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The golf club market can be a confusing place for consumers, no matter their skill level. The latest and greatest products that are designed by modern manufacturers are usually the best performing options when properly fit to your swing. The only problem is, new clubs are also typically the most expensive options.

In a sport that’s already quite expensive, is making the investment on new clubs always worth the high price tags?

Here at GolfWRX.com, we believe that whether you’re buying expensive new equipment or more affordable used options, you should get a proper club fitting from an expert fitter. Factors such as club length, loft, lie angle, overall design, weight settings, shaft flex, shaft weight and even grip size can all make a drastic impact on how the club feels and performs to the individual golfer. It’s not easy trying to figure out all of that by yourself, so working with an expert is imperative.

Now, when it comes to deciding on buying old versus new clubs, the conversation becomes a little more personalized to your specific budget and performance needs.

When you look at the clubs that are being used on the PGA Tour, most professional golfers opt to use the newest equipment possible, or they have clubs that are customized and prototyped to their exact liking.

That’s not always the case, however. Sometimes, PGA Tour players use golf clubs that were released several years ago, and they are still available on the current market for a more affordable price. Although the clubs are older designs, some Tour players still find benefits because the designs have managed to withstand the test of time.

I call these clubs the “Modern Classics.”

The benefit for consumers when it comes to these Modern Classics is that they’re currently available on the market for a fraction of the cost of new equipment, but they’re still viable options to use – even on the PGA Tour.

For our new 8-part club testing series in partnership with 2nd Swing Golf, I chose 8 classic golf clubs that are still used on the professional level, and each club can still be found online at 2nd Swing Golf’s website, or at 2nd Swing Golf retail outlets. Although these used clubs can be found at other third-party retail sites, as well, we chose to conduct this testing at 2nd Swing because, in my personal opinion, they have one of the largest selections of used equipment on the market, and they certify the quality of each club that they sell.

Also, the 2nd Swing store in Scottsdale has over 15 fitting bays that are equipped with launch monitors, and they have a team of expert club fitters to help analyze the numbers.

The first club that I chose to test in this 8-part video series was a TaylorMade Tour Preferred MC 4-iron that was first released to the public in 2011. As we’ve discussed at length at GolfWRX.com, PGA Tour player Daniel Berger still uses a set of TaylorMade TP MC 2011 irons.

For this specific test, I pitted a used TaylorMade TP MC 2011 4-iron (22 degrees) against my current gamer 4-iron (24 degrees) from my set of golf clubs; each club was shafted with an extra stiff steel shaft. I hit 5 shots with each club, using a high-end tour golf ball. We deleted any outliers, and then we analyzed the numbers with the help of 2nd Swing expert fitter Cliff Walzak, who’s a well-respected and longtime club fitter in the industry.

In the video at the top of the page, we break down the entire test, the launch monitor numbers, and then I assign a value rating to the club. Just a heads up, not every club tested in the series will score such a high rating, but we happened to start off with an especially top-tier Modern Classic.

If you’re interested in testing/purchasing the TaylorMade TP MC 2011 irons for yourself, they’re currently available on 2nd Swing’s website for $84.99 for an individual iron, or $339.99 for an entire set.

What other 7 clubs do you think I chose for this Modern Classics video series?

*Credit to Saeyae for the video production.

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He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team and earned a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Nadia Comaneci

    Jan 18, 2023 at 5:28 pm

    Good video, but what is nine-point-four?

  2. Danon

    Jan 17, 2023 at 2:16 pm

    Original Callaway Apex Pro irons should be on this list in my opinion. They’ve certainly withstood the test of time with some pros still gaming the longer irons from that 2013/14 release.

  3. Joey Horn

    Jan 17, 2023 at 1:29 pm

    Am I missing the comparison data? All I see is numbers for the 2011 TM TP MCs. What are we comparing this too?

  4. Mark

    Jan 17, 2023 at 12:54 am

    Forgive me for being blunt, but unless you are testing clubs with matching specifications (SW, grip make and size, shaft make and flex, loft, etc.), nothing of value will be learnt here.

    This type of test is best suited for mainstream golf publications catering to the uneducated. The GolfWRX readership is not well served by this.

