Standing on the beautiful practice ground at the new Royal Palms hotel golf club in Marrakech, I pull the 7-iron out of the new set of John Letters TR47s that I am testing on the trip. A couple of practice swings and the club feels really nice, and for a game improvement club I do like the look of the face. I take my address and smash. And I certainly wasn’t prepared for what happened – the ball sailing high and long. No, let me restate that, bloody long. I felt like the little kid at the fairground who smashes the punch bag and rings the bell … what just happened here?
I must say I was impressed by the feel of the club at impact, but as I send the next ten balls down the practice ground, now aiming 20 yards beyond the 150-yard marker, I start to wonder if the designers at John Letters are being fed three Weetabix of a morning. I then study the club to see if they have tweaked the lofts, but they look pretty standard. However, running my fingers between the cavity and the face, I can feel that the face is quite thin, so a lot of work has obviously gone into this club in R&D.
A lot of the extra length that the TR47s get is from the use of hardened cast stainless steel. After a lot of testing, the John Letters designers have used a 2.2mm face, but to compensate for any loss of feel they have used a rubber compound cell behind the hitting area. This helps dampen vibrations, which helps explain the great feel I was getting at impact.
They have also designed the sole to give you a near perfect interaction between club, ball and turf at impact. And for people who are looking for a game improvement club, that has to be one of the most important improvements a manufacturer can make.
John Letters have also used a step-less Rifle Project X shaft. Not only is this a great shaft, it also helps you transfer the power you generate during your swing so that you can impart it into the ball. The fact that some of the best players in the world use Rifle shafts should tell you all you need to know.
I have to say this is more than just a game improvement iron. I enjoyed the feel of the TR47s in the three rounds I played with them at Royal Palm, but, most importantly, I loved the ball flight and length I was getting with this club. I think one of the things a game improvement iron should strive for is to give a golfer who has just taken up the game the ability to see what they can achieve through dedication and practice – the TR47s give you all that and more. And with one of these in their hand, even a novice can step up and hit a very high and long shot with a 7-iron, which should mean that the love of the game all of us come to enjoy will arrive a lot quicker.
Go and have some fun.