Two of the more interesting aspects of the video were:
1. How the launch angle and peak height metrics were almost the same for each of the modern clubs.
2. Obviously, the Ping Eye 2 going further than the players’s CB (i200’s) and just a bit shorter than the modern Game Improvement irons.
I would have thought that the Ping Eye 2 would go shorter due to the advancements in design, the possibility of the steel in the head softening over time and I would presume the higher lofts. Chances are the distance was helped by the more worn down grooves because the grooves being worn down are more likely to produce a higher launch and lower spin than fresh new grooves on the same club. In all likelihood, the Ping Eye 2 likely will still fly as far for this golfer as the modern i200’s if the grooves were new.
One of the things I wanted to examine with this is the possibility of the impact that finding irons that one can hit further would have on a golfer’s game. As we can see from the video, the lofts are much stronger on the player’s CB and game improvement irons.
Many golfers feel this is ‘cheating your distances’ because the game improvement iron has 4 degrees lower loft than the i-Blade model. Essentially, the thought is that the player who hits the Game Improvement 7-iron is only hitting the ball longer because the loft of the club is more like a 6-iron than the 7-iron for the iBlade.
The other thing as noted in the video, is that the spin rate for the game improvement iron is significantly less, so you may have more difficulty holding the green.
However, I feel there is some short sighted logic in that regard. The big thing is that while the game improvement iron may spin less, you’re also using 1 less club. In this scenario, if you have a 170 yard shot, you may use a 7-iron with the iBlade model, but you’re going to use an 8-iron with the game improvement iron. And thus the extra spin you get from going to 1 shorter club may make up for the less spin the game improvement irons provide.
In order to test this out, I took the mean for each of the key ball metrics provided in the video:
- Ball Speed
- Launch Angle
- Spin Rate
Fried Eggs golf only provides the data for a 7-iron. So, what I did was take Trackman’s PGA Tour averages
From there, I went onto FlightScope’s Trajectory Optimizer (http://flightscope.com/products/trajectory-optimizer/), I set the horizontal launch at 0 degrees (straight shot) and set the altitude at 100 feet and here’s the final numbers I came up with on the iBlade vs. the game improvement iron
The graph shows pretty clearly that the when you adjust for using 1 less club with the game improvement iron, the roll distance is almost exactly the same. For example, the Game Improvement 6-iron is projected to roll 3.8 yards versus the i-Blade 5-iron which is projected to roll 4.0 yards. In this scenario, the game improvement iron will travel a *total* of 1.7 yards futher, but actually roll -0.2 yards less.
Of course, there is a lot of assumptions going on here. Furthermore, I’m not saying that a golfer should go to a game improvement iron. But, there is some real value to finding a set of irons you can hit further.
The main one I point to is that hitting irons 1 club length longer is more likely to help you hit them straighter provided the shaft lengths are the same. For starters, you will be using a shorter shafted club which tends to be easier to control. Secondly, you’re likely to increase the Spin Loft with 1 less club (Dynamic Loft – Attack Angle = Spin Loft) and we know that the higher the spin loft, the less the ball’s spin axis will tilt which helps you to hit a straighter shot.
It’s still more important to be fit for the irons that you hit best overall and again, I think finding longer shafted irons that you hit longer is counterproductive. You also have to worry about the how well the weight of the club and the sole grind fits your swing. But, if you can find irons that check off all of those boxes, it could be very well worth getting over the look and feel of the irons for 1 extra club of distance.