Taylormade Tour Preferred Forged Irons (MB, MC, CB)

Ian: Taylormade is coming at you with three different forged blades these days, presumably marketing to the golfer with a 10 handicap or lower. The three different offerings go from the straight blade (MB), to more of a muscle back blade (MC), to a cavity backed players iron (CB).  All three irons feature a funky plastic looking weight on the back center of the club.

How I hit them: Not very well to be honest. After hitting a couple other forged irons before I got to the Taylormade booth I found these to give off much less feedback on the contact than others. I hit the MB’s terribly, but as a 14 handicapper I guess that’s not a surprise.  I’m a Taylormade guy, but these just weren’t for me. I wasn’t sold on the look either. I’m not sure what they plastic composite looking backer is on the MC and CB irons, but it’s just doesn’t scream players club to me.

Jason: With a lot of influence from tour players and the growing Asian market Taylormade is offering 3 different forged iron models for 2011. The MB: a pure muscle back blade, the MC: a mid-sized cavity-back, and the CB: a full cavity-back with a forged face with a cast sole and hossel. All three models have a weight cartridge that is held place by a screw on the back center of the head. This allows for swing-weight to be altered which is great from a technical standpoint but at the same time it makes the clubs look a bit busy in my opinion. The MC and CB both look very well made and high-quality but the mat-black carbon insert on the back of the MC looks a bit cheap and out of place.

How I hit them: The MB were exactly what I expected: Felt great when I hit the center of the clubface but when you hit one off-center they let you know about it. At address they look great but the lack of forgiveness was too steep a price to pay for good looks. The CB also look great at address and with a thicker top-line inspire a little more confidence. I did have a bit of a problem with the CB however, unlike the other two the CB offers little feel. Off-center hits do feel less harsh but solid contact didn’t give me that buttery soft feel of the others. The MC on the other hand felt great and offered far more forgiveness then I expected. Shot after shot I hit flew high down my target line and landed soft. I loved the feel and performance of the MC just not the looks of the black cavity insert.

Wilson Staff Forged Irons

Ian: We tried two sets of Wilson Staff forged irons. First was the straight blade FG62 irons, then the Ricky Barnes / Padraig Harrington iron, the FG Tour. The FG62 iron is as straight blade as it gets. Reminds you of old school Wilson irons from the 70’s with a super shine on them. The FG Tour is a cavity backed forged iron that is marketed to the mid to low handicapper.

How I hit them: Well as expected I have no business hitting a straight blade. The FG62’s we’re just a little much for my skill level and while not a super hack these irons were a bit over my head. Then I hit the FG Tour irons and I fell in love with a golf club for the first time. Wow. If I had the money I would have wrote a check for them on the spot. I crushed these bad boys…any distance I wanted, any target on the range, dial it in because I’m bringing it home. Going out and playing with my R7’s right now just makes me cry because I want these sticks so bad. They look great too, just a beautiful golf club. Winner, winner, chicken dinner.

Jason: Very glad to see Wilson getting back to their roots with a couple different offering in the players Iron category. The FG62 is a pure blade aimed at the low handicap player. They look great and remind me of the Wilson Staff Tour Blades from the 1970’s. That all being said players with double digit handicap need not apply. The FG Tour irons on the other hand do offer a surprising amount of forgiveness for a forged club. Both set of irons look great with a nice mix of modern technology and classic lines. I love the old school W/S logo on the back of both models.

How I hit them: To be completely honest nothing from the Wilson irons stood out to me. The FG62’s performed as I expected. Hit on the center of the face and it felt great but catch one thin and your hands are numb for 5 minutes. I do recall being impressed by the forgiveness of the FG Tour but not overwhelmed like I was with the Ping Anser or Adams CB2. Solid set of sticks but not sure I’d drop $800 for them.

Ping i15, S56, and Anser Forged Irons 

Ian: The Ping I15 iron is a progressive midsized iron set designed for mid to low handicappers. The Anser irons are a beautiful multi-metal forged set of sticks designed to be a forgiving players iron for a lower handicap golfer. The S56 is Ping’s tour caliber blade played by professionals such as Hunter Mahan.

