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Review: TaylorMade R7 CGB Max Irons

Today we are looking at the new TaylorMade R7 CGB MAX Irons. These are not to be confused with the r7 CGB Max irons…oh wait, I guess they are pretty easy to confuse…name wise at least. A mere glance at the club will reveal numerous differences between the 2006 model and the 2008 version.

TaylorMade R7 CGB Max IronNew 2008 R7 CGB Max Iron


Older R7 CGB Max Version

Now…let’s get onto the review!

Background

TaylorMade vowed to make the new r7 CGB MAX family of clubs to be the very best game-improvement equipment that money can buy, and the iron lives up to that promise. The extremely large head is optimally weighted with the help of visible tungsten weights that increase MOI for greater stability and forgiveness. The topline is hollow and the saved weight is used to move the CG deep into the clubhead to make it incredibly easy to launch the ball on a towering, distance-enhancing flight. Clubhead speed is dramatically boosted by the incorporation of SuperFast Technology, which includes the ultra-light shaft and the thin, flexible and fast clubface (thinner than the previous r7 CGB MAX model). There’s also TaylorMade’s Inverted Cone Technology, visible on the back of the face, to promote high ball speed on off-center hits. Finally, there’s a new back-cavity badge that contributes to the clubhead’s great feel.

When you add up all of the features and technologies you get the longest iron in the TaylorMade iron line, as well as the most forgiving. If this iron were any easier to hit it would swing itself. Moreover, the r7 CGB MAX wears its multiple technologies beautifully, meaning it looks the part of a highly technical, highly hittable iron and boasts a unique and eye-appealing look that successfully blends its high-tech leanings with power and with grace.

  • Large, thin, high-strength steel clubface promotes high COR for faster ball speed and increased distance
  • Extra-large clubhead with tungsten weights increases MOI for greater stability and forgiveness.
  • SuperFast Technology reduces total club weight and promotes faster swing speed for added distance
  • Inverted Cone Technology expands the high COR zone to promote higher ball speed on off-center hits for more distance shot to shot
  • Hollow topline allows CG to be moved back deep in the clubhead for incredibly easy launch on a towering, distance-enhancing flight

Look and Feel

These clubs look very cutting edge. Given that they are TaylorMade, this is not very surprising. TaylorMade always seems to come up with high tech looking club offerings. From the textured black area on the backside of the clubface, to the black steel shafts…head to toe, these irons will look awesome in your bag.

The topline of the R7 CGB Max irons is pretty typical of today’s super game improvement irons. It’s rather thick and a little brighter looking than the more satin look of the Burner XD irons. Each iron pictured below is a 7 iron. If you are accustomed to playing blades or player type irons, you may be disgusted by such a thick topline…but…you probably aren’t looking at irons like this anyway. Personally, it doesn’t bother me. In fact, all that meat behind the ball…you really feel like you should have no problem walloping the ball with every swing.

TaylorMade Irons-9
From Left to Right: TaylorMade Burner XD, R7 CGB Max, Callaway X-20

Again, as with most super game improvement irons, the offset is rather substantial as you get toward the longer irons. You can see the offset in the 7 iron of the R7 CGB Max irons, compared to that of the Burner XD and Callaway X-20. The offset of the TaylorMade clubs appears to be a little less than that of the Callaway X-20s. It’s actually just a visual effect. The TaylorMade clubs do a good job of hiding the offset. In the 7 iron, the R7 CGB Max has 5.7mm of offset. If you have been playing with game improvement irons, this will be nothing new to you. If you have a problem with slicing the ball, or never have been able to hit a draw…the added offset should help you get the ball left. Especially in the longer irons.

TaylorMade Irons-2
From Left to Right: TaylorMade Burner XD, R7 CGB Max, Callaway X-20

Feel wise, I was not a huge fan. They are a little harsh, and did not feel as explosive as the Burner XD irons. Nonetheless, they do not feel (to me) much different than earlier TaylorMade game improvement offerings (RAC OS2/etc). As always, however, feel is very objective. What feels great to one person, feels awful to another. I certainly was not completely put off by these, but I would not go telling everyone I met that these irons felt like butter. One thing, take it as a positive or negative…thin, fat…toe…heel…it all feels pretty similar. You certainly will not be screaming in pain if you thin a shot in 40 degree weather. All that being said, for a cast, cavity back iron with a ton of technology in place to try and help you hit the ball straight…the feel was pretty decent.

