2015 Super Game Improvement Irons Guide

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Golf Discount’s 2015 Super Game Improvement Irons Guide

author-bob-gomavitz
By Bob Gomavitz

Not fully knowing what to expect from this category of irons, I was surprisingly floored by some of the results. These all-irons and combo iron-hybrid sets are made to help beginners and players not too far along with their games to quickly see positive outcomes. The size of these heads instills confidence, and the increased offset helps put player’s hands in a better position at impact, translating to better results. You won’t find a more friendly grouping of irons on mishits. The overall weight tends to be on the lighter side to help produce more consistent swings. These are the “Oversized Tennis Rackets” of the Golf Industry.

When shopping for a set of Super Game Improvement Irons you will also have a choice of a Hybrid/Iron Combo set, which eliminates those pesky long irons, such as the 3, 4 and 5 Irons. The Combo sets come in different compositions, but look for at least two Hybrids to be included in either a 7 or 8 club set. Design-wise you can expect a very large footprint, a thick top line, lots of offset, a very wide sole, a large deep cavity and a lightweight shaft, either in steel or graphite.

As I mentioned, these models are designed mostly for beginners and semi-beginners, but this reviewer had a blast testing them and based on the results that I witnessed would have zero issues playing them.

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 Game Improvement Irons Guide!




Ping Karsten Irons

Ping Karsten Irons

  • Progressive CG Locations
  • Heel-and-Toe Weighting
  • 17-4 Stainless Steel
  • CFS Distance Shaft


Read The Review


gmax-irons

Ping GMax Irons

  • COR-Eye™ Technology
  • Progressive Set Design
  • Concealed Custom Tuning Port
  • CFS Distance Shaft


Read The Review


TaylorMade AeroBurner Irons

TaylorMade AeroBurner Irons

  • Speed Pocket
  • Longer Blade Length
  • Up-to-the-limit COR
  • Re-Ax HL Shaft


Read The Review


Wilson Staff D200 Irons

Wilson Staff D200 Irons

  • Speed Sole Technology
  • Heel & Toe Weight Pods
  • Right Light Technology
  • Dynamic Gold SL Shaft


Read The Review


idea-tech-300x300

Club Tested: 6-Iron; Shaft: Fubuki 60 Hy; Loft: 28°

The Takeaway

The Idea Tech Hybrid set features an external 48-gram weight in the back of the head that offers a lower-back CG for increased launch and spin. It also offers a new progressive shaft design throughout the set. Due to a thinner shaft tip diameter (.335) this enables a higher launch with the hybrid heads, which progressively gets bigger as more loft is added (.350 and .370). Another key feature is the Wrap-Around Slots go from the toe, across the sole and into the crown, expanding the sweet spot across the entire face, delivering better performance even with mishits.

Final Take – Gom’s Pick

Based on Adams take on the Idea Tech Hybrid Irons, I should not even consider this set (“Designed for golfers with slower swing speeds below 85 mph”), but based on my testing I could not find a reason to not play these. Sure, the looks of a half-hybrid, half-iron are not the norm for a player like me, but it was hard to deny what my eyes and hands were telling me. Incredible distance, perfect piercing ball flight (not too high) with excellent feedback and feel. I was blown away by the 6-iron, but would need to see the how the 9-iron and wedge played to be really blown away by this set. Do you love hybrids and struggle with Irons? If so, you need to check out this set ASAP! One side note, the shaft lengths were a bit on the long side.

Shop Adams New Idea Tech Hybrid Irons


Callaway Big Bertha Irons

Club Tested: 7-Iron; Shaft: UST Recoil 460 & SpeedStep 80; Loft: 27°

The Takeaway

The Big Bertha offers players an advanced, progressive look starting with the sole. This progression has a wider design in the long irons, and shifts to a narrower design in the short irons. The addition of a progressive, modern top line enhances the look even more. Higher ball speeds and increased distance come from the 360 Face Cup Technology that Callaway uses in their Big Bertha fairway woods. The hollow body construction puts the weight where Callaway feels it offers maximum forgiveness. If you prefer hybrids to long irons, the set is also offered as a hybrid-iron combo set.

Final Take

The Callaway Big Bertha Irons were a treat to test, and even more so when I realized that I grabbed two different versions, shaft-wise. I started with the steel shaft, and right away I noticed a more compact head shape than what I expected for this category of irons. The dark grey head made the bottom grooves filled with white paint stand out, creating an excellent alignment aid. The feel was outstanding and complimented a true ball flight that my eyes crave. I then tried the UST Recoil Graphite shaft, and the head came even more alive for me. The feel was increased, the ball fight enhanced, and the was distance comparable or maybe even slightly longer than the steel shafted version. A few of the hybrids that I tested had the UST Recoil shaft in them, and I was impressed with those also. I strongly suggest a test drive with the Recoil shafts.

