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.
Now…let’s get onto the review!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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