What we say...
TaylorMade have updated their P790 irons for 2019, aimed to inspire more confidence and producing extra ball speed
Improving the most successful TaylorMade forged iron ever sounds like a monumental task. But it's a challenge that's been facing TaylorMade's iron engineers for two years, since the P790s started flying off pro shop shelves in 2017. A task which was made even more daunting thanks to the likes of DJ, Rory and Jason Day loving their P790 long irons...
So, to ensure they don't upset the apple cart and scupper what has been an extremely successful original P790 with a wildly different design, TaylorMade has approached the redesign really carefully. So carefully, in fact, the name hasn't changed in the new version, and neither have the looks.
Instead, TaylorMade has taken the opportunity to expand the P790 into a two-model family: The newly updated P790, and the P790 TI.
TaylorMade P790 (2019) Irons: What you need to know
The original P790s really hit the sweetspot, both in terms of performance and sales. Lots of club golfers bought a set as they ticked all the boxes for the tech that irons sitting on the fence between players' and game improver models really need – speed, forged feel and players' iron cosmetics.
With that in mind, TaylorMade asked their most trusted retailers what they’d change with a new model before they started the redesign; many said nothing, which is why they were very careful when they approached the redesign because they didn't want to come in with a completely different design to one that was working.
Key Features: What's the difference between the new and old TaylorMade P790s?
The profile is a little bit more compact in the shorter irons from toe to heel, they've reduced the offset in the longer irons, dialling the shape more directly into a players’ eye.
By raising the toe depth a fraction, TaylorMade says the new P790 also inspires confidence, as does a more rounded toe and heel shaping.
The multi-material construction remains the same (8620 cast body with forged 4140 face), but the face has been thinned down by 7%. That frees up extra weight which has been positioned in a 15% heavier internal tungsten weight right behind the face, designed to help to lower the CG and increase the launch angle of the new 2019 model.
TaylorMade are also using a progressive inverted cone, designed to improved accuracy throughout the set, while minimising the right tendency often found in the long irons. The tech, which protects ball speed, progresses out towards the toe in the longer irons, the typical mishit location for longer irons.
A final update is the new Dynamic Gold 105 VSS steel shafts. TaylorMade changed their standard shaft lengths at the start of the year, which means that this shaft is shorter than in the previous model. In our testing, we discovered that despite a shorter shaft aimed help players gain more control, the new irons still gained 1mph ball speed over the previous version of the P790s. They also feature a vibration dampening technology, and test Pro Neil Wain said he felt it helps them be more forgiving than the 2017 model of P790s.
"I hit one a little bit low on the face six or seven balls in and I didn't really feel much through the hands," said Wain. "I feel like with a misshit, these are going to be a little bit more forgiving than the old ones. "
How do the P790s compare to the older version in a test?
What TaylorMade are saying is that if you compare the new head to the old head you will get more ball speed – even though the shaft is a little bit shorter (TaylorMade changed their standard shaft lengths at the start of the year), meaning you're effectively getting some more control, but without losing any ball speed.
So we decided to put that to the test, and also added in TaylorMade's P760s and M5s for comparison. It is worth pointing out that there are 3 degree in loft difference between these irons, from the P760s to the M5 irons, which does impact ball speed, launch angle, spin and obviously carry distance.
P790 (2019) 30.5deg | P790 (2017) 30.5deg | M5 30deg | P760 33deg
TaylorMade P790s: Our Verdict
Our test Pro Neil Wain was a big fan of the new subtle improvements to the looks, sound and feel of the P790s, which provided 1mph more ball speed and 3 yards more carry than the previous versions.
"If you were to go and update, there are benefits," says Wain. "It has definitely moved forward, and if I were to use them I would use the newer model. I like the leading edge being a little bit more rounded, but it's that feel with the tungsten weight.
"They definitely make a better sound, and I think the tungsten weight has an impact on that. The old ones also feel really hot, you can tell that they are built for speed, but I felt like I wasn't really losing any speed with these but I was still getting the great feel.
"I am also impressed with that shorter shaft. It's only 1mph faster but it's still a gain, and three yards extra carry is quite a big gain for me."