The TaylorMade GAPR lineup, which TaylorMade says is in an all-new category of club created by their revolutionary engineers, is designed to give players an alternative to traditional hybrids bridging the gap between their longest iron in the bag and their metal woods.
The baked-out fairways of Carnoustie presented TaylorMade with a perfect opportunity to premier the brand-new hybrid driving irons.
Major buzz reverberated around the grounds at the Open Championship as players like Tiger Woods were spotted rocketing stingers with a brand-new hybrid driving iron during their practice rounds and on the range. Who wouldn’t get excited to try out these clubs after seeing that?
The GAPR lineup features three distinctly different head styles, the HI, MID and LO. All three heads feature a thin C300 steel face, a hollow-clubhead construction filled with TaylorMade’s SpeedFoam for increased ball speed and overall feel, a strategically placed weight screw designed to precisely locate the CG in specific areas of the clubhead to create desired trajectories, and a Speed Pocket to enhance forgiveness on low strikes. A loft sleeve gives players ultimate setup control allowing +/- 1.5° of loft adjustability that concurrently adjusts the lie.
The HI is the most hybrid-like in appearance and as the name suggests will help players elevate the ball with ease.
The MID is an iron-inspired head with lots of forgiveness and its appearance as well as flight characteristics will be enjoyed by a wide range of players.
The LO, with its mid-thin sole and elevated CG, will appeal to players with strong, high mph swings who want to produce a controlled, low, piercing ball flight off the tee and from the fairways.
After the shots I saw the Pros make at Carnoustie and given the fact that I carry a 2-iron in my bag, I was extremely excited to give the TaylorMade GAPR hybrid driving irons a go.
I hope you enjoy my review. Please feel free to leave your comments and questions below. I’m happy to answer any questions you have about the TaylorMade GAPR.
GAPR HI Hybrid Review: 4 Hybrid 22° KBS Hybrid 80 Stiff
Most hybrid-like design
Highest launching, most forgiving
Lowered crown and weight screw low-back on sole create lowest CG
The first few swings I took with the GAPR HI were shots that came off the face a little low. Taking a step back I realized the reason, I decided to pretend it was a 5-iron and come down a little steeper after the ball. Due to its appearance, the natural inclination is to swing the GAPR HI like a hybrid instead of like an iron. Once I made the adjustment to a slightly more upright stance the ball instantly started launching quickly with a high, long carry.
I find foam filled clubs tend to have a unique, muted sound to them. However, the muted sound does not diminish the feel.
As its name indicates, the GAPR HI wants to launch with the steepest launch angle of all three heads. I found a relaxed, natural swing elevated the ball easily. I’d compare the apex to about the same height as my 5 iron (I tend to launch the ball fairly high with my irons, so the launch angle of the GAPR HI for you may vary when it comes to a comparable apex height).
Designed to bridge the gap between your longest iron and your woods, the GAPR HI definitely produces solid distances, but I wouldn’t say its length is as crazy-long as some of the game improvement distance hybrids or irons on the market today. Though, I would say the goal with these clubs (especially the GAPR HI) is to gain control and forgiveness in the area between your woods and irons.
Like the sound, foam filled clubs tend to have a unique feel to them. There is a softness from the foam that counter-balances the thin, high-strength C300 steel face resulting in a solid feel at impact. One aspect of the feel I was very pleased by was the clarity of feedback in terms of an impact location on the face. It was very simple to tell if I had toed, heeled or pured a shot.
Quite simply, the GAPR HI looks like a hybrid. The face has a high, box toe and the head is the deepest of the three GAPR options. The sole features a recognizable speed slot right behind the leading edge and a weight screw that is back and away from the face for the lowest possible CG. A narrow, white paint-filled scoring line sits at the bottom of the clubface and is aided by a cutout with a subtle white alignment graphic on the crown.
In a very un-hybrid-like way, the GAPR HI really protected against hitting the ball left. I hit a few shots specifically trying to shape the ball left and right, and I found that I could fade the ball a little or a lot with ease, but I could only get the ball to minimally turn left. Due to its launch angle, the HI is the shortest of the bunch, however it will give players the best chance of the three heads at stopping the ball on a green from long distance out of the fairway or off the tee.
GAPR MID Hybrid Review: 3 Hybrid 18° KBS Hybrid 80 Stiff
Weight screw on sole and crown cutout creates low CG and extreme forgiveness
After the ball did not turn over very much to the left with the GAPR HI I was a little shocked to find my first couple shots pulling to the left of the target line with the GAPR MID. The shots still never threatened a full-on hook, but the ball did tail left with longer carries. I really enjoyed the ball flight in general. With the ball slightly back in my stance the GAPR MID produced a penetrating trajectory that kept rising to a late apex.
The sound may be my one major gripe about foam filled clubs, it just isn’t all that exciting. The GAPR MID has a little bit heavy/clicky sound to it.
