TaylorMade's Qi and Qi HL irons: What you need to know
What you need to know: Although TaylorMade’s P-Series irons are aimed at better players, its new Qi and Qi HL irons are geared more towards those needing a little help. That is expertly achieved through a suite of technologies that combine to deliver optimal performance in each individual iron head. For the Qi HL irons, that includes lofts approximately 2 degrees weaker and club weights more than 20 grams lighter than the standard Qi iron. It fosters getting the ball in the air with ease while boosting swing speed through a lighter club weight.
Price/availability: Available in stores Feb. 2, the Qi and Qi HL irons are $1,099 in steel for a seven-piece set (stock is 5-iron through gap wedge with 4-iron, sand wedge and lob wedge available).
TaylorMade’s P-series irons have long overshadowed its game-improvement offerings, but that’s changed over time. The Qi is the latest leap. The iron incorporates a “cap back” that replaces the steel back of the clubhead with a composite badge. The badge provides the necessary reinforcement for the thin, flexing face, along with a pleasant sound and feel. The badge also reduces mass, allowing weight to be moved to dial in the proper center-of-gravity location. To assist sound, a damping system uses a softer polymer blend and multiple contact points across the face to channel away those pesky unwanted vibrations without slowing ball speed. The nickel-chrome plating adds a touch of class, too.
3 Cool Things
1. Fight the slice. Golfers shopping in the game-improvement and super-game-improvement category tend to slice. That’s why TaylorMade focused much of its effort here to mitigate that miss.
At the heart of the Qi Iron is individual head optimization, organic face designs and FLTD CG, all working in unison to help golfers minimize the right miss. Helping achieve that is a multi-material cap-back design that is lighter than the steel it is replacing. The idea was to have the cap-back wrap 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.
2. Get the flight right. Middle-handicappers and higher often struggle to get long irons in the air and sometimes don’t get the control they need with short irons. Enter TaylorMade’s FLTD CG.
Strategically positioning the CG lower in the long irons creates an easier launch in those clubs. The CG then progressively rises into the short irons, which aids in control, launch, spin, trajectory and accuracy.
To achieve this, the 4- and 5-irons feature a lower profile backbar design that helps create that low center of gravity. On the other end, the shorter irons feature a backbar design with exaggerated heel-toe weighting for higher inertia, delivering enhanced forgiveness with the ability to control ball flight with scoring clubs.
3. Feel is the deal. Let’s be clear: The face optimization and “Speed Pocket” slot bring the heat and we don’t want to ignore that. What TaylorMade has done in the area of feel, however, is technologically worthy. Re-engineered dampers inserted into the 4-9 irons have been individually designed for each iron, with ribbed structures aligning with the contact area.
The damper also works in concert with the cap-back design, 360 undercut and thick-thin topline geometry to maximize distance and forgiveness.
“These irons epitomize TaylorMade’s continual evolution in game improvement designs,” said Matt Bovee, director of product creation, irons for TaylorMade. “We maintain the elevated forgiveness and ease-of-use, but package it with a clean look that any golfer would proudly display in their bag. In essence, we are delivering both distance and forgiveness within a more consistent and accurate package. All while achieving a larger sweet spot and a feel akin to forged irons.”
For players that tend not to play forged irons, that’s kind of a big deal.