This Wednesday I was able to attend a TaylorMade media day event yesterday at the La Costa Resort. Want to thank all the great TMAG staffers (Christa, Michael, Dave and Mike) for having me and sharing this exciting line of prodcuts. I was even able to play a round with Tom Kroll, the global product lines manager for woods.
For more on all of TaylorMade's New line of products, check out these links:
Like I said, I was lucky enough to play with Tom Kroll from TMAG who is the manager of the metal wood division. He's a former Nationwide tour player and shot an easy -1 at the La Costa North Course. He was playing the new RockerBallz irons with DG x-100's. Even though that's a little too stiff for me, it gave me a better idea of how the irons performed than if I were to hit the lighter weight shaft designed for slower swing speeds. As promised they are long, straight but at the same time don't look like "shovels". The 8- AW don't look all that different than my Anser irons.
There is also another great story that goes along with the creation of what TMAG calls the INSANE 11. At the presentation Wednesday they showed us a funny mockumentary of how they improved on the top selling Burner 2.0 irons. On a side note, you may not know that Taylormade is now the #1 iron in golf. kicking Callaway off the pesdistal, in large part due to the success of the Burner line of irons.
The video showed the irons team working away to find something that goes even farther and straighter. What TMAG did is that they "stole", in the video they kidnapped a metal wood engineer and tortured him by clanging a Callaway Diablo driver in his ear, in order to find out the secrets that the metal woods guys have. It's torture because the Diablo is known to sound really funky, and the engineer screams, "It sounds so horrible!". Obviously also having fun at the "rivalry" between the 2 companies (which they should now call the mercy rule) The engineer gave in and took their top performing metal wood technology and implemented it in an iron.
Every RBZ iron head, from the 3- to the lob wedge(Insane 11), is uniquely constructed and features a progressive length and spec package, which has been carefully coordinated to ensure proper trajectory and distance gaps throughout the set. The 3-5 irons have a metal wood construction because the new, hollow clubhead construction akin to that of the company’s industry leading line of metalwoods. This hollow head construction allows the company’s engineers to create the clubface (455 carpenter’s steel in the 3- through 5), and allows for a lower and centered CG location which ensures solid contact on the face when hitting off turf, promoting maximum energy transfer at impact.
Lowering the CG also allowed TaylorMade engineers to strengthen the loft to promote a more penetrating flight. This improved CG location is made possible in the 3- to 6-irons by thinning areas of the sole, top-line and back wall, then repositioning the saved weight into the rear wall and heel to shift the CG lower and more toward the center.
Key to the improved accuracy of RocketBallz irons is the new “Toe-Bar” feature, positioned in the upper toe, and the new design of the Inverted Cone. Fast-faced irons suffer in terms of accuracy because the asymmetrical shape of an iron face naturally causes the flex-point of the face to direct the ball off-line. The Toe-Bar and redesigned Inverted Cone together stiffen the toe-area of the clubface so that when the face flexes it directs the ball straight forward.
“We’ve worked extensively to advance fast-faced iron performance, and feel like we’re well ahead of our competitors in this category,” said Bret Wahl, TaylorMade senior director of iron, wedge and putter research and development. “We’ve learned that high COR is most useful when on top of high speed you can also control the face-flexion to send the ball on an accurate flight-line. With that in mind, we’re very pleased with what we’ve achieved with the RocketBallz iron.”
My favorite thing about the irons is the progression of the head shapes throughout the set. The 9-L are smaller, compact short-irons, 6-8 are deep undercut-cavity middle- irons and large, and the super easy to hit 3-5 hollow long-irons. But even though the long irons are still game improvement they look pleasing to the eye at set-up. TaylorMade’s Multi-functional Sole while the sand wedge, attack wedge and lob wedge all incorporate our new ATV sole, talking about that more soon.
For all the "feel" talk we have on the thread, TMAG confirmed that FEEL IS SOUND. They measure the feel by measuring the sound (in hertz). To create a pleasing "feel", TMAG engineers found an acoustic Japanese polymer that's exceptionally soft and pliable; it works in conjunction with the badge system to absorb unwanted vibration and sound without slowing the face.
