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JonMA1

How can you tell if your irons are a good fit

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At what point do players feel like they need a new or different set of irons? What is an indication that the clubs you are currently using are not a good fit? And when you hit with the "right" set, is it obvious or just a subjective feel?

I have three sets of clubs. The Adams A4's that I use on the course, and two others that I mess around with in the yard - Ben Hogan Radials and a set of Bel Air cavity backs from the 90's (I can't find anything about them on the internet but the guy who sold them said they were very pricey when new).

The thing is, my Adams don't feel much easier to hit compared to the older sets. Is it possible they are not right for me? Or maybe they just need to be fitted (I have to grip down for the sole to lay flat at address). Not looking for excuses - just curious if this a common issue.

I would guess that simply trying different GI irons is the only way to know but I don't like the idea of going to a golf shop and trying out their clubs if I end up not buying a set. Plus, there's the trust issue of being sold something I don't need.

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... I would guess that simply trying different GI irons is the only way to know but I don't like the idea of going to a golf shop and trying out their clubs if I end up not buying a set. Plus, there's the trust issue of being sold something I don't need. ...

First of all, you are admitting that there's a lot about golf clubs you don't understand. That's a start. To deepen your understanding, go to this site by club designer Ralph Maltby and check out the different links. http://www.ralphmaltby.com/

Learn about:

  • Clubhead design
  • Shafts
  • How golf clubs work
  • Wedges

The Maltby site will give you the basics of what golf clubs can and can't do for you. Next, you might start with a fitting of your A4 irons to use as a baseline. Is the shaft flex and length, and the lie angle, right for you?

As far as trust goes, you just have to find a golf shop which has knowledgeable fitters. If you have friends who are avid golfers, ask them for advice. The Maltby links will give you info useful in selecting clubs. From there, it will be a learning process about how to find the right clubs .

Also, check out the Tom Wishon site. He helps separate technology from marketing hype in golf club design.

Related issue: Have you had any lessons? Sometime your golf pro can give you fitting advice.

Also, you'll need to be a bit more selective than "trying different GI irons." In any given year, you'll find probably 25 models of GI irons from the last couple of years. Find sets which "look good" to you and try them out.

------------------------------------

The Ben Hogan Radials were made from 1983-1989. A guy name Chris on WeekendWarriorGolf writes about his experience with Radials: http://weekendgolfwarrior.com/?tag=hogan-radial-irons

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At what point do players feel like they need a new or different set of irons? What is an indication that the clubs you are currently using are not a good fit? And when you hit with the "right" set, is it obvious or just a subjective feel?

I have three sets of clubs. The Adams A4's that I use on the course, and two others that I mess around with in the yard - Ben Hogan Radials and a set of Bel Air cavity backs from the 90's (I can't find anything about them on the internet but the guy who sold them said they were very pricey when new).

The thing is, my Adams don't feel much easier to hit compared to the older sets. Is it possible they are not right for me? Or maybe they just need to be fitted (I have to grip down for the sole to lay flat at address). Not looking for excuses - just curious if this a common issue.

I would guess that simply trying different GI irons is the only way to know but I don't like the idea of going to a golf shop and trying out their clubs if I end up not buying a set. Plus, there's the trust issue of being sold something I don't need.

One reason why the clubs probably feel the same could be because your current swing might not be loading the shafts enough. Once you load the shafts there should be a noticeable difference in the feel of off-center hits between the two types of clubs. Like, you'll feel a sharp pain in the fingers with the Radials, where you won't feel much of anything with the Adams.

Apparently the Ben Hogan Radials are a pretty good club, they look similar to my Mizuno MP-32.

http://www.freegolfinfo.com/forums/printable.aspx?m=382557

The only thing about hitting the more blade like clubs is you are really punished for off-center hits. It hurts when you mis-hit these older blade-like clubs. If you get frustrated, just go to your cavity backed Adams for a few shots then switch back when you get the rhythm going again. I made the mistake of not swinging as fast as I was punished, and that is definitely counter-productive to gaining distance. So, by switching to the Adams you can continue to swing with full speed until you're ready for the Radials again.

