Tour Edge Hot Launch 521 E and C Series Irons – Key Takeaways
- Tour Edge has released two new game-improvement irons – Hot Launch E521 and C521.
- The Hot Launch E521 irons are designed to offer extreme launch and forgiveness.
- The Hot Launch C521 irons are designed around competition specifications.
- Retail price for the E521 is $89.99 per club . C521 is $69.99 per club.
The Tour Edge 521 irons give golfers two choices in the ever-popular game-improvement segment of the market. Continuing the identity of its Hot Launch line, the defining characteristics are value and performance with just enough choice to satisfy the target clientele.
In that vein, Tour Edge believes not all game-improvement golfers are cut from the same cloth. Slower swing-speed players who need every last drop of technology to help increase launch to access more distance will be best served by the E Series extreme-spec E521 Iron-Wood model.
Conversely, the Tour Edge C-series C521 provides medium (or thereabouts) swing-speed players a more “traditional” looking iron. Tour Edge describes the C521 as classically shaped though it’s fair to suggest that self-appointed adjectives are subjective and relative to the product category. To be clear, the so-called conventional geometry of the Tour Edge C521 is a bit like describing a hot dog as the quintessential tube-steak.
It’s contextually accurate.
With that out of the way, let’s zoom in on some finer points of each offering.
Tour Edge E521 Iron-Wood
As with the rest of the Hot Launch line, the “E” stands for “Extreme.” According to Tour Edge, “extreme” is characterized by “a super-low center of gravity (CG), super-shallow faces, offset designs and extremely light premium shafts designed to get the ball launching in the air with ease for slower to mid-tempo swing speed players.”
Basically the array one would expect from any game-improvement set of irons.
As for the term “iron-wood,” Tour Edge asserts that it coined the phrase describing hollow-body irons in 1999. The purpose is similar to that of competing hybrid-irons such as the Cleveland UHX: hybrid-like performance from clubs with lofts traditionally defined as irons.
The purpose of the 17-4 stainless-steel hollow body is straightforward. The design allows for a thinner face (increased ball speeds) and a low/rear CG placement. Redistributing weight away from the geometric center and around the perimeter helps increase the moment of inertia (forgiveness). A shallow face and heel-biased weighting mitigate the left-right ball flight that plagues so many less-accomplished players.
Professional instruction would accomplish the same. Unfortunately, most golfers who like the sound of a $90 per club club price tag arent’t inclined to spend at least that for one lesson.
E521 HOUDINI SOLE
I get it. Those tasked with finding catchy names for keystone technologies ride a fine line. Too generic and no one notices. Too hyperbolic and it lacks credibility. Tour Edge’s Houdini Sole just feels like it was the product at a meeting where everyone was trying a bit too hard.
At face value, the Houdini Sole is characterized by a more rounded leading-edge mass concentrated low/rear in the clubhead. Compared to the HL4 iron-wood, Tour Edge says the weight is 10 percent lower and 15 percent more rearward.
Given this, short of pulling a rabbit out of a hat or walking through a brick wall, I’m not sure the Houdini Sole is going to spawn any on-course illusions.
What it should do is help produce cleaner turf interaction when you catch a shot a little heavy (hit behind the ball).
TOUR EDGE E521 SET OPTIONS
The E521 iron-wood is offered as a seven-piece set and is available in both right and left hand.
Twelve discrete lofts allow golfers an a la carte combo-set option as well.
The stock shafts are KBS Max 80 (steel) and Mitsubishi Fubuki HD (graphite) 50-60 gram, depending on flex.
TOUR EDGE C521
Quoting Tour Edge’s product literature, “The C Series features premium, state-of-the-art Competition Spec designs with a higher MOI in classically shaped clubs that provide medium-plus swing speeds the ability to launch the ball easily and with added forgiveness and power across the face.”
There’s a good bit to unpack here but it really starts with the whole “Competition Spec” label.
The C521 is the less game-improvement model of the two options. However, it’s probably a reach to think that seriously competitive golfers will opt for this set as opposed to the myriad choices on the market.
That’s not a knock on the capabilities of Tour Edge C521. It’s more so that Tour Edge is depicting the C521 as something of a “better player” iron, using arguably contrived language. If anything, this approach could take away from what otherwise is an aggressively priced option with more than sufficient performance for the intended customer.
