Proto Concept C03TC irons: What you need to know
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Proto Concept, a premium “house brand” of one of Japan’s leading golf retailers that’s now looking to establish an audience in the U.S., launched its fourth iron, the C03TC. Targeting better players, the single-piece forged cavity back model featured a milled undercut in the back wall that’s specifically sized to provide a distinct center of gravity for each iron loft.
PRICE: $370 per iron (4-iron through pitching wedge). 7-iron: 32 degrees, PW: 45 degrees. Available May 19.
3 COOL THINGS
1. More than a forged cavity back. These irons carry a similar general shape to the C01 muscle-back blade design and are built specifically as a replacement for the C03 forged cavity back previously introduced by Proto Concept. (Proto Concept is a relatively new premium house brand from Golf Partner, the largest golf retailer in the world with over 400 stores in Japan.) The key to the new C03TC is a milled out channel in the lower undercut of the cavity on the 4- through 7-iron. That helps to lower the center of gravity to help shots launch more effectively, compared to the original C03. Not universally the same throughout, the milled out channel in the undercut uses a specifically developed depth, width and angle for each loft. The short irons don’t include the milled channel to avoid the CG getting too low. Without it, the CG’s slightly higher position leads to a more controlled, flatter flight with more spin.
“The C03 had a little difficulty for players in launching shots higher, especially the longer irons which led to low shots with less spin,” said Proto Concept’s tour rep Masashi Kamoda. “The milled out channel gives us more CG depth and that makes them easier launching.The shorter irons are for more of a controlled flight so they don’t need the channel, and they’re more of a feel club so they feel even better at impact for these controlled shots.”
2. Traditional lofts for better set matching. While the C03TC is its own complete set that runs from 4-iron through pitching wedge, it’s also part of a family of four irons (C01, C05 and C07 are the other three). While the CG is lower on the new C03TC mid and long irons compared to the C01, Kamoda said the flexibility of changing iron types through the set starts with the similar shaping and lofts.
The C03TC's 7-iron is 32 degrees, the same loft as the C01, which features a titanium core surrounded by an S25C carbon steel body; and the same loft as the C03, which features a face insert and a pocket cavity. The C07 is one degree stronger and is a larger, face insert and pocket cavity design.
“The C01 blade is designed for a very good, skillful player, while the C05 is designed as a players distance iron, and the C07 is designed for game improvement,” Kamoda said. “But, Proto Concept golf clubs are famous for mixing and matching with the other categories' irons. As an example, I just had a customer with a set that had the C07 for the 4-iron, the C05 for the 5- and 6-iron, the C03 for the 7- and 8-iron and the C01 for the 9-iron and pitching wedge.”
3. Softer steel for better player feel. The C03TC irons are the only ones in the Proto Concept family that use S20C carbon steel (similar to 1020 carbon steel) in a single-piece forging throughout the full set. In terms of size, topline thickness and sole width, it lives in between the C01 and C05 irons, but favors more the C01 side of the line. The irons are forged in Japan’s famous forging house Endo, which has been producing forged golf clubs for over half a century.