Pros: Great feel, and a great looking club at address
Cons: Strong lofts will require dialing in distances compared to your previous set.
Like most people, I always considered Wilson to be beginner clubs. Something to be bought at Wal-Mart when you aren't sure if you will continue playing golf. Lately though, they have shown that they take the game extremely serious with their Staff brand.
At $600, the Ci11's are not cheap. My question before buying them was are they worth it?
The quick answer is yes. Having played Ping G10's for the past 3 years, I could never get used to the look of the clubs at address. As a beginner, I didn't realize that something as superficial as looks could matter in a golf club, and bought the G10's on reputation alone. Thats not to say the G10's are not good clubs. They hit well and have great feel. But I just couldn't get used to them, and did not at all like looking down at them.
With a trip to a golf store, I picked all the sets in price range (Under $800), and seperated the ones I liked the look of at address from the ones I didn't. I was left with 5 sets of Irons and a launch monitor, and started hitting balls. 5 balls with each pitching wedge, 5 with each 6 Iron, and 5 with each 3 iron. At the end, I was left with two sets. The Wilson Staff Ci11's, and the Mizuno JPX-800's. After hitting a few more balls, I decided firmly on the Wilsons, and left the big box store to order a set of Ci11's at my clubs Pro shop.
As of today, I have played 6 rounds with these Irons, and I could not be happier. I have played far better golf with these Irons than I ever have with my G10's, breaking 80 for the first time ever during my second round with the clubs. All around feel is fantastic, and the good shots really feel good, without even looking at ball flight. Not to mention the wonderful sound that they make when struck well.
The first thing I noticed though, was that I was hitting the ball further than ever with these Irons. Being a bit suspicious of this, I immediately did some investigating and found the lofts of the clubs to be a bit stronger than my G10's, and even though my Wilsons are a 1/2 inch shorter (due to proper fitting), those lofts seem to give me longer carry with all my clubs.
The surprising thing for me however, was forgiveness. The G series Ping makes has often been hailed as some of the most forgiving clubs out there, but the Ci11's seem to be every bit as forgiving, with a smaller head and thinner top line. All around, I hit these clubs better than my Pings. Especially the long Irons, which gave me a ton of trouble before switching sets. I switched to a 3 hybrid early after getting my G10's, and now I think I will be ordering a 3 Iron to complete my set (the 3 iron is not a part of the set, and must be ordered separately), and take the hybrid out of the bag, as im hitting the new 4 iron better than ever.
Overall, I think the Ci11's are up there with the best irons I have ever hit. If that wasn't so, I wouldn't be gaming them. For the first time, it seems a game improvement iron will let you work on shaping shots (not that I can do it on command every shot, but I have been able to work the ball better than ever, especially with the short Irons), and forgiveness and feel are every bit as good as the competition in the game improvement category. These clubs have completely changes my view of the Wilson Staff brand, and I would recommend the Ci11 Irons to anyone, Wilson wants people to know they are back to their winning ways, as seen with their new marketing campaign. Give them a chance, you won't be dissapointed.
3 Month Update:
Now that I have been playing these Irons all summer, I thought it was time for a quick update.
There really is not a honeymoon phase with these irons for me. Since the first day my custom set arrived, I have loved these irons, and that feeling has not gone away. I have played with many different iron sets, and own both Ping G10's and Nike VR blades (the 2nd last model released), and while the blades do SOME things better than the Ci11's, to me the Ci11 has been the better all around club for anyone who isn't a pro with dead on ball striking.
The Ci11's have been extremely easy to hit, while still having a respectable topline, looking great at address. The distances are very, very well spaced out. The strong lofts in the mid and short irons made club selection a bit difficult at first, but once I got my distances down it was simple to figure out what club I needed. A quick measurement with my range finder, and club selection is easy. Its hard to find any distances that are between clubs.
I am currently playing with a 4-9i, as i've replaced all of my wedges with Edels, and switched my 3iron for a 19* hybrid that allowed me to get rid of my 5 wood, giving me more space to choose different clubs for different courses and situations.
But, at three months, I can honestly say that I have found nothing wrong with the Ci11's, aside from the black nickel coating wearing on the sole of the clubs, which only makes sense anyway. If you are looking for a set of Irons, definitely do not pass by the Wilson Staff Ci11's. Wilson has created a real winner with this set, and I reccomend you try them if you are in the market for a set of clubs. I tried Mizuno's, Titleists, Pings, Callaways, and TaylorMades, and in my humble opinion, the Wilson Staff Ci11's either match or outperform any other iron out there, forged or cast.