I have never used TaylorMade irons personally, but have recently noticed them filling the bags of many of my competitors on the LET Tour and my hero Tiger Woods. The 2019 P790’s are the updated version of the company's most successful iron. This success was placed on their appeal to all types of golfing ability. Even ball-striking phenomenon Rory McIlroy used the long irons at one point...
After they arrived at Golfalot HQ, I couldn’t wait to get out and see how they performed with my swing.
What's It All About?
First things first, TaylorMade have kept the same name, which is a talking point in itself. It shows the confidence they have in their P790 iron and it's high reputation, and I like that. If it ain't broke, why try and fix it?
TaylorMade tweaked the looks of the club by removing the full name of TaylorMade and replacing it with the company's logo. The sole is now shiny and the top line is a touch thinner, which just gives that slightly more premium look and finish to the 2019 irons. Not that they needed it, but these things have some serious shelf appeal.
The slight technology improvements come from the 7% thinner face and SpeedFoam injection into the head. This is said to increase ball speed and improve feel on both solid strikes and off-centre hits.
The longer irons also feature what TaylorMade calls its 'most flexible' Speed Pocket. This is engineered to maximise ballspeeds and provide forgiveness on shots lower on the face. Basically help stop that right hard stinger when you catch it a little thin.
TaylorMade have also put a 15% heavier tungsten weight inside the head, designed to increase launch angle and help get the ball airborne quicker.
'You don't mess with what works, you make it better. P790 irons pack powerful performance into a clean, classic design to deliver breakthrough distance in a players iron. Through a combination of forged construction and our revolutionary new SpeedFoam Technology, golfers will experience feel, forgiveness, and workability unlike any iron of this calibre.
I compared the 2019 P790 directly to the 2017 P790 model both at The Range in Manchester and outside, on the course at Sale Golf Club.
The indoor test was a simple one - 10 shots with each the 2019 6 iron and 10 shots with 2017 6 iron GC2 and HMT Foresight technology indoors. I wanted to find out whether the 'upgrade' was really worth it by delving into the nitty-gritty and seeing what you get for the 24% extra in the price tag.
To get a better idea of how the they performed in real situations, I took the irons outside and recreated a number of different shot conditions. Off the tee, from fairway and in the rough.
I certainly found a difference in the 2019 addition, ball speed and distance was increased as TaylorMade suggested it would be. This equated to an average gain of 7 yards and no difference in dispersion or launch angle.
Compared to the 2017 model, the 2019 P790s have been cleaned up slightly. They feature a thinner top line and rounder shape which I really took too.
The softness off head is something I look for in irons. However when passing the iron over to a fellow golfer they didn’t notice any difference. So bare that in mind - the changes here are subtle, but in my opinion the irons look better for it.
The 2019 P790 irons felt solid, very solid. The Progressive Inverted Cone Technology seemed to be doing its thing here. If we're being technical about it, as a northerner I’d call them “meaty”. They look and like a TaylorMade iron should look, and they certainly feel like a TaylorMade iron should. Whether or not it's the SpeedFoam is hard to tell, but there is no doubting that the ball felt fast off the face, even on some of my off-centre hits.
Weirdly, indoors I didn’t think too much of the sound. It seemed a little dull. However this may just be down to the acoustics of the room I was testing in. Outdoor, when interacting with proper turf, they sounded much better, felt a lot firmer through the hitting zone and it felt like the ball stayed on the club face for longer.
TaylorMade irons have strong lofts, you don't have to be a golf boffin to know that. However this does have it's benefits. Put simply - I thought they were more forgiving and longer than my current PXG irons, but you have to take into account these slightly stronger lofts when you take to the course. The muscle-back / hybrid type head had plenty to do with this too.
Whilst conducting my indoor testing, I hit one 6 iron pull which quite frankly scared the living daylights out of me. As soon as it left the club face I said “oh wow”. I knew right away this was a rocket, the ball pitched at 168 yards and finished 181 yards - which for a 6 iron is bonkers.
Ok, I pulled it so it's going to go slightly further, but knowing this shot would be in my locker locker with the 2019 P790 irons did worry me. As a player who prides myself on club selection and being pin high, I’m not sure I’d like this potential firework in my game as it could result in a flown green and potential score card wrecker. We've all been there - middle of the fairway one minute, OB, in the cabbage, in the water the next... You get the picture.
Having said that, in comparison with the 2017 model, the shot I am referring to this was an anomaly and overall, the dispersion was better with the 2019 irons across the 10 shoots I hit with both and I actually missed more shots left with the 2017 clubs, as the Foresight data showed.
On The Course
I always think it’s nice to take clubs out onto the course when trying them, it’s something to bear in mind when being fitted. As a mat and inside conditions often save poor strikes and you swing it faster. These clubs performed really well from the rough, tee and fairway, especially considering the ground was wet at Sale Golf Club when I played.
I did wonder if I would struggle to shape them given the size of head and its forgiving nature, but I really didn’t. When hitting into a long par 3 downhill, I was able to just apply the right amount of draw I needed to get the club to a tight left pin guarded behind a well placed bunker.
In particular, the long irons in the 2019 P790 irons were brilliant. I can’t recommend them enough, my 4 iron has never been so consistent in distance and my poorer strikes still produced impressive yardages.
TaylorMade P790 2019 Irons Verdict
I enjoyed testing the TM P790 irons, which is never a bad thing. After testing them against the 2017 model, overall I found them to be slightly longer - who knows, that 7% thinner face might have just given me 7% more distance.
Due to the 2mph ball speed increase I was able to increase my distance from 150 yards with 2017 and 156 yards with 2019. The length didn’t effect the dispersion left and right either which is very important as its not just all about gaining yards, its about gaining yards whilst still hitting the ball straight. The sound at impact is slightly quieter but not enough to really notice unless you are indoors.
If you aren’t already gaming the 2017 version I would recommend trying these irons, but if you do have the 2017 models already then you have to ask yourself are they 24% (difference in price) better and justifying the money.
Both 2017 and 2019 models are excellent sets of irons and I don’t feel the need to change irons every few years as I don’t think the technology improvement for distance is what is needed like it is for the driver.
Would I Use It?
I would certainly consider these clubs for my game, I struggle with strike rather than direction and these made me look a lot better.
Looking down on irons and liking them at address is a big thing for me also, and these look sexy and ready to hit. Whether you make the switch is up to you, but if distance is what you're after, and you're not fazed by the price, look no further...