When TaylorMade announced the launch of the 2021 P790 irons we quickly took note seeing as two of our group is currently playing the previous version. For the last year plus, they have been raving about the clubs every nice iron shot they played. To be fair it is hard to argue against their results since I have watched last season one of their handicaps drop 6 strokes and their iron play greatly improve. With all this history there was no doubt that the first iron review of 2021/2022 had to be the new P790. Not only were we interested as a stand-alone review but also to understand and quantify the differences between the versions.
Reading TaylorMade’s marketing material and club specifications we had taken note of the introduction of new, significantly less dense, SpeedFoam Air. Additional weight savings was realized by reducing the thickness of the upper back portion of the iron resulting in a combined drop of almost 20 grams of weight.
But in the end, this isn’t a weight loss program but rather a weight redistribution initiative. TaylorMade has taken that weight savings and added a tungsten weight to the lower toe of the club face, thus slightly changing the center of gravity. Result, a significantly increased the sweet spot as compared to the earlier model, so says TaylorMade. The effect of the added low toe weighting is also said to increase launch angles giving the ball a higher flight trajectory.
So, with this all in the back of our minds we took our P790’s in hand as well as a couple of the 2021’s off to the range to pass our own judgement.
I guess before we get to the ball striking part, we should also mention that the new P790 has received a freshening up as far as the look. I would not consider it a complete facelift but more of smoothing. Gone are the straight lines on the back of the club face and in come a gentler looking club. To be honest I don’t get to hung up on this kind of aesthetic and place more importance in how it feels at contact. And since they say beauty is in the eye of the beholder I will you decide, but in the end, both are great looking clubs.
I was a little apprehensive about what an increase in ball flight might look like since to be honest I was quite happy with the version I was using. Even with mid to long irons I have had no issues in sticking greens when striking the ball well. But after a good session with a low, middle and high iron over about 100 balls I really did not see a significant increase so I was still sold on the performance of the club and my apprehensions had vanished.
The balls still come of the face of the 2021 P790 like rockets. There was no significantly noticeable difference in the distance realized between the versions during the training session. The result still left me with the opinion the P790’s is still the best in class today. I will not argue that the latest are not more forgiving since there were a couple of balls that stayed quite true despite not being perfectly struck. Now whether it is 60% better I cannot judge but why not take it if it is available.
There is a slightly mellower feel and sound to the 2021’s. I kinda look at it like a great whisky that has matured ever so slightly by leaving it in the cask a couple of extra years. I often get comments/compliments on the sound of my current P790’s when I crank one off the sweet spot so I would love to hear what people would think of these. To sum up the day of trials I really just felt the new version has been ever so slightly refined so if it was a great club before it still is every bit as great of one now. If you already are in possession of the 2019’s as we are then I would have a harder time justifying the jump given the investment required but if you are now in the market for new irons then the P790 really deserves your considerations.