Golf Digest editors picks

SUPER GAME-IMPROVEMENT IRONS

Today's irons hit it higher, farther and sweeter. You won't even notice that their rolled-back grooves spin some shots a little less

February 2010
$: BEST VALUE | W: ALSO IN WOMEN'S | CATEGORY LEADER | (H) HIGH-HANDICAPPER | (M) MIDDLE-HANDICAPPER | (L) LOW-HANDICAPPER
CLUBS LISTED IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER

ADAMS IDEA A7OS

STREET PRICE: $700 (set of eight, graphite)
WEBSITE: adamsgolf.com
LOFTS: 6-iron: 28 degrees, PW: 44 degrees

TECH TALK: The hybrids in the 3-iron through 5-iron slots feature an extra 44 grams in the heel and toe for stability; the 6- and 7-irons are hollow-back middle hybrids designed to launch the ball high with spin. The short irons are conventional wide-sole cavity-backs.

PLAYER COMMENTS:
(H) "The 9-iron was easy to hit. It launched the ball high, and the head looked only a touch oversized."
(H) "I know these are supposed to be for hackers, but I would recommend them to anyone with a 12-handicap or higher."
(H) "It has ridiculous performance. I like the way they filled in the back of the 6-hybrid."

HOT: The company's experience in hybrids shines in this well-conceived integrated set. Call a7OS the smartphone of super game-improvement irons: It does a lot of things well that other clubs don't.
NOT: It might be more helpful to high-handicappers if the set started with a 4-hybrid and ended with a gap wedge.

ADAMS IDEA A7OS MAX

STREET PRICE: $750
WEBSITE: adamsgolf.com
LOFTS: 6-iron: 28, PW: 44

TECH TALK: Using the a7OS as a starting point, Adams engineers made the a7OS Max more user-friendly by featuring four wood-like hybrids and four iron-like hybrids. Each club has a built-in draw bias designed to help players who typically slice the ball.

PLAYER COMMENTS:
(H) "If you're a struggling or beginning golfer who is having trouble making good contact, these clubs will work well for you."
(H) "The 3-hybrid looks like a fairway wood. I'm not sure I'm down with that." (H) "The whole set is nice. The hybrids are exceptional." ... "They're as smooth as can be. It's almost impossible to miss with these."

HOT: Adams says it made this set -- with its draw bias and deep CG -- for the "double-bogey-type golfer." In other words, if you play like Mr. or Mrs. Havercamp from "Caddyshack," then these are your clubs.
NOT: If you're not Mr. or Mrs. Havercamp, the hybrid-like 7-iron through pitching wedge might be taking the integrated-set philosophy "right in the lumberyard."

CALLAWAY DIABLO EDGE

STREET PRICE: $800
WEBSITE: callawaygolf.com
LOFTS: 6-iron: 28, PW: 44

TECH TALK: Callaway engineers researched the impact zone of high-handicappers. Based on those findings, they moved the CG low on the face (50 percent lower than on the Big Bertha '08) to make the sweet spot more accessible on low hits. The wide sole with a low leading edge prevents golfers with a steep angle of attack from hitting shots heavy.

PLAYER COMMENTS:
(H) "The ball just explodes off the face without any bad feedback in the hands."
(H) "Not enough help with the 3-iron, but the cavity is nicely hidden in the middle irons and short irons."
(H) "The feel is a little like Novocain -- you don't feel a thing. These clubs are so good even better players should take a look."

HOT: The Diablo is like the ideal spouse: It has looks and brains. The standard set comes with two hybrids (3 and 4) and six irons. A 5- and 6-hybrid are available for an additional $160 each.
NOT: Those choosing a straight 3-iron through pitching wedge configuration are stuck with steel shafts. Graphite isn't available.
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