TM's big break-through
By Neville Leck Last updated: 5th November 2012
Sean O'Hair caused a stir when he used new, breakthrough TaylorMade prototype irons on the US PGA Fall Tour in Los Vegas a few week's back.
Since then a good many golfers have been wondering if the new irons were going to be made available to the public - and when.
Now they know.
Mark King, the president and CEO of TaylorMade, has announced via a global web cast that the new breakthrough clubs, to be known as the RocketBladez and to which he referred as "the biggest iron innovation to date", would indeed be made available to all - from February 1 next year.
It has still to be proven just how good the new clubs are going to be, both for the Tour professional and the amateur weekend warrior, and whether they can match up to the high expectations of King and his forward-looking company.
But in the meantime there is no doubt that the RocketBladez has taken a big technological step forward, notably in so far as it's "Speed Pocket" is concerned.
The "Speed Pocket"?
The new irons have been inspired, say TaylorMade, by the success they have had with their RocketBallz hybrids and fairway metal woods and like them, has a slot in the sole of their Nos 3 to 7 irons, the slot being two millimetres wide in the case of the irons.
This slot, the "Speed Pocket" is filled with 3M polyurethane that flexes and rebounds at impact which in turn allows the TaylorMade engineers to feature a face that is 11% per cent thinner than any face they have ever produced before and this in turn, they explain, promotes a faster ball speed with a high launch angle.
TaylorMade research found that 68 percent of iron impacts (by amateurs) are made below the center of the face.
The 'Speed Pocket' is designed to boost ball speed on all such below-the-centre hits, and thus increase distance, an exciting and innovative new feature of which King says, "I can see it (the RocketBladez) being the most-played iron on tour next year."
The tour version, the RocketBladez Tour, which will also feature the "speed pocket" is a cavity-back that is designed for enhanced speed while providing consistent distance.
"It was eye-opening to watch our tour players hit these clubs," said Sean Toulon, an executive Vice President of TaylorMade.
"What they (the golfers who tested the irons) found was that they would pick up a club or even two in yardage, but with the same height and with very consistent distance."
The clubs are available for pre-order immediately and will sell for $799 for a set of eight with steel shafts and for $899 with graphite shafts.
This is the fourth time in the last two years that TaylorMade have claimed breakthroughs in iron distance technology, the previous ones applying to their Burner 2.0, the R11, the RocketBallz and now the new RocketBladez.
In all cases their claims of more speed and thus more distance were built around the concept that by making the faces of their irons thinner and faster flexing they would improve ball speed.
It has been the usual practice of the Tour pros to stay away from irons with faster faces that could hit longer distances as they feared that while the hot spots on these type of irons could indeed increase the distance of their shots if hit perfectly, the inconsistency of shots not made from the hot spot was more than likely to make them unreliable
King, however, counters this theory by saying that RocketBladez have the potential to change the thinking of the pros and to see many of them switching from the small, rigid-faced muscle back blades they currently prefer to the new TaylorMade technology when they realise how much it can do for off centre hits.
The second advantage that they will find is that the new irons will narrow the distances that until now have been opening up between the irons and hitherto faster-improving hybrids and fairway woods.
The theory is that this would lead to more shots to the green being made with shorter, higher lofted and easier to hit irons and that this, in turn would lead to more approach shots getting closer to the hole and more birdies getting pencilled in on the card.
To find out more about TaylorMade's new Rocketbladez irons on their official site, click here
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