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TaylorMade revs up sexy new R9 irons

The glory days of the Big Three automakers might be the stuff of history books and Happy Days, but the aesthetic legacy of the American muscle car still pops up in some of the least expected places, not the least of which is the golf course.

It appears that someone in the design department at TaylorMade has a soft spot for fat mags and checkered flags, if the sexy-as-hell looks of the Carlsbad manufacturers new R9 and R9 TP irons are any indication.

Hey, baby . . . buy you a drink? The gorgeous new R9

Hey, baby . . . buy you a drink? The gorgeous new R9

Finally leaving in the dust the clunky, awkward space-age look of the Burners, the R9s keep all the long-bomber technology _ and make no mistake, theres plenty of it _ concealed between a super-thin clubface and a cavity badge with clean, understated lines and a chrome Motor City chevron.

Whereas our Burner irons deliver extraordinary distance in a modern design, the R9 irons are aimed at the technician, and so are rendered in a player’s shape with a clean and conventional look,” Harry Arnett, TaylorMade’s senior category director of metalwoods, irons and balls, says in the news release.

“However, a ridiculous degree of performance-enhancing technology is packaged within each oversized clubhead. The result is an iron that’s phenomenally easy to play despite its classic appearance, and extremely controllable and accurate as well.”

The clubface is described as wrap-around, because it exists as an 2mm layer of metal thats draped over the topline and the leading edge of the club like a shroud over a scaffold, creating the same spring-like effect as a modern-day driver. Inside, the Inverted Cone Technology that TM introduced in the Burners (and which give the previous irons their distinctive look) is at work ensuring that there are no hot spots; a powder thats sealed inside the clubs so-called Velocity Control Chamber turns to foam during the heating process, filling the chamber to ensure that sound and feel remain consistent across the entire clubface.

Who's your friend? Meet the R9 TP

Who's your friend? Meet the R9 TP

There is, of course, a corresponding TP (Tour Preferred) edition of R9 irons for the more accomplished player, and these clubs, interestingly enough, conform with the new stipulation for V-shaped grooves, as mandated by the USGA and the R & A. Recreational players still have five years to enjoy the benefits of sharp square grooves; pros and high-level competitive amateurs, however, have to put the new grooves in play next year.

The TPs feature a traditionally shaped, more compact head with a straight leading edge, thin topline and thin, cambered, beveled, multi-functional  sole, the release says.

The particular way the hosel blends with the leading edge and the face comes from Nick Faldo’s advisement, who believes it’s absolutely essential that this connection point be skillfully rendered so as to be pleasing to the player’s eye.

Indeed, its hard to find a way in which the R9 and R9 TP isnt pleasing to the players eye. Cant wait to hit Ëœem.

TaylorMade introduces R9 irons

Distance and Control-Enhancing Technologies in a Classic Shape

Carlsbad, Calif. (October 1, 2009)“ TaylorMade has introduced the R9„¢ iron, designed to deliver modern performance and tremendous distance in a more classic package.

“Whereas our Burner irons deliver extraordinary distance in a modern design, the R9 irons are aimed at the technician, and so are rendered in a player’s shape with a clean and conventional look,” said Harry Arnett, TaylorMade’s senior category director of metalwoods, irons and balls. “However, a ridiculous degree of performance-enhancing technology is packaged within each oversized clubhead. The result is an iron that’s phenomenally easy to play despite its classic appearance, and extremely controllable and accurate as well.”

Like the Burner irons, the new R9 long-irons and middle-irons were designed separately from the short-irons to optimize performance in each club. The result is that the 3-iron through 6-iron are extremely long and easy to hit, and the short-irons are engineered to promote great feel, control and accuracy.

Velocity-Control Chamber in the Long- and Middle-irons Each R9 long-iron and middle-iron (3- through 6-) houses a large and fully enclosed compartment positioned behind the clubface, underneath the cavity badge. Called the Velocity-Control Chamber (VCC), it makes it possible for an immense area of the ultra-thin (2.0 mm) clubface to exist unsupported. We call it a wrap-around clubface because it acts like a face that wraps around the top-line and the leading edge, which gives the face more freedom to flex and reflex at impact, much like a thin-faced driver.

The VCC makes it easier to launch the ball with the long- and middle-irons, yet TaylorMade engineers have gone to great lengths to ensure that the R9 irons deliver controlled power by incorporating Inverted Cone Technology on the inner side of the clubface. In addition to promoting higher ball speed on off-center hits, the Inverted Cone has been carefully calibrated to eliminate “hot spots” so that ball speed is consistent across the clubface, resulting in keen and consistent distance control in all of the R9 irons.

Although the R9 long- and middle-irons don’t immediately appear to be perimeter-weighted they are, given that the VCC is occupied by a nearly weightless foam, as well as a silicone shock absorber positioned directly behind the center of the face; both serve to absorb unwanted impact vibration. The foam starts as a powder sealed within the VCC; heating the clubhead turns the powder to foam that expands to completely fill all open areas of the chamber, ensuring that the sound and feel at impact is soft, agreeable and consistent across the face.

