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Old Clubs vs New Clubs


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I have been golfing for more than 50 years and would like to begin a discussion between about old clubs vs new clubs.  I am dividing the categories into drivers, fairway woods, hybrids, irons, wedges, and putters.  I have been caddying for the past 25 years, mostly part-time, and have seen most makes and models of name brand clubs.

Drivers : Personally, I feel that drivers have seen the most development in the last 20 years. Head size, shaft technology, and adjustability have made major advancements. Two decades ago I played actual persimmon drivers, as well as a metal driver call the TaylorMade Pittsburgh Persimmon Driver . Now I play a non-adjustable Ping G5 (9°), and an adjustable TaylorMade R11 (10.5° adjusted to 9.5°.

Fairway woods :  Until the 1980's fairway woods were actually made of wood, and after that metal woods took over  Ever since TaylorMade got into the metal woods business, I have always felt that they are, by far, the best fairway woods in the business. In 1991 I purchased a TM System 2 17° Raylor, and it is still in my bag. Obviously, I feel that there have not been enough significant improvements for me to change. I am still looking for a new 3 wood and will probably break down and get a TMRocketballz in the near future. This club has recently found its way into a lot of golf bags, and I have seen first hand evidence that it is a step above older technology.

Hybrids :  TaylorMade designed their original Rescue club in the 1990's to bridge the gap between irons and woods. Golf manufacturers took this club a step farther and the hybrid was born. I love these clubs because I no longer have to worry about my short comings with 2 or 3 irons as I pull our my TaylorMade Rescue Mid TP (19°). Generally it is long and straight and has the ability to hit "knock down" shots under branches or high arcing shots over trees and bushes.

Irons :  As a youth I hit Hogan Apex blades, and when I found the sweet spot I could actually move the ball left to right or right to left as I pleased. However, as I got older, hitting the sweet spot got harder and harder. In 1990, I got my first set of perimeter weighted clubs, the original Hogan Edge irons. I still use them in the winter, and in the summer I play Ping i3+. Both sets of irons are 4-pitching wedge and have a solid feel, even on off-center hits. But the Pings, (to me), are a little more consistent. I have seen the newest irons and find that they are longer than older clubs. But, in large part this has been due to strengthening the loft of the clubs. (EX: older pitching wedges were 48°, and current pitching wedges are 45°-47°.

Wedges :  Cleveland was the choice of pros. From Cleveland Golf, "For over 30 years, Cleveland Golf has been a leader in wedges. From the Cleveland Classic wedge of the early 1980s to the 588 Forged of today, Cleveland Golf has set the standard in wedge design..." I played Cleveland, as did my friends. Recently, Titleist Vokey wedges have challenged Cleveland for wedge supremacy. I, however, put a Ping Eye2 BeCu lob wedge (60°) in my bag in 1990, and it has never left. To bridge the gap between the 48° PW in my iron set and the 60° Ping lob wedge, I have a 54° Ping ISI BeCu sand wedge.

Putters :  Having grown up with the Spaulding "Cash-In," Titleist "Bullseye," and Wilson "8802" putters, I really appreciated the Karsten Solheim evolution of the perimeter weighted putter so that by the 1970's the majority of putters used in the PGA and tournaments were Ping. Since then the overall design (2-Ball, SeeMore, etc.) and the length of the putters have played a significant role in putter development.  In the '80's I went to the Anser and B60 putters. I periodically try an Odyssey (XG #9 and 2-Ball) putter and find that, in the end, it is not the putter, by the puttee.

In closing, I don't see a need to change most of my older clubs in favor of newer models with the exception of the driver.  I guess as I grow older I need something to help me find those few extra yards off of the tee.

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I'm pretty much split on this one. I prefer the design and playability of older irons, smaller and thinner heads. There are certainly modern options for that type of club but typically it comes with a higher cost so the older irons make sense for me. I paid just $37 for the iron set I currently play and I wouldn't trade them for a newer game improvement set. But I appreciate what the modern hybrid and woods bring to the game. I live in CO so the altitude advantage often takes driver out of play for men with half respectable distance. At least it does for those that want to play the course strategically and not hit through fairways or into trouble. As a high handicapper I'd say it's less about trying to manage distance than being able to consistently hit a hybrid out of rough/bad lies with better results than I would achieve with a long iron. That's where I save strokes. But I'm just 44, that could change in the near future.

