What we say...
The TaylorMade P790 (2021) irons are a more forgiving players' distance model aimed at mid-single-figure to mid-double-digit handicappers.
Any product we refer to without needing to mention the brand name has hit the dizzy heights of popularity marketeers only dream of. We’re thinking iPhone, Dairy Milk, 3 Series… We don't need to name Apple, Cadbury's or BMW, such is the impact those products have had.
In golf, few products ever hit these levels of recognition (think Big Bertha and Pro V1), but only four years since their launch, TaylorMade’s P790 irons are now certainly among them.
Back in 2017, the P790 was launched as a players’ distance iron (an option for five to 12 handicappers), but it was so popular it found its way into the bags of everyone from +4 to 24 handicappers.
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Since then, the P790 has also taken on the title of TaylorMade’s biggest selling forged iron ever.
For 2021, the P790 is being slightly repositioned as a gateway iron into the TaylorMade’s P Series family, giving extra encouragement to aspirational mid-handicap players who hanker for a great looking forged iron.
Here's everything you need to know about the 3rd generation TaylorMade P790 iron.
What you need to know about the TaylorMade P790 (2021) iron
New SpeedFoam Air
SpeedFoam first appeared in the original P790. This new material, known as SpeedFoam Air, is 69% lighter, which means 3.5g of weight is saved from the very heart of the iron and redistributed to improve forgiveness. SpeedFoam also supports the face at impact and tunes sound and feel to levels that decent players love.
Thin wall construction
TaylorMade used to talk about thinning the wall thickness of their drivers to save weight and improve efficiency, and now their engineers are using the same idea in irons. Strategic areas of the P790's head are reduced in thickness by up to 37.5%, which removes mass from inefficient areas. A new, slightly ridged top rail showcases the idea brilliantly.
By removing weight from inside and shaving down the chassis there’s more weight to position elsewhere to improve forgiveness, launch and the centre of gravity placement. The 3rd generation P790s have up to 31g of tungsten positioned towards the toe, which is double the previous model. It means there’s lots of stability wrapped up in this head.
Sweetspot size isn’t something all brands like talking about, but TaylorMade say the new P790’s area of maximum spring and speed on the face has grown by 60% over the original, and an additional 15-30% over the 2019 second generation. That should make it more forgiving than ever on off-centre strikes.
TaylorMade, though, aren’t making any new speed or distance claims, and the specs between the new 2021 P790 and the previous 2019 model are unchanged.
The P790 has a slot cut through the sole, so essentially the face floats out front. The idea maximises face flex and rebound and is particularly good at protecting ball speed when shots are hit low on the face, which is a common miss for club golfers.
More suited to average speeds
If you’re an average speed player who’s been attracted to P790 before but you’ve found the Dynamic Gold 105 regular shafts on the heavy side, we love how TaylorMade have introduced a new, lighter Dynamic Gold 95 as the stock regular flex shaft. TaylorMade have obviously thought about their target audience really carefully, and we reckon teaming this shaft with a Tour Response ball could be an excellent marriage for lots of reasonable club golfers.
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A pioneer in the player's distance iron category, P790 are built on a foundation of performance and elegance. Delivering power, distance and feel in a package that appeals to a wide range of players.
P790 iron heads are crafted from 8620 carbon steel (the body is cast) that maintains strength and durability while allowing for a new thin-walled design. A 1.5mm forged 4140 steel L-Face promote’s supreme flexibility, fast ball speeds and distance while upholding a premium forged feel.
Inside SpeedFoam Air, a new ultralight urethane is 69% less dense than the prior generation. In a world where minor adjustments can lead to major results, the switch to SpeedFoam Air accounts for significant weight savings.
"SpeedFoam Air is the heartbeat of the new P790 irons” said Matt Bovee, Product Creation, Irons at TaylorMade. “The development of this lightweight urethane material allowed us to strategically reconstruct the iron head to promote optimal launch conditions and a sweet spot that covers the most common strike points on the face."
The company's iron development team charted data from thousands of golf shots to determine the most common impact points on the iron face. Utilising this data, engineers strategically shaped and positioned the sweet spot to capture more of those shots.
Results include measurable upticks in ball speed and distance compared to the prior P790 generation. Overall, the sweet spot has been better aligned with the centre of the face to naturally provide performance where golfers need it most.
Where does the P790 sit in TaylorMade's iron line-up?
