Review: Taylormade Tour Preferred UDI

If God Can't Hit a 1-Iron??
You’ve heard the comment before that “God can’t even hit a 1-iron”, so what chance do I have?  Right before the 2014 Open Championship, Taylormade announced a new addition to their iron line up, the Tour Preferred UDI or Ultimate Driving Iron.  It comes in a 1-iron, 2-iron or 3-iron lofts.  It is designed with the same speed pocket technology from the other Taylormade irons like the RSi2, and blends in nicely with any of the sets.  But can I hit it?
I was as skeptical as anyone on this club since I don’t even play a 3-iron anymore because I just can’t hit it well enough.  I only hit hybrids in those lofts and for those distances.  While hybrids are great for long, high, softer landing shots, they aren’t typically great in the wind.  The UDI is designed for hard, windy conditions like those found at the Open Championship on the “linksy” courses of the British isles.  I was actually shocked at how easy and accurate this 1-iron was to hit.  This isn’t an old hickory 1-iron that not even God could hit, but this is a special club that even a high-handicap golfer can probably hit.


The TaylorMade Tour Preferred UDI arrived and I put it right in the bag and went straight to the range prior to my round.  I teed up a ball and smacked it perfectly straight around 200 yards.  I was shocked that I even made decent contact, but then to see it laser down the range was even more impressive.  I did this about 10 more times only to confirm that it was for real.  On the course I didn’t hit it for every tee-shot, but each time I did, I hit laser shots right down the middle of the fairway landing around 200 yards and rolling out around 20-40 yards depending on the hole.  The conditions were very firm for the first round.  The second round was on a much more lush course and the ball didn’t roll out much at all, even with the lowish launch and low spin.  I don’t think I topped 220 that day, even though every ball was in the fairway.

The same technology that made the Tour Preferred MC irons so forgiving and consistent is the same tech used in the UDI.  The speed pocket creates forgiveness across the entire face and especially on low shots to really keep the ball moving.  I was impressed by how easy this club actually was to hit.  It played more like a 7-iron than a 1-iron.  The stock KBS C-taper lite is a great compliment to the head.  It doesn’t launch extremely low, I can get it off the ground, but is is much lower than any other club I have in the bag.  I could vary the height of shots off the tee, but the height of the tee; the lower the tee, the lower the flight.

The real question I was left with is; Where does it fit in my bag? and What stays or what goes?  I already have 14 clubs in my bag so which one gets swapped out?  I replaced my hybrid with this club as it seemed like a similar club.  I think for some rounds that was a great move and for others not so much.  Our weather here in MN has been up and down.  It was really wet and soft early but now is drying out and getting rather firm.  Regardless of the course conditions this thing found fairways.  Tight holes, short holes or when I didn’t feel comfortable with the driver, the UDI would smack the ball right down the middle every time.  Ranging from 200 to 250 depending on conditions.

If I lived in TX or “across the pond” this club would never leave my bag.  It is amazing on firm turf and in windy conditions.  I loved being able to laser out a drive 225yards into the wind or bounce one low down the fairway even further is huge.  It was all about keeping the ball in play and the UDI is one of the most accurate clubs I’ve hit off the tee.  It is kind of what you’d hope as you make progressing going from driver to 3-wood to driving iron, the dispersion just gets tighter each move.  In moderate wind and wet conditions I felt like I was giving up too much carry.  I felt like I maxed out the carry around 200 yards and with no roll out that just isn’t enough on most holes to feel comfortable attacking the pin.

While it is called a driving iron, it can be hit off the fairway and even out of the rough.  I could really go after it from the fairway and hit long runners up the fairway.  Out of the rough it isn’t as easy as a hybrid, but if you just want to chase a low runner under a tree it can be very useful for that too.  I didn’t find it ideal for long par 3s because the run out was too hard to judge.

The TaylorMade UDI driving iron is a niche club.  It isn’t going to be for everyone, not because they can’t hit this 1-iron, since it is easy to hit, but because it may not be necessary.  Florida golfers might not find it useful, while Texas golfers should get one now.  I’ll be taking it in and out of my bag as conditions warrant here in Minnesota. 

Even though the saying is that God can’t hit a 1-iron, the TaylorMade UDI 1-iron can probably be hit well by most golfers.  They just have to decided how and where it fits into their bag and their golfing needs.  It is straight, accurate, easy to hit and ideal for “links” golf.

Check the price online here

For more information:

Quick Hits
+Easy to hit 1-iron
+Surprisingly forgiving
+Low launch and low spin

–What club does it replace?
–Not ideal for soft conditions.

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