TaylorMade R7 Irons (Complete Review + Alternatives)
From its humble beginnings selling a single innovative driver in 1979, TaylorMade has grown into the biggest golfing brand in the world.
The R7 series was unveiled around the same time the company was fully acquired by the Adidas Group, in 2004-2005.
For a series of game improvement irons revealed more than a decade ago, the R7 lineup has shown remarkable longevity in the highly competitive modern golf market.
What is the secret behind its popularity and staying capacity, even after the release of a slew of successor iron series by TaylorMade themselves?
Let us find out in this in-depth TaylorMade R7 Irons review.
TaylorMade R7 Irons Review and Alternatives
Key Features of the R7 Irons
The TaylorMade R7 irons specs made for impressive reading back in the day they were unveiled. The entire R7 package, which included the incredibly popular quad drivers, pushed the envelope of technology in golfing beyond what had hitherto been seen until then. The complete R7 series of irons include a total of four different variants. They include:
TaylorMade R7 Regular Irons
The standard R7 irons were focused on one of the most important demographics of golf club buyers, the mid to high handicappers looking for game improvement clubs. These are cavity back irons with elevated levels of forgiveness.
TaylorMade R7 Draw Irons
The draw irons have a draw bias, meaning the weight of the clubface is shifted from the center and toe to the heel part. With this design, the clubface will close in as your swing nears impact with the ball. Draw offset irons are for beginner players who have severe issues with their swing and struggle to get the full face of the club squarely on the ball at impact. In most cases, though, regular irons are the recommended option for beginners and high handicappers.
TaylorMade R7 CGB Irons
This set takes the game improvement a notch higher for the benefit of high handicappers who need maximum assistance from the clubs in their shots. If you are a high handicapper struggling with regular game improvement irons, these are probably the type of irons you need to enjoy a round of golf.
TaylorMade R7 TP Irons
TP is an abbreviation for Tour Professional, and this set of irons are aimed at better players with single digit handicaps. If you are a mid or high handicapper, these may not be the best choice for you, considering the decreased levels of forgiveness on offer.
The regular and high handicapper irons from the R7 series have the following stand out features:
Also called the perimeter-weighted design, this spreads the weight of the clubface from the center to the sides. As a result, the sweet spot on the clubface is enlarged, making it easier to get good shots even when you fail to hit the ball dead center on the clubface. The deeper the cavity, the larger the sweet spot and more forgiving the clubs become.
Pioneered by TaylorMade, this was initially implemented on their popular drivers before being applied to irons as well. The technical lingo explains that it expands the Coefficient of Restitution (CoR) zone on the clubface of the irons.
What this means in real world terms is that the distance on your shots is not adversely affected by mishits or off center hits.
In other words, the forgiveness aspect of the irons are further improved and allows for the creation of even thinner clubfaces.
Usually, game improvement irons have gigantic clubheads which are not that great to look at. But thanks to the increased CoR, TaylorMade has some leeway to create more compact looking irons that still have more forgiveness than the average game improvement club out there.
A combination of soft aluminum and a bonding agent used in a thin layer behind the clubface helps to absorb vibrations and improve the overall feedback from shots with these irons.
As a rule, game improvement irons suffer a lot from lack of top notch feedback. The saving grace is usually the fact that beginner golfers do not normally require such advanced feel and feedback from their clubs.
The membrane of R7 does not perform any miracles in real-world usage, but it does improve the It also improves the sound of the club on impact, making it softer and more pleasing to the ear. This is a feature available on select models within the R7 range. While some clubs have moveable pieces on the clubhead, others are weighed at specific points with the addition of tungsten parts. By changing the position of the weighted pieces on the sole of the irons, golfers can fine-tune the dynamics of the club to match their swings. Weights affect the way the ball flies on impact from the club. If you want to correct excessive slices or hooks, this is a very helpful feature. Adjusting the weights can increase or decrease height trajectory on shots with the club. Looks are an entirely subjective issue. That being said, the R7 series has a very distinctive black and yellow color scheme which helps it stand out from the crowd. There is nothing busy about the overall design, and that is a good thing. The metallic chrome finish looks quite comely, and since TaylorMade has managed to keep the clubhead compact in all variants except the max game improvement R7 CGB irons. In short, despite being ten years old, you will not feel embarrassed if you were caught with these clubs on any course anywhere, period. They look sharp and good enough for any mid to high handicapper out there. The regular R7 irons are available in sets of 3-PW and 4-PW with an optional sand wedge. Several variants within the R7 series offer the chance to replace the harder to hit long irons with the friendlier hybrids. They offer more versatility, forgiveness, and increased distance when compared to traditional long irons.
Chrome Finish With Distinctive Colors
It also improves the sound of the club on impact, making it softer and more pleasing to the ear.
This is a feature available on select models within the R7 range.
While some clubs have moveable pieces on the clubhead, others are weighed at specific points with the addition of tungsten parts.
By changing the position of the weighted pieces on the sole of the irons, golfers can fine-tune the dynamics of the club to match their swings. Weights affect the way the ball flies on impact from the club. If you want to correct excessive slices or hooks, this is a very helpful feature.
Adjusting the weights can increase or decrease height trajectory on shots with the club.
Looks are an entirely subjective issue. That being said, the R7 series has a very distinctive black and yellow color scheme which helps it stand out from the crowd.
There is nothing busy about the overall design, and that is a good thing. The metallic chrome finish looks quite comely, and since TaylorMade has managed to keep the clubhead compact in all variants except the max game improvement R7 CGB irons.
