Gear: TaylorMade SIM Max, SIM Max OS irons
Price: $999.99 SIM Max (4-AW), with KBS Max 85 shafts and Lamkin Crossline 360 grips; $1,099.99 with Fujikura Ventus Blue graphite shafts; $899.99 SIM Max OS (4-AW) on steel, $999.99 on graphite
Specs: Cast 450 stainless steel and 431 stainless steel heads with polymer vibration dampener
Available: Feb. 7
The goal for every game-improvement and maximum game-improvement iron is to deliver more distance and forgiveness to players who tend to struggle with consistency. Golfers who rarely break 90 don’t think about controlling little draws and fades too much, but they do think about hitting the ball farther and getting it higher into the air.
Last season, TaylorMade’s M5 and M6 irons featured Speed Bridge technology, a bar designed into the back of the club to provide more distance and better feel. For 2020, TaylorMade is using that technology again as the foundation of the new SIM Max and SIM Max OS irons.
The Speed Bridge bar connects the lower portion of the head to the topline, stiffening both of those areas, and that allowed TaylorMade’s engineers to make the face thinner (1.5 millimeters) and faster. It also allowed them to add a slot in the sole, which TaylorMade calls a Speed Pocket, and it goes all the way into the club in long and mid-irons (4-8). The company said the combination of a thinner face and the Speed Pocket allows the hitting area to flex more efficiently at impact, especially on low-struck shots, to give players more distance.
From a looks perspective, the SIM Max has the same blade length and offset as the M6, which it replaces, but a slightly thinner topline. However, to enhance the feel at impact, TaylorMade replaced the polymer block that was inside the M6 iron with a piece that runs the length of the blade. The company calls it an Echo Damping System, and it rests directly behind the face, visible from the outside.
The Echo Damping System’s ribbed design makes contact in more places to soak up more vibrations, but it does not inhibit the face from flexing at impact, so it will not cause a reduction in distance.
An added benefit of connecting the sole to the topline and then positioning a polymer piece in the cavity is it pulls more mass down and away from the face. This lowers the center of gravity and encourages higher shots.
For golfers looking for even more stability and ball speed, TaylorMade is offering the SIM Max OS. It has the Speed Bridge and Echo Damping System found in the SIM Max, but the blade length is slightly longer and the heads are larger. The oversized clubs also have a wider sole to make them more forgiving on fat shots.