By Mike Stachura
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The third generation of TaylorMade’s P·790 irons, which helped to define the “players distance” category when they were first introduced in 2017, boasts a thinner face and more than double the tungsten of its most recent version. That faster, more forgiving design is fueled by a new lighter urethane foam filling—Speedfoam Air—within the hollow-body design.
PRICE: €1,400/£1,149 for seven-piece set (steel); €1,680/£1,349 for seven-piece set (graphite). Available in 3-iron (19 degrees) through AW (50 degrees). In stores Sept. 3.
THE DEEP DIVE: The players distance iron category, one of whose primary stalwarts has been TaylorMade’s P·790 since its introduction four years ago, is the fastest growing iron segment in the game. From a technology standpoint, it’s easily the most interesting.
That’s probably because it’s also the most challenging. Essentially, the audience demands a somewhat compact look and single-piece forged feel of a better players iron while craving at the same time a distance infusion usually reserved for the most game-improvement-y designs in the marketplace.
The players iron category is producing more irons that push the boundaries of springy faces, what’s known as the coefficient of restitution (COR). But the challenge isn’t just to inject a little more ball speed into these faces, it’s to make these faces consistently fast.
That’s exactly what’s at work with the third generation of the P·790, which gets at the problem of better uniform speed and launch with changes to its distinctive internal urethane foam, the decreased and weight-saving thicknesses of the steels used both in the face and the body and more heavy tungsten than ever before in the P·790 line to optimize center of gravity and forgiveness.
Inside the hollow, multi-piece design, what was known as Speedfoam is now significantly lighter (hence, Speedfoam Air). According to Matt Bovee, TaylorMade’s senior manager of iron product creation, the new version of the lightweight urethane material, is 69 percent less dense than the original, saving about 3.5 grams that can be redistributed in the head.
“It’s much easier to compress, much softer, much lighter,” Bovee said. “All those things we can use to our advantage in improving the design. It allows us to push the limits of the face while keeping that true forged iron-like feel.”
The foam supports a newly thinned face that now gets down to 1.5 millimeters at its thinnest points in the perimeter, or about the thickness of a penny. The variable thickness face, which features the inverted cone shaped pattern that has been the hallmark of TaylorMade designs for two decades, wraps around the sole in an L-shape. A cut-through slot behind the face in the sole allows for optimal face deflection, especially on impacts below the center line.
The thinner face flexes better and according to Bovee creates an area that features a high spring-like effect, or COR, of .800 that’s nearly a third larger than before. But the faster-flexing face is only part of the story for making the new P·790 more consistently fast.
The weight savings from the new foam interior and the thinner face gets an additional boost from a thinner-walled structure in the back of the iron’s hollow-body construction. Previously 1.6 millimeters thick, Bovee said the back wall is now just a millimeter thick. All of those elements redistribute enough mass to allow for a new 31-gram tungsten slug that is positioned a little lower and more toward the toe than in the past. That lines up the face’s most flexible center with the center of gravity for better energy transfer, putting more speed in an area from low heel to high toe where most shots are hit. In other words, more consistent speed, what Bovee calls “growing the size of the sweet spot.”
“This is intelligent sweet spot design,” he said. “Because of that repositioning we’re actually capturing more shots on the iron face. When you do that golfers are going to hit their numbers more often and that leads to more consistency.”
He said the combination of those technologies also includes attention to the feel quotient players want. He also noted that because of its forgiveness, the P·790 player profile has encompassed a handicap range that runs from scratch to the 20s. That will continue with the latest version. It’s why players distance irons are resonating so much.
“We’ve made big improvements in face speed consistency,” he said. “I think the biggest difference in the new P·790 is growing that sweet spot size because that really comes down to making a more consistent product. If you’re hitting your number on a more regular basis, you’re going to play better golf. And if you have a larger sweet spot, you’re also going to see better ball speeds.
“It’s about giving the player something as consistent as a solid-body product but gets him or her some extra pop, too.”
Speaking of extra pop, the P·790 lineup also will include a utility iron that features the same elements as the irons. The new P·790 UDI comes in a 17-degree (2-iron) loft and graphite shaft standard (Project X HZRDUS Black Smoke).
