The Titleist U.500 utility iron range forms part of their latest iron release, now that hybrids are part of their iron ‘family’.
The U.500 is a new category of club for Titleist, which may come as a surprise to those who are familiar with the large number of models they tend to launch every two years.
Whilst Titleist claims that irons like the 718 T-MB are a hollow headed hybrid iron, in reality they are a faster version of their players irons for those people who like to spend a lot of money on their clubs.
The T-MB makes way in the new range for this hybrid club and there are two versions called U.500 and U.510 that share a similar set up.
The chassis of the head is cast 17-4 stainless steel with over 95g of high density tungsten weights in the heel and toe to increase the MOI for more forgiveness and lower the CG for a better launch.
The face is 1.9mm thick and forged from SUP10 steel for better feel. It features an L shaped design on the lower section that wraps around the leading edge of the sole to maximise the ball speed on strikes that are low on the face, which will happen a lot with irons.
Both models come with a Project X HZRDUS Smoke shaft that is a lighter alternative to steel, without sacrificing the stability that a driving iron needs.
To understand the differences between the two models, I went along to the Titleist National Fitting Centre at Craigielaw.
Titleist U.500 Utility Iron Review
Whilst the U.500 replaces the T-MB, when you put them next to each other, you see that the U.500 is a little wider and longer on the sole
However at address the U.500 looks just as sleek and the all brushed chrome finish looks a lot better in the bag than the T-MB.
The darker shaft makes the head seem a little smaller than it is, but the performance makes you feel like it is larger. Compared to the T-MB on GC2, I was getting 6mph more ball speed, which is significant.
The spin was a little higher, as was the flight and as a result I was carrying the 20° #3 version 9 yards further.
Even though it is hollow, the U.500 gave a good solid sound that was better than the T-MB and more like you would expect from a better players driving iron.
The U500 went through the turf well thanks to the cambered leading edge that features on all three of the lofts in this model.
Titleist U.510 Utility Iron Review
The big brother in more ways than one is the Titleist U.510 version of the hybrid iron.
This is essentially the same club as the U.500 but bigger. Not only is the head larger, but the sole is much wider, especially across the toe.
The face is however a little shallower too and gives a feel of one of those old fashioned cleek irons.
At address Titleist has done a good job of try to visually minimise the look of the larger head by making the top line polished and the back of the head matt to try and give the appearance of a large iron.
In reality though, this is a proper driving iron hybrid and the larger head gives you much more margin for error, more forgiveness and a higher flight from that deeper CG position.
On GC2 this was evident as the 20° #3 gained a few yards on the U.500 thanks to the 1.4° higher launch and 5 yards higher height.
Like the U.500 the U.510 comes in a wide choice of lofts, including a 16° 1-iron version. I had to give this a go and as you can see from the numbers above, it didn’t actually carry much farther for me than the #3.
This is because at my 100mph driver swing speed, I didn’t have enough club head speed to launch the ball high enough to get the benefit. Ironically the 18° #2 would be the best for me for distance as it would have the extra loft to help me get the launch right.
However that is fine, as Titleist are at pains to point out that they offer all these different lofts in both models because this club is less about distance and more about filling a gap at the top of your bag between your longest iron and your first hybrid or wood.
The flight on the U.510 was surprisingly high, but it had the distance to go with it, so for those who have never got on with a hybrid, then the U.510 could be a legitimate alternative.
It still has iron playability and it is easy to flight it lower and shape it if you want to. The 10g lighter version of the shaft means that most mid handicappers could handle the #3 or #4 versions easily.
The larger head did sound more hollow at impact, but not in a bad way, just not in a hybrid sort of way either. I didn’t mind it one way or the other and I don’t think many will have an issue with it.
Titleist U.500 And U.510 Utility Iron Verdict
Over the years, quite a few brands have tried to make the hollow driving iron thing work. On paper it sounds easy, but the hard part is getting the looks to match the performance and as you can see here, there is a trade off between the two models.
The U.500 looks and sounds the best because it is a more compact head. It is a great club, but really this is for the same elite players (with lots of cash) that the T-MB was for. If I could get anywhere close to the forgiveness and distance of the U.510 with the U.500 then I would have it.
However the head really just isn’t big enough for even good players with an average swing speed. You need to be a good striker with high swing speed and then the U.500 will be your friend.
That means the U.510 is for the rest of us and this is a positive thing as the ease with which it got the ball airborne was a joy to behold.
Less of a joy is the price, which is more of a wood price than an iron, so the U.500 and U.510 will have to be delivering for you to encourage you to reach into your pocket.
There is no adjustability so getting the right loft for the gap in your bag is going to be key as I have already shown. Although I really wanted the 1-iron in my bag, it wasn’t for me unless I was going to be playing rock hard links every day where the run out would come into the equation.
If you want a driving iron from the tee to replace a hybrid that goes left on you, then the U.510 is the answer. The sound is good, the looks do a great job of pretending this is really an iron in your hands and the performance matches everything you dreamed you could do with a bladed long iron if you were Jack Nicklaus.