TaylorMade SIM Max Irons: Reviewed

Change and innovation in golf equipment is always a good thing. It means we always have better clubs to play with, and TaylorMade are consistently on the forefront of innovation in their golf clubs. The TaylorMade SIM Max Irons are the successor to the massively popular ‘M’ series. But how good are they? We’ve done a deep dive in this post to conduct a thorough TaylorMade SIM Max Irons review. Check out our thoughts, and who these irons are made for below!

Short Version | TaylorMade SIM Max Irons | Need to Know

TaylorMade SIM MAX Irons

The TaylorMade SIM Max Irons are a game improvement iron set packed with technology to promote two things: distance and forgiveness. Thanks to features such as a free-floating face, speed bridge technology, and intelligent design, you can expect to gain a few extra yards across the bag, which will make all of the difference out on the golf course.

The clubs look great and feel more like a forged iron than a game improvement club. This is a definite case where the technology does exactly what it claims.

These clubs would be ideal for high handicappers or beginners looking for a premium set to carry them through to the intermediate level. Here’s what I loved (and what I didn’t):

Pros

  • A good-looking iron with a thick top line
  • Great distance, generally one club longer than I’m used to
  • Technology that actually works!
  • Excellent forgiveness

Cons

  • The chunky ‘speed bridge’ might not be to everyone taste
  • They are not a budget club
  • Very limited shot workability. High and straight is about all you get without real work.

Looks

TaylorMade SIM Max Sole view

In general, the TaylorMade SIM irons look very much like a game improvement iron. The top line is pretty substantial with a sizeable head and fills you with confidence when stood over the ball.

The clubhead’s finish, for the majority, is of highly polished chrome that looks sleek in the bag and on the tee. The only matte area is the face and grooves. The clubhead is clean-looking and definitely has a premium vibe to it, which you would expect from a company as prestigious as TaylorMade.

Generalities aside, there is a fair amount of technology in the TaylorMade SIM Max irons, and it definitely shows.

Looking at the rear of the clubhead, the ‘speed bridge’ is practically unmissable. Down towards the sole area features a substantial weight too. It makes the club pretty substantial and chunky, not quite a muscle back, but a little ‘meatier’ than your everyday game improvement iron.

The SIM MAX irons have a pretty large sole. This is punctuated by a thin black groove, or as TaylorMade says ‘a speed pocket’. For a high handicapper, this wide sole helps you feel like you’ll be able to cover the ball relatively well.

Overall, we’re pretty impressed with the way these irons look- they’re sleek, and just feel good in your hands. That’s a good sign.

 

Performance

As the performance goes, the TaylorMade SIM Max irons shine. But I didn’t really expect anything else out of TaylorMade’s 2020 release.

Trajectory

Being a game-improvement iron, these clubs are designed to create a naturally high trajectory and ball flight, similar to the previous M6 iron set ball flight- super high, and fairly long.

My ‘bad’ shot tends to be a touch of fade (or a slice). I found that the irons did tend to reduce this somewhat. Granted, a bad shot is a bad shot, and technology can’t fix a top or a chunk. When you strike these pure, the trajectory is seriously satisfying.

Distance

When it comes to the distance, I was definitely slightly longer with these clubs, even when compared to the M6 irons I play now.

Looking at the lofts, they are slightly on the strong side, without being too excessive. While you might think that this is what accounts for the extra distance, I discovered something pretty interesting during my SIM Max irons review…

When hitting in front of the launch monitor, my swing speed stayed pretty much the same as my normal swing speed. That’s to be expected, as irons tend to offer a similar aerodynamic profile.

With this said, the ball speed off the face definitely increased. After hitting around 50 shots (and taking account of fatigue), I found that I was averaging around 4mph faster exit speeds from the face.

The technology works and isn’t just a gimmick!

4mph might not sound like a great deal, but it’s the difference between two adjacent irons in terms of distance. I’m not the fastest swinger, but for me to have to ‘club down’ is really saying something. If you want more distance, these game improvement irons will definitely deliver.

Forgiveness

I’m a firm believer that there is no such thing as a club that is ‘too forgiving’. The more forgiveness, the better.

TaylorMade has done a pretty great job in this category. These irons feature a cavity back, after all, so you will gain much more forgiveness than with a forged tour blade. However, due to the clever use of technology, I didn’t face a significant penalty in distance or ball flight when I failed to find the middle.

Mishit shots can tend to sting your hands, especially when hit thin. It would appear that the speed pocket actually does its job. Thin shots and toe strikes were slightly more muted, but you’ll still ‘get away with it’ in most cases.

Feel

This is an area that I was quite surprised by when playing with the SIM Max irons. I felt a downside about the TaylorMade M5’s was that they felt a little hard.

It would appear that TaylorMade has gone the opposite way with these irons.

Bearing in mind that they are a cavity back, they actually felt a little soft. As I said above, bad shots were a little muted but nothing too extreme.

The sound the club makes isn’t quite as traditional as I was expecting either. These irons sound much more similar to a forged iron than a game improvement iron, which is a huge feat for a distance iron. When you hit these irons pure, the sound is absolutely crisp. Not bad for a high handicap focused iron.

Technology

Remember when I was talking about the looks of the TaylorMade SIM Max Irons? I said that the features and technology are pretty obvious. Let’s take a run through what makes these irons worthy of note.

