TaylorMade R11 irons to go on sale Sept. 1

Part of the TaylorMade R11 iron series, which will be released Sept. 1.

Part of the TaylorMade R11 iron series, which will be released Sept. 1.

CARLSBAD, Calif. – TaylorMade’s new R11 irons go on sale Sept. 1 in the wake of the strong consumer interest that has surrounded R11 drivers, fairway woods and hybrids (Rescues).

The initial appearance of the white-headed R11 woods and hybrids came at the PGA Merchandise Show in late January. A short time later retailers reported runaway sales – many couldn’t keep R11 products in stock.

“Sales were off the chart,” said Casey Baker, primary buyer for Miles of Golf in Ypsilanti, Mich. “No matter who came in the door, they were asking for it. Even people who weren’t golfers knew about it.”

Now come the R11 family’s irons. How are they different from the successful line of Burner SuperFast 2.0 irons?

The R11 has a much more traditional appearance. The strong-lofted SuperFast 2.0 is a multi-material iron with something of a futuristic look to it, whereas the R11 is a multi-material iron with a generous amount of technology wrapped in a more conventional package.

Most TaylorMade touring pros will continue to use Tour Preferred irons, although some are expected to play the R11, which fits neatly between the Tour Preferred and SuperFast 2.0.

The R11 is expected to appeal to golfers who want the look of a traditional iron but the performance advantages of a modern iron. The R11 is a thin-faced, finely weighted distance iron that just happens to look more like a classic iron.

The R11 irons feature a red weight port reminiscent of the red disc on R11 drivers. The weight port on the iron, though, serves a different function – not only does it insure a uniform swingweight, it is part of TaylorMade’s system for locating the center of gravity in an exact position on each R11 iron.

With the R11, TaylorMade has paid particular attention to sound and vibration management. Sandwiched between the clubhead and an aluminum sound badge in the back cavity is a soft adhesive substance that absorbs unwanted vibration.

The company says the R11 feels “superbly soft.” Many modern iron designs are known for their immaculate feel, and amateurs who shop for irons should make sure they match the feel (particularly on miss-hits) with their expectations.

The sole of the R11 is reasonably sharp, designed to enter and exit the turf without digging or bouncing. Nick Faldo was heavily involved in the design of the iron, and he focused on the sole as well as the top line.

Faldo wanted a multifunctional sole and a top line that blends into the hosel in a pleasing fashion. The long irons have wider soles to lower the CG for a higher launch.

Lofts on the R11 iron are slightly weaker than those of the SuperFast 2.0 but stronger than the Tour Preferred lofts.

Stock shafts will be the steel KBS 90 and the graphite Fujikura Motore (75S, 65R, 55M, 50L). The KBS 90 feels very stable but enables golfers to get the ball in air much easier than with most heavier steel shafts. As the different Motore shafts get lighter, they also get softer, so the R (regular) kicks the ball somewhat higher than the S (stiff).

The R11 irons will be available in a set of eight clubs, and consumers will have a choice. Most are expected to be 4-through-A (gap wedge), although a 5-through-S (sand wedge) configuration also can be purchased. A 3-iron is sold separately.

Street prices are $799 with steel and $999 with graphite. Grips are the Golf Pride Tour Velvet, the most popular grip on the PGA Tour.

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