TaylorMade’s Qi10 line delivered unexpected results for this 8-handicap | ClubTest 2024

taylormade qi10 irons testing review

TaylorMade's Qi10 irons and new shaft flex helped our tester find a tighter dispersion.

Jonathan Wall/GOLF

Welcome to GOLF.com’s ClubTest Proving Ground, where Managing Equipment Editor Jonathan Wall and Senior Equipment Editor Ryan Barath — along with a cast of GOLF writers and editors — put the latest designs and groundbreaking technology in the equipment space to the test on the range and the course.

For 2024 ClubTest, we paired members of our staff with the latest gear from manufacturers to give you, the potential club buyer, “a real feel.”

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TESTER: James Colgan, news and features editor | 8.6 H.I.

GOAL: To follow up the best season of my life with another year’s worth of consistent gains across the bag. Also, to cut down on my dispersion with my irons so that my 40-footers for birdie are now 20-footers.

THE LOWDOWN: Truthfully, I never thought I’d find myself in the position of dreaming about “scratch golfer” territory — but here I am. After years of miring in the high and low teens, I’ve finally broken through into the land of single-digit handicaps, even breaking 80 for the first time in the process.

A few big things changed for my golf game last summer: swing fixes, range time, weekday rounds aimed at boosting my consistency. Heading into the offseason, my game was in the most consistent place it’d ever been. In some ways, that was awesome: I’d spent my whole life wanting to reach the point where I could reasonably know what would happen when I showed up to play a round of golf. In other ways, though, it was scary. After spending so much time getting from the upper-80s to the lower-80s, I feared reaching another dreaded scoring plateau.

I knew there were parts of my game starting to reach their ceiling. My putting — long dreadful — had improved to merely “below average.” My driving — a weapon at its best moments; a disaster at its worst — was doing too much see-sawing. And my iron play … ugh. It was in many ways the most consistent part of my game, but the old adage about “wearing out the center of the green” was proving too true. Time and time again, I found myself wasting prime position in the fairway with long, two-putt pars. I simply wasn’t making enough (or really any) birdies, which was making the pressure of avoiding bogeys crushing.

I arrived at TaylorMade’s spaceship-like fitting complex, The Kingdom, in the hopes that tuning in my gear would help with my pursuits in each of the above categories. It’d been a while since I’d gotten a fitting done — upwards of three years — and the changes in my golf game during that time probably necessitated a few tweaks throughout my bag. It was time to find out what needed a fix.

taylormade qi10 irons address
TaylorMade’s Qi10 iron made an appearance in our tester’s setup. Jonathan Wall/GOLF

FITTING PROCESS: There may be better places to get your gear dialed in the golf world than The Kingdom, but I sure haven’t seen ’em. The TaylorMade facility is like golf Disney World, a glimmering place teaming with new technology, sharp staffers and a chic homage (or 12) to famed TM staffers like Tiger Woods.

After taking a quick tour around TaylorMade HQ, which is across the street, I was introduced to my master fitter, Eero Niemela, whose job it would be to link me into my new gear.

I explained the state of my game to Eero, in particular my concerns regarding my iron play. I theorized that I probably needed a players iron, maybe even a blade, to dial in my scoring distances. At first he seemed to agree, but as I hit my first few shots with my gamer clubs (’19 P790s), he began to ask me a series of questions about my “typical” misses.

Were my shots landing near the hole? What did my dispersion typically look like? How much runout did I see from my shots when they landed on the green?

TaylorMade Qi10 Max Custom Driver

$599.99
The higher the inertia the more forgiving the driver. Introducing the Qi10 Max driver, experience TaylorMade speed with the forgiveness of 10K inertia. BUILT FOR FORGIVENESS & STABILITY The Qi10 Max features a shallower head shape that extends from front-to-back and significantly increases inertia by allowing mass to be placed further away from the center of the clubhead. NEW INFINITY CARBON CROWN An Infinity Carbon Crown covers 97% of the total crown area, creating a strategic advantage for mass redistribution and enhanced forgiveness. At address, it delivers a sleek and clean view that pairs with subtle alignment cues, setting the stage for confidence and success.
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Soon, Eero explained why he was so focused on my ball flight: my launch monitor numbers showed that my spin and angle of descent were terribly low, a double-whammy that was contributing to most of my approaches landing and rolling well off their intended path. Eero theorized that I needed a considerably higher-launching, higher-spin iron — a thought that seemed to run counter to my desire for consistency and precision.

We cycled through a few different iron heads anonymously (Eero was insistent that I not know which clubs I was swinging, lest my brain tell my swing what was best, as opposed to the other way around.) Then, finally, we found one that hit. The ball exploded off the clubface, blasting higher than any 7-iron I’d hit in years. I felt like I could hear the ball spinning as it rocketed into orbit. After a few swings, Eero let out a chuckle. He turned his iPad to show me the dispersion of my shots: 12 yards further than my gamer, and landing in a dispersion circle roughly half the size. Then he offered his biggest surprise of the day.

“OK — take a look at the head.”

