I am a very lucky guy. I freely admit this. I get paid to write, travel, and enjoy golf. I am encouraged to invest in the state of my game as a prerequisite for my employment.
Of all the people who need a new iron, I’m probably one of the last. Twelve months ago I underwent a full bag fitting at GOLF’s sister company True Spec Golf, where I was fitted with a new set of clubs. I haven’t bought the majority of this bag yet (custom clubs are expensive!) But irons were an area I just couldn’t wait for. In January, after months of dismay, I bought my very first new iron.
ClubTest First Look: The new T-Series irons from Titleist make their Tour debut
I was out of the market when Titleist contacted me to participate in a customization for their new T-Series irons. I am a loyal guy, and I was certainly loyal to the no inconsiderable financial investment I had made just months earlier. I had no skin in the game, but hey, you don’t get asked to test clubs very often just to test them and on a Tuesday morning in August I certainly had no better plans. So I woke up early, slung my bag over my shoulder, and walked from my apartment in New York’s West Village to Grand Central Terminal. I got on the first train to Darien, Connecticut, where I spent the first part of the day “on assignment” at the Wee Burn Golf Club … playing golf.
A short time later I arrived at the club, where I rummaged through the tent that Titleist had set up on the range. A few minutes later I met my mechanic, Chris Bellinger, who, as luck would have it, had grown up in the city across from me. We talked a little and I explained my situation to him. I’d come to check out each of Titleist’s new iron offerings – the Ultra Game Enhancement T300, the Mid-Range T200, the Distance T100S, and the Blade-Style T100. I had no illusions that I would end the day with an iron that I liked more than my current players, but I was ready to give it a try.
I left with a deeper understanding of the technologies, specifications, and ideas every golfer should think about during their fitting – and with a significant change of heart.
Here are three of the greatest things I’ve learned.
1. I may have finally dwarfed the game improvement category
The first thing I noticed when swinging the new T300 irons was the weighting. I’m not sure if I’ve ever had a club where I could physically feel the center of gravity (or, as the kids call it, CG) like I could with the T300. As Chris explained to me, the weight is in the back of the racket, which makes it easier for higher handicap players to strike and start their shots and increases the general forgiveness.
Check and check for me. The T300’s face felt about a mile wide, and it’s easy to see how people with higher handicaps might fall in love. The ball seemed to ricochet off the clubface, creating a high, arcuate ball flight that would be exhilarating for players struggling to get the ball in the air.
After a few swings on the T300, Chris recommended continuing. In his opinion, I * too * did it well by blasting my shots so high that my spin rate skyrocketed. He guessed that I would be a better fit for one of the “player” models. That was a pleasant surprise for this lifelong high handicaper.
2. Toplines … really important?
It’s time to share a secret. For years I have read the insights of GOLF’s equipment gurus – Jonathan Wall and Andrew Tursky – and wonder why they spend so much time discussing “toplines”. In my opinion, what a player saw when addressing was about as relevant as the color of the handle.
Well, when I picked up the T100S for the first time, I “understood” it. The T100S is placed in the same club category as the T200 – player spacing – but you can quickly see the differences between the two clubs. While the T200 has a touch of offset and a slightly thicker head, the T100S is blade-like throughout. Nowhere is it more noticeable than in the topline, which is significantly thinner on the T100S. Just take a look at the photos below.
That is not to say that a club is better or worse. Toplines are typically a matter of subjectivity. But they certainly play a role in finding the right fit for your game. I realized that I like slightly thinner toplines, which helped me move towards my later fit …
3. Sometimes you can just FEEL it
Like I said, I wasn’t under the illusion that I would find a better iron for my game than the irons I started out with … until I swung the T100. I certainly didn’t think that Titleist’s top player irons (which you can see Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas wielding) would work with my 13 handicap game too. In fact, I spent the first five minutes that I swung the club trying to convince myself that it actually didn’t go well with my game.
“Yes, it’s sick, but I can’t play a blade,” I said to Chris. “I’m an idiot, but I’m not such an idiot.”
Ultimately, however, it was hard to argue with the results. My starting monitor numbers were comparable to those of my players in terms of distance and spin rate, but my spread with the T100 was much narrower. I was also impressed with the purity of the strike. I told Chris that I wasn’t sure I’d ever understood what it meant for a club to feel “buttery” until I swung the T100. I’m by no means a shot shaper, but I felt like I understood where my shots hit the club’s face before I ever looked down.
I firmly believe that golfers are best when they are well informed, and it was hard not to feel like the T100 “tell” me more with every swing than the rest of the Titleist T-Series products .
I made up my mind. I was sold on the T100. The difference was subtle, sure, and not one that I expected would have had a significant impact on my lap-to-lap performance. But for a player looking to fall back from the 80s to the 70s, any green regulation helps.
A little luck can never hurt either.
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Titleist T-Series T100 Irons
The Titleist T-Series T100 irons are designed to help better players go in depth. They offer tour quality performance and deliver playable distances. A thinner, faster face increases ball speed and improves forgiveness. Check out over 150 reviews from our gear experts in the ClubTest 2021 collection.
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James Colgan is Associate Editor at GOLF, contributing stories for the website and magazine on a wide range of topics. He writes the Hot Mic, GOLF’s weekly media column, and leverages his broadcasting experience on the brand’s social media and video platforms. A 2019 graduate of Syracuse University, James – and obviously his golf game – is still thawing from four years of gritting his teeth at NFL Films, CBS News, and Fox Sports. Before joining GOLF, James was a Caddy Scholar (and smart looper) on Long Island, which is where he’s from.