Performance

If you are unable to hit these clubs high and straight…you should avoid purchasing any other golf equipment. I did not particularly care for the feel off the face of these clubs, but I could not argue with the performance. Regardless of where I seemed to hit the ball on the face, the ball wanted to launch high, fly straight and land soft. Even thin shots got up fairly high. Distance loss on toe/heel hits was rather minimal. I certainly have not hit a more forgiving iron.

TaylorMade R7 CGB Max Club Face

Distance wise, these clubs were a good 5-10 yards shorter than the Burner XD irons for me. They were pretty similar distance wise to the Callaway X-20 irons or the Nike Sumo irons. The long irons got up very high. I was hitting the 5 iron about the same height as the 7 iron from my MP-33 set of irons. The pitching wedge was extremely high for me, generating a lot of backspin. Certainly enough backspin to stop the ball dead on any green I played.

TaylorMade R7 CGB Max Iron Shaft

The black steel shafts are very cool looking in person. The matte finish would be a plus for anyone who is bothered by sun reflections on conventional steel shafts. They are quite light, and in stiff flex, they felt relatively stout. The shaft’s bend profile and light weight probably helped contribute to the high ball flight. The light weight should also help increase one’s swing speed a little, contributing to a little increase in distance. Combined with the weight of the club head itself, I never felt like the club was too light. If you are accustomed to graphite shafts, they can be had for an additional $200 for the set.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a super game improvement iron I do not think you could go wrong choosing either the R7 CGB Max or Burner XD irons. If you want a little more distance/bragging rights…go for the Burner XDs. If you want to hit the ball straighter, and get away with more poor swings…go for the R7 CGB Max irons. It is as simple as that.

TaylorMade Irons-1
From Left to Right: TaylorMade R7 CGB Max, Burner XD, Callaway X-20

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Discussion

37 comments for “Review: TaylorMade R7 CGB Max Irons”

  1. I’m torn between these three at the moment. If you had to pick one of these clubs… Burner XD, CGB Max, or the x20 which would you select?

    Posted by Joel | March 22, 2008, 12:54 pm
  2. Depends what you’re looking for…

    Distance: Burner XD
    Forgiveness: CGB Max
    Little Mix of both…and less expensive: X-20

    I’d goto a range and hit all three. See which one you feel most comfortable with.

    Posted by Sean | March 24, 2008, 8:10 am
  3. Is there a huge difference between the 2006 and 2008 versions performance? I am looking between the two and am not sure if i should spend the extra $300-400 if its about the same. Any help would be appreciated!!

    Posted by Tommy | April 18, 2008, 6:23 pm
  4. Tommy,

    I have not hit the 2006 version of the R7 CGB Irons. I would assume there are subtle differences, increased MOI in the newer version of the club. Would you notice them? I couldn’t tell you. Places like golfsmith probably still have some of the 06 models in the demo bin, you may want to go hit them side by side to compare.

    -Sean

    Posted by Sean | April 23, 2008, 11:30 am
  5. I just got a set of these irons from Golf Galaxy in Miami alond with driver and 3 wood … and I must say I am very impressed. I shot a 78 in Doral on the Blue Monster. The only problem was gauging the distances. I usually hit my 6 iron around 180 yards with my Ping I5′s. On one of my birdies I used a 6 iron on a par 3 where the flag was 196 yards and ball landed about 6 feet from pin. I would estimate at least 1.5 club difference in distance … for example a pitching wedge now becomes a gap wedge and a 3 iron is a 4 iron … or something like that. It takes a while to re-adjust for distance and the amazing thing is that although ball flight if very high … there is very little loss of distance against wind … something else to adjust for. I remember a while back where I had the Titanium inserts Biggest Big Bertha … you had the balloon effect which would cause even the long irons to go very short against wind … not the case here. I did not like the CBX woods though … on the 3 wood the ball flight is way too high … and the driver also has a terribly high ball flight (9.5 degree stiff shaft). I think it probably has something to do with the shaft since the heads look nice and should work good. So now I use the Irons where I had to flatten them 1 degree (it was very difficult to bend them). But for woods I went back to my FT-5 driver and 3 wood.

