TaylorMade M4 Irons Review - Technical Editor Joel Tadman tests out the new TaylorMade M4 irons and delivers his verdict with the help of GCQuad launch monitor data
TaylorMade M4 Irons Review
The TaylorMade M4 irons replace the game improvement M2 irons, built for speed and forgiveness for the mid-to-high handicapper.
On first inspection, little appears to have changed with the latest generation. Besides some minor colour tweaks from yellow to red/blue, the shaft length and loft remains unchanged, a Speed Pocket and Face Slots carry over too and at address, old M2 and new M4 are basically identical.
But inside the iron, we’re told the design is drastically different. Ribcor technology is essentially two supporting beams behind the face in the heel and toe, which strengthen these outer regions and reduce energy loss, allowing more energy to be transferred back into the ball for added speed as well as improved sound and feel.
Our scepticism over the effectiveness of this design change was soon blown away by the Foresight Sports GCQuad data collected during our testing.
For 2018, the M3 basically performs like the old M2 and the M4 is in a world all of its own. Ball speed and distance have increased significantly, but with added launch to help get the ball in the air and stop it on the green.
You can see how ball speed against the new M3 is higher. While much of this is down to the two degrees stronger lofts, it’s worth noting how the M4 still managed to hit the ball higher.
The M4 iron is a rocket, aimed at slow swing speeds that struggle with carry distance or anyone that wants to hit their irons further. The low spin is a key ingredient for this.
The feel and sound has certainly improved too. Yes, it’s still fairly loud, but it’s more refined and less in-your-ears than many other distance irons that posses a hollow construction.
Accuracy seems to come as natural by-product of the new design. The overall size and perimeter weighting helped with left and right misses, and dispersion in the front-to-back direction was surprisingly tight for a club built for distance. I’ve always been a fan of Face Slots, both visually framing the ball and assisting with off-centre performance, and Ribcor only seems to boost their effectiveness even further.
Not everyone will welcome more distance, in fact it may cause a problem with gapping in the wedge end of the bag, but for those who need the extra help, they’ll certainly get it from the new M4 iron.
The M4 is an out-and-out distance machine, helping those who are force limited carry the ball further from a variety of strike points. To see such a big increase in performance from one generation to the next is unusual, but it validates the design changes TaylorMade has made in helping every type of golfer hit the shots they want to see out on the course more often.