Should Your Irons Really Match?
I've written before about the performance qualities of irons, the effect of weight distribution, offset, shaft, etc. And in a few articles of some time back, I opined that I thought more golfers should play modern blade irons than the industry at large would recommend. In other words, I'm supportive of the idea that "you're not as bad as the other companies think you are." I still get emails weekly from golfers who've discovered that logic of mine and have found that their game really began to improve when they did try that move to blades.
In one of those articles I suggested that you start with the short irons. Borrow the 8-, 9-irons and pitching wedge from a friend who plays a modern blade, and see just how much difference it can make in your trajectory and distance control. Again, I’ve heard from many players whose eyes were opened by this experiment.
I’m revisiting this topic today because of a question from Jason, who asked:
"This idea of going from blades to full cavities in one set is something that really makes sense to me (like the NIKE Vr Combo). I was wondering what your take was on this ‘new’ idea for an iron set. Is it a good idea to have ‘different’ irons through your set? And is this something that could really help the average golfer?"Well, Jason, this idea isn’t really all that new, as it has been tried by many golf companies over the years without really catching on. In my opinion, that is a marketing problem. On the one hand, they’re saying this is really good, but they then “hedge their bet”, by making bigger and bolder claims for their full cavity sets. We’ll see if NIKE cracks the code and others re-introduce this type of set make-up. My money is on “no”.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t do it on your own. Think about your iron set for a bit. How dissatisfied are you with the performance you get from your middle and long irons? (In fact, how many times a round do you even hit shots with less than an 8-iron?) How does that compare to the satisfaction you have with your short iron play? My bet is that you’ve figured out that you’re not hitting your short irons as close as you think you should, but since those are not sold separately, you’re shopping for an entire set of irons that shows promise of helping that part of your game.
My advice is to examine your iron play before you ditch your entire set for something new. If it’s only your short irons that you are trying to improve, why not just get new short irons in a modern blade style? You can have a custom clubmaker build you an 8-, 9- and PW only. They could easily be made to blend seamlessly with your cavity-back middle irons, starting at the 7-.
Or here’s an even more novel idea. Why not have him also examine your wedges and craft those new short irons and “re-craft” your wedges to give you a really matched set of scoring clubs, from 8-iron through your highest lofted wedge? Your middle irons don’t match your hybrids . . . why should they match your short irons?
While I’m a very traditional guy, I’m not one to follow convention for convention’s sake. If you can find a way to hit better golf shots with the clubs that are giving you trouble, experimenting is half the fun.
Let me know what direction you take, Jason, and you’ve won a new EIDOLON wedge for asking. That might be a good place to start with your new experiment, huh?
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Actually just yesterday I was at my local Ping dealer and was considering buying a set made of the following:
4-6 irons - i15
7-9 irons - s56
The following wedges complete my set:
P - Titeleist Spin milled 48°
G - Eidolon 52°
S - Cleveland CG12 58° DSG
L - Titleist 64.07
Another option I've been thinking about is getting all the blades and mixing them with my current X20 Tours. I have not made up my mid yet. I borrowed the 7 iron s56 with a S300 DG shaft as well as the 7 iron s57 with an X100. I want to confirm on the range wht I felt at the store... that I was hitting better the x100 shaft than the S300
I have a set of Apex blades and am considering mixing them with Apex Edge or Edge Pros in the long irons. However, the lofts are quite different and I'm concerned about adding 2-3* of bounce by weakening the lofts of the CB clubs. I very much like the lofts of the blades. How to club builders typically handle this situation?
My iron set consists of 4i-6i Mizuno MX-20 CB and 7i-PW Mizuno MP-30 I sometimes switch the MP-30 7i out for the MX-20 7i because I not as consistent with the MP-30, however stuck on the sweet spot the MP-30 7i will usually get me closer to the pin. The big differences in these clubs is the MX-20's have a larger head with a deep cavity and lower CG. But I think the bigger difference is the shafts the MX-20's have dynamic gold lite which have a much higher launch angle than the DGS shafts that are in the MP-30's. All this seems to make it a little easier to get my ball in the air with the longer irons. I bought both sets on ebay for about $300 total. I love to tinker around with stuff.
P.S. I'm really in the hunt for a cheap set of those Titleist ZB's (factory made combo set) with project x 5.5 shafts. Hit these several time at Golf Smith and I really get the 3i & 4i up with those shafts and heads.
@ knh555- I believe a clubmaker can grind the sole to remove the added bounce when the loft is weakened.
I took the S56 to the range yesterday and I must say that they are the most forgiving blade design I've hit; and they were just as long as my Callaway X20 Tour. Anybody considering blades should give them a try; you will be surprised at how easy to hit they are. Oh, and no; I'm not a ping fan. The only Ping club I've ever owned is an Anser putter. I will order the S56 from 5-9 and keep the 48° Titleist Vokey Spin Milled Wedge. I will take a look at several 4-Hy and probably re-shaft my Nickent 18.5° 4DX Ironwood.
my irons are basically blades myabe like a mix cavity back blade set. i love them solid shots have great trajecotory high but not ballon like at all. almost a boring flight if struck properly. man i love golf! been over a month and a half since last round! AHHHH!
You speak the truth. Blade short irons are the shiz. I understand the need for game improvement features on longer clubs, but the 8-PW should not be chunky and bulbous!
And there are plenty of beautiful *but old* blade irons on the eBay and Craigslist. Stoopid cheap - a whole set for what a sgl 2010 Vokey costs. Isn't a blade iron a blade iron? 1980 or 2010 doesn't matter - blades didn't change, right? Except for the lofts on PW and longer; old school are loftier. And the old stuff has square grooves. So why are people throwing money at Cleveland, et al for 2010 models? Or am I (as usual) full of shiz?
Matt F says:
@windowsurfer - I think you're onto something there.
How are "modern blades" different from the blades that have been around for years?
Modern blades are different in two very important ways.
One, most modern blades have shorter hosels than those of the past. Longer hosels tend to move the sweetspot higher and closer to the heel. You're trying to hit the center of the face, so that's where you want the sweetspot.
Two, modern blades tend to have more forgiving sole designs than those of the past. Whether narrow or a bit wider, they tend to be rounded from front to back. These irons go through the ground a lot more smoothly than the blades of the past, which tended to have very flat soles and very sharp leading edges. Catch one of those older clubs fat on a modern thin wet fairway and you're liable to leave it there.
All that said, I can't help but have a soft spot for those old blades. Wilson Staffs from 1967, 1969, 1971, 1973 and 1976. Spalding Top Flites. PowerBilt Citations and Scotch Blades. Beautiful clubs.
Thx Shallowface. Jogs memory - recall hearing that b4. Also suspect modern blades r a skooch bigger overall than the old classics. I play old MB irons and feel they r a swing improvement tool. But maybe it's time for some new age steel . . .
knh55, I would even worry about bending the irons. Just ignore the numbers on the long irons.
Eg if your take out the blade 3,4 and 5 iron, replace them with the 4,5 and 6 of the cb, the cb 6 with stronger loft will go further than the blade 6, so the CB 6 is now your 5 iron.
Confusing I know, nothing stamping a number in the cavity couldnt fix.
I still think that those that want to improve should just learn to hit the longer irons. Playing long irons is no more difficult than hitting the short irons, what happens is that people try to whack them harder, but you don't really need to do that because they are longer and therefore higher swing speed.
Jack Nicklaus mentioned that what you should do is take a few easy swings with the 9 iron, then when your in the rhythm and tempo, pick up the 4 iron and do the same. Repeat with the 8 iron and 3 iron etc... It's not difficult at all.
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