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# How can a flat iron surface possible be more accurate between cheap and expensive clubs?

## 18 posts in this topic

I think most talk about certain brands of clubs being better than another is mostly marketing and ego boosting.  I can see how certain drivers might drive the ball a little further than another brand.  And possible how an expensive iron could hit a ball further.  But how is it physically possible for a iron with the same flat surface to be more accurate?  It is flat, and the ball bounces off straight.  Just as how if you dropped a tennis ball on a flat surface, it is going to bounce straight the same way no matter what.  Its physics.  A flat surface is a flat surface.

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Yeah, but that's assuming you can hit the exact center of that flat iron surface every time. And most of us can't. And that's where the technology of where weight is placed, or how the cavity is formed helps us hit it straight on mis hits that are off center.
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Yeah, but that's assuming you can hit the exact center of that flat iron surface every time. And most of us can't. And that's where the technology of where weight is placed, or how the cavity is formed helps us hit it straight on mis hits that are off center.

Elaborate.  It is still a flat surface.  If it is not the center, it will still be hit at the same degree off center on all clubs.  So lets say your club is tilted 10 degrees to the right when you strike the ball on a good and bad club.  A good club is not going to correct for that 10 degrees, because that is impossible.  The surface that hits the ball is still completely flat.  A different weight or cavity is not going to curve the ball back straight.

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You need to understand that dropping a round tennis ball onto a flat surface is not even close to hitting a golf ball off a club face. The face is attached to the end of a stick (and not centered) which is swinging. There are so many more physics variables involved then there is when we speak about dropping a round ball onto a flat surface. Where the ball contacts the face of the club makes a huge difference. You can google "golf gear effect" to get a better understanding of what I'm talking about. Moving the weight around on the club changes things. That's why cavity back clubs are more forgiving. They move the weight into areas that change the center of gravity, etc. I understand you're thinking that in its simplest form, the physics are the same. But hitting a golf ball has so many different physics variables.
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Elaborate.  It is still a flat surface.  If it is not the center, it will still be hit at the same degree off center on all clubs.  So lets say your club is tilted 10 degrees to the right when you strike the ball on a good and bad club.  A good club is not going to correct for that 10 degrees, because that is impossible.  The surface that hits the ball is still completely flat.  A different weight or cavity is not going to curve the ball back straight.

Forgiving clubs are not meant to turn the ball back left when you hit the ball with an open face. That is impossible. They are meant to provide a larger area on the club face in which the ball travels the same distance. For example, if you hit the ball slightly towards the toe of the face, it will still travel the same distance as it will if you hit it directly in the center of the face. Whereas a non-forgiving club will lose around 5-10 yards of distance if you hit it towards the toe.

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In the case of the tennis ball on a racquet example- try and drop a ball near the edge, and then in the sweet spot. A noticeable difference in rebound. Especially in the racquet of a pro. A racquet that is designed for a mid level or amateur will have different characteristics. Exactly the same as golf clubs. Generally speaking, a pro club is designed and weighted for a player who hits the sweet spot 99% of the time. The SGI/GI irons of today are designed to have a larger sweetspot to aide a lesser talented player lose less distance on a mishit, not curve it back (although the adjustable drivers are meant to help that) AND maintain original distance.
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Because of the weighting on modern game improvement clubs, they are far more resistant to twisting (and thus hit straighter) on off-center hits. They also will provide a higher COR across the face, which means the golf ball will launch faster on the toe/heel of some of those "expensive flat iron surfaces" compared to the "cheap flat iron surfaces".

You have a dynamic motion, you don't just have the variable of the static face angle at the start of impact. When you hit it off center the club will twist in your hands. While impact lasts for a very short time(I believe the USGA limit is somewhere around 239 microseconds), that twisting effect is still hugely important on the sidespin you will be imparting upon the ball and its velocity. If it's on the toe and the clubface twists open, you are going to have a shot that curves in a hook due to the horizontal gear effect. This basically means that, due to the way that the clubhead opens at impact, you will have the golfball roll on the face towards the center. To me it helps to think of it more like opening the face pushes the center towards the golf ball which makes it roll, but that visualization is probably bogus.

Anyways, the fancy clubs have special weighting and cavities that will increase the COR (smash factor) to increase ball speed on off-center hits as well as try to minimize the horizontal gear effect.

If you want a very (some of it went over my head) explanation of this, it can be found here: http://www.tutelman.com/golf/ballflight/gearEffect1.php or with a simple Google search.

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OK.  No one failed to explain why cheaper clubs can't move the weight around or make the same cavity that the expensive brands can.

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OK.  No one failed to explain why cheaper clubs can't move the weight around or make the same cavity that the expensive brands can.

"No one failed to explain"......I am not sure what you are trying to say in this statement, however, to me it looks as if you are asking what is the difference in performance between a "cheap" set of irons vs an "expensive" set.

Basically, if you have the ability to hit the ball exactly the same way every time with each type of club then you should, hypothetically, have the same results. This is difficult for an amateur and even the Pro's to do. Where you will see/feel the difference is in the quality of materials  and consistency manufacture of the better set of clubs which may help you get a better result with a miss hit shot.

You can buy a pair of shoes for \$20 or less.........how your feet feel at the end of the day is the question.

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OK.  No one failed to explain why cheaper clubs can't move the weight around or make the same cavity that the expensive brands can.

Generally, the cheaper clubs are cast irons and the more expensive clubs are forged . Cast irons are made by heating up the metal used to make the head until it turns into a liquid, then pouring it into a mold that forms the shape of the head. Forged irons are made by using a solid bar of steel, and heating it up until it is bendable but not liquid, and shaping it into the club head using hammers (think of blacksmiths). Cast irons are much less costly to produce since they can be made on an assembly line without laborers. However, when the liquid of the club head solidifies, it creates air pockets. These pockets produce inconsistencies across the club head. Forged irons have no air pockets, so the club head is consistent throughout.  More consistency = better accuracy.

