TESTED: TaylorMade P790 vs P760 vs M5 irons

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TaylorMade P790 irons

The old P790 was TaylorMade's best-selling forged iron ever... so does the new version have what it takes to keep sales surging?

Two years after the launch of the original P790 iron, TaylorMade decided the model was due a refresh. The update, though, was complicated. Big-name Tour pros were fans of the long irons, and the original had found a place in club golfers' hearts, and become TaylorMade's biggest-selling forged iron ever.

When you're winning like that, you really don't want to upset the apple cart. After some serious soul searching to understand what P790 really stood for, TaylorMade revealed the new model last month. We wanted to know how it stacks up with the previous P790, and compares to TaylorMade's other players' irons (P760 and M5), so we put the lot in the hands of our TG Test pro Neil Wain.

ROBOT TESTED: Which golf ball suits my game?

TaylorMade P790 iron

TaylorMade P790 iron what's new?

TaylorMade approached the P790 redesign really sensitively and focused on subtle refinements to tailor the new model closer to a better player's eye. It means a little less offset and a slightly more rounded, forgiving leading edge in the long irons, and more compact, shorter blade lengths and slightly higher toe-scoring irons.

The changes haven't stopped at shaping, though. A new forged face has been reduced in thickness by seven per cent, which not only helps improve ball speed, but also frees up weight. That extra mass has meant the tungsten weight inside has become 15 per cent heavier, which helps launch shots a little higher than the original, too.

TaylorMade P790 iron testing

TaylorMade P790 iron verdict

TaylorMade have been criticised in the past for launching too many products too quickly, but that is now a distant memory. A two-year life-cycle and a new model that could easily be confused for the older version just wouldn't have been on the brand's radar a few years ago.

It's worth pointing out that if you own a set of original P790s you've still got a superb set of irons, and you're probably not the target audience for this update. But if you are a reasonable player who wants a good-looking, fast-faced, distance-orientated iron, you really won't be disappointed by these.

TESTED: Which TaylorMade iron suits me?

Our test pro felt the new model was hotter off the face (the original wasn't slow!) and our data completely backs up his thinking, with a 1mph faster ball speed and three yards more carry distance. While that can be written off as incremental gains, the sound (through a larger tungsten weight being positioned right behind the hitting area) has been improved and, thanks to a new vibration-suppressing Dynamic Gold 105 VSS shaft, which eliminates 56 per cent of harsh impact shock, mishit feel is really improved, too. 

All-in, the new P790s – like the ones they replace – are absolute beauties. Some will be shocked there hasn't been a more extensive makeover, but we have no doubt these new P790 will be a hit with serious club golfers around the globe, just like the originals.

The real benchmark of their success, though, will be sales and, judging by the performance and the shelf appeal, we can see them carrying the P790 baton forward.

How they compare in numbers

taylormade numbers

Watch: TaylorMade P790 (2019) irons vs M5 vs P760 and original P790 (2017)

Up against

TaylorMade P760 irons

TaylorMade P760 iron

RRP: £1,299
7-iron loft: 33°
7-iron offset: 2.3mm
Stock shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold 120

P760 has been described as the ultimate combo set, with hollow forged heads (with Speed Foam inside) in the long and mid irons (3-7) and one-piece forged heads in the scoring irons (8-PW).

Make no mistake, they are a players' iron and should find their way into the hands of confident ball strikers. With a 7-iron loft 2.5° weaker than the new P790, don't expect P760 to compete on ball speed or carry distance. P760s have forged heads, whereas P790 have forged faces.

TESTED: Best Player Iron 2019

TaylorMade M5 irons

TaylorMade M5 iron

RRP: £999 (s) £1,199 (g)
• 7-iron loft:
30°
7-iron offset: 2.5mm
Stock shaft: True Temper XP100 (s) Mitsubishi Tensei Orange (g)

M5 approaches iron design very differently to the P790. A traditional cavity back design reduces cost, as does casting the head instead of forging it. It doesn't mean M5 lacks tech, though, it doesn't.

A Speed Bridge connects the top rail to the sole which helps the head take on more impact load and bend, to aid ball speeds and carry distance. M5 is a strong player-style iron, which brings a healthy dollop of forgiveness to the table.

TaylorMade P790 (2017) irons

TaylorMade P790 iron

No longer available
• 7-iron loft:
30.5°
• 7-iron offset: 2.7mm
• Stock shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 (s) UST Recoil 780 (g)

The original P790 was a potent combination of great looks, strong lofts, fast, flexible faces and a decent degree of forgiveness. It was one of the very first "players distance" irons, and they convinced golfers of the benefits of hollow body constructions, and we loved them.

TaylorMade say they ended up in the hands of golfers from +4 to 24-handicaps, which certainly can't be said of many players' models.