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Traditional Lofts versus Modern Lofts

post #1 of 43
Thread Starter 
Ok, I know that I have been sleeping for the last six years when it comes to equipment (maybe longer), but what advantage is there with modern lofts? Here is an example of what I am talking about.

Traditional/tour vs. Modern
PW 48 - 45
9 44 - 41
8 40 - 37
7 36 - 33.5
6 32 - 30
5 28 - 27
4 24 - 24
3 21 - 21

If you choose modern lofts you put such a gap in your play that you need the Gap Wedge, but in the end your 3 and 4 iron are almost the same. The traditional holds out at 4 degrees until 4 iron, while the modern starts with 4 and is a little more progressive.

Is it all about marketing to egos or is there something that I am missing?

In case you are wondering, my lofts are from my 845s (vintage 1992) and the ones on the right are from Cobra 2007. I have been looking at some sets and get a little put off since I love the way my gaps are currently. It seems like the modern lofts add a club when covering the spread while the traditional lofts spread out your gaps better. Anyway, fire away...
post #2 of 43

Re: Traditional Lofts versus Modern Lofts

this has been discussed many times
it's all about marketing so people would buy clubs they can't use
and spend more money on buying clubs to replace them
i think most people here prefer traditional lofts.
for the same distance range say 100y to 200y you have to carry one extra club.
post #3 of 43
Thread Starter 

Re: Traditional Lofts versus Modern Lofts

I've seen some reference to it. So I will add a dimension. Does anyone have their lofts adjusted to better cover the spread? I notice that the clubs for low handicappers have more traditional lofts to start with.
post #4 of 43

Re: Traditional Lofts versus Modern Lofts

Originally Posted by TourSpoon View Post
I've seen some reference to it. So I will add a dimension. Does anyone have their lofts adjusted to better cover the spread? I notice that the clubs for low handicappers have more traditional lofts to start with.
Short story: I'm considering having my lofts adjusted to cover the spread. I'm getting these clubs when my handicap gets to the teens and stays there.


Elaboration:
In a few months, I'll be getting clubs more fitting my current iron ability. The set comes as:

AW 50
PW 45
9I 41
8I 37
7I 33
6I 29
5I 26
4I 23

3I, if I were to get it, is 20. I currently have a 3H at 20 and 4H at 23.

I'm thinking of asking the clubmaker to bend the 5I to 25 degrees and the 4I to 22. Quite frankly, I'm enjoying hitting my long irons, so I think I should keep it up and get these. But I keep seeing the 4-degree gap and suggesting 4-5 degree gaps in wedges for people, myself included, so I can't see not keeping with this for my irons.

With my current set, there's a 4-degree gap from PW to 6, but 6-5 is only 3 degrees, and 6-5 is only 7 yards gain. Same with 5-4, for both degrees and yardage. So I'm thinking a 4-degree gap may be more appropriate.

My final set would end up bring (wedges to end of irons): 58-54-50-45-41-37-33-29-25-22
And then I'd use either the 20-degree hybrid or a fairway wood in that range, along with my current driver, 3W, and putter.

Naturally, I welcome feedback and thoughts.
post #5 of 43

Re: Traditional Lofts versus Modern Lofts

While there is some squeezing and selling of practically unusable clubs to spur hybrid and gap wedge sales, I don't think that that was the primary reason it was done.

Ping started it, so that word of mouth about how great their irons were would spread quickly. Imagine shopping for a new set of irons, and not thinking about the specific lofts (mains because they didn't change too much at all). You're hitting a MacGregor 6 iron, you're hitting a Hogan 6 iron, then you're handed a Ping 6 iron and -- "Whoa, that went a good 5 yards farther! Wow! These much be really better than the other ones" of course, the trick here isn't that you were hitting a 6 iron, you were hitting a 5 1/2 iron. Also, think about being out with your regular foursome -- they all hit 7 iron to that tricky par 3 -- and once you hit your ball, you announce, "oh yeah, with my awesome new irons, I hit an 8 iron" (again, really a 7 1/2 or maybe even really a 7 with an 8 stamped on it). And everybody again thinks -- those must be a lot better.

