Originally posted on jeffshelman.com
I have been meaning to write about these for a while, but have now been inspired by watching a bunch of the PGA Tour’s Bob Hope Classic this weekend.
While I change golf equipment on a semi-regular basis, it usually revolves around the driver and the putter. The driver is always on probation and I’ll do almost anything to hit it further and straighter off of the tee. I have a bit more loyalty to my putter, but I do get to the point where I feel like I can’t make anything with a putter and have to make a switch.
I haven’t changed irons nearly as frequently. I think some of it is that there is greater financial cost to switching irons. But my game is very much based on distance control. If I have 163 yards to the pin, I want to know exactly what clubs to change.
Over the past year, I have changed my irons a couple of times. I went from my set of Callway X-18s to, eventually, a set of Nike VR Full Cavity irons. The Nikes had a good look and were very solid, but I wanted something that was a bit more forgiving. While I do fine on the golf course and many people think I would be just fine with a set of forged Mizunos or the like, I have always been a game improvement iron kind of guy. I’ve had a bunch of different sets of Pings, etc.
This fall, there was tremendous buzz about the new (and allegedly improved) Burner 2.0 irons. I’ve been somewhat intrigued by what TaylorMade is doing with their irons. Essentially the strategy is that each iron is an individual club and that they all need to be designed differently. I don’t know if it is 100 percent legit, but it at least makes some sense.
The more I read about these irons, the more I was intrigued. I like the idea of a game improvement iron that doesn’t have a sole that seems to be two inches wide (hello G15). That just doesn’t really work that well for me, someone who sweeps the ball off the turf. And while I realize that some of the distance gains are the result of jacked up lofts, I do like the idea of hitting the ball further.
The reality is that I’m not the longest hitter on the planet. I figured that if I could pick up one club in distance (i.e. hitting a 6 iron where I used to hit a 5 iron), that would help me.
So I bought into the hype and pulled the trigger. In early December, I called my pro and put in an order for a new set of Burner 2.0s. I got a 4-W, 1 degree upright with some upgraded grips on them. It was a little bit of a leap of faith.
The clubs arrived two days before my departure to Phoenix and I immediately took them to one of the indoor/outdoor driving ranges here to break them in a little bit. I then used them for four rounds in Arizona.
My initial reaction: They are good. Quite good actually. I thought the irons were definitely longer than my previous irons. They were also straighter. I tend to move the ball from right to left and the 2.0s would get to maximum height and then just kind of fall a few yards to the left.
They are going to require some getting used to. I think much of it was just the fact that I had gone six or seven weeks without playing when I arrived in Phoenix. I need reps to hit the ball well. Because of that, I’m not sure whether some of my inconsistency with the irons was me or the sticks.
I think some time on the range and on the golf course when the weather improves will improve things. I need to figure out just how far these things go and just how much less these things move right-to-left. When I was in Arizona, I frequently couldn’t get myself to aim where I needed to. I couldn’t believe that these were so straight. As a result, I ended up right of my target.
I also need to get used to the little bit more length of these, especially with the long irons.
I really liked the short irons and felt comfortable with them. The mid-irons were pretty good. I never got comfortable with the 4-iron. It certainly didn’t help that there was something loose in the shaft of the club. Need to also figure out what that was, as that wasn’t awesome quality control from the folks at TM.
I think I’m close to getting into a regular routine of hitting balls in preparation for the upcoming season. Hoping that by spring I’ll really be loving them.