While PGA Tour players may appear to have little trouble hitting their iron shots consistently in the sweet spot, the fact is that they mis-hit their shots more often than you think.
“We mis-hit shots all the time,” explains Australia’s Jason Day. “We’ve just honed our skills to make our mis-hits a little straighter.”
Sergio Garcia, one of the most consistent iron hitters on Tour, agrees, adding that a player’s equipment is just as important as his or her skills.
“It’s difficult to hit the centre of the clubface every time. That’s why it’s important that the club you play helps those little mis-hits perform pretty much as well as your sweet spot hits.”
Mis-hits are common among all levels of golfer. In fact, data gathered at the high-tech TaylorMade Performance Labs has revealed that a whopping 76 per cent of iron shots are mis-hits!
It’s this propensity to hit those less-than-stellar shots that has led to the development of irons with greater forgiveness and larger sweet spots. One of the latest iron sets to tackle the “Forgiveness” issue is the new TaylorMade RSi family, which features special slots and pockets that expand the sweet spot considerably.
Last month, I took a set of the RSi 1 irons out to the course for an extensive test-drive over a dozen full rounds—which is significantly longer than our standard demo sessions.
Why did we test them so extensively? The truth is, I loved the RSi irons so much that I didn’t want to stop using them!
From the very first shot with the RSi, I sensed that there was something different about these irons. Of course, they look snazzy and feel extremely well-balanced, etc. But, window dressing aside, the RSi irons simply performed like a superstar, and could very well be the most forgiving irons I’ve ever tested.
Shot after shot, I became increasingly enamoured with the RSi. When hit “on the screws” the ball shot off the face and seemed to fly for miles. In fact, a combination of the slightly stronger lofts and the “Inverted Cone Technology”(which increases ball speed) saw these irons play a full club further than my current set. And the multiple “Dampening systems” inside the club made every shot feel solid.
True to the “76%” data above, my rather ordinary golf swing resulted in many mis-hits. But surprisingly, the usual unpleasant “thud” that I normally hear from mis-hits was replaced with a rather satisfying click; and the ball generally finding its way toward my intended targets.
With my confidence levels rising after the first two demo rounds, I took the bold step of playing the clubs during our “all important” annual golfing weekend. Over the three days, I found myself enjoying the RSi irons more and more. The well-struck shots were like bullets, finding their target with ease, while my mis-hits still found their way to safety, keeping me out of trouble all weekend.
Following the event, one of my regular playing partners (with whom I’ve played for many years) said to me “I have never, ever seen you hit iron shots so well.”
My response: “It was all due to the clubs, mate.”
Pricing and Availability
The family of RSi irons features three distinct models; each designed for different player types: The RSi 1 iron set features a slightly wider face slot, which will suit players looking for the most forgiveness. The RSi 2 irons feature less offset and a thinner top line, which should appeal to players who appreciate the forgiveness in a more classically styled iron. The RSi TP irons combine the forged look and feel preferred by better players with Face Slot Technology.
RSi 1 $1079, 8pc steel; $1199 graphite
RSi 2 $1319 8pc steel; $1439 graphite
RSi TP will be at retail on January 15, 2015.
Face Slots and Speed Pockets
Positioned at the toe and heel of the 3-8 irons, TaylorMade’s new Face Slots technology features two slots located near the heel and toe of the clubface. The Face Slots are cut all the way through the face and filled with a durable epoxy compound. These heel and toe slots increase the size of the sweet spot horizontally, and allow the face to flex and protect ball speed for more consistent distance across the face.
Meanwhile, the Speed Pocket (found in the 3-7 irons) is a small slot in the sole of the iron to improve shots struck low on the face of the iron. This helps activate the lower portion of the face by minimising speed reduction and creating higher launch on shots hit below centre. This increases the size of the sweet spot vertically, and protects ball speed, launch angle and spin rate.