Having just returned from The 150th Open Championship at St Andrews, the new club featuring in the bag for many of the players during the week was the driving iron.
I had a front seat view of Rory McIlroy striping his new UDI 350 yards to the front of the 18th green on the Old Course. Fast, firm links turf is the ideal place for these clubs, but is there a place for them elsewhere too? I'm here to answer that question.
This season sees TaylorMade bring out the Stealth UDI (Ultimate Driving Iron) and DHY (Driving Hybrid).
SpeedFoam Air is the new feature in these utility irons, just like in the latest iteration of the very popular P790.
This foam is 69% less dense than that used in the SIM UDI and DHY, and the weight saved is distributed elsewhere to vital points in the head to optimise launch.
The shaping in the UDI is more player-like which is designed to make the club more workable, whilst the DHY has a lower head profile and a larger sole to make it easier to launch.
Like the SIM driving irons, the Stealths also feature the Thru-Slot Speed Pocket and thin 4140 with inverted cone technology, designed to maximise ball speed.
The Stealth UDI comes in 18, 20 and 23 degree lofts (2-4 irons) and, like most modern-day driving irons, comes with a graphite shaft.
You can watch my full review via the Golfalot YouTube channel here:
If you like what you see, please make sure you SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel to see all Golfalot video reviews and features first.
TaylorMade Stealth UDI Review
The Stealth UDI looks more like a P790 iron in profile, albeit with slightly more bulk at the back of the head.
It's slick in style, with a chrome and black finish, although there is little red unlike in the Stealth woods and of course no carbon face. It essentially looks like the younger brother of the DHY, with a thinner profile and straighter lines.
Compared to 'players' driving irons of the past this feels a lot easier to hit, although compact enough to still look workable. I also found that it made me concentrate more on my sole interaction with the turf, making sure that I could squeeze the ball out and strike it well.
The ball felt both fast and stable off the face, a combination of the redistributed weight and the use of the thin face and speed pocket.
I visited Stockport GC with both driving irons to compare numbers on the Flightscope launch monitor, as well as hitting shots out on the course.
As the numbers indicate, the Stealth UDI produced 162 yards carry with a 17 degree launch angle and a peak height of 87 feet.
The Stealth DHY produced 158 yards carry with a 17.8 degree launch angle and a peak height of 93 feet.
Having said that the averages don't tell the whole story, as the total distance with my good shots was much higher with the UDI, but then when I didn't strike it well the spin and distance was badly affected, giving me a larger variation between good and bad shots than with the DHY.
The UDI is less forgiving than the DHY so if you're inconsistent, you'll see that reflected in the average numbers. When both clubs were hit well the DHY flew higher with more draw bias, and although it wasn't quite as long it was still easier to hit.
The UDI flew flatter and further with less spin, and tended to favour more of a fade flight which is generally something which you'll see from better players clubs.
TaylorMade Stealth UDI & DHY Verdict
As a self-confessed hybrid lover I'm finally learning how to use these driving irons and I think that over the last few years they have steadily progressed in looks, feel, forgiveness and distance.
The notable difference in the ball flight between the two models makes finding the right for your style of game even easier.
I enjoy hitting these clubs more from the tee than from the green, as it is a little bit easier, but with the added launch conditions I do think they are versatile enough to be used in different conditions and on different golf courses.
The higher launch and loft options make these clubs a great option to find fairways with, or to replace long irons. What is nice to see is that they are both the same price (£219) as TaylorMade have a tendency to charge the better players more money.
The clubs were great but if you already have one of the SIM models then you probably don't need to swap as they are still pretty similar.
Would I Use Them?
I love my hybrids and so I can't see these clubs replacing them in the bag.
Who Should Use Them?
If you hate your fairway woods or even your driver then this club could be a great option to replace them because they are rockets. The UDI is suited to the golfer who plays P770 irons or something even smaller, whilst the DHY is aimed more at the P770/P790 user.
If you enjoyed this, you may also like:
Titleist U505 Utility Iron Review
TaylorMade Stealth Rescue Hybrid Review