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Good Idea to Use More Advanced Clubs to Improve Swing and Contact?


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Hello everyone,

I'm relatively new to golf (started about 4 years ago) but I take it really seriously and want to get as close to pro level as possible.  I don't really have anyone to guide me on this so I thought I would ask for advice here.  I started out with beginner clubs with regular shafts but soon upgraded my irons Wilson Staff Model blades with Dynamic Gold S300 shafts, my logic being that if I play an unforgiving iron, it will force me to really work hard at ball striking, and the heavier and stiffer shaft will force me to increase my swing speed and power.  Based on my ball distances at the range using old and cracked balls, I should be swinging at about 100mph.  Now I want to upgrade my driver and woods to new ones that are less forgiving and have stiff shafts with the idea that I will improve into them.

I was wondering what people thought of this plan.  If swinging heavy and stiffer clubs is a  good method of forcing you to swing faster, even it you might not currently be able to hit them optimally right away.  

 

Thanks

Jason

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 Being that your goal is to get to ‘pro level’ I’m not sure this is the best plan. Getting properly fitted for irons that suit you and proper instruction is a much more sound approach. There are some excellent instructors and golfers on this forum who can help you as well as highly reputable online instruction program called Evolvr
 

Start a ‘My Swing’ thread in the Members Swing thread and you’ll get off to a much more efficient and less frustrating regimen. Cheers!

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  • 1 month later...

Thanks Vinsk,

I read your reply immediately after I posted my question and I greatly appreciate your input on this subject.  I ended up getting the harder to hit driver and woods with a stiff shaft because of a sudden price change but in my case it worked out well as I can hit the new clubs as well as my previous set.  My big issue is consistency and for that, the only remedy is lessons and, as you suggested, feedback from my swing videos.  I'll try and post some as soon as possible and I look forward to receiving some feedback.  I certainly don't want my purchase to seem like I didn't take your advice to heart, I took a gamble and it my case, it wasn't a terrible idea, but I can see how it was a risk that could have been very expensive and lessened my enjoyment of the sport.  I hope that you will continue to provide me with valuable advice and information as I have a long way to go to get to the level I want to be playing at.

Sincerely,

Jason

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14 hours ago, JayFou said:

Thanks Vinsk,

I read your reply immediately after I posted my question and I greatly appreciate your input on this subject.  I ended up getting the harder to hit driver and woods with a stiff shaft because of a sudden price change but in my case it worked out well as I can hit the new clubs as well as my previous set.  My big issue is consistency and for that, the only remedy is lessons and, as you suggested, feedback from my swing videos.  I'll try and post some as soon as possible and I look forward to receiving some feedback.  I certainly don't want my purchase to seem like I didn't take your advice to heart, I took a gamble and it my case, it wasn't a terrible idea, but I can see how it was a risk that could have been very expensive and lessened my enjoyment of the sport.  I hope that you will continue to provide me with valuable advice and information as I have a long way to go to get to the level I want to be playing at.

Sincerely,

Jason

I am a big fan of thinking that most players should be using forgiving irons (note:  I used to believe the exact opposite).  

However, more important than forgiveness of the head is the fit for the shafts and grips.  I'm not sure what a "harder to hit" driver or woods are, but the stiff shaft at the onset is a worry.  

You're probably more consistent than you give yourself credit for.  It's changing the direction of the consistency that you want. There's a very good golf book that, if the authors weren't quoting me directly early in a chapter on this topic, they certainly nailed something I know I've said.

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Hello Shindig,

I heard that most players should be using more forgiving irons and even softer shafts.  I can see how playing more forgiving irons would lower players scores and how that would appeal to most people.  For me personally, I want to lower my score, but I also really enjoy trying to play the less forgiving clubs.  They are harder to play with but when to me, I get great satisfaction when I do make those nice shots, I just need to make more of them.

By "harder to hit" drivers and woods I simply mean less forgiving with off center strikes.  I thought drivers and woods were like irons in that some models were designed to be more forgiving than others.  By harder to hit I do not mean shaft flex.  I brought up the question of shaft flex because I seem to able to hit stiff shafts based on the distances I'm getting but my local club fitters don't have a machine that measures swing speed and instead use ball speed and distance.  The problem is that I'm too inconsistent in the simulators so I have no idea of which shaft and flex I should be using.  I just wanted to know if my swing would adapt over time if I did get stiffer shafts, especially since I've only been playing golf for 4 years and my distances keep increasing.

At the range I'm actually not too bad, I almost always make decent contact, but I started to pull or hook with my irons and slice with my driver, but I always sliced with my driver anyway.  My 3 and 5 wood are actually okay.  I've been spending 99% of my time at the range though so I'm not very good on the actual course but I've been out twice this year and want to get out more as time progresses.

I'm curious as to which book you are referring to, I'd be interested in reading it.

 

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4 minutes ago, JayFou said:

I'm getting but my local club fitters don't have a machine that measures swing speed and instead use ball speed

Dividing ball speed by 1.5 will give you an estimate of your swing speed. 