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I think most talk about certain brands of clubs being better than another is mostly marketing and ego boosting.  I can see how certain drivers might drive the ball a little further than another brand.  And possible how an expensive iron could hit a ball further.  But how is it physically possible for a iron with the same flat surface to be more accurate?  It is flat, and the ball bounces off straight.  Just as how if you dropped a tennis ball on a flat surface, it is going to bounce straight the same way no matter what.  Its physics.  A flat surface is a flat surface.

Certain players could hit an "expensive club" further because some irons have a MOI that is lower and away from the face.  Helps that player get the ball in the air or hit their mis-hits farther.  Same player with a muscle back iron would not see the same benefits.  Pretzel got into it more.  A "cheap" club with a similar design could do the same thing, just depends on the design and materials used.  There are certainly some good component golf companies.  The most expensive irons tend to be "player's" irons, forged blades or cavity backs.  The cost is more because of the forging process, overall construction/design and brand.

Funny thing is, I would actually say most driver brands are similar, huge variety of irons out there.

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A couple of things:

* "Economy" clubs you get in a boxed set are most likely to SGI. They are reasonably durable for a few years if  you're playing 2-3 times a month. If you really get into golf, and play 6 times a month and practice frequently, some of the boxed set clubs might start to wear out about year 3.

* Quality control. If you get a less expensive set, chances are you'll have more manufacturing variance in the weight of the heads in, say, an iron set. One local pro I know will do a loft-and-lie check to factory specs on any set of irons he orders for his golfers. He said even in the high-dollar irons, there's usually a couple of clubs that need to be tweaked.

* Component clubs. If a club smith orders you some private-label heads, and puts in the shafts you want (and hopefully need), you can get a solid set of clubs as long as the heads and shafts are of good quality. Problem: not all component-line heads are created equal.

* MOI and playability. If you know how a golf swing works, you can hit a basic draw or fade with almost any golf club. If you have GI or Player's irons (and have the skill to hit them), it will be easier to adjust the flight and height of your ball to other than "down the middle." Also, the shaft someone uses has a big influence on how much they can manipulate ball flight.

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I never asked about distance, only accuracy.  Anyways, most of your comments make sense.  I do think that club brands are overrated though.  The differences aren't as large as most people believe.

Today I just used a new set of irons, and I did notice a difference.  It did seem like I had less miss hits and they went further.  But the biggest change I noticed was backspin on the green!  I actually had a ball stop and move back a few inches from where the divot was with an 8 iron!  I was pretty excited.  Of course that was probably because the face of the club has newer/better groves and grip.  I also got an approach wedge in my set, so that helped my short shots a lot.

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I never asked about distance, only accuracy.  Anyways, most of your comments make sense.  I do think that club brands are overrated though.  The differences aren't as large as most people believe.

Today I just used a new set of irons, and I did notice a difference.  It did seem like I had less miss hits and they went further.  But the biggest change I noticed was backspin on the green!  I actually had a ball stop and move back a few inches from where the divot was with an 8 iron!  I was pretty excited.  Of course that was probably because the face of the club has newer/better groves and grip.  I also got an approach wedge in my set, so that helped my short shots a lot.

Nice.  Your premise was basically correct, if the club face is 3 degrees right at impact with a outward path of 6 degrees and a center strike, whether it's a Snake Eyes 7 iron or a Titleist 7 iron, ball will start right of the target and draw.  There are a few variables when it comes to iron design, sole width, bounce, camber, moi, hosel length, adding toe or heel weight, that could change stuff like launch angle, dynamic loft, distance, forgiveness(gear effect) and turf interaction.  The overall design/look of the club can be important too, how it fits your eye.

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OK.  No one failed to explain why cheaper clubs can't move the weight around or make the same cavity that the expensive brands can.

They can, but you're getting higher quality when you buy an expensive set...same as if you were to buy a car, buying a 50,000 dollar mercedes is generally going to be a nicer car than a 15,000 dollar car. They will last longer, have higher quality materials, the shafts in those expensive shafts are far superior to shafts in that of cheap clubs, which makes a very big difference.

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OK.  No one failed to explain why cheaper clubs can't move the weight around or make the same cavity that the expensive brands can.

Patents. Trade secrets. I'm not sure how they specifically relate to golf manufacturing, but there are legal reasons companies can't just rip each other off.

They can, but you're getting higher quality when you buy an expensive set...same as if you were to buy a car, buying a 50,000 dollar mercedes is generally going to be a nicer car than a 15,000 dollar car. They will last longer, have higher quality materials, the shafts in those expensive shafts are far superior to shafts in that of cheap clubs, which makes a very big difference.

Yes, like all products, higher costs in R&D;, engineering, materials, and quality control affect the final cost of the product. Generally speaking, cheaper manufacturers don't do as much of the above.

Also, "flat" has manufacturing tolerances, too. Probably won't affect the club's performance very much though, just wanted to state some trivial information.

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Cast with 431 steel and then machined aand milled (cut and ground) so its not like cast iron is poor quality its just a less expensive way of manufacturing the iron. Forged clubs such as pro style blades use the same 431 steel 90% of the time yet are forged which cost more to produce custom made to fit a pro style or scratch golfer. The forged will give pros more control because of the displacement of weight with a thin top line and sole.[SPOILER=Warning: Spoiler!][/SPOILER]
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i can get heads from as low as 1-10 dollars a piece and "UP" depending on what you want direct from china. From cheap, custom, and cloned tech using various metals.. casting/forged etc. parts or complete clubs and sets etc.

there is a huge mark up with brands for production consumer clubs. thats a fact.

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