The Epon AF-305 irons find that difficult place in the current landscape of iron design: pushing a players irons shape toward a more forgiving design without pushing too far.
The only way to get there was to maximize the company’s long-standing expertise in forged iron technology to a new cavity shape. Epon is the subsidiary brand for Endo Manufacturing of Japan, which has been forging irons for leading golf companies around the world since the 1960s. The AF-305 is the update of Epon’s AF-303 cavity back forged iron, and the difference is subtle but important, said Jeff Sheets, an independent club designer who consulted with Epon USA on the AF-305 design.
“What makes this iron unique is that it is a very deep cavity to be forged from a single billet,” Sheets said, noting that the head is forged from S20C carbon steel. “Most forged cavity back irons are limited in their cavity volume. Epon’s proprietary tooling and processes have been able to produce the AF-305 irons with the deepest cavity in one-piece construction.”
The problem for an iron like the AF-305 is to not have that deep cavity create an excessively wide sole. While the wider sole creates forgiveness through the turf and lowers the center of gravity to provide a boost for flight, the risk is producing a sole so wide it inhibits shot-making capability and reduces the address appearance that better players prefer. The AF-305 has taken up residence on that fine line through the use of multiple materials and a subtle sole shaping change to put it in the category of “players distance” irons.
“The large cavity volume coupled with the wide sole and tungsten inlay re-categorizes the forgiveness factor of the AF-305 over its predecessors in the 300 family,” Sheets said. The AF-305 has slightly less offset than its predecessors, about 10-15 percent less through the set, and the sole plays narrower than its width, Sheets said.
“The deeper cavity and wider sole contribute towards a more stable impact. Golfers accustomed to the more compact sole interaction with the turf of previous AF-300 series models will find that the wider sole of the AF-305 has been designed with a step along its trailing edge,” he said. “The wider sole width contributes to the CG and MOI targets Epon has designed into the AF-305, but the step in the sole narrows the ground contact mass keeping it similar to the sole interaction of a players iron design.”
The Epon AF-305 is offered 4-iron through A-wedge at $375 club through authorized Epon dealers.