Honma TR21 X Irons Review

50 Words or Less

The Honma TR21 X irons have elite ball speed and plenty of forgiveness.  Super premium feel.  Great look in the bag.  Bridges the gap between players irons and game improvement sets.

Introduction

Traditional, premium irons typically aren’t long.  Distance irons can fall short in the subjective categories.  Is it possible to make an iron that has lots of distance but looks and feels exceptional?  That’s the goal of the Honma TR21 X irons, and I was very interested to see if they could pull off this rare feat.

Looks

At address, the Honma TR21 X straddles the line between players iron and game improvement.  It’s average in length from heel to toe with a well-proportioned top line.  There’s a moderate amount of offset, but it’s well-shaped throughout the set.  Though they’re larger than my gamers, I enjoyed looking down at the TR21 X irons.

In the bag, the TR21 X is stunning.  The hollow body design gives it the appearance of a blade.  Honma kept the branding minimal which puts the focus on the arrow of matte finish that points toward the heel.  This mix of finishes is a brilliant way of adding visual interest without making the club busy or gaudy.

Sound & Feel

Before I get into a rambling explanation of exactly how the Honma TR21 X irons feel, I want to get this out: this is one of my favorite feeling irons in recent memory.

When I first hit the TR21 X, my initial impression was “Holy s*** that’s fast!”  The ball feels like it’s in a hurry to get as far from the club face as possible.  What makes the TR21 X unique is that it pairs this explosive feel with a super premium sound.  Most fast-feeling faces also feel thin, and they sound click-y and cheap.  The TR21 X has a quiet, robust “snap” that doesn’t seem like it matches the feel, but at the same time they work together beautifully.

The feel of these irons is certainly enhanced by the stock shaft choice, the Nippon NS Pro 950GH neo [full review HERE].  Impact feels very clean and crisp, and everything feels smooth and easy during the swing.

Performance

Before I tested the TR21 X irons, I took a glance at the spec sheet and noticed that the lofts clearly place this set in the distance iron category.  Between the specs and the hollow body design, my expectations for ball speed and distance were high, and the TR21 X irons met them.

Throughout the set, ball speed is in the elite range.  What’s even better is that the speed stays high even on small mishits.  Pounding it off the heel or toe will cost you substantial speed, but the TR21 X is more than willing to send a small miss as far as a pure strike.

As I spent more time with this set, what really impressed me was how Honma gave this set usable distance.  What I mean is that these irons are long (about a club longer than my gamers), but the launch angle and spin are such that they will easily hold greens.  The same can’t be said for all distance-oriented irons.

This set also has ideal distance gaps from the 4 iron through the 10 (PW).  I found the spin in the scoring irons was a little below average, which is nice for hitting strong, flighted shots.  In the mid irons, the spin was average to slightly above, which was a pleasant surprise for me.  In the long irons, the spin is a notch above average which promotes longer carry distances and maintains the distance gaps.  With so many strong-lofted sets, mortal golfers can’t hit the 4 or 5 much farther than the 6.  That won’t happen with the TR21 X.

One possibility that Honma highlights is using the TR21 X in a blended set with the TR20 P irons [review HERE] or the TR20 V irons [review HERE].  As impressed as I was with the performance of the TR21 X 4 iron, I can definitely see the appeal.  If you are blending sets, make sure to keep an eye on the distance gaps.  Each set has a different loft structure, so you may need to make modifications.

Finally the stock shaft, the Nippon NS Pro 950GH neo, wasn’t just chosen for the way it feels – its performance is a perfect complement to the TR 21 X iron heads.  As a light weight, higher launching shaft, it enhances the ball speed of the TR21 X and counteracts the strong lofts.  We always recommend being fit for the best shaft for your swing, but this is one instance where the stock shaft deserves a little extra consideration.

Conclusion

As I’ve gotten more familiar with Honma other the last couple years, I’ve liked several of the products I’ve tested, but the TR21 X irons have really grabbed my attention.  This is an iron that excels in both the subjective categories as well as the objective ones.  If you want premium feel with elevated distance, these need to be on your demo list.

Visit Honma HERE

Honma TR21 X Irons Price & Specs

Matt Saternus
Latest posts by Matt Saternus (see all)

16 Comments

  1. Can you compare these with PXG 0211, as far as feel and forgiveness.
    Thanks

  2. Hi Matt – How did these compare to the 747 P irons you tested last year?

  3. Tom Duckworth

    Can’t tell too much from the pictures but these look slightly smaller than the ZX4 irons. Is that how you take them?

  4. Dave Sampson

    You should have a slower swing speed tester on your team test the Honma Beres irons, which I play with (2 star version). Expensive but fantastic clubs!

  5. Matt,
    Looks like the ZX4 would be a better value and comparable performance??
    Guy

  6. Very intrigued as I’m currently playing original issue P790’s and looking for a replacement set. As a regular reader of your newsletter, I recall your last, similar glowing review of a distance iron to be for the Cobra Forged Tec.

    Based on your recollection, and cost not withstanding, would you have a preference between the two? Thanks in advance for your opinion.

    • Matt Saternus

      Doug,

      My recollection is that the Cobra is a bit smaller, which makes me lean that way. I also remember the Cobra being a bit higher spinning, which is a plus for me, so I would lean that way.

      Best,

      Matt

  7. Could you or have you done a what’s in the bag post?

  8. Actually win a set of these irons in a contest from Martin Chuck. I would echo your review, very nice irons and really are beautiful. It’s my second set of Honma irons and the quality is top notch. First set is the TW747p (which I scored my first ace with)

  9. I just got a set of these. I bought these with there 63 gram shafts . Instead of the 85 gram ones they sell in the U.S.
    There’s a ton of ball speed, coming from my Itobori Hxm .
    Plus a easier to hit the top line is a little thick but not to thick.
    The Honma shaft works perfectly with this club.
    I’m thinking these clubs should stay in my bag for awhile.

  10. Wanted to come back to this post to say Thank You for the thorough review. This summer I went down a rabbit hole of researching “older Players Distance irons” that I could purchase for a decent bargain and I’m now happily gaming these! Your review is spot on: Fantastic feel with enough forgiveness to maintain confidence over the ball. Looks amazing in the bag. Thank you for all you guys do! #DoubleSecret

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *