If Nick Faldo has had an input into a set of irons you can guarantee the precision and attention to detail of an engineer. The six times major champion is a TaylorMade ambassador these days as well as a broadcaster and has always been known for his high level of tolerances in his clubs, even though his tolerance of the media was at times more sceptical!
The Faldo influence is clear from the elegant shape of the head. Progressive shaping makes the longer irons larger and more forgiving, and the shorter irons more compact and workable and Faldo wanted to make sure each iron blends into the leading edge to preserve the lines of the iron.
The R11’s sole, Faldo decided, should be slightly thinner and the leading edge a little sharper to enter and exit the turf more quickly and smoothly.
I was given a 5-, 7-, 9-iron and a sand wedge to review and immediately put them into play at Hendon Golf Club this week at a corporate event on an attractive parkland course where the greens were holding nicely.
Both the 9- and 7-iron saw plenty of action with approaches to the shortish par-4s and, like the pre-launch literature claimed, delivered a very pleasing high ball flight with plenty of stopping power.
The 5-iron was not as successful and was used sparingly. But I'm a 7-wood devotee and with a scorecard in my hand I felt more at home with the devil I knew than with an iron that didn't fill me with as much confidence. I'm sure that a little more practice ground activity would improve my ability with it.
For the damp bunkers I encountered, the sand-iron in the set didn't quite have enough bounce in the sole to give me the roll and distance I desired but that could be down purely to technique. Personally, I'd be inclined to opt for a specialist wedge if I was considering buying R11 irons.
They are beautiful looking clubs, with a confidence inspiring top-line that's not too thin for the mid-handicapper. Feel of the face was buttery yet penetrating while the KB 90 steel shaft delivered a powerful ball flight.