Having had Speed Pocket slots in the soles of irons for a while, last year TaylorMade introduced them on the faces of the RSi irons.
There were three models in that range and going forward, the larger headed RSi 1 set continues, which is good to see as that was the best of the bunch.
However, replacing the RSi 2 and RSi TP models is the TaylorMade PSi iron, which is promoted as a 'Players Performance' iron, hence the P for 'Players Slotted iron' in the PSi name.
The PSi still features the straight face slots as before, but it is in the head construction that TaylorMade has made big changes.
The Speed Pocket now features a cut through slot that connects with the undercut cavity to enable it to flex more and maintain ball speed across the face.
Married to this is what TaylorMade call a Dynamic Feel System (DFS) to cushion vibration at impact using dampening compounds and a multi-material badge.
The shape of the cut-through cavity and the amount of dampening changes as you go through the set depending on the loft of the club.
This it all does very well in a mid-sized head that looks good and feels good with a nice solid sound.
The top line at address is also midsized and I think any single figure golfer would be pleased with the look of these.
Especially as the relative head size is maintained through the set and does not get progressively smaller.
If they are too big for your eye, then there is also a fully forged PSi Tour iron coming with a slightly smaller head, narrower sole and a thinner top line.
Back to the standard PSi and the technology does not stop there as TaylorMade claim to have optimised each iron individually with whatever materials they can lay their hands on.
As part of this they have also fine tuned the lofts, resulting in all of the clubs except the 3-iron & SW having a loft ending in 0.5°.
TaylorMade did this optimisation thing in the RSi 2 set and I had my reservations about the flow of the set as a result, so I was interested to see how the PSi would feel as I went down through the set.
The 3 to 5 irons are reasonably sized for better players and feature a tungsten toe weight to improve the stability and this it does reasonably well. The sound and feel was not quite as hollow as before, but inevitably the larger cavity back in the 3 and 4-irons did have hollow undertones.
The sole slots and face slots continue to work together on the 6 and 7-iron and these irons were probably my favourites of the set as they were a good size, but the forgiveness made them excellent cast better player irons.
The sole widths were generous without being chunky and a small grind across the rear of the sole made it play narrower than it looks.
In the 8-iron the sole slot disappears and the head changes to a forged steel construction with face slots. This also feels a little better and it made me wonder why the whole set was not forged heads with slots.
On speaking to TaylorMade's Chief Technical Officer Benoit Vincent, I discovered it goes back to the 'optimum design for each iron' strategy. He said that longer irons need more ball speed so casting is better for that. Shorter irons need more feel so forging is better, but the trade off is a softer face and relatively less ball speed at impact.
To be fair TaylorMade has managed the performance gap well at this crossover point so that the distance gap between the 8 and 7-iron is the same as between the 7 and 6.
Finally in the 9-iron and wedges, the face slots go too and you are left with a fully forged head with a small cavity back that feels pretty good. With the dampening it sounds better than the previous forged wedges in the RSi 2, but it is not quite in the same league as a peripheral weighted forged blade.
Given all the changes in head style and manufacture, I was carefully looking at the flow of the set and I feel it is better than RSi 2. I accept that this is purely subjective, but the lack of a consistent head construction and material theme bothers me theoretically, especially switching from cast to forged heads during a set.
That said, the blend of cast and forged heads does work well and apart from the feel, it was hard to notice any difference in performance between the two styles.
The extra thought and materials that have gone into the PSi iron is reflected in the premium price and as ever, the proof is in the hitting. In terms of their own range, the PSi is probably the best forgiving better player iron that TaylorMade has done and it should be a strong challenger in this category.