Crossover Irons Review: With models that now blur the lines between better player and game improvers, we thought it was time to see if crossover irons deliver.
What is a Crossover iron? Irons usually fall into one of three neatly pigeon-holed categories – better player, game improvement and super game improvement. But times are changing, and there’s a new “crossover iron" category that sits right between better player and game improvement.
Models which fit this new crossover iron mould boast the looks, sound and shaping of a better player model, but combine those features with levels of forgiveness usually reserved for chunkier, forgiving game improvement sets.
TaylorMade, Mizuno, Wilson and Titleist now have models that blur the lines between better player and game improvers, so we thought it was time to see if crossover irons deliver.
How we did it:
TG test pro Ben Frost, a senior instructor at The Belfry Academy, hit each model (7-iron) on a launch monitor. We used a premium ball, and rejected major misses.
Crossover Irons: Titleist 718 AP3 Review
There’s been lots of chatter about the AP3s since they appeared a few months ago. Titleist aren’t renowned for radical clubs, but the AP3s leap to the cutting edge of iron design, as hollow body irons are bang on trend of crossover iron. Straight top and leading edges and limited offset are a look many slightly better golfers desire.
Our test pro’s usual 7-iron distance is 171 yards, so a couple of yards more from what isn’t the strongest loft on test is a good result. The AP3s are available individually, so you only need buy what you use, and take the time to get fitted and there are lots of premium shaft and grip options. Our pro thought the AP3s are particularly well suited to slightly above average swing speeds and higher spin players who’ll flight the AP3 for maximum carry.
Titleist aren’t fans of labelling irons with handicap ranges, but we reckon golfers of 10 or less handicaps could use a set of these crossover irons.
Price: £150 (s) £175 (g) per club
Availability: 3-PW, AW
Stock shaft: True Temper AMT Black
7-iron loft / length / offset: 31° / 37” / 3.3mm
Crossover Irons: Mizuno MP-18 MMC Review
Mizuno have an enviable reputation when it comes to players’ irons. Thanks to the Mizuno MP-18 MMC’s blend of rounded-head good looks and a higher degree of playability thanks to 20g of tungsten weighting inside the head, there’s a decent chance at least some long irons will appear in tour bags in 2018.
We love the contrast between the darker groove section and the rest of the head, which increases focus on the impact zone. It’s a small detail, but just the sort of addition decent players like. From a 1.5° weaker loft (compared to the P790) it’s no surprise the MMC didn’t quite compete when it came to outright distance, but what you do get is a lovely looking crossover iron and a huge selection of shaft options at no upgrade charge, and you can buy them individually.
We reckon the Mizuno MP-18 MMCs might just about stretch to a 10-11 handicapper in this crossover irons category, but of course that’s hugely dependent upon how you strike your irons.
Price: £150 per iron
Stock shaft: Choose from 16 premium options
7-iron loft / length / offset: 32° / 36.75” / 3.1mm
Crossover Irons: Ping i200 Review
As the market has changed so quickly the Ping i200s (launched in January 2017) are like grandads of the “crossover irons” category. They sit right between the iBlade (better player) and G400 (game improvement) models.
The 2.5° weaker 7-iron loft was always going to struggle to compete on ball speed and carry. Crucially, though, our pro didn’t think the cavity-back i200 was any more forgiving than the hollow P790s or AP3s – a big thumbs-up to the playability and forgiveness of blade-style hollow heads. Like the Titleist AP3 irons the Ping i200s are cast rather thank forged, but our pro said the sound and feel were just as good as the forged models he hit.
The Ping i200s are an excellent option of crossover irons, and will be right at home in the hands of golfers up to about a 12 handicap. Throw in seven shaft upgrade options at no charge and the chance to buy them separately, and the Pings are a very strong all-round package in the crossover iron category.
Price: £120 (s) £130 (g) per club
Availability: 3-PW, UW
Stock shaft: Choose from seven premium options
7-iron loft / length / offset: 33° / 37” / 2.3mm
Crossover Irons: TaylorMade P790 Review
TaylorMade say their P790 beauty is a beast, and based on this, and previous tests, we’d agree. Granted, not all golfers in this category are looking for more distance, but if your game needs a blend of distance, forgiveness and looks, the P790 is an absolute cracker.
Cleverly, TaylorMade has blended a slightly wider top edge with a lovely, flowing muscleback design. The hollow-body P790’s high ball speeds (fastest in this test) took our pro by surprise, and he carried shots further with a 7-iron than he’d typically expect with his own 6-iron, showing just how powerful these crossover irons are.
For us, the TaylorMade P790s are a fantastic all-round option in this “crossover irons” category – they look the business and offer a decent degree of forgiveness, which is exactly what lots of reasonable club golfers are looking for. TaylorMade say the P790s can suit golfers up to about a 12 handicap.
Price: £1,049 (s) £1,299 (g)
Availability: 3-PW, AW
Stock shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 (s) UST Recoil 780 ES (g)
7-iron loft / length / offset: 30.5° / 36.75” / 2.7mm
Crossover Irons: Wilson Staff C300 Forged Review
Wilson coined the term “crossover golfer”, and they’ve targeted players through their “C” crossover irons range for years. The new C300 Forged isn’t hitting the shops until late January 2018, but thanks to two rows of power holes (to increase face flex at impact) in the sole Wilson say you get 27% more face flex (than their forged FG Tour F5), which equates to seven yards extra carry with a 7-iron.
Yes, the Wilson Staff C300 Forged has a shiny, high polished finish, but the shape is typically Wilson, with a slightly more rounded top and leading edge and solid look behind the ball. Our pro hit the C300s really nicely, but as the highest launching and spinning iron, and because the 7-iron loft is half-a-club less than the longest iron here, it’s difficult to judge performance on a level playing field.
At £699 they are excellent value for money; if you’re after a solid set of forged irons that are playable up to about a 10 handicap, they’re difficult to beat as an overall package.
Price: £699 (s) £799 (g)
Stock shaft: KBS Tour 105 (s) Aldila Rogue Tour (g)
7-iron loft / length / offset: 33° /37.25” / 2.5mm