Higher trajectory: Modern clubs accomplish goal
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Other than hanging back on the right side and attempting to sling the ball into the air with a handsy golf swing, there are two primary strategies for achieving a higher trajectory with iron shots.
One is to buy irons that are designed for increased height and distance.
The second is to purchase hybrids. For some golfers, this means replacing only the long irons. For others, it might mean substituting hybrids for the entire set – right down to the pitching wedge.
At the U.S. Senior Open, the longest iron in the bag of Allen Doyle, a two-time champion, and Dana Quigley was a 7-iron.
“I’ll say this to just about every golfer in the world,” said Quigley, an enthusiastic cheerleader for hybrids. “You would be smart to put more hybrids in your bag. These clubs are amazing. It is so much easier to hit solid shots and get the ball up in the air. It makes me wonder why I carried irons for all those years.”
Quigley and Doyle are staffers for Adams Golf, which has battled closely all year with TaylorMade for the honor of being the most popular hybrid brand on the PGA Tour and Champions Tour.
On the consumer level, entire sets of hybrids are starting to appear in golf shops. Tour Edge and Adams have been leaders, and each has a new set composed entirely of hybrids.
On the other side of the spectrum, Cobra is about to introduce a set of S2 irons that will replace the company’s S9 line. During an informal testing session with several amateurs, the S2 irons performed spectacularly well.
The multimaterial design does its job, with discretionary weight pushed low in the heel and toe for increased stability and a higher trajectory. Testers were able to hit the S2 4-iron as high as comparable hybrids.
Tom Preece, Cobra’s vice president of research and development, playeda major role in the creation of this iron, which has a nifty stepped sole. This means that overall the sole is a midwidth design, although the back is recessed so that it acts like a narrow-sole iron upon striking the turf.
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Adams: a70S Max hybrid set
The skinny:The whole set is composed of hybrids, with four wood-like hybrids and four iron-like hybrids. For men, the mix is 3-6 and 7-PW. For seniors and women, the mix is 4-7 and 8-SW. For men and seniors, shaft choices are Grafalloy ProLaunch Axis Blue graphite or True Temper Performance Lite steel. The women’s model is sold only in graphite.
Cost: MSRP $749.99 (steel), $849.99 (graphite)
Available: Sept. 15
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Cobra: S2 ironsh
The skinny: The S2 features a multi-material design, with a 431 stainless steel clubhead, polymer topline and toe insert, urethane sole insert and aluminum vibration-dampening back plate.
The first thing most golfers will notice is the look and shape. Technically they may fall in the so-called game- improvement category, but they will appeal to many low-handicappers. They are slightly oversized, with a hint of an offset. They look like irons for skilled players, with the added benefits of modern materials and design.
Cobra also is introducing an iron called S2 Forged, although it has a smaller head and lacks the multiple materials of the S2. The forged version (inset photo) features a cavity back along with a vibration-dampening full cavity insert. It is designed to provide additional forgiveness for players seeking the distinctive feel of forged irons.
Cost: S2, set of eight, $599 (steel), $699 (graphite); S2 Forged, set of eight, $799 (steel)
Available: Sept. 1
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Tour Edge:Bazooka JMAX Draw Iron-Wood set
The skinny: Tour Edge has been selling hybrids since 1999, and Tour Edge founder and club designer Dave Glod did something different with the new set. Glod implemented an ultrawide sole on the long irons and a much narrower sole as the Iron-Woods grew shorter. These clubs are hollow and contain internal weight pads to lower and progressively deepen the center of gravity throughout the set. The result is better control in the shorter clubs and a higher trajectory in the longer ones.
Cost: $469 (3-PW)