At the start of October TaylorMade and Adidas will finally split. No longer having the German giant behind them will either make or break the originators of the metal wood. Some jobs have been lost, others have been created. It’s a time of change for them as they aim to get back on top of Callaway and translate their considerable tour success back to the dominant retail position they were in only a few years ago.
It’s a real opportunity to break free and start fresh for TaylorMade. And with the recent P790 irons, I think TaylorMade has a flagship iron they can happily hang their hat on. Can the same be said for their new Super Game Improvement M CGB? With the tag line like a bag full of drivers it's a set being sold on that old chestnut; longer distance.
A set of muscle back irons like the P730 look amazing, but they won't sell in any significant numbers. However, they do project an image that most golfers aspire to. The P790 irons are modern, and I hate to say it - sexy - and have a broad appeal, yet it's still an iron targeted at that the better player. Realistically it will always be a set of chopper big bats that perform that will guarantee sales, and that's where the new M CGB irons sit in the 2018 TaylorMade’s lineup.
TaylorMade has pretty much taken every technology used on its irons over the last decade and thrown it all at M CGB. It's the golf club equivalent of a greatest hits album.
There's the fluted hosel from the 2015 M2 irons to save weight in the heel of the club where it can be a hindrance. There's a speed pocket first Introduced in the 2012 RocketBladez. Don’t get me wrong, they’ve refined it over the years, but it’s still a pocket on the sole of the club that allows the face to flex and retain ball speed on shots hit thin.
The face slots make an appearance from the 2014 RSI irons, designed to retain ball speed on shots hit towards the heel and toe of the club. Tungsten weights on the heel and toe first made an appearance back in the 2008 R7 CGB irons as did the hollow undercut topline, and they move the Center of Gravity Back (CGB) to get that launch up without significantly increasing spin rates.
Plus, they’ve still got Inverted Cone Tech, TaylorMade's response to variable face thickness that has been around since the iconic R500 driver series from 2002. It's another way to spread out ball speed across the face for longer mishits. This time it has been moved towards the toe of the club to where it can help add a little extra ball speed in the target golfers most likely spot to mishit their shot from.
Even back in 2008, TaylorMade was using milled 455 stainless steel faces, while now they are using a cast construction. Is it a backward step? Maybe, maybe not, it certainly doesn’t sound as interesting. The face thickness is under 2mm thick. That combined with the speed pockets, the face slots, and the ICT, and TaylorMade is calling this its hottest set of irons ever. And unlike most sets, all this technology is featured in every iron, from the 4 to the PW.
TaylorMade has repurposed their recent Geocoustic term again, this time in reference to the badge in the cavity. While the word might annoy me, and I like my clubs to look clean, I also understand clubs need some shelf appeal. TaylorMade calls it an ultra stiff 3D sound management badge with a soft Hybrar damper. After hitting them, I can say that they aren't as clicky as other super game improvement irons, but that's not to say it's the satisfying solid squash a PXG gives you. And while the M2 lime green isn't for everyone, this iron with its safe red and black badge, is less polarizing cosmetically.
At address, these irons look like just about every game improvement iron that TaylorMade and Callaway have made since the X12's. It's a tried and tested look, and for the Super Game Improvement category. They look decent behind the ball...perhaps I'm just getting old and starting to realize I need more help.
Tony Covey wrote just the other day that Callaway's next push would be clubs targeted at an older demographic, and although it was never expressly communicated, I think it's fair to say these apply to that category. The stock shafts are lightweight, soft-tipped Nippon NS Pro 840 steel while the graphite options are UST Recoil 460 ES. These aim in both cases is to regain some clubhead speed.
The CGB should prove popular for players often looking to carry the ball farther, and that means older golfers. And where irons like the M2 have ridiculously low lofted 19 degree four iron, the long irons in M CGB set have been dialed back a bit. The four iron still strong, but less, so 20.5 degrees. The company claims these offer the highest peak heights of any TaylorMade set since 2012 (when lofts would have been significantly weaker). They hit the ball high and far, and are around 15% more forgiving than an M2.
It would be hard to argue that the M CGB irons offer anything new. That's not to say they don't work well and do what they are intended to. Head to head in stock unfitted specs, the 8- iron was flying 10 yards further than a P790 8-iron, while producing a higher flight and more spin. That's exactly what it was designed to do.
Beyond performance, what they do is fill out a large space in the TaylorMade line up. These are super game improvement irons, designed to make even the M2 look difficult to hit. While we are all for keeping iron line-ups simple, how can you compete for sales when you don't have a dog in the fight? XXIO, Cobra’s new FMax range and PXG with its 0311XF are just three examples of clubs competing in this segment. Where Titleist recent six iron launch with five sets off irons targeted at the better player might be overkill, this is a set of irons that TaylorMade needed to bring to market. It's just a bit of a shame they are an evolution and not a revolution.
Specs, Pricing, and Availability
Retail availability begins 9/29. Retail price is $1,199.99 for steel and $1,399.99 for graphite.