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What makes clubs "forgiving"?


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New player here looking to invest in some higher quality clubs and move away from my Wilson box set....

I often hear about clubs being "forgiving", but I am curious to know what actually makes an iron, wood or driver "forgiving".

With that being said, at what point in my learning process should I invest in some fitted clubs and is there ever a too soon?

Thanks in advance for the insight and information...

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Usually forgivness comes from a clubhead with good perimiter weighting and that has a low center of gravity (think of a cavity-back iron).  That way, if you dont hit the ball low and in middle of the clubface you still get similar distance as to if you had hit it solid.

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What makes a club forgiving is 1) loft, the more loft the more forgiving, 2) more off set, to make up for a poor swing--this is a band aid not a swing fix, 3) perimeter weighting and 4) more weight down low on the sole of the club. There may be more, those are the ones I'm aware of.

It is always a good idea to get fitter for your clubs regardless of your skill level.

Of course there are those who would say, "if you want forgivness, go to church"--a little humor.

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Various centers of gravity affect the forgiveness, as does the moment of inertia.  A blade with a well-placed center of gravity is more forgiving than a cavity back with a haphazard one.  Check out Ralph Maltby's analysis of various irons at ralphmaltby.com ; you'd be surprised which clubs are and aren't forgiving.

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I think the other guys have addresses the why's of club forgiveness.

Club fitting is something I've never had done myself as I started playing golf thinking "I'll get club fitted when I have a good swing". Now my swing is adequate I'm thinking about getting fitted, however I'm also thinking that my current swing will need a few tweaks once the clubs are correct as I'm bound to have developed nuances in my swing to correct any club problems.

Say for example I'm 5'7" tall and my shafts are too long by 1/2". That 1/2" of extra length puts the club head further away from me which in turn lifts the toe of the club up slightly. That lifting of the toe then translates to my ball flight starting more left than it should. If I've adapted my swing to compensate for that left ball flight by opening my club face more it means once I'm custom fitted my 'normal' swing will be shooting balls to far to the right.

Nice link to the Ralph Maltby MPF. Didn't realise my clubs were so unforgiving for my level. Not sure if that's a good or bad thing?

My Nike Sumo SQ Irons

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I've heard that muscleback blades are very forgiving clubs for the high-capper. Forged irons are preferred, for their 'buttery' feel.

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Originally Posted by golf4tito

New player here looking to invest in some higher quality clubs and move away from my Wilson box set....

I often hear about clubs being "forgiving", but I am curious to know what actually makes an iron, wood or driver "forgiving".

With that being said, at what point in my learning process should I invest in some fitted clubs and is there ever a too soon?

Thanks in advance for the insight and information...



Look for the term "High MOI" which means the clubhead resists twisting on off centre hits. Some players do better with wider soled irons with offset, but I always found them to be distracting, and more importantly for a person carrying a bag, they're heavier and don't fit together properly. Too much metal!!

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all the above (other than the 6.75* open faced X flex driver comment! )  getting fitted by a clubfitter who has some street cred is always a good idea for ANYONE of any ability, new or experienced.  A good clubfitter won't try to sell you a product unless they see that you have an established swing that won't require the clubs to be majorly changed in a short period of time, say one season.  a little tweaking here and there is normal but an entire shaft refit is not.  take your time when going thru the process.  i fit one club, usually a 7 iron, and allow the player to use it for a week or two to really get a feel for what they want before moving on to the other clubs.  i do this one club at a time until i see a consistent pattern..

Speaking of "feel"- there is no formula for figuring out YOUR "feel".  don't hesitate to tell your clubfitter that you are more comfortable with longer irons than "standard" length.  there are no "standards" in golf.  if there were there would be a governing body that sets them and there is no governiong body that sets "standards" in golf.  not even the USGA nor Royal and Ancient.

Go get fitted!

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Note: This thread is 3728 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

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