Equal Length Iron Set

28/10/2006 at 11:05
Right, here is goal:-

set of irons made to one length where all things are equal except for loft.

What needs to happen:-

Decide on optimum length - relatively easy to get pretty close to an answer here. You can go by static measurement alone or a dynamic fit. I know that mine is going to be about 38 inches, which would put it at just slightly less than my current 6 iron. But for overall accuracy then a dynamic fit, someone like Shaun(Exmax) can do this, where your 9 o'clock shaft angle is measured, is required.

Lie angle - based on your shaft length and posture then the lie angle is decided on the dynamic fit. Cranking lie angles on a set of iron to match is fairly straightforward but nuch easier with softer metal.

Decide on optimum head weight - sets range from about 240 grammes on 3 iron to 300 grammes on sw. Each half inch increment in shaft length seems to require a 7-10 gramme reduction in headweight to keep the feel the same. Based on mt assessment aroundmy 6 iron then I'd be looking at matching weights around the 262 gramme mark.

continued on next post.........
28/10/2006 at 11:25
Okay so I want to make a set of irons at 38 inches, shafts trimmed as per 6 iron, all headweights at 262 grammes and lie angles at 62 degrees. Sounds pretty easy yeah? NO, now your problems really start:-

1. shafts - no problem
2. lie angle - no problem, particularly if using fairly soft/forged heads, you won't be shifting the lie angle more than about 3 degrees max.
3. head weights - massive problem, how do you add in or subtract enough weight, without altering playing characteristics or damaging clubhead integrity?

Shaun has been super helpful to me in this and has systematically shot down every 'good' idea I've had. For some reason I thought that my few days of musings were going to produce solutions that his decades of experience hadn't already tried and discarded(yep I can be that dense). So to save you all hitting dead ends here are the thoughts so far:-

buy a set of heads of equal weight - only a couple available and they are truly ugly and probably not very moveable if you need to tinker

buy a set of heads with weight ports - a few options but again not too pretty and the weight ports do not allow for enough variance

customise your own - adding in weight is feasible in a combination of hosel plugs and lead tape(amazing how much you would need for 20 grammes) but very hard to keep the playing characteristics. Removing that sort of weight is even harder, 30 grammes off a wedge is a huge chunk of metal. Grinding is the best option but you need to watch for bounce etc.
Then I thought of buying multiples of the same head and cranking the lofts. However this is only good for about 2 degrees and most loft spreads are between 3 and 5.

So my best solution at present is to make a set in 2 groupings. Equal length 3,4,5,6, based around the 6 iron but using a combination of hosel weight and shaft weight to get the match. Up to 10 grammes can be done via hosel plugs so this should cover the 4 and 5 iron. Then 3 iron could be done via hosel plug, slightly lighter shaft or leaving an extra 1/2 inch on it.

Next I look at the 7 to SW, now a combination based around the 9 iron might work here, bring 7 and 8 weights up as above and dealing with PW, AW and SW via grinding and maybe a heavier shaft.

So come on folks any budding geniuses out there?
28/10/2006 at 11:40
I've never heard of hosel plugs but wouldn't they put the extra weight in too small an area when it should be spread across the whole head for balance? I've been mucking about with an Adams driver I bought and was staggered how much I noticed the 12g weight when it was in the heel port.
28/10/2006 at 11:46
Sean yes, the hosel plug is not ideal but, additional heel weighting will tend to promote a draw shape. As I currently play a fade I figured I could probably get away with this. If you are a drawer of the ball then this route would probably lead to hooks.

