2014 Hot List: Players Irons\nThe best options for the advanced player\n\nRelated Video: Players Irons Pt. 1\nSTREET PRICE: $1,100 (set of eight, steel)\n\n LOFTS: 6-iron: 30 degrees, pitching wedge: 46 degrees\n\n TECH TALK: A face plate made from thin, high-strength steel is welded to a forged 1025 carbon-steel body. The slot in the sole is designed to let the face flex within an internal cavity. Tungsten toe weights optimize the center of gravity (CG).\n\n PLAYER COMMENTS:\n\n L: "A powerful feel and sound that's consistent iron to iron."\n\nM: "Getting the ball up isn't always easy with players irons, but there's no problem here."\n\n HOT: From multimaterials (five materials in six pieces) to using the DHy driving hybrids for the 3- and 4-irons, some might say this set is ahead of its time. We say it's a potential template for players irons right now.\n\n NOT: Offering conventional 3- and 4-irons for traditionalists would have been a nice option.\n\n INFO: adamsgolf.com\nSTREET PRICE: $1,100\n\n LOFTS: 6-iron: 29, PW: 46\n\n TECH TALK: The head has tungsten weights across the center of the sole of the 3- through 5-irons to help launch the ball. A higher CG in the short irons helps control trajectory. The stock shaft is the KBS Tour V-Spec.\n\n PLAYER COMMENTS:\n\n L: "On bad swings you get better than what you deserve. The flight confirms what you're feeling at impact."\n\nM: "A tremendous look. Everything is blended with nice curves that appeal to the eye."\n\n HOT: With a slightly wider sole than the X Forged and a new groove design that delivers higher launch out of the rough, this is a club that higher single-digit handicappers can appreciate, and one even Ben Hogan would be proud of.\n\n NOT: The stock shaft is based on Phil Mickelson's trajectory preferences. Lefty has five majors. How many do you have?\n\n INFO: callawaygolf.com\nSTREET PRICE: $1,000\n\n LOFTS: 6-iron: 30; PW: 46\n\n TECH TALK: This has a players-iron size and shape with a milled pocket cavity in the middle and long irons to improve launch angle. The "step muscle" design on the back helps enhance feel by making the lower portion of the face thicker.\n\n PLAYER COMMENTS:\n\n L: "A classic old-school look from the 1970s with new millennium technology."\n\nM: "The first strike with a 4-iron felt like a 7-iron—it was so easy to hit."\n\n HOT: Players irons are Mizuno's strength, and this one does nothing to take away from that reputation. The cavity removes an average of 16 grams, which are repositioned to make the face more consistent at impact, mimicking the feel of a traditional blade in a cavity-back model.\n\n NOT: The highly polished finish on the toe area can be like looking into a mirror at address.\n\n INFO: mizunousa.com/golf\nSTREET PRICE: $1,000 (set of eight, steel)\n\n LOFTS: 6-iron: 30; PW: 46\n\n TECH TALK: The "diamond muscle" pad features varying cavity depths throughout the set to assist launch in the long irons and help control trajectory in the short irons.\n\n PLAYER COMMENTS:\n\n L: "I don't know what they did with the sole design, but it's nearly impossible to hit it fat."\n\nM: "Now I know why I miss forged clubs. These provide feedback galore. You know when you put a good pass on the ball."\n\n HOT: The company's "grain-flow" forging process has been around for some time, but there's no denying it produces some of the best-feeling irons in the game. Plus, the number of custom options are so plentiful that if you can't find what you're looking for, you're not trying.\n\n NOT: The stock set is still 3-iron through pitching wedge. It's time to make 4-iron through gap wedge the standard.\n\n INFO: mizunousa.com/golf\nSTREET PRICE: $800\n\n LOFTS: 6-iron: 30; PW: 46\n\n TECH TALK: The face-stabilization bars in the cavity help control the deflection of the face, providing more consistent distance throughout the set. A 10-gram tungsten weight low on the toe helps increase the moment of inertia (MOI) for better performance on mis-hits.\n\n PLAYER COMMENTS:\n\n L: "The square face frames the ball flawlessly. That's comforting at address."\n\nM: "Some Ping irons used to feel a little harsh. These are easy on the hands, and you can tell where the ball meets the face."\n\n HOT: Ping's i20 was one of the first to offer meaningful forgiveness in a players iron. The i25 builds smartly off that foundation with improvements in CG location that optimize the forgiveness in each individual iron.\n\n NOT: Improvements that aren't visible can be a tough sell.\n\n INFO: ping.com\nSTREET PRICE: $1,000\n\n LOFTS: 6-iron: 30, PW: 46\n\n TECH TALK: To help increase ball speed, this iron features a machined face and multimaterial construction (17-4 stainless steel and tungsten toe weight). The CG has been moved slightly back in the long irons (to assist launch) and forward in the short irons and wedges (to better control flight).\n\n PLAYER COMMENTS:\n\n L: "You can knock down the short irons at will. That wasn't the case with the S56."