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FORE Winter 2014 : Page 16

EQUIPMENT SPOTLIGHT Sets Appeal Why the Latest Irons Will Improve Your Game By Scott Kramer Here’s what club manufacturers know about how you buy irons: You no longer opt for 2-irons; in fact, only the most skilled of you purchase 3-irons, while everyone else starts the set with a 4-iron. You don’t spend more than $800 on a new set. Those of you playing 20 rounds or more annually buy irons roughly every five years. Oh, and most of you won’t be able to tell a better player’s iron from a game-improvement model in 2014 sets. But that latter point is not due to a lack of knowl-edge on your part . . . it’s just how clubs are being made these days. Game-improvement features — tungsten weighting at the extremes to enhance for-giveness, thin portions of the clubface that spring back and add power and tuning mechanisms that soften feel — have been added to some better play-er’s irons this year. Everyone needs a little forgive-ness. Several TOUR pros are even mixing sets, add-ing game-improvement long-irons to their bags. In the meantime, some forged elements — typically a staple in blades for the world’s top golfers — have begun emerging in game-improvement irons. For example, some new models boast a forged body that invokes visual confidence. Or a forged face insert that creates strength for more distance. “Expect a ‘player’s’ iron look and feel with the forgiveness of today’s technologically advanced equipment,” says Chuck Couch, Mizuno Golf’s vice president of product management. Regardless of the type of iron set, you’ll see an onslaught of long-irons this year that ease the burden of hitting high shots. Through tungsten weighting and a lower center of gravity (CG), sev-eral companies have been making long-irons per-form more like hybrids with more ball speed and spin, and more face deflection, according to Marty Jertson, PING’s director of product development. “We’re bringing more technology, to make them more usable.” Suffi ce to say that if you’re in the market for a set of new irons this year, your options are better than ever. Following are several sets we can recommend. PRESENTED BY: Many products are available at worldwidegolfshops.com or at your local Roger Dunn/The Golf Mart Retailer 16 | FORE Winter 2014

Equipment Spotlight

Scott Kramer

Sets Appeal

Why the Latest Irons Will Improve Your Game

Here’s what club manufacturers know about how you buy irons: You no longer opt for 2-irons; in fact, only the most skilled of you purchase 3-irons, while everyone else starts the set with a 4-iron. You don’t spend more than $800 on a new set. Those of you playing 20 rounds or more annually buy irons roughly every five years. Oh, and most of you won’t be able to tell a better player’s iron from a game-improvement model in 2014 sets.

But that latter point is not due to a lack of knowledge on your part . . . it’s just how clubs are being made these days. Game-improvement features — tungsten weighting at the extremes to enhance forgiveness, thin portions of the clubface that spring back and add power and tuning mechanisms that soften feel — have been added to some better player’s irons this year. Everyone needs a little forgiveness. Several TOUR pros are even mixing sets, adding game-improvement long-irons to their bags.

In the meantime, some forged elements — typically a staple in blades for the world’s top golfers — have begun emerging in game-improvement irons. For example, some new models boast a forged body that invokes visual confidence. Or a forged face insert that creates strength for more distance. “Expect a ‘player’s’ iron look and feel with the forgiveness of today’s technologically advanced equipment,” says Chuck Couch, Mizuno Golf’s vice president of product management.

Regardless of the type of iron set, you’ll see an onslaught of long-irons this year that ease the burden of hitting high shots. Through tungsten weighting and a lower center of gravity (CG), several companies have been making long-irons perform more like hybrids with more ball speed and spin, and more face deflection, according to Marty Jertson, PING’s director of product development. “We’re bringing more technology, to make them more usable.”

Suffice to say that if you’re in the market for a set of new irons this year, your options are better than ever. Following are several sets we can recommend.

• Mizuno’s MP-54 ($1,000/steel only) have a milled “STEP” muscle in the 3-7 irons that repositions weight to the cavity frame, for stability on mis-hits. Plus it creates a deep CG for launch forgiveness while enhancing feel. The short irons’ muscle design helps feel and workability.

• Callaway’s Apex irons ($1,299/graphite; $1,099/ steel) are forged, gameimprovement irons with distance-enhancing features. A high-strength, forged-steel face insert helps achieve distance. Long-irons have a tungsten sole insert, translating to a low CG and high launch angle.

• Cobra’s BiOCELL ($1,080/ graphite; $875/steel) are touted by the company as “the longest irons in golf.” Tungsten in the heel and toe of the long- and midirons increase forgiveness on mis-hits. A perimeter undercut boosts face flex and ball speed.

• PING’s S55 ($1,330/graphite; $1,110/steel) yield forgiveness through a tungsten toe weight, soft impact feel from a new thermoplastic elastomer Custom Tuning Port, and plenty of ball speed via a face that’s thinned down in the cavity area.

• Titleist’s 714 AP1 ($1,000/graphite; $800/steel) offer noticeable forgiveness and feel. The low-CG long-irons launch high and get plenty of carry, while narrower-soled short-irons yield a flatter, lower-launching flight.

Read the full article at http://editiondigital.net/article/Equipment+Spotlight/1612994/192735/article.html.

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