  5. Tom K

    Jan 16, 2023 at 6:25 pm

    Didn’t want to sit through the video. How did the old irons tack up?

  6. Branson Reynolds

    Jan 16, 2023 at 6:10 pm

    From the looks the drivers are GBB, g400, ‘16M2, fairways are rocketballz, nike vr, taylormade burner, with an Adams idea pro hybrid

  7. ac

    Jan 16, 2023 at 1:02 pm

    Testing the Taylormade R1 vs. Stealth 2 would be great as well.
    The others I would love to see are player distance product, since there is the “tec” involved. Something like P790 vs. Mizuno H5?

  8. Eastpointe

    Jan 16, 2023 at 11:56 am

    Gotta test the Stensons. Both the 3wd and shovels

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Equipment

‘Engineered for extreme backspin’ – Mizuno unveils new S23 wedges

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Mizuno has today unveiled its new S23 wedges, which the manufacturer says are “comprehensively engineered for extreme backspin.”

The wedges are designed to combine the precision and playing profile of a player’s bladed wedge with the aggressive performance of a toe-weighted design and feature a centralized sweet spot for maximum control.

The S23 wedges showcase a shorter hosel and a heel-orientated cavity allowing greater mass to be pushed towards the toe. This creates a centred sweet spot, as opposed to a heel-side location in conventional wedges. 

The centred sweet spot is designed to contribute to longer impact time, less head deflection and higher spin from both full and partial shots.

“That check and spin you see from the pros isn’t purely because of newer grooves – most of us don’t have the consistency of strike to get that kind of action. For the vast majority, a centralised sweet spot makes it much easier to find and get that repetitive action.” – David Llewellyn, Director of R&D for Mizuno

The S23 wedges are One-piece Grain Flow Forged HD at Mizuno’s facility in Hiroshima, Japan – where Mizuno irons have been produced since 1968. They have a Tour-ready design with a player’s preferred, versatile look at address. But, with weight pushed to the toe, a partial heel cavity and a short hosel, they offer a centralised sweet spot designed to offer a more consistent strike and reliable high-spin numbers.

The wedges offer a loft-specific profile with stronger lofts featuring a tear-drop straight edge, flowing into a more rounded lob wedge, with grinds to suit throughout.

The precise grooves in the S23 wedges are quad-cut milled and loft specific, cut into Boron infused 1025 mild carbon steel for a longer effective lifespan. In addition, Mizuno’s HydroFlow Micro Grooves are laser etched to release moisture in a bid to reduce spin drop-off in wet conditions.

The S23 wedges come in either a white satin brush chrome or copper cobalt finish and will be in retail from February 2023 at a price of $160 per wedge.

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Equipment

GolfWRX Launch Report: Mizuno ST-Z 230, ST-X 230 drivers, fairway wood, hybrid

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What you need to know: The product of Mizuno’s Speed Technology (ST) Metalwood Project — four years of rapid-fire metalwoods development — 2023 Mizuno ST-Z 230, ST-X 230, and ST-PLTNM feature the centerpiece Cortech Chamber, within which a steel weight is positioned for increased ball speed and spin reduction. The technology extends to the ST-Z 230 fairway wood and hybrid as well.

Mizuno ST-Z 230, ST-X 230: What’s new, key technology

Cortech Chamber: Through slot provides additional COR area by providing sole flex filled with elastomeric TPU material for additional flexure and face stress reduction. Inside the TPU is a stainless steel weight, which is positioned close to the clubface for increased speed and spin reduction. Also contributes to a solid feeling at impact.

SAT 2041 Forged Beta Titanium Face: More flexible and stronger than 6-4 titanium.

