Lamkin Grips

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For the last few years, nobody has been as critical about the Taylormade line of irons than The Hackers Paradise. My personal opinion was that the R7 line of irons was a step backward for the company, and the clubs offered, in no way, lived up to the Taylormade name in terms of R&D and quality. The 2009 Burner irons that the company has put out is a strong contender in the game improvement category and was certainly a step in the right direction in the opinion of our testers. When we got a call to be one of the first to try out the Taylormade R9 Irons several months ago, we jumped at the opportunity.

R9 Forum Information
For the last few months THP has kept the readers updated with a thread on the forum filled with mini-reviews, pictures, and everything else about the R9 Irons. Here is our original thread from the forum for those interested filled with information from day one. Taylormade was also kind enough to supply one of our staff writers with a set of R9 Irons for something we are calling a Long Term Review. Harry Longshanks will be updating this thread daily and answering questions long term as he works with this new set of irons. Following this review THP will also be reviewing the R9 TP Irons for our readers, here is our unboxing pictures of those as well.
Click Each Image for Hi-Res Photo
set

First Impressions
One of my biggest criticisms of the previous line from Taylormade was the look of the iron. Anybody that shared my issues need not worry anymore. The R9 irons are remarkably different and quite striking. The black insert on the back is simple and clean and not filled with graphics. We have seen others mention that it looks “cheap”, I can assure you that in person they do not seem to look that way at all. They have a clean and traditional look and shape and the last thing that stands out immediately is the shaft. Taylormade has added the hugely popular KBS shafts to the R9 set. After about 10 minutes of staring at the new box of clubs, we were ready to get to some serious testing.

cavity outside

First Range Session
As most of our readers know, THP’s reviews are normally filled with multiple golfers trying each piece of equipment to give our readers a thorough review and not just one person’s opinion. The Taylormade R9 irons are no different and by the time you finish reading this review you will see what we are discussing here. However for the first range session, I admit it, I was being selfish. I went to the range with the new irons and spent about an hour hitting these irons as well as a set of R7 irons. From the moment you hit your first ball with these you will realize that they are a completely different animal to the sets from the last few years. The feel that the R9 irons give off is soft and smooth, and when you go back to the R7 irons you have a much harder impact feeling. After about an hour of hitting balls, the first day with the new irons had come to an end and here are my opening notes.

Looks – As good as I have seen out of Taylormade. These look spectacular in my opinion. Plain and sleek with some nice color where needed. Regular R9 irons are of similar size to the R7 in terms of top line and sole in my view. Cavity is great looking and simple.

Feel – This is something I was definitely not a fan of with the R7 line. I thought they felt clicky and hard. Not the case at all. Extremely soft. Great feedback given on mis-hits despite them being a GI iron. The TP version will no doubt have even more of this. (feedback)

Forgiveness – The iron really shines here. Toe or heel mis-hits barely even affected the club, however at the same time all the feedback was there. Shocked at how little distance was lost when missing the sweet spot.

Distance – Not as long as the Burner irons, but few things are. About a half a club longer than what I am currently playing per iron.

Overall – After one range session, I would have to say that these may have it all. Great look, soft feel, solid forgiveness makes a wonderful total package.

topline

Range Testing
Over the course of the time we have had the R9 irons we have had the pleasure of testing them on the range with 32 golfers. During that testing we have kept notes similar to the notes above as well as some interesting statistics.

Looks – 28 of the 32 golfers that tried the Taylormade R9 irons like the looks of them compared to what they felt was out in the marketplace.

Feel – Almost every golfer that tried the clubs first spoke about the feel. What we were getting over and over was that when you strike the ball “pure” it is like you were hitting cotton balls. Other thoughts were that these could possibly be the softest feeling irons on the market right now. My personal belief is that while they may not be the softest, they definitely have a feel that gives off that impression.

Forgiveness & Ball Flight- When discussing Game Improvement irons, the phrase “High and Straight” is used so often. Missing a shot off the heel or toe does nothing and the R9′s delivered in that category. None of us had ever seen an iron work so well when missing a shot. However quite a few of our testers noted that while the forgiveness is pretty remarkable on these, the ball flight was even more impressive. A high, penetrating ball flight that was very desirable was being achieved from an iron that most predicted would just be high and straight.

Distance – Not a single golfer in our 32 hit their current irons longer than the Taylormade R9s. Part of that is lofts and lengths so we did not get too involved with distances. The 3-6 irons in the R9 set are designed differently from the 7-PW and the players seemed to take notice. Golfers spoke openly about going back to long irons rather than hybrids with the R9s in their hands.