Tour Edge bills the “incredibly soft” 431 stainless steel material as ideal for generating an “optimal feel.” I haven’t hit the C521 irons so, at this point, everything is theoretical. Moreover, I’m not a metallurgist and I didn’t sleep in a Holiday Inn Express last night. That said, typically such accolades are reserved for one-piece forged irons and materials like 1025 carbon steel (hello, Mizuno and Srixon). It’s entirely possible that the Tour Edge C521 feels remarkably soft. Or perhaps the sensation at impact is thin and harsh. On balance, it’s probably somewhere in between.
As opposed to the hollow-body E521 Iron-Wood, the defining characteristic of the C521 is an undercut cavity. The purpose of the cavity, whether external or internal, is roughly the same: remove weight and redistribute it in a more advantageous location. Again, with game-improvement equipment, that translates as additional perimeter weighting to increase MOI and/or shifting CG to moderate launch conditions. Specific to the C521, Tour Edge puts the number at a 10-percent increase in MOI over the previous HL4 model.
You’re forgiven if you think this term feels out of place. It’s not. This bit of visual trickery involves beveling edges to produce a certain aesthetic. With golf clubs, it usually involves making a topline appear thinner than it really is. The benefit is a more compact look at address which is preferred by, dare I say, more competitive golfers.
TOUR EDGE C521 SET OPTIONS
The C521 iron model is offered as a seven-piece set in both right and left hand.
It also comes as a pre-packaged combo set including two C521 hybrids and five C521 irons.
The stock shafts are KBS Max 80 (steel) and Aldila Rogue (graphite) 55-65 grams depending on flex.
The retail price is $69.99 each (steel or graphite).
FITTING AND 48-HOUR DELIVERY PROMISE
Tour Edge will have 850 fitting locations nationwide which allow for a 48-hour delivery to anywhere in the continental United States. Custom fitting is a loaded term but suffice it to say the experience won’t be as in-depth or resource-intensive (time and money) as what you’ll find at True Spec, Cool Clubs or Club Champion. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, given the likely demographics of the average Hot Launch E521 or C521 irons target audience, it’s probably a good thing.
HOT LAUNCH E521 WEDGES
Golfers who opt for the Hot Launch E521 Iron-Wood will likely look to complete the set with matching wedges. At least that’s what Tour Edge is betting on. There’s an element of common sense here. If your game can benefit from wider soles, perimeter weighting, and a boost in forgiveness with your irons, why not stick to the same game plan with your wedges?
The chief characteristic of the Hot Launch E521 wedges is the Houdini Sole. Tour Edge claims the wide sole and undercut cavity reduces turf interaction by 35 percent. Translation: this wedge won’t dig. Also, with more mass concentrated low/rear, it should help golfers who struggle to get wedge shots airborne and forward. It’s easy for better players to forget how challenging it is to hit something other than a skull or chili-dip off a difficult lie.
A larger overall footprint boosts MOI (forgiveness). While some might feel a bigger club is harder to mishit, I’d side with those who suggest that club-turf interaction is king. Every wedge can do something but there isn’t a single wedge that does everything. The high-bounce E521 should help less-skilled golfers navigate bunkers and dicey lies around the green. The primary downside to such a wedge design is that it’s not ideal for dealing with tight lies. But there’s a good chance the target customer isn’t looking to add a Phil Mickelson flop shot to the arsenal any time soon.
The E521 wedge is available in 52-, 56- and 60-degree lofts in both right and left hand.
The stock shafts are KBS Max 80 Uniflex (steel) and Mitsubishi Fubuiki HD (graphite) 55-60 grams depending on flex.
SOMETHING TO CHEW ON
The context of this release for Tour Edge is intriguing. The first part of 2020 was, from a retail point of view, pretty forgettable. But if there’s a silver lining, it might be that more people are interested in picking up the game. And if you’re going to play golf, you’re going to need golf equipment.
Prior to all of this, Tour Edge seemed poised with a solution for consumers who weren’t motivated by $500-plus drivers and $1,400 sets of irons. While other equipment manufacturers started touting a value-first mantra, Tour Edge wanted to remind consumers that this has always been something of a sweet spot for the brand.
Hot Launch may not get the equipment gear heads setting calendar reminders. However, it will likely have a tremendous amount to do with Tour Edge’s financial picture in 2021.
If you’re the golfer whose favorite part of new releases is the inevitable price-reduction on the previous generation of clubs, you’re in luck. The Tour Edge HL4 line is already on sale.
The new Tour Edge Hot Launch 521 E and C Series irons are available beginning Nov. 1.
For more information, visit TourEdge.com.
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