2015 Players Cavity Back Irons Guide

12

Golf Discount’s 2015 Players Cavity Back Irons Guide

author-bob-gomavitz
By Bob Gomavitz

This review will cover Players Cavity Back Irons. Players that love the looks of a true players iron, but needs extra forgiveness, or whose contact with the face is more spread out than a true ball striker’s pattern, this review is for you! While these types of irons are similar to players irons, they tend to be slightly larger in size and a touch more offset. Compared to classic muscle back designs, to give players increased forgiveness and launch angles, these clubs have thicker top lines, more weight around the perimeter and behind the ball.

As was the case with the players irons I tested, I saw a very similar look from all of the heads, noticing only minor differences. I attempted to use the KBS Tour shaft, like I did with most of the players irons I tested, so I could keep the testing as balanced as possible. I found all of these heads to be an excellent choice for the player. The added offset, larger face area and perimeter weighting will help these players when compared to the muscle back versions.

The “Who’s it for” part of the review will again be similar from iron to iron since all the clubs tested really fit mid handicap to scratch players. These irons are a great choice for improving golfers who want to work on shot making, have increased feel and want to control distances better than game improvement heads.

Testing for these and the players clubs was done at the driving range at Newcastle Golf Course. They have a green that is 157 yards out, providing me with great feedback on overall distance. To help you better understand these reviews, I have included the iron number and loft.

Check out the NEW 2016 Players Irons Guide!




Nike Vapor Pro Combo Irons

Nike Vapor Pro Combo Irons

  • RZN-Filled Cavity On Long Irons
  • Muscle Cavity On Short Irons
  • Progressive Sole Widths
  • Dynamic Gold Pro Shaft


Read The Review


ping-i-series

Ping i Series Irons

  • 431 Stainless Steel Head
  • Progressive Set Design
  • Concealed Custom Tuning Port
  • High Moment of Inertia


Read The Review



Titleist AP2 Irons

Titleist AP2 Irons

  • Tungsten Co-Forging Process
  • Dual Cavity Design
  • Constant Blade Length
  • Dynamic Gold Shaft


Read The Review


Tour Edge CU Exotics Irons

Tour Edge CU Exotics Irons

  • Heel And Toe Weighting
  • Reduced Progressive Offset
  • Tour-Beveled Sole
  • Project X Shaft


Read The Review


Wilson Staff FG Tour V4 Irons

Wilson Staff FG Tour V4 Irons

  • 18-Gram Tungsten Sole Weight
  • Optimized Sole Camber
  • Forged 8620 Carbon Steel Alloy
  • Dynamic Gold Pro Shaft


Read The Review

Bridgestone J15 DF Irons

Club Tested: 6-Iron; Shaft: Dynamic Gold Pro S300; Loft: 28°

The Takeaway

The J15 CB is more the players cavity back head than the J15 DF version is, but I did not have the J15 CB to test at this time. The J15 DF is made from premium forged carbon steel and features Dual Pocket Technology, which allows discretionary weight to be moved to the perimeter, increasing forgiveness and creating a higher MOI. It also produces excellent feel through dampening vibrations at impact. The slightly larger head gives players enhanced confidence at address.

Final Take – Gom’s Pick

Another very nice offering from Bridgestone, the J15 DF has a rounded toe and somewhat thin top line for a head that is larger than the normal blade. The satin finish gives this head a clean and sharp look. With the DGS300 shaft in place the launch was again on the high side. Excellent carry and outstanding feel from this head made it a joy to test. I am very impressed by the Bridgestone products, and have enjoyed testing them so far, and look forward to testing others down the line.

Shop Bridgestone J15 DF Irons


Callaway Apex Irons

Club Tested: 6-Iron; Shaft: KBS Tour V; Loft: 27°

The Takeaway

The Callaway Apex irons feature a forged carbon steel body, tungsten sole inserts, and high performance wide grooves. The head also features a Deep Undercut Cavity or Channel that runs from heel to toe to help the face flex deliver higher ball speeds. It is also a two piece construction, which is different than traditional, one piece forged irons.

Final Take

While many OEM’s CB players irons take on the look of their players heads, the Apex looks different to my eye. I noticed a greater offset, a very curved sole from narrow at the toe and heel to wider in the mid section. To me, this makes the head look more like a players game improvement iron when looking down at it. The toe area is very rounded and the satin head also has a grinded leading edge. Callaway calls the Apex their forged distance irons, and I definitely saw some nice distance with these heads, even with the lower launching KBS Tour V series shaft. Personally, I enjoyed the Apex Pro version better than this one.