Deep Undercut Cavity, Broad Low-CG Sole and Heel-Toe Weighting in the Short-irons R9 short-irons are engineered to deliver increased playability, control and feel in the scoring zone. The simple, straightforward teardrop shape and clearly delineated leading edge make it easy for any player to aim these irons target-ward and fire the ball at the flag. Each compact clubhead incorporates a deep undercut cavity and broad, low-CG sole that makes it easy to make solid, spin-inducing contact to get the ball in the air and stop it quickly upon landing. R9 short-irons also incorporate a vibration-quieting layer sandwiched between the backside of the clubface and the thin, protective black badge in the cavity. The vibration-quieting is a visco-elastic adhesive made by 3M that also absorbs unwanted vibration and sound. The result is a solid and satisfying sound and feel, which is critical to good short-iron play. Additionally, at the bottom of each short-iron cavity (hidden behind the badge), more weight has been concentrated at the heel and toe to more stability and forgiveness on mis-hits.

Beveled Sole in Every Iron Promotes Solid Contact and Playability We’ve received a lot of praise from golfers for the sole designs of our recent irons, including the Tour Preferred® and Burner®. That’s no surprise since our product creation and R&D teams have dialed in a process for working together that’s resulted in the finest iron designs in the game. Our depth of understanding allows us to create soles that interact optimally with the turf to promote crisp club-to-ball impact, swing after swing. The trick is in how the edges of the sole are contoured, or “beveled.” The sole of every R9 iron is specially beveled to reduce turf resistance, helping the bottom of the club glide through impact and apply maximum force to the ball. There’s an art and science to designing a high-performance sole, and we’ve done our best work in the R9 irons.

New and Conforming Grooves for 2010 The R9 TP irons incorporate a new groove design that conforms to the USGA and R&A ruling that goes into affect in 2010 for high-level competition.

KBS Steel Shafts R9 irons come equipped with KBS 90-gram steel shafts, available in S and R flexes. KBS, which is quickly growing in popularity on the PGA Tour, incorporates several new enhancements into their steel shafts to promote improved performance. One is that the wall thickness of each shaft increases proportionately as the shaft diameter decreases, which promotes added stability. The KBS steel shafts in the R9 irons are a lighter version of their popular tour shaft to promote greater swing speed, higher launch and increased distance. In addition, the KBS shafts in the R9 irons share a structure and step pattern with the tour shaft that promotes tighter dispersion for greater consistency and control.

The R9 iron is also available in one graphite shaft model, the Fujikura Motore, in 75-grams in S flex, 65-grams in R flex and 55-grams in M flex.

The R9 Irons: Classic Technology-Fueled Distance and Control in a Classic Shape Each R9 iron combines high COR and high MOI, making them longer and more forgiving than their classic-looking clubhead shape implies. Thus they’re ideal for the technician who wants a powerful, easy-to-hit iron that suits his preference for a more classic-looking shape. Adding to their beauty is their nickel chrome-plated stainless steel and pearl finish, which helps make them stand out on the shelf. There’s no doubt that these irons are worthy of the name R9 and that they’ll serve as a terrific complement to the Burner irons in the marketplace: Two great irons, R9 for the technician, Burner for the bomber.

The standard set of R9 irons includes 3-iron through pitching wedge at a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $999 steel and $1,249 graphite. An attack wedge and sand wedge are available separately. R9 irons become available starting on November 1, 2009.

TaylorMade introduces R9 TP irons

Serious Performance Technology in a ¨Classic Player’s Shape and Size

Carlsbad, Calif. (October 1, 2009)“ TaylorMade Golf has introduced the R9„¢ TP, a classically shaped iron that nevertheless incorporates a variety of performance-enhancing technologies. As part of TaylorMade’s revered Tour Preferred® product line, R9 TP irons are engineered to, above all, deliver an exceptional degree of distance control and consistency, which is critical to any player who competes at a high level or wants to.

The R9 TP iron’s classic shape and size are characterized by a compact head featuring a semi-straight leading edge, semi-square toe, thin topline and thin, cambered, beveled, multi-functional sole. The particular way the hosel blends with the leading edge and the face comes from Nick Faldo’s advisement, who believes it’s absolutely essential that this connection point be skillfully rendered so as to be pleasing to the player’s eye. Adding to the R9 TP’s beautiful shape is an attractive mirror nickel-chrome plating topped by a pearl finish.

Velocity Control Chamber in the 2- through 5-iron In terms of technology, the R9 TP irons offer plenty. The 2- through 5-iron incorporate TaylorMade’s Velocity Control Chamber (VCC), a fully enclosed compartment positioned behind the clubface that allows a large area of the 2.0 mm face to exist unsupported, increasing COR to promote more distance. The open space within the VCC is fully filled with a light yet dense foam that manages vibration energy to deliver excellent feel and sound at impact. The VCC allows the re-distribution of mass within the clubhead to give the R9 TP long-irons an exceptionally low CG and high MOI, which combines with the fast clubface to make them easier to launch high and long.

