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Today I’ll be reviewing the TaylorMade SIM2 Max irons.
The SIM2 Max irons are marked by TaylorMade’s breakthrough Cap Back technology, which is designed to improve speed, flexibility and forgiveness in the upper part of the face. Combined with other technologies like the Speed Pocket, this creates an “intelligent” sweet spot that maximizes performance in the most common mis-hit areas.
So, just how well does the SIM2 Max iron perform on off-center strikes? How does it compare to the original SIM Max? Who is it best suited for, and is it worth putting in the bag?
I’ll try to answer all of these questions and more in this review. Here’s what I’ll be covering:
- Features & Technologies
- Look, Sound & Feel
- Where To Buy These Irons Online
Read on to find out what you need to know to make an informed purchase.
Note: Unless otherwise stated, stock shafts and stock grips are used when evaluating this club. In most cases, the golf clubs reviewed on Golfstead are acquired temporarily for testing purposes and are not purchased. The review that follows is based on the personal experience and research of the author. Because everyone’s swing and body are different, results with a particular club may differ from person to person.
What are the reviews like?
The SIM2 Max irons have received very high ratings, both by professionals and ordinary golfers.
What People Like
- better ball speeds (and distance) than the original SIM Max irons
- nice launch and straight ball flight
- excellent consistency
- very comfortable feel that is not too heavy
- nice looks and buttery, smooth feel
- quite affordable
What People Don’t Like
- can show signs of wear relatively quickly
- strong lofts won’t appeal to everyone
What are the features?
The SIM2 Max irons utilize many of the same technological concepts as their predecessor, the SIM Max. But what separates the SIM2 Max irons the most is the new Cap Back technology.
Cap Back Technology
If you want an in-depth explanation as to how Cap Back works, you can check out this blog post. Here, I’ll summarize the most pertinent information:
The Cap Back is a multi-material construction that spans the entire cavity. It can be seen as a bronze-coloured region on the back of the club. It’s made from a lightweight polymer and is designed to increase stability and rigidity in the upper part of the face near the top line.
Combined with the Speed Pocket which improves the flexibility of the bottom part of the face, the end result is unprecedented flexibility, ball speed and distance across the entire face, as well as improved sound and feel.
In particular, Cap Back creates an “intelligent sweet spot” that greatly improves forgiveness in the most common mis-hit areas: high in the toe and low in the heel.
Other features of the SIM2 Max irons are:
Echo Damping System
The new Echo Damping System of the SIM2 Max irons was made possible by the full hollow-body construction. It’s designed to provide more of a forged-like feel.
This system consists of a fully encapsulated insert made of a soft polymer blend (with a more concentrated HYBRAR material in the SIM2 line) that is positioned behind the face from heel to toe.
The system uses several contact points across the face to channel away harsh vibrations, without compromising face flexibility.
Inverted Cone Technology (ICT)
ICT is essentially a variable face thickness. It has the effect of expanding the COR zone, increasing ball speeds over a larger area of the face around the sweet spot.
With the SIM2 Max irons, the ICT has been positioned to optimize forgiveness and counteract the common right miss (for a right-handed golfer).
Thru-Slot Speed Pocket
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.
The SIM2 Max irons also features a 360° undercut, ultra-thin face, and fluted hosel. These work together to shift weight down, keeping the CG low and improving launch.
4-PW and 5-PW, AW stock sets are commonly available for the SIM2 Max irons. Individual irons (4-LW) are available for purchase.
Also available are the SIM2 Max Women’s irons. These pack the same technologies as the SIM2 Max Men’s irons but offer lightweight stock shaft options and stock grip options that are designed for women to maximize their performance.
The stock steel shaft is the KBS MAX MT 85, and the stock graphite shaft is the Fujikura Ventus Blue. The stock grip is the Lamkin Crossline 360.
Those looking for custom configurations, lies, lofts, shafts, etc. can do so through the TaylorMade store. If you’re interested, full information on shafts, grips and other customizations can be found here.
Below are the specs of the SIM2 Max irons. Click or zoom to enlarge. The loft profile is typical of TM and is almost exactly the same as the M4.
How do the SIM2 Max irons perform?
I’m usually not a fan of strong lofts in irons; this is because most golfers who are drawn to the game improvement class need help getting their irons up in the air, which strong lofts work against. Of course, distance on its own isn’t nearly as important in irons as it is with woods or drivers.
Fortunately, the strong lofts of the SIM2 Max aren’t much of a problem because the low CG position helps promote a high launch.
In terms of raw ball speed and distance potential, the SIM2 Max is at the top of its class. The ball just explodes off the face. And because of the mid-high launch that I alluded to, you get plenty of stopping power into the greens. The spin rate is comfortably high as well which keeps rollout to a minimum.