Shop Callaway Apex Forged Irons


Callaway XR Pro Irons

Club Tested: 7-Iron; Shaft: KBS Tour V90; Loft: 31°

The Takeaway

The XR Pro is Callaway’s first Cavity Back Iron with 360 Cup Face Technology, which increases ball speed across the entire face. They also included an Internal Standing Wave, which offers a lower CG, increased MOI and gives the face cup freedom to provide better ball speeds along with a 2-piece construction.

Final Take – Gom’s Pick

The XR Pro with its narrow sole, thin top line, high toe and satin finish was appealing to my eye. The 7 Iron that I was testing played more like a 6 iron and was a pleasure to swing. The 2-piece construction offered up a solid feel, with a slight “clicking” noise at impact. Shots were long and very consistent with a nice, penetrating flight! The XR Pro will find their way into a large amount of bags no matter the player’s skill levels. Another thing I love about the XR Pros is that there are so many shaft upgrades at no additional charge.

Shop Callaway XR Pro Irons


Mizuno MP-H5 Irons

Club Tested: 6-Iron; Shaft: KBS Tour; Loft: 30°

The Takeaway

The MP-H5 features an interesting cavity area that is half hollow on the mid and short irons (7-PW), and a fully hollow cavity on long irons (1-6). The Half Hollow heads feature a grain flow forged 1025E face, neck and body, and offers you a players cavity size and shape. The fully hollow heads feature a thin and high COR 1770 maraging steel face and a low sweet spot with a deep CG for a controllable high launch and excellent forgiveness.

Final Take – Gom’s Pick

The MP-H5 were a very interesting iron for me. I hear so much about Mizuno irons, yet I have never owned a set. This set was more to my liking than the other two Mizuno heads I reviewed earlier. I found the feel to be even better, and the launch and ball flight fit my eye as well. This head still looked like a blade to me, with a very rounded toe meeting a sharp edge leading into a nice sized top line. The offset looked minimal on this somewhat compact head. So far, my favorite iron offering from Mizuno.

Shop Mizuno MP-H5 Irons


Nike Vapor Pro Combo Irons

Club Tested: 7-Iron; Shaft: Dynamic Gold Pro S300; Loft: 34°

The Takeaway

The Nike Vapor Pro Combo is exactly what it says it is. It combines the look and feel of a blade, but offers a more mid-sized head. With a thicker top line in the 2-7 irons, there is a small cavity hidden in the Modern Muscle that is filled with RZN, the same material that Nike uses in their golf balls. The longer irons have a machined face on a forged chassis, and the 8-PW are forged heads with a smaller muscle cavity.

Final Take

The 7 Irons was more on the blade side of of this combo set, with a very thin sole and cavity. The toe area was quite rounded and blended into a thin top line. The offset on the 7 Irons was minimal and for the most part the head sure looks like a blade. The feel was crisp and had excellent feedback to my hands on both mishits and solid shots. The ball flight was on the high side with average distance. If you are looking for a true combo set, this is one to look at.

Shop Nike Vapor Pro Combo Irons


Ping i25 Forged Irons

Club Tested: 7-Iron; Shaft: KBS Tour (1/4″ shorter than other 7-irons); Loft: 33°

The Takeaway

While this model has been out for awhile, I felt it was important to include it with the 2015 clubs. The Ping i25 irons are constructed from 17-4 stainless steel, and have a progressive set design, stabilizing bars, a tungsten toe weight, and an optimized CTP position. For a higher trajectory and extreme forgiveness, the progressive head design provides larger heads and sole designs on the longer irons. For enhanced accuracy and scoring, the mid and short irons are more compact with narrower soles and less offset. The stabilizing bars increase ball speed in the long irons and add height, while the wider bars in the short irons provides a controlled, lower ball flight.

Final Take – Gom’s Pick

I love the design features of the i25 and how the weight is distributed heavily along the sole and toe areas. The all-satin head has a slightly thicker top line, a somewhat less rounded toe, a bottom groove line with white paint fill (rare it seems with these types of irons), and a fairly wide sole for a 7 iron. A feature that I personally enjoy is the leading edge grind, as well as a beveled trailing edge, which helps with turf interaction. The i25 was long and straight, and of course a bit harsh, feel-wise. This head can really be played by most anyone because of the excellent weight distribution and features, something I cannot say about some others in this segment. A very forgiving players CB head for sure.