Additional model details

ST-Z 230

  • Billed as a “straight, stable, and low spinning” driver. Designed for stability on off-center hits.
  • Engineers focused on positioning CG location being as close as possible to the Z-axis or neutral axis for lower spin, straight performance, and higher MOI.
  • Forged SAT 2041 Beta Ti face, aided by the Cortech Chamber, enhances ball speed and reduces spin
  • 14-gram back weight
  • Shallower CG for a more penetrating ball flight

ST-X 230

  • Billed as a “more workable, mild draw-biased” driver
  • Higher spinning, higher launching than ST-Z 230
  • Deeper CG and shorter CG distance for a balance of workability in both directions
  • 14-gram heel weight
  • Toe side composite for shorter CG to shaft axis distance
  • More rounded, deeper profile

ST-X PLTNM 230

  • An ultra lightweight driver for slower swing speeds
  • High launching
  • Draw biased
  • The ST-X PLTNM is 30g lighter overall than any possible custom option of the ST-X 230
  • High spec Helium Platinum Shaft and lightweight grip

What Mizuno says

“Our player testing over the years shows that placing extra weight close to the face results in faster ball speeds and low spin rates,” says David Llewellyn, Director of R&D for Mizuno. “We’ve been steadily working towards the CORTECH Chamber, which is incredibly effective at that job. Encasing the steel weight within the TPU Chamber means that we’re moving weight close to the face at the same time as creating an additional source of energy. Steel is twice the density of Titanium but won’t weld directly, which is where the TPU has a second role.”

More photos

ST-Z 230

ST-X 230

ST-Z 230 Fairway Wood

  • A mid-low spinning, high launching, adjustable fairway wood
  • Mid-sized and playable for all levels
  • High energy MAS1C steel face boosted by Mizuno’s Cortech Chamber
  • The carbon composite crown for a low center of gravity
  • Quick Switch hosel offers 4 degrees of adjustability

ST-Z 230 Hybrid

  • A mid-low spinning, high launching, adjustable hybrid
  • High energy MAS1C steel face boosted by Mizuno’s Cortech Chamber
  • Waffle crown, thick sole weight create a deep center of gravity for high launch
  • With respect to the CLK, the ST-Z 230 is slightly larger

Price, specs, availability

Drivers

ST-Z

Availability: Right Hand – 9.5 and 10.5 degrees
Left hand – 9.5 degrees only

ST-X

Availability: Right Hand – 9.5, 10.5 and 12 degrees

Fairway wood

Right Hand – 3 wood (15) and 5 wood (18)
Left hand – 3 wood (15)

Hybrid

Availability: Right Hand – 2H (16), 3H (19), 4H (22) and 5H (25)
Left Hand – 3H (19) and 4H (22)

Pricing

ST-Z 230 Driver / ST-X 230 Driver: $499.95
ST-Z 230 PLTNM Driver: $549.95
ST-Z 230 Fairway Woods: $299.95

At retail: February

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Equipment

Titleist adds low-bounce T Grind to its Vokey Design SM9 family

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Titleist has today added the low-bounce T Grind to its Vokey Design SM9 lineup.

Previously available only as a WedgeWorks custom order, the T Grind will now be widely available in both stock and custom options as an extension to the existing SM9 family, being offered in SM9 58.04T and 60.04T models.

As a low-bounce wedge with a narrow crescent surface and wider back flange, the T grind is designed to allow for shot making under any condition. Compared to the L Grind, SM9’s other low-bounce option, the T Grind features a narrower forward sole and more aggressive heel, toe and trailing edge relief.

“Wedge play is an art, and the T Grind brings out the best in the artist. The leading edge stays low to the playing surface as the wedge is rotated, which allows the golfer to hit a variety of shots from tight lies. This is the wedge that really made Vokey Grinds an important part of our process – and is still a great option to this day.” – Bob Vokey

The new T Grind features a CG that has been raised vertically by adding weight to the topline design, where a tapered pad at the back of the toe helps align the CG properly without being visible from the playing position – promoting a more controlled ball flight and solid contact.

A new Spin Milled cutting process in the SM9 models – which includes tightening our allowable tolerances – produces consistently sharper grooves wedge after wedge in design for a higher, more consistent spin.

Specs, Availability & Pricing

  • Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold S200
  • Grip: Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360 White
  • Lofts, Bounce 58.04T RH/LH, 60.04T RH/LH
  • Color Codes: Tour Chrome, Brushed Steel, Jet Black finishes. Raw finish available for custom only.
  • Availability: March 10
  • Price: $179 (Steel), $195 (Graphite)
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