Wilson Golf played a major role in starting what might be called the Thin Face Revolution with its unique Reflex iron in 1979.
The Reflex had a slot cut in the sole, and Wilson planned to tell the world about the slingshot effect resulting from flex-face design. Not so fast, said the U.S. Golf Association, instructing Wilson to keep a low profile. The iron never received much publicity, and five years later it was out of production.
Fast forward to 2014, when thin faces in irons likely will make a huge impact. The USGA has adopted a new attitude about flex-face irons – it’s OK to talk about them. So companies are talking aggressively. All the major manufacturers have thin-faced irons, and Wilson is in the mix with its new Staff C 100 iron.
The language of the Thin Face Revolution includes descriptive terms such as floating faces, unsupported faces, flexible faces, ultra-thin faces, hot faces and trampoline faces. What they do is flex upon impact with a golf ball. Golfers will hear a lot more about thin faces and their ability to better transfer energy and boost distance.
Metalwoods also have thin faces, but their spring-like effect has been regulated since 1998. Although irons are subject to the same performance rules as metalwoods, they are not swung fast enough or hard enough to surpass USGA limitations. As a result, irons are the next frontier. Already a strong case could be made that irons have never been better in design and function.
Wilson designs its irons in three categories: Feel, Control and Distance. The C 100 is the centerpiece of the Control category.
Wilson says the C 100 provides distance and workability, the distance coming primarily from a thin face. Wilson says the C 100 face is “large” and “unsupported” and adds that “a stronger stainless steel material allows for Wilson Staff’s thinnest faced Control iron yet.”
Unsupported means the face is not confined by a rigid iron body. It moves by itself, while the iron’s exoskeleton technology holds all the design elements in place and allows them to work together. The exoskeleton structure permitted Wilson engineers to move much of the mass to the perimeter of the iron.
The look and performance of Wilson’s Control irons are intended to appeal to skilled players, while also attracting average golfers. The C 100 is a midsize design that from address looks like a first cousin of the Wilson Staff FG Tour M3 iron.
Available in sets of eight (4-iron through gap wedge), the C 100 sells for $699.99 with graphite and $599.99 with steel. The graphite shaft is the Aldila RIP Phenom 75 model, while the steel shaft is the True Temper CL 100.
All the new Wilson irons – FG Tour M3, C 100 and D 100 ES – are scheduled to be at retail Jan. 15.