Well, once the other companies noticed this, they pretty much had to do the same. People didn't think about it in terms of loft -- they thought about it in terms of "well, that's an 8 iron" It has gotten silly, there are sets today with pitching wedges around 43 degrees. That's at least 12 degrees between the PW and SW, because SWs are still around 55 or 56 degrees.

And it still hasn't really sunk in. How many threads on the many golf forums out there are called "how far do you hit each of your irons?" and they just list the distances of each iron. No mention of make or model or loft of the club. It is essentially meaningless without lofts. Because my set could have a 48 degree PW and your set could have a 43 degree PW, and my saying I hit my PW 120 yards could look really bad compared to your 140. To even make the example sillier, what if I ground the 4 off of my 4 iron and engraved a 9 on it -- could I then claim that I hit my 9 iron 180 yards?

The big thing is that irons, especially the low irons, are for accuracy and not distance. It doesn't really matter if you can hit your 8 iron 200 yards, what matter is if you can hit your 8 iron near the flagstick.

Regarding having the lofts adjusted for your gaps -- that's an absolute necessity. It is all about spreading the distances out to cover the range as well as possible. Loft doesn't tell the whole story, especially if you mix and match clubs -- not just from different manufacturers but even different makes. For example, say you have a gap between you 5 wood (19 degrees) and your 5 iron (28 degrees). You don't want to just focus on a club that has 24 degrees of loft.. you'll probably want to check everything between 26 and 22 or 21, because different clubs hit the ball in different ways. Irons launch different than hybrids which launch different than fairway woods. That, and most clubs are at least +-1 degree from what is printed on them, so a hybrid that says 26 might actually be 24.5 degrees and launch it just right to fit right between your gap.
post #6 of 43

Re: Traditional Lofts versus Modern Lofts

Originally Posted by Shindig View Post
Short story: I'm considering having my lofts adjusted to cover the spread. I'm getting these clubs when my handicap gets to the teens and stays there.


Elaboration:
In a few months, I'll be getting clubs more fitting my current iron ability. The set comes as:

AW 50
PW 45
9I 41
8I 37
7I 33
6I 29
5I 26
4I 23

3I, if I were to get it, is 20. I currently have a 3H at 20 and 4H at 23.

I'm thinking of asking the clubmaker to bend the 5I to 25 degrees and the 4I to 22. Quite frankly, I'm enjoying hitting my long irons, so I think I should keep it up and get these. But I keep seeing the 4-degree gap and suggesting 4-5 degree gaps in wedges for people, myself included, so I can't see not keeping with this for my irons.

With my current set, there's a 4-degree gap from PW to 6, but 6-5 is only 3 degrees, and 6-5 is only 7 yards gain. Same with 5-4, for both degrees and yardage. So I'm thinking a 4-degree gap may be more appropriate.

My final set would end up bring (wedges to end of irons): 58-54-50-45-41-37-33-29-25-22
And then I'd use either the 20-degree hybrid or a fairway wood in that range, along with my current driver, 3W, and putter.

Naturally, I welcome feedback and thoughts.
The manufacturers have purposely made the lofts stronger so golfers with egos can brag that they now hit a PW 150 yards with club brand X. So, club brand Y makes a PW so the next guy can brag he can hit his 175 yards. That is more $$$$$ for the OEM's. Over the years as well the iron shafts have lengthen which has added distance. Now comes the gap so out comes the gap wedges. On the other end they have made the 3 iron loft so strong that people can no longer get the ball in the air, so guess what? Now comes the hybrid irons to get the ball in the air. Technology is a great thing and I have seen this progression since the day of the balata balls and the muscle back irons with no offsets with shafts 1-1 1/2" shorter than today's clubs.

I personally think you are doing yourself a big favor by considering custom lofting your irons to fit your needed gaps.
post #7 of 43

Re: Traditional Lofts versus Modern Lofts

At least someone agrees with the way I judge my clubs. I get into arguements all the time about this when I get asked what club I would hit from a certain distance.

I tell my playing buddies that I don't care what number is on the club, I just go for what loft I need from that distance, and I always here the same "you'd probably play better if you learned what clubs were meant for what distances."