Overall – 27 of the 32 golfers testing the Taylormade R9 Irons on the range said that they preferred them to their current irons overall. That is a number that is far higher than just about any iron we have ever reviewed.

foam

Long Irons & Why They Work
Most of the golfers involved in our testing kept remarking on how they have never hit the long and mid irons as well as they were with the R9s. To answer the question as to why, Taylormade provided us some information on these and how they are different from other sets.

From the company:
Each R9 iron (3-6) houses a large and fully enclosed compartment positioned behind the clubface, underneath the cavity badge. Called the Velocity-Control Chamber (VCC), it makes it possible for an immense area of the ultra-thin (2.0 mm) clubface to exist unsupported. We call it a wrap-around clubface because it acts like a face that wraps around the top-line and the leading edge, which gives the face more freedom to flex and reflex at impact, much like a thin-faced driver.

The VCC makes it easier to launch the ball with the long- and middle-irons, yet TaylorMade engineers have gone to great lengths to ensure that the R9 irons deliver controlled power by incorporating Inverted Cone Technology on the inner side of the clubface. In addition to promoting higher ball speed on off-center hits, the Inverted Cone has been carefully calibrated to eliminate “hot spots” so that ball speed is consistent across the clubface, resulting in keen and consistent distance control in all of the R9 irons.

shaft

Course Testing
Over the past few months we have put the R9 irons in play on the course quite a bit. Even more than that we have also had 7 other golfers put the R9 irons in play on the course. They are not some magical iron that is going to lower your score by 12 strokes or take you on the tour immediately. However all 8 of us felt as though we played better with the Taylormade R9 irons than we did with our own irons. There is a small learning curve in getting up and running on the course with the R9s, mainly due to the fact that most of our testers were hitting the ball longer than with their current irons. However the 2nd piece of that learning curve from our perspective is retraining yourself that as an amateur the 4 iron can be your friend.

As each of us got to play with the irons for multiple rounds we all seemed to realize that the dreaded “honeymoon period” that so many talk about had come and gone and all 8 of us were still raving about the Taylormade R9 irons. The KBS shaft is the absolute perfect compliment to the R9 club head. It is as if the R&D department found the marriage of perfection with the combo. After a full 2 months of playing these on the course, all 8 of us had the same conclusion. We liked them more than we did at the beginning of the trial. Each of the other 7 testers that tried this set on the course agreed that they preferred the R9 irons to their current iron set.

The Downside
Every piece of equipment has positives and negatives when it comes time to review time. The Taylormade R9 irons have to small things that most of the testers brought up over and over again. The first is the stock grip that Taylormade Golf has chosen for the R9s, was disliked by more than 70% of the people that tried the clubs. The second is that most amateur golfers that purchase golf equipment play hybrids at this point. Why not make the standard set 4-GW? Almost every tester that was at the range with us commented that they would like the GW for this set and that they would eliminate the 3 iron for a hybrid. Custom orders can be done through many places, but we feel as though the consumers would very much prefer the GW to the 3 iron, at least they did in our testing. Its interesting to note that it seems the only negatives people were having about the R9 irons were purely a preference and that from an iron standpoint most had no issues.

cavity

Overall
Very few irons have come across the THP offices and been almost unanimously liked. The Taylormade R9′s are what our reviewers were calling the Total Package during the month long testing. When you have an iron that has the looks, feel, and performance all in one package, there is a reason that so many have loved them so far. This review started off by explaining the issues that we had with the R7 line. After a couple of months with the R9 line, this reviewer will say that he is converted. As much as I was critical about the R7 irons that they put out, I will sing the praises of the R9 irons.

For more information on any of the equipment that Taylormade offers check out their website at www.taylormadegolf.com

Till Next Time

Josh B.

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Category: Equipment, Irons

About the Author ()

Josh is the Publisher of The Hackers Paradise and co-founder of THP Media with his wife Morgan Babbitt. Together they share a passion for golf, and they travel the country along with their two dogs in the THP Tour Van bringing their love and knowledge of the game to golfers everywhere.

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  1. The Hackers Paradise » Taylormade Burner SuperLaunch Irons Review | March 3, 2010
  1. Brian says:

    wow after reading about the cavity badges im leary i just ordered a set of r9s. i thought they looked better than my r7s i had a prob with my r7s the black paint on the cavity badges was falling off bad and the 6 iron head came loose taylor would not help but store i got them from got me a new set from taylor.

  2. Brian says:

    just got my irons and they look and feel sweet i was wondering what do the set of irons look like that you tested with all that range time and rounds in them have you had probs with the badges etc thanks
    Brian

  3. ANDY says:

    I’ve just had a club fitting for the new R9 Taylormade irons. Transpires the ideal combo was the R9 TP heads but with the KBS standard regular shafts – unfortunately it seems this cannot be done as they’re not interchangeable. Anyone else had this issue and found a way around it?

