Tommy Armour TA1 Irons Review
Teacher’s Comments: A solid set of irons at a fair price. Worthy of consideration by budget conscious mid- to high-handicappers.
In the Tommy Armour TA1 irons, DICKS Sporting Goods offers a solid set of clubs at a terrific price point. For $599, the budget conscious golfer can have a new set with features and materials found in much more expensive irons, including a maraging steel cup face, tungsten sole weights, vibration dampening and progressive set design.
The TA1 Irons are for me both long and forgiving. It took me a while to dial in the distances, but they compare quite favorably to my old standbys, the TaylorMade R7XD (which are still the longest irons I have ever played). The Tommy Armour TA1s are definitely longer than my Callaway Apex irons.
Ball flight on the Tommy Armour TA1 irons has a pronounced right to left tendency. If you are one of golf’s millions of hacker-slicers, the Tommy Armour TA1 irons are worth a look. I am at this point relatively confident that they will mitigate that slice. My problem, however, has always been a hook, so these actually exacerbate that problem. I can control it by leaving the face a little open at address.
I had absolutely no problem getting the ball in the air with the Tommy Armour TA1s. To be fair, however, I tend to hit the ball high under any circumstances. Carry and roll were in line with what I get out of my other sets.
The feel is nice. While the Tommy Armour TA1s do not feel soft like my forged Callaways, they have none of the ping and dink that I have felt from other budget-conscious iron sets. The vibration dampening features of the TA1s work.
Gaps on the irons are very evenly spaced. Each iron seems to be ten to twelve yards longer than its immediate predecessor. Once I established a base number for the six iron, I could comfortably pull clubs based on yardages.
At the core of The Tommy Armour TA1 Irons is a cup face construction with a CS450 Maraging Steel Face. Club frames are 431 steel The progressive set has an undercut cavity in the short irons (8-GW), and hollow body construction in the mid- and long-irons (4-7). The hollow body is designed to provide a lower, deeper CG location for high launch, while the cavity on the short irons is optimized for control.
In both, Tungsten toe weights move the CG away from the heel for more forgiveness on off-center hits. There is also an interesting notch on the hosels, presumably in the name of shifting weight. The clubs also feature a vibration dampening insert. All of these are features found on top end clubs from big name manufacturers. DICKS Sporting Goods did not aim low with their Tommy Armour TA1 irons.
While the Tommy Armour TA1s are game improvement irons, from address, they do not look like Fiats on a stick. The TA1s definitely have a thicker topline than players irons, and there is some offset, but nothing that offends my eye. Compared to players irons, they are oversized, but not excessively so.
Offset and sole width progress through the set to match the swings required for each club. It’s not something I notice at address, though.
While the irons are more than satisfactorily long, they don’t depend upon tricked up lofts. The lofts are nearly identical to those of the Ping G, for example. The TA1s are a couple of degrees less strong than the TaylorMade M3. On the other hand, they are a couple of degrees stronger on each iron than the TaylorMade P770 and Callaway Apex.
The red plate on the backs of the TA1s are an interesting look. It certainly sets the Tommy Armour TA1s apart from other brands. There’s a bit of a race car flair to them. I am actually a little torn on the color, but as I can’t see it from address, it is really not an issue.
The best part of the irons is the value. Because they are a house brand for DICKS and Golf Galaxy (owned by DICKS), the new Tommy Armour brand escapes the price escalation problems associated with multi-channel distribution and marketing budgets. Thus, the TA1 irons are able to offer a nice set of features at what I think is a very reasonable price. A new set of TaylorMade M3 irons, for example will set you back $999.
The Tommy Armour brand is probably familiar to older golfers. It was quite popular with its 845 “Silver Scot” irons in the early 1990s. The brand was purchased by the Sports Authority, and when that company went bankrupt, the name was purchased by DICKS Sporting Goods. To revive the brand, DICKS worked with Designworks, a subsidiary of BMW Group.
Tommy Armour, the golfer for whom the brand was named, was born in Edinburgh in 1895. In his golfing career, Armour won 25 times, including 3 major championships: the 1927 US Open, the 1931 Open, and the 1930 PGA Championship. His best finish in the masters was a T8 in 1937. That track record was more than enough to warrant his 1976 induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
The Silver Scot, as he was called, had an interesting side story. During World War I, Staff Major Tommy Armour was caught in a mustard gas explosion and permanently lost the sight in his left eye. Metal plates also had to be attached to his head and left arm. I find it amazing that he was able to play as well as he did given those disabilities.
Tommy Armour also is credited with popularizing the term “yips,” although that likely is nothing anyone would want to be known for.
If you are a mid- to high-handicapper in the market for a new set of clubs, I think you should consider the Tommy Armour TA1s. Drop by your local DICKS Sporting Goods or Golf Galaxy and give them a try.
Loft, lie, length and swing weight specs for the Tommy Armour TA1 irons follow: