Sometimes product names are numeric, sometimes they are sub-brands or in the case of the M CGB, sometimes they do exactly what they say on the tin.
CGB stands for Centre of Gravity Back and it has been nearly 10 years since TaylorMade last used this name with the R7 CGB irons. Now they are part of the M family, sitting above the M2 2017 irons in the range.
Over recent years TaylorMade has introduced many technologies from woods into irons that are there to maximise ball speed, but often they are only in part of the set. With the M CGB, the larger head size means that they can throw them all in to the whole set to max out on everything going.
This really helps with the flow of the M CGB set, which I feel has been an issue with TaylorMade sets in the past as the different styles of heads with and without slots for example, tended to sound and feel different.
The Face Slots and Speed Pocket have usually only gone down to 7 iron in the past, but now even the wedges have them and this increases ball speeds for balls struck low and also towards the heel or toe as it reduces the loss in ball speed.
The Speed Pocket is longer and thinner than previous versions and this due to a new design.
The Speed Pocket is now a freestanding 'accordion' design with space behind it to flex instead of just being a slot cut into the sole to enable the face to flex.
The top of the cavity has a 360° undercut behind a face that is less than 2mm thick in places. The Inverted Cone variable face thickness on the back is located more to the toe side of centre to create a draw bias and better dispersion.
The back of the cast 450SS steel head is where the CG is drawn...well...back using milled Tungsten weights in the heel and toe in order to launch the ball high and improve forgiveness.
In the centre the 3D badge and soft Hybrar Damper form part of TaylorMade's Geocoustic design theory to manage the sound and feel of the club through the type and shape of the materials.
Around the hosel area there is a notch to make adjusting the lie easier and the fluted hosel helps to save weight in the heel area of the head so that it can be moved, you guessed it, low and back.
And that is pretty much it for the head, but it is all connected to a lightweight Nippon N.S. Pro 840 steel shaft that is very light and should enable even the slowest swingers to get enough clubhead speed to launch the ball high and true.
This is really what the M CGB is about, as it gave a nice high flight that was still penetrating enough to go forward. When I compared it to the 2017 M2 iron on GC2 you could see the design differences that create this flight.
The deeper CG on the M CGB increases the launch by half a degree and spin by 700 rpm and this is what probably gives the visual impression that it is flying higher because the spin and launch get the ball to the same peak height quicker and then it lands steeper.
The M2 was going further because of the lower spin and a 1° stronger loft in the 6-iron and was producing numbers that were about the same as the even stronger M CGB 5-iron, so you can see how the launch and spin are key determining factors of carry distance.
At my swing speed of around 100 mph with a driver, the lighter M CGB irons were probably not as suited to me as the shaft in the M2, so if you are around the 90mph mark or lower you might find that the M CGB will be longer as they would give you the launch conditions that you might not be able to achieve with the M2.
The M CGB sat very well behind the ball and looks like your usual game improvement iron with a generous topline and a progressively larger offset.
Compared to the M2, the M CGB head is a little longer and the topline a little thicker, but otherwise they did not look too dissimilar and for higher handicappers it is going to be a tough call, particularly as the M CGB are more expensive than the M2 and most other high launching sets in the market due to all that technology.
The M2 head felt a little firmer than the M CGB and that could be because it is designed for higher swing speeds. I really liked the M CGB as for a game improvement iron it was easy to hit and sounded and felt good.
For mid to high handicappers who struggle with speed, then I think they will be perfect and the high tech, futuristic look creates a stylish and very playable game improvement iron.