Golf Forum banner

1 - 1 of 1 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
102 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hey, heres a cool article I found on AT-505 Irons:

Thomas Golf is located in the golf club manufacturing hub of Carlsbad, California. They produce a complete line of equipment that is available custom assembled from the factory, or in component form. All Thomas clubs feature a form of the company’s patented, visual alignment system. The AT 505 irons we have been testing are large, cavity backs that resemble the earlier Big Bertha irons in their basic style.

The AT 505’s are attractive irons. While no one has found them to be beautiful, all have thought that they are handsome and solid looking. The fit and finish on the heads is quite good. Up front, let it be said that the Thomas AT 505’s are not for everyone. In order to accommodate the alignment lines, the toplines are made very thick. This gives the heads a decidedly blocky look. Such thick toplines can put off many golfers, especially low-handicappers. Also, the progressive offsets (3mm in the long irons) will be too large for many low-handicappers. Others will find the offsets, thick toplines and the large head sizes reassuring, however.

At address, the blocky looking heads set up behind the ball in a way that is uniquely their own. The golden, sweetspot diamond in the center of the face was liked by all. It positioned the ball directly beneath the top, alignment stripe. With early hits, the distinctive alignment line was confusing to some. It runs perpendicular to the face grooves, but oblique to the topline. Some have thought that it made the face look closed, others thought that it made it look open. With a few hits, testers learned to adjust.

While the 505’s are obviously forgiving, game-improvement irons, they have a very aggressive air about them. These Thomas’s are real blasters. All of our crew have hit them high, strong and long. At impact, the AT 505’s feel firmly solid. Though the 505’s are actually lighter than some of the irons we have been hitting in comparison, they feel heavy in the hands. Neither the swingweights or the overall weights are high, but a perception of weight has been there for all of our testers. Some objected to this at first, but after producing strong results they stopped complaining.

Thomas claims that their alignment systems provide substantial improvement in accuracy. We have, in essence, found this to be true, especially when chipping or hitting long irons. But, we have found that more than improved accuracy, we have experienced improved consistency. The line on top provides a constant reminder to the hitter to check the exact alignment of the face. As Harvey Penick so often said, “Taking DEAD aim is different than just aiming.”

We soon found that each tester read the visual, alignment input from the AT 505’s slightly differently. One tester repeatedly believed that the line pointed too far left, so he kept opening the face. He hit the Thomas’s with good consistency, but almost all were right of target. Another tester started his testing by hitting thirty straight 8-irons safely onto a moderate-sized target green. Some went directly at the pin, but most landed ten to fifteen feet right of the pin. Towards the end, he was overcompensating and hitting slightly left. He is an accurate irons hitter, but still, thirty straight all within twenty feet of the pin was exceptional.

We have often used a demonstration for new testers at GCR to impress upon them the reason why touring pros always approach the ball from behind. After the testers take their stance, we place a golf shaft across the front of their feet. We tell them to adjust it with their toes until they are certain that it is aimed directly at the pin. We then have them step behind the ball and see where the shaft points. To date, no one has been dead on, and many have been as much as five degrees off. If a 40” shaft is difficult to aim successfully at a target that is 150 yards away, then certainly the 3/8” line on the Thomas’s topline is impossible to align successfully from above - even when it is aided by the additional alignment features of the face design. What is possible, however, is to use the alignment aid the way that Thomas suggests on their web site. They recommend that a golfer sight down the target line from behind the ball and then find an intermediate target such as a leaf or tuft of grass that rests just in front of the ball. All aiming should then be done to that nearby marker. Golfers who have the patience and discipline to do this will find immediate improvement in their accuracy with the AT 505’s. When used for chipping on-course, the Thomas’s have been exceedingly accurate. (Some prefer an iron with a more rounded sole and a less sharp leading edge for chipping, however - not so likely to stub the iron on chips) For golfers who aim only with their body and stance alignment – and there are many who do – the 505’s will probably be disorienting.

The trajectories we have gotten have been booming. The Thomas’s are long-hitting irons that can produce powerful hits. Unlike some long-hitting irons that get their distances from stronger lofts, the AT 505’s hit high, soaring trajectories. The extremely forgiving nature of their cavity design means that they are well suited to ‘bangers’ and ‘slammers’ – golfers who want to haul off and kill the ball. In fact, these irons seem to prefer hard, aggressive play. Finesse players who prefer a smaller, or thinner, head that allows for more workability will want to look elsewhere. Those who frequently use their long irons from the tee will appreciate these Thomas’s. From a tee, the 3-iron hits with real authority. It is also very easy to aim.

Summary: The Thomas AT 505’s have game improvement qualities that will most definitely be of assistance to many golfers. They are capable of producing an immediate improvement in consistency for some. Distances are better than average and the high trajectories make for good green holding ability. While certainly useable for all handicap levels, the large, forgiving heads will appeal mostly to higher handicapped players and inconsistent mid-handicappers. The unique aspects of these irons really mean that each golfer will react differently to them, however.

A particularly nice option is offered by Thomas. These irons may be bought in eight, seven, six or five iron sets. If a player uses woods instead of long irons, he may order a 5-PW set from Thomas. We wish that other companies were so thoughtful.

Update Graphite

Wow! What a change for the positive. Reshafting the Thomas's with the popular graphite option has made these irons sing. With a half inch longer shaft length, a slightly lower swingweight and a much reduced overall weight, the graphite Thomas's hit higher and a longer. Shots soared with the steel shafts, but flew like rockets with the graphite for some testers. What is most significant, however, is the improvement in feel. These irons have become sweethearts - fun and easy to hit well - almost effortless. They feel great. All sense of heaviness seems to be gone. While we respected the Thomas's in steel, we love them in graphite. For those with slow to moderately fast swing speeds, this combination should provide some much needed oomph to their iron game. We've had other irons that have hit as long, but control seems better with the Thomas's. Our patterns have been very good. How much of that is due to the alignment aids, we can't say.

On a down note: The AT-505's are only mediocre from thick, heavy rough. They work, but not as well as some of the newer irons that have smaller heads and heavier sole weighting. From light rough, they work just fine, however.
 
1 - 1 of 1 Posts
Top