See the all new Gloire Forged Driver by Taylormade! This year at the 2012 Japan Golf Fair we were able to review and hit the Taylormade RBZ, R11S & R11J as well as the complete Gloire Line Up!
See the all new Gloire Forged Driver by Taylormade! This year at the 2012 Japan Golf Fair we were able to review and hit the Taylormade RBZ, R11S & R11J as well as the complete Gloire Line Up!
Our first brand recap from this years Japan Golf Fair is the every popular Taylormade. The last couple of shows has seen an all white booth, with all white lights, staff members dressed in white and all white clubs. Some may say its almost like being in a hospital but one thing is for sure, the way Taylormade can market and produce clubs, is in some ways like the medical precision of a top surgeon. They know how to create an image as well as release clubs everyone wants and are interested in. The Golf Show was no different as whenever TM was ready to make a presentation event, spectators as well as press/media would gather at the TM booth like no other.
The great thing about Taylormade Japan is they know how to attract the paying golfer in Japan and that is by releasing a lot of options for golfers to choose from. Not only does Japan get all the TM models the rest of the world does, every year they also get Japan only Taylormade clubs. So for those from outside of Japan, I can say the usual suspects were at the show including the new R11S and Rocket Ballz lineup, and the new Ghost Tour Putters and ATV stainless steel wedge. So what does Japan get so far this year that the rest of the world doesn’t?
The new ATV wedge is marketed in Japan by Taylormade under two models, a stainless steel head model, and for Japan only, a forged head model. Both models share the same design and All Terrain Vesatility sole. They share the same specs, same micro milled face, as well as pretty much the same graphics. The differences are, the Japan model is forged from soft carbon steel and finished in a dark Smoke IP (Ion Plated) Finish vs the cast stainless steel ATV model in a tour Satin finish. The Japanese have an obsession with forged clubs and Taylormade always seems to oblige (though we are still waiting for word on Japan only forged irons). We’ll have both ATV wedges for side by side testing but there probably is no doubt the carbon steel model will feel softer. Our pro Tatsuro told me he preferred the look of the Smoked IP carbon steel model as its dark finish creates contrast and frames a white golf ball very well.
Taylormade seems to love giving Japan exclusive and limited edition putters like the Itsy Bitsy Ghost Limited. This year while Japan gets the new stainless steel Pure Roll insert Ghost Tour putters like the rest of the world, it also gets a new forged and milled premium S20C carbon steel Tour Preferred Ghost model which is designed to produce the ultimate in roll and feel. There will be 4 shapes which also utilize interchangeable weights like the Ghost Tour. The Daytona-12, Maranello-81, Fontana-12, and Monte Carlo-72 all featuring the new FM face. The model above is the Fontana-12 and in the top banner for this post you can see the back cavity of the TP Ghost putters.
Taylormade Japan in the past has always tweaked its flagship driver into a more forgiving easy to use model for the average golfer in Japan. Like the R9 Max and R9 Supermax which were Japan only models, TM will also release an all new R11J model which like the R11S, is a 460cc head but with ease of use and a focus on distance and forgiveness. It provides the Japanese golfer who wants to tweak and tune with the Adjustable Sole Plate as well as Flight Control Technology but in a simpler to use and swing package. The ASP sticks with a triple adjustment versus the 5 way adjustment in the R11S to keep it simpler. A higher MOI as well as lighter overall club weight also point towards more ase of use. The bulge and roll of the R11J are increased to create more gear action to help average golfers recover from off center hits by still going as straight as possible. An overall friendlier setup with higher trajectory for max carry.
The Japanese seem to always crave titanium fairway woods and will not hesitate to pay the additional costs associated with producing a Ti FW. Taylormade knows this and always seems to oblige with various Ti model fairway woods over the last decade. Titanium produces a hotter driver like feel and is preferred by many average golfers in Japan who want more distance and ease of use. The R11 Ti FW, which will be released along with the R11J, is the larger head fairway wood, light weight and hot titanium face and body that Japanese golfers embrace. Besides the softer feeling impact the R11 Ti FW is 16g lighter than the typical R11 FW. The 3 wood is also 20cc larger than the standard R11 FW. All in all, these features mean better feel and more distance and forgivness for the average golfer.
