Golfers jump through a lot of hoops trying to get a faster clubhead speed. But while driver and fairway wood manufacturers focus highly on adding distance in their clubs, marketing for iron sets typically promises greater control, backspin and forgiveness.
But the SpeedBlade iron set by Taylormade is directed at golfers who want to improve distance and height on their iron shots, and make more consistently solid contact on all approaches. Read on for our TaylorMade SpeedBlade irons review and learn more.
Advertising for the SpeedBlade set focuses on the Speed Pocket, a handle-bar shaped slot in the sole of long and mid-irons that theoretically helps a larger area of the club face with flex and rebound at impact. TaylorMade claims that most mid-to-high handicappers hit their iron shots thin, or too low on the face, resulting in a low hard-landing shot which the Speed Pocket is designed to rectify.
The company also promises carefully-managed distance “gaps,” or a more even gap of length between each numbered club. That sounds extremely promising – no more hitting your 7-iron 150 yards, your 8-iron 140, and your 9-iron 20 yards shorter.
SpeedBlades come in a 2-ton satin nickel plating and can be purchased with graphite or steel shafts. The latest update-model retails on Amazon at just over $$$ (Check Current Price) for a set of 3-through-PW, plus a Sand Wedge and a novel “approach” wedge, marked A, with a loft between the pitching and sand wedges.
Playability & Customer Reviews
By all accounts, the SpeedBlades are longer. Many players report that the irons are at least one club-length longer than their previous set, a blessing on parkland courses where hilly approach shots demand the high trajectory and soft landings afforded with a shorter iron. Positive reviews have also mentioned the sharp look and feeling of confidence at address.
But there are some dissenting opinions. A few golfers have criticized feel in their SwingBlade irons review, pronouncing the clubs “dead” on impact and panning the line-drive aspect of the shot pattern. On teed shots such as approaches to Par 3 holes, strikes near the top of the head have resulted in weird ball flight and an uncomfortable feel, probably due to the low-end weighting of the heads.
Every swing is different. Golfers who indeed tend to hit their iron shots high on the face are probably ill-suited to this set, while those with a thin-hitting pattern will likely end up pleased.
For the Low Handicapper
In The Little Red Book, Harvey Penick advises “hit it thin to win,” meaning that in a clutch situation a thinly hit iron shot can be a safety valve as it will tend to travel farther. Overall, there is more trouble in front of greens than behind them, so a “fat” shot hit high and short can ruin many a great round while a thin shot will result in at least a par.
In a U.S. Open at Congressional, Colin Montgomerie had perhaps his best chance to win a major U.S. tournament but hit a fat wedge shot short of the green near the end of his final round, making bogey. An iron set such as the SpeedBlade could provide a buffer against similar disasters in your club championship.
However, due to the Speed Pocket design, evaluating your swing path is critical. Golfers who hit their irons in a long, sweeping motion with a tiny divot will probably receive great feel and consistent flight path from these clubs. Meanwhile, those who tend to attack downward with a large divot Lee Trevino-style may find that they are striking the ball closer to the top of the head, resulting in the “dead” feel and line-drive flight that some reviewers have complained about.
For the High Handicapper
A common problem with beginners and high-handicap golfers involves “skulling” the ball, or pulling the body up drastically on the downswing and impacting the ball at the very bottom of the club head, causing a worm-burner or very low line-drive shot that bounces short of the target – and often into serious trouble. These irons could help solve that problem, at least as far as results and overall score if not actual help with the swing path itself.
For most novices, distance is crucial. A longer-hitting set of irons can come in handy by allowing the beginner to swing in a relaxed motion, not as concerned with blasting the ball as hard as possible.
However, feel is also extremely important for the newbie, a category in which these clubs can be inconsistent from player to player. If the beginning golfer is receiving an unpleasant vibration in his wrists and arms with every strike, not only will follow-throughs be adversely affected but it may simply keep her from wanting to tee off again the next day. Therefore, we advise that many practice shots be hit to discover how these clubs feel when hit well (and hit poorly) before a purchase is made.
Also, the price of these irons may be prohibitive for the new hobbyist simply looking for a solid set of sticks to start out with.
For the Power Hitter
For those who already hit their shots long, is investing in a long-hitting iron set really worth it? Aren’t there more important considerations such as control, backspin and forgiveness?
Perhaps. But consider that courses are getting longer all the time. Before the advent of modern golf balls and muscle conditioning, courses such as Chambers Bay with its 500+ yard Par 4s were unheard of. But as scratch players hit longer and longer shots, architects continue to expand course length to compensate. If your favorite course is always adding light-years to the length of holes from the back tees, a power-hitting set of irons may improve your score…even for the power hitter.
For the Short and Straight Hitter
Obviously, a short hitter can benefit greatly from these clubs. Hitting a 7-iron instead of a 6-iron to a pin tucked behind a bunker may not seem like much, but can make all the difference when stopping the ball quickly by the hole is at a premium.
But watch that swing path! Again, a few old-fashioned players with aggressive downward motions and large divots may find these clubs extremely difficult to hit smoothly. But junior and senior players with a steady, sweeping swing that could use a little extra power should consider the investment.