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2015 Player's Irons ROUNDUP: AmateurGolf.com Staff Review
06 May 2015
by Rusty Cage

see also: Equipment Reviews

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2015 Player Irons From Titleist, Callaway and Ping
2015 Player Irons From Titleist, Callaway and Ping
In some fundamental ways, the latest irons designed for accomplished players haven’t changed much. A single-digit handicap golfer can still expect a prototypical player’s iron to possess classic styling, responsive feel, a thin-to-moderate sole width, excellent turf interaction and a high performance steel face.

But unlike the classic blade from yesteryear, the new player’s iron is longer. And perhaps most importantly - it’s a lot more forgiving. Tungsten weighted inserts and exotic polymers that were at one point signature components of a game improvement iron are being judiciously used to make the clubs featured in this list perform better for the low-handicapper. Perhaps companies like Nike are spot on when they campaign around slogans like “there’s always better.” Today’s club designers are out to prove just that.

Titleist AP2 714 Irons

Titleist’s current iteration of the AP2 irons released in 2013 are still relevant when compared with newer products in the marketplace. Many of the progressive ideas associated with the AP2 irons were adopted by other manufacturers along the way.

To make the AP2 irons longer and more forgiving, Titleist lowered the center of gravity and thickened the face on their long irons to improve the launch angle and carry distance. On short irons, Titleist thinned out the sole and adjusted the CG higher for a flatter trajectory. To improve forgiveness, the company used high-density tungsten weighting within the dual cavity design. Lastly, in response to suggestions from tour players and competitive amateurs, the AP2 irons were given a pre-worn leading edge and beveled trailing edge to improve turf interaction from even the tightest of lies.

Titleist AP2 irons
Titleist AP2 irons

The AP2 714 irons come stock with True Temper’s Dynamic Gold S300 shaft. An extensive array of aftermarket shafts are available, many of them can be ordered at no up-charge.

Titleist AP2 multi-material construction
Titleist AP2 multi- material construction

Callaway Apex Pro Irons

When you bring back an iconic brand (Apex) synonymous with the legendary Ben Hogan, you better get it right. For Callaway, it’s been a rock-solid debut for the Apex Pro irons, earning Golf Digest’s Hot List gold medal in back-to-back years.

While not a true blade design as some purists would expect from a product stamped with the Apex name, Callaway’s high- performance player iron is nonetheless very sleek and tastefully adorned. The Apex Pro irons are forged from 1020 carbon steel and feature a 17 percent thinner face than Callaway’s now-retired X-Forged irons and include a polymer insert to dampen any vibration.

Callaway Apex Pro iron
Callaway Apex Pro iron

The long irons in the set (2 to 5-iron) have tungsten inserts in the soles for higher launch and additional forgiveness. All irons in the set have Callaway’s new high performance wide grooves that are said to impart more consistent spin and provide pin-point control. The Apex Pro irons come stock with the mid- launch, low-spin KBS Tour-V shafts (R, S, X).

Callaway Apex Pro iron profile
Callaway Apex Pro iron profile

Ping S55 Irons

Ping’s S55 irons offer a good combination of feel, distance and forgiveness, plus a classically-inspired head design guaranteed to please traditionalists. The multi-material S55 irons are cast from 17-4 stainless steel and feature a tungsten toe weight to increase forgiveness. Elastomer is used in a custom tuning port to dampen sound and deliver a forged-feel.

Ping S55 iron
Ping S55 iron

Long Irons in the S55 set have a low and back CG placement to launch the ball higher for added distance. The center of gravity is more forward in the scoring clubs to flight the ball down with optimal spin. Ping’s mid-launch CFS shaft (SR, R, S, XS) comes standard. The True Temper Z-Z65 (S) and TFC 1891 shafts (SR, R, S) are also available.

