WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The SIM2 Max and Max OS irons each utilise a “cap-back” design. Doing so brings the distance benefit of a hollow-body design, but replaces the steel back with a polymer “cap” or badge. That allows for a low centre of gravity, which gives high launch, low spin for more distance while the vibration damping adhesive used to bond the cap to the back enhances feel.
AVAILABILITY: February 19, 2021. Stay tuned for New Zealand pricing.
THE DEEP DIVE: TaylorMade burnished its brand as one aimed at better golfers. The company, however, far from ignores the fact that the majority of players do not fit that description. While the company has plenty of cool irons aimed at the single-digit player, its new SIM2 Max and SIM2 Max OS irons are targeted at those for whom a little bit of help is a necessity and any bit of assistance producing distance is more than welcomed.
“Design often means making compromises but when it comes to designing a game-improvement iron like the SIM2 Max, there are things you cannot sacrifice,” said Matt Bovee, TaylorMade’s head of product creation for irons. “You can’t sacrifice on low centre of gravity. You can’t sacrifice on ball speed, and, in fact, you need to get faster. You need a large sweet spot and to create forgiveness. And you need to hit the price point.”
Making the face springy at impact has been a key part of the company’s irons for a decade. To boost ball speed, the company utilises what it calls a “cap-back” design. Doing so brings the distance benefit of a hollow-body design, but replaces the steel back with a polymer “cap” or badge. “This has advantages a cavity-back construction does not,” Bovee said. “It seals up the head and allows for hollow areas inside that lets us to do some other things. The lightweight polymer cap is 7.5 times lighter than steel. That allows us to maintain the low centre of gravity, which gives high launch, low spin while the vibration damping adhesive is used to bond the cap to the back and helps feel.”
It also allowed for more ball speed. In short, players distance-like pop in a game-improvement look. The topline is supported from heel to toe and the irons continue the company’s heritage of using a flexible, cut-through slot or “Speed Pocket”, in the soles of the 4 through 8-irons for more face flex. Combined these technologies provide a six percent increase in unsupported area of the thin face. The larger sweet spot helps produce a more consistent shot pattern.
“We learned a lot from the metalwoods team on multiple material construction and implemented that in this iron,” Bovee said. “We were grinding hard to get more speed low on the face for the higher handicap golfer that hits the ball there.”
The badge also has the added benefit of saving weight compared to the steel it is replacing. That allows weight to be moved to achieve the correct centre of gravity location. The variable thickness cone behind the face has its position moved in each iron to provide more draw bias in the long irons and getting progressively less as you move through the set.
To assist sound, a new damping system uses a softer polymer blend and multiple contact points across the face to channel away unwanted vibrations, while the fluted hosel not only promotes a lower and deeper centre of gravity placement for improved launch, but has a bending notch that allows for lie angle adjustments when being custom fit.
The SIM2 Max OS irons are a super game-improvement offering that shares many of the same technologies as the Max (cap-back design, thin, fast-flexing face, damping system (individually designed for each iron, with ribbed structures to optimise the contact area of the damper with the face to promote solid feel while maintaining flex); progressive inverted cone technology, sole slots and fluted hosel among them) in a package that provides more confidence – and slightly more draw bias – to those needing a little more assistance with their game.
“We took some market feedback into the design,” Bovee said. “We added in more oversize shaping, more offset, a wider sole. We increased the width of the sole chamfer up to 2 millimetres which allows us to get the centre of gravity lower in the head without the sole getting so wide it’s to the point of being clunky.” A progressive face height also is employed with the 4-iron face height being shorter to drive the centre of gravity lower for better launch, then transitioning to the shorter irons, where the face height is taller to promote as more controlled flight.
As golfers in this category tend to be slower swingers trying to squeeze every last metre out of their clubs, the SIM2 Max OS irons use stronger lofts (up to 2 degrees stronger) than the SIM2 MAX. In another nod to the less-skilled golfer, TaylorMade extended the line-up of irons to include a gap, sand and lob wedge for those wanting a consistency of look and better playability than a blade-style wedge.
The SIM2 Max and Max OS will be in stores from February 19. The SIM2 Max and SIM2 Max OS irons will be offered in 4-PW (seven-piece set with AW, SW and LW also available). The stock shaft is KBS Max MT 85 in steel and Fujikura’s Ventus Blue in graphite. For women, the SIM2 Max and Max OS irons will come equipped with the Aldila NV Ladies shaft.