TaylorMade MC Irons Review (+ Alternatives)
There is a widespread perception among many golfers that proper pro irons have to be muscle-back designs. But not every golfer needs the extreme performance on offer with these blade irons. Many in the better player segment would prefer a measure of forgiveness along with workability and finesse in their irons. At the same, they want the aura of forged steel irons. Enter irons that combine the forged blade style of pro-irons with an added cavity back slot for increased forgiveness. The TaylorMade Tour Preferred MC Irons belong to this genre of better player clubs. The TaylorMade Tour Preferred line is one of the highest-rated irons range in recent memory. There are three variants in the 2014 Tour Preferred line, with MB standing for "Muscle Back," MC for "Muscle-Cavity," and CB for "Cavity Back" irons. They cater to players of different skill levels and sensibilities. In our TaylorMade Tour Preferred MC Irons Review, let's find out whether the combined "Muscle-Cavity" design succeeds in merging the best of both worlds.
TaylorMade MC Irons: Pros & Cons
- Extremely versatile irons work well on the fairways, turf, and greenside both.
- A reasonable amount of forgiveness, but nothing so extreme as to mask atrocious hits.
- Consistency in shots guaranteed, with slight improvements in distance thrown in for good measure.
- Varied but precise impact across the irons, sharp on long irons and soft on the scoring clubs, with plenty of feedback to let you know how well you hit.
- Cavity back technology is kept tucked away, showing a classy and streamlined blade design.
- Some players have a tough time launching the ball into the air.
- Some are put off by the lack of consistency in feedback across the irons.
- Lack of distance puts off some golfers.
The Key Features of the TaylorMade MC IronsThese TaylorMade Tour Preferred irons belong to a line of clubs that merge forged blade design with elements of modern cavity back technology. With a balance between feel, workability, and forgiveness, these are aimed at better players whose handicaps lie well below 15, and ideally in the single digit range. The emphasis is on adding a measure of forgiveness while not compromising on traditional blade iron looks. Let's see how the TaylorMade Tour Preferred MC specs stack up:
1. Forged Cavity Back Short Irons:The short irons (8,9, and PW) are manufactured using carbon steel forging, and sport moderate cavity back design. This ensures that these clubs have a measure of forgiveness when compared to regular blade irons, while still retaining the look of pro level blades.
2. Cast Long and Mid Irons with Speed Pockets:The rest of the set (3-7 irons) are made using the regular cast technique with stainless steel, to integrate the advanced forgiveness technology features. In the MC irons, these come primarily in the form of Speed Pockets. A staple of many TaylorMade clubs ranging from their AeroBurner drivers and woods to the RocketBladez irons, the speed pocket is a small cavity at the back of the club head. The Speed Pockets in the MC irons are milled into the sole of the clubheads and have a soft PU insert in the slots. This is to boost ball speeds on any mishit shots that hit low on the clubface.
3. Thin Soles & ClubFace:Despite the presence of the Speed Pockets, the soles on the irons are kept as thin as possible for improved playability in all kinds of lies. Thicker clubheads and faces are the norm in game improvement, and max game improvement categories and TaylorMade have gone to great lengths to ensure that bloat is kept to a bare minimum to satisfy purists who demand blade-like design.
4. Minimal Offsets and Progressive Bounce:Again, massive offsets are the provenance of high handicapper clubs, and have no place on a proper set of better player irons. The offset on these TaylorMade Tour Preferred irons start from 3mm on the longest 3-iron, and decline gradually down to 1.6mm on the 9-iron and 1.5mm on the PW. The bounce conversely starts at zero on the long irons and progressively reach a maximum of 9 degrees on the Pitching Wedge for optimal performance.
5. Precision Milled Grooves:The clubfaces on all the irons sport precise grooves that milled using a CNC machine. The grooves impart precise spin levels on shots for added control and increase the scope for the trick and finesse shots.
6. Steel Shafts:The entire set sports KBS Tour steel shafts as stock. The steel shafts weigh 120g and are on the heavier side, but they add to the overall balance of the club.
7. Minimalist Design and Pro Finish:TaylorMade has opted for a very sober and muted design, giving excessive badging and logos a miss. The badging is restricted to the TaylorMade name and logo on the top, with "Tour Preferred" and "MC" emblazoned in the cavity. The short irons have the extra "Forged" branding on their hosels. The clubs sport a shiny satin chrome finish, befitting of a pro-level iron set.
TaylorMade MC Irons Review
Looks & DesignThe MC irons effortlessly combine better player looks and shape, with a classic satin chrome finish. The minimal offset and the discreet cavity back design ensures that the clubs retain a blade style look that appeals to almost all golfers aspiring to look like the real deal on the course. The overall sleekness, with thin soles and thinner top edges, accentuate this look.
Feel & FeedbackThe stock KBS Tour steel shafts offer an overall very soft feel during the swing. The forged short irons have a very soft feel and feedback which aids in better control on those scoring shots onto the green. The longer irons have a different feel altogether, with a more forceful impact on well-struck shots that have more yardage to cross. These are better player irons, and the feedback is rich and detailed, allowing you to know exactly how well the shot has been hit (or not).