Finally there was the new GLOIRE lineup. As those who know french Gloire means Glory and while Taylormade Japan has named the lineup using the French name Gloire, they do in fact pronounce it gu ro re. The Gloire line is Taylormade’s new premium lineup which in a way takes it a level up from its previous XR Japan only line. Appealing to golfers who want premium design, materials and performance, Gloire clubs are also made for ease of use and big distance. The big draw of the new Gloire line up is its new Forged alpha beta Titanium driver. The Gloire forged driver is designed for not only premium feel but big carry and big distance thanks to a 46.5″ club length, ultra light club weight (280-292g depending on flex). It of course has FCT, as well as a weighted tuning port which controls trajectory by altering the CG. The Gloire and its tuned inverted cone technology face creates a sweet spot 20% larger than the previous generation ICT face.
The Gloire lineup also includes an all titanium fairway wood with an even larger head than the R11 Ti FW. The Gloire 3W sports a huge 195cc head and again is designed to be ultra lightweight with maximum distance in mind. Even at 195cc, the face is actually on the deeper side making it excel both of the deck as well as the tee. Because of this, it doesn’t look overly huge at address (see below in the link to pictures in our Taylormade Japan Golf Fair gallery for examples). Even the 24* 9W is a whopping 175cc which is in fact the same size as the R11 Ti FW 3 wood. The Gloire FW features very low CG thanks to two large tungsten weights which makes it very easy to get the ball in the air for big carry and distance. However the weighting is kept forward in the head to keep spin under control for just the right balance of carry and run.
As many of you who read the blog know, maraging steel has been gaining popularity in high performance golf clubs over the last decade. Soft forged like feel, hot Titanium like performance but lower cost make it very attractive for manufacturers to use in their irons which a lot more material is needed. The new Gloire irons do indeed feature a thin maraging steel face matched with a soft 450 stainless body. Tungsten in the sole creates a very low center of gravity, increasing MOI and ease of use and forgivness. The Gloire iron is again made for easy launch and big distance. The ribbed maraging face produces soft feel but high ball speeds and a huge sweet area thanks to a pocket type cavity. With its light 50g range graphite shaft we’re talking ultra light weight for irons and very easy to swing and lots of confidence with its larger head and offset to help square the ball.
There were also new Gloire golf balls, a Gloire utility iron (which I somehow missed taking pictures off!) and a women’s Gloire lineup as well. Overall some pretty nice clubs especially for the average golfer wanting more distance and more forgiveness. For the better golfer interested in JDM gear, they have the TP Ghost as well as the ATV Forged wedge but as I said above we are still crossing our fingers for an R11 and R11 TP forged…. Most of the new products begin launching late March and early April so look for the pre orders in the pro shop to reserve!
I was in Akasaka yesterday attending the Pro Support meeting for the LPGA. I met up with Miysohi-san from Yururi and we headed out after the meeting for lunch and to talk about some new clubs in the works for Yururi. One of the clubs he showed me, and keep in mind this is NOT the finished product so it may be a bit rough around the edge, is the new MH-1112 forged cavity back for 2012. Yururi has always been known for intricate CNC Machining on its irons and the MH-1112 takes it a level further. Many advanced cavity designs these days are simply produced by either a cast or forging moulds. Cavity steps or design features are all created in that mould. Yururi has always premium forged their head and rather than just mould the cavity shape, they CNC machine the head which makes it look like art and is much more costly to do. Miyoshi-san told me that some of the Yururi models take 3 hours to machine a single iron. He passed the head on to me so I could bring it home for pictures.
The older KM-0107 is a beautiful iron and features some very nice CNC machining in the cavity however if you look closely, each machined step is flat. The new MH-1112 is the first Yururi iron to feature a 3D CNC machined cavity. This diamond shaped cavity is machined so the center is the highest and thickest point of the cavity. Its in line with the sweet spot of the iron so center strikes are rewarded with pure and buttery feel.