Also, every RocketBallz iron is engineered with an added cavity chamber in the heel at the point of the hosel-to- face transition that makes the heads easier to bend, allowing us to offer RocketBallz in 4 degrees upright, 4 degrees flat, and plus-or-minus 2 degrees in loft. The necessity for this was discovered during prototyping as the hard 455 steel used for the clubheads makes bending difficult.
It was great to play with Tom and see what these irons can really do. If you hit it anywhere on the face, it's going to be a decent shot. The ball does "rocket" off the face. I'm not a long hitter but I hit a 5 iron with an x-100, 200 yards in the air over water. Not something I normally do. The shorter irons weren't ballooning either, which is something you can credit to the CG being repositioned, also makes it important to get the right shafts for yourself. Kind of makes the TP line of irons almost "silly" to play. Tom, a former Nationwide tour player can hit all the shots he needs, have maximum forgiveness in the long irons, trajectory control in the short irons, really versatile sole designs.
The irons have a darkish grey finish, really durable a sleek. Maybe too dark for my liking, I prefer a satin finish, but I like the RBZ finish or a shinny chrome.
While the RoketBallz irons look great at address the longer irons will displease those that care about how rear or cavity design looks. I think it's something you'll get over once you hit the 4 iron.
Club Specs, Pricing and Availability
RocketBallz irons are available in 3-iron through LW, right-handed and left-handed (no left-handed LW). Sets of eight clubs are being sold at a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $699 with steel shafts, $899 with graphite shafts. Steel shafts weigh 85 grams, steel wedge shafts are heavier at 105 grams to promote increased rhythm and feel. Graphite shafts weight 65 grams. Ladies’ RocketBallz irons are available in 5-iron through SW, equipped with
If you're not happy with hitting it further with the RBZ irons you may want to take a look at the RocketBallz Max irons. The idea behind this irons was to put all the technology they possibly could for an iron, regardless of cost. So, instead of having the metal wood construction in just the 3-5, the Max irons employs metalwood construction in every irons. The face created separately from the hollow body allows the face to be unsupported (lacking braces or crosspieces behind it that could inhibit flex) and exceptionally thin, making it very fast in how it flexes and reflexes at impact. The face of every RocketBallz Max iron is so fast that the COR measures up to the maximum limit allowed by the Rules of Golf. For those that loved the CGB Max irons a few years ago, these are latest and greatest for that type of performance.
Improved CG and Grooves
Each RocketBallz Max clubhead is individually engineered to position the CG exceptionally low and deep-back in the head, and in precise alignment with the center of the face. Tungsten weighting is placed in strategic areas of the sole, mainly at the toe and heel ends, to lower the CG and increase forgiveness. TMAG's newest and highest performing groove is machined into every clubface to promote maximum spin.
RBX Max Engineered for Higher Handicap Players
RocketBallz Max short-irons are designed with the needs of higher handicap players in mind. TMAG studied thousands of swings using high-tech custom-fitting and research tool, MATT (Motion Analysis Technology) and discovered that, among the numerous fundamental differences between highly skilled players and high handicappers, one is that skilled players make a consistently descending blow with their short-irons usually at an angle of four to eight degrees. High handicappers, in contrast, swing every club, including the short-irons on a shallower approach path of about one degree. This presents the club head to the ball with a higher loft promoting a too-high trajectory, too little spin, and a significant loss of ball speed. To counter the problem, engineers strengthened RocketBallz Max short-iron lofts. That, combined with mass properties made possible by the hollow head, promotes a more aggressive flight when launched with a shallow downswing angle.
Stock shafts include steel KBS 90 Satin shafts with a beautiful new brush finish and Matrix‟s new graphite Ozik Program HD model (55-gram men‟s, 45-gram ladies‟) that‟s the first lightweight iron shaft to feature Matrix‟s patented HD (16-sided internal structure) technology. The 16-sided design features a higher MOI than any traditional “round” shaft, promoting more forgiveness and enhanced feel.
Price and Availability
RocketBallz Max irons are available in 4-iron through LW, right-handed and left-handed (no left-handed LW). Sets of eight clubs are being sold at a manufacturer‟s suggested retail price of $1,299 with graphite-shafted long-irons, steel-shafted mid- and short-irons, $1,399 with graphite shafts throughout the set. Ladies‟ RocketBallz Max irons are available in 5-iron through SW, at an MSRP of $1,399. Availability at retail starts on February 3, 2012.