Forgiveness & AccuracyThe target demographic of these irons are not looking for extra forgiveness, and the irons do not deliver anything beyond the most reasonable levels. They are cavity back designs, but the cavities are compact and not over-sized like in the game improvement segments. You get a measure of assistance on those marginal mishits closer to the sweet spot, but do not expect horrendous mishits to stay true to the target. Conversely, accuracy levels are off the charts especially on the short irons, with good hits rewarding you with shots that land exactly where intended. The result is entirely dependent on how well you swing, while the clubs restrict themselves largely to keeping side-spin levels low.
Flight & DistanceThis is one area where opinion can be a bit divided. Better players with improved swing prowess will get distance gains on the long irons, though the positive effect of the small Speed Pockets is relatively marginal at a few yards. Consistency is what you gain, both concerning yardages and gapping, despite some irons being cast and the other forged. Launch assistance is on the lower side and golfers with slower swings will get penalized with flatter trajectories, often resulting in distance losses.
Overall ImpressionThe TaylorMade Tour Preferred MC golf irons retain a distinct identity and occupy a slot comfortably between the MB and CB irons in the Tour Preferred lineup. The Muscle-backs cater to die-hard purists and scratch golfers who want maximum performance and looks with minimum assistance, while the Cavity Backs are for mid handicappers who need more assistance and are willing to sacrifice player-iron looks for the same. The MC tries to combine the best of both worlds for that small yet not insignificant number of low-handicappers who want blade iron looks with a minimum level of assistance and forgiveness. Click here to see the latest price on amazon.
The MC Irons are a bit dated at three years old, while the Apex 16 is a relatively recent entry into the better player segment, having been launched in 2016.
These are all forged irons with tungsten and steel inserts in the long and mid irons for improved (lower) CoG, while the short irons have no inserts for higher CoG.
And they also sport a hybrid muscle-cavity design, much like the MC irons.
What we like
- Best in class playability, on the rough as well as the greenside, with the capacity to deliver draws, fades, and anything else the player might want.
- Sharp and precise, with accuracy that matches the best in the business.
- Enough accuracy on offer thanks to the cavity back design, marginal mishits still get some assistance.
- Excellent feedback, consistent throughout the irons.
- Fine design and classic looks, similar to the MC line.
What we dislike
- Much like the MCs, these irons also have issues getting the ball high in the air.
- Forgiveness is probably lower than in the TaylorMade irons.
Mizuno Golf makes some of the best forged irons in the business, using high-quality boron steel in the manufacturing process for some of the thinnest and hardest hitting club faces.
The MP-25 range is one of the latest in the Mizuno line to get the boron steel treatment, and is available in a standard 3-PW configuration, with a pleasing mix of blade and cavity back designs.
Unlike the MC irons, the MP-25 is all forged, though they do have a micro slot technology on the long and mid irons, much like the Speed Pocket on the TaylorMade irons.
What we like
- Simply the best feel and feedback in the range, miles ahead of the competition.
- Top of the line control on shots, you get consistent distance on shots.
- Extremely playable irons work well on both the rough and fairways, good for knockdowns and cut shots.
- All forged blade looks are simply too good; very few clubs can compare.
What we dislike
- Some players will struggle to get distance and height on the long irons.
- Forgiveness is lower than what you find in the TaylorMade MC.
Adams Golf has ventured into the high quality forged irons market with these impressive looking irons that forsake a traditional look for a more modern design.
Similar to the TaylorMade MC specs, these also have slots at the sole, but unlike the MC they extend all the way up the clubhead to the top of the face, creating a hollow inside.
All the irons in the set have this, while the MC only has slots inside their long and mid-irons.
To compensate for the metal removed, they have also added heavy tungsten weights at strategic locations to improve forgiveness, balance, and CoG.
The weights are positioned differently in different irons. The 8-LW have muscle backs while the 3-7 irons have cavity backs.
The set includes a couple of hybrids and graphite shaft options as well among the longer clubs.
What we like
- Good playability with a decent launch on all shots.
- Forgiveness is on the higher side in the better player segment.
- Decent control on partial swing shots, while the longer clubs excel with full swings.
- Has a stout feel and feedback on shots.
- The irons are discreet with the high-tech features, and the black finish hybrids catch the eye.
What we dislike
- Hybrids struggle to gain distance and launch height.
- The overall feel and feedback is average in the category.
The hybrid blade-cavity or muscle-cavity niche within the better player category of irons all have a few common features.
The long and mid irons tend to have forgiveness boosting features while the shorter irons revert to a traditional muscle back design.
This has its own pitfalls as some golfers end up feeling a dissonance in feel within the iron set, with some clubs behaving differently compared to others.
Unlike other models which sport an all-forged line-up, the TaylorMade TP MC range was more in danger of falling into this due to the presence of both forged and cast irons in their set.
But remarkably they have managed to keep variations in feel to a bare minimum and the clubs perform well and true to their full potential.
Sure, you can find better, newer clubs in this category, and we have reviewed a few here in our comparisons section. But being slightly older than the competition does have its advantages.
You can probably get a set of MC irons at vastly reduced prices, a good $300-400 less than newer iron sets.
At that price point, the TaylorMade Tour Preferred MC golf irons offer an unbeatable value for money, and are highly recommended unless you want a full forged iron set.