In short, despite being ten years old, you will not feel embarrassed if you were caught with these clubs on any course anywhere, period.
They look sharp and good enough for any mid to high handicapper out there.
The regular R7 irons are available in sets of 3-PW and 4-PW with an optional sand wedge.
Several variants within the R7 series offer the chance to replace the harder to hit long irons with the friendlier hybrids.
They offer more versatility, forgiveness, and increased distance when compared to traditional long irons.
- Extremely forgiving set of irons.
- Easy to hit high lofted shots with.
- Manages to keep the clubhead size to appreciable levels
- Good distance and accuracy as well.
- Has different variants aimed at players of diverse skill levels.
- TaylorMade R7 Irons price is incredibly low, due to this being an older club series.
- Misses out on feedback and feel due to increased forgiveness.
- A slight rusting issue, in particular on the shafts.
- Might be hard to get, since the series has been discontinued and replaced by the newer generation irons.
The R9 series is a direct successor to the R7 irons, released in 2008-09.
Despite being earmarked for players with lower than average handicaps, the R9 irons are more of a mid handicapper set rather than outright better player irons.
So naturally, the R7 irons are more forgiving than the R9 irons. Being a successor to the R7, they also carry a lot of improvements, while losing out on some key features that made the R7 series such a crowd pleaser.
It is a hard choice between the R7 and R9, despite the latter being a successor to the R7.
- Improved looks, thanks to a pear-shaped design and more subdued nickel-chrome plating.
- Builds on the same cavity back, inverted cone technology of the R7 series.
- Better optimized irons, with the long and mid irons having a different design to the short irons.
- Has an improved silicon-f vibration dampener at the clubhead to improve feel and feedback.
- Ideal for mid handicappers with scores between 10 and 18.
- Has no hybrid club options.
- Also, misses out on moveable weights that are available in the R7 range.
- Not suitable for higher handicappers due to decreased forgiveness.
- Obviously more expensive, since they are a newer series when compared to the R7.
A successor to the R9 series, the R11 is one generation ahead of the R7 regarding golf club technology.
TaylorMade has persisted with their Inverted Cone technology from the R7 series right through to the R11, and it shows in the performance of the clubs.
TaylorMade has managed to retain the classic shape they successfully implemented in the R9, while still keeping the clubhead large enough to please high handicappers.
- Better distance and forgiveness.
- Great looking clubs with a classic design.
- Advanced groove design for better spin control.
- An all-around improvement on previous iterations of the R series.
- Could be considered more expensive than the older R7 series.
- Slightly lacking on the adjustable features front when compared to the R7.
A contemporary of the R11, the 714 AP1 is the fourth generation of a series launched way back in 2008. That is still a couple of years younger than the R7 series.
The AP1 series is aimed at high-handicappers who want improved launch height and distance on their shots.
Like the R7 series, the Titleist irons also incorporate cavity back design with added tungsten weights on the clubhead to improve ball trajectory.
- Ideal for mid handicappers with improved forgiveness and perimeter-weighted design.
- Excellent distance and height, better than R7.
- Better consistency and playability on all kinds of turf conditions.
- An advanced shaft improves the overall dynamics of the clubs.
- Not suited for high handicappers.
- No hybrids are available in the range.
- More expensive when compared to the older R7.
In sharp contrast to the R7 series, the Nike Covert is a colorful iron set with a bold palette.
Comparable to the R7 design elements, the Covert 2.0 also has a cavity back design with a proprietary clubface technology that boosts shot speed and distance.
The Nike clubs are also targeted towards beginners and high handicappers, the same demographics initially targeted by TaylorMade with the R7 regular and CGB irons.
There is not much to choose between the irons in terms of playability, though the newer Nikes may still hold an edge.
- Great irons for high-handicappers with improved forgiveness.
- Playability and control levels are on the higher side.
- Compact clubheads when compared to the R7.
- Undoubtedly more expensive than the older R7.
- Availability is also an issue since Nike has left the golf club business.
The Callaway Apex CF 16 shares a lot of traits with the much older R7 series.
Both incorporate technology from drivers into the irons. The CF 16 is among the best game improvement irons aimed at mid-handicappers to be unveiled in the recent past.
The R7 irons and no doubt great clubs back in the day they were unveiled. But they simply cannot hold a candle to the Apex CF 16 regarding the technology involved, and it shows in the overall performance and playability.
The only saving grace would probably the fact that the Apex CF 16 is a premium club set aimed more at mid handicappers that beginners and higher handicap players whom the R7 series primarily targets.
- Best in class playability, excellent performance in every conceivable lie.
- The Cup Face technology improves ball speed and distance.
- The matte satin chrome finish looks simply amazing.
- Great feel and sound at impact, with good levels of feedback.
- Extremely expensive when compared to the 12-year-old TaylorMade R7 irons.
- Probably a tad too unforgiving for high handicappers.
Since this series is nearly 12 years old, our TaylorMade R7 irons review is more like a throwback review of what was a game-changing club in its time.
The R7 continues to be a solid starter club set for beginners and high handicappers even after all these years. But since it has been replaced several times over by successors at the TaylorMade stable, your best bet of finding these is in the used clubs market these days.
It certainly can’t compete with most of the newer irons released in the last 4-5 years.
But if you are on the lookout for an older used set as your first set of golf irons, if you can find a set in decent condition, I am sure they would be well worth the asking price.