PGA Championship

Valhalla Golf Club

New irons

TaylorMade embraces the dark side with all-black Stealth irons

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Although TaylorMade did a nice job of upgrading the look of its game-improvement irons with its original Stealth irons, the introduction of an all-black version might just make an already appealing iron even more attractive. .

The black finish comes through a PVD process that produces a high-gloss finish. The black head is coupled with an all-black version of the KBS Max MT Black shaft (R and S flex) and Lamkin Crossline 360 black/red grip. The irons will retail for $1,200 for a seven-piece set.

Of course, the irons feature all the technology engineered into the OG Stealth, including a multi-material cap-back design that is 7.5 times lighter than the steel it is replacing. The idea originally was used on the SIM2 Max irons but has been revised to where the cap-back now wraps around the high toe area to reduce weight in that spot, making the club easier to square at impact. Further, because there is no badge bonded to the back of the club, it allows the face to move more freely.

The sweet spot gets a boost from a springy 450 stainless-steel face that is just 1.6 millimeters thick in its thinnest areas and employs a progressive inverted cone thickness to create ball speed across a wide portion of the face while a thru-slot speed pocket (up through the 8-iron) protects against a large ball-speed drop on shots hit low on the face.

Of course, the game-improvement crowd often needs an assist in getting the ball in the air and help is provided in that area, too. The width of the sole on Stealth is 3 centimeters wider than SIM2 Max. That puts more mass lower in the clubhead and drives the center of gravity lower to provide higher launch, despite strong lofts.

Dampers inserted into the 4-9 irons have been individually designed for each iron, with ribbed structures aligning with the contact area. The Stealth Irons are also designed so the maximum point of deflection of each iron face aligns with the position of the damper, allowing it to efficiently reduce unwanted vibrations.

The long irons are designed with slightly more draw-bias than the mid-irons, which in turn have slightly more draw-bias than the short irons—a smart use of progressive ball flight bias as most game-improvement players have trouble keeping long irons from fading or slicing.

A useful trait for all golfers, whether playing an iron with a satin finish or a black one.

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