Iron technology

05/08/2009 at 09:18

We all see the adverts, take in the hype and look a rows of gleaming new irons in the shops BUT how much has technology improved irons in the last 10 years? I know that there have been different trends and designs eg the combi sets and good player irons that have been redesigned to make them more forgiving but if you had an iron set from 8 or 10 years ago which included some perimeter weighting etc are the new mid range sets significantly better?

I don't have a strong view on this except that I am always suspicious of glossy adverts and manufacturer claims! I also think that a terrible swing resulting in one or even two dropped shots would happen regardless of equipment.Obviously if you change clubs to a different type because you have changed (age , skill etc) that is different, but I just wondered how much difference people think that technology has made?

05/08/2009 at 09:29

Truth be told, I doubt if a great deal of difference has been made in irons since cavity backs came in, more evolution than revolution. 

I have Mizuno MX900's which I bought to replace my Hogan Apex Edge CFTs. 

Are they any better?  Hard to say.  I like them and have no intention to replace them but are they really any better than other makes?  I still remain to be convinced to be honest.  Maybe feel wise they are better but that is still very subjective. 

But tbh I think the same applies to most of the clubs in the bag.  Utilities/Rescues have been a big boon to the amateurs, and maybe, maybe, high moi putters for keeping the head steady. 

For the rest, I really am not too sure.  Drivers to me are just tweaks nowadays and are getting over complex with all the weight and face angle options on the new ones.  My 5 year old driver, with a smaller head and no alledged nod to MOI is going just as well as my newer one. 

But people will always want the next best thing and that's why the manufacturers changes are only small, not major.  And I wouldn't mind betting they have all the tweaks for the next 5 years already planned to be introduced progressively. 

05/08/2009 at 10:28
In another thread, I wrote about how I picked up a set of Ping Karste 111A's off of eBay. Ping got back to me to tell me they were made in 1980.

I hit the ball just as far and and with just the same feel as I did with my 4 year-old MacGregor's. Only difference is the lofts.

When I was good enough to play with blades, I had Mizuno TP9's with lead tape on the back: one of the first 'cut-muscle' clubs they produced. I fished them out the other day and hit them alongside the MP62 and MP67. I hit the ball higher with the TP9's, and longer with the new clubs, but once again, I suspect that is down entiely to loft.

Mostly marketing nonsense.
05/08/2009 at 10:33

I would say that iron technology has made them easier to use, however though  it appears the majoirty of iron progress has been in making them longer (how many buy irons because they are longer than their old set) when in reality all the makes have done is to deloft the clubs.

Beaten to it in the writing.

Edited: 05/08/2009 at 10:34
05/08/2009 at 10:44
I use Ping Eye 2's which are at least 10 years old and which replaced my 'easy to hit' newer clubs. Oddly enough, the more I practice the bigger the sweet spot has become.
Would newer clubs be better? Possibly, but I'm playing better than ever and I've no intention of 'upgrading' until these puppies wear out!
05/08/2009 at 10:51
Which clubs are you using ukld?
05/08/2009 at 11:01
Fine looking clubs!
06/08/2009 at 17:34
Not sure on technology advances as I've only been playing a year, but I started with and will continue to use a set of Ping Eye 2+ with groovy red graphite shafts, I also have a set of Ping Eye 2's but have yet to use these as they are an odd lie for me, getting them fitted at Ping later this month.
06/08/2009 at 18:36
im still using my ping isi irons that are years old. i have been thinking about going back to blades but im reluctant to splash out the money in case it wrecks my game. my irons have always been a good point of my game and i would love to go back to playing blades but just dont know if i am consistant enough to play them.
06/08/2009 at 20:04
AT the top end, how much tehnology is there? The differences in materials can only be slight. A blade is a blade. I do think there have ben good advances in improvement clubs and hybrids.Drivers have gone to far and give players excuses.
06/08/2009 at 22:26
There is a huge difference in the amount of cavity in cast irons, with Callaway Big Bertha leading the way for all the others to follow. They are without a doubt easier to hit, but whether they are more rewarding to play with, I'm not so sure.

