TaylorMade say that with the P790 they have created a forged distance iron for better players, which all sounds pretty good.
It's not quite all forged though, as the wrap around face is forged from 4140 Carbon Steel and then welded onto a cast 8620 carbon steel body. Therefore the bit you hit the ball with is forged, so you have that feel and the rest of the head has a few surprises too.
The P790 is a hollow head that has a screw in the toe through which 4g of SpeedFoam is injected into the cavity and expands to four times its size to fill it and support the forged face that is just 1.75mm thick in places.
A hollow 'forged' head filled with foam might sound like a reaction to what PXG are doing, but TaylorMade actually has some history here as their R9 iron from 2009 also had foam inside the head.
Also inside the 3 to 7 irons is a high density tungsten weight in the back of the bottom of the cavity to increase the MOI throughout the set.
In front of this is the Cut-Thru Speed Pocket on the sole of the 3 to 7 irons where that thinner face can flex a little to increase ball speeds.
TaylorMade say the P790 has the look and feel of a players iron and to be fair when you put it down at address it does look very good with a larger than average blade size throughout the set.
The top line of the 79mm long blade, hence the name, is thicker than most for a head of this size and it does inspire confidence, as does the extra little bit of offset.
In the bag the P790 looks great too with a modern design that is clean with a matt finish offset by a polished chrome strip on the back that goes around the toe.
Combined with the toe screw and the square font for the numbers, the P790 is one of the best looking irons TaylorMade has done.
However it is all about performance and compared to the slightly smaller P770 irons, you can see how the design has a big distance advantage over the more traditionally constructed forged models in the P700 range.
Comparing the 6-irons in the three sets on GC2, the ball speed from the P790 was 3-5 mph higher and combined with a 900 rpm lower spin was giving 10 yards extra carry over the P770 at the same club head speed of 89 mph.
Before you stop reading and head to your nearest TaylorMade retailer, I should point out that the P790 6-iron is 3° stronger than the other two models at 26.5°, so maybe this is not so surprising.
It's the classic debate or what the number on an iron means and as usual they have gone with peak height which you can see is about the same, but with the ball going faster with less spin, it's also going to go further. It also may go further on landing due to that lower spin, so it is important to ensure that it is stopping quickly enough for you too.
Whilst it is portrayed as more forgiving, the P790 was about as consistent as the other models, as my range of spin and distance varied by 5 yards or so either side of the average, so the difference between them is really ball speed and carry.
That difference could be me or the shaft and it should also be noted that I was using the lighter True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 shaft in the P790 compared to the stock KBS Tour FLT 120 shaft in the P770 that is 15g heavier.
The feel from this new lighter shaft in the P790 was excellent and you really felt you could zip the club head through impact, but it may be too light for some better players.
It is really in the 7-iron and upwards where you start to the feel the benefit of the technology on the P790 irons as the larger head, SpeedPocket slots, tungsten weighting and cavity all come together in the same head.
The flow of the set goes a little in the 8 iron and down to the wedge as the head construction loses the slot and the tungsten. The wedge felt quite springly compared to a forged blade so that may be an issue for some low handicappers.
Generally the sound and feel was a little on the hollow side, but when you caught one there was a lovely 'zip' to the feel, but that did not seem not really consistent enough through the set and this can happen in sets that merge different head constructions.
Technically the P790 is a great club, but as a players' iron it maybe lacks the feel and consistent control to work as a full set. The short irons are maybe not sharp enough, but I could see players blending the 3, 4 and maybe 5 irons into one of the other P700 sets.
You get the feeling that high single figure players could use the P790 and whilst it may work for them, there are now so many slightly larger headed irons that are cheaper and offer more forgiveness that they should look at, starting with the TaylorMade M1 2017.
If the P790 heads were larger then maybe they could put slots all the way down to help the consistency and with the great looks they could be onto a winner with a set of irons aimed at 6-12 handicappers.
However a players set is where we are right now and of the four models, the P790 is the most forgiving with a generous head and plenty of ball speed so if that fits in with your needs and budget then it would be a worthy choice.