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Blades vs. Cavity Backs - with Data/Video


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Can't find the article or blog but I remember reading about Paul Wood (PING engineer) talking about how from a physics standpoint, more compact heads worked better for more skilled players. Basically a longer/wider face makes it harder for the better player to square up the face and hit the center. This bit hints at it.

Screen Shot 2021-03-01 at 9.55.08 PM.png

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7 hours ago, iacas said:

What's the executive summary?

I watched this video twice. I found it very interesting. Here's what I heard.

  • First, I think the biggest point Mark was trying to make is that a golfer should in an ideal world built their bag one club at a time. As you go to lower and lower lofted clubs, you are more and more likely to need some help getting the ball in the air. It is hard to create proper launch conditions without enough loft. Where in the bag that happens (be it your 6 iron or your 2 iron) will depend upon your delivery, your swing speed, and it will be different for everyone. Some folks can hit a 2 iron. Other folks should drop from their 6 iron on up and go to a SGI iron or a hybrid. 
  • Second, higher loft produces higher consistency. The trend of getting everything lower and lower lofted while possibly helping you hit the long irons, it might be hurting you in the short irons and traditionally higher lofted clubs. Loft is your friend when it comes to consistency. 
  • Third, the further you are from target, the harder it is to hit target... No matter who you are.
  • Fourth, higher handicap golfers are less consistent (i.e. have more bad shots) than lower handicap golfers. This creates a ton of what Mark called "noise" in the data. And with all that noise you can make an argument for anything you like. Therefore be careful when you are testing/getting fitted, because a fitter/salesperson can make what ever they want out of the data. 
  • Finally, better players hit all clubs better. Worse players hit all clubs worse. The archer is more important than the arrow.
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His example of what if a “20 handicap” were to make the test was spot on....I am such and what he is saying is true, it’s the 6” between the ears that affects the game more than anything.  The technology spouted by the Mfg’s is simple “sell more clubs based on the premise that this is the magic pill to below par rounds”.  I did gather that he admits he has a tipping point where non-blades come into play.  If we let our ego go and say, “yes this ‘type’ of club suits me better here” we would have less frustration and more greens in regulation.  

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1 minute ago, WillieT said:

it’s the 6” between the ears that affects the game more than anything. 

I'm struggling a bit with this comment from you. 


Did you mean that our brain convinces us that we need a certain type of club for a certain type of shot and without data that may or may not be true? Because if that's what you mean, then I agree, that is kind of the point he's making. 

If you meant that our beliefs or "mental game" is more important than our equipment, then I didn't get that from the video at all. I thought his point was the skill of the golfer is more important than the equipment. So skill affects the game more than anything. 

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, ChetlovesMer said:

Finally, better players hit all clubs better. Worse players hit all clubs worse. The archer is more important than the arrow.

Exactly.  Which is why, while I'm as much a gear ho as anybody, and more so than many, I'm concentrating more on getting my swing right than what manufacturers, reviewers, and other players tell me this or that club can do for my game.  I expect GI clubs to help me, not fix me :)

That being said: A prior comment by @iacas nails this guy's tests for me: Too little data.  You cannot have one golfer, swinging one blade and one SGI iron, for a couple dozen swings each, establish a meaningful data set for analysis.

E.g.: Callaway, when they were developing the Big Bertha B21 line, had hundreds of golfers, across a wide range of ability, hit thousands of balls for input into their designs, and added AI on top of it.

There is another golf forum in which I participate that is less training-/instruction-oriented and more gear-oriented than TST.  They review the latest stuff, hold live Q&A sessions with OEMs, give stuff away to members for test/review, etc.  Many members there go right out and buy one-or-another of the latest and greatest before it even hits the stores.  What I look for is new equipment getting into the hands of players, not necessarily with my handicap (because my HC is currently astronomical), but whose misses approximate mine, and pay careful attention to how they feel a given product affects their game.  Much bigger data set.

And, even then, I know I'm mainly playing odds, because we're all different.

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I do think that more game improvement, the less accurate the iron is. If the club has a hallow interior to help with ball speed, then you can create inconsistencies across the face. You will have situations were certain strikes just get a hug boost in speed and others will not. I do think the larger face distorts the feel of a quality strike. So, you get use to thinking that off center hits are pure shots.

I do think there is a certain level of player that needs the help in terms of optimizing the gaps between their clubs. If they are hitting their 6 iron as long as their 4 iron because they struggle to get enough speed. Then you need the game improvement irons or hybrids to help out. They are designed to get the ball in the air. At that point, the sacrifice in distance for a 4 iron going as far as a 6 iron is worth the increase in dispersion. 

I do think that game improvement irons have written a good narrative that gets people to buy the clubs. 

I wonder how much larger a GI club is than a MB club in terms of %. Like 20% more clubface area? 

I am just pondering, if you consider the horrible hits that high handicap golfers can make, like topping the ball or shanking it, or hitting it off the toe (missing the grooves). If you disregard those strikes, does the increase in clubface size really matter? 

10 minutes ago, SEMI_Duffer said:

That being said: A prior comment by @iacas nails this guy's tests for me: Too little data.  You cannot have one golfer, swinging one blade and one SGI iron, for a couple dozen swings each, establish a meaningful data set for analysis.

To make a clear statement, sure. But, I think there are some things you can draw from this sort of test. 

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6 minutes ago, SEMI_Duffer said:

Exactly.  Which is why, while I'm as much a gear ho as anybody,

You and me both, brother.

 

7 minutes ago, SEMI_Duffer said:

That being said: A prior comment by @iacas nails this guy's tests for me: Too little data. 

