The search continues. Here's my next good bad idea on another "to each his own" topic:
The Back Story: I've had a set of Ping Eye 2's and Zings ever since I started playing seriously. I've gone through numerous phases with my swing and unfortunate consumer habits which have found me picking up a set of something else I hit well at the range but never well enough to last a full season before going back to the trusty Pings.
When I first started learning to play, I'd never picked up anything other than a blade. My first sets were hand me down Spalding blade irons if you can believe it. They were ugly as hell, extremely heavy in the head but helped me pick up the game. I spent my first 5 or 6 years learning how to play with these prior to my first set of Pings.
I demo'ed a set of Nike Forged Blades, not the VR's, just the standard chrome blades a few times at the range on and out at one of the local Seattle courses recently and was shocked how well I hit them. I was puring most shots and was able to control loft, spin, everything far more than I ever thought possible before.
Here's my theory: I've played game improvement irons my entire life after learning on blades. I believe, right or wrong, that these have actually hurt my swing due to the lack of feedback on off-center hits allowing me to correct the error. I also think somehow there is some muscle memory left from growing up on blades thats left my swing better aligned to clubs with weight in the club head.
I'm naturally a high ball, light fade player. Over the past few years I've been searching to straighten it out but believe I've got it all wrong. The moment I started swinging blades again putting a slight draw or fade was almost effortless. I could "feel" the timing on my wrists and knew the right amount to apply one way or another most of the time. Most shots did exactly what I wanted. It was a great feeling.
With most CBs I've played, this level of control simply wasn't possible due to the depth of the cavity and shape of the club heads. It may just be me but I've never felt completely in control with most cavity backs. I've known my yardages and simply lined myself up swinging for what I hoped would be the straight shot I wanted with mixed results. Getting consistent yardage seemed near impossible between pure shots going 10-15% farther than thin/fat hits. Good shots could still easily go offline. I wasn't improving.
Today I shoot consistently in the 80's. High or Low depending on the day. Most of which is to blame on my irons unfortunately. I shot a 93 the other day that involved 7 birdie looks. How's that possible? Two bad drives and a lot of bad irons/wedges.
The Aftermath: My goal is to improve to a 6 handicap or better. I'd like to consistently shoot close to par on all of my local courses next year. All of my Pings are on eBay along with the rest of my backup sets. I'm all in on this blade theory. The Nike's arrive between Monday and Tuesday. I'll be getting them fitted locally on Wednesday.
Here goes nothing.
Testing: Wanted to throw this out there too. The reason I've stuck with my trusty Pings for so long was both confidence and science. Believe me, I've spent hours and hours at the local shops on launch monitors and ranges with everything in the store. Callaway/Cobra/TaylorMade/Mizuno/Titleist/you name it I've hit it. I love trying out new clubs. Its a disgusting habit to think there may always be something else out there better for your game.
Recently as an example, one of our best local shops, Puetz, has a location with a full range (Seattle) while the other has two high-end Launch Monitors (Bellevue). I've been on the hunt for a new driver and spent a total of 6-8 hours over the past two weeks demoing everything in both stores. Different shaft flexs and weights, lofts, club heads, adjustable shaft settings, etc. I hit literally hundreds of balls with multiple clubs. Using the launch monitor as a basis, Chris at the Bellevue store was able to help me narrow down my options pretty quickly. I'd hit 10 balls with each club and then we'd use the computer scoring system to determine the most consistent clubs. Overall, it really was a bit of a process but it has done wonders for me off the tee. I have done similarly for this iron situation and fully believe based on my personal swing, shot consistency and confidence that I will score better with a nice set of blades...all thats left is to get them fitted and let the fun begin!