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downbylaw11

A Few Questions About Iron Lofts

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So I've had the same set of irons for about 8 years now, though they've really only gotten serious use the last few years.  Theyre a set a 2007 callaway x-forged that I bought around 2010 or 11 from an online outlet.  I like the way the clubs perform, but always felt I was a little bit shorter with them than my set of junky off brand cavity back irons I got in the mid 90s, so I've been researching the possibility of getting a new set of irons when I realized that pretty much every set of irons that has come out in the last 5+ years has far stronger lofts than my current set which has a 35 degree 7 iron loft. I've seen most have at the most 33, some with 30/31 and some extreme cases being as low as 27, with obvious drastic differences in distance. 

So, this all being said, I have a few questions. 

Given that I do like my current irons, and theyre still in good shape and don't really have 1000+ bucks to spend on a good set of irons, and completely loathe the look of oversized irons, is going to a clubmaker and having the lofts strengthened on my current irons be something worth doing? I've read some things about the bounce being reduced making them harder to play if youre more of a digger, which I would define myself as.

or the other question being,

If i bought a set of say 5-pw irons with strong lofts, or had my lofts strengthened, would there be any noticeable differences in dispersion or general difficulty of them to hit or will the only real difference be getting used to the difference in distance and possibly a lower ball flight? I would consider myself a very high ball hitter and think I would definitely benefit from being able to hit the ball a little lower without having to manipulate my swing too much.

any advice?

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4 hours ago, downbylaw11 said:

So I've had the same set of irons for about 8 years now, though they've really only gotten serious use the last few years.  Theyre a set a 2007 callaway x-forged that I bought around 2010 or 11 from an online outlet.  I like the way the clubs perform, but always felt I was a little bit shorter with them than my set of junky off brand cavity back irons I got in the mid 90s, so I've been researching the possibility of getting a new set of irons when I realized that pretty much every set of irons that has come out in the last 5+ years has far stronger lofts than my current set which has a 35 degree 7 iron loft. I've seen most have at the most 33, some with 30/31 and some extreme cases being as low as 27, with obvious drastic differences in distance. 

So, this all being said, I have a few questions. 

Given that I do like my current irons, and theyre still in good shape and don't really have 1000+ bucks to spend on a good set of irons, and completely loathe the look of oversized irons, is going to a clubmaker and having the lofts strengthened on my current irons be something worth doing? I've read some things about the bounce being reduced making them harder to play if youre more of a digger, which I would define myself as.

or the other question being,

If i bought a set of say 5-pw irons with strong lofts, or had my lofts strengthened, would there be any noticeable differences in dispersion or general difficulty of them to hit or will the only real difference be getting used to the difference in distance and possibly a lower ball flight? I would consider myself a very high ball hitter and think I would definitely benefit from being able to hit the ball a little lower without having to manipulate my swing too much.

any advice?

Unless you're having gapping issues, there's no reason to strengthen the lofts.  Ego is not a good reason to mess with the lofts.

I still game the 2011 Nike VR TW irons and love them.  I could easily strengthen the lofts or go to a stronger lofted set of irons to pad my ego, but then I've have to 1) spend more money for no good reason, and 2) relearn my distances, "feel/tweener" shots, and the feeling of the clubs themselves.  Changing the loft on a club also affects spin and trajectory, so that might not be the best thing to do.  One thing I did was I took my 5i out of my bag, put in a 5 hybrid, and put my 5i shaft into my 6i head to maintain 6i spin but give myself more speed to gap it better between my 5 hybrid and 7i.

Quit worrying about the number written on the bottom of the club and worry about hitting the carry yardage so you can hit more GIR.  The only club you should worry about hitting further is driver.  That club is all about hitting it as far as you can whilst leaving yourself a clear shot at the green on your second.

Again, if you're having GAPPING issues, then yes, I would then look at strengthening lofts or getting a new sets of irons.

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5 hours ago, downbylaw11 said:

I've been researching the possibility of getting a new set of irons when I realized that pretty much every set of irons that has come out in the last 5+ years has far stronger lofts than my current set which has a 35 degree 7 iron loft. I've seen most have at the most 33, some with 30/31 and some extreme cases being as low as 27, with obvious drastic differences in distance. 

