- Edel SMS irons have been announced.
- They feature Edel’s Swing Match system weighting.
- Retail price is $250 per iron.
- Availability begins July 21.
If you’ve seen the company’s wedges, the story behind the new Edel SMS irons probably won’t surprise you. For Edel, not only does the SMS iron provide an opportunity to refresh its iron lineup with its movable weight technology but it also gives it a much-needed variable-length offering to sit alongside the SLS single-length offering.
We’ll dig into the tech in more detail but the signature feature of the Edel SMS irons is that it leverages movable weight (as part of the fitting process) to dial in the best center-of-gravity location for each golfer.
It’s a point of differentiation unique to Edel. It’s the reason why the company states, “Your irons can’t do this.” The question golfers must answer for themselves is, “Do they need to?”
Edel SMS Construction
Before we dig into the performance of the Edel SMS irons, let’s take a quick look at the construction.
The SMS is a hollow-body design forged from 1025 carbon steel. By every measure, it fits the textbook definition of a player’s iron. While there will likely prove to be plenty that appeals to the better player, distance is unapologetically part of the Edel story.
That’s a notion reinforced by the use of maraging steel in the face of the Edel SMS iron. While that does open up the debate as to whether it’s fair to call an iron “forged” when the part that makes contact with the ball isn’t, well, ultimately that’s splitting hairs. Maraging steel is fast. That’s why it has traditionally been used in fairway and hybrid faces. The point is that the material offers more speed than you can get out of 1025.
Urethane Foam Filling
Edel says the SMS is the best-feeling player’s distance iron ever. That claim is inherently subjective and impossible to either prove but, as supporting evidence, Edel offers a proprietary urethane foam filling that dampens vibration and improves sound and feel.
That’s not an uncommon story in the player’s distance category but we can certainly appreciate that Edel isn’t overselling its take on goo filling as a magic speed enhancer. Sound and feel. That’s the point.
Players Grind Sole
Finally, the Edel SMS irons offer what the company calls a player’s grind. While there’s likely some nuance to the Edel implementation, the idea itself isn’t unique. It’s all about reducing drag as the club moves through the turf.
Edel SMS Weighting
As noted, the signature feature of the Edel SMS iron is the SMS (Swing Match System) weighting system that was introduced in the company’s wedges.
Your quick refresher is that SMS is a movable weight (and, by extension, movable center of gravity) system that purports to provide better performance by locating the CG in the ideal location for any given golfer.
SMS is a three-weight system that leverages a single heavy eight-gram weight alongside a pair of two-gram weights. Edel contends that dialing in the location of the heavy weight can lead to more consistent contact and better overall performance: more speed, better distance, improved control … that sort of stuff.
Edel SMS Iron Fitting
Determining the ideal weight location during a fitting is straightforward.
Golfers are asked to hit five shots with their gamer to create the baseline. Then they hit five shots each with the weight in the toe, center and heel positions. The results will reveal the best location for the heavy weight.
From there, a shaft determination is made before cycling back and dialing in the SMS weights to determine if the stock eight-gram weight is ideal or the golfer might get better results with the addition or subtraction of a couple of grams.
The Physics of Movable Weight
On paper, SMS reads like a fitting breakthrough. If nothing else, it provides Edel with a point of differentiation in the market. On the physics alone, however, I’m not entirely sold.
The efficacy of an adjustable weight system is based on three things.
- Amount of weight being moved
- How far that weight is being moved
- The distance of that movement from center of gravity
The most effective adjustable weight systems move a lot of mass over a large area (in golf design terms, anyway) and well away from the center of gravity. That last bit is the impetus for COBRA’s “radius of gyration” talking points that accompanied the release of the RadSpeed driver.
When we look at some of the most effective movable weight designs in the driver category, they shift the center of gravity by +/- 5mm.
With the stock build of the Edel SMS irons, you’ve only got six grams (eights if you have 10 grams of weight) being moved. That’s not a lot to begin with and, on percentage, it’s significantly less than we find in drivers where companies are pushing over 20 grams of weight around lighter heads. The point is that, in an iron design, the movable weight accounts for a significantly lower percentage of the total weight.
