The TaylorMade R11 irons are the newest editions to the TaylorMade lineup, complimenting the highly successful R11 wood line. They are designed to replace the current TP CB irons. TaylorMade felt that the TP CB irons became a little lost in the market. The TP CB’s are a thin faced, wider sole, more forgiving TP iron. The TP stands for Tour Preferred and is known as their professional line of clubs. The TP CB irons performed great, but they didn’t quite fit in the “TP” lineup. Players who wanted to play the TP brand, wanted something smaller, less offset, thinner top line, and all around less “chunky”. So TaylorMade decided to re-design and re-position the TP CB. Enter the R11 irons. The R11 irons look slightly cleaner than the TP CB’s at address. The lines from the hosel, to the leading edge, to the toe, and then to the top line flow together nicely creating a head that is a pleasure to look at. By looking at this club at address it’s hard to tell that this is TaylorMade’s second most forgiving club. Let’s see how they tested.
TaylorMade has incorporated all of the innovative technology that they have come up with over the past decade into this one iron. Technologies like an ultra thin face with an inverted cone for faster ball speeds and an expanded sweet spot, a precision weight port to precisely control the center of gravity and swing weight, and a progressive design which maximizes the performance with each iron in the set. The lofts are progressive and strong. Combining the strong lofts with the thin faces, this iron should go a long way. They have two different stock shaft options available; a Fujikura Motore graphite shaft, and a lightweight KBS Tour 90gm steel shaft. The graphite shaft is painted to match the graphics on the R11 driver and woods. There are also many aftermarket shaft options ranging from heavy and stiff like the True Temper Dynamic Gold all the way down to a lightweight and soft Nippon NS Pro 950. With so many different shaft options this iron can fit a wide variety of players. The R11 is available 3 iron through the sand wedge. The 3-9 irons are swing weighted to a D2, which is precisely controlled by the weight port in the back of the iron. The wedges are a little heavier starting at a D2.5 and progressing to a D4.5. All right, enough with the specs that you can look up online, let’s have some fun and see what they can do to a golf ball!
The iron I tested in the Miles of Golf Cluboratory™ was the 6 iron with a True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 (extra stiff).
The reason I chose this shaft is because this is the shaft that I currently play, so this would be an easy transition to test the head. The R11 6 iron was standard length, and standard lie angle. Nothing too fancy here, I’m a pretty average guy. I compared the R11 directly to the TP CB since that is the iron that it is designed to replace in the line up.
The performance data from a TrackMan™ launch monitor in the Miles of Golf Cluboratory™ was as follows:
|Launch Angle||Spin Rate||Carry Distance||Side Dispersion|
|TP CB Iron:||130.1 mph||14.7*||6218 rpm||184 yds||11.3 yds|
|R11 Iron:||132.5 mph||15.4*||5930 rpm||189.7 yds||3.9 yds|
The results speak for themselves. The R11 iron outperformed the TP CB iron in every category. The faster ball speed came from a higher smash factor (efficiency), which is ball speed in relationship to club head speed. The higher smash factor means that the thinner face of the R11 iron was giving me a little more “spring effect” producing faster ball speeds. The R11 also launched higher with a lower spin rate creating a high, flat trajectory that is good for hitting the ball a long way. As you can see, the faster speed coupled with the improved trajectory helped increase my carry distance by 5.7 yards. As anybody who has played more than one hole of golf can tell you, distance doesn’t do you any good if there isn’t any accuracy to go along with it. This is where the R11 really shined. My dispersion left and right of my target went from 11.3 yards to 3.9 yards. On average that’s 20 feet closer to the pin than the TP CB irons. That’s going to create a lot more opportunities for birdies.
The R11 wood line has been incredibly popular, so it is only natural that TaylorMade would come out with an iron to compliment the wood set. The R11 irons, just like the woods are targeted toward all handicap ranges from scratch, all the way up to a 30 handicap. A scratch player may find these a little on the thick side, but as long as they won’t let that get in the way of their ego, they are an incredibly stable forgiving iron. The higher handicap player will appreciate the forgiveness of the R11’s without having to get a super game improvement iron. The R11’s are the do-it-all irons in the TaylorMade line up, and it lives up to that billing. As good as these irons are, they will only work if they are properly fit to the person swinging them. So as always, make sure you get fit in the Miles of Golf Cluboratory.