The Tommy Armour TA1 irons offer a veritable cornucopia of technology from long irons to short irons at a bargain price, and not just because they can. No, rather, the thinking is average golfers are being underserved by traditional irons in the game-improvement category.
“In the meat of the market, everybody wants distance, and that’s what we mean to give them,” said Dave Michaels, senior product manager for golf at Dick’s Sporting Goods, the parent company that now owns the Tommy Armour brand and distributes those clubs exclusively at both its Dick’s and Golf Galaxy stores. The TA1 irons join the previously released TA1 woods as part of the brand’s reemergence in the marketplace. “It’s not just on the center strikes, it’s on the off-center hits, too, which is why we give them more help with the maraging steel in both the long irons and short irons.
“By maintaining that technology throughout the entire iron set, you’re going to see consistent ball speeds throughout all the irons, so you’re not going to have that huge gap. Having that maraging steel face throughout the set was paramount for us. I think we just kind of took it a step further.”
Of course, as a house brand for Dicks’s and Golf Galaxy, Michaels said the TA1 irons' lower price also results from not having to worry about marketing budgets and multiple-channel distribution challenges that mainstream manufacturers have, and their exclusive presence in Dick’s and Golf Galaxy stores is similar to a direct-to-consumer approach.
The TA1 irons feature a multi-piece construction throughout the set, specifically five separate elements to each iron. The 4- through 7-iron offer a hollow 431 steel body joined to a high-strength 450 carpenter-steel cupface. That 431 steel is also used to frame the short irons with a deep undercut cavity behind the same high-strength 450 carpenter-steel cupface. Both the hollow long irons and undercut cavity short irons also employ a 10-gram tungsten toe weight to keep the center of gravity low and centered in the face for better off-center-hit forgiveness. A vibration dampening cavity badge controls feel.
Generally oversized throughout with a consistent blade length, the TA1 has a progressive offset and sole width for the different irons to better match up with the swing and turf-interaction requirements through the set.
Though the lofts are strong in the middle of the set (a 30-degree 7-iron, for example), the shorter irons reflect the more common lofts, like a 45-degree pitching wedge.
“We didn’t want to go ahead and just jack the lofts, because when you jack the lofts at the end of the day you’re still making the club more difficult to hit because you’re just not going to launch the ball as high,” Michaels said. “We’re not giving up distance with our lofts, but we’re generating distance through the construction of the clubs.”
The TA1 irons also offer an impressive array of custom shafts at no extra charge, including KBS Tour 95, True Temper Dynamic Gold and XP95, Nippon Zelos 8, UST Mamiya Recoil and Aerotech Steelfiber i70.
Along with the multi-piece, cupface construction that makes the TA1 irons quite the bargain, starting at $600 for the eight-iron set; $700 for a combo set with two hybrids and six irons; and $800 for the all-graphite combo set.