Also 10 grammes of weight into the hosel of a 3 iron is only 4% of the total headweight so it shouldn't have too dramatic an impact.
28/10/2006 at 11:52
Typical weight difference between 3 and AW is 40-50g. SW is usually 8-10g heavier that the PW/AW.
You can get hosel weights and shaft weights up to 10g each, so you are less than halfway there.
The only options seem to be:
1. Find a set of irons that have a relatively long hosel but short shafting depth, and then gradually bore out the hosel below the normal shafting depth (for the 7-SW). Remember that there is already some vacant space below the bottom of the hosel-shaft recess (i.e. where the hosel weight fits) so you aren't going to be removing much metal to begin with.
2. Use a set of irons such as the TM RAc series. Remove the weight cartridges and play with placing different weight into the vacted space.
3. Get a set with a very deep cavity back. This gives maximum material potential for removing weight, or even welding weight down into the cavity.
4. Try the SnakeEyes Viper Ti-4 series. Great quality, hi-tech (Ti face) and has adjustable weighting.
With two 12g weights in the head and a 10g weight in the shaft, that = +34g. Remove all weights AND bore out the hosel (no weight recess, so maximum weight removed for minimum depth of boring) and you should be able to get 10-15g out no prob.
That = 50g difference across the entire set - target achieved. Except for that SW, so might need go over-baord on the hosel bore or try a specific head (other type/make)
29/10/2006 at 15:10
Andrew, some good thoughts there, some I'd thought of some I hadn't, and my final solution utilises a lot of your thoughts. Looked at many clubheads on offer, don't like any of the weight port ones. Have decided the easiest way forward is to make a 2 part set with the 3-6 iron matched and then the 7-SW matched.

So I've decided on the Golfsmith Tour Cavity Forged clubheads. These come with the extended hosel where, below the shaft insertion depth, you can insert up to a 10 gramme weight. The makers specifications also indicate that these are designed to allow for up to a 3 degree crank in both loft and lie angles. Plus being forged future tinkering is not going to be a no-no. Here is how I plan to work the set:-

3 iron = 4 iron head, cranked closed from 24 to 21 degrees, lie angle up from 59 to 62 and head weight increased from 247 to 261. Tricky bit is the extra 4 grammes over the 10 gramme hosel port weight, but reckon is achievable.

4 iron = 5 iron head cranked closed from 28 to 25 degrees, lie angle up from 60 to 62 weight up from 254 to 261.

5 iron = 6 iron head cranked closed from 32 to 29 degrees, lie angle up from 61 to 62 weight stays standard

6 iron = 6 iron head, loft cranked open from 32 to 33 degrees lie angle up from 61 to 62 weight stays the same

7 iron = 8 iron head, loft closed from 40 to 37 degrees, lie up from 63 to 64, weight up from 275 to 289, again an extra 4 grammes to add.

8 iron = 9 iron head, loft closed from 44 to 41 degrees, lie stays same and weight up from 282 to 289

9 iron = PW head, loft closed from 48 to 45 degrees, lie stays same, weight stays the same

PW = PW head, loft opened from 48 to 49 degrees, lie and weight stay same

AW = AW head, loft open from 52 to 53 degrees, lie and weight left as is, though head is 5 grammes more

SW = SW head, loft open from 56 to 57 degrees, lie and weight left as is, weight is 11 grammes more than wedge.

These will be fitted with S300 shafts, 4 trimmed to my 6 iron specs and 6 trimmed to my PW specs. I'm going to spend a bit of time making sure that I'm really happy with the intended shaft lengths before finalising. But at present I'm looking at a floor to butt, parallel measurement, for the 6 iron as being 38 inches and for the wedge as being 36.5 inches.

I'm waiting to hear back from Golfsmith on a recommended retailer/clubmaker in my area.
29/10/2006 at 16:02
For any of the irons, you can add both hosel and shaft tip weight. So should be no prob for the extra 4g in the 3=4 irons.
If GolfSmith don't come up with a club-maker who you are happy with, then virtually all club-makers can supply GolfSmith/SnakeEyes parts. (I.e. you don't have to stick with one that GS recommends. Most club-makers will have accounts with GS and so can get the head sets).
Sounds like a great winter project. Look forward to reading the review.
29/10/2006 at 17:09
cant you add weight at the butt end to balance swingweight...similar to what Heavy Putter do?

youll end up with clubs that are individually heavy in terms of mass but balanced far more easily than messing about with extra/less weight in the head.