Newer irons have stronger lofts because the heads launch higher. OEMs did this to optimize launch conditions.The heads have different center of gravity, MOI and COR (especially multi-component heads). If they kept the older lofts, the irons would balloon when hit. It is not a marketing ploy as some suggest. And you are not getting longer distance on the high COR irons because of the loft. It is because the irons are build like metal woods and the trampoline effect comes into play.

Unless your irons are worn out, I would keep them. If you do have a hankering for new irons, it is best to compare side by side. Pick an iron that matches the look, feel and sound you like. Also, it is known that blades and some cavity backs have more consistent distance than the high COR irons even though they hit farther.

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21 minutes ago, boogielicious said:

And you are not getting longer distance on the high COR irons because of the loft. It is because the irons are build like metal woods and the trampoline effect comes into play.

In part you are in fact.  The lower loft increases ball speed and also reduces the spin rate, leading to longer carry.  You can see power irons with a couple of clubs lower spin than normal.

You are correct in pointing out the trampoline effect and how that sounds good but can lead to inconsistencies with distance dispersion, and that can hurt your iron play more than help you.

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I would start by bending a couple of your irons if you want to go down this road and see what the result look like. Those clubs should not have any issues bending a couple degrees down and need be back to spec if you don't like them.

The lower lofts will usually only be an issue in the longer irons where you might see more hook or slice spin. The bounce you will just have to try and see if it causes any issues with your AoA.

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Well, you don't have to spend a $1000.00 for a new set of quality clubs. I could go out right now, and buy a quality set irons/metal woods for under $500.00 that would play just as well as the more expensive variety. If I went the component club route, I could even get the style of club head that I wanted.

As for the loft number, like par, it's just a number. I have two different,  full sets of irons, and I couldn't tell you to save my life, what their loft numbers are. Well, maybe except for my wedges, and their bounce degree numbers.  

The only two numbers I care about on my clubs are the club number itself, and the full swing, carry yardage I can get out of that particular club. In my golf reality, those are the only two numbers that count for anything important, other than the final number on my score card. 

For most of my 50+/-  golf journey years, lots of golfers have always hit all of our various clubs farther than me. That said, way less than half, In the same hdcp range, have ever posted a lower 18 hole score than I normally do. . 

Edited by Patch

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9 hours ago, downbylaw11 said:

So I've had the same set of irons for about 8 years now, though they've really only gotten serious use the last few years.  Theyre a set a 2007 callaway x-forged that I bought around 2010 or 11 from an online outlet.  I like the way the clubs perform, but always felt I was a little bit shorter with them than my set of junky off brand cavity back irons I got in the mid 90s, so I've been researching the possibility of getting a new set of irons when I realized that

Is there an actual problem with the shots you hit (accuracy/dispersion/ball flight).  If not, it is just a number at the bottom of the club.  You might hit an 8 iron 150 while your playing partner hits a PW, but if you are closer to the pin, who is better off.  If you are struggling for distance and gapping at the top of your irons to your fairway woods, get hybrids to fill the gap.  But don't change irons for distance.  Change them because they are more accurate and have a better dispersion pattern (side and length).

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It's not an ego thing, as I'm always the longest player in my group, though I certainly no dustin johnson.  The issue is, like many people, is that my contact consistency with clubs beyond a 6 leaves much to be desired.  It's funny when people always talk about putting ego aside and just hitting more club, but hitting more club is more difficult.  If one can hit a pw from 145 instead of a 9, theyre going to hit better shots every day of the week.  If I broke par every round, obviously I wouldnt be thinking about changing my clubs, but I don't, and I struggle on shots in the 170-210 range, so yeah, if I can suddenly going from hitting an 8 iron 150 to 170, and hitting a 6 iron 190, I have shortened the course significantly and my proximity to the hole would surely decrease. 

I've seen tests where guys tried out 3 different lofted 7 irons and went from hitting 160 to 190 with a 27 degree callaway rogue x.  and like I explained, I hit a very high ball and feel it's not the optimal trajectory for distance and control so I feel like I'm just leaving free yards out there by playing lofts that brad faxon would have used. 

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In order get better results, I, as some have mentioned here, really got comfortable with each club's primary (average) distance.  As a result, I no longer carry a 5i, as the combination of my 4h and 5h readily takes care of the "missed" distances and loft is covered was well.  Because my 3h is currently a real SOB, I have removed it. I sometimes use my 9i in place of my PW, or visa versa, depending on the situation and what I need to avoid, or simply how I feel my body is helping or interfering on a given day. I am now finding I have a gap that will have me adding an 8i very soon.