Shop Ping i25 Irons


ping-i-series

Club Tested: 7-Iron; Shaft: Nippon Modus Pro 105; Loft: 32°

The Takeaway

Where do I start? First off, the main difference with the new i series over the i25s is the use of 431 Stainless Steel compared to the 17-4 Stainless Steel previously used for the i25s. What this offers is a softer feel, more workability, greater strength-to-weight ratio, less overall weight and better trajectory control. Adding in a Progressive Set Design (this means a larger head size and more offset in the long irons and smaller head size and less in the short irons), forgiving long irons (low back center of gravity), optimized lofts and lengths to a super clean looking head that offers a high MOI (Moment of Inertia) and you have an iron set that will appeal to a larger group of players. Other features include a Tungsten weight in the toe area of the 3-7 irons, which Ping has made less noticeable by blending the weight plug into the head finish, making it hard to see without actually looking for it. The CTP (Custom Tuning Port) is in a more concealed position below the cavity for a cleaner look and an increase in perimeter weighting. The CTP is now more aligned with the impact area, resulting in a better sound and feel. The sole is designed with the proper amount of bounce for clean turf interaction and optimized playability in all types of conditions. Lastly, to match up with each player’s own personal style Ping is offering 4 different aftermarket shafts to enhance flight and spin.

Who’s It For?

The new i series covers a large range of players. Though, these irons will mainly be sought by players who are improving rapidly and want a clean players-looking head offering a large amount of forgiveness and playability. Better players will also be interested because of the softer feel and more forgiving head that the 431 Stainless Steel offers compared to their muscleback heads. So, because of the features mentioned above, the majority of the players who will love these irons will be players with an 8 to 18 handicap.

Final Take

Having owned a set of i20’s in the past I was very excited to test this head, and even more excited to test it with the Nippon Modus Pro 105 shaft. Looks-wise, the i Series offers a simple, clean clubhead. The top line is on the medium to medium-thin side. The sole is medium-thin, slightly scalloped from head to toe with some back edge relief. The bottom groove line with white paint fill offers a simple alignment aid. Feel-wise, these heads were a touch softer than the 17-4 Stainless Steel heads that I personally play, which in turn offers up a touch more feedback to the hands at impact. I found the interaction with the turf was excellent and with minimal digging. The ball flight using the Nippon shaft was excellent, though just a touch on the high side. However, I was hitting into a slight head wind and the ball stayed true with no ballooning. Distance-wise, the i Series was on par with my current irons, though what raised my eyebrow with this shaft was the super tight dispersion. I was blown away by just how straight this combo was, and definitely a combo that I could order, no problem. With 4 aftermarket shafts available, along with the standard Ping CFS Distance shaft, finding the right combo just became easier. Suffice it to say, Ping strikes again!

Shop Ping i Series Irons


TaylorMade RSi 2 Irons

Club Tested: 7-Iron; Shaft: KBS Tour; Loft: 31°

The Takeaway

The RSi 2 version of the RSi lineup is definitely a sibling of the RSi TP with some nice modifications. It adds progressive multi-material technology that have a tungsten weight low in the toe of the long irons producing higher launch and greater ball speeds. The mid irons are constructed of high-strength, thin-faced steel for consistency at high speeds. The short irons are forged carbon steel with milled grooves for that soft feel, and the wedge is a fully forged 1025 carbon steel. Add in their Speed Pocket Technology and Face Slot design and you have an iron that will provide better mishit distance and control, and you have quite the combo.

Final Take – Gom’s Pick

I have played other CB players heads from Taylormade, so it was interesting to test their latest greatest. Just like the RSi TPs, I was impressed to say the least. These were a tad harsher than the RSi TPs, but not by much. The ball flight was very similar, as was distance, which was about half club longer than other irons I tested. Looks-wise, I was more comfortable with these in my hands because I know that I can mishit these some and still see results. I struck these very well and loved the slightly higher ball flight and feel. I even went back to these when I struggled some with a different OEM, just to see if it was my swing or the head, and by george it was not my swing! Again, the RSi 2s are impressive to say the least.

Shop TaylorMade RSi 2 Irons


Titleist 714 AP2 Irons

Club Tested: 6-Iron; Shaft: Dynamic Gold S300; Loft: 30°

The Takeaway

The Titleist 714 AP2 irons have a progressive weighting to them, like many other players CB heads. The AP2’s progressive weighting comes from face thickness and sole weighting, which changes the CG from long to short irons. This shift in CG provides higher launching long irons, and flatter launching short irons. Increased playability also comes from tungsten weights in two separate parts of the head’s cavity, increasing MOI and giving players better distance control.

Final Take

The 714 AP2’s have more of a players head look to it than the other CB players heads. The thinner sole, rounded toe area that squares off, and the less offset look really makes these heads look sweet! These heads are used by current Masters Champion Jordan Speith, but have the forgiveness to be played by those with a mid-low cap or better. This was the only head that I tried with a DGS300 shaft, so personally, I did not see the best results from these heads. The ball flight was low as expected, but feel was outstanding. The looks were top notch, definitely Titleist classy. There are some rumors going around the net that due to higher spin the overall distance is down for some with these heads. Down the line I am going to revisit these irons with a Launch Monitor to truly see for myself.