The P·790 irons are available for individual iron and seven-piece set purchases ($186 per club and $1,300 for seven-piece set in steel; $214 per, $1,500 for the set in graphite). The standard shafts are True Temper Dynamic Gold steel or Mitsubishi Chemical MMT in graphite. The P·790 UDI will retail for $250 per club. The P·790 line will be at retail Sept. 3.
WHAT THE COMPANY SAY: Following the resounding global success of one of the best-selling iron franchises in company history, TaylorMade Golf, an industry leader in product innovation, technology and performance, today announces the third generation of the P·790 irons.
A pioneer in the player's distance iron category, P·790 are built on a foundation of performance and elegance. Delivering power, distance and feel in a package that appeals to a wide range of players. To tackle the task of improving one of the most successful irons in recent history, engineers began by redeveloping the technology that sits at the centre of it all.
The all-new SpeedFoam Air, an ultralight urethane foam inside the forged hollow body construction, is 69% less dense than the prior generation. In a world where minor adjustments can lead to major results, the switch to SpeedFoam Air accounts for significant weight savings – an average of 3.5g in respective irons. The change allows for a substantial redistribution of mass to lower CG placement and improved launch properties. Furthermore, it unlocked access to the thinnest face in P·790 history and allowed for the creation of an intelligent sweet spot.
"SpeedFoam Air is the heartbeat of the new P·790 irons. The development of this lightweight urethane material allowed us to strategically reconstruct the iron head to promote optimal launch conditions and a sweet spot that covers the most common strike points on the face." SAYS Matt Bovee, Product Creation, Irons
P·790 iron heads are crafted from an 8620 carbon steel that maintains strength and durability while allowing for a new thin-walled design – adding to the overall weight-saving benefits of SpeedFoam Air. This reengineered Forged Hollow Body Construction pairs with a responsive 1.5mm forged 4140 steel L-Face to promote supreme flexibility, fast ball speeds and distance while upholding a premium forged feel.
The company's iron development team charted data from thousands upon thousands of golf shots and determined the most common impact points on the iron face. Utilising this data, engineers strategically shaped and positioned the sweet spot to capture more of those shots. Results include measurable upticks in ball speed and distance compared to the prior generation. Overall, the sweet spot has been better aligned with centre face to naturally provide performance where golfers need it the most.
The 2021 P·790 contains much of the DNA that has made this a dynamic iron franchise for more than five years. Heavy tungsten weighting, up to 31g in an individual iron head, is strategically positioned to deliver both stability and forgiveness. The patented Thru-Slot Speed Pocket™ continues to provide increased face flexibility while preserving ball speed and distance on low face strikes.
Clean and classic aesthetics complete the look of this artfully designed iron. Symmetrical lines and traditional shaping create a look that's cohesive with the full P·700 Series – making P·790 the ideal pairing for combo sets with P·770, P·7MC and even P·7MB in some cases.
Complementing the P·790 irons is the P·790 UDI, a forged driving iron designed with Tour-inspired shaping and incorporating proven TaylorMade technologies such as the Thru-Slot Speed Pocket™ and Forged Hollow Body Construction with a new thin-walled design. Like the other irons in the set, the P·790 UDI is powered by the all-new SpeedFoam™ Air and is constructed of a soft, 8620 carbon steel body combined with a high strength forged 4140 carbon steel face.
It features the same intelligent sweet spot that positions performance precisely where golfers need it the most. The head design promotes low spin shots with a piercing trajectory and is built for golfers who want control without sacrificing distance.
SPECIFICATIONS, PRICING & AVAILABILITY
Available at retail on Friday, September 3, at an RRP of €1,400 / £1,149in steel and €1,680 / £1,349 in graphite, the new P·790 irons will be offered in 3-PW/AW and come equipped with True Temper Dynamic Gold steel shafts or Mitsubishi Chemical MMT graphite shafts with Golf Pride Z-Grips. Available in RH and LH. P·790 UDI is available as a 2-iron (17°) and comes equipped with the Project X HZRDS Black Smoke shaft and Golf Pride Z-Grip at a RRP of €259/ £229