Speed Bridge

The most obvious standout feature of these irons is the speed bridge.

This is a substantial bar (clue it has ‘speed bridge’ etched on it) located on the club’s rear. It runs all the way from the center of the topline down towards the toe and heel.

But what does it do?

Think of a conventional iron. What is the part that connects the top line to the sole?

That’s right, just the face.

As a result, the face has to be pretty stiff. The speed bridge allows TaylorMade to create a more flexible face, as it isn’t relied upon to form the club head structure.

You know what a flexible face means? Simply, faster ball speeds. And it works!

Ultra-Thin Face

This form of technology has become really prevalent in many irons as a surefire way to get the ball traveling quicker. While it is true that TaylorMade has made the face thinner by 17%, this is only half the story…

They actually have varied the face thickness to give optimum performance regardless of where the ball is struck. The thickest, most substantial area is the sweet spot. The face then tapers off to become thin as you get nearer to the edges.

TaylorMade has a name for this. It’s called patented inverted cone face technology. If it sounds complex, don’t worry. What it means for you is that the sweet spot of these irons is massive.

ECHO Damping System

One of the major downfalls with thin faces is that the club can tend to feel a little ‘clacky’ and devoid of all feel. This is especially true in game improvement irons.

In this instance, TaylorMade appears to have thought of everything.

They have increased the feel to the point of softness by including an insert with a unique geometric shape. This damping system drastically reduces vibration and gives the clubs a feel that is more akin to a forged iron.

Speed Pocket

I talked about the speed pocket when discussing the irons’ looks. It is pretty easy to see. Flip the club over, and you’ll find a thin hollow line running along the length of the sole.

Here’s how it works.

Essentially the speed pocket means that the hittable portion of the clubface isn’t fixed at the bottom. As TaylorMade says, it is ‘free-floating. Remember, all the support of the iron’s structure comes from the speed bridge at the back.

This means that the face is free to flex and move when it makes contact with the ball. A thinner, free-floating face with a huge sweet spot? Here’s what that adds up to… Distance and power.

Center of Gravity

Because the clubface is thinner, and TaylorMade hasn’t been restricted by traditional iron clubhead design, they have been pretty creative with the iron’s weighting.

It is easy to see from the rear frame of the cavity that there is more metal down toward the sole. Twinned with the thin face and speed pocket, the CG is really low and positioned toward the club’s back.

This means that you can be assured of getting a nice and flighty trajectory, even with shots below the sweet spot.

Alternatives to the TaylorMade Sim Irons

Not sure about the thick top line or looking for something a little less ‘space age’? Well, there’s plenty of options out there that will offer a similar level of performance. Let’s run through a few ideas.

Ping G425 Irons

Ping G425 iron set

If forgiveness and distance are what you are searching for, then Ping always tends to be worth a look. Just like TaylorMade, Ping decided to give serious thought to how they could make their iron’s faces faster, and this is what they came up with.

Like the SIM Max irons, the Ping G425 features flexible face technology. The iron looks slightly more classical, and the head is ever so slightly more compact. As I said previously, feel can often suffer in a game improvement iron. Ping has also included an insert to make their club feel buttery soft.

Pros

  • Flexible face for increased distance
  • Plenty of forgiveness (it is Ping, after all)
  • High launch
  • Nice feel

Cons

  • The compact head won’t be for everyone
  • The notch in the hosel isn’t to everyone’s taste.

Mizuno JPX 921 Hot Metal Iron

Mizuno JPX 921 Hot Metal Irons

The Mizuno JPX 921 Hot Metal is a game improvement iron designed to offer premium performance and increase consistency in your shots. If you have read my full review here {LINK}, you’ll know that I am a massive fan.

The irons feature a variable thickness face to give forgiveness and to increase distance on off-center hits. The internal sound ribs work in a very similar way to the SIM Max Echo damping system. Increasing feel and reducing vibration.

One standout feature is how these clubs look. If you want something a little more classic with all of its technology hidden away, then this might just be the club to go for.

Pros

  • Amazing looks
  • Fantastic feel
  • Really forgiving variable thickness face
  • Super-fast ball speeds

Cons

  • Slightly harder feel than traditional game improvement irons

Cleveland Launcher HB Turbo Iron

Cleveland Launcher HB Turbo Iron Set

If it is a massive increase in distance that you seek, then why not check these out. The Cleveland launcher HB turbo irons are perfectly suited to high handicappers with slower swing speeds.

Sure, they look a little unconventional, but when you are on the green in two shots, who cares?

As the name suggests, you can expect a high and lofty trajectory, with plenty of forgiveness thrown in. The clubhead is substantial and makes every shot look really easy to hit. Don’t be fooled by the wood-like appearance. They are hollow with internal stabilizing ribs.

One standout feature is the super-hot face. Like the Sim Max iron set, faster ball speeds mean more length on the golf course.

Pros

  • Great distance and trajectory
  • Good for slow swingers
  • Excellent forgiveness

Cons

  • Slightly muted feel
  • The unorthodox shape may be a bit too much for some golfers.

TaylorMade Sim Max Irons | Final Thoughts…

Golf is littered with fancy tech terms and ‘innovations’… Many of which exist in name only. It is so refreshing to see an iron set where the technology can be seen… And felt. With an increase in ball speed and shots whose length meant I had to go down a club, the results speak for themselves. Why not take a look at the SIM Max Irons and see the technology for yourself?

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