    Posted by spiro | April 24, 2008, 3:07 am
  6. One thing I forgot to say … the irons are not for someone who likes to shape the ball a lot. It is very hard to hit a fade or a draw at will. You really have to open up the clubface for a fade and can easily overdo it. I didn’t like that at first … but I sort of got used to just hitting the ball straight at the point I am aiming for. Again it takes some getting used to, and at the range my brother could shape the ball better than me with them … so it could be me but personally I found it almost impossible to shape the ball without doing weird exagerrated things to my swing.

    Posted by spiro | April 24, 2008, 3:13 am
  7. spiro, I had the same sort of experience you had in regards to the ball just going straight. For most people who would buy these clubs, that is probably a good thing! :)

    I did not see a huge increase in distance with these over other super game improvement irons, though they definitely will hit it a lot further than your every day cavity back. The Burner XD irons, on the other hand…those things were rocket launchers!

    Glad you like them, and thanks for the details of your experience!

    -Sean

    Posted by Sean | April 24, 2008, 8:19 am
  8. I just bought the CGB max graphite irons and the guy at Dick’s told me something very interesting.

    The clubs are “tweaked” – in that a 6 iron is lofted like another clubs 4 iron. I normally hit a 6 iron around 170 yards and I was hitting it over 200. Part is due tot he quality of the club – part is the loft.

    Not sure how they get away with doing that, but it’s very interesting. I think it’s why they are selling 4-SW sets (no 3 iron)….

    Haven’t got the clubs yet, but I loved hitting them at the range (replacing some 9 year old lcg irons I had..

    Good luck.

    Posted by Eric | April 28, 2008, 1:24 pm
  9. OK I have played with them a little more and definetely something is strange. I now have my Pitching Wedge going over 140 yards and I am starting to not feel I have control over the shorter distances. I think I will remove the Pitching Wedge and use a set of Cleveland Wedges. The P seems to be the equivalent of a 9 iron on the MP67′s or Ping I5′s and that is being conservative. I feel on the shorter irons you need a little more control and feel and these clubs don’t seem to have that. So if I was going to do it over again I would get the 4,5,6,7,8,9 … and then just use my 48,52,56 Cleveland wedges. There might still be a gap between the 9 and 48. I still need some more experimenting to do and will try to take some balls and test it on the course itself with a range finder. My Cleveland 48 goes around 125 yards … the A that comes with the set seems to go a little more than that. I had a terrible experience the other day when at 137 yard par 3 back pin placement I overflew the green down the hill and ruined an otherwise great round.

    I would like to say it could also be the ball as well. I usually use Pro V1 or V1X and now I am using the TM TP RED which is according to the guys at the shop supposed to be similar to the V1 X (softer ball). I liked that ball because it doesn’t run too much … maybe that ball goes longer too?

    Man so many things to think about.

    Posted by spiro | April 30, 2008, 3:57 am
  10. Spiro,

    I think you will find this with most super game improvement irons. Most sets are at least 46* on the PW now, if not 44*. They really are 2-9 now, loft wise.

    You can probably do 4-PW and then carry a 48, 52, 56, 60. Or perhaps 50, 54, 58.

    I do not think it is the ball. I have been playing the 2007 TP Red the past few months, and I do not find it to be too long. Now, the 2008 LDP one, maybe that’s longer?

    Posted by Sean | May 1, 2008, 3:57 pm
  11. Bought the R7 cgb max irons about a month ago…and WOW do these things get the ball in the air. Lowered my score from an average of about 95 to an 85 so far…and im still trying to learn the distance with these clubs. They FLYYYYY off the face of the club and are so forgiving almost every shot looks perfect. WORTH THE MONEY…even though very pricey…wow i would but them again given the chance!

    Posted by Tommy | May 29, 2008, 1:08 am
  12. Tommy,

    Great news, thanks for sharing with us! I noticed the same with the R7 CGB Max…high flying…as are the Burner XD irons. Perhaps some of that is due to the very light shafts in these clubs. Did you get the stock black steel shafts?

