TaylorMade r7 TP
With a fairly deep undercut channel and busy markings, it looks like a game-improvement club, but the r7 TP is actually TaylorMade’s latest for low handicappers. The small, satin-finished head and thin topline are giveaways. The cavity’s black badge is more than cosmetic—it absorbs shock and tunes the club’s sound, creating a luscious feel. Also available in a biggerheaded, more forgiving version, the r7. r7 TP: $1,000 steel/$1,200 graphite. r7: $840 steel/$1,080 graphite. Call 800-888-2582 or visit www.taylormadegolf.com.
For nearly five decades Katsuhiro Miura has been quietly building forged irons for Tour players at his Japanese foundry; before his deal with Nike, Tiger played Titleist irons made by Miura. Recently Miura Golf began retailing its own irons—long a favorite among Internet connoisseurs (that is, gearheads)—in North America. Tight quality controls and a time-consuming forging process give the new player’s cavity back CB-301 a smooth feel. A nice set of shaft options includes the strong yet lightweight Nippon line. $1,149. Call 866-466-4872 or visit www.miuragolf.com.
King Cobra FP
The middle child in Cobra’s new collection of irons, the FP (for "forgiveness and playability") is a workhorse for almost any type of player. The enclosed cavity at the bottom helps get the ball up quickly and helps on off-center hits, but you can still feel the ball and manufacture plenty of shots with these irons. The FP’s siblings are the S9, more of a game-improvement iron, and the CB, in both cast and forged versions, for better players. $600 steel/$720 graphite. Call 800-225-8500 or visit www.cobragolf.com.
After initially focusing on clubs for better players, Bridgestone is now issuing GC.OS irons for higher handicappers. Weight pulled from the hollow "gravity chamber" on the back is repositioned in two disks that move progressively farther apart as the irons get longer, providing more stability and higher launch where they’re needed most. Club feel is remarkably consistent throughout the set. Also new are the GC.MID irons, with a thinner topline and smaller head for better players. $699 steel/$799 graphite. Call 800-358-6319 or visit www.bridgestonegolf.com.
Ping has taken to introducing complete lines of clubs, driver to wedge, all at once. Last year it was the G5; now comes the Rapture line, geared to double-digit handicappers. The irons, which come with proprietary graphite shafts, have wide soles and thick toplines. A sound weighting scheme, achieved with lightweight titanium faces and tungsten plugs in the toes, make the Raptures extra forgiving—but what we liked most was the authoritative feel. $140 per club (steel)/ $163 per club (graphite). Call 800-474-6434 or visit www.pinggolf.com.
Wilson Staff Di7 In designing the Di7 irons, its new game-improvement offering, Wilson focused on creating a sleeker, more compact style with no loss of playability. The wide-tipped shaft and deep undercut channel help preserve accuracy and distance on mis-hits. A few swings with the Di7s inspires a can’t-miss confidence. $449 steel/$549 graphite. Call 800-469-4576 or visit www.wilsonstaff.com.