1. Great question. The TE Forged was originally new 2010. It is still one our best sellers. The timeless nature of the design and the longevity of it in the marketplace illustrates that good design translates into great performance, no matter when it was “new”. It’s mass and dimensional characteristics make it a Super Game Improvement design, even though you might classify it as “players cavity”. It is billet forged from soft 1035 carbon steel. If we were to do a new billet forged iron, we would use the same process and material. So, there is nothing new we could come up with to produce a better performing true forged iron. That, and the fact that it still sells extremely well, makes it unlikely we will discontinue it in the coming years. We would only consider it if sales started to drop and if there was some new technology or material that we felt we could use to improve the design and performance. The DBM is exactly the same model, only with the Ultrs durable DBM black finish. I have played the TE and then the DBM ever since 2010 and simply can not get them out of bag.
2. We decided to wait on the STi Tour design we have in the works for a later 2016 release. We just finished the design drawings and will start the process for prototypes. It will be a players cavity as well, but will probably be investment cast, not true forged. this does not affect the playability and is cheaper for us to produce. The material is yet to be determined. it will probably be a soft 431 heat treated stainless or a 8620 carbon steel that can be investment cast. Waiting will not get you any more playable iron, just a different looking iron, with a little more going on the cavity. We are striving to produce another Super Game Improvement cavity back players iron with this model. Based on how you describe your game, and if you are open to looking at designs that not as traditional as the TE, I think the KE4 S or KE4 Tour+ could be excellent choices. they would provide you even more forgiveness and have a profile that appeals to a wide range of players. The main difference is the KE4 S has more offset than the Tour+.
3. As far as shaft go, there a lot of choices. In steel, based on how you described your game, you should look for lightweight, flexible designs that promote higher trajectories. The Nippon N.S. Pro 950G might be a good choice. An even lighter more flexible option in the Nippon line would be the Zelos 7. True Tempers new XP95 is their light weight high trajectory option and is very popular. Since you mentioned needing some joint releif, graphite should definitely be in play. UST is coming out with lighter more flexible version of the Recoil iron shafts. The current Recoil 460 might be worth looking at and is very popular. Grafalloy has the ProLaunch Blue irons that are a high trajectory shaft as well. The Xcaliber iron is one of our most popular and peforms very well. We will have a new line from Paderson and one of the options will be Kintexx TS-1 Trajectory Series iron shafts that in testing have been very well received. The A or R flex options offer a high to mid/high trajectory. the nature of the graphite material in any of these will reduce the low frequency vibrations that can cause joint pain.
Hope this helps.
Thank you for the wonderfully detailed response. Exactly what I was looking for.
You are correct in that my game could use a more forgiving iron like the KE4, but the minimalist design and classic lofts of TE appeal to me more. I will check out the shaft choices you have recommended.