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|The new TaylorMade-adidas Golf Burner 09 irons are individually configured for optimal performance from each club. (Courtesy of TaylorMade-adidas Golf)|
TaylorMade-adidas Golf's new Burner irons are made to appeal to all levels of golfers, from pro to 30-handicap.
It's no secret that when it comes to golf clubs, how they look is often nearly as important as how they perform.
Golfers, especially skilled players, want a club that looks good at address and one they believe they can work to create various shots. Conventional wisdom has taught us that the more forgiving a club is, the more it typically lacks in the first two departments.
But like golf balls, those qualities may be merging. It used to be that if you wanted a ball you could work and one that would sit down on the greens, you had to give up distance. Not any more. The problem with irons, however, is that irons that are forgiving give you the ability to hit a ball fairly straight even when the swing should produce a shot that might hook or slice.
A skilled player, however, can work almost any club. Hooks are no problem with perimeter-weighted, cavity-back clubheads; fades and slices are a little more difficult.
At some point, however, even good players might be willing to give up the ability to fade or slice a shot intentionally if the club is so easy to hit that it produces an extremely high level of consistency. The new TaylorMade-adidas Golf Burner 09 irons may be such a club.
Billed as the most-dynamic, best-performing iron TaylorMade has ever produced, they look good at address, and each club is individually configured to get you the best combination of workability and forgiveness.
TaylorMade's design team started with the 4-iron (most sets typically revolve around the 6-iron).
"We felt that if we could make a long iron that was far easier to hit than any other, we'd learn a lot about how to make the middle- and short-irons easier to hit, too," said Benoit Vincent, TaylorMade's chief technical officer. "We spent a great deal of time in the beginning deconstructing conventional long-irons and re-thinking how we might reconstruct them in a new and different way.
"We'd given the previous Burner irons longer, lighter shafts and Inverted Cone Technology, but we knew we could do more. We realized that tweaks weren't enough, that we had to redesign the club completely. We realized that each grouping of irons - the short-irons, middle-irons and long-irons - had to be treated separately and differently, because each one is a different animal."
For new irons, TaylorMade engineers thinned the clubface to give it a higher Coefficient of Restitution. The clubhead was increased in size for more perimeter weighting. The long irons have a bigger sole and more offset, and they are outfitted with a lighter shaft and grip.
In short, the long irons are more like hybrids, which are very easy to hit, yet they still look like irons. As you get through the set, the mid-irons, which are designed around the 7-iron, retain the design characteristics that make the long irons forgiving - but on a smaller scale.
By the time you get to the short irons, the clubs are much more compact, yet are also very forgiving.
Over the years, I've found that most game-improvement clubs did not improve my game at all. They just tended to make me sloppy, thinking that all I had to do was wave the club in the vicinity of the ball and solid contact and straight shots were guaranteed. In time, I would lose feel and get frustrated.
But there's something different about these TaylorMade Burner irons. The key here, I think, is the fact that each club was designed individually, much like some of the combo and hybrid sets that have gained popularity in recent years. These, however, appear seamless, unlike some combo sets, giving each club the same feel.
I took these out for 18 holes recently, and the results were impressive. I literally never hit a bad shot with the Burner irons. On one hole, a 219-yard par 3, I felt like I missed a 4-iron, yet it was still 12 feet right under the hole. Most impressive was how each shot went almost dead straight with a little draw. The long irons got up in the air and carried; the short irons had that boring flight you look for when you're really trying to control your trajectory.
The manufacturer's suggested retail price for a set with steel shafts is $840; MSRP for a set with graphite shafts is $1,080. And while I don't often recommend a better game through technology, this may be an exception, especially if you're in that mid-handicap range and have a fairly reasonable golf swing.
These irons may just help you achieve the consistency you've been chasing all these years.
For more information, see www.tmag.com.
April 7, 2009
Mike Bailey is a senior staff writer based in the Houston area. Focusing primarily on golf in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America, he contributes course reviews, travel stories and features as well as the occasional equipment review. An award-winning writer and past president of Texas Golf Writers Association, he has more than 20 years in the golf industry. Before joining the TravelGolf Network team in 2008, he held positions at PGA Magazine, The Golfweek Group and AvidGolfer Magazine. Read Mike's golf blog here and follow him on Twitter at @Accidentlgolfer.
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