Taylormade SpeedBlade Irons – Review & Comparison
Taylormade SpeedBlade Irons – Review & Comparison
Are They Longer, Higher & Better As Claimed?
Everyone knows Taylormade’s marketing is fairly aggressive, but when the Team here at Precision Golf saw this advert (below), we thought we had better have a test to see whether they can really back up this bold claim!
Overview of the Taylormade SpeedBlades
So first up, what is the fuss behind the SpeedBlades? To sum up, the Speed Pocket. Utilising similar technology to their RBZ woods, the speed pocket behind the face is designed to increase ball speed and launch angle, to eventually equate to more distance. The RBZ & the RBZ Stage 2 have dominated the woods market over the last few years, mainly due to their low spinning and very long ball flight. Here is the official feature list from the Taylormade website:
New elongated Speed Pocket – Faster face and more ball speed in the center, down low, toward the toe and toward the heel
Lowest CG of any TaylorMade distance iron – Easy to launch on a high and strong flight
Individually engineered heads – Optimized distance, trajectory, control, spin, feel and sound
Advanced head structure, Speed Pocket polymer and multi-material badge – Absorbs unwanted vibration to promote fantastic sound and feel
Balanced distance gaps between each iron – Every iron is valuable; closes gap between longest iron and lowest metalwood
Bending notch – Easier to bend for loft and lie adjustments
This all sounds very impressive, but will the figures back this all up? So, let’s first see how the SpeedBlades perform against the RocketBladez, Taylormade’s 2012 iron.
SpeedBlades vs RocketBladez
Here is some Trackman data taken by Simon during our test of the two irons.
The SpeedBlades claim to be higher launching, with more ball-speed and therefore longer distance. Well, from the results, we can see that the launch angle is definitely higher. During our tests, Simon was impressed with the high launch and forgiving strike of the SpeedBlades, which will be very useful for golfers who struggle to get the ball stopping quickly on the greens (especially with the added spin). Ball speed was also up slightly, but will be fairly minimal if the clubhead speeds were identical (perhaps Simon hadn’t warmed up yet when using the RocketBladez!). However, there was no real improvement in distance, which can be attributed to slightly eliminating the cranked lofts, and also the higher launch. The SpeedBlade lofts have been strengthened in a certain few clubs, which is probably why it may initially appear that the SpeedBlades are longer, however it looks like distance performance hasn’t changed too much from the RocketBladez, even with the Speed Pocket inclusion.
This doesn’t mean to say that the SpeedBlades are the same as the RocketBladez though, as the higher launch, added spin and slightly faster ball-speed will obviously be very beneficial to certain golfers.
SpeedBlades vs 2013 Irons
The next test we did was to take a few of the current irons on the market that would be classed as similar to the SpeedBlades, and have a direct comparison.
In order to make our test as consistent as possible, we set all the clubs’ lofts to 31º (apart from the Callaway X-Hot as our demo is immovable at 27º). 31º is usually a standard loft for a 6i, but as many people know, a few companies have cranked their lofts in their latest models, which is why the Taylormade SpeedBlade 7-irons are now 30.5º!
Obviously, the anomaly is the X-Hot (27º), but you’ll need to take into account this is one club more than the rest, take around 7 or 8 yards off distances. Unsurprisingly, the club that has gone the furthest with most consistent spin and launch is Simon’s own Miura 6-iron (labelled 6i) which is still set to 31º.
However, looking at the overall results, there really isn’t that much between this year’s iron models. Yes the SpeedBlades came out as comfortably the highest launching, just as Taylormade have claimed they would, which is great to see. This, combined with the added spin will definitely appeal to a lot of golfers, but I don’t think there is a notable change in distance over other models or even last year’s RocketBladez. From the results, there are a few of the clubs that performed slightly more consistent and better, but there will always be a few differences due to a change in shaft weight and balance from club to club, as unfortunately we couldn’t put the exact same shaft in every head (else the test would have taken days upon days!). Therefore the clubs that were closer to what Simon would normally use (in this case the JPX EZ’s and the Nike VRS) performed slightly better, but still goes to show that there will never be too much of a difference in performance between heads.
The SpeedBlades are a good head from Taylormade, with regard to launch and spin while maintaining a good amount of ball-speed. However, it’s claims for added distance can’t really be confirmed, as there isn’t a big change in distances when the lofts of iron heads are identical. If anything, this test goes to show that the most important part of your irons might not be the latest ‘explosive-distance’ head, but instead finding a shaft that will allow the club to perform optimally for you and your swing.