2013 Buyer’s Guide Irons

KEEP YOUR HEAD STILL By Dan Martin, PGA

The Fault: Many players are told to keep their head still during their swing, which ends up leading to a poor backswing position. It's true that the head shouldn't move up and down a lot, but it must move a bit side to side, especially in the backswing. Most players who try to keep their head exactly still end up swaying their hips and getting their club in a position that makes it very difficult to strike the ball solid. The result? Usually a slice.

The Fix: Try the natural backswing drill. Assume your setup position and fold your arms across your chest. Then simply turn your head back over your right shoulder until you can see an object that's directly behind you. Do this five times. On the fifth time, without changing your body position, simply turn your head back to see the ball. This is your natural backswing turn. Note that your head has to move a bit sideways to get you into a great position. Once you understand this, getting your arms and club in position is much easier and more comfortable.

THE IRONS IN YOUR BAG deserve some proper attention this year. How so? Simple. Maybe you're new to the game, maybe you've played for awhile. Either way, you need a set of irons that fit your game and your swing properly. After all, both your swing and game are likely to change through time, and if your irons don't adjust with you, you're not playing to your highest potential. So, whether you play with your current or new irons this year, do yourself a favor and sign up for a clubfitting session. You'll be amazed at what you might find, and the confidence boost can really help.

Golf Tips Legend

Acer XS Forged

Key Feature: Forged and milled, the XS Forged irons are a shotmaker iron for advanced shotmaking and maneuverability. Thanks to a CNC-milling process, these forged clubs have a cavity that's usually found in cast clubheads. Meaning, although they're better player clubs, they're still long and forgiving. Who It's For: Better players, but not exclusively. Wow Factor: These are silky smooth and nicely balanced. Specs: Comes in 3-PW with stock options or more than 40 shafts and 100 grip options to choose from. hirekogolf.com | $49 Adams Idea Super S

Key Feature: A half hollow construction increases ball speed. Impact stability means straighter hits and a more pure ball strike. A thin clubface helps increase ball speed and improves shotshaping. An undercut cavity design enhances feel and performance, for long and accurate shots. Need we say more? Who It's For: Mid- to high-handicappers. Wow Factor: The ball gets airborne incredibly fast. Specs: 5-PW (comes with choice of two hybrids) in KBS Tour 90 steel or Mitsubishi Rayon Kuro Kage graphite shaft. adamsgolf.com | $599/$699 Adams Idea Pro a12

Key Feature: Forged of carbon steel, these irons are poised as a true player's set, as 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 real shotmaking. Who It's For: Good-to-better players who want the feel and look of forged irons with forgiveness in long irons. Wow Factor: What a soft, buttery feel! Specs: Available (4-GW) with KBS Smoke Tour Steel shafts or Mitsubishi JAVLN graphite shafts. adamsgolf.com | $599/$699 Callaway X Hot

Key Feature: Variable face thickness and the company's "Hyperbolic Face Technology" create a large sweet spot and increased ball speed across the face. A deep clubface with undercut cavity enables each individual iron to maximize ball speed. A dual-material medallion fine-tunes sound and promotes a crisp, dynamic feel. Who It's For: Folks who want distance in their iron set. Wow Factor: Their great look and long hitting. Nuff said. Specs: Available (3-LW) for righties and lefties (except LW), with Speed Step steel and graphite shafts. callawaygolf.com | $699/899 Callaway X Hot Pro

Key Feature: The company's "J-Face" technology allows for power and solid feel. The clubface has very precise grooves. A dual-material medallion fine-tunes sound and promotes a crisp, dynamic feel at high ball speeds. Who It's For: Better players. Wow Factor: They're like the Tom Brady of irons. Great looks and performance to boot. (Did we just say that?) Specs: Available (3-AW) for righties and lefties (except AW), with Project X 95 Flighted steel or custom Aldila VS Proto or Callaway custom graphite shafts. callawaygolf.com | $799/$999 Callaway X Forged