As with most of Yururi’s better player irons, there is very little offset. The clean satin finish is pleasing to the eyes.
The face of the MH-1112 Forged features a straight top blade and taller toe area for more spin control and a nice strong appearance. The MH-1112 is a smaller cavity but at the same time its not tiny so better players all the way up to good ball striking mid cappers should have no problems enjoying this beautiful iron. As I mentioned here, this head is not the final finished product. It will still be fine tuned and the finish will be tweaked to look much better. Lucky enough we were able to provide the first sneak peak of this iron though it probably will not be revealed until later next month at the Golf Fair!
We received samples of the new Yururi Seida KM-0312 Forged iron today. They look simply fantastic. Before shafting them up for some testing I thought I would post a little preview here. The KM-0302 is new for 2012 and does feature conforming grooves.
The premium Kyoei forged S25C head fits somewhere between a small and mid sized cavity back. The beautiful satin finished and CNC machined cavity look great and each iron has the loft engraved in the cavity which is kind of a cool design feature.
The cavity is low but deep and the face actually is thicker where the loft is engraved increasing soft feel right in the center of the face. Because of the pearl like satin finish the head just looks so clean!
The Seida Forged Iron is aimed at the mid capper to better player wanting an easy launch and some forgiveness but with premium feel. The face is not overly boxy but features a sharper toe with a rounder leading edge making it more versatile in various lies.
At address the sharp toe adds to the irons lines and defines where the face begins Less offset and a reasonably thin and straight top top line all add to the irons pleasing appearance. I’m looking forward to shafting these up for a go and a more detailed review!
As we lead up to the Japan Golf Fair at the end of February we will begin to see many new product announcements come rolling in. Taylormade Japan and Titleist Japan have both been rather quiet, while many wait for new TM Forged irons and a replacement for the VG3 forged. On the other hand, Mizuno has already announced the release date, January 20th for their new JPX iron lineup which will consist of two models, the JPX 800 AD which features an S25C forged body matched with high rally spring steel face and the JPX 800 AD Forged which is an S25C forged iron with embedded tungsten weighting in the long and mid irons. Both irons are similar in size and feature identical lofts. However the 800 AD has a large undercut and the spring steel face. Matched with an inch longer lengths and Mizuno has its longest ever JPX iron out distancing the previous JPX 800 XD by over 10 yards. The 800 XD forged is for the player who wants premium all forged feel in a forgiving distance package.
Fourteen Golf has already released their new TC-930 players cavity back in December, this premium Endo forged S20C iron features less offset, and a compact head with more traditional lofts and a focus on feel and control. The TC-930 feature a low CG which works well with the latest golf balls out on the market today. Long range shots will produce less spin while short iron range shots will deliver optimal spin performance. The low CG provides just the right amount of spin on each shot, generating consistent performance on every shot. In order to achieve this, Fourteen used varying CG positioning depending on the iron, for example the 9 iron and PW have a shorter CG to maintain exceptional control plus increased spin.
ONOFF is about to release their all new 2012 lineup and the first club I’ll look at today is the new ONOFF Iron or as some call it the RED Model. In the past, ONOFF was divided into two lines, the RED line aimed at the average golfer and the BLACK line aimed at the athlete golfer. While ONOFF has done away with the red and black they still separate their models with similar targets. The ONOFF Iron compliments the Type-D line which is now the name of the line that is made for ease of use and max performance.
The ONOFF Iron has year in year out been a top performer and pick of the average golfer looking to gain more distance and simply enjoy golf with an easy to use iron. It’s also a favorite of users here at TSG. As I had mentioned in my post the other day, I felt like the previous 3 generations, the 2006, 2008 and 2010 models were all too similar with only minor tweaks cosmetically and design wise. However when I first laid eyes on the 2012 model at their product launch in Tokyo I was very impressed with its new look. In my opinion its a much better looking iron that previous models and its overall materials, and design have changed as well, all for the better. Gone is the big red ONOFF logo, replaced with a much more subtle color scheme and brushed satin cavity area. ONOFF has come through this year with some very good looking clubs and the Iron is a bit part of that new look.
