Written By: Tony Covey
After the Adams Golf acquisition, the stated plan for TaylorMade was to narrow its focus to the better player and let Adams have its way of things with the senior and super game-improvement crowd. While that’s not completely what happened, TaylorMade more or less has stayed out of the highest handicap market. Consider this: The last true Super Game-Improvement Iron from TaylorMade was the RBZ Max.
With plans to do something quite a bit different with the Adams brand underway, it makes perfect sense that TaylorMade would choose now to re-enter that market with a product designed for higher-handicap, yet still competitive golfers.
That’s right…higher handicap golfers play in tournaments and are as game for a $2 Nassau as anybody else. And they take my money…just like everyone else.
The AeroBurner is for them, which might not be good news for me.
AeroBurner Speed…(eye roll)
As you can see from the spec chart, the major selling point here is AeroBurner Speed…now available in an iron. Frankly, I don’t actually know if AeroBurner speed competes favorably with Callaway’s Outrageous Speed, so for now let’s assume that everything is ludicrously fast and get on with our story.
Have a look at the specs and try and contain your outrage until the end.
I know…a 22° 5-iron and a 43° PW. It’s extreme, but lets also remember that static loft isn’t the same as dynamic loft, so don’t get to thinking you’re going to hit nothing but worm-burners. TaylorMade designed AeroBurner with an emphasis on high launch and high peak trajectory.
Really what TaylorMade sought to create with AeroBurner is an iron that would compete favorably with PING’s G30 and Callaway’s Big Bertha irons, but do so at a more consumer-friendly price point. At $699, you can think of AeroBurner as affordable speed.
Umm…You Forgot the Face Slots
It’s funny how quickly a golf company can condition us. When I first saw the RSi1 I was absolutely astonished by the presence of face slots. Frankly, I thought TaylorMade had jumped the shark once and for all…that is until I hit them and realized how big of a difference those slots apparently make. One look at the AeroBurner iron and I’m totally befuddled again; this time by the lack of face slots. What the hell TaylorMade? I want face slots!
It turns out there are several reasons why TaylorMade chose to produce AeroBurner with a slotless face.
As TaylorMade’s Director of Product Creation for Irons, Wedges and Putters, Tomo Bystedt, explains it, fundamentally what face slots do is make the iron behave like the face is bigger than it is. In simple terms, face slots add forgiveness to smaller iron heads. AeroBurner is a large iron as it is (somewhere somebody is screaming “shovels!“, and so the need to for additional forgiveness isn’t what it is on an RSi2, or even an RSi1.
AeroBurner is already a max COR iron, so the addition of slots would have necessitated thickening the face (to bring the iron back to the USGA’s happy place), which in addition to fundamentally defeating the purpose of creating a fast face, would have moved the CG to a place other than where TaylorMade wanted it.
Finally, face slots add to manufacturing costs. TaylorMade’s goal was to create an iron that was attainable (affordable) for the masses. Face slots would add another $100 to the retail cost, which TaylorMade doesn’t think makes a whole lot of sense considering the additional trade-offs that would have needed to be made.
Now is probably a good time to mention that from a design perspective, AeroBurner’s slot technology functions more like the original slot found in RocketBladez. The emphasis is on low face forgiveness, and adding spin back to what are, by any reasonable measure, strongly lofted irons.
But other than that lack of face slot stuff…
It’s Exactly What You’d Expect
Call it Super Game-Improvement, call it a distance iron; we can haggle over category adjectives, but the AeroBurner inarguably looks the part for either.
Blade lengths are long. Offset is tremendous (maybe even outrageous), and the toplines are as thick as nearly any iron in golf. Like I said, it’s what you’d expect.
For some the larger footprint will breed confidence, for others, total contempt. I get that. If the AeroBurner iron isn’t for you, then it isn’t for you. Higher handicap golfers looking for more forgiveness and plenty of help getting the ball in the air might feel differently.
If you’re a TaylorMade guy, or just a guy looking for a forgiving iron with an emphasis on distance, it’s reasonable to assume that you’re going to find yourself trying to decide between the AeroBurner iron and the RSi1.
Check back tomorrow to see the results of our head to head test between the two.
Pricing and Availability
Available at retail on Wednesday, March 27, AeroBurner irons are available in 8-piece sets and are equipped with stock REAX 88 High Launch steel shafts ($699) or AeroBurner REAX 60 graphite shafts ($799) in stiff, regular, senior or ladies flex.