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IMO, you will never know a good fit until you go get a fitting. There are so many combinations out there nowadays that a good fitter should be able to find something for you that makes your swing work. You need to hit something so good that it immediately makes you realize what you are missing in your current set. I wouldn't feel bad about getting a fitting and not buying clubs. Fitting is what many of the shop Pros do for a living and it's part of their normal job duties. However, I think it would be honorable that you make your intentions clear up front that you are not looking to buy at this time, but want a club fitting to look at the oppurtunity to potentially upgrade in the future. It would be generous of you to offer to pay for the fitting, most in my area are around $30 and that seems very cheap for the knowledge you will gain about what equipment combinations work best for you. In my recent purchase of a new set of Mizuno MP-54s, I went to 4 different fittings with 4 different shop pros until I finally found what I felt to be the best combination. I had about 10 hours worth of fitting time before I finally purchased a set. Most of the fitters had me in a similiar combinations, but each fitter was doing a few little things just a bit different to alter the feel. Also, understand that your swing is going to change over time. In my case, part of my final decision in purchasing a set was that I really got along well with club fitter #4 and I got the vibe that he wanted to continue to work with me on the clubs AFTER the sale to make sure the clubs keep up with my game improvement and swing changes. Try to find a fitter like that that wants your business for the long-term relationship not just the point-in-time sale. Best feeling is subjective from player to player and in my case I guess I wasn't so much chasing for a feel as much as I was optimizing my shot numbers. Ball speed, shot trajectory, side spin, yardage, and line angle (pulling left or right) trumped feel in my final decision. The set of clubs I ended up purchasing "felt" a little bit harsher than 2 of the other fittings, but I was constantly putting up better numbers (by a wide margin) on the simulators. I will gladly take a little worse feel at my hands over on the course perfromance any day. Hope that helped. Bottom line, try to go out and get some fittings! They are fun and you will learn alot about your swing for usally about the same cost to play a round!
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Best feeling is subjective from player to player and in my case I guess I wasn't so much chasing for a feel as much as I was optimizing my shot numbers. Ball speed, shot trajectory, side spin, yardage, and line angle (pulling left or right) trumped feel in my final decision. The set of clubs I ended up purchasing "felt" a little bit harsher than 2 of the other fittings, but I was constantly putting up better numbers (by a wide margin) on the simulators. I will gladly take a little worse feel at my hands over on the course perfromance any day.

Hope that helped. Bottom line, try to go out and get some fittings! They are fun and you will learn alot about your swing for usally about the same cost to play a round!

What parameters did they change to optimize your shot? Did you take accuracy over distance or optimize both? I know a really stiff shaft will feel harsh and generally have lower dispersion, but did you lose distance?

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First of all, you are admitting that there's a lot about golf clubs you don't understand. That's a start. To deepen your understanding, go to this site by club designer Ralph Maltby and check out the different links. http://www.ralphmaltby.com/

Learn about:

Clubhead design

Shafts

How golf clubs work

Wedges

The Maltby site will give you the basics of what golf clubs can and can't do for you. Next, you might start with a fitting of your A4 irons to use as a baseline. Is the shaft flex and length, and the lie angle, right for you?

As far as trust goes, you just have to find a golf shop which has knowledgeable fitters. If you have friends who are avid golfers, ask them for advice. The Maltby links will give you info useful in selecting clubs. From there, it will be a learning process about how to find the right clubs.

------------------------------------

The Ben Hogan Radials were made from 1983-1989. A guy name Chris on WeekendWarriorGolf writes about his experience with Radials: http://weekendgolfwarrior.com/?tag=hogan-radial-irons

There's a lot of information on the Maltby site. The one thing that jumped out is proper grip size. My hands are smaller than average and I can't imagine standard sized grips are right for me. I'm thinking about learning how to re-grip clubs myself.

As far as trust, I feel better asking those of you on this site because I'll get honest information. Hopefully, I'll find a shop I can feel confident with.

I've read a bunch about the Hogans. I believe mine are from the early '80s because they don't have the red line under the word "radial". They started to cast them around '85 if my memory is correct. I'm not sure if the lies on my set have ever been adjusted but they do tend to have a high launch angle. The Hogan pitching E wedge ("E" for equalizer) is the easiest iron I've used to date.

One reason why the clubs probably feel the same could be because your current swing might not be loading the shafts enough. Once you load the shafts there should be a noticeable difference in the feel of off-center hits between the two types of clubs. Like, you'll feel a sharp pain in the fingers with the Radials, where you won't feel much of anything with the Adams.

Apparently the Ben Hogan Radials are a pretty good club, they look similar to my Mizuno MP-32.

http://www.freegolfinfo.com/forums/printable.aspx?m=382557

The only thing about hitting the more blade like clubs is you are really punished for off-center hits. It hurts when you mis-hit these older blade-like clubs. If you get frustrated, just go to your cavity backed Adams for a few shots then switch back when you get the rhythm going again. I made the mistake of not swinging as fast as I was punished, and that is definitely counter-productive to gaining distance. So, by switching to the Adams you can continue to swing with full speed until you're ready for the Radials again.

What do you mean by "loading the shafts"? Is that where it feels like I've "compressed" the ball and the shaft bends through impact? In any case, I agree that my swing needs to get better before I can really evaluate a set of clubs. It's getting there.

