The new Epon irons and wedges bring classic forged shapes into the modern technology era of thin faces, oversized shapes and enhanced forgiveness. That’s just the fresh thinking you might expect from the company that also manufactures forged irons for some of the top brands in the game.
Epon, the subsidary brand for Endo Manufacturing of Japan, which has been forging irons for leading brands around the world since the 1960s, debuts three new models this spring. That trio includes a new forged wedge (Tour Wedge Type S), a classic muscleback blade (AF Tour MB II) and a unique forged design with what the company is touting as “the thinnest face on any one-piece forging in the world” (AF-505). Says veteran designer Jeff Sheets, technical director for Epon North America, “With the Epon brand, Endo holds nothing back. While they provide premium forgings for major OEMs, every one of those projects operates within a budget. Endo’s Epon products are the epitome of what a forging manufacturer is capable of producing without any limitations.”
The AF-505 may be the most dramatic effort in the new Epon lineup. It replaces the compact AF-503, which used a two-piece design with a high-strength “spring” steel (SUS 10) in the face. The AF-505 goes a different direction, moving from a two-piece construction to a single-piece forging that uses Japanese S20C carbon steel. The forging features a faces that is nearly 25 percent thinner than the two-piece designs’s spring steel face insert. According to Epon’s Dustin Vaughn, the AF-503 face was 2.6 millimeters thick, while the new AF-505 is just two millimeters, or about the thickness of a nickel. While irons with face inserts and other one-piece castings can occasionally produce thinner face designs, that kind of thickness on a forged design is unique. “By taking the face down to only two millimeters, we were able to retain and even improve upon ball speed while maintaining more of a traditional forged feel at impact,” Vaughn said.
The AF-505 also features less offset and a shorter blade length. The use of heel and toe weight ports (adjustable by the fitter) allows the design to still produce similar launch and forgiveness in the tighter package. Vaughn said the moment of inertia measurement on the AF-505 is actually higher than on the larger AF-503.
Epon’s expertise in its forging technique is also seen on the AF-Tour MB II, the first replacement in the muscleback blade design for the company since 2008. It is forged from Japanese S20C carbon steel and features traditional four-degree loft spacing, including a 32-degree 6-iron and 48-degree pitching wedge. It is also offered as a combo set with the Epon AF-Tour CB. Altogether, the current Epon line includes six iron models and two wedge lines.
The Epon Tour Wedge Type S is designed with an oversize shape and more offset compared to the previously introduced Tour Wedge. An added layer of fraise milling aims to boost spin compared to the original Tour Wedge, enhancing the overlapped milled groove design that extends the milling beyond the groove edge to improve performance in wet conditions. The Type S als utilizes a higher center of gravity through a thicker face design at the top that tapers from 5.5 millimeters at the topline to four millimeters toward the sole. It’s offered in seven lofts (48 to 60 degrees).
The full Epon irons and wedges lineup is available through Epon authorized dealers. Pricing starts at $350 pre club for the AF-505 (4-iron through pitching wedge) and the AF Tour MB II (3-iron through pitching wedge), and the Type S wedge will retail for $375.