Of course... these are the same people that can't even tell me off their head what loft their driver is... let alone their 7-iron.
post #8 of 43

Re: Traditional Lofts versus Modern Lofts

I want to add another dimension to this. The traditional irons had higher center of gravity. It seems to me that the modern irons are geared for misuse. Its like ' please try to top these irons...you will like the result'. Especially those big broomstick super GI irons.
post #9 of 43

Re: Traditional Lofts versus Modern Lofts

Originally Posted by Golf Yokel View Post
At least someone agrees with the way I judge my clubs. I get into arguements all the time about this when I get asked what club I would hit from a certain distance.

I tell my playing buddies that I don't care what number is on the club, I just go for what loft I need from that distance, and I always here the same "you'd probably play better if you learned what clubs were meant for what distances."

Of course... these are the same people that can't even tell me off their head what loft their driver is... let alone their 7-iron.

In a casual round of golf if a buddy asked what iron did I hit I don't give him a number I give him a distance, "I used my 150 yard club." I am sure his 150 yard club and mine are different. Not only are our swings different, but the lofts are probably different.
post #10 of 43
Thread Starter 

Re: Traditional Lofts versus Modern Lofts

Ok, we are getting some good responses here.

I like the "hit your 150 club". I would hit a 40 degree eight, but my buddy may hit a 36 degree eight. That would explain why I hit my wedges one club farther than he can.

It seems that having 3 degrees difference between your 5 and 6 iron, for the average player, is not enough. With four there I get about a 12 yard variance (186 - 174) while someone with less distance and 3 degrees may only get 6 yards. It doesn't make much sense to me.
post #11 of 43

Re: Traditional Lofts versus Modern Lofts

Originally Posted by Gapwedge View Post
The manufacturers have purposely made the lofts stronger so golfers with egos can brag that they now hit a PW 150 yards with club brand X. So, club brand Y makes a PW so the next guy can brag he can hit his 175 yards. That is more $$$$$ for the OEM's. Over the years as well the iron shafts have lengthen which has added distance. Now comes the gap so out comes the gap wedges. On the other end they have made the 3 iron loft so strong that people can no longer get the ball in the air, so guess what? Now comes the hybrid irons to get the ball in the air. Technology is a great thing and I have seen this progression since the day of the balata balls and the muscle back irons with no offsets with shafts 1-1 1/2" shorter than today's clubs.

I personally think you are doing yourself a big favor by considering custom lofting your irons to fit your needed gaps.

I fully understand why this has happened - I'm happy that I can hit a 23-degree club. Since I started recently, the 46-degree range has been "Pitching Wedge." But I'm similar to what you said in your other post about hitting my "150 yard club" and not my "4-iron"

My question is more why there are smaller gaps in the 2-5 range than in the 6-PW range. Is it just so every club can still be in the set? This will help me decide how to start with the custom lofting.
post #12 of 43

Re: Traditional Lofts versus Modern Lofts

Originally Posted by TourSpoon View Post
It seems that having 3 degrees difference between your 5 and 6 iron, for the average player, is not enough. With four there I get about a 12 yard variance (186 - 174) while someone with less distance and 3 degrees may only get 6 yards. It doesn't make much sense to me.
This is why I used to have so much trouble from 150 yards out.

135 yards is my 6-iron (current set: 30 degrees).

Since I started playing par-3 courses and just needed my 6-PW, I got quickly into the "ten yard gap" rule. Unfortunately for me, it's right after 6 where the gaps break down.
My 5-iron, 27 degrees, is about 142-143. The 2-3 yard difference wasn't a big issue.
My 4-iron, 24 degrees, is about 150. This was the problem before I measured each club, since I figured 5 would be 145, 4 would be 155. And this is where the trouble started.

Hence why I'm going to be so picky about my lofts on my next set.
post #13 of 43
Thread Starter 

Re: Traditional Lofts versus Modern Lofts

Originally Posted by Shindig View Post
This is why I used to have so much trouble from 150 yards out.

135 yards is my 6-iron (current set: 30 degrees).

Since I started playing par-3 courses and just needed my 6-PW, I got quickly into the "ten yard gap" rule. Unfortunately for me, it's right after 6 where the gaps break down.
My 5-iron, 27 degrees, is about 142-143. The 2-3 yard difference wasn't a big issue.
My 4-iron, 24 degrees, is about 150. This was the problem before I measured each club, since I figured 5 would be 145, 4 would be 155. And this is where the trouble started.

