First Look: Wilson Launch Pad Irons
When I think about Wilson Golf, I think about tradition and history. Wilson clubs have been in the bags of major champions, hall of famers, tour players, elite amateurs and recreational players since 1914! One of my first iron sets were Wilson Staff blade irons, and that’s what I picture when I hear the name Wilson.
But forged blades aren’t all Wilson Golf is about these days. They have a wide selection of clubs for every golfer and taste. Perhaps Wilson’s most unique irons for 2020 are the Launch Pad irons. Designed for players with slower swings that want help getting the ball in the air, they combine modern technology and materials with elements of a clean, classic look that inspires confidence for the player that wields them.
Wilson describes the Launch Pad irons this way: “The Launch Pad collection is designed to inspire confidence in the mind of the high handicap golfer, whether new to the game or looking to improve. Incorporating ground-breaking technological advancements that are visually subtle, the Launch Pad family is designed to elevate shots, while providing greater distance and ensuring more consistent contact. These features deliver the best possible performance and shot-making for the super game-improvement player.”
I may be out of line with many of the traditionalists out there and even with Wilson’s marketing department, but I don’t think these irons are limited to use by high handicap golfers. The features that most “super game improvement” irons have are certainly present here also, with the fat sole, low center of gravity and light weight shafts. However, if properly fitted I think these irons would be great for older players with swings that are slowing down, or even a mid handicap golfer that wants a higher ball flight and more carry.
Don’t get me wrong, you aren’t going to have much success trying to shape shots both ways or vary the trajectory of your shots with these irons. They are designed to hit the ball high and straight. But not every player wants to shape shots, they just want to hit it straight, or straighter. As fun as it was hitting the PW 150 yards or the 7 iron 190 yards, these irons aren’t for me. Not because I didn’t like the high, straight ball flight, but because I actually prefer shaping shots and changing trajectories with my irons.
While nobody will be confusing the Launch Pad irons with those sweet Wilson Staff forged blades that I gravitate towards, the engineers at Wilson did an admirable job at designing these clubs with some elements of that classic design. While the sole is wide and top line is chunky, the face still has a clean look with no extra bells and whistles to distract the player. They are easy to align and you won’t want to bury them beneath neoprene iron covers. As far as game improvement irons go, you can’t get a much better looking club.
From the Wilson Golf press release: “The magic behind these irons lies within the Launch Pad Sole featured throughout the set. This advanced technology is designed to eliminate the “chunk” shot, while simultaneously improving launch. The short irons feature traditional game-improvement sole widths while longer irons feature wider, more forgiving soles, for more consistent ball-striking and greater distance. This progression in sole width allows players to put the long irons back in their bags.
In addition, the smooth bounce angle keeps the leading edge up and decreases turf interaction by floating above the ground. The Launch Pad Irons feature a hollow-body construction, supporting an extremely thin face for explosive ball speed and increased distance.”
The Launch Pad Irons will be offered in 4-PW sets (with GW and SW also available) with a KBS Tour 80 steel shaft or UST-Mamiya Recoil 460 graphite shaft, with both options featuring the traditional Wilson Staff 2 Crossline Mid grip. For more info, go to wilson.com
The steel shaft options will be sold at $699.99 while the graphite set will start at $799.99. This price point puts them solidly in the mid-range considering most forged cavity back sets sell for closer to $999 these days.
The Bottom Line
Wilson’s Launch Pad irons are marketed as super game improvement clubs that help players get the ball airborne while preventing the dreaded fat shots from the fairway, but I think if these are custom ordered with heavier shafts that they could be a nice option for mid handicap players that are looking for more distance, height and/or forgiveness. They look good, perform well and won’t break the bank. If you get a chance to demo these irons, you won’t regret it.