I’d be willing to bet that PowerBilt Air Force One N7 irons are different from any irons you’ve ever hit – or seen, for that matter. And the way they’re different isn’t just a gimmick, either.
PowerBilt probably won’t be the first company you think of when you start shopping for irons. But, it actually has a very long history in the golf club industry – it’s been making golf clubs since 1916. The company isn’t stuck in the past, though. In fact, the “Nitrogen-Charged Technology” used in these irons might make the company one of the most innovative of all golf club makers.
Golf Digest named the PowerBilt Air Force One N7 irons as a Silver Medal winner on its 2011 “Hot List,” so there’s something to these unique clubs. If you read this review, you’ll see how they’re different and learn a bit about how they perform.
Here’s the deal with PowerBilt Air Force One N7 irons: the heads are hollow and pumped full of nitrogen gas. The gas cannot escape because a leak-proof resin coats every head’s interior. PowerBilt Air Force One N7 irons are the only irons on the market that use this technique, although the PowerBilt Air Force One driver also uses it.
According to the company, the pressure exerted by the nitrogen gas supports the club head’s face, enabling it to be thinnest in the golf equipment industry. PowerBilt also claims this technique gives the face a huge, edge-to-edge sweet spot and increases the distance and accuracy of the clubs. In fact, the company claims that its testing reveals that these irons are the longest irons in golf.
In order to maximize club head speed, PowerBilt Air Force One N7 irons also use proprietary, lightweight shafts. The stock steel shaft only weighs 85 grams, which is about 40 grams lighter than most steel shafts. Likewise, the stock graphite shaft is light, weighing in at only 55 grams. All other things being equal, less weight equals greater club head speed, faster ball velocities and longer shots.
PowerBilt also says the “edge to edge” sweet spot creates more consistent spin rates no matter where impact occurs on the face. More consistent spin rates are said to promote much greater accuracy and precision.
After thorough (and objective) testing, Golf Digest, a prestigious, very popular golf magazine, gave the PowerBilt Air Force One N7 irons a silver medal on its 2011 “Hot List” in the Super Game-Improvement Irons category. Here’s a quote from Golf Digest about these unique clubs: “Whether the nitrogen gas has merit (our academics say it does) or is marketing hype is almost irrelevant. The feel of these irons is as sweet as hitting with one of those well-made wooden baseball bats from PowerBilt’s Louisville Slugger brand. In short, these clubs provide forgiveness where you need it and feel where you want it.”
That’s pretty strong praise. PowerBilt says its Nitrogen-Charged Technology is a game changer, and the only reason other golf club makers don’t use it is because PowerBilt owns all the relevant patents.
In addition to the face-supporting pressure exerted by 50 pounds per square inch of nitrogen gas pumped into the heads (a design feature which adds essentially no weight to the clubs and eliminates the need for bracing), PowerBilt Air Force One N7 irons also feature two characteristics typically found in super game-improvement irons: wide soles to promote good turf interaction; and low centers of gravity to promote higher, longer shots.
Yes, PowerBilt Air Force One N7 irons look like maximum game-improvement clubs. Their top lines are thicker and the soles are wider than accomplished players prefer. But those same characteristics can boost an average or high-handicap player’s confidence, and the wide soles and low centers of gravity provide the help medium- and high-handicappers need. The sole width, top lines and offset are progressive through the set, each becoming less noticeable as you move toward the short irons.
The Bottom Line: PowerBilt has made golf clubs for close to a century now. In the old days, the company’s clubs were pretty popular, but then they almost dropped out of sight. Now, PowerBilt is using its patented Nitrogen-Charged Technology to make a comeback. According to Golf Digest, player demand for the PowerBilt Air Force One N7 irons is still fairly low, but that may change once the word gets out. They’re not for everyone - you should probably look elsewhere for your next set of irons if you’re a fairly skilled golfer (handicap lower than 10 or so). But, if you’re a mid- or high-handicapper, you might want to take a look at these innovative irons. The standard set makeup is 4-PW plus a gap wedge, but a hybrid/iron combo set is also available.