Long ago, in the Neolithic age of the late 60s, I was taught that which club I use is personal; that learning what my club does for me is the first thing.  So I never worried about what others used or some optimal configuration.

I have also added clubs from other makers or even different lines by the same maker to solve an individual problem.  So if you basically like you set, I would replace problems rather than set.  You may need a fitter to point you in the right direction.

That is my 2¢ and what works for me.

 

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I dig my weak lofted clubs, even with a slow swing speed. My gapping is decent with my PW being 100 yards(ish) up to my 190 yard 3 iron. I don't hit it long, but can hit all my clubs and don't hesitate to do so because of the number on them. If you think that you will be closer to the pin with at the same distance with a different club, then I suggest getting the strongest lofted clubs on the planet. Unfortunately, distance determines how close to the green/pin you will be, not club selection.

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5 minutes ago, Bonvivant said:

I dig my weak lofted clubs, even with a slow swing speed. My gapping is decent with my PW being 100 yards(ish) up to my 190 yard 3 iron. I don't hit it long, but can hit all my clubs and don't hesitate to do so because of the number on them. If you think that you will be closer to the pin with at the same distance with a different club, then I suggest getting the strongest lofted clubs on the planet. Unfortunately, distance determines how close to the green/pin you will be, not club selection.

If you're capable of hitting a 3 iron 190...then I think your PW should be 120-125??

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1 minute ago, Mr22putt said:

If you're capable of hitting a 3 iron 190...then I think your PW should be 120-125??

total distance, not carry.

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10 hours ago, downbylaw11 said:

and I struggle on shots in the 170-210 range,  

Simply fix....assuming you're still gaming long irons......find a 5, 4, 3 hybrid that you like and get rid of the 5,4 & 3 iron.

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On 11/11/2019 at 7:11 AM, boogielicious said:

Newer irons have stronger lofts because the heads launch higher. OEMs did this to optimize launch conditions.The heads have different center of gravity, MOI and COR (especially multi-component heads). If they kept the older lofts, the irons would balloon when hit.

Ping first encountered this with its Eye series perimeter-weighted irons. They launched better than other irons, but ended up a few yards shorter than competitors. So, Ping strengthened lofts to prevent ballooning and to hold the line on its distances.

downbl, in your case get some launch monitor time and see what your distances and ball height actually are.  If your ball flight it good but your 7i is 10 yards shorter than your playing partners, so be it.Along this line, get a ball fitting to see if you could find more carry from a different dimpled orb.

Also, especially with forged irons, get a loft-and-lie check to see how close to spec the irons are. Forged bend out of spec easier than cast, which often have harder metal. A collegiate golfer who plays forged irons says she gets a loft-and-lie tweak before the seasons starts, and then again before summer tournaments.

You can always pick up a little distance with driver and FWs to get you closer to green before approach shots.

As far as new irons go, this could depend in part on your physical age. If you are in your early 50s, check and see if the shafts from 20 years ago are as helpful as they need to be. If you are fighting the shaft, a reshaft or getting new irons (with shafts you need) might be in order.  

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On 11/13/2019 at 11:22 AM, WUTiger said:

Ping first encountered this with its Eye series perimeter-weighted irons. They launched better than other irons, but ended up a few yards shorter than competitors. So, Ping strengthened lofts to prevent ballooning and to hold the line on its distances.

downbl, in your case get some launch monitor time and see what your distances and ball height actually are.  If your ball flight it good but your 7i is 10 yards shorter than your playing partners, so be it.Along this line, get a ball fitting to see if you could find more carry from a different dimpled orb.

Also, especially with forged irons, get a loft-and-lie check to see how close to spec the irons are. Forged bend out of spec easier than cast, which often have harder metal. A collegiate golfer who plays forged irons says she gets a loft-and-lie tweak before the seasons starts, and then again before summer tournaments.

You can always pick up a little distance with driver and FWs to get you closer to green before approach shots.

As far as new irons go, this could depend in part on your physical age. If you are in your early 50s, check and see if the shafts from 20 years ago are as helpful as they need to be. If you are fighting the shaft, a reshaft or getting new irons (with shafts you need) might be in order.  

Ping had that issue with the original Eye2 as well (no wonder I hit those things nearly nowhere).