I looked down to see the club in my hands was not a players iron nor blade — but a game improvement iron. The lower CG and Speed Pocket functionality in the new Qi10 irons had served to send my launch numbers ballooning into near-pro-levels, giving me the sort of towering ballflight and consistent performance that I’d been lacking in scoring positions. Most surprising, the address position on the club looked nothing like the heavy-offset, cavity-back game improvement clubs I’d avoided in the past.

As we cycled through the bag, Eero and I talked about long-term goals and dreams. I told him I’d begun thinking about becoming a low-single-digit player, and maybe even battling my way down to scratch. He paused.

“Here’s what I think we should do…”

We ran through a bag setup that would dramatically simplify the way I’d been aligned. The hardest shots to hit — woods, hybrids and long irons — would maximize consistency and launch conditions. The more precise shots — scoring irons — would focus on feel.

We elected to split my bag straight down the center: driver, 3-wood, hybrid, 4-7 irons in the new Qi10 — 8-iron on down in the newest version of the P790. I was pumped — it was time to rip.

My gear

Taylormade alignment Qi10
Our tester found the white strip on the Qi10 face to be an “instant confidence builder and alignment aid.” Ryan Barath/GOLF

Driver/Fairway Woods: We cycled through the various Qi10 heads, but ultimately it was length that proved most useful to me; not off the tee, but from grip to head. We shortened each long club in my bag by 1 inch off my previous gamers, a change made in the hopes of cutting down on dispersion and improving the steepness of my swing.

After two years with the Stealth driver, though, my favorite change to the Qi10 Max came at address: a white stripe set across the top of the clubface is an instant confidence builder and alignment aid. I’m sure there are plenty more technological upgrades involving the shape of the driver head and improvements in ball flight performance, but for those of us who care instead about how we’re going to feel with a driver in our hands, this part of the Qi10 made a notable difference for me.

Irons: Qi10 4-7 iron, P790 8-AW — for the reasons stated above. Also worth noting that after years in a regular stiff shaft, Eero fitted me into a “light” X-flex shaft through my bag, which helped with dispersion, too.

Putter: Hooo baby, my favorite change of all. As noted above, I have long been a relatively dreadful putter, but, for reasons related to my own mental weakness as a golfer, I’ve used the same putter since I was 10 years old — an ancient TaylorMade putter.

TaylorMade Spider Tour X Putter

$349.99
STABILITY FOR THE WIN THIN WALL UNDERCUT CONSTRUCTION We’ve engineered a super stable structure by removing excess weight to create high MOI and legendary Spider performance. STEEL WIREFRAME Allows engineers to better control weight distribution and CG location. HYBRAR ECHO® DAMPENER HYBRAR is behind the face to dampen unwanted vibrations, delivering premium sound and feel on every putt with the best possible sensation. DIFFERENT CG LOCATION Each Spider Tour model features different CG locations for optimal putter fitting. TSS WEIGHTING TSS weights provide balanced weighting and help optimize performance for all various putter lengths. GUNMETAL PVD FINISH The durable PVD coating creates a beautiful high-quality finish. TRUE PATH™ ALIGNMENT The patented alignment system provides visual clarity and helps golfers better envision the line to the hole. WHITE TPU PURE ROLL™ INSERT Made from a combination of Surlyn and aluminum, the white TPU Pure Roll™ insert creates a softer feel. Grooves are angled at 45° to encourage optimal forward roll as well as better sound, feel and overall roll characteristics. The white insert also creates better symmetry with the white True Path alignment. REFINED HOSEL DESIGNS Spider Tour Series includes two different hosel shapes and designs. The small slant produces toe hang, and the double bend produces a face balanced design.
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After Eero and I spoke about my inconsistencies on the green, he propped up my putter to give further inspection. As if to do a routine check, he placed in a loft machine, which was when his eyes nearly bulged out of his head.

As it turns out, I have been using a putter that was bent roughly 7 degrees off-kilter, a change that Eero theorized was having “disastrous” effects on my ability to control simple things like starting line and distance control. He adjusted the loft and I got back to putting, finding that suddenly my ball traveled smoothly and consistency off the face of the club.

Eero let out a nervous laugh as I marveled at the changes.

“You’re lucky you’ve been putting on those bentgrass greens in the Northeast,” he said. “If you’d been putting out in California Poa, you’d have taken up tennis by now.”

The results

My game is better equipped to head into my single-digit handicap future than ever before. My performance throughout the bag is cleaner, more consistent and more reliable. Oh, and my irons now stop relatively close to the location I’m trying to hit them.

It’s early yet in my experience with the Qi10 line, but there’s no question that my decision to simplify my bag in pursuit of performance instead of uniformity is already paying dividends. Your changes might not look like mine, but if you’re someone who is fearful of(or already struggling with) a performance plateau, stop on in to see a fitter — the improvements might not be what you’re expecting, but that might be exactly what you need.

James Colgan

Golf.com Editor

James Colgan is a news and features editor at GOLF, writing stories for the website and magazine. He manages the Hot Mic, GOLF’s media vertical, and utilizes his on-camera experience across the brand’s platforms. Prior to joining GOLF, James graduated from Syracuse University, during which time he was a caddie scholarship recipient (and astute looper) on Long Island, where he is from. He can be reached at james.colgan@golf.com.