2012 Buyer's Guide Irons

These new sticks will help you hit the green

Labels: EquipmentIronsIron Woods
Key Feature: After researching the impact patterns of high-handicappers (who typically hit the ball low and near the toe), Nike dreamt up these new irons. What makes them more forgiving for the average Joe? A PowerBow on the back that makes up a whopping 30% of the clubhead's weight. Mis-hits now look and feel a lot better.
Who It's For: Weekend warriors with high handicaps. Comes in a forged version for mid-range players too.
Specs: Available in 4-AW and two different shafts (graphite and steel). 3-iron and SW available, too. (LH)
nikegolf.com | $599/$699
Key Feature: The super game-improvement G20 irons employ extreme perimeter weighting and a multimaterial bridge behind the face for the best in forgiveness and distance without having to sacrifice a great feel. The wide sole and thin face make it a cinch to hit solid, high-flying iron shots from just about anywhere on the course.
Who It's For: Golfers who want a custom-fit set of über-forgiving irons from the company who started it all.
Specs: Available in 3-LW with PING CFS steel or TFC 169i graphite shafts. (LH available)
ping.com | $699
Key Feature: A dense tungsten weight located in the toe provides forgiveness across the face for accurate shots and a high-launch, low-spin trajectory. A stabilizer bar in the cavity helps you control distance and offers solid feel. These are forgiving and designed to be worked. We can safely say these are our favorite PING irons to date!
Who It's For: The progressive set design makes this set a shotmaker's dream. They're quite long, as well. (Shhh.)
Specs: Available in 3-LW with PING CFS steel or TFC 169i graphite shafts. (LH available)
ping.com | $880/$1,096
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."
Specs: Available in 3-PW with Project X steel shafts.
ping.com | $1,349
Power Play
Caiman X2 Rawpower
Key Feature: The intelligent design provides better distance gapping between each club in the set and yet the consolidation of one club in the bag. The Caiman X2 irons possess slightly stronger lofts to drive rather than balloon the ball to the target, while still sticking it on the green. This is only possible by the multicavity design concentrating weight low with balanced heel and toe weighting.
Who It's For: Mid- to higher-handicappers.
Specs: 4-SW by head or with custom shaft options. (LH)
hirekogolf.com | $25/head only
Power Play
Caiman X2 Tour Blades
Key Feature: Could these be the coolest-looking muscle-backs in 2012? These irons are geared for the better player who wants a super buttery feel and loads of shotmaking capabilities. And well, anyone who wants to turn heads on the practice tee. They're stunning to look at.
Who It's For: Better players who want irons that look copper, but really aren't (that's PVD finish, folks).
Specs: Sold by the clubhead or assembled.
hirekogolf.com | $33/head only
R11 Irons
Key Feature: TaylorMade took everything they learned from the Burner and Tour Preferred lines and produced this set of killer irons. Look for thin faces in the long irons and thicker faces in the short irons for more control and playability. When we tested them, we liked their feel and performance…not to mention a noticeable distance boost.
Who It's For: Mid-handicappers who appreciate the shape and refinement of a Tour-grade iron that forgives.
Specs: Comes in 3-SW with KBS 90 steel shafts or Fujikura Motore graphite shafts. (LH available)­­
taylormadegolf.com | $799/$999
Key Feature: TaylorMade's metalwood engineers designed these irons to behave like drivers. The result? Long, high shots off a forgiving and thin clubface. The 3-, 4- and 5-irons all feature a hollow clubhead construction. That allows for a lower and centered CG for pure contact.
Who It's For: Make no mistake, this progressive set is easy to hit and extremely forgiving. When we tested them, we couldn't help but exclaim "RocketBallz!" after every shot.
Specs: The so-called "Insane 11" irons come in 3-iron to LW, but are sold in 8-iron sets with steel or gr. shafts. (LH)
taylormadegolf.com | $699/$899
RocketBallz Max
Key Feature: Like their RocketBallz counterparts, the Max version employs heads with game-improvement metalwood characteristics: fast faces, draw bias, low and deep CG and tungsten heel/toe weighting and hollow heads.
Who It's For: High-handicappers with shallower downswings who don't mind paying a premium for a set of irons that look, sound and feel incredible. They're long!
Specs: Stronger lofts in short irons, standard graphite shafts in 4- and 5-irons and optional graphite set (Matrix Ozik HD Program). Available in 4-iron through LW.
taylormadegolf.com | $1,299/$1,399


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