  4. KDogg says:

    Just got fitted for my R9′s, I hit every iron in the shop and this was far and away the ‘purest’ feeling club. After reading the review I realize I made the right choice. I also swaped out the grips as I did not like the feel of the stock grips. My shop let me purchase the irons individually and I’m regretting that I didn’t get the 3 or 4 irons as I have replaced them, like many of you have, in my bag with Hybrids. My set did come with an A wedge and I will be interested to see how I hit it. Thank you Taylormade and great review!!!

  5. rafael carrillo says:

    i just want to thank you guys for this excellent review !!! Im trying to change my clubs but i cannot decide between the burner 09 and the r9s , I would like to hear your opinion thanks for all the help!!!

  6. Admin says:

    Both are excellent irons and I would say that you cannot go wrong with either one. However they are also very different and I would say that you should hit them both and see which ball flight you like more and then get them fit for your swing.

  7. ELOH says:

    These clubs are my most recent golf obsession. I am wondering about the technology built into the short irons. It is supposed to help induce more of a spin on the ball to help it stop better on the greens. What is your take on the spin ability of the short irons? I did not see this mentioned in the review above. How would you compare the workability of the R9 short irons to the 09 Burner short irons?

  8. Clayton says:

    I hit the Adams idea tech a4. It’s been a little while and I am looking at the new tech out. If you’ve hit te a4, how does it compare?

    Thanks

  9. Administrator says:

    Clayton,
    The R9 offers better feel (in my opinion), more distance, and a little more forgiveness.

  10. Mike Sylvester says:

    I purchased my set of Taylormade R9 TP irons about 2 months ago. My decision was based on your review especially the comments about how the R9 had a much softer feel than the R7 irons. Knowing how hard the R7′s were I was thrilled to hear that this change had been made on the R9 irons. Since I live in sunny Michigan, I didn’t much opportunity to play them until just recently. I saw my 8.6 index rising rapidly when I did get a chance to play. It was like playing with an injury,waiting for the pain with each contact of the ball. After about 10 rounds I came to the conclusion that I hated the harsh feel of these irons and must go back to forged blades. Luckily I found a local shop that offered me deal on a set of sweet forged blades. In spite of the several hundred dollar cost it was worth it be be back to irons that I love to hit.

  11. J-DIDDY says:

    I purchased a set of the r9s about 4 weeks ago. very nice club. Iwas golfing the other night and the head of my 7 iron flew off in the middle of my swing! I think maybe a little better quality control is in order!!!

  12. J-DIDDY says:

    is not happy TAYLORMADE!!!

  13. Administrator says:

    Problems occur when producing thousands of sets of irons. However the company is standing behind their product. If you purchased them from an authorized dealer, TM has been sending out replacements to anybody with an issue.

  14. choisnec says:

    I cannot decide between the Nike split cavity and R9 for my iron set. Any advice?

  15. Stone-cold says:

    Considering Burner irons, however u have provided a very positive review of the r9′s. Did your staff perform a similar review on the Burner irons?
    If so, how do they stack up against the r9 tp’s? in all areas other than distance?

  16. Administrator says:

    Most of our testers preferred the R9 irons.

  17. Gonz says:

    Tried them with stiff shaft and hate them. Uncontrollable distance and ball workability, shaft feels too hard too heavy vs. T-Step 90´s of my R7. Giving them back and keeping my softer, workable R7´s

  18. jeff says:

    I’m looking for a new set of irons. I’m a mid-handicapper. I’m playing a set of TM RAC OS from 2003. Would you buy the R9′s, Mizuno MX 1000′s or Mizuno JPX 800′s?

  19. Administrator says:

    Jeff,
    I would say that is a better question for the forum members. Get a ton of different thoughts on the subject.

  20. Strayt says:

    These are awesome irons. Highly recommended.Feel, forgiveness, workability rolled in to one.

  21. MrMarc says:

    Just picked up a set of R9′s (std shaft, 4-AW) and I’m very pleased. I had seriously considered the Burner series, but after hitting them, I couldn’t shake just how nice the R9′s felt by comparison. Very smooth, balanced, and a nice sound. While I hit the Burners a tad farther (+5yds), they didn’t come close to the feel of the R9′s. I also preferred the narrower top line and look of the club. My playing partner frequently comments on how they sound and was very impressed with the clubs as well. While he’s a died-in-the-wool Callaway guy – he said he’d seriously consider them if he were to swich. Coming from my beloved RAC OS2′s, I felt the transition would be easier. The extra distance helps as well. I’m a mid-handicapper and I think I’ve chosen the right club to take me to the next level!

  22. j-LO says:

    Just purchased a set of R9 irons from Edwin Watts. been playing with i-20′s and found R-9′s to have a much better feel and consistancy. The KBS shafts offer a great compliment in balance and feel. Long irons are very easy to hit.

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