With the SMS irons, not only is there less weight being moved but it’s being moved over much smaller area. You’re swapping an eight-gram weight for the two-gram weight immediately next to it. The comparably small amount of movement also means the weight isn’t shifting too far from the center of gravity.
That said, golf is a game of millimeters and fractions of degrees, so it’s well within the realm of possibility that the movable weights on the SMS irons could work. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that everything works for someone.
Maybe a small difference is all it takes.
Edel SMS Irons – Performance Data
As I’ve said countless times, when golf companies provide us with data, the home team always wins. As you would expect, the Edel irons performed really well compared to what the company’s 25 testers had in their bags.
In most cases, manufacturers only provide averages. Edel, however, provided every shot collected and that provides a unique opportunity to dig a bit deeper.
Backing Up the Claims
First, the data provided by Edel absolutely supports its claims. That said, while I’m not a fan of eyeballing outliers, a cursory glance suggests the Edel SMS irons may have benefitted from the test protocols themselves as the majority of the worst shots were hit with the testers’ gamers.
More on that in a bit but I suppose that if consistency is one of the selling point of the three-weight system that powers the Edel SMS irons, perhaps there’s a case to made for keeping absolutely every shot and rolling with what you get.
That is how it works in golf. Save the occasional breakfast ball, we don’t get to toss outliers on the golf course.
A Deeper Dive
Here’s what the data shows.
Big ball-speed gains – On average, compared to their gamers, testers picked up 2.16 mph overall and 3.30 mph with the weight is in best position. All but one of the 25 golfers in the test produced higher ball speeds with the Edel SMS irons.
More carry distance – Testers picked up an average of 3.39 yards overall and 5.60 yards over their gamers when the heavy weight was located in the best position.
Higher flight and steeper descent – With the weight in the best position, the Edel SMS irons produced peak trajectories that were 6.57 feet higher with a 1.1-degree increase in descent angle. The simple summary for that is better stopping power into greens.
Three for three for Edel. We’re looking good.
Club speed – Testers picked up an average of 3.06 mph of club speed overall.
3.06 mph? Is that right?
For me, this is a red flag.
A swing speed gain of more than 3 mph with an iron isn’t just intriguing. It’s eye-popping. Frankly, it’s odd. In our Most Wanted iron tests, across an entire test pool, the average between the fastest club and the slowest is typically around 1.5 mph.
So how can we explain that?
The answer could lie in the test protocols and fitting methodology. If, as the fitting process describes, all shots with the gamers were hit first, we’d fully expect speed to increase as the session continues. The reason why we rotate clubs frequently in Most Wanted testing is that it ensures that clubs hit earlier don’t suffer from cold swings, clubs hit late don’t suffer from fatigue and that anything in the middle doesn’t benefit from being in the swing speed sweet spot.
My hunch is that gamers were hit first for all testers which inherently put them at a speed disadvantage. Could the Edel irons be faster? Sure … But three mph? That’s a stretch. If clubs were rotated, then, this is interesting.
What is impressive (and not tied to speed) is that the Edel irons finished 15 percent closer to the centerline. Granted, we’re only talking about 1.3 yards but you shouldn’t expect to see massive numbers here and I’ll take four feet closer to the hole all day long.
Edel SMS Irons – Final Thoughts
Do the movable weights work? Maybe they do. Maybe they don’t. If that’s something you’d like us to take a closer look at and test for ourselves, tell us in the comment section.
Until then, we can say with certainty that golf equipment’s greatest truism remains. For you, the Edel SMS iron will either be better, worse or the same as what you have now. Edel absolutely believes in its SMS fitting system and I’m absolutely certain it works for somebody. At worst, the weight system is performance-neutral.
If you’re curious, we’d recommend visiting an Edel fitter to try the SMS irons.
Specs, Pricing and Availability
The stock shaft for the Edel SMS iron is the KBS Tour. The stock grip is a Golf Pride Tour Velvet. In both cases, your fitter will determine whether stock is the best answer for you.
Retail price for the Edel SMS irons is $250 per iron. Availability begins July 21.
For more information, visit Edelgolf.com.
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