Irons Buyer's Guide 2006
If you've been delaying your purchase of new irons, we have but five words: "What are you waiting for?"
MacGregor MacTec NVG2
| Mizuno MP-60|
(800) 966-1211 | $849
Mizuno debuted its Cut Muscle design in ’05 with the MP-32 and now ups the
ante with game-improvement features in the larger MP-60.
Features: Cut Muscle technology produces the ideal CG and great forgiveness and stability. Grain Flow Forged carbon steel is used for incredible sound and feel.
Advantages: The MP-60 is 4% bigger than the MP-32 and has a 10% larger sweet spot.
Benefits: While still a players’ iron, the MP-60 is easy to hit and the feel is superb. Nonetheless, high-handicappers need not apply.
What We Like: Mizuno still makes the best lead and trail edges in the business—contact is always extra-crisp.
Lineup: MP-33, MP-37, MP-32, MP-30, MP-60, MX-22, MX-17, MX-900
Clubhead: Carbon steel
Design: Forged muscleback
Clubs: 2-PW (available LH)
Shaft(s): True Temper Dynamic Gold (S, R)
| Nike Slingshot OSS|
$799 ($899 graphite)
The second-generation Slingshot irons are easier to hit than the originals.
Features: The CG has been moved even farther beyond the face by deepening the Slingback design, widening the sole and utilizing a light steel face.
Advantages: Ultimate forgiveness.
Benefits: This is the club for high-handicappers. Better players will find favor with the Slingshot Tour.
What We Like: The 3-D Flow Weighting. The long irons have weight concentrated low and rearward and, as the irons get shorter, the Slingback design shifts weight higher and toward the toe to help better control trajectory and spin.
Lineup: Forged, Pro Combo Tour, Pro Combo OS, Slingshot Tour, NDS, Slingshot, Slingshot OSS
Clubhead: Stainless steel
Clubface: Carpenter steel
Design: Cast cavity-back
Clubs: 2-PW, GW, SW (available LH) Shaft(s): Nike Speed Step Lite steel (X, S, R, A); Nike iDiamana CW-Light graphite (X, S, R, A)
The Big Deal About CG
While sometimes mistakenly referred to as the sweet spot, the CG, or center of gravity, location of an iron is crucial to its performance. Not only does CG location have a great deal to do with the type and amount of spin an iron creates, it also directly affects ballfight, forgiveness and overall performance.
A lower CG helps to get the ball airborne by promoting a more vertical (higher) launch angle by placing the club’s center of gravity below the equator of the golf ball. Similarly, a CG location that’s back along the target line (away from the clubface) will impart reduced spin with a high launch angle. This combination tends to produce high, low-spinning shots that travel a maximum distance with minimal sidespin. Most recreational golfers are recommended to use so-called game-improvement irons that feature low and deep CGs for this exact reason. Long-iron alternatives (hybrids) also work very well because their CG is much lower and deeper into the head than that of comparable irons, thus producing much higher trajectories.
Another key benefit of a low and deep CG location is significantly enhanced forgiveness. Although most golfers associate perimeter weighting with forgiveness, a low and deep CG also has a great deal to do with a club’s forgiveness simply by making it much easier to get the ball airborne, regardless of where on the face contact is made. Any golfer whose ballstriking and swing speed isn’t strong enough to produce adequate shot trajectories should immediately consider switching to an iron model with a low and deep CG.
Conversely, players who desire increased spin rates because they like to intentionally shape their iron shots should use irons with higher CG locations, such as those found in high-performance blade-style irons. However, be aware that these models will be significantly more difficult to hit solidly.
Another important note on CG is that many game-improvement irons, even ones with substantially oversized heads, feature a CG location that’s toward the heel. This CG location tends to help produce hook spin by making it easier for the average golfer to rotate the clubface closed through impact. Obviously, this feature also reduces the likelihood of slicing.