TaylorMade's recent "every iron is a long iron" advertising campaign has done well for the Carlsbad fraternity. Marching to the same beat as their "own the teebox" campaign, the "long iron" campaign has drawn a good amount of attention to TaylorMade's irons. Look inside the bags of players at your local course and you're unlikely to find too many playing TaylorMade irons - you'll see plenty of Titleist, Ping, and Callaway. You may even see more MacGregor (if you count the hand-me-downs), Wilson, and Nike. Despite the fact that TaylorMade ranks highly in sales numbers, their irons just don't seem to hang around in the bags of better players very long.
Then again, TaylorMade hasn't had a compelling line of irons for quite awhile, and a good bit of their iron sales were trickle-down from outstanding driver sales… Until now. One step down from TaylorMade's forged RAC TP line, the RAC LT promises to merge the playability of a cavity back with the workability and sexy looks of a forged blade for the above-average player.
To help write this review I asked Ed Koster, a 12-handicap golfer, to give the irons a thorough workout. His thoughts follow.
Like many younger siblings, the RAC LT does what it can to take after its bigger brother, the forged RAC TP. The LT is engineered to deliver a combination of workability and forgiveness with nearly as much feel as the forged TP. The LT is a semi-cavity-back iron with medium offset, a low center of gravity, a medium topline, and a midsized head shape also borrowed from the TP.
The RAC technology, a "Tuned Performance Cartridge" in the sole, aims to deliver solid feel by capturing and dampening vibrations. The cartridge also saves 16 grams of clubhead mass which are then relocated to enhance the moment of inertia (MOI) and the center of gravity (CG) to enhance forgiveness.
The Tour-cambered sole, also found in the RAC TP line, is thin with the intent of allowing the clubhead to glide through turf, catering a bit more towards the ball "strikers" than the high-handicap "diggers." The RAC LTs also ship with new shafts - the T-Step Professional/110-gram steel and LT 85/85-gram low-torque graphite - reputed to increase shot control. Finally, the clubs are chrome-plated with a satin finish designed to inspire confidence.
Depending on the shaft chosen, TaylorMade recommends the RAC LTs to above-average golfers with a driver swing speed measuring 90-115 MPH looking for a low- to mid-launch iron with forgiveness and workability and a little offset.
Technology, Meet Tradition
The RAC LTs are some of the more highly engineered "better player's clubs" on the market today. Unlike other highly engineered irons (cough, ahem, the Callaway Fusions), the RAC LT encloses its technology in an attractive, confidence-inspiring form.
The traditional head shape, midsize clubhead, and hidden cavity back encourage better players to work the ball, but those not as comfortable working the ball know the cavity back is there, inspiring confidence for a wide variety of better players.
The overall appearance of the club is very pleasing to the eye. The satin finish of the chrome plating reduces glare well enough that I never had to squint. The clubs look high tech without blowing past "traditional," offering a perfect blend of visible and "under-the-hood" technology in an attractive package.
Feel and Playability
Looks are one thing: how a club performs is an entirely different matter. In a few words, the RAC LTs are the most forgiving irons I've ever played. Shots hit low on the face got up in the air on a good trajectory and with exceptional distance. Shots hit high on the face flew as far as I would expect (particularly off the tee on par threes). In fact, I gained just over ½ club in distance from my previous set of irons.
The RAC LT produces shots on a medium trajectory with a good amount of spin. The thinner sole allowed the club to glide through the grass and dirt. Fat shots lost less distance than I've come to expect and the feeling of hitting dirt instead of ball was minimized. The thinner sole allowed me to move the ball around in my stance and hit different kinds of shots, particularly from tight lies, with ease.
I liked the bottom-weighted cavity-back design. This gave the clubs a forged blade feel with a cavity-back appearance and forgiveness. The feel of the club contacting the ball is outstanding. I never felt a stinging sensation that typically accompanies an especially thin shot. My feeling is that the thinness of the cavity back gives a superior feel when the ball is struck. I've never played forged blades, and when I have I didn't hit them well. As with a forged blade, the RAC LTs still let me know where I hit the shot on the clubface. The RAC LTs offer the feedback of a forged blade and the forgiveness of a cavity back better than any irons I've ever hit.
My only complaint: the medium offset forces you to mind your ball position. I found myself pulling some of the longer irons a bit left until I moved the ball back slightly to compensate for the offset - something my previous irons didn't have. If your current irons have a medium offset, this may not affect you.
The RAC LTs are my new irons, and I've never been happier. I'm retired, but my irons truly are "long irons" and I'm keeping it out there with players 40 years my junior. As a 12 handicap, I mis-hit my fair share of irons, but the RAC LTs forgive my mis-hits with exceptional distance and shots that stay online. The feel evident in these clubs, even on mishits, is tremendous.
The next time you're at your golf course, look for TaylorMade irons in the bags of your friends and fellow golfers. If you fail to notice a lot of TaylorMade sets, just smile. We'll keep these RAC LTs as our own little secret.
Special thanks to Ed Koster for his review. You can reach Ed by posting a comment below.