Progressive Face Thickness and Inverted Cone Technology throughout the Set Progressive face thickness is incorporated throughout the set starting at 2.0 mm in the 2- through 5-iron, 2.3 mm in the 6- and 7-iron, and 2.5 mm in the 8-iron through pitching wedge. The result is progressively higher COR where you need it in the middle-irons and long-irons, and fantastic feel in the short-irons. All R9 TP irons feature TaylorMade’s renowned Inverted Cone Technology fabricated (milled in long-irons, cast in short-irons) directly onto the inner side of the clubface, which promotes higher ball speed on off-center hits so that ball speed and distance are consistent across the face to promote constant distance control.

Superior Distance Control and Consistency Good players want confidence that their irons will behave consistently from shot to shot especially in terms of distance. Hot spots on the face that add yardage and mis-hits that subtract yardage both kill morale and damage scores. Because of that, TaylorMade’s R&D department spent hundreds of hours to ensure that the R9 TP irons deliver superior distance control and consistency, and they succeeded. In each individual R9 TP iron, the combination of head size, VCC, Inverted Cone and face thickness has been carefully calibrated to promote optimum distance control and consistency. The result is a club that players can be confident will deliver the expected distance on swing after swing after swing.

Compact Perimeter-weighted Heads R9 TP heads are similar to the compact shape of the Tour Preferred® irons (which are the most popular and successful irons on the PGA Tour today), yet the R9 TPs offer a larger hittable face area due in part to differences in the way the head blends into the hosel. The top-line is beveled along the back edge to give it a thin and elegant appearance, and the sole is beveled to reduce resistance so it can perform “thinner” when it meets the turf. Each R9 TP head is perimeter-weighted and equipped with a vibration-controlling cavity badge. The 6-iron through pitching wedge feature an undercut cavity that’s visible because the cavity badge is smaller than that used in the R9 irons. The undercut cavity allows us to push more weight to the perimeter of the head in order to increase MOI and distance-control.

Easy-to-Hit Long-irons, Exceptionally Accurate Short-irons As mentioned earlier, we’re making an R9 TP 2-iron, and you might wonder why given that so many players have traded their long-irons for hybrids. The reason is because the VCC allows such a thin, fast clubface and the perimeter weighting allows such a low CG that it makes these long-irons exceptionally easy to launch. We expect a lot of players to put the 2- and 3-iron back in their bags once they find out how easy these R9 TP long-irons are to launch and control.

Tour-Proven KBS Steel Shafts The R9 TP irons come equipped with KBS Tour Series steel shafts, which is currently the fastest growing steel shaft brand on the PGA Tour. Several of our Tour Staff pros are in the same KBS shaft that’s in the R9 TP including Kenny Perry, who’s won five times with them and Dustin Johnson and Rory Sabbatini who have each used them to win once. Designed for better players, the KBS Tour Series shaft is engineered with “moment of inertia analysis” to increase stability from grip to clubhead, which promotes enhanced results on well-executed swings. Reducing the mass and radius of each step in equal proportions along the shafts center line allows the KBS Tour shaft to promote optimum stability, resulting in a more efficient energy transfer from the players hands to the clubhead.

New and Conforming Grooves for 2010 The R9 TP irons incorporate a new groove design that conforms to the USGA and R&A ruling that goes into affect in 2010 for high-level competition.

The R9 TP: Another Great TaylorMade Iron “The new R9 TP iron is a perfect example of how TaylorMade has successfully infused meaningful performance technology into a better player’s iron,” said Brian Bazzel, TaylorMade’s manager of iron creation. “You’ll notice that fewer of our Tour Staff players are using muscleback blades anymore because of the benefits of our improved cavity designs, Inverted Cone Technology and now the Velocity Control Chamber and sound-management systems. The R9 TP is also further evidence that TaylorMade should no longer be recognized simply as a metalwood company, but also for our top-notch irons. When considering our recent standouts like the r7®, r7 TP, Tour Preferred® and Burner®, you can be confident that the new R9„¢ and R9„¢ TP will be counted among them.”

R9 TP irons are available in men’s right- and left-handed models, steel shafts only, X, S and R flexes. The standard set consists of 3-iron through pitching wedge; a 2-iron and attack wedge are available separately. R9 TP irons become available starting on November 1, 2009; the manufacturer’s suggested retail price for a standard set is $1,125.

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James McCarten

When James McCarten isn't at the Ottawa offices of The Canadian Press, where he works as parliamentary news editor, he's either on the golf course or putting off his latest freelance golf-writing gig to spend time with wife Lisa and school-age kids Claire and Lucas. With 20 years of experience in Canadian journalism, James also suffers from a financially crippling addiction to all things Scotty Cameron.

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