I know that many if not all of you do not live under a rock. We have seen, shared, and perhaps even hit the newest TaylorMade Tour Preferred line. This review is obviously going to concern the Muscle Cavity or MC. It has been at least two years since the last TP line. I had those and although maybe not the prettiest, they were pretty darn good irons. Lots of folks from pro’s to Joe’s had those in the bag. I was really excited when I heard rumors of a new TP line, frothing may be a more accurate description.
I always thought that the former TP irons were nice, well, the CB seemed like the odd duck. The main gripe was the weight port (clearly marketing there…) that stood out like a sore thumb. Supposedly this innovative technology was going to redefine the forged iron. Perfect weight for each iron, I bought in. I don’t want to get into great details about past irons, rather, I want to give some back ground about the new MC’s.
Coming to this years models and presumably the next year too. TaylorMade has come out with little fanfare with these irons. That is when you compare them to the SpeedBlades that seem to be getting the strongest push. The MC are a shape I know, and a look I love. Wait! Not only do these look great, they satin white brushed chrome looks amazeballs. The 3-7 irons have some badging just above the cavity that has a mirror look. The 8-PW are just one sexy hunk of metal.
The main gripe I hear so far is that this set is mixed. “How can you compete with a forged iron???” Seemingly, a player’s iron needs to be forged for many. Quickly many forget that many of the prior TP lines were cast, and exceptional. Ping also makes one heck of a cast club in the S series. So to me, this debate ended where it started. Moot.
I am currently sitting at double digits on the ole HC. I score in the low 80’s and that’s mainly due to my lack of emphasis on putting. I hit my irons solid but not the deepest. My average 6 iron is 170ish. In the past, many of the loyal readers here have seen many configurations of my bag(s); AP2, 712 CB, RocketBladez Tour, and most recently Miura PP 9003. I am what I would call a club ho.
I also have a strong allegiance to all things TaylorMade. My first set was TM, they have always made sure I am a happy customer, and they flat out preform for me. While I do have this strong sense of faithfulness towards TM, I assure you that this review will be unbiased for the time being. I may become strongly biased as I am always looking for new toys. A bias towards the best around (tune the song now) helps me keep these in the bag at the moment, is this bias based on performance?
The Set up:
I ordered from the custom department at TM. It took 8 days to get here to Canada. My order was for 3-PW, KBS C-Taper stiff SS, NDMC Mid-Size Red/Black. I asked for no shaft bands, but they left them on, no biggie, when they start to peel I will heat gun them off. I was also fit into 2* strong as we wanted to take some bounce off to get into the turf more and I wanted a few more yards. All standard length and lie that came spot on from factory.
The first range session was a mess. Hated these irons, was ready to go back and flip em for something else. Had a couple solid shots, but was lacking serious distance. After admitting that there was something off with the swing, I decided to give these another go. The second range session was a bit better, but doubt was creeping into my mind. Certainly no honeymoon here; I actually appreciated that as a little disdain for the set is good so I don’t get my hopes to high.
I did notice a good amount of forgiveness in these irons as I was pulling and then pushing these fairly good. I still got the feel off the club, but it just felt artificial and not like it’s supposed to. I was also hitting the ball fairly high, which was strange; I was flipping a bit with my wrists.
Verdict was that I was strongly considering taking them back for the S55. I kept em for at least a grass round.
First on course test:
My first on course test was a cold and windy day. First round was alright and allowed me to test the flight and forgiveness of these irons. Although I had KBS C-Tapers installed, the ball flight was still a medium high peak, it came out low and rose nicely. What some would call a “predictable” or “boring” flight. Into head winds, there was still a shortness on shots.
Forgiveness is an area that I wanted to see. Coming from various players and GI irons, I like a good mix. Typically my thin shots would lose distance and end on straight and short. With the MC, I was getting low stingers that still made there way towards the target. On toe strikes the ball would go left and high with distance lose. The feel was right on and these deliver the perfect amount of feedback that I liked in the 712 CB’s I had.
On pure shots, these are soft. They are not the mizuno soft that one would see with a set of 64’s or 4’s. Rather, there is a nice little click. The ball does fly off the face but before it does, there is that little second where it sticks then goes. The ball flight still maintains a medium peak height. I worried about sticking greens with these at first. What I noticed is that the angle of decent allows for the ball to drop and stop.