Ping S55 tungsten toe weighting
Ping S55 tungsten toe weighting

TaylorMade RSi 2 / RSi TP Irons

TaylorMade’s RSi 2 irons have much of the same game improvement features as the RSi 1 irons aimed at mid-handicappers. These features are most obvious in the long irons which, like the RSi 1 models, have Face Slot technology to improve ball speeds and generate more distance on off-center hits toward the heel or toe. The long irons also have a Speed Pocket through the sole which delivers an additional measure of distance for shots struck low on the face.

Where it gets interesting is in the mid and short irons. TaylorMade used high- strength, thin steel faces in the mid irons for better ball-strike consistency. Short irons are given the forged carbon steel treatment and milled grooves for a softer feel and precision control.

TaylorMade RSi 2 iron
TaylorMade RSi 2 iron

For those players who not so enamored with the somewhat chunky look of the RSi 2, TaylorMade also released the RSi TP irons. Maintaining the same technology features (Face Slot and Speed Pocket), the vastly superior-looking TP irons are more in keeping with the sort of player iron a single-digit handicapper is more inclined to play. Unlike the RSi 2 irons, the TP edition uses a two- piece construction in the long irons. Premium 1025 carbon steel in the hosel and face is merged with a 431 stainless steel back. The short irons feature classic forged heads with a slight muscle cavity.

TaylorMade RSi TP iron
TaylorMade RSi TP iron

TaylorMade’s RSi 2 irons come with the KBS Tour 105 shaft while the RSi TP irons ship with the KBS Tour Steel shaft.

Nike Vapor Pro / Vapor Pro Combo Irons

While I’m sure there’s still a number of golfers who wish Nike had stuck to the ultra- simple, classic-looking and limited-run MM Proto irons, the Vapor Pro and Pro Combo irons will have open-minded golfers look beyond their shiny Volt-colored swoosh badges.

The Vapor Pro irons are everything a modern player iron (emphasis on modern) should look and feel like. It has a super thin sole width, straight leading edge and practically zero offset. Engineers at The Oven moved the center of the gravity more towards the center of the face to maximize the ball speed where it matters most for better ball strikers. The one-piece forged 1025 carbon steel construction and machine-milled X3X grooves combine to deliver precision and world-class feel.

Nike Vapor Pro iron
Nike Vapor Pro iron

Compared to the Pro irons, Nike’s Vapor Pro combo set offers a little more forgiveness for those golfers who need it. Progressively-placed CG goes from low and deep in the long irons to high and forward in the scoring clubs. Also, the long irons in the set (2 through 7-iron) feature RZN in the cavity for added stability; short irons have a small muscle cavity and have better workability.

Nike Vapor Pro 
Combo iron
Nike Vapor Pro Combo iron

The Nike Vapor Pro irons come stock with a True Temper Dynamic Gold shaft (R, S, X). The Pro Combo irons use a lighter True Temper DB Pro shaft (R, S, X).

Mizuno MP-15 Irons

Whenever a new set of irons are added to Mizuno’s MP category, golfers can expect tour-level performance. But what they might not expect from the new MP-15 irons is “full-cavity” forgiveness that doesn’t alter the forged feel.

What Mizuno did was take a classic MP iron forged from 1025E steel and add a titanium insert directly into the back of the clubhead where 38 grams of steel would normally go. They shifted the discretionary weight to the perimeter where it was used to improve the club’s MOI. The end result is a true player’s iron in terms of looks, feel and thickness with some of the forgiveness of a game improvement club.

Mizuno MP-15 iron
Mizuno MP-15 iron

Mizuno’s MP-15 irons come stock with True Temper Dynamic Gold shafts (R, S, X). Additional aftermarket shafts are available at no up-charge.

Mizuno MP-15 iron profile
Mizuno MP-15 iron profile

Cobra Fly-Z+ / Fly-Z Pro Irons

Both the Cobra Fly-Z+ and Fly-Z Pro Irons are designed for the more advanced player. The main difference between them is the level of forgiveness.

