TaylorMade is a company that understands metalwoods. Like or loathe the brand; it invariably produces woods that perform. Irons have been more of a mixed bag.

For a long time, TaylorMade has made great players irons. Having historically had the largest tour staff they’ve needed to cater to better players. With the P790 it produced an iron that caught fire in the public consciousness. Despite the PXG lawsuit or maybe because of it, its hollow speed foam filled design produced distance and forgiveness while looking good.

But when TaylorMade hits Big Bertha territory, the land of the Ping G series, well, it fails to get any consistent traction. Outside of RocketBladez, we can’t think of a significant success for the Carlsbad based company in this arena. TaylorMade is hoping M5 and M6 change that. We’re not sure they will.

SpeedBridge

The big technology play this year in TaylorMade’s irons is the SpeedBridge. A single beam of steel that connects the sole to the crown of the iron it is designed to stabilize the head at impact. Positioned exactly at the point that vibrates most at impact, it works with the Speed Pocket to improve sound and feel while creating the requisite more ball speed. Essentially, it’s a jailbreak for irons. Or Slingshot on its side. TaylorMade claims its design is revolutionary by stiffening the face allowing for more energy transfer at impact. We’d argue it’s borrowed at best.

The design is clever, as it’s a one-piece casting which builds in more consistency than would be provided by a welded secondary piece. TaylorMade says it has been working on the SpeedBridge for a while, but it’s only now they’ve been able to make it light enough, yet strong enough to do what it’s meant to do.

Nearly everything in golf equipment design boils down to strength to weight ratios,

Because of the Speed Bridge, this is the first time TaylorMade have used a thru-slot Speed Pocket which allows the face to flex more, especially on thin strikes. According to TaylorMade, this makes the new irons faster than the M3 and M4. TaylorMade has had durability issues with their slotted irons in the past, so it’ll be interesting to see if this design not only performs but holds-up long term. Our cynical side wonders if the supporting SpeedBridge might be the reaction to those iron breakages.

Golfers say they hate badges in irons, but manufacturers keep using them. Both new iron models feature a HYBRAR dampening system and a multi-material badge that TaylorMade says helps improve the feel at impact. The sound and feel on both irons is crisp and sharp. It’s not a forged feel, and it’s not a SpeedFoam feel either, but it’s ok and decent for the category of iron.

M6

The bigger of the two irons, the M6 features carryover design traits like the weight saving fluted hosel which helps them put weight lower in the head. The 360-degree undercut cavity back does much the same, and the Inverted Cone design behind the face increases ball speed on miss hits. These are an easy to hit, high launching iron. Lofts are strong, but the launch is high, and the ball goes far. Beyond that, there’s nothing that particularly stands out about the design.

Available in 4-9-iron, GW, PW, SW & LW they come equipped with KBS Max 85 steel shafts (S, R) or Fujikura’s ATMOS Orange graphite shafts (7S, 6R & 5A). For women, the M6 irons will come equipped with the TaylorMade Tuned Performance shaft.

M5

Exactly where you expect them to be size and offset-wise, the M5 is a bridge between the M6 and the P790. The monochrome badging is meant to appeal to a more serious golfer than the M6. The design is overall very similar to the M6, albeit with a thinner top line, and a half fluted hosel to minimize distractions at address. Other than the smaller head, tungsten weight low in the head on the 4-7 irons highlight the distinctions between the two models. Less obvious changes include a pre-worn chamfered leading edge to improve turf interaction.

Available in 4-9-iron, GW, PW, SW they come standard with True Temper’s XP100 steel (S, R) or Mitsubishi’s Tensei Orange graphite (S, R) in addition to numerous additional custom shaft options.

TaylorMade is adamant that a cavity back design is still higher performing for the average golfer than one of their recent hollow designs as it allows them to push the center of gravity deeper and lower in the head. But will the average golfer agree?

Visually these don’t have any of the DNA and shelf appeal that they brought to the table with the P790 and other P-series irons. I’m personally not a fan of the look of the double-chamfered topline. We can understand making the topline thinner, but the chamfering on the face looks odd and adds weird unnecessary angles to the club at address. And while we understand strengthening lofts, a 19 degree 4-iron in a game improvement iron? That’s a 2-iron..maybe a 3-iron.

While the M5 and M6 irons are perfectly good clubs, there’s a case to be made that they don’t match up to their driver and fairway wood designs.

Retail price for the M6 iron is $899 steel/$999 graphite. The M5 are $100 more at $999 steel and $1099 graphite. Pre-orders begin January 18th with full availability starting 2/1.

For more information, visit TaylorMadeGolf.com