The ONOFF Iron is a stainless steel iron and ONOFF decided to use a newly developed ST22 soft stainless steel to improve the irons feel. Typically most JDM manufacturers will not offer loft or lie adjustments with any stainless models but with the softer material, ONOFF will now do 1 degree changes for loft and lie on the ONOFF Iron. Like previous models, the ONOFF Iron sports a huge tunstgen weighted sole. The 2012 model features a whopping 78g of sole weight (5 iron) which is their heaviest yet. The weight is distributed towards the back of the cavity and towards the heel and toe for increased MOI and an easy launch. The sole of the ONOFF Iron is wide enough to prevent digging thanks to its leading edge relief but not overly wide to the point where it is bulky.
I found the previous 2010 model face profile to be quite rounded and a tad on the large side. The 2012 model is much more eye pleasing face on. As you can see in the picture I took above, I overlayed an image of the variable thickness maraging cup face. The face features 4 areas all quite think except for a ribbed Y area which is 2.5mm. This design creates a larger sweet spot with more spring effect and higher initial ball speeds. It minimizes distance loss and maintains an optimal launch even on strikes off center. It also promotes very good feel and I have to admit I am liking the feel of maraging more and more whether it be in irons like these or fairway woods and utilities as well.
At address the new ONOFF Iron has obvious offset but this is common in more average golfer models to help square the face at impact. It’s not bad looking by any means. The top line is not overly thick or rounded so its actually quite eye pleasing and confident inspiring at the same time. This is one easy iron to hit. The ball launches very easily and distance is superb. Strong lofts and big carry type trajectories will help those in need of more distance get it. I’ll have to say again, I really like the feel. The face feels hot and springy yet rather soft thanks to the thin maraging L cup. The ONOFF Iron is not meant to be a workable iron nor does it pretend to be. It is a performance iron made for ease of use and it excels in that role. The ONOFF Iron comes with both graphite shafts ranging from R2 (54g) to R (58g) and S (63g). ONOFF makes very good graphite shafts (they design and produce their own), so those wanting a light weight iron can go for the graphite shafts for even more feel and distance. The graphite shafts have dual kick points too, mid and high, which will keep the trajectory from ballooning. The other option is Nippon NS Pro steel in either 850Gh Regular or 950GH Stiff which will suit the slightly stronger player and faster swinger. (Roddio is an option as well from their Labospec division) The iron picks the ball off any lie and gives it a great launch. My bad shot is hitting it fat and when I do I try and adjust and hit it thin out of fear of hitting it fat or incorrect swing adjustments. The sole of the new ONOFF iron was very good and I was able to make good contact on every shot.
Whenever I test an iron as good as the ONOFF, I am tempted to change to it. It looks good, is well designed, feels good and most of all its darn easy to use. Golf is a hard game, we all sometimes forget, equipment should make the gamer easier not harder. If you want more distance in a high quality, great feeling iron, the ONOFF Iron should be near or at the top of your list. If you are a high handicapper or an average golfer looking to get better, the 2012 ONOFF Iron will help you on your way.
A box of 2012 ONOFF demos arrived yesterday and as I noted when I first saw them at the ONOFF Product Launch in Tokyo in October, they look amazing. Top notch designs and finish and I can’t wait to test them out. As always the ONOFF clubs are divided into two lines, the Type-D or RED and the Type-S or Black. The Type-D is more suited for the average golfer looking for ease of use distance performance while the Type-S is for the better player, featuring smaller heads and square to open face angles and has always been a favorite line at TSG. The only clubs that were not refreshed were the 2011 ONOFF Forged iron and the ONOFF S-Forged Wedges.
