2012 Buyer’s Guide Irons

These new sticks will help you hit the green

POSTURE PERFECTION By Andrew Getson, PGA

Better golfers know that to swing the club consistently on plane, the secret is to avoid having an address position that causes you to lift the club up at the top of your swing, only to then drop the club back down on the forwardswing. For instance, when golfers hunch down over the ball at address, they become more inclined to lift their entire body up vertically at the top of the swing. In fact, this is a common position for the beginner or high-handicapper to be in, since many of them feel that the golf swing isn't so much a circular move as it is an up-and-down motion. So what do they do? They lift straight up on the backswing, as you can see by these photos. And in case you're wondering, I don't have any chance of making a good swing from there.

The right way to swing is to always remember that the golf swing is, in fact, circular, and any instinct to dip or lift the body ought to be avoided. The key is in finding a neutral spine-angle position at address. (By the way, spine angle refers to how forward my upper body is leaning toward the ball.) As you can see by the lower photos, not only have I found a comfortable spine angle at address, but I'm also able to keep my angle the same at the top of my swing. No lifting, no dipping–just a steady rotation of the body led me there.

So practice your spine angle and see what angle is easiest for you to retain. Some golfers have greater spine angles than others, some less. Either way, the key is in staying consistent from the start of the swing to the top and, of course, at the impact position. Do that, and your ballstriking will improve in a hurry.

LOOK AT IT THIS WAY, no matter how much you invest in your new irons, if you're not hitting the green from the fairway, what's the point? Today's new irons are better than ever, with several new and very forgiving models to choose from. Oh, and by the way, in case you haven't noticed, the forged iron is back in a big way this year. Look for new models that aren't only geared for better players, but also have the perimeter-weighting and forgiveness most amateurs want. Just don't forget, when you find the right iron for your game, be sure to get properly fitted. It makes a huge difference.

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Adams Idea a12 OS

Key Feature: This mixed set comes with three hybrids that have Velocity Slot Technology, two Trans-hybrids and three game-improvement short-iron designs. The "Truss Back" design of the Trans-hybrids stood out to us the most, helping to push the CG back low and deep. Who It's For: Seekers of maximum forgiveness! These clubs are primed to do two things: Hit straighter and longers shots with relative ease. Specs: Comes in 4-LW in a trio of designs (hybrid, Trans-hybrid, iron) with steel or graphite shafts. (LH available) adamsgolf.com | $599/$699 Adams Idea Pro a12

Key Feature: Forged of carbon steel, these irons are poised as a true player's set, so long as that player wants some added forgiveness in the mix. The heel-toe weighting is amplified in the longer irons for more forgiveness, and less differentiated in the shorter irons for more shotmaking capabilities. The face is triple-milled...whew! Who It's For: Good-to-better players who want the feel and look of forged irons with forgiveness in long irons. Specs: Available (4-GW) with KBS Smoke Tour Steel shafts or Mitsubishi JAVLN graphite shafts. adamsgolf.com | $799/$999 Adams Idea MB2

Key Feature: Who said muscle-back irons were dead? The new MB2 irons (already a hit with Aaron Baddeley) used brass weights for perfected CG locations and a unique, cold blue finish designed to rust over time. Who It's For: These babies scream Tour pro, but we suspect a few low-handicappers will appreciate the design and shaping of these irons for ultimate shotmaking capabilities. And frankly, they just look so darn cool. Specs: Available (3-GW) with KBS Smoke Tour Steel shafts or Mitsubishi JAVLN graphite shafts. adamsgolf.com | $999 Adams Redline

Key Feature:

So you want to integrate hybrids into a set without succumbing to game-improvement irons? The Redline incorporates up to three hybrids (you decide how many) with what Adams says are its longest irons yet. Each Redline iron has Velocity Slot Tech for a low and deep CG, resulting in higher, farther shots. Who It's For: Those who want to choose how many hybrids to mix in their __ber-long-hitting set. Specs: Comes with up to three hybrids through LW in steel or UST Attas graphite shafts. 2-hybrid also available. adamsgolf.com | $599/$699

