A definite trend has emerged among the golfing populous. Everyone wants to feel like a “Tour” player. Back in the day, there were far fewer choices when you went to the pro shop to choose a set of irons. Essentially, everyone was playing “Tour” clubs, because muscleback irons were the norm. Now, the options when you go to your local golf retailer to shop for irons are almost limitless. There is something for everyone. From simple muscleback forged irons, to super game-improvement irons with adjustable weights. (It’s a good time to be a golfer!) If you happen to be a player who is a pretty good ball striker, yet would still like to benefit from a design with some game improvement features built in, you now have choices. The new Cleveland Golf CG4 Tour irons fit this description beautifully.
Cleveland utilizes an advancement in metal technology called “Carbon Metal Matrix,” or “CMM” for short. Microscopic carbon “spheres” are infused into the metal to lessen the density by as much as 10% over other traditional metals. Utilized in 5 of Cleveland’s iron models, the benefit of CMM for the player is vibration dampening and a soft feel at impact. Its relatively lightweight properties also allow Cleveland Golf to move more material in the head’s design to change launch conditions, and to adjust the amount of forgiveness the design affords when off-center hits occur. I noticed the benefits of the material immediately. Well-struck shots were soft, -almost to the point of imperceptible at impact. But, on off-center hits is where the CMM material really shined. I was still rewarded with decent distances, and the impact offered feedback on where the ball had struck the clubface without jarring my teeth loose. The directional stability was very good, and distance losses were very minimal. The overall feel is soft and responsive, but a little more muted than forged carbon steel.
The look of the CG4 Tour head is very straightforward with a little flash thrown in. It features a cavity with a grey tone metallic medallion inset. The face has a sandblasted scoring area. The grooves are ample at providing stopping power on approach shots into the green. At address, the topline is thinner than Cleveland’s “game improvement” designs, yet is still fairly thick. This can aid in helping to align the club for some players, and add to their sense of confidence. I would have preferred just a slightly thinner topline personally, but their CG2 iron model already fits that description nicely. The soles of the CG4 Tours are not overly wide, but just wide enough to prohibit digging into the turf. The grind of the sole should suite both “diggers” and “pickers” of the ball. The amount of offset is reduced when compared to Cleveland’s CG4 iron model. In the CG4 Tours, the offset is progressive, with more offset in the longer irons to help square them at impact, and less offset in the shorter irons to aid in working the ball with the scoring clubs. The lofts are fairly strong in the CG4 Tours, with the pitching wedge having 46º of loft. This makes these irons quite long distance-wise, but will more than likely necessitate the addition of a gap wedge for most players. I found the short irons were indeed “workable” without being punitive on mis-hits, and the mid and long irons were easy to elevate and really liked to go straight. They were extremely easy to aim, and did not take long to get accustomed to. Cleveland did a fine job in marrying forgiveness and workability into one set.
The stock shafts offered on the CG4 Tour irons are the proprietary Cleveland/True Temper “Action Lite Tour.” They are a mid-kickpoint shaft that will aid in launching the ball slightly higher, and have a slightly softer feel than say a Dynamic Gold shaft. My particular demo set came fitted with Cleveland’s proprietary True Temper “Action Lite” shafts, which generally come standard on their CG4 irons. With a low kickpoint, they launch the ball higher, and are suited for persons that would typically be considered “low ball” hitters. While these shafts did not exactly fit my swing characteristics, they were consistent and easy to hit high with very little effort. Cleveland offers a full spectrum of True Temper shafts as custom options. Everything from the Grafalloy Prolaunch Blue graphite iron shafts, to True Temper’s newest Black Gold shaft is offered. Your desired launch and feel characteristics should be easily met given all the choices. The CG4 Tours were finished off with Cleveland’s proprietary “Tour Velvet” style grips. They offered sufficient tackiness and were easy on the hands.
I was able to shoot to my handicap my first round out with the CG4 Tours. They have a look that is easy to get along with. For the low to mid handicap golfer, this is an excellent set to consider. When compared to a forged carbon steel cavity back design, the CG4 Tours may feel a little muted. The forgiveness that the CMM material allows Cleveland to build into the design, however, more than makes up for this. Golf is a game of tradeoffs and compromises, and you’ll just have to decide which side of the “feel vs. forgiveness” scale your game presently resides. If you happen to be a mid-handicap golfer that would like a set to “grow into” and still offer high performance once you reach a single digit handicap, these are a fine choice without being too punitive during the learning process. Plus, you’ll get to feel a little like a “Tour” player with the reduced offset and “Tour” moniker on the club. Cleveland Golf does a wonderful job of offering iron set choices for a broad spectrum of players. Enter the “Matrix” with the CG4 Tour irons, and you just might emerge a better player!