@downbylaw11 the lofts have gotten much stronger in the Super Game Improvement iron category. The Rogue X and Epic Forged irons both have 27° 7-irons. Your Callaway X-Forged irons fall into the Player's Cavity category, where most 7-irons these days are between 32° and 34°. (Some are still 35°). Most of the difference has mainly been because most irons launch higher than they used to. Yes more loft will be forgiving (there's a great video on YouTube about D-Plane).

That being said there is absolutely nothing wrong with playing weaker/retro lofts. What some of these golfers who hit 7-iron into a 180 yard par-3 won't tell you, is that 7-iron is an SGI club with 27° of loft, and you knock your 31° 6-iron closer to the hole than their 7-iron, because more loft will usually, have a smaller shot-zone than less loft does. 

My issues with the SGI irons these days isn't the loft being 5-8° stronger than what I usually play, it's two things, distance control and gapping.

@WUTiger will be surprised to know I've actually become a Srixon convert of all things. But I digress. I played M6 irons at the beginning of this season before settling back to my Exotics blades and eventually to the Srixon's I have now (I haven't updated my signature in a while). I'm a decent player (especially since shortening my swing). But I still need forgiveness. My blades though retro lofted weren't doing the trick. I needed something with more forgiveness so I went to the M6... Which was way too chunky for me. I hated the tight loft GAPPING at the top and the wide gaps at the bottom. My blades had 3° in the long irons and 5-PW are 4° down to my 47° PW. Then I realized I need some forgiveness but still wanted distance control and decent GAPPING. So I tried a few clubs. And picked up a set of Srixon Z565 irons (they're the 2017 model). Yes there are only 2° gaps between the 3,4,and 5 iron, then 3° to the 6-iron, 4° 7-9, 5° to the PW and 6° to the AW. But the funny thing was even with the goofy loft set-up, the distance gaps are consistent. 

Sorry for only being tangiently related there but the point is simple. Who really cares how far you hit each club as long as YOU know how far they go. Whether your 7-iron is 34° and carries 155, or your 7-iron carry 180 and is 27°. My 7-iron is 31° and carries 185 yards. (That's not internet mark-up either). 

So in conclusion, if you know your distances it matters not what number is stamped on the bottom of the club.

P.S. get some hybrids or utility irons, even if they're a little older.

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9 hours ago, onthehunt526 said:

...My issues with the SGI irons these days isn't the loft being 5-8° stronger than what I usually play, it's two things, distance control and gapping.

@WUTiger will be surprised to know I've actually become a Srixon convert of all things. But I digress. I played M6 irons at the beginning of this season before settling back to my Exotics blades and eventually to the Srixon's I have now (I haven't updated my signature in a while). I'm a decent player (especially since shortening my swing). But I still need forgiveness. My blades though retro lofted weren't doing the trick. I needed something with more forgiveness so I went to the M6... Which was way too chunky for me. I hated the tight loft GAPPING at the top and the wide gaps at the bottom. My blades had 3° in the long irons and 5-PW are 4° down to my 47° PW. Then I realized I need some forgiveness but still wanted distance control and decent GAPPING. So I tried a few clubs. And picked up a set of Srixon Z565 irons (they're the 2017 model). Yes there are only 2° gaps between the 3,4,and 5 iron, then 3° to the 6-iron, 4° 7-9, 5° to the PW and 6° to the AW. But the funny thing was even with the goofy loft set-up, the distance gaps are consistent. 

The consistent distance gaps despite loft gap variance can be tied in part of clubhead design. Unlike some models with tight loft gaps at long end, Z565 does not mess around with shaft length. Some models going from half inch to 3/4 shaft length increments at long end. This messes up some who play long irons because of the uneven shift in length.

Srixon makes excellent irons and gets overlooked somewhat because not all major stores carry them.

You shortened your swing? That's the best news I've heard since you agreed to stay with Sweet 16 in clubs!!! 🙂

9 hours ago, onthehunt526 said:

... That being said there is absolutely nothing wrong with playing weaker/retro lofts. What some of these golfers who hit 7-iron into a 180 yard par-3 won't tell you, is that 7-iron is an SGI club with 27° of loft, and you knock your 31° 6-iron closer to the hole than their 7-iron, because more loft will usually, have a smaller shot-zone than less loft does. 

