► Watch Golf Monthly Digital Editor Neil Tappin test some of the best distance irons 2017 has to offer head-to-head, including the TaylorMade M CGB, Titleist 718 AP1, Cobra King F8 and Ping G400.
If you are looking to invest in a new set of irons for 2018, you will need to do your homework first. Finding the exact model aimed at your game isn’t easy, that’s why we have selected four of our favourites to test. This video breaks down their performance into some crucial categories to help you make a better buying decision.
In years gone by there may well have been a few less than inspiring looking irons in this category – not today. One thing you will notice is that the TaylorMade has the thickest top-line of the four. You might well find this the most confidence-inspiring option. Personally, I would lean towards either the Titleist or the PING. They both have a big face area (space between heel and toe), and the top-lines are relatively slim and sleek. The Titleist long irons in particular are fantastic to look at and strike a perfect balance between being confidence-inspiring and aspirational. However, for me the PING G400 edged it. I love the matt finish and they look very smart, both in the bag and behind the ball.
Firstly, let’s be clear about the lofts. The TaylorMade and Cobra are half a degree stronger than the Titleist and the PING. That is not a huge amount but it is enough to make a difference to the numbers. Having said that, for me there was a clear winner in this category. The Cobra King F8 is a rocket ship! I was able to carry the 7-iron a whopping 196 yards on average. I even hit one that carried over 200 yards. The TaylorMade was averaging 190 yards, the PING was 188 and the Titleist was 187 yards carry. One word of warning… The lofts of all the irons are strong – the Cobra comes in at 29.5˚ which means that it is relatively low launching and low spinning. Depending on your clubhead speed, you might not be able to get optimum performance from it unless you go through a thorough custom-fitting. But for me, when it comes to raw distance, the winner was the Cobra King F8.
This best distance irons 2018 category encompasses all the other elements of performance that are so important to iron play – forgiveness, consistency of distance, launch and flight. This was where I suffered with the Cobra where there was 11 yards between my longest and shortest hit. By contrast, the TaylorMade performed well for me on this front – just 4 yards between my longest and shortest shots was superb. However, this category is as much about how easy the clubs are to hit as anything and for that reason, the PING and Titleist came out on top. They launched higher (20˚), spun well, were both more accurate and offered consistent distances. These two irons offer a fantastic blend of all the performance attributes you need from an iron.
We are referring to the recommended retail price per club here but as always, if you shop around you may be able to beat the price we are quoting for our best distance irons 2018. The Cobra comes in at £107, the Ping is £110, the Titleist is £115 and the TaylorMade is £120. Thirteen pounds difference per club between the Cobra and the TaylorMade is a significant amount and given how strong the performance of the Cobra is, we would have to say that it does represent good value for money.
Coming up with an overall winner in this best distance irons 2018 test isn’t easy. When manufacturers focus on certain elements of performance such as distance, there are always sacrifices. Certainly the PING and the Titleist offer stand-out overall performance. If you want a distance iron that is also forgiving and very easy to launch, these two really tick the box. However, this was a distance test and the Cobra was astonishing. It looks smart (if a touch less inspiring than some of the others in the bag), is easy to hit and, most noticeably, is a true distance iron. For that reason, this would be the model I would put in my bag. As we always say in these tests, if you are thinking about investing, make sure you get fitted properly. This is perhaps more relevant here (where the lofts are so strong) than in any other category. Get this process right and which ever of our best distance irons 2018 you opt for, it should really help your game.
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