I’ll be reviewing the new forged Type-S Driver as well as Type-S fairway wood and new Type-S Utility which was derived from the very popular but rare fairway wings Pro Spec model we saw this year for Shingo. The driver is forged by Endo and features a variable thickness and ribbed cup ELF Titanium forged face. The Type-S fairway wood looks awesome, compact, pear shaped and deep faced. They are 1* OPEN and have a V shaoed sole with tungsten weighting and a variable thickness high maraging face. The new Type-S UT has a similar look to the Pro Spec with the face and neck merged as one continuous line and a recessed top line. Again the face is deep and features yet again a variable thickness high maraging face.
There is also a new ONOFF Iron which falls in the RED line. The last 3 generations have seen minor tweaks to design and to the unfamiliar with ONOFF clubs, could have all passed for the same model. The 2012 model has bee radically re-designed and visually it looks more aggressive than the past models. The iron features a 3 piece design with a very thin variable thickness high maraging cup face which feels very very good. An ultra heavy tungsten sole (78g in the 5 iron) is featured on the 4-9 iron creating very easy launch and higher MOI.
The Type-D RED line is made for ease of use which you can clearly see in each clubs design. The driver is bigger and shallower and features a 0.5* to 1.5* closed face (depending on the loft) to help battle the right side. The fairway woods are larger in head size and feature a closed face for the 3 and 5 woods and square faces for the 7 and 9 woods. Unlike many ultra shallow FW’s these days, the ONOFF RED still maintains a mid height face. The Tungsten in the V Sole is designed for easy launch and big carry. The RED Utility has a confidence building size and is not overly long in length for more consistent ball striking.
I only have about 5 days with the clubs so I a will be snapping pics and hitting all the models in the next few days. Tomorrow I am testing the Ryoma F vs the egg Spoon and will throw in the ONOFF fairway woods as well as I am sure they can hold their own. Be sure to check the TSG Pro Shop soon if you want to order.
The winter releases have only just kicked off recently with the arrival of the first batch of new 2012 models. It’s time for a little update on what’s hot in the Japan market and what’s going on at TSG. We’ll start off with the new Titleist Vokey Forged Wedge which turns out is indeed made at Endo. The Vokey Forged has seen huge demand amidst low supply from Titleist Japan. We apologize as customers have had to wait and are still waiting for the Vokey Forged orders as Titleist works hard to catch up. The good news is, as our review last week noted, the Vokey Forged seems like a product well worth waiting for. Depending on spec and shaft ordered, wait times right now can range anywhere from 3-6 weeks. TSG still recommends you order if you want this wedge as you will have to wait any way.
Every year Yamaha announces a Limited V Forged Tour Model, and every year it sells out. This year is no different with Yamaha announcing 1200 sets for all of Japan back in October. Within days of that announcement, all sets with standard S200 shafts were reserved and accounted for. The reason for this is that many of the big golf chain stores in Japan simply order standard spec sets, and hundreds of them which is why Yamaha ran out in record time. Luckily for us most of TSG’s customers either want custom shafts or plan on reshafting any way so will take any shaft. We’ve been taking custom Tour Model orders since the announcement of the new Yamaha lineup but as of today were told that supply of the V Forged Tour Model is about to be completely allocated and pre sold out so it is technically no longer available as of today. About 15 luckly customers were able to pre order and I’m sure they can’t wait to get their sets!
Honma has announced special edition releases for their 30th anniversary. Revival models for the PP737 Muscle Back and LB280 Cavity Back will be released in limited numbers. We are also quickly approaching the launches for ONOFF and XXIO’s new 2012 lineups which we will preview and review here on the blog. Fourteen Golf has already released its all new RM-11 forged wedge which we need to get reviewed and in the shop as well! I should also note Ryoma Fairway woods begin shipping out this week!
