Golfers replace their irons much less often than other clubs, but when that time comes, it's good to know what the latest options are. Manufacturers have been tweaking irons to hit the newest balls better, to give customers more models to choose from and, in many cases, to incorporate the latest extreme game-improvement technologies.
PING G5 AND i5 IRONS
In a break with tradition, Ping is introducing its entire G5 line of clubs at once: driver, fairway woods, hybrids (the company's first ever), irons and putters. The G5 irons ($115 MSRP per club steel shaft/$145 graphite) are forgiving, high-launching clubs designed for just about everybody. Compared with the best-selling G2s they replace, they have more perimeter weighting and a slightly deeper cavity that widens the sole. The "tuning port" on the back, used to tweak feel, is flatter and bigger. Also new: i5 irons (same price), which are similar to the G5s but have smaller heads and less offset for players who prefer to have more control of their shot shape. Both irons have that familiar, delicious Ping feel. Call 800-474-6434 or visit pinggolf.com.
TITLEIST FORGED 735.CM
The Forged 735.CMs are Titleist's first true combo set (the company calls them "blended"). Two- through seven-iron are cavity backs with an interior muscle ridge and other tweaks that optimize the launch angle and forgiveness for each club. The eight-iron through pitching wedge are muscle-back blades that produce flatter trajectories and better control. A new bore-through hosel frees up weight to put behind the face. The 735.CMs should appeal to both mid-handicappers and expert players who want a bit more help with the long irons and a little more control over the short ones. Available with a stainless (pictured, $112 MSRP per club steel shaft/$129 graphite) or chrome ($120/$137) finish. Call 800-225-8500 or visit titleist.com.
The forged Srixon I-506 irons ($999 MSRP/$699 street; steel shafts only) combine the relatively small head, thin topline and minimal offset of a player's club with the low center of gravity usually found in a mid-handicapper's set. The thick bulge at the rear bottom of the club sits right behind the ball and, although not visible at address, inspires confidence. We loved the resonant bladelike feel and high launch of these clubs. Call 888-477-4966 or visit srixon.com.
Nakashima, a young California-based manufacturer, has impressed many with its beautiful, well- crafted drivers and fairway woods. Its new irons should do no less. The NX-5s ($799 MSRP steel shafts/$699 street; $899/$799 graphite) are game-improvement clubs with a clean, simple look. The clubheads are long from heel to toe and have moderate offset, a thick topline and milled faces and grooves (for precision and durability). Cast from high-quality steel, they have a smooth feel and are easy to hit. Also new: NP-1 forged irons for better players. Call 800-455-5514 or visit nakashimagolf.com.