Taylormade 2020 P770 vs. P790 Iron Long-Term Review
From a Diehard P790 Fan.
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I don’t know where to start.
Here’s the TL:DR: These irons are awesome, and if you see me switch them out in the next two years, call me out on it and I’ll buy you a box of balls. For people who don’t like to read, the sound videos should suffice.
Let’s move on to the detailed long version review.
I’m guessing if you are reading this, you are one of the many who have pre-ordered a set of P770s, or at least are contemplating whether to buy them.
Due to a myriad of reasons, you are stuck sitting on your hands constantly refreshing the latest golf P770 release threads looking for a random person’s insight in anticipation of having them in hand, re-watching those initial launch day videos, trying to get your fix of content while waiting for these irons to come in.
I was extremely fortunate to have the P770s in our hands early on, and internally, we debated putting up a quick review. In the golf content space, first to market is key for generating traffic. This isn’t our day job, and we frankly don’t care about being the first to review something.
Well, we said f-ck that noise, we want to put these irons through the paces, nitpick on things good and bad, then report back to you with an opinion and a clear conscious.
If you are a Tees&Coins regular, you know my game and preferences more than you would probably care to know, but for first time readers, I will share a little background to give context to this review.
I love Taylormade Golf equipment. I do. While I won’t bore you with the pseudo-flex that is mentioning all the old school tour equipment I had my hands on, (wow, that is such a golf-nerd thing to say, can you imagine saying that to someone at a bar?) I have played TM equipment for a long-time.
Like all of you, I’m getting older. When I was a kid, I used to “pshhhhhhh” at people with cavity back or distance boosted irons. These days, shit, I’m trying to buy all the length and forgiveness I can get.
I’m no Iron Byron or elite ballstriker. 7 iron ball speed is in the 120s. I’m typically about -3 AoA, and relatively neutral if not a touch out-to-in with irons. I have relatively low spin loft compared to the average golfer. If you came looking for definitive launch monitor numbers, go see TXG, they are far more qualified than we are for that kind of thing.
I’ve been chasing the perfect distance-players-iron for years. When the 716 line debuted for Titleist, in Korea, they made an AP1 forged iron. It was basically an AP2 design with an undercut channel to boost speed while maintaining feel. After regrettably selling them because I hated the stigma of playing “AP1s” (at least I can own up to it), I found success in the Srixon 545s. Lower spin, great smash factor, but damn they were clunky. I paired them to 745s, 945s, I mean I tried everything to justify having them in the bag, but in the end, I moved on from them. TMBs, 770s, Mizuno JPXs, I played them all.
While writing this review, I’m reminded of a moment I had in a fitting bay.
This was probably six years ago. It was a quiet night at the shop that Don ran, so we started pounding balls. I was playing Ping Anser Forged V2 irons, and frustrated that my carry numbers at the top of the bag were not spacing well.
We grabbed a Rocketballz Stage 2 iron, and proceeded to just hit these towering long iron shots, over and over again. Why wouldn’t I just put these in the bag?
Ego. Bag curb appeal.
So when the original P790 came out, I was sold.
A distance-iron with all of the weird technology covered up in a blade appearance. What more could the recreational golfer ask for?
Since the initial p790 release, I’ve exclusively gamed some variant of the 790s ever since. While I am no golf fitting professional, I can say I’m qualified through experience to discuss what the 790s did and how the 770s compare.
What gripes did I have with the 790s?
I didn’t mind a slightly springy feeling in the long and mid irons, but the short irons were really clicky. Not a day went by that I didn’t yearn for a soft pure forged blade to play in the short irons. For a time, I actually put the P7TWs from 8-P into play, and did enjoy them for a while.
The “Hot Spot” Shots?
I didn’t really buy into that. I played for that max yardage on every shot. What I will say is that traditional 3/4 swings would go almost as far as full swings because of the delofting and thereby lower spin shots that would result. I played ambitious carry yardages with the 790 and seldom was I disappointed. I did have to adjust how I clubbed for flyer lies, but that was about it.
Ok, enough with the background and qualifiers, let me get into my experiences with the 770. Consider yourself forewarned, I absolutely love these irons, and make no apologies for saying so.
I’m not saying anything revolutionary here, but when I see reviewers hit the 7 iron into a net a thousand times and feel like they can tell you about the whole set, while I understand where they are coming from, I feel like they are doing a disservice to the concept of a set of irons.
Not just Taylormade, but every club maker. Let’s give them some credit. Especially for sets that have to merge distance enhancing characteristics with accurate scoring clubs, R&D pours a lot of effort in every club, so I am going to break this review down by what I noticed and felt in my time with the irons.
The 4 Iron - Steroid Test Needed in Aisle 4.
I’ll be honest. With the idea that the 770s would be a smaller version of the 790s and potentially for a lower handicap bracket, I was scared to hit the 4 iron before I even got it. How scared was I? I had my old trusty 790 4 iron on standby, and even purchased a few driving irons to compare.
When the irons showed up, I was scared even more still. The thin sole (which actually wasn’t that thin because the back edge is beveled off to give it that sleek look, which does look amazing in the bag) and appearance at address gave me pause.
For my first range session with the 770s, I didn’t even take it to the range with me, that’s how scared I was.
Damn was I wrong.
I don’t know what they did, but they managed to make this iron be able to elevate on command. Once I finally decide to put on big boy pants and try to hit it, I was shocked to see how high I could hit the ball. My 790s were all bent weak, so these 770s were pretty much the same loft as my old 790s. The more I hit it, the more I wanted to put it in the bag. Against a driving iron type variation from another company, I actually hit this higher with the same carry number.