Speaking of 2012, its hard to believe its already mid November and winter is almost upon us. For many of of us winter is a break from golf and a time to rest and recover as well as fine tune our game as well as our bodies. I’ve decided to make an effort this winter (though golf is all year round here I do play less), to focus on fitness and nutrition. Let’s face it, we can have the best gear but if we are unhealthy, out of shape and out of practice, that gear won’t mean anything. As I get older I find I’m simply not as strong, as flexible and even as focused as my younger days. The right diet, and fitness regime can bring much of that back. I aim to build a strong core with work on flexibility and strength. I’ll be experimenting with some golf training tools, weights and even health supplements to get the body in balance and at 100%. I’m hoping 2012 is the year I can take my game to a new level and getting a head start is all that much more important.
Another thing that crossed my mind is that the Japan Golf Fair which is always at the end of February is not that far off. Every year its such an exciting time for us and recently we’ve had the pleasure of meeting up with more and more of our members and customers who make the trek out to see the worlds greatest golf show. If you are coming out, please be sure to give us a shout and we can all meet up![poll id=”47″]
It was a fun but busy few days testing out all the demos from Yamaha. They ended up sending a total of 31 different clubs when in fact there were only 4 new drivers and 4 new irons as well as the 1 new D Power Spoon to test. For some reason they decided to send the clubs with their most popular shaft options so I in fact got about 3 or4 of each club with different shafts. This was in fact a good thing as I got to see not only how the new models performed but how they performed with each shaft. This also allowed me to get a few of the neighbors in on the testing since we all have different swing speeds and swing styles.
With so many clubs to give feedback on I thought I would group the clubs into two posts, one for irons and one for drivers. Today I’ll take a look at the 4 new 2012 Inpres X iron models, the V Forged Tour Model Limited, the V Forged, the D Forged and from the new line at Yamaha, the Z Cavity. This whole Yamaha party started with photo taking mixed in with hitting the clubs all through Saturday and Sunday. Taking photos is tiring and a lot of work but quite fun and actually very educational. I actually spend the most time simply looking at each club and its design when taking pictures. When hitting the clubs we have we don’t really look at the design or compare them to other models side by side. So spending the weekend alternating between photos and testing was a great way to really understand each irons design as well is how they perform.
As most of you probably already know from Yamaha models of the past or from reading the blog, the 4 models are designed to cover all bases when it comes to playing level. The V Forged Tour Model as you can imagine is for the pro and low handicapper while the standard V Forged is for the low handicapper and better/improving player. The D Forged is designed for the mid capper and average golfer while the new Z Cavity is really made for the average golfer and high handicapper. Just by looking at how each iron sets up I pretty much agree with the designation of each irons intended target audience. The irons gradually progress from the Tour Model to the Z Cavity with increasing head size, including top line thickness, face heel to toe length and more offset. Of course for most better players based on address looks alone, they are going to prefer the Tour Model or standard Forged. Those who lack confidence striking the irons and need more ease of use will feel at ease with the can’t miss impression that the D Forged and Z Cavity convey. Lets take a closer look at each individual iron.
Every year, the V Forged Tour Model Limited Iron sells out within weeks. Only 1200 of these premium Endo forged S20c beauties are made and then quickly swept up acr0ss Japan. 1200 sets may sound like a lot but in a gear crazed market like Japan, even at its higher price, they go like hot cakes. That sometimes leaves us struggling to get enough sets for our own customers. Luckily this year we hit the pre orders much earlier than usual and quite a lot of customers thankfully have them pre ordered. When the V Forged Tour Model was first spotted in Hiroyuki Fujita’s bag late this summer, many Yamaha fans hesitated to embrace its looks, myself included. The thing is Yamaha works hard to actually make the iron different from previous years models and of course better. Some of us loyal club addicts take time to embrace something different and the more I look at the Tour Model the more I lie it and see its design strengths.
As with previous years Tour Models, the 2012 is very sharp. It has a straight top line, the boxiest and highest toe of the 4 models and is of course the most compact with the least offset. While it technically is a small cavity some may mistake its design and look for a neo blade as the cavity runs quite thick and high, almost like a muscle. The extra meat is put there for a couple of reasons, one to raise the center of gravity higher for a more stable spin control type trajectory and of course for feel. Let’s cut the technical blah blah here, the fact is the V Forged Tour Model is VERY soft at impact. In fact I smiled every time I struck it pure as I have not hit an iron this soft in a long time. And what amazed me the most was that I COULD strike it pure rather consistently. Its no secret that I am an average golfer with average ball striking skills but dare I say I hit the Tour Model as well if not better than even the average golfer D Forged and Z Cavity!
