|TaylorMade 200 Steel irons|
Price: £649 graphite shaft, £549 steel (3-PW)
"That’s probably the best 3-iron I’ve ever struck," said seven-handicapper television engineer Ian Coulson, as he marked his ball just a few feet short of the pin at the 180-yard, par-3 seventh hole.
"Into the wind; never felt a thing and it flew high and straight at the flagstick."
He was describing the feel and ball flight of TaylorMade’s latest contribution to the maelstrom of irons currently flooding the market – the TM200 steel.
Despite being powered by a S90 (stiff shaft), compared with regular shaft in his Ping i3 clubs, the set of cast irons he helped me test made quite an impact on us both, after a shaky start to our round, when a couple of miss-hits made our fingers tingle.
The oversize cast heads on the 3-,4-,5-, 7- and 9-irons we checked out have a longer blade and wider sole than most in their class, but demand a precision strike, so will take some getting used to if you’re looking for forgiveness on mishits.
Most significant with the longer and medium irons was the ball flight, much higher than you would usually expect, because of the lower centre of gravity built into the head by club designer John Hoeflich. He has also introduced an ‘impact pad’ behind the head in a bid to encourage a better feel and more solid strike.
The TM ‘U’ grooves claim to induce greater spin as they pitch and there’s no doubt the ball sat down quickly, but being a bit of an old cynic, that may be more to do with ‘puddiny’ March greens and the higher launch angle, than the extra spin rate.
It will be interesting to see how they perform on faster, firmer putting surfaces during the summer.
Many golfers, like me, tend to judge a set of clubs by the way the shorter ‘scoring’ irons perform and with only 7- and 9-iron available to us on test, it was hard to tell but both achieved ‘adequate’ status.
We also tried little greenside pitches but the precision needed, hardly gave us confidence.
We liked the Crossline Lamkin grips on the clubs and the less-chunky topline profile at address but overall we agreed that, like calamari and kangaroo meat, the short irons are an acquired taste.
|Golfmagic rating: 7.5/10|
TaylorMade 200 Steel irons