Equipment

New irons

Tour Edge's Hot Launch 523 irons and wedges: What you need to know

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What you need to know: Tour Edge’s Hot Launch C523 irons and Hot Launch VIBRCOR SuperSpin wedges are designed for golfers who prefer a more classic cavity-back design. The Hot Launch E523 irons and wedges provide plenty of help for the golfer by focusing on ease of getting the ball up in the air or, in the case of the wedges, out of the sand.

Price/Availability: The Hot Launch C523 irons cost $80 per iron while the E523 irons go for $100 per stick. Both wedges cost $90 each. The clubs will be in stores on Nov. 1.

The deep dive: The seventh version of Tour Edge’s Hot Launch series, the C523 and E523 irons (along with two new wedge offerings), are, simply put, clubs designed to make you play better whether it’s delivering clubs to optimize your skills or ones to help mitigate your flaws.

The 431 stainless-steel C523 cavity-back irons and E523 hollow-body hybrid irons offer help in different ways, yet both boast wide soles that lower the center of gravity for higher launch and enough offset to help slicers with shots that tend to go wayward too much.

While generally a more traditional cavity-back design, the C523’s wide sole smooths heavier hits while the 360-degree undercut in the cavity works with extra mass in the toe to enhance moment of inertia for better performance on off-center strikes.

The C523 incorporates a more compact design, thinner topline and sharper high toe than its predecessor. The changes help remove weight from the top line to help lower the CG, thus fostering a higher launch.

The company also continued down the path of using its VIBRCOR high-grade thermoplastic urethane to enhance feel and promote a pleasing sound. First employed in its 522 line of irons, the TPU is placed in the deep undercut pocket to boost perimeter weighting for forgiveness while bolstering speed and enhancing feel. In the 523, even more of the TPU is used to enhance those attributes.

“The VIBRCOR kind of fills the whole cavity, almost making it look like it could be a hollow iron,” said Matt Neeley, Tour Edge’s vice president of product development. “It kind of covers and hides the undercut. Having that thick pad behind face center really helps us from a sound and feel standpoint. It's a nice sounding and performing iron regardless of the price point.”

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On the Hot Launch E523 irons, the sole underwent a bit of an overhaul. Although the E522 irons took an aggressive approach to turf interaction by using the company’s “Houdini sole” employed in some of its fairway woods and hybrids to effectively cut through the ground, the protruding heel of the sole was a turn off to some players. As such, Tour Edge pivoted.

“One of the biggest changes is that we pulled the heel and toe of the Houdini sole up,” said Neeley. “Still, we have a lot of weight down there to help get through the turf and get the ball up. We just felt the previous sole might be a bit too extreme for some and by making some adjustments we could make it less noticeable without changing the playing characteristic very much.”

In order to offer more help than the C523, the E523 uses a shallow face height to encourage higher launch while the hollow-body design takes that a step further by placing weight low. The offset design helps counter the slice to some degree, as well. The lofts also are a little weaker than other Tour Edge irons as this player needs more help getting the ball in the air compared to any extra yards that might come from stronger lofts.

The hidden hero, however, is the new back badge. Or more precisely, the removal of it. Now a cap sits over a hollow area filled at the bottom with TPU material (according to Neeley, it is not needed up high) to help dampen the sound, while providing another benefit along with a cleaner look.

“Using the material inside the head made up for not having that super large badge,” said Neeley. “This iron sounds and feels as good as last year’s if not better. The big benefit, however, was that by removing that badge and replacing it with just this little cap, we saved about 8 or 9 grams of weight that we were then able to redistribute low and deep in the head which added about half a degree of launch.”

The shafts also are targeted at helping slower swingers with the super-light UST Mamiya HL-SST graphite shafts that range from 45 to 60 grams depending on the flex a stock offering. The irons also are available in a True Temper’s lightweight XP-85 steel shaft.

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The Hot Launch irons extend to E523 wedges. Also still featuring a wide, Houdini sole designed to make bunker escape a breeze, the sole has been slightly slimmed with more camber added to make it less of a strict one-trick pony type of club. The deep undercut in the cavity back design frees up the extra mass that's moved low to provide a higher launch while full-face grooves provide plenty of grab on shots around the green. There’s also a revamped Hot Launch SuperSpin VIBRCOR wedge with CNC milled grooves to provide enough grab and a cambered sole designed to prevent digging. A rear weight pad centralizes weight behind the top portion of the face to keep ball speed up on shots hit high on the face while also adding trajectory control through a slightly higher CG.