ClubTest Proving Ground: How much can a utility iron help my long game?
Welcome to GOLF.com’s ClubTest Proving Ground, where Managing Equipment Editor Jonathan Wall and Senior Equipment Editor Ryan Barath put the latest designs and groundbreaking technology in the equipment space to the test on the range and the course.
Like a lot of golfers, I’m always in search of the perfect gapping for the top end of my set. I have tried everything from pure long irons to high lofted 7-woods, and the one thing I’ve always taken from this back and forth is they can both work but only under ideal circumstances.
This is where utility clubs step in.
For this edition of GOLF’s ClubTest Proving Ground, I am putting my own golf bag to the test to find out which of the the new Stealth UDI and DHY utility clubs offers the best option to gap the top end of my set between my longest iron and my highest lofted fairway wood.
If you are looking for a full technology breakdown of the Stealth UDI and DHY you can find that here: FIRST LOOK: TaylorMade’s 2022 Stealth UDI and DHY utility irons.
I hit 10 balls with stock Taylormade Stealth UDY and DHY utilities (see specs below), and removed any statistical outliers. I then compared them to my longest standard iron, and my 5-wood. The test was conducted inside using a Foresight GCQuad launch monitor and Titleist ProV1X golf ball.
UDI: Loft: 20°, Length: 39.25″, Shaft: Aldila Ascent 90HY Stiff Flex
DHY: Loft: 19°, Length: 39.75″, Shaft: Aldila Ascent 75HY Stiff Flex
There are a number of things that can be taken from this test, and the first is that taking the time to get fit using a launch monitor is always going to help you achieve your performance goals on the course faster.
Also, where you play your golf and course conditions matter – a lot! As discussed a number of times leading into The Open Championship this year — making sure your club set up is properly factoring in course conditions and weather goes a lot way.
In general if you play firm conditions with fewer forced carries, the UDI is likely to be your best choice, even if you don’t carry it quite as high as the DHY. On the opposite side of that, if you want the driving iron control but need a club that is going to peak higher, the DHY will likely be the better option — remember, these are strictly one persons results.
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TAYLORMADE STEALTH UDI CUSTOM UTILITY IRON
Diving into the weeds
My personal experience is why a proper fitting plays such a important role because I am a naturally high launch and higher spin player and also tend to miss low on the face based on my swing dynamics. That last part plays a big role in the final numbers.
Even thought the Stealth DHY has 1 less degree of loft and launched lower than the UDI, the wider sole design along with the lower center of gravity causes the backspin to be higher and have a higher variance (read as the standard deviation below the average numbers above: 747rpm compared to 266rpm).
The DHY also offered more ball speed 137.1 mph average compared to 134.3 mph of the UDI but I’m comfortable in saying a lot of that speed is cause by the DHY having a lighter shaft and 1/2″ longer length.
From a pure numbers perspective, I hit the Stealth DHY slightly farther, but overall the UDI is a better fit for me because it keeps the ball in my preferred launch window and gives me the control I want off the tee and from the fairway, where this club will see a majority of its use.
So if you, like many golfers are struggling to properly fill the gap between your longest iron and highest lofted wood, the Stealth DHY and UDI offer great options to do just that. Just make sure you get them on a launch monitor to truly know which one is going to be th ebest for you.
Want to overhaul your bag for 2022? Find a fitting location near you at GOLF’s affiliate company True Spec Golf. For more on the latest gear news and information, check out our latest Fully Equipped podcast below.