Shop Callaway Big Bertha Irons


Cobra Fly-Z XL Irons

Club Tested: 6-Iron; Shaft: Fly-Z XL; Loft: 28°

The Takeaway

Some of the technology behind the new Fly-Z XL, like the Speed Channel Face, which is an engineered trench behind the face area that helps to minimize face thickness, and the increased flexion at impact deliver increased distance through faster ball speeds, even on mishits.The 4-8 irons feature a dual cavity design with a hollow lower section. This cavity design delivers a lower and deeper CG, meaning you get easy launch with extreme forgiveness in every shot. The scoring irons (9-SW) feature a deep Perimeter Undercut where the weight has been removed from the back of the entire face area to create a large, unsupported face. This means you benefit from forgiveness and accuracy in every shot. This offering is also available as a hybrid-iron combo set.

Final Take – Gom’s Pick

The Fly-Z XL irons provided me with excellent sound and feel, much like the Fly-Z model I tested, just with more of an oversized look. Cosmetically, I felt that the Fly-Z was a bit busy for my taste, but I enjoyed the toned down look of the FLY-Z XL. The stock shaft offering, while on the lighter side, was stable and consistent. The ball flight was tight, yet not too high and produced solid distance.

Shop Cobra Fly-Z XL Irons


Mizuno JPX-EZ Irons

Club Tested: 6-Iron; Shaft: True Temper XP 105; Loft: 28°

The Takeaway

The JPX EZ offers a progressive cavity design. The max pocket cavity design for the 4-7 irons offers a massive sweet spot area, tight dispersion, and effortless launch characteristics. While the 8-GW uses the deep pocket cavity for increased distance and control. The Hot Metal Face offers a thin, multi-thickness face design for maximum COR. This delivers long, consistent distance. The H.I.T., which stands for Harmonic Impact Technology, provides feel and sound tuned through the cavity frame design. The set can be mixed with the Fli-Hi long irons, as alternatives.

Final Take

The first thing that I noticed when picking up the JPX EZ irons was the heavy head weight. I also experienced the same heavy sensation in the grip area, which tells me that the overall weight of the club was heavier than I am used to. The massive 4-point cavity, along with a wide toe and sole area, increases forgiveness throughout the face. My ball flight was not as high as advertised, but still produced a tight dispersion on well struck balls, and mishits alike. Overall, I felt a bit lethargic swinging this club because of the heavier feel. If you prefer feeling the head weight and need as much forgiveness as possible, then this would be a great choice for you.

Shop Mizuno JPX-EZ Irons


Ping Karsten Irons

Club Tested: 7-Iron; Shaft: CFS Distance; Loft: 30.5°

The Takeaway

The Ping Karsten uses progressive lengths for the 5 and 6 irons which have slightly longer increments when compared to the ½” increments of 7 thru PW. The slightly longer lengths produce a higher MOI and a slightly higher ball flight for distance which is most noticeable in the 4 thru 7 irons. The G30’s also incorporate progressive lofts as well. The Custom Tuning Port (CTP) integrates with the sole, which reinforces the thinner face to increase ball velocity for greater distances and higher flights for stopping power. The sole geometry positions the CG low back for higher maximum heights while helping the sole glide through the turf for better increased forgiveness. The Hybrids have a deeper head profile, a wide sole to blend seamlessly with the irons for proper distance gapping and trajectories. They are also equipped with progressive CG locations. Further back in the high lofted heads and low forward in the lower lofted heads.

Final Take

The larger lower profiled head of the Karsten version just looks easy to play and it sure was. That signature Ping feel accompanied with a slightly higher ball flight, a fairly tight dispersion lets you know that this head is there to help you with mishits. For some reason I preferred the G30 model better, but I just cannot put my finger on why. The highest Iron in the set is the 5 Iron, no 3 or 4 irons, which makes this set a true combo set if you want more than a 5-PW set.

Shop Ping Karsten Irons


gmax-irons

Club Tested: 7-Iron; Shaft: CFS Distance; Loft: 30.5°

The Takeaway

The new Ping GMax Irons have COR-Eye Technology that generates faster ball speeds, up to 3 mph over previous Ping offerings. The diving-board-like-effect across the whole face are responsible for the faster ball speeds and increases forgiveness across the entire face, so even off center hits will fly straighter and longer. The new face design conceals the CTP (Control Tuning Port) behind the cavity and for the first time connects to the sole. With this new position, each club’s center of gravity is moved lower and further back to increase the MOI (Moment of Inertia) for increased forgiveness and higher launching results. The 4-8 irons are heat treated which strengthens the material by about 40%. This allows the face to be thinner to allow greater flexing and hotter ball speeds. The wider sole positions the CG to produce higher shots that land softer. The enhanced leading edge and optimal bounce leads to better turf interaction for cleaner, crisper shot making. A large head size with an increased offset enhances playability, as well as the progressive lengths and lofts that produce efficient gaping. Lighter swing weights in the 4, 5, and 6 irons help square the face up at impact for faster ball speeds and straighter shots.

Who’s It For?

The new Ping GMax irons are for the players that are looking for Max Playability out of their iron sets. This is a game improvement set that should catch the eye of mid-high to higher handicap players, from pure beginners buying their first set to the seasoned senior players looking to keep up on distance and playability.