In terms of feel, the 4 iron has a slightly different feel from the rest of the set. This is the only club that I would say feels remotely similar to the 790. When you lay into the 4 iron, there’s this ever so slight tinny metallic feel. It still feels really solid, but this is why I captured these videos, so hopefully you can hear the sound/feel (which is what everyone asks about). Turn the volume way up, and you will hear. It’s similar to hitting metal with a hammer.
It’s not a bad feel/sound at all. It almost lets you know that this one will cover the number you need it to. It’s a very powerful feeling. This is hole 9 at my home course, a 230 yard par 3, and an accurate iron that will land soft is paramount for this hole.
(Be sure to change the video quality setting to HD, YouTube is defaulting to 360p these days and it looks terrible).
I’m happy to report that the 4 iron is firmly in the bag. It’s powerful, but with height; a pretty solid combination.
The 5-6 Irons - Height with Control.
Once you get to the 5 and 6 irons, that slightly springy feel somehow goes away. This is where the set starts to feel different from the 790s.
You don’t get that “I hit the Nitrous Oxide button” feel at impact. (too soon junior.) Just a very deep smacking sound.
It’s a rewarding strike, but it doesn’t feel like it’s jumping. But on Trackman, I saw pretty high smash factors, which was a welcome surprise. TM is finding ways to decouple springy feel with high smash factor.
Again, the main story here is height. In launch monitor testing, the height came from more spin, not from a drastically different launch angle. I have absolutely fallen in love with hitting the 5 iron on the range, the ballflight is so much fun to watch.
Some people have reported that these irons appear to have more offset at address, I just don’t see it.
Because of the added height, I found that I had more control over shot-shaping with these. In the past, when I double-crossed the 790s, I would find myself uncontrollably long and left. With these, the end result is far less punishing. In the video here, I am doing something I would never do with the 790s. Hitting a little draw to a right pin with stopping power. Hopefully you can pick up how the 5 sounds less hot in the video below.
As a quick tangent, when asked about how they look at address, the term I use is “forgettable.”
What does that mean? It’s actually the nicest thing I can say about an iron’s appearance behind the ball.
Hear me out.
Too bulky, and it reminds you that you are playing GI sticks. Too skinny, and it instills fear in you. Too short, and the hosel just looks massive.
When an iron is moderate in all aspects, it is neither fear-inducing nor ugly. It is forgettable, as it doesn’t distract you from the shot at hand.
The 7 and 8 Irons - A Smooth Transition.
Here is one gripe with the 790s that I would actually agree with. There was a huge carry gap between the 7 and 8 irons in previous 790 sets. I would say up to a 20 yard carry gap between these two clubs. As a result, I played my 7 iron 2.5 degrees weaker to make up for it.
With the 770s, I saw a normal gap between the clubs.
I know everyone loves Trackman numbers, and the only difference I saw was 600rpm more spin with the 770, for me. Your mileage may vary, actually it probably will.
But wait, there’s more.
While they are definitely more solid and muted feeling/sounding than the 790s, anyone who tells you they are buttery soft is full of shit too. In the pantheon of iron feels and particularly in forgings, there are some that are mushy soft, and some that are dense soft. These are the denser type of feel, definitely not mushy.
Again, in the past, there was a stark contrast in feel where the 790 7 iron felt hot, and the 8 iron just felt clicky. For the p770s though, take a listen to these two videos and you will hear, they both sound pretty similar.
Ok, I will say one negative thing about the P770s. I finally found something. So my PW sits with my TW wedges, and when the back of the PW rubs up against the Raw faces of the TW wedges, it scratches the crap out of the polished portion. There, I said something negative.
Oh here’s another semi-headscratcher. While I love how they beveled the trailing edge of the irons so they look sleeker in the bag, I was hoping to see a little leading edge relief, ala the 760s. Luckily I don’t find them to dig, but that would’ve looked cool. Can someone at TM let me know how much space I have to apply a beveled leading edge myself? Sounds like a fun winter experiment…
The 9 Iron and PW - Much Better Thank You.
Again, I would be blowing sunshine up your rear end if I said these were the softest feeling irons ever.
But they feel pretty good. No surprises with these. They are much improved from the 790s.
I saw consistency in my carry numbers on full swings, but on cut shots is where I saw a welcomed change.
For some reason, when I hit 3/4 cuts with the 790s, I couldn’t scrub off distance; those shots would carry almost as far as full swings. With the 770s, I can comfortably take 10 yards off how far I want to hit without having to feel like I’m slowing down intentionally.
The other thing I like about the short irons is a matter of personal taste.
For short irons, I am a fan of the high heel look when looking at the topline side of the club. That look where the trailing side of the hosel creates a sharper angle towards the back of the topline. I find it helps me frame the ball better. I love how TM has done this in the 770s. A very Mizuno type of look, to be honest.
While I was planning to blend in some P7TW irons here to scratch the “pure blade feel” itch that plagues all of us, I just don’t see it necessary.
The Bottom Line
Having hit easily a thousand balls with these irons, over a dozen practice rounds, and in three competitive events to boot, and having measured and evaluated every spec down to total weight gapping and swing weight consistency, I am pretty sure how I feel about these clubs.
For the recreational player like me who wants a jack of all trades in an iron set, this is the one.
They look amazing in the bag.
They are “forgettable” at address.
They feel solid.
The speed slot on low shots works.
They go far.
What else do I want?
These irons, in a black finish. Just saying.
At the end of the day, yes I want equipment that nets me better scores, but as a recreational golfer, I want to enjoy my equipment. I smile every time I look at my bag, and whenever I have a free window or so, all I want to do is go to the range with these irons and try to refine my ball striking so I can control shots at will. If your equipment can motivate you to keep playing, it’s doing its job famously.