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I would think that you'd get a lot of benefit from newer irons.  Same with the wedges.  I can't imagine the grooves on a 23 year old wedge being in very good condition.

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Thanks for sharing, i enjoy reading the old and new development in golf equipments and their designs all this years.

Myself started golf in 2002 and i started with a 300cc driver to today a Nike VR_S 9.5 degree driver. But i still enjoy my old Callaway Big Bertha irons alot. As a social golfer and trying not to make a fool of myself during company of charity golf. I guess having a pro to teach me is very  important.

Good read ! Cheers !

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Hey dfreuter,

You have 10 years on me but we are basically from the same era as far as golf technology. I started playing as a junior in 1975 and played MacGregor MT blades in the 1970's through the mid 1980's, Titleist Pro-Model blades through the mid 1990's, Mizuno MP blades from late 1990's-late 2000's, then back to MacGregor MT blades from 2008 to 2011.

Woods: I played MacGregor Persimmon from most of the late 1970's until about 1987 when I went to the steel shafted Taylormade Tour Preferred metal woods. Back then for me the difference between metal and wood had very little to do with adding overall distance. I hit them both about the same overall distance. But the metal woods for me flew higher and carried farther with less roll than the Persimmon. What that meant was more accurate drives that didn't get into trouble.

The biggest Tech-Boost I've ever experienced with woods in my game was in 1993. I purchased my first graphite shafted driver. A Lynx Boom Boom 9* monster. I instantly gained over 20 yards with that thing. That was 20 actual real yards, not the extra 20 yards all the manufactuers tell you you will get every single year they release something new,,,lol. I was never a short hitter and I went from hitting 3w or 5w into par5's to hitting long irons and making a lot more eagles.

Irons: As far as irons go I'll just compare my MacGregor MT blades I bought in 1978 to the MacGregor MT blades I bought in 2008. To keep it simple I'll say the 1978 model had a sweetspot about the size of a dime, and the 2008 model has a sweetspot about the size of a quarter. What does all that mean, about 3-6 shots per round,,,lol! There is no doubt in my mind that the forged blades of today have greatly improved over the standard blade models of the 1950's, 60's, and 70's! That doesn't mean your average hacker can easily hit today's blades, but to a scratch or better player it most definitely makes iron play easier.

Hybrids/Wedges: Obviously these have developed over time and made the game much much easier. Back when I started playing you basically found a good 5wood and sandwedge that you liked and held on to it! Funny I played all through highschool with a ratty old Walter Hagen sandwedge that I bought out of the bargain used barrel at our home course. I pulled it out and this thing had seen better days but it was cheap and I needed a SW. I noticed the shaft was slightly bent on it but I figured what the heck, if I like it I''ll get that replaced down the road. Well, I loved that club and it stayed in my bag from around 1977-1996, bent shaft and all,,,lol!  Anyways, today I carry one hybrid and two Vokey wedges so I guess I finally bought into the hype!!

Putter: Although I've owned more than three putters, the bulk of my 38 years of playing have been done with just three. A Wilson 8802, a Taylormade T.P.A.III, and today a Scotty Cameron Newport 2. I loved both the 8802 and the TPA, but I have to say that the SC Newport2 is on a whole different level. The balance, weight, and overall feel of the SC is unmatched to any other putter I've ever used.

I like keeping up with technology for a couple reasons. Playing in stroke play events against the 20-somethings is hard enough,,lol! In other words I would never go back to equipment from the 70's/80's/90's for nastalgia alone. I play whatever gives me the best oppertunity to score!

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See my sig I have a mix of old and older!

Occasionally for fun I will trot out my Joe Powell persimmon driver and 3 wood with my 1979 Wilson Staff Tour Blades.

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Note: This thread is 2886 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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