Tommy Armour 845 MAX Irons and Hybrids – Key Takeaways
- Tommy Armour updates its super game improvement offering.
- Irons add forgiveness with a possible sacrifice in distance.
- Free lie, length and grip fittings at DICK’S and Golf Galaxy.
- Value priced: $499.99 for a seven-piece iron set, $179.99 per hybrid
The new Tommy Armour 845 MAX irons and hybrids may just force you to answer some uncomfortable questions.
- Can DICK’S house brand really stand toe-to-toe with the big OEMs? (Hint: Our Most Wanted testing suggests it can.)
- As much as golfers complain about big OEM pricing, can you take a sub-$500 house-brand iron set seriously?
- Here’s the biggie: If you can’t see yourself gaming them, does that mean you’re hopelessly “brandwashed”?
For the record, this scribe answered yes, yes and perhaps. That last one did require some painful introspection.
The new-age Tommy Armour line is a frontal assault on preconceived notions. We all remember the classic 845s irons. And we also all remember the decade-plus it spent as an embarrassingly low-end Sports Authority offering. But give DICK’S credit for upsetting the apple cart a bit by infusing an unexpected level of quality, performance and, most importantly, value into Tommy Armour.
And if you’re a super game improvement golfer, the new Tommy Armour 845 MAX irons and hybrids might force you to do some soul searching before wallet-reaching.
Tommy Armour 845 MAX Irons
Let’s get this on the table right away: the new Tommy Armour 845 MAX irons list for $499.99 with steel shafts and $499.99 with graphite shafts. And right now, both DICK’S and Golf Galaxy have the 845 MAX irons on sale for $449.98.
I don’t care who you are, that’s a bargain. Yes, it’s the same price as, say, the Sub 70 799 irons but you can actually go to the store and try the Tommy Armours. And did we mention custom fitting is free? The fitting is limited to lie, length and grip but that’s still more than most super game improvement buyers get.
And while actual performance is still an open question, we can say the previous model was a strong Most Wanted performer. In 2020’s Most Wanted Super Game Improvement Iron testing, the 845 MAX was the overall leader in total distance, fifth overall in Strokes Gained and was named Best Value.
It did, however, finish near the bottom in forgiveness.
For 2022, DICK’S is trying to fix that but it may very well come at a distance sacrifice. Let’s dig in.
Forgiveness Versus Distance
The new Tommy Armour 845 MAX irons represent a fundamental shift in design away from distance and toward forgiveness. That means a change in specology (loft “un-jacking”) and some changes in technology.
The 2019 Tommy Armour Atomic irons featured a 27-degree 7-iron. The 845 MAX was un-jacked to 30 degrees. And while traditionalists may object, the 2022 845 MAX 7-iron is 31 degrees. Traditional? No, but it is on the weak end of the SGI category.
With that, the 845 MAX strives to offer more forgiveness than its predecessor without trending toward shovel. It features more of an undercut cavity than the previous model while a concave hosel design allows for a wider sole and for weight to be moved low and back.
And what does that do for us, class?
Easier and higher launch and, most importantly, higher MOI and the forgiveness of a puppy.
As mentioned, the 2020 845 MAX was the overall distance leader in Most Wanted testing. Higher launch and less twisting on those pesky off-center hits, along lighter weight components, should mitigate any spec-related losses.
As for performance, if history is a guide, the 2022 Most Wanted SGI Iron testing should be very interesting.
Tommy Armour 845 MAX Irons: Specs, Price and Availability
The Tommy Armour 845 MAX irons are available in a seven-piece set (5-AW) through DICK’S and Golf Galaxy. As mentioned, the regular price is $499.99 for both steel and graphite shafts. The set is on sale for $50 less.
The men’s offering is available in both left- and right-handed. It features the lightweight True Temper SL 85 shaft as stock, available in both R and S flexes. It’s a 98-gram shaft with a soft tip which True Temper classifies as mid to high trajectory. The Recoil 660 SC is the stock graphite offering in A flex (68 grams) and R flex (71 grams).
The Lamkin Crossline is the stock grip.
The women’s offering features the Recoil shaft only (L flex, 67 grams) and is available for righties only.
As mentioned, DICK’S and Golf Galaxy are offering free basic fittings for loft, lie, length and grip size. All custom orders will be built by Golfworks.
Tommy Armour 845 MAX Hybrids
Hybrids almost always get third-tier, “also starring” status in new product launches. That’s just the way of the world. The Tommy Armour 845 MAX hybrids do, however, have a couple of features worthy of your time and attention.
Yes, they’re made for forgiveness and distance, yadda, yadda, yadda. But isn’t that the whole point of a hybrid? The 845 MAX features Improved Inertia Technology™which is essentially a new head shape with a super-thin stainless steel cast body. It’s designed to—deep breath, people—shift weight low and back for higher launch and increased MOI.
Like the 845 MAX driver and fairways, the hybrid features a Flex-11 face design. It’s the Tommy Armour take on variable-face thickness with 11 distinct face thicknesses across the face to preserve ball speed on the off chance you ever so slightly mishit the ball.
At its $179.99 price point, you won’t find composite construction but you will find multi-material construction. The material that matters is the maraging steel cup face which, along with 455 carpenter steel, is typically found in higher-grade metalwoods.
Tommy Armour 845 MAX Hybrids: Specs, Price and Availability
The 845 MAX hybrids are available in 19- and 22-degree models for men and in 22- and 25-degree models for women. The women’s models are right-handed only as is the men’s 22-degree model.
The Mitsubishi Tensei Red (75 gram in A and R flex) and Blue (85 gram S flex) are the stock men’s offerings while the 75-gram Tensei Purple is the stock women’s shaft.
The stock grip is the Lamkin Crossline 360.
Standard pricing is $179.99 but they’re on sale for $149.98.
A business truism is that price makes a statement. A high price, even though it may piss you off, makes a positive statement as to performance and quality. Low price does just the opposite. In other words, there’s a distinct line between “you get what you pay for” and “too good to be true.”
On the other hand, each consumer travels with his or her own price/value matrix. That’s where a lower-priced option can score high on the value scale, provided it performs in the same neighborhood as higher-priced options.
If you’re a consumer who wails, moans and gnashes your teeth what you perceive as OEM price gouging, where do you stand on Tommy Armour? If you’re a golfer in the market for super game improvement irons or hybrids, would you put the DICK’S/Golf Galaxy house brand on the same stage as COBRA, PING, Callaway or TaylorMade?
And if they outperformed those SGI stalwarts, would you consider gaming them?
Brandwashing is a very subtle condition but it’s also very strong. OEMs spend beaucoup bucks on marketing for one simple reason: It works.
That, friends, is the party Tommy Armour is trying to crash.