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Forged Irons for the Masses

Forged irons are generally perceived as being a more appropriate choice for the better golfer, certainly one with a handicap in the single digits. This is due to the fact that the forging process doesn't usually allow for the amount of manipulation of the center of gravity in the clubhead that benefits the mid-to-higher handicap golfer. 

Things are really different these days. New forging, multi-process manufacturing and new alloys have all contributed to more sophisticated and more complicated iron head designs that appeal to a more diverse cross section of golfers of more diverse skill sets.

The Fourteen TC 560 and XXIO X forged irons are two irons that fit squarely in this genre.

Fourteen Golf is a company that has made its name making forged irons and some of the most highly regarded wedges for the best golfers in the world. The TC 560 is unique in that it's a one-piece forging with a center of gravity so precisely located that makes it a forged iron suitable for a large cross section of the golfing population.

The TC 560 is quite similar in design with the TC 544FG. Where they differ is in the material used that's used to make them. The TC 560 is made using S45C, a stronger mild steel alloy than the S25 alloy generally used in most forged irons. The stronger steel allows Fourteen to make the clubface thinner, resulting in higher ball speeds. 

Fourteen also has a unique way of assembling this set. The 5-iron has the loft of a 4-iron and the length of a 3-iron and progresses down through the set. This and the thinner clubface should produce more distance for the iron's intended market. This method should also reduce the potential for a large yardage gap between the longest iron and the shortest hybrid or fairway wood.

The TC 560 iron has a deep cavity that makes getting the ball airborne easy. The wide sole is cambered towards its trailing edge, allowing the clubhead to cut through the turf cleanly without digging.

In the course of the test, I was expecting a massive distance increase over my gamers, but that really wasn't the case. I had no trouble controlling both ball flight and distance with the TC 560, something that's really desirable in an iron. 

The clubhead is larger than a traditional forged iron which should instill confidence in golfers in the mid-handicap range. The feel at impact is softer than a cast iron. I couldn't discern a difference in hardness with my 1025 forged steel gamers. The TC 560 is a really good choice for the mid-to-higher handicap golfer looking to move to something that feels better but doesn't sacrifice playability.

XXIO as a brand had purposely targeted the slower swing speed golfer. The XXIO X (pronounced "x" not "ten") is a multi-piece construction forged iron that's targeted at the better golfer that's perhaps lost a bit of clubhead speed and is looking to go down a bit in swingweight without losing that forged feel.

The XXIO X shares the multi-piece construction of Srixon's 5xx series irons (forged body, high speed, high strength stainless steel face) with a twist. The XXIO X is counterweighted making the club feel lighter in hand than it is. 

The high-strength steel clubface has a groove cut into the back of it to get the clubface to flex more evenly which provides higher ball speeds and is more forgiving on mishits. The sole is shaped like a "V" allowing the clubhead to exit the turf without digging excessively. 

Both these irons provide serious options for a wide range of golfers looking for better feel without sacrificing playability and ease of use. Both the Fourteen TC 560 and XXIO X Forged irons are available at Srixon proshops.

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