Hence why I'm going to be so picky about my lofts on my next set.
Yes, you have to be smarter than the average bear and it sounds like you have given this some thought. Thanks for adding to the discussion.
post #14 of 43

Re: Traditional Lofts versus Modern Lofts

Originally Posted by TourSpoon View Post
Yes, you have to be smarter than the average bear and it sounds like you have given this some thought. Thanks for adding to the discussion.
Curious your thoughts on the long irons. Do you think going by steps of 4 when the standards are 3 is a good plan?

An alternative I was considering is skipping a club entirely, going from a 29-degree 6-iron to a 24-degree 4-iron, getting that club bent one weak instead. When I'm hitting 5- or 4-iron, I'm going for the center of the green or laying up, so the exactness isn't important.
post #15 of 43
Thread Starter 

Re: Traditional Lofts versus Modern Lofts

Originally Posted by Shindig View Post
Curious your thoughts on the long irons. Do you think going by steps of 4 when the standards are 3 is a good plan?

An alternative I was considering is skipping a club entirely, going from a 29-degree 6-iron to a 24-degree 4-iron, getting that club bent one weak instead. When I'm hitting 5- or 4-iron, I'm going for the center of the green or laying up, so the exactness isn't important.

Well, I guess what matters is that you want a consistent range of distance between your clubs. For the average player that drives the ball 200-220, the difference between the 5-4-3 iron may not be much at all as far as carry especially when compared to the shorter irons. Whether you bend a club or skip one and adjust probably doesn't really matter as long as you achieve a good gap that is right for you. It may work out to be 4 degrees or more.
post #16 of 43

Re: Traditional Lofts versus Modern Lofts

I'm not too sure it's a good idea for most players because the differences in loft may be proportioned more percentage wise than just a set number.

For example with a 4 degree difference the short irons may be roughly 10 yards apart for each club, but between a 3 and 4 iron the gap may be 15-20 due to the stronger lofts in the long irons.

So basically instead 4 degrees always being say, 9 yards apart, the gaps are proportionate to the length of the club.
post #17 of 43
Thread Starter 

Re: Traditional Lofts versus Modern Lofts

Originally Posted by Steaksauce View Post
I'm not too sure it's a good idea for most players because the differences in loft may be proportioned more percentage wise than just a set number.

For example with a 4 degree difference the short irons may be roughly 10 yards apart for each club, but between a 3 and 4 iron the gap may be 15-20 due to the stronger lofts in the long irons.

So basically instead 4 degrees always being say, 9 yards apart, the gaps are proportionate to the length of the club.
That's true but if you don't generate enough clubhead speed then that theory falls apart right where we are talking about so you may need even more of a gap in terms of degrees. If you are swinging 100 + it is like you are suggesting as my 2 iron is only 2 degrees stronger than my three which is 3 degrees stronger than my four and then we get to the 4 degree mark. Bring an 80 mph swing to my set and I may not get enough difference out of a five or four iron to really warrant carrying both clubs. That is the line of thought we are on.
post #18 of 43

Re: Traditional Lofts versus Modern Lofts

Actually traditional lofts are more to this effect

1-iron 17
2-iron 20
3-iron 23
4-iron 27
5-iron 31
6-iron 35
7-iron 39
8-iron 43
9-iron 47
PWedge 51
SWedge 56

Basically clubs are 1 club stronger... I believe that it is what loft the club is should be the barometer... I might hit my 39-degree 8-iron... the same distance as my friend who hits a 36-degree 8-iron... yeah you might hit your 44-degree PW 150 yards... Yeah I can hit a PW 150 yards... its 47-degrees... but length of shaft has to do with the whole advance in distance... I played Taylor Made LCG's when I was a kid... (8 years ago)... And they were one club longer than My Ping Eye2s which had a 50.5 degree PW... Once I became Scratch... I played KZG cavity backs... (I wish I woulda never gotten rid of them)... and had the lofts weakened for control... Now that I am a very high ball hitter... I don't need a 50-degree Pitching Wedge
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