With one of the oldest names in golf, Wilson irons have used all manner of alpha-numeric combinations to designate their clubs over the years. The Wilson X-31 may sound a little more like rocket or aircraft designation than a golf club, but make no mistake; these clubs were "the real deal" back in their day.
The X-31 originally appeared in the 1950s and was of a design common to the era: a muscle back iron with smooth lines, small heads, and fitted with steel shafts, while the accompanying woods had heads of solid maple. Generally these were made as a department or sporting goods store set -- rather than something you would find at your pro shop. This was an era when Sam Snead and Patty Berg were actively designing on the Wilson Tour Staff, and their names were most often attached to a mass-market set of clubs. While the X-31 bears neither of their names, the concept is indelible, and the frequency with which these '50s-era sets or individual clubs can be found -- even today -- speaks to the thousands of sets made and sold.
Like many companies, Wilson has used the X-31 model for years, and throughout the 1970s and even into the mid 1980s it remained largely unchanged. A hard-to-hit (by today's standards) iron with a very small sweet-spot, no offset, and no cavity back or perimeter weighting. I played a similar set (Wilson Staff Tour blades) in the late 1980's and can testify that nothing feels as good as as well struck iron shot with a forged club -- and nothing feels worse than a poorly struck one. The problem for me was, far too many of the latter and not nearly enough of the former.
Wilson has recently resurrected the X-31 mark yet again, and once more applied it to their department store sets that are sold complete with irons, woods, and bag, and geared at the beginning or very casual golfer, just as they were over 60 years ago. Today's X-31 features game improvement technology such as cavity back irons, large, forgiving wood heads, and a shaft flex best suited to the beginning player.
I’m not a big fan of this set for a few reasons. It’s not any better than your basic Wal-Mart set. Most of the full sets that are out there right now are cheap and ugly. It’s designed to look like the better equipment but the materials are shoddy. I wouldn’t use these shafts in my broom.
The driver head is oversized (which is good) but the sound it makes at impact rivals nails on a chalk board. And the shaft of the driver is whippier than a riding crop.
If you want a cheap set that you only pull out once or twice a year, then by all means grab this set. However, if you are interested in getting into golf and playing this wonderful game for a lifetime, than check out the Adam’s A7 OS hybrid set. This is an awesome set for beginners (and intermediates). These hybrids let you enjoy hitting the golf ball right out of the gate and the materials and technology allows you some room to grow. You will have this set with you for a long time.
Find these clubs on eBay:
|Vintage Wilson X31 4300 13 5 Wood Set Regular Flex Steel Shafts
|Wilson Staff X31 9 Iron MRH Power Groove Reg Steel HS8449
|WILSON X 31 STEEL IRONS 3 SW REGULAR SHAFTS 21200