I did have the V Forged Tour Model shafted with its standard spec S200 shaft (which by the way is sold out – only custom specs are available now and even at that not for long). which I thought for sure would be too stiff and too heavy but the Tour Model was very cooperative and very straight with a manageable mid trajectory ball. An easy swing and impact right in the center of the face was very very rewarding, very soft but with that ball compressing sensation. So rewarding that I only felt the ball compressing and no vibrations most of the time. Perhaps my heavier and stiffer experiment was on the right track after all (see posts from earlier this Sept/Oct). The grind of a club has an influencing factor on feel and in the case of the Tour Model, the sole’s killed leading edge and trailing edge relief really play a big part in taking the ball cleanly. It also allows you to manipulate the iron and hit high shots or low shots and work the face of the iron towards the taller toe. Spin is pretty good on the Tour Model and even on partial shots the new X Face Milling seem to bite and needed spin for stopping power. The fact I could make the tour model perform so well makes me wonder how good it would be in the hands of a more capable golfer. Good looks, design and amazing feel and control certainly are the strong points of the Tour Model. If there is anything to complain about is that its the shortest of the bunch when it comes to distance but that is completely understandable as the tour model is not a distance iron nor does it pretend to be. Now if only it weren’t limited!
The Yamaha V Forged standard model is one of the most popular forged cavity backs in Japan every year. The Endo forged S20C iron simply is so balanced that almost anyone can consider playing it. The V Forged fits between a small and medium sized cavity and has a little bit of offset with a slightly longer heel to toe compared to the Tour Model. The largest difference besides size, is the cavity design which is far lower and more weighted towards the exterior toe and heel for a higher launch, and more MOI/forgiveness.
Lofts are stronger which mean more distance as well and I think this is one of the big drawing factors for the midcapper and improving golfer who want to play a so called player’s cavity that goes beyond just control and feel. I remember when I first gamed the standard V Forged a few years ago which was right after having the ONOFF Red and Legacy Forged in my bag, I right away thought I would lose distance. But on the contrary distance was just as good compared to those irons whose main strengths are in fact hitting it a long way. This plus wonderful feel and direction make the V Forged the winner it is every year. It shares the same X Milled Face that the Tour Model has which provides good bite and control. Feel is not quite as soft as the Tour Model since the face is not as thick but it is still very soft. When hitting the V Forged and Tour Model side by side, I did happen to have the Tour AD 75 graphite shaft in the V Forged and this produced a higher trajectory with good carry but also good direction. For the better player wanting to add a bit of forgiveness and distance or the improving player who wants to take it to the next level, there are not many irons that can produce the same balanced performance that the V Forged does… maybe only the ONOFF Forged which has similar design aspects and target audiences.
In the past the D Series was aimed a the average golfer and typically featured more technology oriented designs with materials like maraging steel and multi-piece heads. This years D Forged still keeps the high tech multi-piece design but for the first time has a forged S20C body making it 3 out of 4 irons forged in the 2012 Inpres X line. The D Forged leans more towards the automatic side and one look at the head design and you can understand why. Its noticeably bigger than both the V Forged models and has more offset. The cavity is huge and there is an undercut.
Most of the weight is pushed towards the sole for big MOI and higher launch. The undercut cavity helps curb lost distance on miss hits towards the toe and heel. In the past, irons with undercut cavities were often criticized for feeling too clicky at impact. This has changed a lot over the years with new designs, materials and manufacturing processes. In many of these new generation undercut models, there is still a click at impact but you’d be hard to notice it or at least get used to it really quickly since its so subtle. The D Forged has many characteristics that an average golfer should want in his bag including confidence building size, pretty good looks and feel, above average distance and very good ease of use. The D Forged is easy to launch in the air and goes very far. At the range, a guy next to me happened to have the 2011 V Forged Tour Model in his bag so I asked him if he wanted to hit the irons I had with me. He proceeded to hit the D Forged 7 Iron with 850GH Regular shaft about 190+ yards. For him the D Forged was the longest, even longer than the Z Cavity (which he probably could not hit well due to the light R flex graphite shaft) but his favorite was the standard V Forged model which he found simply so easy to hit.
