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New Looks: In Search of Forgiveness

January 2014

The most difficult challenge for club engineers is helping golfers with inconsistent swings hit serviceable shots. We know today's irons are designed to improve performance on off-center hits, but makers of super game-improvement irons want to keep even the worst mis-hits in play. Engineers have addressed this challenge by making irons with extreme perimeter weighting to maximize ball speed on strikes away from the center. They've also created wide soles that slide through the turf more easily on fat shots and a low center of gravity to help launch the ball higher. Replacing long and middle irons with hybrids helps, too, but it's only part of the solution, says Justin Honea, senior director of research and development for Adams Golf: "For golfers who don't hit it in the center, you have to find ways to make the full face forgiving, but at the same time the goal is to have smooth distance transitions from hybrid to wedge." Here are the latest examples.

Adams

1. ADAMS NEW IDEA

$700

To promote ball speed, slots are featured throughout the set, including in the crown and sole of the 3-, 4- and 5-hybrid, and in the sole and toe of the hollow middle irons and cavity-back short irons.
Cobra

2. COBRA BAFFLER XL

$500/$600

There are two versions: One is an all-iron set that features wide soles with two rails to improve turf interaction. The other is a combo set that has three hybrids with oversize sole rails for stability.
Wilson

3. WILSON STAFF D100 ES

$600

The set features larger, wider-soled irons than last year's D100 model, and three hybrids have replaced the long irons. A heavy, external piece on the rear of the irons is intended to help stability.

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