The MacGregor Golf MT-86 series merges vintage charm with contemporary features to bring old-school flair to a modern set of clubs. In this Forum Member Review: MacGregor MT86 Irons we will explore what our members had to say and the rebirth of these fan-favorite irons.
The MT-86 series is made up of two iron models: the MT-86 Pro and the MT-86 OS. According to MacGregor, “the original MT irons were iconic, brand-defining irons that put MacGregor on the map and they were simply beautiful.”
One of our testers, GolfSpy TCB, literally was able to put the MT-86s up against a classic MacGregor of the past. He found the MT-86s “visually stunning” and “a perfect blend of the decades-old legacy of MacGregor irons.”
Both the MT-86 Pro and the MT-86 OS feature foam-filled hollow-body heads and strategically placed tungsten. MacGregor says this moves “the center of gravity lower and deeper in the club while also increasing MOI so off-center strikes still fly.” Lofts are around what you would expect for player’s distance irons or player’s irons.
Once our testers submitted their specs, they didn’t have to wait long to get the irons in hand. Then it was time to get out on the course and see what these classically beautiful irons could do in the modern world.
MacGregor MT-86 Irons Review
Initial Impressions and First Swings
Equipment changes are a big deal for golfers. The look, feel and even presentation of a new set of irons can go a long way to building confidence. That is why we wanted to get immediate feedback on the MacGregor MT-86 Pro and the MT-86 OS as soon as our testers got their hands on them. While there was some concern about how the clubs were shipped, here is what our testers had to say about the irons themselves.
“These clubs look AMAZING. I am especially taken in by the simplicity of the lines.” – DoubleBogeyDad
Fit and Finish
DiscipleofPenick: “The clubs look fantastic and the classic script MacGregor logo looks as good as it ever has … for being a hollow-body iron, they aren’t that thick… and the topline and offset are not distracting.”
Wely324: “The shiny finish and the overall clean look had me drooling from the get-go and made me very eager to get out on the course with them. All of the specs seemed to match up to what was ordered. Lofts and lies were within .5 degrees so I didn’t have to bend any irons.MacGregor did a great job in the looks department from both the address position, and when the MT86 irons are just glistening in the bag. They just about catch everyone’s eye when they walk past my bag. I love a chrome finish on my irons and to see MacGregor use a chrome finish like they did in the past is the cherry on top of a beautiful-looking iron. The shaping of the head is more rounded, with a nice amount of offset for a player’s iron. The MT86 squares up nicely to the ball, the face has a blasted finish that runs through the top line. At setup, the iron really inspires confidence in the player.”
Hook DeLoft: “Being game-improvement clubs, they are definitely larger than the old MacGregor designs to which they pay homage, but the size is in no way off-putting. The top line and sole are not as wide as some other GI designs. I would say the offset is moderate for a GI iron. The clubs look classy and refined in the bag.”
DoubleBogeyDad: “These clubs look AMAZING. I am especially taken in by the simplicity of the lines. He “took these to Golf Galaxy for some Trackman time and they got some special attention from the fitters and salespeople. I heard, ‘What are those? They look great’, ‘Is that a MacGregor? I didn’t think they made clubs any more. Can I hit one?” Which I obviously obliged.”
GolfSpy TCB: “The MT86’s are visually stunning. In my opinion, a perfect blend of the decades-old legacy of MacGregor irons and new technology released by all the major OEMs. The MT86s aren’t even whispering GI in my ear. The top line isn’t overly thick and whatever amount of beef is there is very well hidden by rounded edges and clever two-tone painting/etching. Similarly, if there is a significant offset to these irons, MacGregor does a great job in masking it, giving the address position a look of a player’s club.”
The Numbers and On-Course Results
The testers set out to determine a few things.
How do the MT-86 irons compare to mainstream OEM options?
Were they getting the same performance they would expect from other brands?
Was this the return of the MacGregor brand to glory or just a re-badge of a generic head?
Then, of course, the testers wanted to find out if the MacGregor MT-86 irons helped them play better golf.
So what were the results? Here are some comments about the performance and on-course results using the MT-86 Pro and the MT-86 OS irons.
“I recently hit 11 greens with the Macs and only had three or four challenging up-and-downs.” – Hook Deloft
DiscipleofPenick: “Regarding the numbers, I haven’t seen any improvement in Arccos with these clubs. I haven’t noticed any distance increase, which is odd to me because the clubs are two degrees stronger than my CBs. Swing speed and spin seem to be about the same. Perhaps I am getting a higher launch off the KBS shaft vs. the DG X100 and that negates any distance I would gain from the lower lofts.”