Average golfers and higher handicappers wanting to play a premium quality and designed forged club should seriously consider the D Forged though the better player may find it lacks workability compared to the V Forged line. But if straight and far is where you want to go then the D Forged is a great choice.
The Z Cavity is an all new addition to the Yamaha Lineup. Yamaha decided to grow their line with a high handicapper distance iron even more automatic than the D Series. Thus the Z Series was born and honestly looks like the D Forged but on steroids. It has a similar look and design but is bulkier and rounder and the cavity is even bigger with an even wider undercut plus added tungsten weighting. This iron targets the new golfer and player looking to break 95. It also targets the player who wants more distance and maximum automatic launch.
While the D Forged also pushes weight towards the heel and toe, the tungsten weighting in the wider Z Cavity are right on the bottom of the undercut. This provides the highest launch and most forgiveness of all the irons from Yamaha. You could hit this iron off center all day and it would still go pretty straight and far. The 2.0mm thin maraging face feels pretty good and has some pop to it generating high ball speeds and the wider sole helps prevent hitting shots too fat. The lofts are strong, and the Z Cavity is matched with lightweight graphite shafts at longer lengths. All spell maximum distance iron. For some players the killing point may be the offset which there is quite a bit of but for those higher handicap players the offset will help square the face to the ball. I can’t see midcappers playing this iron unless they did not care about the big size and want to go for maximum distance and forgiveness without thought of deft touch or stopping it on the greens. The Z Cavity is any easy to swing and let it fly type iron. Perfect for the player new to golf or high handicapper who needs a lot of help.
This post has turned out to be pretty long so I’ll conclude that at the end of the day there is something for everyone in Yamaha’s new 2012 Inpres X Irons lineup. One thing you can be sure of is well thought out designs, premium quality and workmanship and of course very good performance. For me the Tour Model was the big surprise. Too many times in the past few years I discounted it from my bag because it was a “Tour Model” afterall. Little did I realize how much I was missing. I am so impressed by the feel I am thinking of getting a set though if I knew better I should should follow my brain and go for the standard all around performer V Forged. I love the looks of the Tour Model and I can sacrifice a club of distance for that rewarding feel and great control. Golf is all about feel and going straight after all. After the Tour Model sells out later this month, I can see a lot of players going for the standard V Forged as well as the D Steel. The Z Cavity may have a narrow market even though it probably fits a huge portion of golfers in Japan. Many of those golfers just might have a hard time choosing it due to its size and because they could otherwise choose the D Steel or V Forged if they were daring enough.
As always look for the products in the pro shop and if you need advice or recommendations we are always here to help. All the Yamaha models are available with custom shafts too directly from Yamaha so let us know what you need.[nggallery id=286]
A huge, and I mean HUGE box filled with Yamaha demos arrived today. When the courier pulled up and brought out the box I thought he was delivering furniture as the box was so big. Turns out Yamaha sent every driver and iron model with every shaft option meaning a lot of clubs arrived! Bad news is I need to return everything by Tuesday!!
So I quickly snapped a few shots or sneak peeks and headed out to the range in the evening to hit a few of the clubs. Will spend as much time as I can in the next 2 days trying everything so I can give proper feedback. In the mean time here are a few teasers and also a quick video of the V202 model (not tour) at impact.
The Endo forged V202 Tour Model driver looks very compact at 415cc.
New face milling looks very nice. Irons are some of the softest I have ever hit.
Sound at Impact video of the standard V202. Driver was rather forgiving and the BB6 rather straight. Very soft feel at impact! Look for reviews soon of all the clubs!