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Hi Vinsk,

I'm glad to hear from you.  I may have understated how bad I am when I step into a simulator, ha ha.  Most of the time I can't even get the ball to hit the screen.  At the range I actually make consistent contact, I just have trouble getting the ball to go exactly where I want it to, but in a simulator, it's like I never held a club before.

I'm going to do what I should have done from the beginning and invest in some lessons.  That should have been my first step but I thought I could get by reading books and watching youtube videos.  After that I'll start posing some videos for some community input and re-examine my club situation.   

I'm also really glad that you told me about dividing my ball speed by 1.5.  No one told me that, though it might have been because I would need to make good contact with the ball before.

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(edited)
58 minutes ago, JayFou said:

I'm going to do what I should have done from the beginning and invest in some lessons.

This is a good plan. There's really no substitute for quality instruction (and good practice).

58 minutes ago, JayFou said:

I thought I could get by reading books

The book Lowest Score Wins is incredibly helpful. This is the book @Shindig is referring to I believe.

58 minutes ago, JayFou said:

watching youtube videos

I'd avoid this unless you are looking for a drill that helps with a specific swing issue that you know you suffer from (i.e., your instructor has identified it). I spent a lot of time trying to self diagnose swing issues and getting lost in YouTube golf instruction videos before I started lessons; I occasionally got some band aid type fixes from YouTube, but nothing that lead to sustainable improvement.


Regarding your original topic - I don't know how much merit there is to the idea of getting better by using shafts and club heads not suited to your swing/ability. My personal experience is that it doesn't help. When I started playing golf in college 25 years ago, I was given an old iron set that originally belonged to my roommate's dad. They were Wilson blades, I believe from the late 70s/early 80s, and after playing with these clubs for about 4 years, my ball striking did not improve at all. I think around 2001 I purchased a modern (for the time) Titleist cavity back iron set, and hit the ball about the same. Much later when I got back into golf again after a long hiatus, I purchased a set of Wilson player's cavity back irons, and my ball striking still didn't progress much. It wasn't until I started taking lessons about 3.5 years ago that I began to understand the mechanics and physics of the golf swing, then learned how to practice correctly, that my ball striking improved. Recently I was fitted into a set of Srixon ZX5 irons, which have sort of a player's iron look, but the benefits of modern iron technology.

I think the best way to improve ball striking is to take lessons and practice correctly.

If you are interested in gaining swing speed, I'd look into the Superspeed training program, or something similar.

Edited by Darkfrog
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On 6/5/2021 at 11:36 AM, JayFou said:

I started out with beginner clubs with regular shafts but soon upgraded my irons Wilson Staff Model blades with Dynamic Gold S300 shafts, my logic being that if I play an unforgiving iron, it will force me to really work hard at ball striking,

Hi Jason,

You read this somewhere on a golf forum, right?

It is something that crops up a lot -  "I'm using blades for practice to work on my "ballstriking" so that the feedback or lack thereof will force me to become better." Am I right? Thought so. :-)

 

It is ABSOLUTE NONSENSE - practice with the clubs you use on the golf course. There is plenty of feedback with even the most forgiving irons. Not only that, there are many PGATour pros who use what many describe as "game improvement" irons.

Make your practice time meaningful, and ignore all discussions about "forged feel" and "blades". It's pretty much all BS. Not only that, you'll almost never find really good players involved in these discussions. That might tell you something ;-)

 

Good luck!

 

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On 6/4/2021 at 10:36 PM, JayFou said:

Based on my ball distances at the range using old and cracked balls, I should be swinging at about 100mph.

Shaft isn't dictated by swing speed alone.  Tempo is also a factor in that.  100 mph is generally considered border line of regular and stiff shafts.

Please don't pick a shaft and clubs randomly.  If money permits it, please get a fitting done and pick the clubs accordingly.

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(edited)
7 hours ago, Shorty said:

It is ABSOLUTE NONSENSE - practice with the clubs you use on the golf course. There is plenty of feedback with even the most forgiving irons. Not only that, there are many PGATour pros who use what many describe as "game improvement" irons.

 

To echo what my friend is saying, I'll point out that Collin Morikawa was playing cavity-backs for his 5- and 6-iron, but blades 7- on down, until two weeks ago when he put cavity backs into play for the rest.  I'd say his tournament play since then has been pretty good.

Edited by Shindig
I spelled his first name wrong and realized as soon as I hit save.
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Hello Darkfrog,

I was hoping that I would be able to learn golf and not spend money on lessons but yeah, I'm coming around to the idea that if I want to progress further and faster, I'll need lessons.

I asked the question of improving with "more difficult clubs" because I have a set of regular flex "game improvement" irons and driver/woods but I wanted to get blades and so I ended up getting some off the rack with stiff shafts because they weren't regular price.  I figured I could always change the shafts if need be.  Now at the time I couldn't even hit my game improvement irons most of the time but I started using my blades and I really progressed over the past year (at the range) in terms of ball striking and distance with my irons. 

I thought that maybe my ball striking progressed because the irons I was using punished my hands more on the mishits and the distance increased because my swing speed and tempo adapted to the stiffer shafts.   But I don't know, it could just as easily have been because of I would have progressed like that anyway.  I wanted to get other peoples opinion on this and it seems to be pretty conclusive that using harder to hit club heads and stiffer shafts might do more harm than good.

