By Jason Bruno
TaylorMade's new SpeedBlade is the latest in distance performance iron technology.
By now you've heard the hype, seen the commercials and probably even seen the sticks in
the local golf superstore . . . yes, TaylorMade is as good a P.R machine as there is in sports,
and because golf equipment is such an addictive obsession for so many of us, we can't get
enough of it. To make an analogy, they are the New York Yankees of the golf equipment biz.
You either love them or hate them for their accomplishments, but rarely is anyone ever
indifferent when TMAG is the subject matter. I often say "What can they possibly come up
with next ?" Then, next comes along, and the bar goes up another notch. Whether you're
a fan or not, to deny how good they are as a golf company is disingenuous . . . but I digress,
let's get back to our insatiable hunger for more distance.
TaylorMade's latest distance irons incorporate many small innovations, perhaps the most
obvious is the Speed Pocket, which is essentially a handlebar shaped slot in the sole (the
slot actually cuts through internally) which allows the club face to flex more at impact,
producing higher launch, faster ball speeds and more distance.
The Speed Pocket which is included in the 3 thru 7 iron only, has been lengthened and
widened since its inception in last years Rocketbladez irons. The slot is not included in the
8 iron thru wedges (where accuracy is the primary focus-not length). The bending notch
in the hosel is another great feature that makes it easier for clubfitters to adjust loft & lie
angles in each iron. Our test set came in 4-GW with TM stock 85 gram steel shafts in stiff
The short irons (8-wedge)
have minimal offest (see
photo right) and a nice sleek
topline - nothing screaming
irons here.The mid/long
irons have progressively
more offset and a thicker
top-line to promote
The dark smoke satin ion
plating reduces glare and
looks sharp at address.
Although Speedblades won't be mistaken for
forged blades, they also don't resemble the
bulky thick profiles of a typical distance iron,
their sleeker look at set up and address
separates them from most clubs in this
Essential to the performance and visual appeal
of Speedblade irons is their progressive shaping
throughout the set. Notice (in the photo right)
the smooth transition of how each hosel flows
into the heel portion of each clubhead - not a
cookie cutter design here. TMAG designers have
created each individual iron as it's own form for
a specific function, the sole and topline in the
scoring irons are slimmer to promote more
versatility and control.
It didn't take long to figure out a few things about the SpeedBlade irons: Getting the ball
to fly high only requires that you put the club on the ball at impact, it's that easy. The
carry distances-especially with the long and mid-irons is crazy long. Is any of that caused
by "smoke n mirrors" technology (strong lofts, and longer than standard superlight shafts)?
Yes of course, but that's industry wide in the production of distance irons these days. The
ultra thin face, deep cavity and Speed Pocket (slot) all contribute to the massive distance
Truth be told, hitting short irons with 85 gram shafts definitely takes a little getting used to,
but after gearing back a bit . . . I was able to flight the scoring clubs down into the South
Florida winds. The long and mid irons just travel forever, a trait that requires no getting
used to, in fact the biggest challenge might be figuring out your new carry distances with
each iron . . . for example my carry with my 6 iron was 172 yds, SpeedBlade -184 yds.
If High straight bombs that land softly on the greens are what you're after, than the
SpeedBlade might be your new irons. Perhaps the best feature for amateurs, is the yardage
loss on your miss hits is so minimal you won't believe it, and as many of us get older that
might be the best distance gain of all.
Although Speedblades are made from cast construction, they don't have the harsh feel of
many other distance irons. Impact is not the buttery feel of a forged blade, but it's a unique
trampoline like feel, somewhat similar to the sensation of compressing a ball on the sweetspot
of a hybrid or fairway metal . . . the sound is a crispy robust thwack.
Our testers raved about how easy the SpeedBlades are to launch, and of course we all love
being able to tell our buddies that we just flew the green from 194 downwind with a 6 iron
(I was the guilty party on that one). When you're testing product, it's always best to have
respected colleagues input, and every once in awhile you get a quotable gem that captures
the essence of what both the club manufacturer & player are hoping to achieve. Rich Smolen
(a competitive low digit player & LinksNation product tester) did exactly that, serving up this
"Golden Nugget" after his session testing the new irons: " I gotta tell ya, I've been struggling
with my game, hitting these SpeedBlades actually made golf fun for me again, I'm ordering a
set". He did just that, and in his first round with his new sticks . . . he played his best round
of 2014 (and may have peeled a few from his group in the process).
After all, isn't that feeling the reason we play the game?
For more info on SpeedBlades visit: http://taylormadegolf.com/taylormade-irons/