(This TaylorMade Tour Preferred CB review was added on 29 May 2014)
Launched in January 2014, the TaylorMade CB irons are reputed to be the most forgiving and player-friendly of the company’s latest “Tour Preferred” line of irons. The other two recently released TP sets are the Tour Preferred MB and the TaylorMade Tour Preferred MC irons. We review the latter on a separate page of this site, so please take a look if you’re also interested in those particular clubs.
According to the company itself, TaylorMade Tour Preferred CB irons represent "The Ultimate Union of Speed and Precision." Like their name suggests, these clubs are designed and built for professional and accomplished amateur golfers. Several of the TP models TaylorMade has created over the years have been used by touring professionals because of their excellent performance, but their looks, feel and sound didn’t hurt either. Tour Preferred irons have always combined attractive but functional designs with TaylorMade’s innovative technologies and advanced manufacturing techniques and materials.
Like the Tour Preferred MC irons, the Tour Preferred MB irons and their predecessors in the Tour Preferred series, TaylorMade CB irons provide the performance characteristics that better players demand and the type of appearance that they want. At address, the CB irons have the clean look of player’s irons, but they’re actually full-fledged cavity backs for the type of added forgiveness that you don’t often see in player’s clubs. The topline is thin at address. The length of the heads gets progressively shorter as you move from the long irons to the short irons and pitching wedge (in other words, the long irons have longer heads than the shorter clubs).
"Micro-slots" in the "Speed Pocket™" built into the 3- through 7-irons make it easier to hit longer shots by promoting faster ball speeds and higher ball launches. Its function is to make the face more flexible and enable it to bend more at impact (especially for shots hit low on the face), thereby boosting ball speeds even on miss-hit shots. By the way, they might call it a Speed Pocket™, but it looks more like a slot to me.
The compact heads of the shorter irons are minimally offset, while the heads of the longer TaylorMade CB irons are slightly larger and progressively offset (the longer the iron, the more the offset) to promote club head stability and better ball-striking. The TP CB irons have a little more offset than TaylorMade Tour Preferred MB irons, but not as much as many game-improvement clubs, including the TaylorMade RocketBladez irons.
The extra forgiveness built into TaylorMade Tour Preferred CB irons means that in some ways, they perform like game-improvement clubs. Don’t be misled, though, because these are player’s irons through and through. For example, the company says that including the Speed Pocket™ gives the TaylorMade CB irons a bigger sweet spot and promotes longer shots and better distance control when impact occurs on a larger portion of the hitting area. Even so, the sweet spots of the TaylorMade CB irons aren’t as large as they are in most game-improvement sets. You need to strike the ball consistently and precisely to use these irons well.
Length, distance control, accuracy and at least some amount of forgiveness are all important characteristics to have in your irons. But so are feel and feedback. TaylorMade CB irons are designed to dampen vibrations in three different ways: a badge on the back of the face absorbs impact shocks; a vibration-dampening material is positioned in the bottom of the back cavity; and a vibration-dampening polymer is used to cover the Speed Pocket™. Combined, these three design features allow the clubs to deliver a solid feel at impact and reduce the overly harsh vibrations you can get on miss-hits, but still provide enough feedback to help you improve your swing.
The standard configuration of a set of TaylorMade CB irons consists of a 3-iron through the pitching wedge. KBS Tour steel shafts come standard. The heads feature an attractive nickel-chrome, polished satin finish.
These clubs have some built-in features that provide forgiveness, but even so they’re meant to be played by professionals and amateurs with fairly low handicaps. By no means are they game-improvement irons, despite being cavity-backs. The sweet spots are fairly small. In short, TaylorMade CB irons are designed for players who strike the ball consistently and precisely. Yes, they can be strong performers, but only if you have the skills to play them. If you do, you might really love them.