Monday, June 1, 2015

My Meaningless Thoughts on Parsons Xtreme Golf


Friends of the blog at MyGolfSpy.com did a write-up on the new clubs from Parsons Xtreme Golf :

http://www.mygolfspy.com/pxg-parsons-golf-2015/

I think it is refreshing to see a company whose priority is set on trying to develop the best product possible while still having the demand that once they do, that they will be able return a nice profit. It sure beats the companies that are solely in it to make money and make it from the get-go by cutting corners and using brilliant and aggressive marketing campaigns.

I knew the screws were actually weights a while ago. I find it interesting that they are so particular about head weight as have been preaching the importance of head weight along with MOI matching in clubs for ultimate performance. I think Parsons is coming about as close as one company can find to create a set that can more easily match the MOI of the set.

Of course, there is a lot of discussion about the forgiveness factor. As many readers know, I play blades. Last year I tried to play some PING S55 irons, but ended up hitting them about 15 yards shorter as they launched too high and spun too much.

It seems these days that when it comes to iron *performance*, it usually revolves around:

1. Distance
2. Forgiveness

This was discussed here with PXG. And PXG states that they don't like how OEM's "try to be everything to everybody."

I think the issue is that it *may* be impossible to truly create a superior club because the individuality of the golf swing and what a golfer needs is going to be different for everybody. And that using Distance and Forgiveness as the parameters to equate as 'performance' is a bit misleading and flawed.

One of the common questions I get asked by readers is about irons that go further. Most people know that today's lofts are much lower than lofts in irons of yesteryear. But, that's one of the key points. If we are looking at the curvature of a ball's flight, the spin loft (Dynamic Loft - Attack Angle = Spin Loft) plays a huge factor because the ball will tend to curve more offline when the axis is tilted more than by producing more spin. Trackman's Fredrik Tuxen showed this at the Open Forum 2 in January of 2014 (although he showed it with a driver).

So, the idea that hitting a 7-iron as long as your old 6-iron isn't necessarily a good thing. If the new 7-iron is the same loft as your old 6-iron, it's more 6 in 1, half dozen in the other. But the other issue is that companies know golfers fall in love with hitting their irons further, so they make the clubs lighter and even a bit longer shafted. And when you start lengthening a club with a lower loft, it can provide accuracy and consistency issues.

The golfer that had a 32* 6-iron iron with a 37.5" shaft and it weighed 435 grams and the golfer hit it 175 yards may be better off with that club than a new 6-iron with 29* loft, a 38" shaft and weighs 422 grams because they are more wild with the longer, lighter and lower lofted 6-iron.

As far as forgiveness goes, people should remember that the sweet-spot of a club is only the size of a needlepoint. Regardless if it is a classic blade iron or a giant oversized Game Improvement iron. The difference is in the clubhead MOI. The classic blade is going to have less MOI around the sweet-spot point than a game improvement iron.

But, where the issue arises is that the larger difference in MOI between a blade and a Game Improvement iron really takes place further away from the sweet-spot. So, if you miss by 1-2 dimples with a blade versus a Game Improvement iron, you probably will not see much of a difference. But if you start to miss 5, 6 or 7 dimples off the sweet-spot, the Game Improvement iron will have more MOI. The problem? You're still likely to hit a poor shot when you are THAT far off the mark. And the main benefit is distance with the Game Improvement iron and if you're that far off the mark and are going to hit a ball that much offline, adding distance to the equation won't help much.

***

I think where blades get a bad name is that many of the very old school blades had no forgiveness towards the toe. This was due to the epoxy not being as strong back then, so they made the hosels longer and used a pin to help keep the shaft in place.


By making the hosel longer, the CoG of the head shifted more towards the heel and that means if you were just a little off towards the toe, there was no forgiveness whatsoever.  In fact, Ben Hogan made it a priority to make irons that were not so unforgiving off the toe and it was in part what made his irons so popular.  There's a common misconception that Hogan blades were small, but in fact they were probably larger than most any other blade on the market at the time.

Now, the epoxy is far better and the hosels are much smaller and many OEM's have taken Hogan's lead and found ways to make the toe quite forgiving. For me, the main benefits of blades are:

A. Lower Launch Angles (if needed)
B. Feedback can help distinguish quality of strike
C. Smaller sole and tighter grind may result in preferred turf interaction.

For me, I tend to hit a spinny ball that can go too high, so that's why hitting cavity backs tend to b e problematic.  I also prefer the turf interaction with the smaller sole and tight grind.  As far as feedback goes, I think it's helpful if you really want to work at it.  Most of my range practice consists of me hitting my Yonex EZone blade 3-iron and I think it has helped quicken the learning process. 

But, you have some of the greatest ballstrikers in the world, like Jordan Spieth, who prefer cavity backs.

JORDAN SPIETH WITB

It's just that these days there is less and less of a difference between blades and CB's and playing blades doesn't automatically make you a 'player.'  It provides some different benefits from CB's and those benefits may apply to a golfer's game or they may not.

***

So, I don't think forgiveness is for everybody. And we see the potential issues with hitting irons further. However, this excerpt did grab my attention.

While the elaborate system of screws will certainly be what golfers notice, the most impressive bits of PXG’s technology are hidden beneath the surface of the 0311 irons.

While one could reasonably describe the 0311 as a wide-bodied blade, hidden in the traditional looking design (screws notwithstanding) is what PXG will tell you is the most advanced iron design ever created.

0311 construction starts with a forged open face body. An ultra-thin face is plasma welded to the body, creating a hollow cavity which is then filled with a thermoplastic elastomer. The elastomer, a flexible goo of sorts, supports the face while enhancing feel. A bonding adhesive keeps gaps from forming between the elastomer and the face.



While that may not sound like much of a radical departure from the types of technology stories told by every other golf company, PXG’s technology is groundbreaking, in part, because it allows for a face that’s half as thick as anything else on the market today. Half as thick. Nobody is even close.

Those are substantial claims.  Although I would be interested on how close Yonex comes with their Ti-Hybrid MB and Cavity Back irons.  The MB irons carry a titanium insert and the cavity back have a graphite insert. 


Remember, just because they are claiming to have a face that is half as thick and nobody comes close, doesn't mean that it is necessarily true.  I don't know if that's the case, but I would like to see how Yonex compares. 

In the end though, it would mean more *true* distance.  Instead of using gimmicks like lower lofts, lighter and longer shafts, the PXG claims would mean that the Smash Factor is better and allows us to hit the ball further.

But in the end, it really comes down to what fits the golfer.  I like a lot of what I've read on PXG with the weight screws and the face thickness.  The club looks a bit like a Ping I25 to me and it's no surprised that they grabbed some people from PING.  I think it's something I'll be leery on because I promised myself that I would never by another set of CB's, again.  However, they have piqued my interest and I'll keep an eye on them in the future.





3JACK

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