But as you say...Shaun probably allready knows why this wouldnt work!!!
29/10/2006 at 17:23
did look at that Nick and there are even 'butt plugs', excuse the term, available on Golfsmith. There is also an arguement that you don't even have to add weight to the heads at all. I just felt that, as the possibility to match existed, and the weight plugs are cheap, then why not.

There are lots of other ways of matching, invvolving shaft weights, butt weighting, shaft flex. But I was trying to keep it simple.
29/10/2006 at 18:35
What would happen if you didn't add weight to the heads and just did the other tweaks? Or even just shafted the 3-6 the same and the 7-SW the same and left the heads completely as they were (lie angle excepted)?
29/10/2006 at 19:03
Good question Sean, I suspect that the feel variance would be pronounced. But with a combination of hosel plug and tip weight it is possible to add in about 20 grammes. So could do the 3-6 without cranking lofts and just altering lie angles. Another thing for me to think about!
30/10/2006 at 13:41
Sorry but could I ask why you're doing all this? Apologies if you've already given your reasons!
30/10/2006 at 14:11
One of the major manufacturers had this idea some years ago. If I remember right, they were all the length of a 6 iron.

Self evidently the concept was not a success...
30/10/2006 at 17:21
Wasn't it Tiger Shark? - I don't think they were all the same length but stepped about 1/4" between each club instead of 1/2"
30/10/2006 at 20:17
Its an interesting idea and concept, but I can't see that its viable. The greatest differentiate between carrying distance of clubs is shaft length, not loft. To compensate for the shafts being the same length you'd need to tweak the lofts to such extremes the long irons and wedges would be unhittable. Irons and wedges are scoring clubs where you land the ball and stop it. A 7* loft 3 iron, for example, isnt gonna be much use, nor is a 75* wedge.
You might as well just carry a single 6 iron, close it and deloft it for longer shots and open it up for higher shots.

30/10/2006 at 22:42
it does work creo length is a variable relative to headweight only
so length on its own wont give such big differences.
you dont have to touch the lofts any more than in a conventional set tollerance
concepts only work with mass marketing and tour success, and as ive mentioned before many players use 3 sets of 3 or up to 5 clubs the same length
tiger shark idea was similar,tommy armour with the eq irons too but most only have part of the equation.
i dont believe in the clubs bieng equal for that sake alone, but i believe that no club should be shorter than your optimum body posture.
reason why most good players bad shot is a pull with a short iron
31/10/2006 at 02:40
Creo, you have made the exact classic assumption error that myself, and most others, have. It is the loft that supplies the distance variance and not the shaft length. I have done the maths based around the rotational speed at the outside of a circle. If you imagine the second hand of a watch as the radius sweeping round a circle. Obviously the outer end is moving at the highest speed. Based on this if you calculate the rate the arm is moving at 1/2 an inch short of the edge then you see a reduction of 0.745%. This is a constant and I have tested based on a variety of swingspeeds.

For example take a high 6 iron swing speed of 90 mph and apply an increase of 2.235% for the additional 1.5 inches of a 3 iron. This would give you an additional 2 mph of clubhead speed. Allowing for very generous mph to carry in yards conversion, this is contributing a maximum of 5 yards of carry. IMHO, if you then factor the better quality of strike and accuracy at 6 iron length then, the extra 1.5 inches probably contributes nothing.

01/11/2006 at 21:25
I would had thought a post on bombsquads club makers forum would yeild some very sage advice.
01/11/2006 at 21:31
nm I have found it ;) homosap
02/11/2006 at 07:38
yep, that's me Chimp, and there's also one on golfopinions.com. I'm actually trying to find some science that supports the way the iron sets are varied in length, I've had no joy yet on the web.