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Verdict: TaylorMade P790 irons
The 2021 P790 has massive shoes to fill, not just because it’s predecessors led the marquee to being TaylorMade’s biggest selling forged iron ever, but also because the 2019 P790 was our top performing 2021 Players’ Distance iron for distance too.
What TaylorMade have achieved by introducing the more player focused P770 in 2020 is the ability to loosen the shackles a little on the new P790, freeing it up to target a slightly wider audience than both previous P790 models, and that’s a really good thing.
We’re certainly not saying high-handicap golfers should be looking at this model. But are thinking mid-handicap club golfers that aspire to use a really good looking iron and probably put a premium on their irons being forged, should now at least be considering this model. There’s also an opportunity for more average speed players, who in the past might not have had quite the club speed to get the best out of a heavy regular flex Dynamic Gold 105, to look again at this model.
Data comparison: TaylorMade P790 iron vs competitor models
TG test pro Neil Wain tested the P790 on a launch monitor against irons with a similar target market from other brands.
As our test data shows the new model is an absolute top performer against its peers in the Players’ Distance iron category. The P790 produced our test pro’s fastest ball speeds (by 1.9 mph compared to the 2nd fastest – PXG 0311 Gen4 P, and 5.3mph to our slowest iron – Mizuno JPX921 Forged), which is seriously impressive against the very best opposition.
The P790 launched higher and peaked shots out above the competition too. Of course some will say backspin is a little low but as our data shows it’s very comparable to competitor models. And remember shots are flying higher and descending onto the green at a steeper angle too.
We love how TaylorMade aren’t coming out and saying there’s big speed or distance gains to be had from this new model, it means the specs remain the same as the previous model with no change to lofts or shaft lengths to sneakily add more pop.
Cosmetically the new P790 is a great looking iron, it’s clean sleek and aspirational. We love the straight top line on the mid-irons, and how they blend into slightly more offset heads in the long irons (to help flight shots higher as the centre of gravity is further back), and the reassuring slightly taller face height in the short irons. We also love how the new back design ties in beautifully with the P-7MB shaping so the iron looks absolutely top-notch sat in the bag.
Data comparison: TaylorMade P-7MB, P-7MC, P770, P790, SIM2 Max and SIM2 Max OS irons
TG test pro Neil Wain tested the P790 on a launch monitor to compare it to every other TaylorMade iron.
Over the last year tons of golfers have tried to decipher whether their game better suits the very desirable, slightly smaller P770, or the slightly longer blade length of the P790. Think about it like this. Our test data shows 17 yds of carry distance gain in favour of the 2.5deg stronger lofted P790 7-iron. And for most club golfers that’s way too much to be giving up (distance gaps will narrow at more average speeds) just to play the smaller P770.
And if you need any further convincing the P790 from its stronger loft also flighted shots higher (+4 yds) and descended the ball onto the green at a steeper angle than the P770 too. Which is seriously useful when it comes to hitting long iron approaches.
The choice between the P790 and the SIM2 Max iron will be a much more difficult decision for many to make. For most it will come down to whether you put a premium on using a forged iron (as the SIM2 Max is cast) and how much you want to spend, as performance wise the pair are very evenly matched, yet there’s a £250 price difference at RRP.
TaylorMade P790 (2021) Iron specs
The TaylorMade P790 UDI
Alongside the new P790 irons, TaylorMade are also launching a new driving iron in the form of the P790 UDI.
Like the other irons in the set, the P790 UDI is powered by the all-new SpeedFoam Air and is constructed of a soft, 8620 carbon steel body combined with a high strength forged 4140 carbon steel face.
It features the same intelligent sweet spot that positions performance precisely where golfers need it the most. The head design promotes low spin shots with a piercing trajectory and is built for golfers who want control without sacrificing distance.
The P790 UDI is available as a 2-iron (17°) for £229.
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Review written by: Simon Daddow
Job title: Today's Golfer - Equipment Editor
TaylorMade P790 Irons
RRP: £1149 (s) £1349 (g)
Stock steel shaft:
Mid Flight - Dynamic Gold 105 VSS (S, X)
High Flight - Dynamic Gold 95 VSS (R)
Stock graphite shaft: Mitsubishi Chemical MMT
Stock grip: Golf Pride Z-Grip (52g)
7-iron loft: 30.5° Hosel offset: 2.7mm
Iron category: Players' Distance / Mid-Handicap
Forgiveness rating: 2.5 / 3