I think Mark would be the FIRST to admit that. He makes that point over and over again in his videos. 

 

8 minutes ago, SEMI_Duffer said:

There is another golf forum in which I participate that is less training-/instruction-oriented and more gear-oriented than TST.  They review the latest stuff, hold live Q&A sessions with OEMs, give stuff away to members for test/review, etc.  Many members there go right out and buy one-or-another of the latest and greatest before it even hits the stores.  What I look for is new equipment getting into the hands of players, not necessarily with my handicap (because my HC is currently astronomical), but whose misses approximate mine, and pay careful attention to how they feel a given product affects their game.  Much bigger data set.

MyGolfspy? 

 

9 minutes ago, SEMI_Duffer said:

You cannot have one golfer, swinging one blade and one SGI iron, for a couple dozen swings each, establish a meaningful data set for analysis.

I don't think he's trying to say or prove that anyway. I think he's trying to say that when you build your bag you can't do so by just hitting 7 irons and then buying the set. He's saying you need to evaluate where you are going to need the help. For example I may need some characteristics which are totally different with an 8 iron. And maybe there are no 3 irons that will work for me, and for a 5 iron there are probably some that fit my game better than others. I really think that was the point he was trying to make. 

It's cost prohibitive in most cases to do so, but getting fit for each individual club depending on your needs and depending on the required distance/accuracy of that club would be the idea way to go.  

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13 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

To make a clear statement, sure. But, I think there are some things you can draw from this sort of test. 

Perhaps.

Once upon a time I did statistical process control for a living.  In stats there are Rules for what constitutes a valid data set.  Everything else is a SWAG ;)

 

11 minutes ago, ChetlovesMer said:

I don't think he's trying to say or prove that anyway. I think he's trying to say that when you build your bag you can't do so by just hitting 7 irons and then buying the set.

I suppose that's true--at least for new golfers and high-handicappers.  I know it would be true for me.  (Which is why I'll get fit for new irons.)  I would expect a competent fitter to know if I needed some kind of blended set.

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2 hours ago, ChetlovesMer said:

I'm struggling a bit with this comment from you. 


Did you mean that our brain convinces us that we need a certain type of club for a certain type of shot and without data that may or may not be true? Because if that's what you mean, then I agree, that is kind of the point he's making. 

If you meant that our beliefs or "mental game" is more important than our equipment, then I didn't get that from the video at all. I thought his point was the skill of the golfer is more important than the equipment. So skill affects the game more than anything. 

 

 

 

I should have been more clear, it is a mix of what you are saying.  Our brain does try and often does convince "the less skilled player" that this is the "club" for the "shot" because we may have "got it right" once before.  Fully understanding our skill levels (and being honest with that assessment) is what really matters - not that once in a while shot.  It means dissecting the data over time to fully understand where you truly do hit the ball.  For me it has been studying the Garmin S20 data from my rounds.  What do I see - what worked, what didn't.  Give me a person who has skills and they can play any club of any set - because they can adjust their game to the clubs at hand.  Conversely a person who has little to no skills will struggle no matter the clubs in hand - yes SGI may inspire, but until the muscles learn, the brain learns they will struggle to be consistent. 

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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 weeks later...
On 4/17/2021 at 12:18 PM, DewSweeper09 said:

I enjoy playing blades. I’ve never seen them as a disadvantage. 

Agreed. If anything they are an advantage for someone seriously trying to improve because they provide the best feedback about the quality of a swing.

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4 hours ago, measureoffsetinnm said:

Agreed. If anything they are an advantage for someone seriously trying to improve because they provide the best feedback about the quality of a swing.

I think that’s pushing it a bit. There’s no doubt that CB and SGI irons are more forgiving than a blade iron. Pros want the control of the blade and that’s fine. But amateur players aren’t doing themselves any favors playing them. Trying to improve is probably best done with proper instruction, video and launch data rather than just feedback from a more difficult iron to play.

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2 minutes ago, iacas said:

I don't know about that.

A little explanation would be helpful. My term ‘amateur’ wasn’t referring to low handicaps. I’m referring to 15+ hcps. I sense I may still be wrong ….😃

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21 minutes ago, Vinsk said:

A little explanation would be helpful. My term ‘amateur’ wasn’t referring to low handicaps. I’m referring to 15+ hcps. I sense I may still be wrong ….😃

Well, you said "amateur." That's not just 15+.

Should a 15+ use blades? Probably not. But I could also see times when even they should, particularly if it's just to practice (and the club has the same swing weight and general properties as their gamer clubs).

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(edited)

Yeah that is what I meant. When someone is at the range or playing rounds with an eye towards practicing rather than achieving a score then I think they are best served using clubs which minimize hiding their bad swings and maximize the feeling of accomplishment when they have a good one.

Edited by measureoffsetinnm
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1 hour ago, iacas said:

Well, you said "amateur." That's not just 15+.

Should a 15+ use blades? Probably not. But I could also see times when even they should, particularly if it's just to practice (and the club has the same swing weight and general properties as their gamer clubs).

As someone who "hovers" in the 18+ handicap range (per my Garmin S20), I really like dragging the old blades from the 70's out to swing with in the backyard from time to time.  I have honestly thought about regripping them (hard, cracked, rotten rubber) and taking them to the course.  The feedback is real, and when pured there is nothing like the sound and feel.  Currently I am gaming SLDR irons (5i-PW) which I love.  The tough part is that my old "blades" are a mixed back of MacGregor, Spalding, Lynx and even Northwestern....

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