\n\nM: "Has a nice contrast with the white paintfill on the bottom groove."\n\n HOT: When strengthening the lofts, Ping didn't merely go 1 degree across the board, but 1 degree in some clubs, and half a degree in others to be mindful of distance gaps. It's the kind of precise thinking we've come to expect from Ping.\n\n NOT: The grip is the same one offered on the super game-improvement Karsten irons. There are better options.\n\n INFO: ping.com\nSTREET PRICE: $900\n\n LOFTS: 6-iron: 28.5, PW: 46\n\n TECH TALK: This cavity-back design features a "speed pocket" in the 3- through 7-irons and features micro-slots that have been designed to increase ball speed across a larger area of the face and promote a higher launch.\n\n PLAYER COMMENTS:\n\n L: "The sound, feel and turf interaction were great, and misses still went pretty far."\n\nM: "A very pleasing shape that has a nice balance of being a players iron and what I'd expect from a really forgiving club."\n\n HOT: The company advances its slot technology in a package that appeals to the better player—both in the bag and in their hands. Some downplay that more distance is a desirable trait in this category, but there's no denying it's easier to hit an 8-iron than a 7-iron.\n\n NOT: The offset in the middle irons might deter purists.\n\n INFO: taylormadegolf.com\nSTREET PRICE: $1,100\n\n LOFTS: 6-iron: 30, PW: 46\n\n TECH TALK: The upper cavity has been thinned by 25 percent, taking six grams from the top and keeping more weight low (using tungsten positioned farther out on the heel and toe) to assist launch and increase stability. In the short irons, a slimmer sole with more weight high helps keep the ball flight down.\n\n PLAYER COMMENTS:\n\n L: "Hitting balls with these gives a pleasant sensation, like hammering a nail."\n\nM: "The AP2 continues to be synonymous with crisp, forged-iron feel."\n\n HOT: A co-forging process allows tungsten to be placed deep in the heel of the pitching and gap wedges for a better transition to other wedges. At address and in the bag, these are the best-looking AP2 irons ever.\n\n NOT: True Temper's DG Pro would seem a better shaft choice.\n\n INFO: titleist.com\nSTREET PRICE: $900\n\n LOFTS: 6-iron: 27, PW: 45\n\n TECH TALK: The X2 Hot Pro lacks the deep undercut featured in the X Hot Pro, but it has a thinner face and smaller clubhead. A progressive CG position is designed to provide more height on long irons and a flatter trajectory on short irons.\n\n PLAYER COMMENTS:\n\n L: "The look isn't the most refined, but the misses went straight. I'll take that."\n\nM: "The ball jumps off the face, but you never feel you've lost control of it."\n\n HOT: Callaway's testing revealed better players might generate excess spin and want the ability to play "controlled flyers" from the rough, so they designed the X2 Hot Pro with slightly smaller grooves to help shots launch higher with less spin. That's a nuanced improvement better players will applaud.\n\n NOT: The 6-iron loft is strong—stronger than six of the offerings in the game-improvement category.\n\n INFO: callawaygolf.com\nSTREET PRICE: $1,000\n\n LOFTS: 6-iron: 30, PW: 47\n\n TECH TALK: The shallow, muscle-cavity design was developed to raise the MOI for increased stability and better results on mis-hits. The slot in the sole helps increase ball speed on shots struck low on the face.\n\n PLAYER COMMENTS:\n\n L: "The look is very clean, and the cavity doesn't knock you out. They look intimidating, but they don't play that way."\n\nM: "The mis-hits don't feel very wild, and the pure hits feel great."\n\n HOT: A classic players look with the technology hidden at the address position. The KBS Tour steel shafts, Golf Pride Tour Velvet grips and hand-polished satin-nickel-chrome finish say you're to be reckoned with in your club championship.\n\n NOT: Unless you're making the final of your club championship, the topline on the long irons might look pretty skinny.\n\n INFO: taylormadegolf.com\nSTREET PRICE: $1,000\n\n LOFTS: 6-iron: 31, PW: 47\n\n TECH TALK: Forged from 1025 carbon steel, the latest version of the CB features an improved hosel blended into the head to produce less visual offset. The leading edge is "pre-worn" to prevent digging into the turf.\n\n PLAYER COMMENTS:\n\n L: "At address this club is pure business. It also says 'better players only.' "\n\nM: "A beautiful, sweet feel at impact that produces an ideal trajectory. The ball comes down when you expect it to, not sooner or later."\n\n HOT: When you have a proven winner, the first rule is "do no harm." Titleist has done that with the CB, making subtle yet meaningful enhancements (such as reduced face height in the short irons and a sole camber that works for a variety of angles of attack into the ball) without offending its core audience.\n\n NOT: Long irons are significantly helpful for significantly few.\n\n INFO: titleist.com\nSearch and compare prices, ratings, and more on these clubs.