Sub 70 699 and 699 Pro V2 Irons – Key Takeaways
- Performance upgrade to the three-year-old 699 Player’s Distance irons
- Lower CGs and stronger lofts than the previous models
- Available in Satin Chrome and Black DLC
- $110/stick in chrome; $120/stick in black
- Available to order now
The new Sub 70 699 and 699 Pro V2 irons are the living embodiment of a very old TV commercial.
If you’re of a certain age, you can remember Orson Welles assuring us that Paul Masson would sell no wine before it’s time. Sub 70 owner Jason Hiland has consistently taken the same approach with new club releases.
“I’m only going to bring out a new club if we have better technology,” Hiland tells MyGolfSpy. “It has to be enough of an upgrade that you if you grab both and hit them side by side, you’ll see a performance difference. If I can’t do that, I won’t bring out a new club.”
The three-year-old Sub 70 699 and 699 Pro have been very successful for Hiland. But to satisfy the boss’s line in the sand, Sub 70 had to basically erase all the 699 files, grab a blank sheet of paper and start from scratch.
The end result is the new 699 and 699 Pro V2 irons. Cosmetically, at least, Sub 70 is giving you a very different piece of equipment. And according to Hiland, the performance upgrade is more than enough to get your attention.
Sub 70 699 and 699 Pro V2 Irons
“I will not bring out a new club every year and tell you to buy it,” says Hiland. “And I’m willing to throw everything we had away and start over and not have it look anything like the club it’s replacing, if the new one outperforms the old one.”
Sub 70, as you know, is golf’s leading Direct-To-Consumer (DTC) brand. With apologies to Mel Brooks, Hiland and Sub 70 are rapidly becoming an underground sensation. The original 699 and 699 Pro irons sat comfortably in the Player’s Distance category. They were sleek, hollow-body irons and almost blade-like in appearance. And though they’ve been in Sub 70’s catalog for three years, the irons were first developed six years ago.
The new 699 and 699 Pro V2s are, visually at least, an abrupt departure. But with Sub 70, there’s always a reason.
“The goal for these irons is both distance and control,” Hiland says. “To get more distance you need more ball speed. And to get more ball speed, we had to do a few things.”
The recipe for more ball speed and distance with a hollow body, TPE (thermoplastic elastomer)-filled iron head boils down to three simple ingredients:
Stronger lofts, a lower CG and variable face thickness.
“We knew we had to go with stronger lofts and a lower CG. That’s what gets you more horsepower in this type of iron,” says Hiland. “It’s not just jacking lofts. If you took the old 699 and jacked the lofts without lowering the center of gravity, then you’re just making a 7-iron into a 6-iron.”
Function Drives Form
The new Sub 70 699 and 699 Pro V2 irons still feature a TPE-filled hollow body. But re-engineering the irons for more punch required a complete chassis overhaul. The soles of both models are just a touch wider to accommodate the lower CG, and the heads are just a touch larger.
“The goal with a hollow body iron is ball speed,” says Hiland. “That’s why people are playing that club. They want that extra distance.”
Along with the wider soles and slightly larger heads, the V2s feature a variable-thickness face made from S450 stainless steel. The previous face was made from 455 carpenter steel. You’ll also notice a more pronounced hosel to club face transition and an ever so slightly squatter, Barney Rubble-looking profile.
On the back, Sub 70 created quite a stir by including a large channel with a badge and multiple horizontal ribs. Compared to the original 699s, it’s a much busier look. But, says Hiland, the form follows function.
“The channel definitely improves mishits low and high on the face,” he says. “We’re getting a larger area that acts like it’s getting hit in the center.”
Additionally, the channel and bars improve the overall stiffness of the head.
“When a variable face thickness face hits the ball, you lose some energy into the club chassis where it deflects,” says Hiland. “If you stiffen up the frame, now that energy goes into the face more, which then goes into the ball. That’s why we’re seeing more ball speed.”
“We Don’t Need No Stinking Badges”
Well, with hollow body clubs, it turns out you do. And some thermoplastic elastomer as well.
Ever wonder why the more forgiving golf clubs have badges on the back? They’re more than just decorative. Both the badge and the elastomer backing do the important job of absorbing vibration, which improves feel. They also come with a bit of a ball speed penalty, as they can prevent face deflection in cavity backs. But if you’ve ever hit a game improvement cavity back that’s lost its badge, you know it’s a worthwhile trade-off.
