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Today I’ll be reviewing the TaylorMade Stealth irons.
The goal of the Stealth iron is simple: to get you from the fairway to the green in fewer shots. With a next-generation Cap Back design and toe wrap construction, it’s designed to deliver more forgiveness and faster ball speeds across the face.
How do the Stealth irons perform when push comes to shove? How do they compare to the previous SIM2 model? Who are they suited for? Are they worth putting in the bag?
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 Stealth irons won a gold medal on the 2022 Golf Digest Hot List. Consumers have rated them very highly, but the reception from critics has been a little cooler.
What People Like
- easy to swing
- awesome looks
- very long
- extremely forgiving
- solid feel
What People Don’t Like
- low launch and spin for some
Cap Back W/ Toe Wrap
The Stealth irons utilize a next-generation design of the Cap Back. If you want an in-depth explanation as to how this technology works, you can check out this blog post.
The Cap Back is a multi-material construction that spans the entire cavity, seen as the smooth silver “wing” and black triangular area on the back of the club. It’s made from a lightweight polymer and is designed to maximize flexion of the face at impact.
Unlike with the SIM2 Max, this Cap Back now wraps around the high toe area in a new “toe wrap” construction. The end result is faster ball speeds at all the common impact points on the 450 stainless steel face, as well as a lower center of gravity (CG) for a higher launch and added carry.
Echo Damping System
This system is designed to provide more of a forged-like feel. It consists of a fully encapsulated insert made of a soft polymer blend (with a concentrated HYBRAR material) 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 Stealth 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.
4-PW stock sets are commonly available for the Stealth irons. Individual irons (4-LW) can be purchased.
Also available are:
- Stealth Women’s irons: these pack the same technologies but offer a lightweight stock shaft and stock grip that are designed for women to maximize their performance.
- Stealth Combo set: this pairs the Stealth irons with the forgiving and versatile Stealth Rescue hybrids.
The stock steel shaft is the KBS MAX MT 85, and the stock graphite shaft is the Fujikura Ventus Red. The stock grip is the Lamkin Crossline 360.
If you’re interested, full information on shafts, grips and other customizations can be found here.
Below are the specs of the Stealth irons. Click or zoom to enlarge.
The Stealth irons are certainly at the top when it comes to being the longest irons I’ve ever tested. There’s no two ways about it: its lower launch combined with fast ball speeds, slightly stronger lofts, and lower spin are a recipe for monstrous distance.
Launch and spin are considerably lower than the SIM2 Max. The downside to this, of course, is less control into the greens, especially for golfers with slower swing speeds who have more trouble getting the ball airborne.
Many golfers say (and TaylorMade seems to imply) that the Stealth irons produce a high launch, but this just wasn’t my experience. These are clearly pure distance irons which have never been my cup of tea.
Nearly all of the technologies packed into the Stealth irons, namely the Cap Back, ICT and Speed Pocket, are designed to enhance forgiveness in addition to distance.
And forgiving they are. At least as forgiving as the SIM2 Max, it doesn’t matter whether it’s high on the face, low on the face, in the heel or toe — the results are impressive in terms of both ball speed and dispersions.
I’m particularly impressed with the performance low on the face, which is a consequence of the CG being shifted down.
I was consistently hitting a low-mid trajectory with low-medium spin. I normally have little issue with getting the ball airborne, but I was just having a hard time with the Stealth irons even after trying a few different shafts.
Similarly, I was having trouble holding greens with the mid and long irons. Wedges and short irons around the green tended to come off a little too hot.
I find the irons to produce a very slight draw bias that becomes more pronounced as you move to the longer clubs.
Having said all this, the thicker profile with wider sole is very playable. Turf interaction is excellent; the irons glide through the turf rather than dig.
Given the lower trajectory and high level of forgiveness, you would expect workability to be limited, but that’s not really the case. The Stealth irons have solid workability and allow for a decent degree of precision shotmaking, even though they’re not considered players irons.
The Stealth irons have terrific bag appeal, with a sleek chrome finish and a rather clean and traditional appearance.
The thickness of the top line and the face shape, which are about the same as the SIM2 Max irons, lend itself to the fact that this is a game-improvement iron.
The iron sets up square behind the ball at address, and the blade is a little longer than the SIM2 Max which I like. The offset is the same for some irons and slightly less for others.
I liked the look of the SIM and SIM2 irons when they came out, but think I can safely say that TaylorMade has outdone themselves yet again. The look of the Stealth is certainly among my favourites when it comes to GI irons.
The Sound & Feel
All things considered, the Stealth irons have a decent feel considering their hollow head. I have never been a huge fan of the feel of TaylorMade irons to begin with, which I find tend to be “clicky”.
The damping system does help to blunt the feel and make it more muted, but you can still tell that it’s not a forged iron. I think that without the damping system, the feel wouldn’t really pass muster for me.
The feel is very similar overall to the SIM2 Max — very solid with a side of explosiveness in the sweet zone. The sound at impact is a nice “crack” that is consistent across the face.
TaylorMade has certain signatures when it comes to the feel of their irons, and the Stealth doesn’t deviate from that.
Where To Buy These Irons Online
Another option is PGA TOUR Superstore. They offer performance guarantees, club fittings, club trade-ins, and other programs designed to make the buying experience as smooth as possible.
Don’t forget about eBay, where you can often find unbeatable deals on new and used golf equipment.
The TaylorMade Stealth irons pack a boatload of distance and forgiveness. While that’s all well and good, I think it’s important for an iron to generate a good launch, good spin, and plenty of stopping power into the greens, and the Stealth irons were a little disappointing in that regard.
In terms of technology, besides the new design of the Cap Back and the toe wrap, the Stealth doesn’t really offer anything that’s truly unique from previous TM models like the SIM2 and SIM.
Being a game-improvement iron, the Stealth will nicely accommodate mid or high handicappers who just want to be able to reach the green in fewer strokes. Unfortunately, that will too often consist of being over the green on the fringe or in the rough because of the rollout.
Still, the Stealth irons are pretty affordable and they’re definitely worth trying out, especially considering the fact that many golfers are very pleased with the launch and trajectory.
Are you interested in the Stealth irons? Have you tried them? What’s your experience? Let us know in the comments below.