The milled undercut cavity design in the Fly-Z+ long irons use tungsten inserts in both the toe and heel to improve forgiveness around the perimeter of the club. A vibration- dampening TPU insert improves feel and consistency throughout the set.

Cobra Fly-Z+ iron
Cobra Fly-Z+ iron

The Fly-Z Pro iron is, without beating around the bush, Rickie Fowler’s club of choice and is modeled after Cobra’s AMP Cell Pro in terms of looks. Unlike the Fly-Z+, the Pro irons have just a single tungsten weight in the toe which serves to shift the center of gravity away from the heel and towards the true center of the club face. Additionally, these forged irons use the same groove and face- milling pattern found in the company’s wedge line for precise spin control.

Cobra Fly-Z Pro iron
Cobra Fly-Z Pro iron

The Cobra Fly-Z+ irons use a KBS Tour shaft (R, S, X) while the Fly-Z Pro irons come stock with True Temper’s Dynamic Gold shaft (R, S, X).

Srixon Z745 Irons

At first glance it can be hard to differentiate between Srixon’s Z745 player’s iron and the company’s Z545 game improvement model. Both sets of clubs look nearly identical and are forged from 1020 carbon steel. Like the more forgiving game improvement model, the Z745 is designed with Srixon’s Tour V.T. sole. By increasing the leading bounce while reducing the trailing bounce, Srixon created a sole profile that drastically reduces turf resistance and tightens up shot dispersion.

Srixon Z745 iron
Srixon Z745 iron

The Z745 irons use a double laser milling pattern on the club face (one parallel to the grooves and another slightly angled) for stable spin performance from every lie including shots out of the rough. Compared to the Z545 GI iron, Srixon’s Z745 line has less offset and a thinner topline. True Temper’s Dynamic Gold shafts (R, S, X) come stock.

Srixon Z745 Tour V.T. Sole
Srixon Z745 Tour V.T. Sole

Wilson Staff FG Tour V4 Irons

It’s been a long-time coming for this once-iconic brand. But the road back to critical-acclaim starts with the company’s FG Tour V4 irons which earned a gold medal in Golf Digest’s 2015 Hot List.

Wilson Staff FG Tour V4 iron
Wilson Staff FG Tour V4 iron

The FG Tour V4 irons have all the premium components expected from a player’s iron built for distance and forgiveness. An 18-gram tungsten weight resides in the sole of the longer irons in the set, positioning the center of gravity low and back for higher launch. Thinner faces on the upper portion of the club heads allow mass to be repositioned to optimize launch and spin while improving forgiveness.

Wilson Staff FG Tour V4 tungsten 
weight
Wilson Staff FG Tour V4 tungsten weight

Wilson’s Staff FG Tour V4 irons come stock with True Temper’s Dynamic Gold DG Pro shaft (R, S, X). The FG Tour V4 irons are available in both right-handed and lefty models.

Ben Hogan Ft. Worth 15 Irons

Without a doubt the PGA Show in Orlando this past January was buzzing about the resurgent comeback of the Ben Hogan equipment company after a seven-year hiatus. Headed up by company President Terry Koehler who grew up idolizing Hogan and working for the brand as a marketing director in the 1990s, the revitalized brand released a set of player irons that Hogan himself would be proud to put his name on.

The Ft. Worth 15 irons are everything a classic Hogan blade should be. Forged from 1025 carbon steel, these beauties look and feel like an authentic Hogan iron. But make no mistake, while these irons clearly pay respect to the man they are named after, they are designed with the modern game in mind. The Ft. Worth 15 irons do not have traditional numbers stamped on their soles. Instead, the company offers irons in 1-degree increments allowing golfers to customize the set makeup in whatever way suits their game. All told, these irons are available in a whopping 44 lofts that range from 20 to 63 degrees.

Hogan Ft. Worth Irons come in 44 different lofts

The Ft. Worth 15 irons can be custom built to order starting in April. They come stock with either the KBS Tour V or Tour 90 steel shafts, or with UST Mamiya Recoil graphite shafts.

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