It's not that I'm obsessed with increasing my swing speed or anything.  I mean I want to hit farther and that might only come with a faster swing and tempo but it's more important to me to swing the correct shaft.

Now, I did buy the Cobra Radspeed driver, and Cobra Tour and Big Tour woods with stiff shafts to go with my blades so we'll see how things develop but I can always use my other golf set if need be.

Hello Shorty,

I actually didn't read that anywhere, I came up with that erroneous conclusion all on my own 🙂.  But I wouldn't be surprised if other people had the same idea.

I do practice and play with my blades, I just say I practice because I spend 99% of my time at the driving range.  I will say though, I did fall for the hype about blades.  They're only marginally different from any other iron in terms of feel and forgiveness.  I'm still glad to use them though because I've been toying with draws and fades, I really like the way they look, and I hit them as well as any other iron I've tried so why not?  However, I have trouble hitting my 3, 4, 5, and 6 irons but even pros tend to swap those out with more forgiving irons.  I agree though, people shouldn't get caught up in the hype and hit what works best for them and what they like.

 

Hi pganapathy,

I agree that people should get fitted whenever possible but I can't hit anything in a simulator so club fitting isn't possible for me at this time but I can appreciate the importance of getting properly fitted and I plan on doing so for my next set.  For now, I'll just have to take lessons and do the best I can with the purchases I've made until I decide to get new clubs.  I know that they aren't optimized for me but I'm still hitting them decently enough to play with them once I get my swing/alignment issues fixed.

 

Hey Shindig,

I've looked at what pro players are using and like you and Shorty said, a lot of them use things like cavity backs and "game improvement" irons, especially when it comes to the longer irons.  I just want to make it clear that I don't want to sound like a snob when it comes to club selection.  I'm literally the one person I know that plays blades and of all the people I know, I'm the worst player so I have nothing to be snobbish about.  I just wanted to say that because I know some people are always bragging about their distances or what clubs they use, etc.

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(edited)
1 hour ago, JayFou said:

 

I actually didn't read that anywhere, I came up with that erroneous conclusion all on my own 🙂.  But I wouldn't be surprised if other people had the same idea.

 

This is what happens if you do it:

Apart from feeling a bit different from your main set in terms of weight, possibly grips, possibly length, almost certainly visual appearance/appeal ...

You'll hit some nicely. You'll hit a lot poorly. You'll hit some that feel great. You'll hit some abominably badly. Then you'll top three in a row. Then you'll hit two that seem to fly pretty well.

Where does this get you? Nowhere. It's just a mixed bag of results, the memory of which are erased when you hit one good shot.

It doesn't "groove a repeatable swing" or "force you to make solid contact".

It'll be like going on holiday, renting some shitty clubs from 1987 and hitting some well and feeling like the reason you didn't play well is at least in part the fault of the clubs because you didn't play that great. The great shots are usually the outliers, not the baseline. :-)

 

Edited by Shorty
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4 hours ago, JayFou said:

Hey Shindig,

I've looked at what pro players are using and like you and Shorty said, a lot of them use things like cavity backs and "game improvement" irons, especially when it comes to the longer irons.  I just want to make it clear that I don't want to sound like a snob when it comes to club selection.  I'm literally the one person I know that plays blades and of all the people I know, I'm the worst player so I have nothing to be snobbish about.  I just wanted to say that because I know some people are always bragging about their distances or what clubs they use, etc.

Fair enough.  We are all welcome to optimize for whatever we want to optimize for.

BTW, if you preface someone's user name with at ("@" not literally the word "at"), it will alert them they've been referenced, just like the quoting does.  This helps people follow the conversations more easily, too.  

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12 hours ago, JayFou said:

I agree that people should get fitted whenever possible but I can't hit anything in a simulator so club fitting isn't possible for me at this time but I can appreciate the importance of getting properly fitted and I plan on doing so for my next set.  For now, I'll just have to take lessons and do the best I can with the purchases I've made until I decide to get new clubs.  I know that they aren't optimized for me but I'm still hitting them decently enough to play with them once I get my swing/alignment issues fixed.

Am not sure whether you can get it done, but if you have a friend or the club pro has a simulator you can use outdoors, try that.  You will just need to set it up on the driving range and hit off grass.  It will really help you understand your game, distances, swing etc.  Of course you can use your current clubs and if they don't fit your swing, either get them adjusted according to spec (lie angle, shaft length, weight etc) or you can adjust your swing to compensate for that.  Whichever you choose to do note that building muscle memory with lots of practice is key to good golf, albeit swinging well.  If you swing badly and practice, you will ingrain bad habits.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi Everyone,

I haven't responded in a while because I started taking lessons and I wanted to see how they pan out.  I've improved greatly, though I've only been using my pitching wedge and 7 iron so far.  I've used both my blades with the stiff shafts and my "game improvement" irons with regular shafts. and the flight trajectory and distance is the same.  

I just thought I'd give an update since I haven't replied in a little while. 

Thanks.

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