The 845 Silver Back irons from Tommy Armour turned out to be as easy to review as any irons that have ever come through Golf Product News. A half a dozen testers tried them out, and a half a dozen testers had the exact same feedback as concerned playability. There was minor disagreement about the desirability of the appearance of these irons, but that was about it.
The 845U’s have a modern, somewhat glitzy look to them that is unlike other irons from Armour’s 845 Series. This new look initially appealed greatly to some testers and only marginally to others, but as these irons proved themselves to be enjoyable to play, all testers grew to be quite fond of their appearance in the bag and at address. The bright, dynamic look suits the personality of the 845U’s. The black and white TA Crossline grips from Lamkin compliment the design scheme of the head nicely.
All of our testers had confidence in the 845U’s from the moment they took their first practice swings. These irons feel light and well balanced in the hands. The 845U’s are large, game improvement irons, but they are not thick looking or clunky at address as some rival irons can be. They set up well. At first, some testers suspected that they would have trouble aiming these heads consistently due to the fact that some moderately pronounced offset was present. That turned out to be not the case. All testers found that alignment was completely intuitive with the Armours. No adjustment time was required.
Consistency in terms of both performance and enjoyment has been very good with the 845U’s. These are friendly, forgiving irons that are very easy to use. The deep “dual cavity” design creates a wide sweetspot. Feel at impact is decidedly pleasant. It is not overly muted or muddy as can be found in some large cavity back irons. Graphite shafts are available as an option, but to a man, our testers agreed that the Tour Step Steel was so mellow, sweet and active that little would be gained by switching to graphite.
The most obvious characteristic of how these Armours perform is the height of their trajectories. These babies hit really, really high – among the highest of any irons we have ever tested. Surprisingly, it is not bad height. Instead, it is dynamic, productive height. Ballooning did not occur for our highest hitting tester even during a session with new, high-spin, soft cover balls. For our strongest testers, the 845U’s produced what can only be considered towering trajectories. For some, hitting these irons was like firing mortar shots at the pin.
In spite of the dynamic nature of the Armours’ trajectories, those who tend to hit high to begin with will still consider the 845U’s too high-flying. This fact will be especially pertinent for those who have trouble keeping the ball down into headwinds. One of our regulars had his best iron sessions ever at the range with the 845U Silver Backs and was very anxious to get them to the golf course. His shots under the controlled circumstances of the range were boomingly high, long and dead on target. He was surprised to find that he had trouble duplicating the same results on-course. Shifting winds and alternating uphill and downhill lies made it troublesome for him to calculate his approach shots.
An obvious benefit of the height of the 854’s is that stopping power has been decent with these Armours even when using two-piece distance balls. With softer balls, stopping power has been first rate. The grooves of the 845’s provide substantial bite. Hitters have always been able to tell exactly where their last shot hit on the clubface by the large amount of cover shreds stuck in the grooves.
Distances with the 845’s varied from tester to tester depending upon whether they needed additional height to their trajectories, or not. Overall, distances remained decent throughout testing – not always great, but never bad. Good irons shots need to be high, but a point of diminishing returns can be met. For those players who tend to play the ball well back in their stance and hit the ball low to begin with, the 845U’s may be just the ticket. For our two lowest hitting testers, the Armours produced ideal trajectories that were moderately high in height.
From the rough, these Silver Backs work well provided they are hit aggressively. The weight distribution on the sole of the 845U heads aid in getting the ball up quickly. However, the low swingweights (from D0.1 to D0.7 on our scale) mean that a good bit of acceleration must be applied through the ball when hitting from thick lies. Balls pop out nicely on easy swings from heavy grass, but substantial distance loss can occur. Also, some twisting of these wide heads is possible on lazy or careless hits from higher rough.
The Tour Step steel shaft is available from Tommy Armour in just Regular and Stiff flexes. Most seniors should have little problem handling the standard ‘R’ flex. Those who need a particularly soft shaft will have to opt for the graphite ‘L’ flex version.
Summary: The 845U Silver Back game improvement irons from Tommy Armour are extremely pleasant and easy to use. All of our testers have enjoyed hitting them. All have also seen higher than average trajectories with decent, but varied distances. Overall playability is high for these Armours. They are friendly and forgiving with a wide sweetspot. Feel with the 845U’s is sweet and easy. Heavy weight mounted low helps to get the ball up quickly, but low swingweights mean that these irons are good from the rough only with aggressive swings. Fit, finish and appearance are all good on these Armours. They should be appreciated by a substantial percentage of mid – to high-handicappers. Their prices are moderate when compared to many other big name, game improvement irons.
For information about current model Tommy Armour clubs visit www.tommyarmourgolf.com.