Fed up with being the shortest hitter in your fourball? TaylorMade are looking to help you keep up in distance and now in style too with their new Stealth irons.
Manufacturers are final catching on that it isn’t just the good players who want their irons to look sexy. Game improvement irons will take a much bigger market share than blades, so why not go all out in offering distance, forgiveness AND looks.
I personally think that creating a better looking head would take players’ attention away from the feel and sound, which will never be the same as a forged iron.
First impressions count for a lot and whereas the SIM and SIM2 irons weren’t great, the Stealth is a beauty.
First founded in the SIM2 Max and Max OS irons, TaylorMade have updated their Cap Back Design in the Stealth irons. A multi-material construction, it sees the steel back replaced with a new low density polymer cap.
This allows the face to flex more, delivering ball speed and forgiveness without affecting the CG.
The toe wrap construction is new for the Stealth irons and focuses on increasing iron performance where game improvement golfers need it most – lower in the head.
They have taken weight from the high toe of the head and repositioned it low in the sole of the iron, therefore lowering the CG and increasing launch angle for a higher ball flight, more carry distance and better stopping power.
The Stealth irons also feature a number of TaylorMade technologies which have been a staple of their previous iron designs over recent years:
The Echo Damping System stretches across the full face from heel to toe and uses multiple contact points on the face to absorb unwanted vibrations, giving a solid feel at impact.
Progressive Inverted Groove Technology is located from heel-to-toe in the 4-PW. There’s an ‘intelligently placed sweet spot’ behind the face which provides ball speed and consistency across the most common impact points.
360 Undercut Technology in the long irons, with stiffening topline ribs, promote face flexibility and ball speed while maintaining a desirable sound and feel.
A fluted hosel design promotes lower and deeper CG placement for improved launch characteristics while providing a clean look at address.
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TaylorMade Stealth Irons Review
Looks and Feel
TaylorMade say that the aesthetic of the Stealth iron draws inspiration from the immensely popular P700 series in the hope of providing the golfer with an iron that looks visually appealing both in the bag and at address.
I have to agree with this ‘in the bag’ comment, as the Stealth do really look like players irons from afar. The mix of greys and the cap back hide what’s going on under the hood, making this iron look as clean as a P790.
The use of the grey colourway adds to the sleek, blade-like look and I think these are miles better looking than a SIM2 Max in the bag.
At address they’re not so players-like though, but that’s ok as golfers who will be using this are going to want something down by the ball which gives them a bit of confidence.
The thick topline, hosel and sole are going to give you plenty of trust and forgiveness, whilst the brushed steel effect looks more inviting than the chrome which has been used in the past.
The irons get progressively more offset as you move up the bag, which is good if you wanted a pretty standard look from a wedge and more offset from a 4 iron.
This certainly makes looking down on the shorter clubs more comfortable as you don’t fear missing it left, and equally the same applies when standing over a 4 iron with water all down the left. The irons are also weighted to be more draw-biased
from mid to long irons.
The Stealth irons are hollow-headed and there’s no getting around that, so it does sound and feel different to a forged iron. The damping technology has improved a lot over the years so when you’re hitting indoors these sound miles more quiet than the likes of the M6 iron. I had to wear earplugs when I tested those a couple of years back!
From a mat I did struggle to launch the 6 iron a little as I just felt like I couldn’t get the sole under the ball, and I caught a fair few shots low on the face.
In all honesty these irons didn’t feel great but the performance and the forgiveness that they offer makes up for that at the end of the day.
I started off by hitting the Stealth 6 iron to get some base numbers. My spin rate was never above 5000rpm and the height was lower than 70 feet, with an average carry of 155 yards (dropping down to 145 yards on a poor strike).
I then went on to hitting draws and fades to see whether these irons were workable.
The draws were carrying 160 yards, with a spin rate of around 4500rpm and a run out of 12 yards.
The fade shots were carrying 153 yards, with a spin rate of around 5300rpm and a run out of 10 yards.
I found that fading the ball gave me better height, spin and more consistent distance. The draw shots felt extremely powerful and so I feared really losing one left. One of these strikes produced a ball speed of 114 mph, carrying 166 yards with 179 yards total distance… WOW.
Yes the lofts are strong, but the fact that an 80mph swing can produce a 114mph ball speed with a 6 iron is really impressive technology.
I looked back at my SIM2 Max 6 iron data from last year and the Stealth was 5 yards longer, which was due to the lower spin rate, 2mph increase in ball speed and slightly lower peak height.
I was conscious that when using the mat indoors I was struggling to really get to the bottom of the golf ball with my strike, so hitting outdoors on the grass would allow me to do that.
I took a 4 iron off the tee for each shot starting on the 11th hole, and tried to hit a high draw to squeeze out a few extra yards of distance. But I struggled to stop the ball going left into the trees, it was hard work to avoid the overdraw so after hugging the left side of 11 and chipping for a par, I decided that fades were the play for me.
I found the draw to be a more difficult shot to control both inside and outside, and I ended up slapping a lot of shots left with a low launch.
As it was a wet and cold winter’s day in Manchester I added one more club on the course than I was hitting indoors – going with a 7 iron from 140 and a beauty of an 8 iron from 127 yards into the 13th.
I completed my four hole challenge in one over par. I hit three chips with the wedge, which is 43 degrees, and they all came off the face hot. I even chipped one back off the other side of the green, so I’d certainly recommend buying the gap wedge (AW) and getting more loft for around the green.
TaylorMade Stealth Irons Verdict
There is no longer an OS game improvement iron in the range, it is just the Stealth on its own which makes matters much less complicated for us golfers.
The Stealth 6 iron went further and faster than the SIM2 Max and looked better, which is all you really want from a new iron range isn’t it?
They may be inspired by the P700 series but they look and play a lot different. This isn’t a steady progression upwards like a P770 to a P790, this is a complete chance in size, forgiveness, distance and feel.
They are rockets off the face which is exactly what a game improvement iron should be. I found another 10 yards playing with these irons, just like you might do if you go from playing a blade to a players cavity iron.
The Stealth does exactly what TaylorMade claim: it goes far and is forgiving on off-centre strikes. If you need some extra speed and distance with pretty good looks and don’t mind sacrificing a bit of feel, then look at these irons.
They are longer than the Ping G425 irons but they don’t quite offer the same feel from within 100 yards. I still think the G425 is the only game improvement that manages to do this with their wedges.
To summarise, the Stealth irons make life easier, they offer effortless power and help you out when you hit the ball poorly.
Would I Use Them?
Probably not, but then they aren’t aimed at me anyway!
Who Are They Aimed At?
Golfers with a swing speed similar to or less than mine (under 90mph with a driver). Perhaps you are losing distance as you get older, or you just aren’t the strongest and need some help getting the ball up in the air, or new to the game and struggle to strike the ball consistently.
These clubs should go at least a club further in distance than a 20 year old hand-me-down set. I think the price reflects who they are aimed at also – at under £1000 they aren’t made of the most precious metals for feel.
They’re there to help people new to the game or struggling with their strike to enjoy golf more and make golf courses more enjoyable.
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