Wely324: “First thing I noticed when hitting the clubs was the sense that they were flying further and higher than my gamers,” but he also noted that they “fly with plenty of speed, height, and spin to handle the toughest of approach shots out there!”
Forgiveness is Key
Regarding forgiveness, “these irons like to fly straight and high regardless of where you hit the ball on the face. Yes, center strikes are most rewarding with a towering ball flight, but mishits seem to also have enough legs under them to make it to the green and hold the putting surface on relatively small greens.”
Hook DeLoft: “Testing on a launch monitor revealed a design that was high-launching and with more spin than other hollow-body irons I have tried in the past. For example, compared to a 2019 model TaylorMade P790, the ball speeds and launch angles were similar but the TaylorMade didn’t have enough spin to hold greens very well. There was no such problem with the MacGregors. On-course performance is the ultimate test of a club and here the Macs really shine. Iron play is a weakness of my game and it is not unusual for me to hit only three or four greens in regulation. l rarely miss by a mile but I end up in the fringe to five yards off a lot. I recently hit 11 greens with the Macs and only had three or four challenging up-and-downs.”
Get Dialed In
DoubleBogeyDad: Our tester’s biggest takeaway from early testing was that his old clubs were a half-inch too short and he didn’t realize that. As a result, a lot of his early sessions resulted in contact in the heel but “what was pretty enlightening to me was the smash factor difference. I was consistently missing the center of the face on the MT86 OS, as displayed by the lower smash factors across the board. THEY WERE STILL CARRYING AND STAYING ON LINE!!! Chalk one up for forgiveness.” On the course, our tester found some great results, too. “The last two rounds out, Arccos tells me I’ve gained +1.5 SG Approach in both which is 5-6 strokes better than where I was at earlier this year. Some of that is attributable to playing more this year but these irons are legit!”
GolfSpy TCB: “I do feel a little more scattered from a scoring perspective when using these irons.” He noted he was going through some swing changes which could have contributed to that. Once he “adjusted to the (different) lofts, I found the MacGregor MT86 irons to be quite easy to dial in from a distance perspective. Additionally, I found the gapping from club to club was consistent, and could confidently use a 7-10 yard profile when gauging my carry distance.”
Overall Thoughts – Forum Member Review: MacGregor MT86 Irons
As each tester wrapped up their six-week review of the MacGregor MT-86 irons, they shared some parting thoughts. Two main areas for improvement all our testers identified were more options for custom shafts and a better unboxing experience. While it can be difficult for a small OEM to get favorable terms for shaft deals (which is excusable at this point in MacGregor’s return), they felt more protection could be used while shipping the clubs. Below are a few other highlights of our testers’ overall closing thoughts.
“I don’t feel like I’m giving away any measurable performance (versus the mainstream OEMs) by playing the MacGregor MT86 irons.” – GolfSpy TCB
Better Than Expected
DiscipleofPenick: “On the course, I thought the clubs performed slightly better than I expected. While I didn’t gain any yards, and I only expected to gain half a club at best, I definitely didn’t lose any distance. Additionally, the MacGregors were so much more forgiving than my CBs.”
Wely324: “A set of chrome player’s irons, with offset, with forgiveness, with classic styling and shape, there isn’t many options in this category and MacGregor did a great job at filling this void in the market with the MT-86 pro irons.”
Room for Improvement
Hook DeLoft: “When I received the irons, I had the lofts and lies checked. They were all over the place. I’ve posted the errors below. I had my local shop bend them to the specs ordered. If you decide to buy these irons, plan on spending a modest amount to have the lies and lofts bent to your specs.” He also suggested a set gap wedge be made available. Despite this, he anticipated playing the irons once he figures out how to adjust to cover the new gaps within the set.
DoubleBogeyDad: “I’ll start with the bad. Being DTC (direct-to-consumer), I wasn’t able to go get fit for these irons. I think in general that will be a challenge for MacGregor and any other DTC lines out there. On the positive side of things, it is awesome to see MacGregor back in the game. These clubs look great, and the meaty “THWACK” you get on clean strikes is a treat.”
GolfSpy TCB: “I don’t feel like I’m giving away any measurable performance (versus the mainstream OEMs) by playing the MacGregor MT86 irons. Easy to lock in distances, good gapping across the set, exceptional feel and sound resulting in confidence-inspiring golf. The only thing I can say in a negative way about these MacGregor Irons is the market perception.” In summary, “I am just enamored by the look of these irons – especially when compared to my “old school” MacGregors.”
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