There’s little doubt that these irons are longer than the original SIM Max, and the cherry on top is that it doesn’t come with the drawback of a lower trajectory and less control.
Are the SIM2 Max irons more forgiving than the SIM Max? They sure are. This ties in with the improved ball speed performance on mis-hits.
The irons do a better job of retaining ball speed, minimizing dispersion, and producing optimal spin and launch in mis-hit regions.
I noticed the most substantial performance improvement in the upper part of the face (I tried to really get down under the ball to test this), which is clearly the Cap Back at work.
Overall, the SIM2 Max irons just feel very stable through the ball, and even when you make poor contact, you just feel like it’s not that big of a deal.
Playability & Trajectory
With the SIM2 Max irons, I was consistently hitting a mid-high trajectory with medium spin. The irons are very well-rounded in this regard, and there are no tricks or surprises as a GI iron. When you combine the strong lofts with the pro-launch properties of the head and stock shaft, you get quite a neutral ball flight.
The soles aren’t as wide as they are on the SIM2 Max OS, but the irons are still very playable and handle different lies very well. The only thing I would say here is that the irons can be a little “grabby” in thicker grass.
The SIM2 Max irons also have solid workability and allow for a decent degree of precision shotmaking, even though they’re not considered players irons. I was pleasantly surprised by the performance of the short irons, which I thought would play clunkier than they actually did.
What about look, sound & feel?
I really liked the look of the original SIM Max irons, with a unique Speed Bridge that made the back of the club pop (even though it tended to collect dirt and mud).
The SIM2 Max irons look quite different, but I find myself liking this look just as much, if not more. It’s fresh. The faint brass colour of the Cap Back contrasts nicely with the surrounding silver chrome.
However, I’m not sure how I feel about the glossy chrome sole, which is just asking (and I’ve seen it myself) to get scratched and dinged up after a few rounds.
Looking down at the iron at address, you know you’re playing a game improvement iron: the top line is thick and there’s a decent amount of offset. The face is a little stout and I would have liked a bit more length there, but it’s a minor gripe.
All things considered, I would say that these are among my favourite modern irons in terms of aesthetics. As long as you keep them in good condition, they’ll really capture people’s attention on the course.
The Sound & Feel
These days, it’s hard to predict what a game improvement iron will feel and sound like at impact. In the case of TaylorMade, their irons have a unique feel that has a degree of consistency from model to model.
If you were hitting the SIM2 Max irons blind, you had no idea who the manufacturer was, but you were familiar with the TaylorMade feel, you’d know it was a TaylorMade club.
The SIM2 Max irons have a feel that is right in between forged players and GI cavity back. The Echo Damping System certainly does contribute to a more forged-like feel, but it’s still nowhere near the type of feel you would get from a muscle back or a true forged iron.
Objectively, impact produces a nice *crack* sound that is just a touch more muted in mis-hit areas. Feel is very solid, with a side of explosiveness in the sweet zone.
There is also a touch of “clickiness” there — this word has a negative connotation, but it’s really not bad at all. You couldn’t ask for much better from a cast cavity back.
Where should you buy the SIM2 Max irons online?
There are a couple places I recommend buying the SIM2 Max irons aside from the official TaylorMade store, which only offers the newest models.
One is Global Golf, which is the certified pre-owned source of TaylorMade golf clubs (new condition is also available). They offer many attractive programs and deals including club trade-ins and Utry, a try-before-you-buy program.
The other is eBay. They are a fantastic source for golf equipment, both new and used.
I’ll now answer the questions I posed at the beginning of the review. The SIM2 Max irons have excellent forgiveness — it feels like the club is doing the work for you and you don’t really have to force it.
Moreover, I believe the SIM2 Max irons are a step up from the original SIM Max irons in just about every respect. They’re longer, more forgiving, and feel more forged-like than ever before (even though the feel still can’t compare to the best true forged models out there).
Based on my knowledge of these irons, I would say they’re best suited for mid and high handicappers. But because of the strong lofts, which I’m usually not a fan of, you’re going to need some speed in your swing if you want to hit high, towering shots into greens.
I do very well with TaylorMade’s SIM2 Max irons, and if I wanted to game a set of GI irons, they would be one of my top choices. I recommend you give them a try and see how well they perform for you.
Are you interested in the SIM2 Max irons? Have you played them? What’s your experience? Let us know in the comments below.
TaylorMade SIM2 Max Iron
Sound & Feel9.4/10
- Sets new bars in distance and forgiveness
- Produces very consistent results
- An improvement over the SIM MAX
- Affordably priced
- One of my favourite irons in terms of design and looks
- Not a big fan of strong lofts
- Can show signs of wear after a few rounds
- You still know you're hitting a cast cavity back