If you could condense the story of modern premium irons to one phrase, it would be this: classic shapes jammed with technology. That’s TaylorMade’s intent with its new R9 irons, due out next month. The look would catch the eyes of Nelson, Hogan and their contemporaries, while one peek under the hood would raise their eyebrows.
For example: There’s a completely enclosed cavity behind the face of the long and middle irons (3- through 6-iron) that allows a large portion of its thin face to be unsupported. That gives the face more flex and rebound at impact, says TaylorMade, just like a thin-faced driver. The Velocity-Control Chamber (or VCC) cavity is filled with a near-weightless foam. Behind the foam is a silicone shock-absorbing material. That’s another theme in modern irons – reduction of unwanted vibration, both the kind you can see and the kind you can feel. (The face also has TaylorMade’s by-now familiar inverted cone technology, which the company says concentrates more power into the shot.)
Most players find short irons easier to hit. So TaylorMade has designed its R9 versions without the VCC, concentrating instead on a low center of gravity (provided by a deep undercut cavity) and a broad sole to encourage consistent contact and spin. Soles throughout the set are beveled with an eye toward optimizing each clubhead’s interaction with the turf; TaylorMade says it’s aiming for a “glide” effect with the R9s. The new irons have grooves that will conform to changes in the Rules of Golf and Condition of Competition that take effect January 1, 2010.
Look for the clubs Nov. 1. Suggested retail price with KBS 90-gram steel shafts will be $999. With Fujikura Motore graphite shafts (75 grams in S flex, 65 grams in R flex and 55 grams in M flex), the suggested retail will be $1,249.