CLUBS LISTED IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER
ADAMS IDEA BLACK CB2
LOFTS: 6-iron: 29 degrees, PW: 45 degrees
TECH TALK: These irons have progressive offset to help golfers optimize trajectory throughout the set. (The long irons, for example, are designed with slightly more offset to assist in launching the ball higher.) Although the sole widths are consistent, the bounce increases from long to short irons to minimize fat shots.
L: "One of the best-looking irons out here. This is a club that will let you become a player." ... "Slam it down on the ground any way you want, and it will sit square."
M: "The sound at impact is solid. It has a lot of feedback. Perfect medium-high ball flight."
HOT: Its black finish is appealing, and the 4-iron through gap wedge configuration is something other companies should copy. The KBS Tour 90 shafts complement an already outstanding iron.
NOT: Adams touts itself as having "The No. 1 hybrid in golf," making the absence of a hybrid option in this set highly curious.
CALLAWAY DIABLO FORGED
LOFTS: 6-iron: 28, PW: 45
TECH TALK: The undercut cavity is designed to improve clubhead stability on off-center hits. The purpose of the Carpenter 455 forged-steel face is to optimize distance yet retain a soft feel.
L: "A 'tweener. Are you sure this isn't supposed to be in the players-iron section? The ball flight is perfect. The long irons help get it high in the air, but the short irons stay low and controlled."
M: "As long and forgiving as the rest of these clubs, but you can really put the ball where you want to." ... "The topline isn't too big. It has a crisp sound and solid feel. It felt heavy when I picked it up, but it was way more balanced when I hit it."
HOT: Trying to improve the unquantifiable characteristic of feel could have been futile. Instead, this might be the sweetest-feeling iron on our list. Plus, the ball just fires off the Carpenter-steel face.
NOT: That's not the only fire here. The price tag will burn a sizable hole in your wallet.
CALLAWAY RAZR X
LOFTS: 6-iron: 28, PW: 44
TECH TALK: Thirty grams of weight have been repositioned toward the rear of the club to produce a center of gravity (CG) 12 percent lower and 15 percent deeper than last year's X-22. Taking away the undercut in the heel and toe areas creates a high moment of inertia (MOI) to improve ball speed on off-center strikes.
L: "The muted sound at impact reminds me of the old Fusions. It's not an offensive sound, just different. Pleasant, actually. Produces a high ball flight, but not too high. An extremely forgiving iron."
M: "It has a rebel-like look in the bag but is pleasing at address."
HOT: Hybrid options (up to three) are a definite bonus. Studying the tendency of golfers to hit their irons low on the face and then designing a set to optimize such shots is the kind of function-over-form thinking that benefits golfers.
NOT: We're not sure what Callaway was thinking when it strengthened the long-iron lofts by 2 degrees. Aren't long irons hard enough to get in the air?