The GAPR MID can hit a wide range of trajectories. A ball played neutral or slightly forward in the stance created almost as high ball flight as the GAPR HI, but putting the ball slightly back in the stance gave me that desirable low trajectory but always rising flight.
Definitely longer than the GAPR HI, the penetrating ball flight and long carry of the GAPR MID will bridge the gap between many players’ woods and longest iron. High trajectory shots played more forward in the stance lost some distance, but not a lot.
Again, Speed Foam creates a unique feel at impact. There is a distinct firmness and softness at the same time. Purely struck shots feel cradled as they spring off the face. While the feedback is crystal clear, and I can tell where the ball struck on the face, it doesn’t create as exciting, or crisp, a feel as a forged iron or even non-foam filled distance iron.
The GAPR MID is still a little bit on the thick side and looks a bit like an iron-wood at address. It should give better players a lot of confidence. A full width bottom line has white paint fill and contrasts nicely with the all black head. A cutout behind the top line once again helps align the ball with a subtle graphic. The sole is wide enough to fit both the speed slot and the weight screw, however since the GAPR MID is not as deep as the GAPR HI, the weight is closer to the club face and leading edge.
Before I even hit a shot, the GAPR MID already looked more like an iron than the GAPR HI. I moved the ball around in my stance and produced a couple of different trajectories and shapes. That versatility will suit a lot of players’ needs with a club like this. With the weight still on the sole to create a low CG and a more iron-like appearance than the GAPR HI, I venture to guess this head will be the most popular choice across the board.
GAPR LO Hybrid Review: 3 Hybrid 19° KBS HYBRID 80 Stiff
Full versatility and flight control
Low, forward CG for penetrating trajectory
Mid-thin sole and small shape suited to the better player’s eyes.
Similar to the GAPR MID my first few shots with the GAPR LO had a bit of a left turn, but there was something immediately different about this head compared to the other two. The weight screw for the GAPR LO is located on the back of the club, as versus the weight screws on the soles of the GAPR MID and HI. This adjustment of weight positioning raises the CG, which makes it tougher to elevate the ball. I found I really had to go after it to get this club to work. I can easily see how the pros were hitting 12’ apex stingers with the GAPR LO that ran 80+ yards after landing at Carnoustie.
The thinner sole and less SpeedFoam fill gives the GAPR LO a similar sound to the P790. Both are foam filled and have a minor click, but the sound was the most enjoyable of all three GAPR heads.
The weight screw placement raises the CG compared to the GAPR MID and HI, and that gives this the lowest standard trajectory of the three. I was able to flight the ball higher when I wanted to, but I could tell the best struck shots had a flatter, lower trajectory.
Long. This is the GAPR model where you will see extended distances from carry plus roll outs.
This was interesting for me. I liked the feel of the GAPR LO the most, even though it was more difficult to hit than the lower CG GAPR MID. The feel of the weight behind the club face as versus under the sole is more in line with what I’m accustomed to hitting with my players irons.
The GAPR LO looks the most like a normal iron. It has a bit of a cutout behind the topline with an alignment graphic and a fullwidth bottom groove with white paint fill that contrasts the all black clubhead. The GAPR LO sole has the thinnest width sole of the GAPR heads and only has a speed slot that sits behind the leading edge.
The GAPR LO is for the advanced players with high swing speeds (we’re talking 108+ mph driver swing speed), but if you have that kind of swing speed this club will flat out perform. It has enough forgiveness to hit from the fairway and is a potent weapon from the tee. All three heads can launch the ball and the GAPR LO can be hit high, however, your playing conditions will determine whether the GAPR LO would be a good addition to the bag or not.
Final Thoughts on the GAPR Hybrids:
The TaylorMade GAPR hybrid driving irons were quite interesting and a lot of fun to test. TaylorMade has succeeded in achieving their goal of creating a series of clubs that offer an alternative to a hybrid and properly fill the distance gap between your longest iron and your most lofted fairway metal.
With the advent of Players Distance irons and this new concept of hybrid driving irons, I can see a lot of better players gravitating away from traditional hybrids and towards these types of clubs.
The stock KBS Hybrid shaft performs brilliantly, giving players more of an iron shaft profile as opposed to a hybrid wood shaft. The feedback and control this shaft offers is definitely worth noting. In my opinion, TaylorMade made an excellent choice choosing this as their stock shaft offering.
I loved the weighting, feel and looks of the LO in my hands. The flight trajectory of the MID when played back in my stance produced an ideal, rising stinger that seemed to carry forever and had me daydreaming of attacking dry, August fairways with reckless abandon. The forgiveness and confidence-inspiring size of the HI was a no brainer. I knew exactly where that ball was going to land each time, long, straight and soft.
During my testing I found the versatility of all the GAPR heads impressive and I could create various shot shapes and trajectories with each version. I’m confident with the adjustable loft sleeve and extensive shaft offerings that I could dial any one of these heads in to a repeatable, consistent long club in no time.