First Look – TaylorMade RSi Irons

Nov 30, 2014 by

First Look – TaylorMade RSi Irons

First Look is a quick post about new or pre-release equipment, where I hit a select club as a consumer would in a big box store. Meant to give the buyer an idea of what to expect when they shop for clubs, First Look makes an attempt to “go in cold”. If you have a product or would like an extended review, please feel free to email me at Ryan@RDGolfMedia.com.

TaylorMade has been busy this year.  A plethora of new woods, the debut of a new Tour Preferred Line and changes in leadership has kept the spotlight on TaylorMade for most of 2014.  I can almost hear you across the internet – “Great, ANOTHER release from TaylorMade?  COME ON!”.  In many cases, I tend to agree.  The rapidity of the product release cycle can leave a consumer confused, and the myriad of choices can leave one doubtful if their purchase is the correct one at the register.  A quick example were the SDLR irons.  I thought these had promise, but they were released, bloggers covered them, and I haven’t heard much about them recently.  TaylorMade’s defense of the release cycle is logical; the company will not sit on technology ready for market, instead opting to incorporate it into a release.  Such seems to be the case with the latest iron in the stable, the RSi.  I decided the RSi would be an excellent candidate for a First Look, as many holiday shoppers will likely have these on wish lists.

So, about that technology statement.  TaylorMade seems to be staying true to the word on releasing new technology as soon as it’s ready, because the RSi isn’t like any iron they’ve released previously.  Building upon the Speed Pocket technology that debuted in the RocketBladez irons, the RSi also incorporates two smaller Speed Pockets on the face.  But, why on the face?  The answer is mishits.  If you’ve been watching golf at all the past few weeks you’ve seen the ‘Mishits Happen’ marketing campaign.  Because the majority of golfers miss their shots on the toe or heel, the speed pockets in the face are meant to help increase the “springiness” of the club, thereby helping shots hit off-center to lose less distance than a typical iron.  Seems like sound technology, and certainly innovative.

tmagrsi

TaylorMade Golf RSi 1 irons

As a typical shopper would, I hit a bay at the local big box store.  The demos were set up in a standard way – a bunch of 6 irons with different configurations in order for the store employee to “fit” you.  I say fit in quotes because you are far better off using a local pro or reputable fitter to dial in your specs.  At the end of the day, these guys want to sell clubs and will make every effort to sell you something, even if it isn’t the right fit.  Just keep that in mind when you head out to demo.

The irons are offered in three variants – the RSi 1, RSi 2 and the RSi TP.  My experience was with the RSi 1, the most forgiving of the line.  The first thing that struck me was the address.  I had expected a much more offset, clunky iron, but it seems that moving the forgiveness into the iron itself allowed TaylorMade to engineer a more traditional look at address.  The top line is not too large, the sole is reasonable, and even in the RSi 1, I could see a mid-low handicapper being pleased with these at address.  The demo was fitted with a stock TaylorMade REAX shaft in S flex.  Surprisingly, the loft was the same as my gamer 6 iron (26.5*), so the comparison could be largely apples-to-apples.  The feel is also excellent for, as an onlooker stated, “an iron with a bunch of rubber in it”.  Once you set the club down, the face slots do not distract, and the RSi 1 feels no different on a face slot hit or the center of the face.  On a simulator, I picked up 2 yards over my gamer with center hits, but with a flatter trajectory.  I’m inclined to think I’d pick up more on the course, given real-world rollout conditions.  Off center hits were just as long as my gamer struck on the screws.  My spin rates were a little lower as well, and properly fit I’d likely gain more distance.  One last thing, the RSi 1 is difficult to shape, which translated means they are straight.  The irons straightened out my normal fade consistently, and it took some over-exaggeration to force a hook or slice.  I am going on assumption that the RSi 2 and RSi TP are much easier to shape.

The only concern I have with the RSi lines are the durability of the Speed Pockets in the face.  While they were difficult to nick with a fingernail, I’d be interested to see them in a year after a number of range trips with less than optimal balls to hit.  That said, I haven’t seen complaints from other irons incorporating Speed Pockets in the sole after numerous rounds in play, so the concern may be unwarranted.

The TaylorMade RSi irons incorporate some interesting technology in a number of different head shapes and shaft offerings.  My best suggestion to you is to have them fit by a professional to extract the most benefit.  Prices start at $799 and more information is available at TaylorMadegolf.com.

 

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