There's an old golfer’s joke that goes: “What should you do if you find yourself on the course during a lightning storm?”

And the punchline: “Hold your 1-iron straight above your head . . . because even God can't hit a 1-iron!”

That might be true, but the crack falls a bit flat after hitting TaylorMade’s new Tour Preferred UDI (Ultimate Driving Iron). This 1-iron is playable for mortals and deities alike.

The new stick looks and plays like an iron, but its build is more like that of a hybrid. “The UDI has a hollow construction with a welded high-strength steel face for maximum ball speed and low CG,” says TaylorMade’s Director of Iron Creation, Tomo Bystedt. The steel that Bystedt refers to is 455 Carpenter Steel, a stronger material that allows TaylorMade to construct a thinner face that generates higher ball speed.

More ball speed equals greater distance, which we enjoyed while testing UDI’s 16-degree 1-iron over several rounds in the New York Metro area and on a launch monitor. We found the club’s carry distance in the same range as our beloved 3-hybrid, but it had added roll that marched well into fairway wood–territory. We also found much more resiliency and forgiveness on mishits than we expected from a 1-iron. Definitely a player’s club and not meant for high-handicappers, the UDI is eminently workable: We were able to easily play out of the rough, shape cuts from hook lies, and produce nice, tight draws off the tee.

Because the UDI is an iron, it’s easier to flight the ball down, helping to minimize the effects of wind on the shot. “The club has offset and a flat face which makes it more conducive to be hit with a descending path,” Bystedt said. “An iron also has a slightly higher and more forward CG location, which promotes a lower launch angle.” That lower launch angle makes the club a good add to your bag for the next time the winds are up at your local course or your bucket-list round at Saint Andrew’s or Carnoustie.

The UDI ships August 1 in 1-iron (16°), 2-iron (18°) and 3-iron (20°) options.
[$199; taylormadegolf.com]