Boccieri Golf H-11 Heavy Irons

Key Feature: Heavier by about 8 grams in the head, each iron also features a backweighting system underneath the grip and a shorter overall club length. The result? A set of irons that are super easy to swing and that help smoothen even the jerkiest of swing tempos. Who It's For: Those who may wish to play shorter-length irons and who like the feel of a more balanced, heavier iron to swing with. Specs: Available in 3-PW in Dynamic Gold steel or Aldila NV graphite shafts. (We prefer the feel of graphite). boccierigolf.com | $749/$1,049 Bridgestone J40 Cavity Backs

Key Feature: Shhh...Bridgestone is quietly making some of the most beautiful forged irons on the market. The J40s have all the markings of a Tour player's club, with a high-face-progression design (The face is taller in shorter clubs), and a compact design that's ripe for shotmaking. Who It's For: Better players will love how good these irons look and feel. And surprise! They're actually quite long and forgiving! Shhh, that's our little secret... Specs: Comes in 5-PW with Project X steel shafts, custom options are available. (3- to 4-irons also available) bridgestonegolf.com | $699 Bridgestone J40 Dual Pocket

Key Feature: The J40 Dual Pocket Cavity irons have as the name implies: two pocket cavities behind the face to amplify the perimeter weighting. This means more forgiveness in an iron that retains its Tour-player-friendly good looks. Frankly, these look great, feel even better and perform exceptionally. 'Nuff said! Who It's For: Mid- to low-handicappers who want a player's iron with loads of forgiveness. Yes, you can have both. Specs: Comes in 5-PW with Project X steel shafts, custom options available. (3- and 4-irons also available) bridgestonegolf.com | $699 Callaway RAZR X Black

Key Feature: The remarkably low CG in the RAZR X Black irons means Callaway could make a traditional-looking iron function more like an iron with a wide-sole design. This means there's a ton of forgiveness in this game-improvement set, even though it has a conventional shape. It's all the forgiveness and versatility you'll need. Who It's For: Golfers who want big distance and forgiveness in a set that looks like it belongs in a Tour bag. Specs: Available in 3-LW in True Temper M-10 XP steel or RAZR X Black graphite shafts. LH available. callawaygolf.com | $799/$999 Callaway RAZR X HL

Key Feature: The RAZR back-cavity design means the CG can be placed lower and deeper than in a traditional iron, making the HL irons extremely forgiving. These irons also favor shots hit low on the face (where most golfers hit) and produces a high-launching trajectory. Again, Callaway has an iron set that's ridiculously easy to wield. Who It's For: Golfers who want ample forgiveness and boost in trajectory in their irons. There are hybrids, too. Specs: Comes in 3-LW in True Temper M-10 XP steel or RAZR X Black graphite shafts. Hybrids and LH available. callawaygolf.com | $699/$799 Callaway Prophet ICT

Key Feature: For the golfer who wants it all, here you go. These forged, multimaterial, game-improvement irons are designed with all the tech Callaway can put in a single iron. They're forgiving, long and, well, we'd be afraid to get them dirty, they look so good! We like the hybrids, too. Who It's For: Golfers who want an extremely forgiving set of forged irons that exude sports-car-like masculinity. Any easier to hit and they wouldn't be fair for everyone else. Specs: Comes in 3H-SW with True Temper steel or RAZR XF graphite shafts. callawaygolf.com | $1,299/$1,399 Cleveland CG Black

Key Feature: The stealthy CG Blacks employ a titanium face, a deep, undercut cavity, a Miyazaki C. Kua 59 graphite shaft and Lamkin Lite grip. Combined, you have a lightweight powerhouse of an iron that increases swing speed for greater distance. "Kaboom!"is how we prefer to put it. These babies are monstrously long and forgiving. Who It's For: Those who want instant power from lightweight irons, which happen to be very accurate, as well. Specs: Comes in 3-PW with aforementioned graphite; also in steel shafts. (LH available) clevelandgolf.com | $899/$999 Cleveland 588 Forged CB/MB Irons

Key Feature: The best-looking irons we've ever seen from Cleveland! Featuring soft, forged carbon steel and a shape that better players will salivate over, these irons are primed for shotmaking. The CBs (cavity-backs) have a more progressive design than the MBs (muscle-backs), but both feel like absolute butter in our hands. Wow. Superb. Who It's For: Better players who really want to get a gist of what forged irons are supposed to look, feel and perform like. Specs: Available in 2-PW in steel shafts. (LH available) clevelandgolf.com | $249 Cleveland Mashie Irons

