Perhaps the biggest recent innovation in the design of golf clubs, especially in irons, is a set of technologies that allow the club face to flex more at impact, imparting more energy from the face to the ball, leading to more distance.
That improved energy transfer has been achieved in a couple of different ways, namely the positioning of a flexible slot in the sole of the iron and the evolution of the unsupported, or cupped, iron face, putting less material behind the thinnest face possible to allow for maximum flex.
With its new C200 irons, Wilson Golf somewhat combines the two technologies into one concept: FLX Face.
FLX Face technology is a series of slots around the perimeter of where the face and body of the club meet. All told, some 76 percent of the 431 stainless steel face is not directly connected to the body. In those slots, Wilson has filled them with TE031 urethane, in part to block debris from getting in the club, but it also improves feel and sound at impact.
We've had an opportunity to try out the C200 since Christmas Eve -- a nice present indeed! -- and, so far, the results are staggering. In multiple range sessions, the C200 irons are flying anywhere from 5-8 yards further per club. For a lot of players, that's almost a full club difference. It's the difference between hitting a full shot with confidence or trying to pull off a three-quarter shot.
The ball launches very high with the C200 irons, even above my expectations as a high-ball hitter. It comes off the face hot, getting to peak height quicker than some of the irons we've tested in the last six months.
The sole is as wide as you'd anticipate from an iron built to add yards and help players get through the turf. There's turf support on both ends of the sole, too, becoming more and more common. The sole width doesn't increase dramatically through the set as you might find with other sets. The long irons feel like long irons, not backless hybrids. We like that. Some people might prefer a wider sole.
The club feels good in our hands. It's fairly lightweight. The topline of the club is not quite as thick as a game-improvement iron, while the holes all around the perimeter blend in well and are not distracting after the first few swings. In fact, if you're so inclined, you could use the topline holes as a bit of an alignment marker. Impact feels clean and sounds good, not clicky, but solid. Aside from the so-called Power Holes, the chrome-style look is a good blend of classic and modern. The badging on the back isn't flashy.
The company says this technology means more yards no matter where the player strikes the ball, but that FLX Face is particularly effective when the ball hits higher up on the club face -- something a better player is likely to do. So, while the C200 irons may be built for mid- and high-handicap players, quality ballstrikers will see some extra yards.
The Wilson Staff C200 irons cost $800 with KBS Tour 90 steel shafts or $900 with Aldila Rogue Pro graphite shafts.