With the new Sub 70 699 and 699 Pro V2 irons, both the badge and the TPE injected into the hollow body have important jobs. Without them, hitting a hollow body iron can sound (and feel) like hitting an anvil with a ball peen hammer.
“The badge and elastomer help with both sound and shock absorption,” says Hiland. “That was part of the engineering to give it the best sound and feel that we could. That’s the tricky part with a hollow body. How do you make it perform like a hollow body, but not sound or feel like a hollow body?”
The S450 steel used in the variable-thickness face is a strong material with a high tensile strength. The upside is it promotes ball speed. But the downside?
“It’s a hard face, like a hybrid or a fairway,” says Hiland. “None of the hollow body clubs out there have a soft face. So you do everything you can to make it feel better and sound better. You try to make the club feel as soft as you can, so it doesn’t feel like a 5-wood.”
Of Lofts and Golf Balls
Nothing gets more undies in more wads than “loft-jacking.” We get it, distance sells, but playable distance is what matters. That’s why stronger lofts and low CG go hand in hand. The former without the latter is simply putting a “7” on a 6-iron.
But there’s another element to the equation: the modern golf ball.
“Golf balls since we developed the first 699 six years ago have changed,” says Hiland. “It doesn’t spin as much, especially off the mid-irons like these where the face deflects so much. You have to lower the center of gravity to get carry. You’ll see some pretty good players struggling to get a 5-iron up in the air.”
The new Sub 70 699 and 699 Pro V2s do feature stronger lofts than their predecessors, but the loft structure is still very much in line with the Player’s Distance category. The added ball speed and the resulting added distance winds up being due to the combination of stronger lofts, a lower CG and the new variable thickness face.
“It’s a better ball today, says Hiland. “But that’s why you’re seeing so many stronger lofted, low CG clubs. If we can get the ball up in the air with the right amount of spin and with a higher launch, then we’re cooking with propane.”
If you swing your driver over 100 mph, you certainly won’t need these sticks. But if you swing it in the low 90s at best, and someone hands you longer, higher and straighter, with a descent angle that holds greens?
Golf becomes a lot more fun.
Sub 70 699 and 699 Pro V2 Irons: Final Thoughts
Sub 70 has earned a reputation as being customer-centric, often to the extreme. Where mainstream OEMs use their TOUR players for feedback and design direction, Hiland talks with – and listens to – his customers.
“The Pro, in the first edition, wasn’t different enough from the standard 699,” he says. “That’s what people told us. With the V2, the standard 699 is definitely more game improvement, and the 699 Pro is even more compact and can appeal to the better player.”
Generally speaking, the original 699 was aimed at a 12- to 16-handicap, while the Pro was best for an 8 to 12. The V2s cast a little wider net.
“Now I think we have a club that a 10-handicap maybe up to a 20-handicap can play in the standard 699 if they want power and straightness,” says Hiland. “And a 4 or a 5 up to maybe a 12 could play the Pro.”
It’s unusual, however, to see the next generation of a club change so radically in appearance. But it’s important to understand the depths at which mainstream OEMs sculpt our expectations. Tweaks and adjustments under one product name are fine, but radical changes always get a new family name (Hello, Paradym). But one thing that sets Sub 70 apart is it doesn’t follow the big OEM playbook.
“People loved the look of the original 699,” says Hiland. “We’re still going to have it for another year or so until we sell out. But I couldn’t look myself in the mirror if we just took the first shape, tweaked it and said, ‘Here you go.’ I won’t just hit the repeat just to sell you something.
“It’s very different looking, and I’m kinda cool with that.”
Sub 70 699 and 699 Pro V2: Specs, Price and Availability
Sub 70 is doing something interesting with this release by making heads for both .370 parallel-tipped shafts and .355 taper-tipped shafts. That opens up an entire catalog of shaft options for golfers. Additionally, the entire lineup will be available for both lefties and righties.
Currently, both the standard 699 and 699 Pro V2 are available in parallel for both lefties and righties, in both the Satin and Black-DLC (Diamond-like Coating) finishes. The tapered option is only available in the standard 699 V2 for righties at this time. Hiland says the rest of the lineup will fill out soon.
There’s no such thing as a stock Sub 70 set, but the default set on Sub 70’s website features the True Temper Elevate 95 MPH shaft and Lamkin Crossline 360 grip. A 5-PW set go for $660 ($110 per stick) in Satin and $720 in Black ($120 per stick).
A wide selection of shafts, grips and even ferrules are available at various upcharges. Lie adjustments and hard or soft stepping are no charge.
For more information, visit the Sub 70 website.
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