Tour Edge Hot Launch 521 iron lineup looks to take game improvement "as far as you can"
How easy to use can you make an iron? The two new irons—plus a game improvement wedge—in Tour Edge’s Hot Launch 521 family offer two approaches: “a little bit easier” and “as far as we could go without looking too crazy.”
Following the dual path in game improvement established by the company’s drivers and metalwoods announced last week, the new C521 cavity back irons and E521 hollow-body hybrid irons offer help in most of the usual ways. There’s wide soles with their lower centers of gravity (CG) for higher launch, there’s off-center hit forgiveness through their larger sizes and stable frames, and there’s ample offset to help slicers find their targets more often.
But the real story of ease of use in irons, and particularly the shapes of the Hot Launch C521 and E521 irons and the players they’re both designed to help, has to do with how to improve turf interaction. Struggling golfers need their worst shots to be playable, and in this case that means making soles that forgive the dreaded fat shot. The C521 and E521 each make their cases differently in this area.
While generally a more traditional cavity back design, the C521’s wider sole includes a small wing that extends the width of the sole at the center. That smooths those chunkier hits while adding more mass low in the head.
“We’ve basically added this little tail that really increased the effective sole while helping create cleaner turf interaction,” said Matt Neeley, Tour Edge’s vice president of product development. “We’re making a bigger iron in terms of how it plays without screaming that this is a massive iron.”
The Hot Launch C521 also slims its appearance without taking away any of its game-improvement features through a beveled topline that reduces how thick the topline appears. This comes while maintaining a larger overall face area and height to increase forgiveness and potential distance. The undercut in the cavity is more extreme than in its predecessor, the company’s HL4 irons, for a lower CG and works with extra mass in the toe to produce a 10 percent improvement in moment of inertia (stability on off-center hits) compared to the HL4.
The Hot Launch E521 iron is more aggressive in attacking turf interaction. Taking a cue from the raised, angled, keel-like mass in the rear of the bottom of the club found in the fairway woods and hybrids, these iron-wood designs also incorporate a similarly shaped “Houdini sole” to cut through the ground when turf and grass gets in the way of a bad swing. According to Neeley, the distinctive shape reduces turf interaction by 35 percent compared to the HL4.
“A lot of the things we were trying to do with the fairway wood and the hybrid really made sense to carry over into this iron-wood,” Neeley said. “The sole design really allowed us to increase the front to back dimension without increasing the amount of interaction with the ground because we’re really pulling a lot of the sole away from that area where the club meets the ground.
“I think it’s a pretty clear story on the E521 to really take it as far as we could from an offset, launch, spin type of a story, without making it too crazy. Looking at this product next to C521 you can really tell right away what this one is for: getting the ball up in the air and making sure it’s really easy to hit.”
The E521 also provides extra confidence through a shallow face height and lofts that are one degree weaker in the 4- through 8-iron compared to the C521.
The Hot Launch 521 collection of game-improvement clubs extends to a E521 wedge designed to fit easily within the the C521 or E521 sets. Like both, it incorporates a wide sole and includes the angled rear section to reduce the area of the sole that contacts the turf or sand. A deep undercut in the cavity back design frees up the extra mass that's put into the turf-sliding sole shape.
The Hot Launch C521 and E521 irons combine with the E521 wedge to offer a 12-club range of lofts from 20 to 60 degrees. Both the C521 ($70 per club) and E521 ($90 per club) are offered in a seven-club set, as well as a combo set that includes two E521 hybrids mixed in with five E521 iron-woods. The E521 wedges are offered in three lofts (52, 56 and 60 degrees, $90 each).