thing I have not discussed with the irons is the feel of the irons when the ball
is struck. Years ago, PING did a study showing that almost all golfers could not
distinguish the feel between a forged club and a cast club. IIRC, Jeff Maggert
was the one player who could. From the sounds of it, it appears that Maggert was
the only PGA Tour player that they tested. And from what I’ve read, PING used
the same steel in the test, 304 stainless steel which is not exactly the softest
steel used by golf clubs. Also remember that PING has always been a company that
has made cast irons which saves them plenty of money in costs and that companies
like Mizuno were making waves with their forged irons. So PING certainly had
some stake in the test to see the results work in their favor.
research and experience (and no, the research was not ‘scientific’) there are a
lot of things that go into the feel of an iron. The type of steel used is part
of it. But, if the CoG and the MOI of the entire club does not fit your swing,
you’ll think a softer steel like 1020 carbon steel will feel very harsh. I
experienced that with my Bridgestone J33 blade irons, that have 1020 carbon
steel and I didn’t like the feel of them at all. I also think that the bounce
and grind of the irons plays a giant factor in it as well.
I think if
everything is equal, then the softness of the steel starts to become a factor.
The best feeling irons I’ve hit are usually the vintage Hogan’s (’67 Percussions
with the 2.5” hosel), the Mizuno’s (almost every model), and the Scratch Golf
I would probably rank my Wishon’s up there as far as feel goes. I
feel it’s just slightly noticeable for me, the experienced low handicap player.
I think for the higher handicap players with less experience, they probably
would not notice any difference.
In part IV, I discussed some differences in performance
stemming from a cavity back iron versus a blade design. There are a couple of
more differences I wanted to discuss here.
For starters, I will go with
feel. But, I’m not talking about the ‘softness’ of the feel on a well struck
shot or the ‘harshness’ of the feel on a mis-hit. What I’m talking about is the
ability to use the feel on a strike to decipher how well the ball was
Where I think blades provide a difference is I can really
decipher those shots that where struck decently versus those struck very well
versus those that were flat out flushed and those struck a little below average.
With cavity backs, the feel gets a little ‘murky’ when you are in the decent, to
pretty good to average to slightly below average range. Sure, you can judge on
the ball flight, but I’ve always found that feel plays a bigger role in a
golfers game than ball flight.
Now, if you’re a player like a Kenny Perry
who can pretty much duplicate their swing every day, shot after shot, that
difference in feel may be largely unimportant to you. But, I find that
difference in feel to be a big help in getting me to learn over time. That’s why
I recommend buying a few individual blade irons off of eBay. Get the specs to
fit you (shaft, length, lie angle, MOI, etc) and then use them in practice. If
you want to game cavity backs because you feel more comfortable with them on the
course, go right ahead.
The other factor with blades is that I believe
they are very good on front pin positions.
Hogan once commented that on front pin positions he would hit more club and hit
it very high. Then on back pin positions he would hit less club and hit it
Now, I agree with the first part, but disagree with the second
part. With irons, a lower or higher trajectory can often make you hit the ball
shorter in total distance. That’s why hitting it higher and take 1-more club on
front pin positions makes sense. You use the extra club and the added height on
the ball will reduce the total distance. But, with the back pin positions,
taking less club and hitting it lower may leave you woefully short of the flag.
So with blade irons, provided that a golfer can hit them high enough on
their stock swing, I think they provide an advantage on those front pin
positions because the ability to control the trajectory allows them to hit it
high on command on those front pin positions.
LOFT & LIE
We went over this in part IV as the lofts are more or less
‘standard’ and the lie angles alter a bit due to shaft droop. In the end, I
wound up bending the 8-PW and the 3 & 4-irons.
I already discussed the shaft and their lengths. I plan
on trying out the new Wishon Stepless steel shafts and using Wishon’s recommend
3/8” shaft increments instead of the standard ½” increments. The increments
start off with the 6-iron. Here’s how the new and old club lengths would
When you MOI match your irons, the
swingweight will get progressively heavier. I’ve found that the swingweight gets
about 0.6 to 0.8 swingweight points heavier, per club.
I knew that MOI
matching was good when I first measured the MOI on my set of irons. Before I
measured it, I noticed that I hit my 4-iron the best, but I hit my 3-iron the
worst. I also hit my 7-iron the 2nd best and the 9-iron the 2nd worst. I was
really curious to see what the 3 and 4-iron MOI measurements were. The 7-iron is
the club I practice the most with, so I figured that was why I hit it so well.
Anyway, here were the initial measurements:
As you can see,
the 3-iron and 9-iron had the lightest MOI’s of the bunch. The 4-iron and 7-iron
have the heaviest MOI-weight of the set. Eventually I found that my optimally
fitted MOI was at 2,725 and thus, the 4-iron and 7-iron were the closest to that
The beauty of MOI matching is not only does it noticeably increase
performance, but I didn’t have to worry about my swing changing causing me to
get entirely new clubs. With MOI-matching, if my optimally fitted MOI altered as
my swing changed, I could simply add more weight to the head (hopefully the
swing changes for the better and you are applying more force as you swing).