Key Feature: Designed with direct input from the com-pany's Tour pros, these are pure forgings with more aggressive grooves and extreme precision, for solid feel, ballflight and turf interaction. The chrome finish appeals to good golfers, while tightly spaced grooves promote more aggressive shot shaping. Who It's For: Better players who love that forged feelin'. Wow Factor: Feel free to curve the ball any way you want. Specs: Available (2-PW) for righties and lefties, with Project X PXI steel shaft. callawaygolf.com | $999 Cleveland 588 Altitude

Key Feature: This hybrid-iron set features full hollow construction for distance and forgiveness. Seamless set transition eases playability. Face Forged Technology enhances ball speed, distance and feel. Who It's For: Those who want serious game improvement. Wow Factor: Easiest irons we've tried when it comes to getting the ball airborne. It's almost like cheating. But it's not. They're insanely easy to play with. Specs: Available (3-SW) for righties, lefties and women, with Traction 85 steel or Actionlite 55 graphite shafts. clevelandgolf.com | $699/$799 Cleveland 588 MT

Key Feature: MT stands for Mid Trajectory. A constant blade length throughout the set, the blade height gets taller in the shorter irons. Full Hollow Construction and internal weighting promote a low and deep CG to enhance distance and forgiveness. A progressive set profile improves playability. A vibration dampener in the back softens impact. Who It's For: All players who want to look like players. Wow Factor: All-around, our favorite irons from Cleveland. Specs: Available (3-SW) for righties, lefties and women, with Traction 85 steel or Actionlite 55 graphite shafts. clevelandgolf.com | $699/$799 Cleveland 588 TT

Key Feature: T stands for Tour Trajectory. Constant blade height with progressively longer blade length throughout the set promotes more forgiveness in the longer irons and more penetrating trajectory on shots struck with the short irons. A cavity undercut generates more ball speed and accuracy on mis-hits. Forgiveness is in the house! Who It's For: Forged-iron fans who want everything. Wow Factor: Loads of forgiveness, power and...see above. Specs: Available (3-SW) for righties and lefties, with Traction 85 steel or Actionlite 55 graphite shafts. clevelandgolf.com | $699/$799 Cobra AMP Cell

Key Feature: Metalwood face-weld construction with the company's E9 Face Technology creates a light and strong clubface with a huge sweet spot–yielding distance and forgiveness. Perimeter weighting helps position the CG behind the face, while the sculpted V-Skid sole improves turf interaction. This means straighter hits. Who It's For: All player types. Especially ones who like color. Wow Factor: Cool colors and solid performance. Nice... Specs: Available (3-LW), with Cobra AMP Cell Iron steel or True Temper Dynalite 90 graphite shafts. (LH available) cobragolf.com | $699 Cobra AMP Forged

Key Feature: The forged clubheads have a uniform and aligned grain structure, for precision, smooth-sounding impact and solid feel. The 3- through 7__Òirons feature high-MOI tungsten inserts, while the 3- through 9-irons have progressively larger CNC-milled pockets that redistribute weight for higher launch and more consistent distance. Who It's For: Better sticks who want maneuverability. Wow Factor: They're more forgiving than they appear! Specs: Available (3-GW) for righties and lefties, with FST KBS Tour Plus steel shafts. cobragolf.com | $899/$999 Cobra Baffler

Key Feature: The high-MOI, progressive oversized face means forgiveness and a low CG to help the ball get airborne. A wide, railed sole reduces turf drag from all lies. A cavity medallion tunes vibration and sound at impact. Who It's For: Mid- to higher-handicappers. Wow Factor: We were baffled by how easy these are to hit (with some slice reduction for us). On no, we didn't just say that did we? We did. They're also available in a mixed set with hybrids. Specs: Available (4-SW) for righties and lefties, with Cobra Baffler Hybrid iron graphite shafts. cobragolf.com | $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. 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. Wow Factor: Come on now. That crazy offset! Specs: Available in 3-PW in Formosa/Femco steel or graphite shafts. (LH available) f2golf.com | $499/$599 Fourteen TC-330

