TaylorMade Tour Preferred CB irons
Of the three new Tour Preferred irons that TaylorMade has released, the cavity-backed CB is the most player-friendly, forgiving set of the bunch. But don’t confuse them with traditional game-improvement clubs – loaded with game-enhancing features, they are designed to amplify feel and control.
"This iron is designed fairly similarly to the SpeedBlade in terms of the performance package," said Tomo Bystedt, TaylorMade's director of product creation for irons, wedges and putters. "The difference is that this is a more compact head shape, so this will require a little more precision from the player in terms of ballstriking. The sweet spots [on these clubs] are a little bit smaller."
The feature that makes the Tour Preferred CB irons play similarly to the SpeedBlade irons is the inclusion of a slot that TaylorMade calls a Speed Pocket in the 3- through 7-irons. The slot designed into the sole of the Tour Preferred CBs extends about 10 millimeters into the head. It's covered with a polymer, so dirt and debris do not get into the club. Its function is to create a hinging mechanism that lets the face bend more at impact, especially on shots hit low in the face.
- Read about the new Taylormade Tour Preferred MB right here.
- Read about the new TaylorMade Tour Preferred MC right here.
"Typically on an iron, the bottom is very rigid and there is a lot of lost ball speed when you hit it there," Bystedt said. "The new Speed Pocket design is really flexible, so you get a lot of extra ball speed on shots hit lower in the face."
TaylorMade said the inclusion of the slot gives the Tour Preferred CB irons a larger sweetspot and helps players maintain ball speed across a greater portion of the hitting area. That should lead to more consistent distance control, something every accomplished player wants.
Another key feature is feel, so TaylorMade gave the Tour Preferred CB irons three vibration dampeners. There is a badge bonded to the back of the face that soaks up shock created at impact, as well as a vibration-reducing material positioned inside the chamber of the club's lower cavity. The polymer that covers the Speed Pocket also helps reduce unwanted vibrations.
"All of these mechanisms really help to make the iron feel very solid at impact," Bystedt said.
Bystedt and the other designers at TaylorMade know they can cram all the performance and feel in the world into a set of irons, but it they don't look right, finicky Tour players and accomplished amateurs won't consider them. The company said it spent considerable time ensuring the aesthetics of the Tour Preferred CB irons are just right.
"The challenge was to create a club that performed like a game-improvement club, but that really looks like a better-player product," Bystedt said. "The shaping was extremely important, and we worked a lot with Tour players to get their feedback on sole shaping, offset and topline thickness."
The Tour Preferred CB has slightly more offset than the Tour Preferred MB irons but less than clubs such as the SpeedBlade or RocketBladez irons. The amount of offset subtly decreases from the long irons to the short irons.
At address, the topline is slender. The blade length progresses through the set, decreasing from the long irons to the short irons.
The TaylorMade Tour Preferred CB irons will come standard with KBS Tour shafts for $899 and should start arriving in stores immediately.