What I guess I have to admit at this point is that it takes something huge to bring me back to the blog. In fact, maybe it takes even more than that–a cluster of news. We’re in the midst of a pretty big week. There’s a little golf tournament being held in Pinehurst, NC starting Thursday, maybe you’ve heard of it? It’s called the U.S. Open. Also starting Thursday? El Cupo Worldo. It’s hard to believe that it has already been four years since an extra time goal against some random country unified the nation (for about 48 hours). Then, we lost, and soccer was handed back to the fanatics. But, I don’t want you to feel like I’ve lost my passion for Switzerland. They’re back. And, they’re dangerous.
Dwarfing these global sporting events though, was the completion of a longtime goal of mine. I acquired a set of Taylor Made Forged 300 irons over the internet. All they cost me was $87 (and probably some stolen credit card info).
The Taylor Made Forged 300 irons burst onto the scene during what I would call the dark ages of irons. It was probably about 2002 and irons were frightfully boring. I was still playing my Tommy Armours, going on about eight years at that point and it seemed like a perfectly reasonable thing to do. Cast, cavity backs irons were everywhere. It was as if the pinnacle of forgiveness had been reached and everyone was focusing on putting new and weird metals into woods.
I honestly don’t remember seeing an iron that really caught my eye. Callaway was happily running with their x-14, x-16 family, Titleist was making very difficult to hit irons with random three digit numbers on them, Ping was still trying to recreate the Eye 2’s success…no one cared. I worked at a golf course during this time that probably housed 350-400 sets of clubs. I admit now that I tried out several of these drivers, but trying out an iron? Who cared at that point. There was exactly one set of clubs in the entire room that interested me–Snake Eyes blades.
There was a guy who couldn’t play a lick and he had a set of these 1-PW. That’s one-iron through pitching wedge. Obviously, I had to try that 1-iron. My memory now is that I hit complete bullets with it, but maybe that was not the case.
I saw the Forged 300s for the first time at a college golf practice. They immediately caught my eye. And, even though this was just before the failed blade iron experiment of 2003, maybe in my heart I knew I would never be a guy who hit blades. These were in the neighborhood, though. JUST AS SHINY. That invisible top line. Swoon. The four-figure price tag brought me back to reality, though and they were mostly forgotten for a year or two until I ended up at another golf course, this one in possession of a set of demo Forged 300s that were left sitting around from a prehistoric fitting cart.
That was really where I fell in love, with my Tommy Armours falling apart and my MP-14s shamefully hidden in my trunk, I’d steal 10-15 balls at a time with these clubs and I loved the feel. I finally played a set of forged clubs about 5-6 years ago, the Callaway X-Forged, but shortly after I stopped playing so much and my game went sideways. Back to the cast. This didn’t stop my periodic perusal of eBay for the holy grail, but in testament to the class of these sticks, the price hovered above dabbling range for a long time.
Maybe it’s the emergence of the newer, quality forged cavity backs that finally drove the 300 Forged into my price range. If you have $1,100 I’d recommend the Callaway Apex in a heartbeat over the 300 Forged. They don’t look as good, but they feel nice and they go nine miles.
Distance. Perhaps this was my last hurdle as well. I’ve always been someone who assigned a good portion of their golf identity to how far I hit my irons. I was never the longest with the driver, especially after the ball explosion, but there weren’t many people out there that could scorch a 9-iron like I could and when I went to the forged irons in 2008 even being at the top of my game I lost probably almost a club in distance. I was still hitting the ball plenty long enough, but psychologically I wasn’t comfortable. Now, I’m not as long as I was when I was 25 anyway and I’m planning on starting a hybrid revolution in my bag, so maybe it’s OK if I now hit 9-iron ONLY 150. And, those flatware looking long irons? Gone.
I got to play my first round with these sweeties the other day. I had them re-gripped. In another twist of fate, the clubs were already +1/2 inch–hooray! It was a bit of a mixed bag of results. I found that I still hit a lot of wedges, and there was a VERY unfortunate swing with a 5-iron (buys 26 degree hybrid), but I also completely flushed two 7-irons and if we’re being honest that worth the 80 bucks. Easily.