Everything you've written makes sense and corresponds with what I feel. I didn't mean to imply that I hit just as well with the older clubs as the GI's. I meant that the difference isn't as drastic as expected. I can hit really clean shots with the older clubs and my off-center shots with the Adams are not that good. Like everyone who plays golf, I am always disappointed when I don't hit the ball "pure". I have a very old 2 iron (Spalding Sam Snead) that is just a bitch to hit a clean shot with. The Radials are far easier than that relic.

IMO, you will never know a good fit until you go get a fitting. There are so many combinations out there nowadays that a good fitter should be able to find something for you that makes your swing work. You need to hit something so good that it immediately makes you realize what you are missing in your current set.

I wouldn't feel bad about getting a fitting and not buying clubs. Fitting is what many of the shop Pros do for a living and it's part of their normal job duties. However, I think it would be honorable that you make your intentions clear up front that you are not looking to buy at this time, but want a club fitting to look at the oppurtunity to potentially upgrade in the future. It would be generous of you to offer to pay for the fitting, most in my area are around $30 and that seems very cheap for the knowledge you will gain about what equipment combinations work best for you.

In my recent purchase of a new set of Mizuno MP-54s, I went to 4 different fittings with 4 different shop pros until I finally found what I felt to be the best combination. I had about 10 hours worth of fitting time before I finally purchased a set. Most of the fitters had me in a similiar combinations, but each fitter was doing a few little things just a bit different to alter the feel.

Also, understand that your swing is going to change over time. In my case, part of my final decision in purchasing a set was that I really got along well with club fitter #4 and I got the vibe that he wanted to continue to work with me on the clubs AFTER the sale to make sure the clubs keep up with my game improvement and swing changes. Try to find a fitter like that that wants your business for the long-term relationship not just the point-in-time sale.

Best feeling is subjective from player to player and in my case I guess I wasn't so much chasing for a feel as much as I was optimizing my shot numbers. Ball speed, shot trajectory, side spin, yardage, and line angle (pulling left or right) trumped feel in my final decision. The set of clubs I ended up purchasing "felt" a little bit harsher than 2 of the other fittings, but I was constantly putting up better numbers (by a wide margin) on the simulators. I will gladly take a little worse feel at my hands over on the course perfromance any day.

Hope that helped. Bottom line, try to go out and get some fittings! They are fun and you will learn alot about your swing for usally about the same cost to play a round!

I agree with the bold statement. Probably gets old having people come in and try out $800 clubs they have no intention of buying. One local shop up here has used equipment I could try out. That's something I can't do at Dick's Sporting Goods or Ebay. I'd be able to try before I buy and more than likely be within budget. Then again, I might develop a decent swing this winter and fall in love with the Adams.

Thanks to everyone for the responses. Great information and suggestions.

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I know a really stiff shaft will feel harsh and generally have lower dispersion, but did you lose distance?

One interesting thing I found out when browsing irons a while ago was that the shaft type actually made a vast difference in dispersion for me. I found out that, while an excellent shaft offering for some, the DG 300 series irons were not for me. With that shaft I was more inconsistent with both distances and side to side, as well as having a fairly high spinrate at the proper flex. Hard-stepping could have fixed those problems, but the Project X and KBS shafts of the same flex did not have those issues for me. Project X and KBS were the better option for me, but within the two shafts I did have some differences. The C-Taper gave me near optimal launch conditions in everything but the launch angle (clubhead speed and ball speed were up, spin was right where it needed to be), leaving me with a shallower landing angle than I wanted. The KBS Tour, which I eventually used in my regular irons, gave me everything I liked but a slightly higher spinrate (only marginally so) and a little bit lower clubhead and ball speeds. The Project X had good numbers for me but felt somewhat odd in the test club I was using. It could have just been a poor shaft/clubhead combination but I personally liked the KBS ones better and used those instead. I did, however, like how they have a shaft in .5 increments rather than going from a regular (5.0) to a stiff (6.0) without the need to hard-step or soft-step to make up the difference in between.

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At what point do players feel like they need a new or different set of irons? What is an indication that the clubs you are currently using are not a good fit? And when you hit with the "right" set, is it obvious or just a subjective feel?

I have three sets of clubs. The Adams A4's that I use on the course, and two others that I mess around with in the yard - Ben Hogan Radials and a set of Bel Air cavity backs from the 90's (I can't find anything about them on the internet but the guy who sold them said they were very pricey when new).

The thing is, my Adams don't feel much easier to hit compared to the older sets. Is it possible they are not right for me? Or maybe they just need to be fitted (I have to grip down for the sole to lay flat at address). Not looking for excuses - just curious if this a common issue.

