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In this review, I’ll be taking a look at the TaylorMade 2021 P790 irons.
The 2021 P790 has elements of a players iron such as a forged construction and a classic design, but it also has elements of a game-improvement iron such as exceptional distance, forgiveness, and an easy launch.
The 2021 P790 irons appear to deliver the best of both worlds. But how do they actually perform when put to the test? How do they compare to the 2019 P790? Who are they best suited for? Is it worth putting a set in the bag?
Read on to find out what you need to know to make an informed purchase.
What are the reviews like?
The 2021 P790 irons won a gold medal on the 2022 Golf Digest Hot List, and consumers and critics have lauded them for their distance, looks, and wide appeal.
What People Like
- smooth, solid feel
- great distance & forgiveness
- sleek, sharp looks
- higher ball flight than 2019 P790 irons
- good playability & workability
What People Don’t Like
- doesn’t truly excel in any particular area
- face slot can cave in over time
This is a proprietary, super-light urethane foam injected into the forged hollow-body head, just behind the face.
Compared to the 2019 SpeedFoam, the 2021 SpeedFoam Air is newly engineered to be 69% lighter, allowing for 3.5g of weight savings that are redistributed to further optimize launch conditions. The SpeedFoam is also formulated to provide a premium feel and sound.
TaylorMade goes into detail on how SpeedFoam Air works and how it compares to the previous generation in this article.
Intelligent Sweet Spot
The incorporation of SpeedFoam Air and other technologies allowed for the creation of an intelligent sweet spot, which is based on data of the most common impact points across thousands of iron shots.
This sweet spot is said to be 15-30% larger than that of the 2019 P790, and it’s positioned lower on the face to capture more off-center hits.
The head of the 2021 P790 is up to 37.5% thinner in certain strategic locations — this is made possible by a new 8620 carbon steel construction.
This allows the CG to be lowered substantially, and it works with a 4140 steel L-face that is just 1.5mm thick to maximize face flexibility (and hence ball speeds) without sacrificing feel.
Other features of the 2021 P790 irons include:
- Thru-Slot Speed Pocket: a signature of TaylorMade irons for many years, this is a slot at the bottom of the sole that is designed to increase flexibility, ball speed and forgiveness on shots hit low on the clubface, which is a common mis-hit area.
- Tungsten Toe Weighting: up to 31 grams of tungsten, more than twice as much as the 2019 P790, is placed in the toe to increase launch, stability and forgiveness.
4-PW stock sets are commonly available for the 2021 P790 irons, and individual 3-AW irons can be purchased.
The stock steel shafts are the True Temper Dynamic Gold VSS Pro and the KBS TOUR LITE, and the stock graphite shaft is the Mitsubishi MMT. The stock grip is the Golf Pride ZGRIP 360.
If you’re interested, full information on shafts, grips and other customizations can be found here.
Below are the specs of the 2021 P790 irons. Click or zoom to enlarge.
Based on my tests, there is a very slight difference in carry distance (a few yards) compared to the 2019 P790. Ball speeds are 1-2 mph faster off the face.
However, the main advantage lies in a slightly higher ball flight and less spin. Lower spin is a double-edged sword in irons, but TaylorMade has designed the 2021 P790 in such a way to maximize its benefits and minimize its drawbacks.
Whichever way you slice it, the 2021 P790 is going to give you more speed and a higher launch, without a reduction in stopping power.
While the 2021 P790 irons have a classic shape and enjoy the benefits of a forged construction, they have a level of forgiveness that will satisfy even most high handicappers.
What’s particularly exceptional is ball speed preservation in mis-hit regions. This is hardly surprising considering the functions of the Speed Pocket and Intelligent Sweet Spot, which add stability to the low part of the face.
Generally speaking, these irons produce some of the best thin-shot performance I’ve ever experienced.
The tungsten located in the toe region really helps increase MOI which, in turn, increases resistance to twisting at impact and tightens dispersions.
Overall forgiveness is, at best, marginally better than the 2019 P790, but it’s still more than you could ask for in this type of iron.
Compared to the 2019 P790, the 2021 P790 iron produces a consistently higher launch (mid-high trajectory) with a little bit less spin. The flight bias is neutral.
For what it’s worth, some testers have experienced slightly more spin in the 2021 model.
Performance with short irons is very good in my opinion, but some golfers might want more touch and controllability around the greens — the slimmer P770 irons should do the trick in that case.
The thicker profile of the 2021 P790 iron powers through grass quite nicely, and turf interaction is exceptional.
All in all, the workability is about what you would expect from an iron that tries to take a middle ground between tour precision and game improvement. For nearly all golfers, the ability of these irons to shape shots as desired is more than adequate.
Most golfers will be impressed with the clean, low-offset look of the 2021 P790 iron at address. The top line has a bit of thickness to it, which lets you know that you’ll get some help in the event of a mis-hit.
Overall, the look is very similar to that of the 2019 P790 iron, and in fact, it’s difficult to tell them apart when set up behind the ball except for the fact that the 2021 model has more of a satin, brushed finish.
These irons resemble blades (even though they’re not) and thus have fantastic bag appeal; the blade size is larger than average throughout the set.
Personally, this is exactly the kind of look I want in my gamers. After all, it’s the simple, sleek, elite aesthetic that makes people think you’re a better golfer than you might actually be!
The Sound & Feel
The one word that comes to mind above all else when you hit the 2021 P790 irons is “solid”. These things are just really solid, with less of the “clicky” feel that many of TaylorMade’s older cavity backs suffer from. The ball feels fast off the face.
Given the “thin” construction of the 2021 P790, you might expect the feel to be sharper and the sound to be louder, but that isn’t the case. The SpeedFoam Air seems to really go to work in this regard.
Sound is medium-pitched, non-reverberating, and almost seems dull at times. Mis-hit feedback is informative but not overly punishing.
The sound & feel certainly resemble that of a traditional forged iron, which is a nice bonus.
Where To Buy These Irons Online
You can order 2021 P790 irons with your choice of shaft and flex on TaylorMade’s official store, with optional full customization through their Custom Shop. However, because the model is more than a season old, options are more limited.
Don’t forget about eBay, where you can often find unbeatable deals on new and used golf equipment.
TaylorMade has done a terrific job melding players performance with game improvement in the 2021 P790 iron, and thanks to some fine-tunings and improvements, it’s safe to say that it’s the best iteration yet.
The 2021 P790 is best suited for the golfer who wants a bit of everything: distance, forgiveness, a premium solid feel, playability, controllability, and looks. It’s easy to hit and it appeals to a wide range of skill levels from low to high-handicap.
The steep price tag will be a barrier to some people, but there are options for financing and club trade-ins that can soften the blow considerably.
What are your thoughts about the 2021 P790 irons? Go ahead and drop a comment below.