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New Iron recommendation for 30ish handicapper?


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I've been using a set of PowerBilt TPS 7.0 irons that I bought about 5 years ago.

My average round is in the 105-110 range. My short game is not spectacular, but it isn't the disastrous sight I've seen with other golfers at my handicap (that is, I don't blade the ball over the green on a pitch shot, I don't hit the ground 3 inches before the ball on a chip shot and carry it 3 feet, I don't put the ball 5 feet past the hole on a 4 foot putt, etc...).

That leaves my mid/long game, which is fairly terrible. I'm thinking that upgrading my iron set might help me improve my game a bit, but don't really know which clubs I should look at (and I don't trust salesmen at Edwin Watts / Golf Galaxy / whatever to not just sell me the most expensive thing I'm willing to pay for after they get a feel for my budget). Does anyone have some recommendations for a good iron set for a golfer who is a 30ish handicapper despite having a decent short game (i.e. he has a terrible long game)? I'd like to keep it under $1,000, but expect that I'll probably have to spend more than $500 for a good set. I'd also like to know that I won't have to upgrade again in a few years if I happen to stop being a terrible golfer.

Before anyone suggests lessons, I've already had over $1,000 worth of lessons (yes, video too) with 2 different instructors. I don't want to spend/invest any more money into lessons right now. I'm hoping that a properly fitted set of modern technology golf clubs will save me 5-10 strokes a round and help me keep a state of mind that will facilitate improvement.

Thanks!
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The first few sites on Google say those clubs are from 1999. Even the clubs I have now are newer.

Not trying to knock your recommendation or anything, but why buy used clubs with 9 year-old technology when I can afford to buy brand new ones with the latest technology?
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this is a difficult question to answer... how much of a game improvement club do you want (sole thinkness, offset, and other features will vary greatly even among forgiving type game improvement clubs). Also, you might consider some hybrids, but how many depends on you.

more traditional game improvement sets to consider...
1) Cleveland CG Golds
2) Callaway X20
3) Adams A3 (comes with hybrids, and you can adjust which hybrids you want in set)
4) TaylorMade R7
5) Ping G10
6) Titleist AP1

some more exotic super game improvement...
1) Callaway Big Bertha or Fusion
2) Nike Slingshot or SQ Sumo
3) Adams A30

people probably haven't said much because there is NO one magical set... pretty much any new set you buy might be right for YOU. The key is to find what works for you by actually HITTING the clubs and seeing what looks and feels right to YOU. Also, you need to get the clubs fitted to YOU and YOUR swing, sure that will change over time, but if you are as you describe, then a fitting should be possible and will help.

Lastly... the big difference in game improvement and super game improvement is looks and playability... GI irons are more versatile than SGI, but SGI are a little easier to hit and help with common problems a little better.
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... anybody?

You said anybody so that's what you'll get

I am an absolute beginner, my experience is limited to 20 times hitting on the range and playing 4 holes on a course. I do not have a handicap. Even with this experience, I am able to hit my Adams A3 irons with great success. Of course this is only based on practicing on the range, but I can distinguish a sweet spot hit from a foul one. So if any input really is welcome, I can truly recommend these clubs.
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I will second (or third) the Adams gear. I swaped my Ping Eye 2s for a set of A2 OSs and couldn't be happier. Will probably grab the A3 OS set sometime soon. I think you could find a set of used A2 OS for +/- $300 easy.

Good luck!
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I've been through the same selection process recently and selected the Titleist AP1 - liked the look and feel. I also tried:

2) Callaway X20

4) TaylorMade R7


All excellent and once again very personal.

Cheers

H
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I've been using a set of PowerBilt TPS 7.0 irons that I bought about 5 years ago.

Me, I start with:

  • what is currently on sale
  • was a previous Golf Digest Gold or Silver selection
  • is eye appealing at address
  • is a club for players whose level that I'm trying to achieve.
Last fall I wanted something more challenging than the super game improvement clubs I had, something I could work into by exchanging each individual club as I got more proficient with it. I ended up with Wilson PI5s and have only the lower lofted irons, 3-5, to move into (if I ever do). My next purchase, 1-2 years away, will probably be in the Mizuno forged line like the MP-57s though I'm not sure I'll ever find them on sale.
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I definitely have to chime in on the Adams clubs as well. I just purchased a set of Adams A3 irons and they have made a huge difference in my game. I looked at the A3 OS as well, but they seemed to have more offset and a much wider sole and topline, where the A3's seem very thin and easier to look at when addressing the ball. I would try a bunch out and see what you like, but dont let the reputation that some people give Adams clubs fool you. They are excellent.
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Being a high handicapper, I would do a combined hybrid/undercut cavity set:

Adams A2
Adams Idea A3 OS
Adams Idea A3
Callaway FT i-brid Iron Set 4-SW
Mizuno MX-950
Mizuno MX-900 4-PW - you'll have to get a hybrid in addition to this.
Hogan CFT Hybrid Set
Nickent 4DX Combo set
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I was recently in the same boat. I did some research online, similar to what you're doing, and came down to the Callaway X20s and Titleist AP1s. They were both $750 fitted with tax, and they both felt great. I ended up with Callaway because I liked the look of the club in my bag and I favored the grips. I could've been just as happy with the AP1s.

I've since had great experience with Callaway's customer service, so I'm very pleased with the X20s. I would recommend looking at the X20s and AP1s first.
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Thanks all... some really good recommendations. I'm going to check out the x20s, and r7s - maybe one of the Nike sets as well. Edwin Watts says I can hit their demo irons and when I decide whichever one seems to work best for me / whichever one feels best, they'll run me through each club and see if any adjustments need to be made.

$50 if they go through the whole process and I decide not to buy. Free if I buy the clubs from them.

Hopefully I will have new irons soon.

Thank you all for your recommendations.
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  • 1 month later...
If you haven't bought anything yet, one more vote for Adams. I have the Idea A2's and I'm very satisfied with them. After a 20+ year layoff, I haven't established a handicap yet. Hope to next year. after the snow melts.
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I definitely have to chime in on the Adams clubs as well. I just purchased a set of Adams A3 irons and they have made a huge difference in my game. I looked at the A3 OS as well, but they seemed to have more offset and a much wider sole and topline, where the A3's seem very thin and easier to look at when addressing the ball. I would try a bunch out and see what you like, but dont let the reputation that some people give Adams clubs fool you. They are excellent.

The Adams Idea hybrids are AWESOME as well. They'd also be a great option for a high handicapper who has a hard time with low irons (2,3,4,5).

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If I was in your shoes, I'd look at the latest from the Nike Slingshot line, or the Callaway Big Bertha line. Don't be afraid to make new technology your best friend. I find too many high handicappers play clubs they just aren't good enough to use yet (small blades, tour versions etc). You may even want to look for a set on callawaypreowned.com, they have some good deals. I've gotten a putter, wedges from them, with great success.
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