I think, and this is my opinion, is that the forging process is different for each manufacturer, and some manufacturers, like Miura, use the forging process to build a club to exact specs. That is also why they use the spin hosel process -- for exact specs.
Let's take an example, with Miura, they don't hit it three times in succession, and say "mission accomplished." It is a process of hitting it, clearing out excess material, hitting it again, getting rid of material to make the head more precise, and then hitting it again. I saw a quote from Mr. Miura where he likens the process to making the clubhead as if the steel is made of fine sand that is compacted tightly - there are no air pockets -- you have one solid clubhead; and in his process, you have a club that is made to exact specs.
I've not heard a club maker say a Miura head is not built to spec - they are always accurate to spec and club makers can build an entire club without additives when the club is made to spec. So their forging process works for their objective.
Now does a forging process translate to feel you can discern from today's cast irons?
I don't know - I think "feel" is unique to every individual - and feel also depends on the shaft and grip -anything that affects what goes to your hands. With forgings, it seems Endo forgings (Bridgestone, Epon, et al) have a slight clicky sound, whereas Miura and Mizuno, for example, have a more muted-softer sound. I think the best forgings in terms of staying on spec stick with simple, traditional designs - blades and traditional perimeter weighting.
When you see forging with all sorts of metals, I think you introduce some advantages - higher tech solutions for more forgiveness - but you lose consistency in terms of staying on spec.
I think the casting process has some advantages in terms of being able to do more with a club head - i.e., use two piece club heads - part forged and part cast to offer more forgiveness in certain heads.
During the '90's, forged had an advantage over cast in terms of consistency - forged clubs tended not to have "hot spots" whereas cast, with the exception of Pings, tended to have hot spots - many people pointed fingers at Callaway during the '90's for their hot spots.
But now, cast quality has improved. I've owned a lot of clubs - Pings, when hit on the screws, feel like nothing, which is exactly what a forged club feels like when hit on the screws. I will say this - some forged clubs have a more solid or dense "feel" - but they are few and far between - I only noticed a difference with a Miura CB-201/Nippon combo over the last 20 years. Other than those clubs - when hit on the screws, you've got to be very good to discern any difference between a full shot with a forging or cast club.
I can only discern a difference in wedges - on short, finesse shorts unless the steel is really harsh in the cast club. Other than that, don't get worked up about it.
It's how the club looks and feels in your hand and how much confidence it gives you -- this is a "between the ears" game after you get a swing. Get something you love.
Edited by Mr. Desmond - 4/2/12 at 10:35am