Regarding forged clubs, there is a huge leap forward in that they now can be manufactured with cavity backs with the cavity being milled out. Mizuno MX25s are a perfect example.

That said we have all been hoodwinked by the subtle de-lofting of clubs creating the illusion of extra distance. At the end of the day, if you can hit the ball with the middle of the club the results will be much the same.

Personally I am not too keen on the oversized irons and like the feel of forged heads but I have had the odd swing with a Ping iron and have to say I like the feel off them, particularly the i5, a cracking iron.

For many players of mid to high handicap ability the death of the 3 and 4 iron is becoming very much a reality. I play off 7 and find that I more or less only play them off a tee for best results. The hybrid is here to stay.

Putter design is ever more inventive but have we really advanced from the Ping Anser.
07/08/2009 at 13:40
I would say that the puttet is so much more of a feel club, that putters can stay the same over many years. When balata balls were being sold, I played with a hickory-shafted putter made by the Sunderland Golf Compnay (for collectors of old putters, they know what type of putters they made).

07/08/2009 at 16:57
There have been massive strides in technology in my opinion, but only in certain types of clubs. Game improvement irons for the higher handicapper, have advanced tremendously being much more forgiving and easier to hit. However when you look at irons outside this area, I don't believe technology has made that much of a difference.

To Quote Silver Fox "At the end of the day, if you can hit the ball with the middle of the club the results will be much the same."
07/08/2009 at 18:49

I play with MX200's. Love 'em to bits.

Are they any better than my old Tommy Armour 845 Silver Scots of the early 90's?

I doubt it.

07/08/2009 at 18:55

No mention of the most important part of the club, i.e. the shaft?

Probably the heads have improved a bit, probably the shafts have improved, the grips are better now allowing a lighter grip, all the small bits probably contribute.

07/08/2009 at 23:48
Smufter 12,

I still have my Tommy Armour 845s, great clubs and I also have my old man's 855's. Tried to sell the 845s for £30 and got no takers. I'll be taking them out next week for a round to see how the theory stands up.
08/08/2009 at 06:49
Silver Fox wrote (see)
Smufter 12, I still have my Tommy Armour 845s, great clubs and I also have my old man's 855's. Tried to sell the 845s for £30 and got no takers. I'll be taking them out next week for a round to see how the theory stands up.

They were great clubs. Wish I'd never sold them. Be interesting to hear how you get on with them SF.

As Pasty says, the shafts that are fitted nowadays are the biggest area of improvement. If I had had my Nippon SG950's fitted to those old Tommy Armours I'd be a bloody millionaire by now and designing courses.....

12/08/2009 at 08:06

I, in an experimental mood, bought some "first flight" blades, and 1, 3, and 4 tommy armour persimmon woods.  I've been for a couple of rounds with them and have a few conclusions

1.  The ball makes much much much (much) more of an impact than the clubs

2. Some of the new technology cancels itself out

3. Turf/Sole interface on new clubs is under rated

4. Shafts do not wear out.

5. If you middle an iron (or even nearly middle an iron) 50 years of technology makes no difference at all.

My scoring was barely effected when i used the old gear with a new ball, i lost maybe two or three shots when i broke out a titliest tour 90 and a dunlop 65, becuase they went nowhere and spin like you can't remember!  Howerer the true old school experience was without doubt the most fun round of golf !'ve had for years.

I would highly recommend this experiment - once you start getting the feel for balata's again there is nothing you can't do and watching drilled 4 irons spin around on the green is the happiest feeling a golfer can have.

12/08/2009 at 12:37

This thread is very interesing for me.

Ive just got my clubs out of the loft after 10 years and going to start playing again.

Used to play off 6 and used Mizuno TP9's great clubs but i think im gonna be better swapping them now im starting over again for something more forgiving.

Thing is a lot has changed in the last 10 years i havent got a clue which are good balls any more let alone good clubs to use. The change in clubs looks like its massive. Not as simple as a blade or cavity back any more.

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