The Best Game Improvement Irons of 2018
As the upcoming golf season approaches, we have taken a look at the new releases that have emerged onto the market, bringing together the Best New Game Improvement Irons of 2018.
Callaway Rogue/Rogue Pro/Rogue X Irons
The Callaway Rogue iron range combines the manufacturers renowned 360 Face Cup Technology with Variable Face Thickness (VFT) Technology to expand the portion of the face that delivers fast ball speed. This technology also employs a shallow, flexible rim around the perimeter of the face that flexes and releases at impact to increase ball speed. VFT also influences how the face itself flexes to promote more ball speed on off-centre hits.
The Tungsten Weighting has allowed Callaway to position the CG in each of the long irons with extraordinary precision, promoting optimum launch and control at each individual loft. The tungsten is twice as heavy as steel, and concentrates significant weight into a small space in the form of an intricately shaped part, which is key to precisely controlling CG location. Finally, Elastic-Urethane Microspheres provide the sound and feel benefits of urethane without compromising COR or ball speed.
The Rogue iron has substantially sized head, with medium topline, medium sole-width and progressive offset to offer long, accurate, easy to hit and versatile irons. The Pro iron caters for the better player, with a compact head, thin topline, thin sole, shallow cavity and minimal offset that increases workability, trajectory control and impact feedback. Finally, the X model is lighter, longer and stronger. The wide sole pulls CG low and deep for easy, high launch and long carry – a total distance overhaul.
The use of cup face is key to the Rogue irons and it really helps to generate some great ball speed, the Rougue X are super long, very easy to hit and set a benchmark for super game improvement irons in 2018, the Rogue will prove to be a happy medium for many, with high ball flight and lots of help, but a slightly more refined look than the X. The Pros, transition into more a players iron, these are workable, but still offer quite a bit of forgiveness. There is something in line up for the scratch player through to the 28 handicapper.
Loft: Rogue – Available 3 – LW
Rogue Pro – Available 3 – AW
Rogue X – Available 4 – SW
Shaft: Rogue – Aldila Quaranta (LL and W flex) (Graphite)
Aldila Synergy (L, R and S flex) (Graphite)
True Temper XP (R and S flex) (Steel)
Rogue Pro - XP 105 Stepless (R, S and XS flex) (Steel)
Rogue X - Aldila Synergy (L, R and S flex) (Graphite)
KBS Max 90 (R and S flex) (Steel)
Price: Steel - £849 (7 irons)
Graphite - £1,049 (7 irons)
Find out more via the Golfshake website here, or visit the Callaway site here.
Cleveland Launcher CBX
The Cleveland Launcher CBX irons provide keen golfers with faster ball speeds, greater distance and increased control in a more forgiving club. The CBX combines all of Cleveland’s proven wedge spin technologies with a forgiving cavity back design. Progressive shaping, Feel Balancing Technology and a V shaped sole work in harmony to increase forgiveness. Finally, the Tour Zip Grooves and Laser Milling produce higher levels of spin from both the fairway and the rough, to dramatically improve control around the course.
A middle price point offereing that will tick a lot of boxes, the CBX is maybe a touch unspiring to look at and does not generate the feel that a player looking to work the ball would hope for, but they offer great value for money and use a lot of the tech from Cleveland's market leading wedges.
Loft: Available 4 – PW
Shaft: Steel – Dynamic Golf DST 98
Graphite – Miyazaki C. Kua
Price: Steel - £570.00 (5 – PW)
Graphite - £648.00 (5 – PW)
There are three distinct models in Mizuno’s JPX900 range (JPX900 Tour, JPX900 Forged and JPX900 Hot Metal), all designed to push levels of performance even further than ever before, while maintaining that desired marriage of look, feel and workability.
The JPX900 Hot Metal features Mizuno’s newest material Chromoly 4140M, which combines offensive ball speeds with the adjustability of a forged iron. This technology paves the way for Mizuno’s thinnest ever cup face for phenomenal distance, but also remains soft and bendable in the hosel for precise lie angle adjustments.
The JPX900 Forged uses Boron-infused steel, which allows a soft-feeling forged iron to produce higher ball speeds. The multi-thickness face boasts a milled pocket, which enhances energy transfer over a wider impact area and also allows for 21.5g of weight to be redistributed to the extreme corners of the PowerFrame for added stability and reduced distance loss on mishits.
Finally, the JPX900 Tour, Grain Flow Forged from a single billet of 1025E Pure Select mild carbon steel, is Mizuno’s purest, most-solid feeling iron in their history. It combines authentic Mizuno feedback with advanced stability and surprising off-centre performance.
The JPX Forged and Tour are NOT a game improvemnet iron, so that leaves the Hot Metal which could have fallen right inbetween game improvement and players irons. If you are looking for some help for off centre hits and some extra distance, but still want to game a good looking iron, you need to check these irons out. You can also consider mixing in the forged in a lower end of the set.
Loft: Available 3 – PW
Shaft: Numerous custom shaft options
£840.00 (JPX900 Hot Metal)
PING’s new G400 iron is engineered to provide golfers with tour-level distance and towering height, combined with the forgiveness and control they need to hit more greens. The COR-Eye Technology combines with a new top rail undercut to increase face flexing in a catapult-like fashion for faster ball speeds that launch shots higher and farther with low spin for a stronger flight.
It is a unique heat-treating process that produces Hyper 17-4 stainless steel, which makes the face 40% stronger than traditional 17-4 stainless steel and allows for a thinner face and 18% more flexing. PING call this their “game enjoyment iron” because it is so much fun to play.
The G400 deliver everything you might expect from a PING set of irons - distance, consistency and accuracy. Certainly not the most attractive on the market, PING have focused in on the tech and produced an super fast iron that is also very easy to hit. I like the way they have kept the fisnish the same as the glide wedges, so that they can meixed in at the lower end of set.