Rounds Played After:
I had a few rounds where I got to test the forgiveness further. For example, there is a 220-yard par 3 at one of the courses I play often. There is a 100-foot drop to this hole. Confusing it is especially in wind. I pull 5 iron out and hit a heel shot that deviates 5 yards from the line and comes up short in the bunker 35 feet from the pin. Not bad as the ball is still in play. Subsequent rounds have revealed that slicing or hooking these out of play is difficult.
I am still working some early kinks out of winter swing. I am happy with the distances I have so far, they will get longer. Long and short dispersion appear to be gapped nicely. There are no 15-yard gaps throughout the set. If you have a good set up, you can hit these straight easily. Working the ball has not been an issue out side my technique for flighting down has been less than exceptional.
Outside my swing issues, these have preformed up to my standards. Recently, after 12 rounds, I now have a great feel for these irons. If any of you fine folks follow my ponders, then the S55, I25, or SLDR irons have been on my want list. They still are, yet, nothing has compelled me to give these up.
Feel and Performance:
This is an area that many folks concentrate on. TM has gotten a lot of flak for mixing cast and forged irons in this set. I can notice a slight difference, nothing off putting. In fact, I like that slight difference. The long irons that are not forged give a soft more powerful feel. Something I like a lot. The forged irons are soft, and they have a similar feel albeit slightly better than the prior MC irons.
In m comparisons, the irons in this segment all feel great. I would argue that these feel a touch softer than the AP2, and MAYBE a touch softer than the S55, and Apex Pro. The AP2 have a much more solid feel with a more solid pronounced sound. The S55 are gems of an iron. Each of those irons has their own unique feel. The MC lets you know you hit the ball but surprisingly there is a sort of artificial softness within the cast clubs that merge nicely into the forged irons.
These perform on course like I would expect. There is feedback when needed and they go good enough to allow me get distances that are not long or short. If anything they fit in on the longer side. For comparison sake, they are as deep or deeper than the aforementioned irons.
Distance is what I would expect from MC or players iron. Its not going to really blow you away, you will notice a few more yards. The more important thing is ball flight for me. As mentioned, I get a nice mid flight trajectory. Albeit, my long irons do flight a touch lower than I would like. Nothing of concern but a few yards higher would instill a touch more confidence (still working with some swing aspects).
Turf interaction is fantastic. I was never one to take a divot, now I take nice divots. That is more a by-product of swing, but these glide through the turf effortlessly. Need to note, the speed pocket does not get loaded with schmootza.
It seems that the forgiveness aspect is running high in the players cavity market. Ping certainly managed to give a lot of forgiveness in the 55. AP2 have good amounts, as do the Apex Pro, MP54… TaylorMade certainly added weight in the right places, and the speed pocket is fantastic. The speed pocket lives up to the billing as thin shots are not nearly punished as the predecessor. Thin shots are typically my miss and these deliver a lower but nearly as long result. Toe shots go a touch lower with a noticeable distance loss. I rarely hit inside the heel so I have no commentary here. Overall, a surprise in the forgiveness department for this type of iron.
After banging these around for a bit. I noticed that the forged irons have a few more chatter marks than the cast. The cast look almost new still outside some chatter within the badging. Finish is wearing nicely or not really at all. I was always OCD about keeping irons looking new (mainly for re-sale), these have no covers. No issues what so ever, should there be, TM has best C/S in the biz.
I happen to love the looks of the MC’s. Simple elegance. They look good enough to eat. The white sating is a gorgeous look that I enjoy. They do not have the bling of pure chromed Mizzies, but they sure do look sexy in the bag.
Thanks for reading so far, it’s almost over! The folks at TM seem to be looking for anything to make their products stand out. TM always faces staunch criticism and does so with a little chip on their shoulder. These irons came with very high expectations as their predecessors were pretty darn good (I still regret selling my old combo set). TM did things a little different; it appears to have worked for me. Also, for many others that when I frequent my local Golf Town, I always put one of these irons into a strangers hand and they are for the most part impressed. Are these head and shoulders above any other offerings, maybe for some folks? I know that for looks, the feel, forgiveness, and me that is in these irons is making my game more enjoyable. As with any OEM, when in the market for a players cavity, these are a must hit.
Great feel, a lot of forgiveness for a players iron, look amazing.
Lower flight on the long irons (shaft/swing play a role here), serious lack of marketing behind the product by TM standards.
By BP Forum Member Speci