TaylorMade SIM Max OS – £899 (steel) / £1,049 (graphite)
Callaway have gone after strong lofts harder and faster than anyone in the last couple of years. But TaylorMade are hitting back with the SIM Max OS in 2020, saying the lofts aren’t just strong for speed and distance either. TaylorMade reckon iron design has got to a point where strong lofts are actually necessary to stop shots from spinning up and losing distance. Our data speaks for itself. The SIM Max OS was our longest SGI iron (by three and four yards from the two hybrid irons), and it gave similar spin numbers to the wider and higher-lofted Wilson Launch Pad, which means shots will stop on a green.
But the SIM Max OS story isn’t just about power; it’s about ultimate forgiveness, too. Our drop-off data has the OS among our top three (remember it’s up against wide-body hybrids, too) at protecting ball speed, backspin and carry, which ultimately increases forgiveness, too.
A very good iron for tons of club golfers.
Cleveland Launcher HB Turbo – £599 (steel) / £649 (graphite)
We’ve tested the Cleveland Launcher HB Turbo a few times now, and each session has ended with our pro smiling from ear to ear. Hybrid irons are really fun to use as they’re so easy to hit.
The Cleveland is likely to be more at home in the hands of golfers who already like hybrids. They look more like a traditional hybrid, whereas other similar products have the appearance of an iron with the addition of a body on the back.
The numbers speak for themselves. If you need any confirmation hybrid irons are more forgiving than traditional cavity backs, the Launcher gave the smallest drop-off in ball speed (3.4mph) and carry (5.6%) on mishits of all the SGI irons we tested this year.
Brilliant price, too.
Callaway Mavrik Max – £849 (steel) / £1,049 (graphite)
Callaway’s new Mavrik Max is well worthy of a place among our favourite SGI irons of 2020. It didn’t feature among our fastest or longest, but it has the joint weakest loft in the category. These slightly weaker lofts (compared to the standard Mavrik irons) mean the Max is ideal for moderate swing speeds, particularly those who tend to struggle to flight shots high enough to maximise carry.
There’s plenty of offset (which helps get shots airborne) and a very wide top line, yet the iron looks pretty compact.
For moderate swing speed players, this is a very solid iron option.
Ping G710 – £169 per club (steel) / £179 graphite
It really wasn’t that long ago the best super-forgiving game-improvement irons looked like shovels, because size was the only way to max out playability.
Things have changed dramatically, and part of the switch comes down to hollow body tech. The new Ping G710’s hollow construction makes it possible to roll together lots of forgiveness within a really attractive head shape and size, which in our book makes it one of the most desirable super game-improver irons of 2020.
Pound for pound (comparing even lofts) the G710 is powerful, and part of that comes down to how the face is made from the same springy c300 steel in Ping’s fairways and hybrids.
Sound isn’t always as important at this end of the market as mid-handicap golfers (and above) are often much more interested in the results, but the G710 sounds every bit as good as it looks.
A brilliant super game-improving option for a lot of handicaps.