The Special Edition/Limited Edition movement is getting another player today, and it's a bit of a head-scratcher.
Wilson's Staff is releasing its award-winning FG Tour V6 irons in a new, raw finish. Raw, as in no plating or finish. And raw as in each club in the set is going to rust. On purpose.
What in the name of Gene Sarazen is going on here?
Rust Never Sleeps
If you want a sweet set of forged player's cavity back irons, you'd be hard-pressed to do better than the Wilson FG Tour V6. The iron is the choice of Wilson Tour staffers Padraig Harrington, Kevin Streelman, Ricky Barnes and Brendan Steele, and is the defending champ as MyGolfSpy's Most Wanted Player's iron. It's soft feeling with the kind of clean, classic look that appeals to better players. So why offer a special edition V6 that's going to, well, rust?
"We were really inspired by our Tour and Advisory staff," Brad Syslo, Wilson's Grassroots Program Manager, tells MyGolfSpy. "This is something they wanted, something that would give a little less glare and give a unique identity to each golf club in their bag."
Wilson has had success with its PMP wedges in raw, and some believe that some rust on the face may add some additional spin. With irons, as lofts decrease, any spin benefit provided by rust virtually disappears, so the question remains - do golfers want that same kind of rust on their irons, as well?
"We've launched various finishes based on the demands of our advisory staff and consumers, and on industry trends," says Syslo. "So I think it made a lot of sense for us to launch the raw version of these irons with the PMP raw being so successful." Wilson Staffer Troy Merritt will be putting the Raw V6's in play at the Travelers Championship in Connecticut this week.
Diamonds & Rust
During our photography session at Breakfast Hill Golf Club in Greenland, New Hampshire, one thing jumped out right away: the V6 Raw do look pretty badass. The raw finish gives the head a slightly muted, slightly less shiny tone compared to the standard edition V6. But the real standout is in the cavity itself: Wilson has added a slick looking copper badge, the only part of the head - other than the tungsten sole weights - that actually won't rust.
Each iron head is coated with a thin layer of oil to prevent any oxidation during shipping. But once you unwrap them and put them into play, pretty much anything can happen. Each iron in the set will develop its own unique patina over time, based on age, use, and exposure.
"My raw wedges are all different, my 52 looks a little different from my 56," says Syslo. "Each has its own unique patina based on how much exposure they've had. They're all going to have their own unique look to them."
How each iron rusts, and how much, is going to depend on how much you wipe down each iron after each use. And you could even slow it down a little by applying your own oil, but at that point, you're fighting nature.
Wilson adheres to a two-year product cycle on most of its products (the PMP wedges are now in their third year. and the FG Tour 100 blades are coming up on five years), so the math says the V6 should be due for replacement at the end of this year. Wilson's D300 Super Game Improvement irons and metal woods, which came out at the same time as the V6 irons, are already being discounted - a sure sign a new line is being prepped for launch. V6 pricing, however, is holding steady.
"If you look at our irons, Wilson has always had a two-year life cycle," says Syslo. "But with the F series irons (F is Wilson's better player, or Feel player, iron line), it does vary from model to model. There is no timetable for when we'll launch a new product as we're always innovating and testing."
The question of whether golfers will want to buy and own irons that will rust is still an open one. Raw wedges are one thing - there are golfers who swear by them and love the unique look. On the other hand, you're going to replace your wedges more often than your irons, so if you get tired of looking at rusty wedges, you can replace them without breaking the bank.
Irons? That's another story, and it depends solely on an individual golfer's preference.
Price and Availability
The V6 Raw irons are available on Wilson's website and through many of Wilson's premium retail partners starting today. The original V6 irons came standard with the Dynamic Golf AMT (Ascending Mass Technology) shafts, but Wilson points out the V6 Raw will be available as a custom order only, with a variety of no upcharge shaft options, including several Dynamic Gold and KBS Tour offerings. Additional shafts will be available at a slight upcharge.
The Limited Edition Raw will start at $1,099 with any of the no-upcharge shaft options, or a $100 upcharge over the standard, non-rust model.