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Controlled Aggression: Driving irons combine accuracy and distance like never before

September 13, 2018

When the very best players in the world (see Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka and others) ditch their 2- and even 3-irons for a hotter, easier-to-hit option, it’s safe to say it’s a trend.

And while hybrids and higher-lofted fairway woods are better than ever, today’s driving irons are also distance and accuracy machines that are perfectly designed to pick apart shorter par 4s and 5s while offering a friendly and accurate option on lengthy par 3s.

Check out some of the latest offerings from Callaway, Ping, TaylorMade, and Titleist—one of them may just be the right tool for your game.


$250; callawaygolf.com

The Callaway X-Forged UT.
The Callaway X-Forged UT.

Aimed at better players, the X-Forged UT (utility) irons deliver improved accuracy and control, noticeable distance and the welcome feel of a forged clubhead. Designed with feedback from members of Callaway’s Tour staff, the clubs feature a CG in line with the face’s center for a more penetrating flight and less sidespin. A tungsten insert creates a higher MOI for forgiveness on off-center hits (to say nothing about an easier launch and better carry), while Callaway’s 360 Face Cup helps the hollow, forged club deliver eye-popping ball speeds. Available in 18°, 21°, 24°, 27° and 30° lofts; Project X 6.0 steel shafts come standard.


$230; pinggolf.com

The Ping G400 Crossover.
The Ping G400 Crossover.

The G400 Crossover, an alternative to wood-style hybrids, functions equally well from the tee or the fairway. The forward CG placement creates more ball speed, straighter, longer shots and a higher launch than the previous G model, while the wide sole gets the ball airborne easily from a variety of lies. The “hydropearl” chrome finish reduces turf friction, while the thin steel face improves ball speeds and acoustics. Twenty-gram tungsten toe weights boost MOI and forgiveness. G400 Crossovers are available in 19°, 22° and 25° lofts with Alta CB 70, Ping Tour 85 and Ping AWT 2.0 stock shafts.


$219; taylormadegolf.com

The TaylorMade P-790 UDI.
The TaylorMade P790 UDI.

The P790 UDI driving iron is a welcome addition to TaylorMade’s hugely successful P790 line of irons. Available in 2-iron (17°) only, the new UDI comes standard with a Project X HZRDUS Black shaft and can be custom built with a variety of aftermarket offerings. Already used by Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Jason Day and others, the UDI shares the same forged 8620 carbon steel construction as the standard P790 irons, including a hollow body (with SpeedFoam), carbon steel frame, and a strong yet thin 4140 carbon steel face.


$249; titleist.com

The Titleist 718 T-MB.
The Titleist 718 T-MB.

The 2018 iteration of Titleist’s flagship driving iron has become so popular that players are using them in full sets. Features of the new T-MB include cast hollow-body construction with high-speed face inserts; high-density tungsten weights in the heel and toe (91.5 g average in the 2-7 irons, 48.7 g average in the 8-9 irons), for enhanced stability and MOI for forgiveness; and pre-worn leading edges (2-7) for improved turf interaction. An optimized progressive CG location also improves launch and spin rates throughout the set. The 718 T-MB comes standard with True Temper Project X PXi steel shafts and is available in 2-P and a 50° wedge.