Irons in 2009 are generally longer and more forgiving. That’s courtesy of new shapes, materials, CG positions and multifunctional soles that progress throughout many modern sets as they transition from long to short irons. You’ll also notice thinner, faster clubfaces on the latest irons that facilitate weight distribution and enhance ball speed. As manufacturing processes improve and gain sophistication, stainless-steel clubfaces can be made flatter, more durable and much thinner—to less than 2mm, which is about half as thick as those in the past. This helps free up mass, which can be reallocated to the low and back extremes in the clubhead, for extra forgiveness.
Thinner faces also allow variable face thicknesses, which yield a bigger sweet spot for better distance on mis-hits. New irons also feature elastomer damping inserts with multiple purposes: minimizing impact vibration, managing sound and improving weight distribution (substituting a low-density material for steel can shift mass toward the heel and toe, for improved MOI). What do all these advancements mean to you? “Distance is king,” says Bret Wahl, senior director of research and design for irons and wedges at TaylorMade.
“But there will be an emphasis on managing that distance in a meaningful way, so that long, mid- and short irons produce the performance expected from a well-coordinated set. Long irons will deliver distance and forgiveness, redefining your 4- and 5-iron. Mid-irons will be long and accurate, and short irons will be accurate and playable.”