“Like a surgeon’s scalpel.”
That’s how TaylorMade’s Senior Director of Irons, Tomo Bystedt, describes the company’s new P-730 irons, which he and his team designed to meet the needs of three of the top-ranked golfers in the world: Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, and Dustin Johnson.
“It’s pretty simple,” Bystedt says. “These guys have incredibly sensitive hands. When [Dustin Johnson] wants to hit a 5-yard cut into a right pin, you don’t see him doing anything differently. He just does it. What these players need is a very low-inertia club that they can [manipulate] easily, almost like a surgeon’s scalpel.”
Give average golfers a set of musclebacks like the P-730, and their results probably won’t be surgical. More than likely, they’ll butcher their scorecard. That’s where TaylorMade’s new P-790 irons come in. They aim to merge the classic look and feel of muscleback irons with the boost in distance and forgiveness that’s possible from the latest technologies.
The P-790 irons debut a new construction from TaylorMade, using 4140 steel club faces that are forged into an L-shape. The club faces wrap around the sole of the irons, where they’re welded to iron bodies made of 8630 steel. The design allowed TaylorMade engineers to make the leading edge of the irons thinner and more consistent, according to Bystedt, which helps improve the distance and consistency of the irons.
What’s most intriguing about the P-790 irons, however, is what golfer can’t see. There’s a screw on the toe of each iron, which is an access port to the inside of the club. Through it, TaylorMade fills each P-790 iron with a lightweight, flexible material it calls “Speed Foam.” The Speed Foam serves two purposes, the first of which is providing support to the club face so that TaylorMade designers could make it thinner to improve the distance and forgiveness of the irons. The filler also helps absorb vibrations during impact, which creates a more desirable feel.
In the two years TaylorMade spent developing the P-790 irons, it tested several filler materials, one of which was thermoplastic elastomer (TPE), the material PXG uses to fill the inside of its 0311 irons. “The problem with the TPE is that it completely kills your COR,” Bystedt says.
COR, or coefficient of restitution, is the measure of spring-like effect of a golf club. The higher the number, the faster a golf ball rebounds off the club face. To keep the COR of the P-790 irons as high as possible, TaylorMade’s iron design developed Speed Foam. Think of it like EVA, or ethylene vinyl acetate, the cushioning material used in running shoe, Bystedt says. Then think of something “much softer and less dense than that.”
There is a place for density in the P-790 irons, and it comes in the way of tungsten weights that are positioned inside the irons, which weigh as much as 11 grams. They’re positioned uniquely in each iron to create a center of gravity (CG) that’s directly in the center of the club face.
Compared to TaylorMade’s PSi irons, which the P-790 irons replace, Bystedt calls the shaping “more angular.” They also have a “slightly flatter sole.” “It’s clearly a players iron,” Bystedt says. “We’re not targeting this for the 0-5 guy, but we’re confident that the guy who’s a 10-handicap, avid golfer, is going to be able to play this.”
The P-790 irons will sell for $1299.99 with steel shafts, $1499.99 with graphite shafts for an eight-piece set. They’re available in 3-PW, AW. The stock steel shaft is True Temper’s Dynamic Gold 105. The stock graphite shaft is a new model from UST Mamiya, the company’s 760/780 ES SmacWrap. They’ll be in stores Sept. 15.
The P-730 irons ($1399.99 for an eight-piece set) are available in 3-PW on Nov. 1. The stock shaft is True Temper’s Dynamic Gold S300.