The past couple of years have been dominated by metal woods – primarily drivers and fairway woods. Later this year and 2014 appear to be the times for irons s TaylorMade, Titleist, Callaway and Mizuno have or are expected to launch to new irons.
For its part, TaylorMade is introducing SpeedBlade, which it says is a “game-improvement iron that launches the ball exceptionally high and far.” SpeedBlade irons will be available beginning Oct. 4.
Externally, the SpeedBlade iron combines a two-tone, satin nickel chrome plating with dark smoke satin ion plating; internally, according to TaylorMade, the key performance feature that separates SpeedBlade from the pack is the Speed Pocket, a handle-bar shaped slot in the sole of the 3-7 irons that enables a large area of the face to flex and rebound at impact, resulting in faster ball speed, higher launch and better feel.
“The Speed Pocket performs where golfers need it most,” said Brian Bazzel, TaylorMade’s director of iron, wedge and putters development. “Our research indicates that 72 percent of shots by five to 25 handicap golfers are impacted below the center of the face. That typically results in low-launching shots of inconsistent distance. The Speed Pocket helps you launch those low-impact shots on a consistently higher, longer carrying and softer-landing flight.”
Bazzel said that research also indicates that the average replacement cycle for irons among core golfers is 4.9 years – a significant length of time, he said, given the advances TaylorMade has made in improving iron performance. When tested, according to Bazzel, the new SpeedBlade 6-iron traveled almost 10 yards farther with a fou percent higher peak trajectory than TaylorMade’s Tour Burner iron, which was introduced in 2009.
Bazzel said the SpeedBlade combines a low center of gravity (CG) with TaylorMade’s thinnest/fastest iron face to date, while the improved Speed Pocket has been widened and lengthened, giving golfers more face area toward the toe and heel that promotes a high launch angle, strong ball flight and a steep, quick stopping descent angle.
The Speed Pocket also features a cut through slot internally, which Bazzel said allows for more flex and rebound on the bottom part of the face, making the SpeedBlade iron set the fastest face TaylorMade has ever created.
SpeedBlade irons will be available in eight-piece sets (4-AW being the most popular) and will be equipped with stock 85-gram steel shafts (suggested retail price $799), VELOX-T 75-grams (stiff), 65-gram (regular), 55-gram (senior) and 45-gram (ladies) graphite shafts (SRP $899).
Wedges will be available separately for $100 apiece.