How I hit them:  Minus the Wilson Staff FG Tour irons, the Ping I15’s were best irons I hit at the show. The ball really jumped off the club face and they gave you a nice crispy feel at impact when you hit one well. I would have no problem throwing a set of these in the bag. I know Jason agrees since he ordered a set of them two weeks after the show! Similar to the other straight blade offerings the S56’s eat me for breakfast. I didn’t hit them all the bad, but when I was a hair off center on the club face I definitely knew it. The Anser forged irons were a gorgeous golf club that we’ve heard is going for upwards of $1200 a set due to limited production. I would make myself better to play a set of irons that look this nice. Great sticks. I’ll leave more feedback for Jason since he is a Ping lover 😉

Jason:  As Ian mentioned above; I’m a Ping guy. I’ve been playing Ping irons for almost as long as I’ve been playing golf. In fact I was so impressed by the i15’s I went out and order a set a week after we hit them. I was also extremely impressed by the Anser irons. If I made tons of money I’d buy a set to play and another set to sleep with. Well I don’t make tons of money so I got the i15’s. They don’t feel quit a wonderful as the Anser but they perform just as well and cost half as much. The S56 irons are a hardcore player’s blade. This model has been around less than a year and they have already racked up wins on major tours around the world. But just because Miguel Angel Jimenez and Hunter Mahan play them doesn’t mean a 20 or even a 12 handicap should.

How I hit them: I had been playing a set of G10’s for the past three seasons but after hitting the i15’s I had to make the switch. While I will admit that the i15’s are not quite as forgiving as the G line they will surprise you with their playability. Both the i15 and Anser irons feel and perform great. The edge for feel goes to the Anser. There are few better feelings then hitting a forged iron on screws. The Anser’s are so forgiving that almost every shot gives you that feel. While not offering the buttery soft feel of the Anser the i15 is no slouch. The ball jumps off the club face with a low purposeful ball flight rarely straying off line. The i15’s have the edge when it comes to distance and I was surprised to see the ball landing a full club longer then my G10’s. The S56 had a lot of the same qualities of the i15’s with a bit more workability and less forgiveness.

Srixon Z Star and Z-TX Irons 

Ian: The Srixon ZStar is a forged iron for the mid to low handicap player. The Z-TX forged iron is Srixon’s premium forged iron design with a larger sweet spot and a slight cavity back.  All three irons feature a funky plastic looking weight on the back center of the club.

How I hit them: Not bad, but nothing overwhelming like the FG Tour or I15’s. The Z-TX is a funky looking club and that might throw some people off. The ZStar is very reminisant of the Taylormade Tour Preferred irons from a couple years ago. Not much to report here. At $900 a set I need to be blown out of the water.

Jason: The Z-Star and Z-TX are both forged from 1025 soft carbon steel with the Z-Star having a pocket in between the face and back flange to offer a higher MOI and a larger sweet-spot. The Z-TX still features a cavity back but it is not as pronounced as the Z-Star.

How I hit them: I hit both offerings well. Predictably the Z-Star was a bit more forgiving with the longer irons a bit bulky looking at address. Both sets felt great with the soft 1025 carbon steel faces. The Z-TX allowed me to work the ball but with a bit less forgiveness. Overall both sets felt great but not sure I’d shell out $900 for a set.

Nike VR Pro Combo & VR Blades  

Ian:  Nike’s best iron offering to date from everyone I have talked to and a good looking iron to boot. Remember the Slingshots? Whew…The Nike VR blades are a true forged players iron and I wouldn’t recommend for a mid-handicapper at all. Tiger hits em, you don’t. Although the swoosh logo is a bit out of hand, the Pro Combo’s are an excellent set of progressive blades that offer more forgiveness than the straight VR blades.How I hit them:  I hit 4 balls with the VR Blades and gave the rep the club back. These bad boys are made for low handicappers. Really good looking clubs and it’s a safe bet the guy playing them against you is a stick. The VR Pro Combo’s are an excellent set of sticks that offer some forgiveness in the longer irons. I hit them just ok as they are still more of a blade than the other clubs I hit, but I left the booth thinking I could hit them. Isn’t that the point? Ball flight was pretty good although I wasn’t able to hit them very far. I did skull a couple and the feedback was “hey dude…you just skulled the &*%$out of that one.” You’ll know when you miss.Jason: I will agree with Ian in the fact that these are the best irons Nike has produced to date. Both sets look great at address and in the bag. The VR Blades are some serious sticks for pure ball strikers only and the VR Pro Combo are a progressive set offering more forgiveness in the longer irons.

How I hit them: I hit the Blade surprisingly well. The ball jumped off the club face with great distance and accuracy. The big difference between the two models is in the long irons. The Pro Como long irons offer a lot more room for error. I felt like I didn’t have to pure the 4-iron with the Combo to get a good result and wouldn’t hesitate to put them in play given the opportunity. The $900 price tag for both sets seems to be on par with other premium forged offerings

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