TaylorMade Golf Company’s research and development department has made a practice of creating new products that are appreciably easier to hit higher, straighter and longer. The new r7 XD iron is no exception. The r7 XD is engineered to launch the ball high, long and straight with exceptional ease, and to deliver exceptional forgiveness on mis-hits. In addition, the oversized clubhead is remarkably forgiving on mis-hits. As usual, a convergence of advanced technologies, developed by TaylorMade’s research and development department, is the key to the r7 XD’s outstanding performance.
The r7 XD employs TaylorMade’s exclusive Inverted Cone technology, known as ICT, which was pioneered in the R500 Series drivers and is still employed in TaylorMade r7 and r5 driver models, including the No. 1 driver on the PGA Tour, the r7 quad. ICT incorporates an inverted cone milled directly into the rear side of the clubface. The precise geometry of the inverted cone changes the way the clubface behaves at impact and effectively increases the size of the r7 XD’s COR zone, which is the portion of the clubface that delivers more than .760 COR. TaylorMade engineers have been working to find a way to incorporate ICT into irons for three years, and the fact that they have succeeded represents a breakthrough that allows the r7 XD to deliver consistently long distance even on off-centre hits.
It would have been impossible to incorporate Inverted Cone Technology into the r7 XD without Pull-Face technology, in which the clubface is created separately from the steel clubhead. This method of construction also allows TaylorMade engineers to make the r7 XD clubface from titanium, which is thin – just 2.2 millimetres across most of the face – flexible and fast. That promotes high initial ball speed for increased carry and distance. Not only is the back of the clubface milled, but so is the front, allowing the grooves to be precision-cut to the tightest possible specifications and the clubface to be milled perfectly flat.
Because titanium is light compared to steel, the titanium clubface saves critical weight. That saved weight is allocated to strategic points within the clubhead to move the CG lower and deeper, which makes it easy to launch the ball. The clubhead and clubface are joined using a method called lip encasement, a process that mechanically unites the two unlike materials.
The r7 XD also employs a Tuned Performance Cartridge, a proven TaylorMade performance technology that has proven itself in the rac OS and LT irons. The Tuned Performance Cartridge, which is made mostly of polyurethane, is positioned in the lower, rear side of the clubhead’s perimeter. The Tuned Performance Cartridge saves 26 grams, which is relocated into the perimeter of the clubhead to improve MOI, equalling greater forgiveness.
In fact, TaylorMade say that the r7 XD irons are so easy to launch high in the air that TaylorMade engineers had to strengthen the loft of each iron in order to lower the ball flight. The result is a powerful and penetrating trajectory that delivers the optimum combination of carry, distance and control.
In terms of shafts, the r7 XD is available in a TaylorMade proprietary ultra-light graphite and T-step ultra-light steel, which promote increased swing speed for greater distance. These shafts were co-developed by TaylorMade and industry leaders in the shaft business. “The r7 XD is intended for any player seeking a forgiving iron that’s easy to launch on a high, long trajectory,” says Jose Miraflor, manager of new product creation.
“For those who wonder why we call this iron the r7 when it doesn’t incorporate Movable Weight Technology, as our r7 drivers do, the answer is simple,” says Benoit Vincent, chief technical officer. “The concept of ‘r7’ has never been expressly about movable weight, but more about the precise management of launch conditions and the players’ freedom to choose the launch conditions that work best with their swing. When TaylorMade engineers created the groundbreaking r7 quad driver, they developed the ability to properly and precisely change a club’s playing characteristics to deliver a specific set launch conditions – launch conditions that make it easier to launch a ball on a high, powerful flight. They applied that knowledge to two new TaylorMade irons – the r7 XD and r7 CGB MAX, both of which deliver launch conditions that make them extraordinarily long and easy to launch.”
The new r7 XD irons include 3- 9-iron, PW, AW, SW and LW. The recommended retail price for an 8 club set of r7 XD irons is £649 steel and £749 for graphite. Shaft flexes include S, R in steel and S, R, M, in graphite. Available in right- and left-handed models. Women’s model also available. Availability at retail begins at the end of November 2005.
TaylorMade Golf www.tmag.com