Shop Titleist 714 AP2 Irons


Tour Edge CU Exotics Irons

Club Tested: 6-Iron; Shaft: Project X; Loft: 29°

The Takeaway

The CU Exotic Iron features an Undercut Cavity that moves the weight away from the face, effectively lowering the CG for a higher ball flight and more stability at impact. Then there is the Heel and Toe Pad Sole Weighting that provides more weight lower in the heel and toe, delivering maximum power on off-center contact and enhanced feel for better control. The sets also offers a Reduced Progression Offset, and the CU head provides forgiveness and workability.

Final Take

Nothing too busy going on here other than a simple, clean mid-sized head that provided me with a nice feel. I attempted to work the ball with this head since Tour Edge mentions that is something players should be able to do, and I was able to do so, but only a small amount. The forgiveness was present, as claimed, and my distance was about normal for a 6 iron with 32-degrees of loft. Though, the ball flight has on the low side though for me.

Shop Tour Edge CU Exotics Irons

Wilson Staff FG Tour V4 Irons

Club Tested: 7-Iron; Shaft: Dynamic Gold Pro S300; Loft: 35°

The Takeaway

The Staff FG V4 offers a very small muscle cavity back and is more about providing you with great feel from a compact head. The tungsten sole weight lowers the CG to increase the launch angle. A thinner top line allows the weight to be positioned lower and within the impact area for ideal launch, spin and MOI. The FG V4 also features an optimized sole camber for improved turf interaction and control from all lies.

Final Take

Cosmetically, this head was very old school to me, featuring a bright chrome finish, compact head, rounded toe, and thin top line. The head provided great feel, and the strikes were crisp and solid. The ball flight consistently produced a mid-high pattern.

Shop Wilson Staff FG Tour V4 Irons

The following two tabs change content below.

Bob Gomavitz

Bob Gomavitz Age: 59 Handicap: 4.6 Introduced to Golf: Age 10 Years Playing: 47 Hole In Ones: 2 Double Eagles: 1 Years in the Golf Industry: 14 Rounds Per Year: Over 100 Favorite PGA Tour Course Played: TPC Sawgrass Favorite Local Course Played: Royal Colwood Victoria, B.C. Most Famous Golfer that I played with: Fred Couples Most Famous Person that I played with: Kenny G (High School Teammate) Current WITB Driver: Taylormade 2016 M2 9.5 45" D-3 Graphite Design Tour Ad 60 Stiff 3 Wood: Taylormade RBZ 13 Degree TS Oban Revenge 7 Stiff 43.25” D-3 Hybrid: Taylormade R1118 Degree Matrix Altus Stiff Hybrid: Taylormade R11 Rescue 21 Degree Matrix Altus Stiff Irons: Taylormade Burner 2.0 4-PW KBS Tour Stiff Std Lie, Lofts and Lengths Wedges: Taylormade Rac Black 54 Degree TT DG Wedge Flex Wedges: Callaway X Tour 58 Degree MD TT DG Wedge Flex Putter: Odyssey Versa 90 degree #7 Super Stroke 3.0 34” Ball: Titleist Pro V1x, Srixon Z Star XV Yellow Trackman Driver Swing Info Club Head Speed: 98-101 Ball Speed: 148-151 Angle of Attack: +1.7 to +2.6 Launch Angle: 12.7 to 14.1 Spin: 2400-2750 Angle of Descent: 39.8 to 37.3 Carry: 234-242 yards Distance: 258-272 yards Path: 0.7 to 2.4

Latest posts by Bob Gomavitz (see all)

Share.

12 Comments

  1. I’m very impressed with the TaylorMade rsi 2 irons. I’ve hit them on a monitor and I agree with the review. They’re forgiving and yet still long. The shafts in them are great as well. They’re not super light like the rsi 1 shafts.

  2. I currently play mizuno MP-64 which I really like. First set of mizunos I’ve owned. I’d like to hear what you think of the MP-H5 and MP-4 versus the MP-64

  3. Rick Pellerin on

    Very interesting. I am curious though. I am a Cobra fan and was considering the new FlyZ Pro clubs soon. Any ideas anyone?

  4. Chris Englund on

    A little confused about the comments regarding the dynamic gold s300 shafts. They launched high on the Bridgestone, but low on the Titleists?

    • Bob Gomavitz on

      Chris,

      Two different shafts
      Bridgestone had the DG Pro which is a progressive slightly lighter shaft (higher launch in the long irons, mid launch in the mid irons and a lower launch in the short irons.

      The AP2’s had the standard DGold

      One would think that the DG Pro would launch like the DG ifor a mid iron, but my testing consistantly provided me with a slightly higher launch angle with the DG Pro shaft over the DG version.

      For more details, please visit True Temper

Leave A Reply