dynamic Gold and Z-Z65 steel shaft The Company Line: "The variable custom tuning port is progressively set farther forward on long irons to farther back on short irons. This creates a higher trajectory in long irons and a more penetrating, controlled flight in short irons." Testers' Comments: PROS "I can shape the ball like a sculptor." — Mike Cochrane (handicap 1) "Ball flight is low and fast, different than the S59s." — David Doctora (4) "There's not a lie the Pings can't handle. Okay, within reason." — Mike Nastasi (7) "Impressed that there's no ballooning on short-iron shots that I hit a little harder to get an extra five yards." — Chuck Del Priore (0) "The 2-iron may be the longest iron I've hit." — Chris Klamkin (1) CONS "Balls jump off the face in a too-lively way." — Larry Coben (6) "Not much help out of the rough." — Zach Fasman (10)
4 of 7 Greg Lord
TaylorMade r7 TP $1,000, steel; $1,200, graphite; We Tested: 3-PW with True Temper Dynamic Gold steel shaft The Company Line: "Next-generation 'inverted cone technology' increases the size of the COR zone. The result is consistent ball speed and distance on hits away from the sweet spot." Testers' Comments: PROS "Ball carries the same wherever you hit it on the face." — David Doctora (handicap 4) "Plays like a game-improvement club from the rough." — Chris Klamkin (1) "Better-than-expected misses for a player's iron." — Zach Fasman (10) "Unbelievable at covering up misses." — Mike Cochrane (1) "These cut through rough like the rough isn't there — the best I've seen." — Larry Coben (6) CONS "Lacks the touch and sensitivity on short finesse shots." — Anthony Spikes (1) "Off-center hits are muted for a better-player's club but offer adequate feedback." — Mike Nastasi (7)
5 of 7 Greg Lord
THE WINNER All four models scored well in our test. But the Mizuno MP-67 separated itself just enough to be crowned the winner. MP-67 was tops from the fairway and the rough, and for chips to the green. Mizuno MP-67 $849, steel; We Tested: 3-PW with True Temper Dynamic Gold steel shaft Company Line: "The slender 'cut muscle' design pinpoints the center of gravity inside the muscleback for complete ball control. A cambered sole allows the demanding player precise shot-making capability from all types of lies." Testers' Comments: PROS "Feel is soft as a baby's behind. And who needs hybrids when it's so easy to control shots from rough?" — Mike Cochrane (handicap 1) "As good as short-game clubs get. If you can think, these will execute." — Zach Fasman (10) "Doctor Spin is in the house. These are juiced on chips." — David Doctora (4) "The most accurate and precise short and mid-irons in the test." — Anthony Spikes (1) "Superb feel. I know where and how I hit every shot." — Larry Coben (6) CONS "At least a half-club shorter on good hits. Not much help on off-center hits." — Mike Nastasi (7)
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What we did Four testers, with handicaps of 1, 4, 7 and 10, hit each company's 6-iron from the fairway. (Titleist's Pro V1 served as our test ball.) We used the AccuSport Vector launch monitor to collect results. Here's what we found. What we learned Ball flight TaylorMade r7 TP is the highest flier, while the Ping S58 has the lowest ball flight. Spin Remarkably, the Mizuno and TaylorMade produce the same amount of spin on full shots with the 6-iron. Carry Nike CCi combines the lowest launch angle and fastest ball speed to produce the longest carry.
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Test results How they stack up Testers voted on their faves using a 100-point scale. Category winners are represented by a red dot. Overall performance grade is determined by equally weighting the 13 categories.