Key Feature: The mixed Mashie set combines hybrids, cavity-backs and scoring short irons into one set for the player who wants forgiveness and shotmaking capabilities where it's most needed. The Gliderail sole design is awesome, and works wonders across the turf. Who It's For: Golfers with style! The Mashie looks cool in every way, and frankly, nothing looks cooler than scratching more pars and birdies on the score card. Great clubs! Specs: Available in a blend of hybrids (3-5), cavity-backs (6-9) and scoring irons (PW-SW) in steel or gr. shafts. (LH) clevelandgolf.com | $599/$649 Cobra AMP Irons

Key Feature: The multi-alloy structure helps position weight closer to the perimeter for enhanced forgiveness, while the V-Skid sole reduces drag. Hence, you have a very forgiving iron that's very long to boot. There's also a set that mixes in a couple hybrids. Cool, huh? We think so, and it's refreshing to see Cobra back in a big way. Who It's For: Players who want a set of irons that are both forgiving and versatile and, dare we say...colorful! Specs: Available in 3-LW with True Temper Dynalite steel shafts or Cobra AMP graphite shafts. (LH available) cobragolf.com | $699/$799 Cobra S3 Max

Key Feature: The S3 Max irons are designed to be forgiving and promote a high launch. That's exactly what they do! The Railed Powerback sole does wonders for adding stability off the turf, and shots off the sweet spot still fly high and straight thanks to some extreme perimeter weighting. You can also mix this set with hybrids, as well. Who It's For: Simply put, this is a set for golfers who want a lot of forgiveness and a higher trajectory. Specs: Available in 4-SW with S3 Max steel or UST Mamiya iHS graphite shafts. Nice price! (LH available) cobragolf.com | $399/$499 F2 SE Irons

Key Feature: A dogleg hosel that virtually eliminates any possibility of shanking the ball off the hosel of the club. But that's not all it does. This unique design helps enhance the sweet spot and reduces drag in the rough or sand, keeping the clubface square through the shot. Who It's For: Golfers willing to try an anti-shank iron that may look radical from in the back, actually looks really nice and pleasing to the eye from the address position. Specs: Available in 3-PW in Formosa/Femco steel or graphite shafts. (LH available) f2golf.com | $499/$599 Infinity Hot Spot

Key Feature: A very forgiving and deeply perimeter-weighted club that also has a high-bounce sole to prevent digging too much into the turf. Add some progressive offset and you have a high-launching set of irons that are forgiving and longer than you'd probably expect. Who It's For: The perimeter weighting is suited for high-handicappers, but the inventive, narrow, high-bounce sole is a feature than even middle handicappers will enjoy. Specs: Available in 4-SW in a variety of steel or graphite shaft options. infinitigolf.com | $512 Mizuno MP-59

Key Feature: The muscle-back area has a titanium section forged into it, effectively enhancing the perimeter weighting of the simple, gorgeous, new forged irons. Seriously, we don't know of any other mixed-metal iron that has ever felt or looked this good. And by the way, they perform as good as they look. Smooth like butter! Who It's For: Good to better players who want some added forgiveness in a spectacular set of irons. Specs: Available 3-PW with Dynamic Gold steel shafts, or in a custom option. (LH available) mizunogolf.com | $999 Mizuno MP-69

Key Feature: These butter knives are poised to win some big check on Tour, thanks to a 4D muscle-back design that optimizes the CG location in each club. The Grain Flow Forged carbon steel is as you'd expect: soft and responsive, just like a Tour player would want it. Who It's For: Better players who want total shotmaking and a buttery feel that can only come from a Grain Flow forged Mizuno iron. Specs: Comes in 3-PW with Dynamic Gold steel shafts, or in a variety of custom options. mizunogolf.com | $899 Mizuno JPX-800 HD

Key Feature: The super game-improvement JPX-800 HD irons integrate two hybrids into the set as well as a handful of high-COR, high-perimeter-weighted irons. The result is a set that's high-launching, easy to swing and ideal for the golfer looking to improve in a hurry. No really, these irons are almost too easy to hit. Are they legal? (Yes.) Who It's For: Golfers who want straighter, higher, farther iron shots and who prefer FLI-HI hybrids over long irons. Specs: Comes with two JPX FLI-HI hybrids (4-5) and 6-PW in iron designs. Steel or graphite shafts available.

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