Final Take

Side by side there is quite the difference between the GMax and the i Series. The GMax head is larger, has more offset, a deeper cavity, thicker top line and a much wider sole. The ball flight with the GMax and standard CFS shaft produced and nice, high trajectory that did not balloon on me. The turf interaction was very good, but might be a bit scary off of summertime hardpan, if you take any sort of divot. The feel was solid, but because of the larger deeper cavity, it produced a bit of a metal baseball bat sound, or a slight pinging noise that did little for me. Distance-wise, it was hard to really tell because of the slight head wind, but if I had to guess, it might have been 5 yards longer than the i Series head. The GMax are tanks, but they are a great club for those in need of this type of design.

Shop Ping GMax Irons


TaylorMade AeroBurner Irons

Club Tested: 7-Iron; Shaft: Reax 88 HL; Loft: 29.5°

The Takeaway

The brand new AeroBurner Irons feature TaylorMade’s Speed Pocket Technology that produces a higher launch and more ball speed on low-face hits. TaylorMade also pushed the COR face design to the upper limits for maximum ball speeds. The CG is positioned low, which generates a higher launch, great feel and consistent, powerful shot making. The high MOI head design provides forgiveness and stability. The AeroBurner is also offered as a hybrid-iron combo set.

Final Take

I see somewhat of a big brother to my Burner 2.0’s in the Aeroburner Irons. A larger, longer head shape with more offset, a thicker top line, but still that rich dark matte finish for reduced glare. This type of shape and size gives players confidence at address, something I’ve personally learned. The ball flight was higher than my Burners, as expected, and offered excellent forgiveness. The distance was solid, as was the feedback to my hands at impact.

Shop TaylorMade AeroBurner Irons


Wilson Staff D200 Irons

Club Tested: 7-Iron; Shaft: Dynamic Gold SL; Loft: 31°

The Takeaway

The Wilson D200 is a part of Wilson’s distance family. The technology comes from heel and toe weight pods, which puts weight in the perimeter of the head for a larger sweet spot. Speed Sole Technology creates a thin face-to-sole transition that expands the sweet spot lower in the face for driver-like distance. This expansion allows the face to flex, especially in the lower section where most impacts occur. Lastly, the Right Light Technology uses the limited available mass to create a balanced, solid feeling club, which allows distance players to swing faster with the same effort.

Final Take

The larger head design really stands out when you put the D200 in your hands. It offers you a clean, simple shape while maintaining that oversized look. One swing and I noticed the incredibly quick launch angle it produced. So much so that it wowed me over and over again after each strike. Aside from that, the club was very solid and produced a consistent feel and distance. Looking over the design, my guess is that the weight pods enhanced the launch angle which can really benefit the type of players that are looking at sets from this category.

Shop Wilson Staff D200 Irons


XXIO8 Irons

Club Tested: 7-Iron; Shaft: Nippon NS Pro 900; Loft: 30°

The Takeaway

The XXIO8 Irons feature Dual Speed Technology that produce a higher launch and lower spin trajectory. They feature a specially designed Nippon steel shaft with a softer tip section that flexes more, producing a higher launch. The CG is closer to the hosel area making it easier to square up the clubface at impact. These two features create a slight draw-bias ball flight. The head features a titanium face, with a stainless steel body. The 4-7 irons feature a tungsten-nickel sole weight and a neck weight. The 8-9 have just the tungsten-nickel sole weight, and the wedges are purely a stainless steel body.

Final Take

On the rack, the XXIO8 Irons seem very basic and a bit uninspiring. Looking down at the head at address players will quickly notice the size of the head. It is quite large with a very rounded toe area that continues into the top line, which is more rounded than the majority of the other Super Game Improvement Irons. Holding these irons, players will notice a very skinny shaft and small grip diameter. They will also notice a very strong “hook” taper at the end of the grip, which is different, too. After a few swings this uninspiring club started to grow on me. These irons offer a piercing, slightly higher launch angle with a slight draw. The distance was very good and the feel very solid without any accompanying “clicking” noise at impact.

Shop XXIO8 Irons


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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

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6 Comments

  1. Great reviews. I’m a 5’cap and play GI sticks: G25s and Ci11s…I wish more golfers would put ego aside and play what is easier.
    I will say though, that these crazy souped-up lofts are getting more and more ridiculous!!!
    It’s leading to bigger gapping between clubs and that’s not all too helpful.
    Also, hybrids came to fruition due to being easier to hit as compared to long irons…doesn’t really make much sense when these 6-irons are almost at the old 3&4 iron lofts. LOL

  2. Nice review. It would have been helpful if the different brands would’ve been ranked in numerical order according to overall performance.

  3. Nolan Cleall on

    Great reviews. Very informative for someone in the iron market and not sure where they want to start.

  4. Great looking irons! Great information! The thick soles help to launch the ball but are a little too forgiving in my opinion. I’d like something with forgiveness but feel as well.

  5. None of the iron sets come in crome. The set configuration that best suits me is 3&4 hybrid, 5 thru sw irons. My Burner 1.0 set still fits my needs, except for the uniflex shafts. Thanks for giving me this opportunity to sound off a little.

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