Key Feature: A low and deep, precisely located CG combines with a wide sole to maximize distance and enhance pure contact. A progressive sole design means the irons increase in length and the sole widens toward the long irons, to ease shot-making. A progressive swing weight complements the progressive sole design. Who It's For: Fourteen is a precise company. These are for golfers with 80-98 mph clubhead speeds. Wow Factor: Very easy to hit and well made. Spendy, though! Specs: Available (4-PW) with NS 950GH HT steel shaft. fourteengolf.com | $1,399 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. Who It's For: The perimeter weighting is suited for high-handicappers, but the inventive, narrow, high-bounce sole is a feature that even middle handicappers will enjoy. Wow Factor: They're very, very, very forgiving. Specs: Available in 4-SW in a variety of steel or graphite shaft options. infinitigolf.com | $512 Mizuno JPX-825

Key Feature: The brand bills these as its most-forgiving iron ever, thanks to a pocket cavity and extreme heel-toe weighting. A high COR and multi-thickness clubface translate to distance. Scientifically designed "Harmonic Impact Technology" yields solid impact sound and feel. A multi-material cavity badge enhances feel. Who It's For: Mid- to high-handicaps. Wow Factor: They perform exactly as described. Awesome. Specs: Available (4-GW) with True Temper Dynalite Gold XP steel or Fujikura Orochi graphite shafts. mizunogolf.com | $699/$899 Mizuno JPX-825 Pro Irons

Key Feature: Billed as the ultimate game-improvement irons for players, these boast a cavity that yields forgiveness where needed and a more workable ballflight in scoring irons for accuracy. They aim to produce solid feel with consistent distance across more of the clubface. Who It's For: 6-18 handicappers with a nod to the lower ones. Wow Factor: Tons of forgiveness. Hmm, they feel forged, look forged, but are they forged? Of course they are. Specs: Available (4-GW) with True Temper Dynalite Gold XP steel or Fujikura Orochi graphite shafts. mizunogolf.com | $899/$1,099 Mizuno MP-H4

Key Feature: Patented Grain Flow Forging provides a soft, solid, consistent feel throughout the set. Three-head construction is used in each set: The 2- through 4-irons have a deep CG for long, consistent distance with an easy, high launch; the hollow 5- through 7-irons boast a large sweet spot for controlled distance and forgiveness; 8-PW sport a compact half cavity for accuracy and trajectory control. Who It's For: 2 to 14 handicaps. Wow Factor: Sorry, we're too busy cleaning up our drool. Specs: Available (2-PW) with TT Dynamic Gold steel shafts. mizunogolf.com | $1,099 Nike VR_S Covert

Key Feature: Cavity-back irons with weight at the corners enhance mis-hit forgiveness and distance. A thin, dual-bevel sole combines with a fast face for distance. The proprietary NexCOR variable-thickness clubface aims to deliver fast ball speed and long shots. Who It's For: Distance and forgiveness seekers. Wow Factor: They're easily the best irons from Nike, who, um, just picked up the next greatest player ever. Specs: Available (4-AW) with True Temper Dynalite 90 steel or Mitsubishi Kuro Kage Black 70 graphite shafts. nikegolf.com | $699/$799 Ping Anser

Key Feature: Geared more for the better player, the forged Anser irons blend Tour-like playability with the type of forgiveness we've all come to expect from a PING iron. The hollow sole and tungsten sole component lower the CG for higher shots, and the perimeter weighting enhances the sweet spot. Wait, these are forged? Wow! Who It's For: Golfers who love the feel of a forged iron and want "long-iron forgiveness with short-iron control." Wow Factor: PING's most well-constructed iron. Ever. Specs: Comes in 3-PW with Project X steel shafts. (Avail LH) ping.com | $1,349 Ping G20

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