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.
With the player’s distance category leading the way as one of the most innovative and popular categories of irons on the market, I figured it was worth putting one of those popular sets to the test with the newest iteration of the Taylormade P790s.
Tools: To best replicate what many golfers experience, I went through the process of testing an off-the-rack set of TaylorMade’s P790 (4-AW) with the stock True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 stiff flex shafts. The shafts are about 10-15 grams lighter than my usual fitted choice but with the continued trend of lighter-weight iron shafts, it is an option that can benefit a huge portion of the golfing population, which is why I tested them as is.
The only adjustments made were that the irons were bent 3 degrees flat from their standard lie angle, and this is one of those types of adjustments that can easily be made by a club fitter after the fact when working with an off-the-rack set.
The Test: Very straightforward, how do the TaylorMade P790s work on the course under various conditions with a focus on short iron control and long iron performance?
Results: I’ll start this whole thing off with the most basic info — the new P790s look and feel great, but to be fair I would expect nothing less considering this is the fourth kick at the can for the P790 design. From the longer irons down to the wedges, the look from address is the best they have ever accomplished with this club with the biggest change showing up in the pitching wedge and A (50° approach wedge).
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TaylorMade 2023 P790
A quick note on the P790 design
As a lower handicap golfer edging closer to middle age with every calendar year that goes by, and (I bet you haven’t heard this before — eye roll) don’t get to play or practice as much as I would like, the P790s are the beautiful sweet spot of iron design. They offer minimal offset, a “blade-like” look in the bag and enough technology to add forgiveness and help prevent distance loss on mishits.
They also offer enough forgiveness that anyone up to a 20-handicap or even higher can get along great with them when properly fit, and from a looks perspective they still offer enough confidence-inspiring heft behind the ball. This is exactly why the P790s are so popular in the first place … ok back to the testing.
The P790s offered three key areas for improvement during my testing, and I believe that these are the same areas where most golfers are going to find they help the most as well:
Whether it be thanks to the improved internal design, the lighter shafts or a combination of the two, I found the longer irons got up in the air easily and stopped quickly. To offer some reference, I usually carry my 4-iron around 205 yards, and even from that distance, I was having very little issue getting the ball to stop.
Even if you start at higher lofted fairway woods or hybrids before a 4-iron, if you are a golfer who struggles with height and stopping power these irons can be a big help.
One of my biggest personal struggles, and something I see from a lot of golfers, is proper distance gapping through their iron set, especially between the 8 and up to the 4 or 5-iron. This area can be a gapping nightmare and can create a ton of indecision on approach shots and into par-3s.
The P790s address this in a number of ways including larger loft gaps between clubs and a more progressive center of gravity through the mid-irons to help space out for proper 12-15 yard distance gaps. I found this the most helpful on par-3s where I usually find myself pulling a longer club to be conservative and then have it fly over the green.
More short-game control
So you would think that of all the things I would like the most about the new P790s it would be all about gaining distance with my irons, but that’s not true. Yes, I found I gained about 5-6 yards and extra height compared to my current set, but the biggest surprise for me was actually in the short irons and wedges (P and A wedges), and for good reason.
The short irons and wedges of the P790s have a redesigned sole shape to help make them more versatile and blend better into specialty wedges. The reason for this is that data has proven more average golfers are choosing to go with the matching set gap (aka “A” approach) wedge over a specialty wedge for gapping and consistency purposes, and reshaping the sole still makes it a useful club around the green without being, for lack of a better word, “clunky”.
I like to hit a lot of partial shots with my short irons and the new sole made it feel like I never had to fight the club through the ground like I would with larger, more game-improvement style clubs with wider soles. I even found that I really liked hitting chip shots around the green with the A wedge when the opportunity presented itself.
Conclusion: If you are a golfer like me who wants a great-looking set of irons that also help make the game easier without moving to an oversized cavity back, or you’re a higher handicap golfer looking to make the jump to a more versatile iron without giving up forgiveness, the P790s could be the best choice for you.
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