    -Sean

    Posted by Sean | May 29, 2008, 7:24 am
  13. what is the diff with the cgb max
    that is black in the cavity and the
    cgb max that is silver in the cavity

    thanx
    allan

    Posted by allan | October 23, 2008, 12:46 pm
  14. i got these irons ther great,, when i miss hit one of my clubs it goes as far as my old 1′s

    Posted by cgb | November 15, 2008, 4:32 am
  15. I really enjoyed reading the comments here. This is what I was looking for as I shop for new clubs.I am getting the R7 CGBs soon and will let you know how they change my game. I am currently playing Calloway X-16s.

    Posted by Steve | December 1, 2008, 3:28 pm
  16. My Taylormade cgb iron set just arrived. 4-PW SUPERFAST BLACK STEEL STIFF FLEX SHAFT.

    Little concern about using the PW around the green. Can I expect the ball flight to be about the same as say my Ping 47 degree loft or should I invest in the CGB advance wedge and/or sand wedge? Or should I look for another make of club for those two wedges?

    Posted by Bob Nelson | December 15, 2008, 9:10 pm
  17. Bob, you may want to get a couple actual wedges, rather than ‘set’ wedges. Check out our review of the Miura Wedges or Eidolon Wedges you will get a lot more feel for the 100 yard and in shots with a ‘real’ wedge like one of those.

    Posted by Sean | December 18, 2008, 5:46 pm
  18. i own the r7 cgb max 09 model, i previously had the r7 draw irons and i can tell you the feel of these irons is unreal. it is effortless to hit these straight and long. the r7 draw took alot of force to push them further but the cgb irons are heavier and feel so much better, where i was hitting the r7 draw pitch wedge 120 yards i am now hitting the pw 140 yards with less effort and more control. i own the 09 model with graphite shafts. get them asap you will not be happy with anything else.

    Posted by moon | April 14, 2009, 7:30 am
  19. I have had my cgb irons for about a year. I have NEVER had another set of irons perform like these. They are very forgiving and I like to think they are long. My irons are longer then all of the players I play with by at least one club. If you don’t believe me, just hit them at a golf shop and see. I have the steel shaft because I am not a big fan of the graphite. I never post but I have been meaning to just for these irons!

    Posted by Walsh | April 20, 2009, 7:51 pm
  20. I forgot to metion that I am speaking about the version that is plain looking. In my opionion, the older version looks much better.

    Posted by Walsh | April 20, 2009, 7:56 pm
  21. If Taylormade R7 max irons are so good why did the company discontinue them after only 12 months. Sounds like they were turkeys to me

    Posted by art | May 23, 2009, 3:22 am
  22. After playing Titleist DCI for many years, I switched to these this spring. First off, they are about 1 club longer. Second, much easier to hit and the mis hits go straighter and longer. Third, my score on the par 3′s has dropped on average over 1 shot. I also use my hybrid much less. I used to hit my hybrid for any shot between 170 and 200 yrds. Now, I hit it about once a round. The reason is simple. These irons go straighter and are easier to controll and I find myself using the 3,4 and 5 without hesitation. Overall you can’t go wrong and will not regret buying them. I got them at Golfsmith with the 90/90 return policy and never once thought about any other club. I paid $570 and couldn’t be happier. I am a 10 index.

    Posted by James | September 28, 2009, 9:24 am
  23. Yeah James, these clubs are a real steal today, you can get them for even a little less on ebay or used. Thanks for your feedback!

    Posted by Sean | September 28, 2009, 9:34 am
  24. I am a 2.0 and till now have played Titleist 690 mb irons with KBS 5.0 shafts. I just purchased the Taylormade R7 CGB Max regular black steel shafts 4-pw because I like to hit straight shots and with blades any mishit and your done for the most part at getting a bird on that hole, i have read reviews on the R7 CGB Max going high, farther and straight so I decided to give it a go (why fight technology) I should be able to kill the course if they are that easy to hit so we shall see, I will give them a couple weeks and write back on how it went.

    Posted by Rob | October 20, 2009, 2:00 pm
  25. I’m still wondering if the original R7 cgb are as good as the new 2008′s Big price difference. Can anyone advise?

    Posted by Kelly | October 28, 2009, 7:11 pm
  26. First, all my clubs are taylormade My driver are the R9 I LOVE MY cgb i’VE PAYED 1,300.00 FOR MY CLUB AND WOULD DO IT AGAIN.