Loft: Available 4 – LW
Shaft: PING AWT 2.0 (R, S and X flex)
True Temper Dynamic Gold (S300, X300)
Project X (5.0, 5.5 and 6.0)
True Temper XP95 (R and S flex)
Nippon NS Pro Modus 105 (R, S and X flex)
KBS Tour (R, S and X flex)
Price: Steel - £110.00 per iron
Graphite - £120 per iron
TaylorMade M CGB
TaylorMade describe their M CGB iron as like “having a bag full of drivers” because of its high COR throughout the bag and a low and back centre of gravity. Speed Pocket, Face Slots, 360 degree undercut and inverted cone, in addition to new technologies launch the M CGB to the next level of performance.
The low CG position combined with strategically adjusted lofts produce optimal distance gapping that emphasises higher peak height. The M CGB also utilises a consistent COR model with every iron capping out at a substantially high COR limit. Each iron features four weight ports that house milled MIM (metal-injection-moulded) tungsten weights that work to increase MOI and move centre of gravity low and back for higher launch.
Finally, to deliver increased draw-bias and tighter overall dispersion, the Inverted Cone has been redesigned and relocated to a slightly off-centre position (closer to the toe).
LONG! That was my first impression of TaylorMade's super game improvement irons, they have been maxed out for ultimate distance. A really thick top line will inspire confidence as will the high ball flight. These irons will go head to head with the Callaway Rogue X in 2018.
Loft: Available 4 – PW
Shaft: Steel - Nippon NS Pro 840 (R, S and XS flex)
Graphite – UST Recoil 460 ES
Price: Steel - £849.00 (seven piece set)
Graphite - £1,099.00 (seven piece set)
TaylorMade M4 Iron
The new M4 iron from TaylorMade features RIBCOR technology that works in conjunction with Face Slots to stiffen the area outside the scoreline areas, while retaining flexibility and COR in the area inside the Face Slots. The outer structure of the iron remains stiff, while the face remains free to flax during impact, enhancing energy transfer that leads to increased ball speed. This technology also allows for placement of additional mass in the heel and toe areas of the head, resulting in a significantly higher moment of inertia.
Additionally, a multi-material damping bade works in tandem with the RIBCOR technology to efficiently damped undesirable vibrations during impact, producing major improvements in sound and feel. When you add to that the redesigned off-centre Inverted Cone Technology, you get an iron that offers incredible distance and forgiveness.
Loft: Available 4-LW
Shaft: Steel – KBS MAX 85 (R and S flex)
Graphite – Fujikura Atmos (A, R and S flex)
Price: Steel - £749.00
Graphite - £849.00
Find out more visit the TaylorMade website here.
TaylorMade M3 Iron
The M3 iron delivers distance, while retaining accuracy and workability in a more appealing, compact head. TaylorMade’s new RIBCOR technology works to protect ball speeds and increases forgiveness across the club face. This is done by stiffening the irons body and retaining flexibility and COR in the area inside the Face Slots to impart maximum energy to the ball during impact.
Additionally, a multi-material damping badge works alongside the RIBCOR technology to efficiently dampen undesirable vibrations during impact, providing a clean, crisp sound and feel. 15 grams of high-density Tungsten have been added to the sole of the M3 irons, allowing engineers to create the more compact head shape while still maintaining desired mass properties in a high-performing iron – low centre of gravity and high MOI.
Finally, a redesigned off-centre Inverted Cone has been optimised specifically for the M3 to provide players with distance, height, forgiveness and straightness. Unique to the M3 iron is the 180° Fluted Hosel, a 360° Undercut and individually sized tungsten weights to locate head CG for optimal launch and ball speed.
Loft: Available 3-SW
Shaft: Steel – True Temper XP100 (R and S flex)
Graphite – Mitsubishi Tensei (R and S flex)
Price: Steel - £849.00
Graphite - £1,049.00
Find out more visit the TaylorMade website here.
Titleist 718 AP1
The Titleist 718 range is all about maximising MOI and ball speed, while maintaining the proper launch, trajectory and shot-stopping control that players desire. The AP1 is built for maximum distance and maximum forgiveness.
With a lower CG and refined tungsten weighting in each individual irons allows golfers to launch it higher and land it soft, as well as hit it longer. The AP1 also delivers more consistent gapping throughout the set. Hollow body long irons and undercut cavity mid and short irons mean you’ll be able to maximise carry distance for every shot. Finally, a higher MOI gives you more room on the face to hit it pure. An improved leading edge creates better turf interaction, for more consistent contact. Combining the two allows you to hit every shot closer to your target.
This is Titleist's out and out game improvement club, it is still very atractive at address compared to some of the other irons on the market, so great if you want all the benefits of a game improvement club, but still keep some of the looks of a players iron. The weight is moved way back and the use of tungsten (super heavy comapred to steel) means that these are also very straight. I also love that these can be mixed into the AP3,s and even AP2's.
Loft: Available 4 – PW
Shaft: True Temper AMT Red (R300 and S300)
MCA Tensei Pro Red AMC (L, A, R and S flex)
Price: Steel - £115.00 per club
Graphite - £140.00 per club
Wilson Staff C300
The Wilson Staff C300 provides golfers with both power and accuracy. The Power Holes, which are urethane-filled holes, are strategically positioned around the face, which minimise contact between the body and face, while providing maximum flex and an expanded sweet spot. This in turn creates explosive distance across the entire face.
Loft: Available 4 – GW
Shaft: Steel – KBS Tour 90
Graphite – Fujikura Speeder PRO 78i
Price: £699.00 (Seven piece set)
Find out more at Golfshake here or visit the Wilson Staff website here.
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