Golf Digest editors picks

HOT LIST 2007: SUPER GAME-IMPROVEMENT IRONS

For those unimpressed by pretty faces, the larger heads, wider soles and gobs of offset define a clear-cut purpose to get the ball airborne. If in doubt, start your search here.
Gold (Editor's Choice)

COBRA S9

  • STREET PRICE: $800.
  • Specs: 6-iron: 28.5 degrees; PW: 44.
  • Key Technology: The clubheads made from 431 stainless steel feature low profiles, strong lofts and a back cavity plate that dampens vibration. The weight saved by using a polymer top line is repositioned to promote a low and back CG.
  • Panelist Comments: "The insert makes the top line appear thinner than it is. . . . It has some zing to it with good height and an effortless feel. . . . The offset is just gentle enough to make me want to look at these again."
  • Judge's Verdict: This one is like a golden retriever: It looks sweet and forgives unconditionally. And just like the loyal canine, you'll want these by your side day after day.
  • Hot: Standard shaft options are about as good as they come.
  • Not: Why only a 2.5-degree loft gap between the 3- and 4-iron?
  • Graphite Design shaft weighs a mere 55 grams.
Gold

ADAMS IDEA TECH OS

  • Street Price: $800.
  • Specs: 6-iron: 29 degrees; PW: 44.
  • Key Technology: The hybrids have a composite crown and a titanium face. The 5- and 6-irons are hollow and have a titanium face and a composite back. The short irons have a titanium face and tungsten sole weights.
  • Panelist Comments: "It defies everything traditional, but the hybrid iron makes a soft click at impact that feels wonderful. . . . A great concept that is well executed."
  • Judge's Verdict: Heed the words of Skipper the Penguin in "Madagascar": "Don't give me excuses, give me results!" These will.
  • Hot: This set has tons of technology.
  • Not: Not everyone will like it.
  • Might not be a better set for those just taking up the game.
Gold

CALLAWAY BIG BERTHA

  • Street Price: $800.
  • Specs: 6-iron: 29 degrees; PW: 45.
  • Key Technology: The venerable design received a face-lift in the form of a constant-width sole designed to reduce digging on fat shots and a deeper 360-degree undercut channel around the back of the clubface for better perimeter weighting.
  • Panelist Comments: "Callaway took a tired design and made it fresh again. I could go 3-iron through PW in this set and not feel I was giving up anything."
  • Judge's Verdict: A comfortable design at an affordable price. It does a great job of absolving you from the sins of your swing.
  • Hot: Rounded toe an appealing look among a group of shovels.
  • Not: Might get overlooked with introduction of snazzier Fusion Wide Sole.
  • Generous offset helps keep shots from going to the right.
gold

NIKE SLINGSHOT OSS

  • STREET PRICE: $800.
  • specs: 6-iron: 30 degrees; PW: 46.
  • key technology: Twenty-nine grams is placed in an oversize slingback and in the club's wide sole to enhance perimeter weighting and increase stability.
  • panelist comments: "You might have to get used to the wider body, but it's a reassuring look at address. The impact is so soft it feels like you're hitting cotton balls. . . . These have an essence of quality about them."
  • judge's verdict: A club so easy to hit that it feels like it hits by itself. Our Editors' Choice from 2006 still holds up against this year's competition.
  • Hot: Soft tip in Speed Step steel shaft further helps get the ball in the air.
  • Not: Not enough offset to be comforting to the hacker.
  • Whistling sound during swing can be distracting.
GOLD

TAYLORMADE r7 DRAW

  • STREET PRICE: $800.
  • Specs: 6-iron: 28 degrees; PW: 44.
  • key technology: A thin, unsupported clubface with inverted-cone technology is designed for optimum distance on mis-hits. Weight removed from the cavity near the toe places the CG closer to the heel to promote a draw.
  • panelist comments: “Solid feel. Good putter. Instead of yanking ’em left, I put them all within kick-in range. . . . It looks like all the rest, but this face design really works for roll.”
  • Judge's verdict: The club has a nicely cambered sole. High-handicappers tend to hit shots fat, and this sole design will help save shots when they do.
  • Hot: Draw bias a plus for those who slice.
  • Not: But what if the pin is back right?
  • Deep cavity gets shots airborne in draw-bias design.
SILVER

ADAMS IDEA a2 OS

  • Street price: $600.
  • specs: 6-iron: 29 degrees; PW: 44.
  • key technology: The set features true 3- and 4-hybrids, ironlike 5- and 6-hybrids and cavity-back short irons to promote consistent distance gaps throughout the set. The 9-iron and PW have 30-percent higher MOI versus conventional irons.
  • panelist comments: "The ball came off fast and high and carried. . . . You have to work hard to push one right."
  • judge's verdict: Give us a call if you can find a set that's easier to hit from 3-hybrid to the pitching wedge.
  • hot: Grafalloy ProLaunch 75 hybrid shafts make easy even easier.
  • Not: The 5- and 6-hybrids may be unsettling for some.
  • Hackers should consider the 4-iron through sand wedge set.
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