... So in conclusion, if you know your distances it matters not what number is stamped on the bottom of the club.

Final sentence says it all.

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19 hours ago, onthehunt526 said:

Ping had that issue with the original Eye2 as well (no wonder I hit those things nearly nowhere).

@downbylaw11 the lofts have gotten much stronger in the Super Game Improvement iron category. The Rogue X and Epic Forged irons both have 27° 7-irons. Your Callaway X-Forged irons fall into the Player's Cavity category, where most 7-irons these days are between 32° and 34°. (Some are still 35°). Most of the difference has mainly been because most irons launch higher than they used to. Yes more loft will be forgiving (there's a great video on YouTube about D-Plane).

That being said there is absolutely nothing wrong with playing weaker/retro lofts. What some of these golfers who hit 7-iron into a 180 yard par-3 won't tell you, is that 7-iron is an SGI club with 27° of loft, and you knock your 31° 6-iron closer to the hole than their 7-iron, because more loft will usually, have a smaller shot-zone than less loft does. 

My issues with the SGI irons these days isn't the loft being 5-8° stronger than what I usually play, it's two things, distance control and gapping.

@WUTiger will be surprised to know I've actually become a Srixon convert of all things. But I digress. I played M6 irons at the beginning of this season before settling back to my Exotics blades and eventually to the Srixon's I have now (I haven't updated my signature in a while). I'm a decent player (especially since shortening my swing). But I still need forgiveness. My blades though retro lofted weren't doing the trick. I needed something with more forgiveness so I went to the M6... Which was way too chunky for me. I hated the tight loft GAPPING at the top and the wide gaps at the bottom. My blades had 3° in the long irons and 5-PW are 4° down to my 47° PW. Then I realized I need some forgiveness but still wanted distance control and decent GAPPING. So I tried a few clubs. And picked up a set of Srixon Z565 irons (they're the 2017 model). Yes there are only 2° gaps between the 3,4,and 5 iron, then 3° to the 6-iron, 4° 7-9, 5° to the PW and 6° to the AW. But the funny thing was even with the goofy loft set-up, the distance gaps are consistent. 

Sorry for only being tangiently related there but the point is simple. Who really cares how far you hit each club as long as YOU know how far they go. Whether your 7-iron is 34° and carries 155, or your 7-iron carry 180 and is 27°. My 7-iron is 31° and carries 185 yards. (That's not internet mark-up either). 

So in conclusion, if you know your distances it matters not what number is stamped on the bottom of the club.

P.S. get some hybrids or utility irons, even if they're a little older.

good post.  but I guess much of my questions revolved around whether or not the length of the club shaft mattered enough to offset problems caused by having a lower loft, in relation to dispersion.  if youre saying that because a 27 degree is lower lofted, it would be more prone to offline hits due to side spin, ball speed, etc, would that be negated by being able to swing more consistently because you'd be hitting that 27 degree loft with a shaft that is maybe 1.5 inches shorter than the club that you would need in a retro loft to reach the same distance? I'm comfortable with my distances, and while distance is nice, and definitely fun for stroking the ego, I'm more concerned with my scoring and my swing, and whether or not im missing out on lower scores simply because I hit my 35 degree 7 iron 160 instead of a 31-33 degree 170-180.  I'm sorta over though to be honest, I took a look at my irons the other day and thought to myself, 'why the f*** would i get new irons, these things are in amazing condition, and all the irons I like are 1000 bucks'.  to be fair though, srixon makes a gorgeous iron and even though I've always been a callaway guy, I think I could get comparable quality to callaways top players irons for 500 less if i went srixon.  

thanks for the replies that were actually about lofts and not about buying hybrids 

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My understanding is that it has to do with launch angle and not distance.  If a Mfg can achieve a certain launch angle it is a 7 iron, regardless of the actual club loft or the added distance.  Some of the extreme sets may not adhere to this, I don’t know.

And as already noted, with thinner faces and all sorts of trampoline effects built into distance clubs, dispersion may not be as good.

But, it might be worth your while to look into clubs newer than 2007 as technology has improved since then.  There are any number of really good condition used clubs that are a few years old that will cost you a lot less.  Do some research, hit some used clubs that fit your game and go from there.

The only issue with longer irons, is that game improvement might work better for you than players irons, but it may mean getting a look you don’t care for, but they might give you an easier launch and more forgiveness.

John

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