You sometimes have to feel for golf club designers and their seemingly impossible goals. When they design clubs for a specific set of the golfing nation - say, low or mid-handicappers - how do they know their clubs will appeal to all of them?
Answer: They don't.
Magique Golf, a Tempe, Ariz., company, prides itself on designing clubs that help the average golfer. The clubs are designed by teaching professionals with the weekend warriors in mind instead of, in the company's words "an engineer for a Tour pro." That's what their M-series of woods, irons and hybrids are supposed to do, appeal to the weekend hacker.
WorldGolf.com triple-teamed the company's irons, both the M1s and M2s, with startlingly different results. The M1s are designed with the low handicapper in mind, while the M2s are supposed to keep the mid to high handicapper on or close to the green.
Yet the WorldGolf.com reviewers, all mid-handicappers, were radically split as to which set they liked. Two liked the M1s, while I liked the M2s much better.
The M2 has a polished 432 stainless steel head for what the company calls "visual confidence." I don't know about the rest of you mid-handicappers, but I don't gain much confidence from simply looking at a club. Get me close to the hole from 180 yards in a cross-wind and I'll strut around like a barnyard rooster.
In any case, the M2 has a "progressive undercut Hi-Vector sole design (that) moves the center of gravity lower in the clubhead and behind the face to produce higher, longer shots for players with average to below average swing speed," according to the company. "The exclusive 'M Back' cavity design distributes weight evenly across the sweet spot for consistent distance control on off center hits."
I liked the feel of this club much better than the M1. The low center of gravity and the cavity back gave me better control and distance than the M1 which felt thin and flimsy by comparison. You don't have to do as much work with the M2; the more weighted clubhead does a lot of it for you. Once you get the feel of it, you don't have to swing nearly as hard.
The M1, on the other hand, was "created for the purist in everyone," according to Magique. It's built of soft stainless steel (no mention of visual confidence), and nickel-plated to give the feel of forged without the cost. It has a classic profile and heel-to-toe perimeter weighting.
Both David Theoret and Mark Nessmith of WorldGolf.com liked the M1 better.
"I began to use the M1s when my Titleist clubs quit working for me," Theoret said. "I immediately noticed the ball trajectory was much higher than with my old clubs. Also, I was averaging 10 yards further with most of the irons. Another positive characteristic of the clubs occurred when I was in short rough; it seemed easier to get the ball out of there. The only negative feature would be with the sand wedge. I never felt comfortable with this club because it is not weighted enough on the underside of the flange."
Nessmith agreed, for different reasons.
"Although I guess these were designed for low-handicap players, I'm anything but," he said. "And I still found these quite forgiving and easy to hit well. I liked the forged feel and the perimeter weighting. And these were just review clubs, not tailored for me. I can only guess how sweet properly-fitted M1s would be. With some irons, I have a hard time hitting consistent shots up and down the spectrum. But these felt good from the 3-iron up to the wedge."
Magique's irons are certainly fitted for the stingier wallets of the mid to high handicapper set. Both sets are available in 3-9 plus pitching and sand wedges for $56 per club with steel shaft, and for $62 with graphite, on the company's Web site. That's considerably cheaper than the more well-known brands.
Callaway, for example, offers its Big Bertha set of irons, marketed as the most player-friendly irons in the game, for $760 for steel and $1,000 for graphite.
If you're a mid to high-handicapper and not ready to pay that kind of money for a set of irons, I would heartily recommend the M2s, though I'm out-numbered in this review. Or, you can take the word of my two colleagues. It might boil down to swing speed; if you're naturally virile and strong like me, go with the M2s.
January 4, 2006
Veteran golf writer Tim McDonald keeps one eye on the PGA Tour and another watching golf vacation hotspots and letting travelers in on the best place to vacation.
The commercials for Nike Golf's VR_S Covert Driver are some of the best recent equipment spots on TV, with players teeing off and yelling, "Sorry!" to the groups ahead that they've just purportedly hit into. Based on my testing, I'd say the portrayal of the Covert as prodigiously long is perhaps only a slight exaggeration. This driver is definitely in the top echelon of recent "long" drivers.
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