Even those who aren’t golf equipment fanatics will admit that it’s an incredibly vibrant industry-within-an-industry. Each week, there seems to be new woods, wedges, putters, or irons coming out of Carlsbad, California, Phoenix, Arizona, and everywhere steel, titanium and tungsten are cast and forged.
The Golf Academy of America tries to stay on top of all the cutting-edge equipment, but Spring and Summer of 2015 were particularly interesting if you found yourself in the market for a new set of irons. When choosing your next set, you might consider one of the following:
PING recently unveiled two new sets of irons that, given PING’s nearly-impeccable track record of quality control, will find their way into thousands of bags this fall. The new iE1 series, which serves as a replacement for the i25 line, is popular among recreational players and touring pros alike. Adherents to that line will find the new breed has a thinner topline, a wider sole, and less offset than its predecessor. This promotes workability for mid and lower-handicap players.
MSRP: $135 per club steel; $150 graphite
For those looking for more forgiveness and a straighter, more reliable ball flight, PING’s new G Max irons may just be the ticket. With particularly springy faces and stronger lofts in-line with those offered by most other major manufacturers, these irons should bring at least a half club more distance to their new owners. Note that the G Max line’s head shapes will be in between those of PING’s previous G series and the Karsten super game improvement line.
MSRP: $121.25 steel; $136.25 graphite
Whereas PING has largely eschewed forged irons (except for its high-end Anser line), Mizuno is beloved by a wide range of players for its forged irons, including its traditional muscle-back blades. Two new offerings from the Japanese company are receiving a lot of play, both on Tour and at your nearest course. Both irons are geared toward avid middle and low-handicap golfers, but to varying degrees.
The MP-25 iron model is a cavity back made with Mizuno’s prized “grain-flow-forging” process. Boron is introduced into the material, which Mizuno claims makes the metal both thinner and stronger. The longer MP-25 irons also have a “Micro Slot” feature that purports to increase ball speed across the face of the club.
MSRP: 3-PW, $999 steel, $1,099 graphite
For the purist and the competitive player, the MP-5 is Mizuno’s latest iteration of a muscle back blade. With minimal offset, a thin topline, and a compact shape, the MP-5 provides the feel and shot-shaping ability Mizuno lovers have come to expect, with some added forgiveness owed to the “channel back” construction of the club.
MSRP: 3-PW, $999 steel, $1,099 graphite
Parsons Xtreme Golf
Perhaps the most exciting new irons in golf come from outside the realm of the big equipment manufacturers. If you haven’t heard of Parsons Xtreme Golf – PXG, for short – that’s understandable. The outfit, helmed by GoDaddy.com founder and avowed golf nut Bob Parsons, is pretty much brand new. Despite this status, they have already assembled a stable of pros that includes the PGA Tour’s Ryan Moore and the Champions Tour’s Rocco Mediate.
So far, PXG has only released one set of irons, the 0311s. However, their resemblance to muscle back blades might turn off potential higher-handicap buyers. The company’s design team believes that the technology that goes into the 0311 line and the custom-fitting capabilities inherent to their design means that any player can play – and play better – with them.
The PXG difference has to do with the fact that the hollow interior of each iron head is filled with a thermoplastic elastomer, which yields a quieter sound and a softer feel. This also enables the faces of the 0311 irons to be thinner, which leads to more distance, even on off-center hits. Be advised that these high-tech irons are pricy as compared to their more mass-produced competitors.
MSRP: from $300 per club
Portions of this post courtesy of golfacademy.edu.