2014 Buyer's Guide Irons

Be a shotmaker in 2014

Labels: Buyers GuideIrons
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By Joseph Mayo

Okay, i know you've probably seen Tour players make huge divots after they make contact with the ball, right? So have I. And if you have Tour player-like swing speed, hitting down on the golf ball will certainly allow you to shape the ball to your advantage.

But what if you're not a Tour player and you have an average swing speed? I'll tell you right now, hitting down on the ball with the intent of making a big divot is going to hurt you more than help you. Without the necessary swing speed to impart extra backspin on the ball, you'll end up hitting the ball lower and shorter than you should. Instead, what I suggest for better iron play is to hit the ball on as shallow an angle as you can while still aligning the iron's sweet spot behind the ball at impact. This doesn't mean hanging back or trying to lift the ball up. No, if anything, you still need to hit down on the ball (it's on the ground, after all), but you just don't need to hit down as deeply as you might think. Instead, think of sweeping your iron shots and playing the ball at the low point of your swing arc. Once you let go of the fixation to hit down on the ball, you soon may find it a lot easier to hit solid iron shots. If you've been told hitting down on the ball steeply makes it go up, well, that's not true, either!

Hitting more greens. Or, more specifically, hitting shots closer to the pin. The closer your approaches, the more likely you'll make more putts, and the lower your scores will drop. Huh? If only it were that simple!

Luckily, this year, we've seen yet again another heaping of new irons that try their best to help you hit the ball straighter, higher and farther from the rough and fairway. We've tried many of them and have been blown away by how much longer today's models are over those from only two to three years ago. That said, several models still remain for the iron purest, with forged blades widely available.

Check out the crop this year in three categories for easy decision-making come time to buy new irons.
Callaway Golf
X2 Hot Pro
Key Features: Combines the power and distance of a game-improvement iron with the shotmaking performance of a Tour-style model. A new, deep, central undercut boosts the spring-like effect off the large sweet spot of the A-Frame face for distance without losing trajectory. The thin topline and minimal offset deliver enhanced workability.
Wow Factor: We love the traditional, yet forgiving look of these irons. For better players? Yes, but we won't tell.
Specs: Available in 3-AW, with a Project X 95 steel shaft.
callawaygolf.com | $900
Callaway Golf
Apex Pro
Key Features: Made with forged one-piece construction for a responsive and soft feel, the face is razor-thin. And the long irons have tungsten sole inserts in a pocket for a higher launch, while the sole is wider than you'd expect for forgiveness. New grooves aim to launch the ball high out of the rough. Also comes in a non-Pro Apex model, for what Cally calls "forged distance."
Wow Factor: The feel is noticeably nice and soft, partly because of polymer inserts that dampen impact. And we love that you can buy a 2-iron! Holy schnikes, these are pretty clubs!
Specs: Available in 2-AW, with a KBS V-Spec steel or UST Mamiya Recoil graphite shaft.
callawaygolf.com | $1,299/graphite, $1,099/steel
Cleveland Golf
588 TT
Key Features: TT stands for Tour Trajectory. Constant blade height with progressively longer blade length throughout the set promotes more forgiveness in 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!
Wow Factor: Loads of forgiveness, power and...see above. Forged sure feels good.
Specs: Available in 3-PW for righties and lefties, with a Traction 85 steel or an Actionite 55 graphite shaft.
clevelandgolf.com | $799/graphite, $699/steel


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