    Posted by Al Williams | November 2, 2009, 10:13 pm
  27. First, all my clubs are taylormade an I wouldn’t have any other. I’ve tryed to use other allways come back to the best one made.

    Posted by Al Williams | November 2, 2009, 10:17 pm
  28. i havnt played before and just started having my first lesson,i was using these r7 max club a 6 iron and hit it 175 yards ,not allways streight tho lol iam not sure what clubs to buy.

    Posted by andy | November 14, 2009, 5:24 am
  29. This may sound “novice”, but what does the cgb stand for ?

    Posted by bill | January 20, 2010, 4:04 pm
  30. Also,i see this (cgb) on putters as well, so……………

    Posted by bill | January 20, 2010, 4:13 pm
  31. “CGB” stands for “center-of-gravity back,” a reference to the iron’s exceptionally low and deep CG position that contributes to the kind of optimum launch conditions that promote added distance and control. “MAX” alludes to maximum COR, maximum COR zone, maximum clubhead speed, maximum ball speed and maximum forgiveness.

    Kevin from Corbin KY

    Posted by Kevin Meeks | July 4, 2010, 11:46 pm
  32. the differance between the old version and new with black cavity back is app. 5 to 7 yards feel and launch are same .i have both types in my bag

    Posted by patrick netska | September 15, 2010, 9:35 pm
  33. I bought these clubs to replace Ping i3′s. Definitely very happy with them, had them for a year and a half now. Where I was hitting around 165yards with my 5 iron i3, I now hit that distance easily with my 7…. I hardly use the 5, and the 4 I only use for low rescue shots under trees etc. Problem is that the PW goes 135 yards and there is a sizeable gap with the SW which goes about 100 yards. So I’ve solved this by getting Taylormade 50 and 60 degree wedges (the ones with replaceable faces, good feel) to sit between the PW and SW (the 50) and to get something for 80 yards and less (the 60). This combination, with a 3 rescue (Raylor), a 3 wood R9 and a Burner 09 Driver gives me something for most distances. So all in all very happy with the Tasylormade range after years of being a Ping man.

    I can get the ball to move (draw or fade) but it’s difficult to get the amount right without a lot of practice. By the way I’m a 20 handicapper (should be a bit lower but don’t they all say that..)

    Posted by Leonard | October 6, 2010, 12:10 pm
  34. The CGB TaylorMade golf club irons are outstanding. My game has improved and every I feel confident using every club. I feel now that I have the secret in my bag. I am hitting the ball farther, and my handicap been lower since purchasing these clubs. I like to thank TaylorMade for an outstanding golf club. I recommend these clubs to any player who want to improve their game and feel like a pro.

    Posted by Garry Hamilton | November 3, 2010, 7:34 pm
  35. I have had my TaylotMade R7 CGB MAX irons for about two years now. They are by far the best irons that I have ever used. They instill confidence which results in more consistent shots. Like others, my only beef is the gap between PW (44deg) and (SW 54deg). I filled the gap with a 50deg wedge and added a 60deg for those delicate shots around the green. With the length of these clubs I only use up to a 5 iron and then a hybrid fills the gap to a 5 wood. I am currently looking for another set to buy and leave in the garage for when these wear out. I can’t see a reason to ever own another type of club (no aspirations to be a tour pro).

    Posted by Graeme Miller | April 13, 2011, 3:48 am
  36. Trying to locate the 3 iron to the 2008 r7 CGB max stiff shaft ae-hx 90 superfast black steel. I sent mine back to Taylormade and they returned it with a burner shaft on it–they told me they do not make the shaft anymore and basically said good luck finding another one when I called them–I have had no luck locating one. any suggestions Thanks Chuck

    Posted by chuck | May 17, 2011, 1:48 pm

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Went through some Callaway X-20s, X-Tours, Adams Idea Pro Forged, Nike Sumo Irons, TM Burner XD, TM R7 RGB Max…did I leave anything out? I really enjoyed reviewing/testing all of that equipment, but so [...]

    Posted by Reviewing My Golf Game » The Deep Rough | January 9, 2008, 1:15 pm

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