I would guess that simply trying different GI irons is the only way to know but I don't like the idea of going to a golf shop and trying out their clubs if I end up not buying a set. Plus, there's the trust issue of being sold something I don't need.

As a better player, I wanted a better feeling club so I can tell when I mishit the club, and the mishit.

I can tell now if a club fits by the ball flight. Does the ball spin to much, does it fly to high, is there a loss of distance.

This all comes from consistent contact though.

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What is an indication that the clubs you are currently using are not a good fit?

To check your lie angles, draw a vertical line on the back of a ball with a sharpie and if the mark on the face isn't vertical, you need to adjust the lie angle.  General rule is, if your line looks like 11:00 the lie is too upright, if it looks like 1:00 lie angle is too flat.

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To check your lie angles, draw a vertical line on the back of a ball with a sharpie and if the mark on the face isn't vertical, you need to adjust the lie angle.  General rule is, if your line looks like 11:00 the lie is too upright, if it looks like 1:00 lie angle is too flat.

Sounds easy and it makes sense. I'll try that tomorrow. I've been gripping down a bit on my clubs so that the sole lays flat at address. But I was told that amateurs rarely return to the same lie angle at impact as they had at address.

If the lie angles are wrong, can they adjust a cast club head or is it a shaft length issue? I'm happy with the lofts on my clubs as my distances are consistent between each club.

As a better player, I wanted a better feeling club so I can tell when I mishit the club, and the mishit.

I can tell now if a club fits by the ball flight. Does the ball spin to much, does it fly to high, is there a loss of distance.

This all comes from consistent contact though.

I think I understand your point. Because you're at a much different skill level, the requirements of your equipment are different. How many years of playing did it take for you to realize your equipment was holding you back?

I feel like it will be some time before those issues will be important to me but I can always hope. If I ever get to the point where my biggest problem in golf is that my equipment won't let me shape my shots or get the ball to stop on a dime, I''d be happy - for a while anyway.

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Really? What club should i use?

6 or 7 iron, basically any club will work

If the lie angles are wrong, can they adjust a cast club head or is it a shaft length issue? I'm happy with the lofts on my clubs as my distances are consistent between each club.

Yes most cast club can be adjusted.  Shaft length is more of a static measurement, wrist to floor type of thing.

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I feel that I'm pretty lucky cause my irons appear to have perfectly even wear across the bottom, the longer ones go out towards the toe slightly but not more than an 1/8", anyways I guess I'm standard.

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I think I understand your point. Because you're at a much different skill level, the requirements of your equipment are different. How many years of playing did it take for you to realize your equipment was holding you back?

I feel like it will be some time before those issues will be important to me but I can always hope. If I ever get to the point where my biggest problem in golf is that my equipment won't let me shape my shots or get the ball to stop on a dime, I''d be happy - for a while anyway.

As for skill level. Is their a difference between a more player iron and GI iron, yea. Basically its toe and heel hits end up going a big shorter on player irons. Don't assume better players NEED player irons. They don't. There are pros who play AP1's a more GI club. Some still play Ping Eye 2's. So, the best in the world play clubs that range from GI to player irons, and in between.

For me, it is about look. I like irons with a thinner top line for shorter irons, and a thicker top line for longer irons. I prefer longer irons to be slightly bigger than what player irons have. This is why I have my 4 & 5 irons being a GI club, and my 6 - PW being a more player iron.

Also, you really can't shape irons that much. Especially in the scoring iron range, 8-PW. There is to much loft. So most irons there are going to curve about the same no matter what club you get.

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To check your lie angles, draw a vertical line on the back of a ball with a sharpie and if the mark on the face isn't vertical, you need to adjust the lie angle.  General rule is, if your line looks like 11:00 the lie is too upright, if it looks like 1:00 lie angle is too flat.

Finally got around to performing this test. Used a 5i, 8i and PW. The vertical marks were only about 1/4" on the club faces, but they looked to be as perpendicular to the grooves as could be.

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[COLOR=181818]To check your lie angles, draw a vertical line on the back of a ball with a sharpie and if the mark on the face isn't vertical, you need to adjust the lie angle.  General rule is, if your line looks like 11:00 the lie is too upright, if it looks like 1:00 lie angle is too flat.[/COLOR]

This method of checking lie angles seems far fetched at best. Swinging a club and sitting it on the ground couldn't be farther apart imo.

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This method of checking lie angles seems far fetched at best. Swinging a club and sitting it on the ground couldn't be farther apart imo.

@mvmac is telling you to hit the ball. It's the impact at high speeds which transfers the line on the back of the ball to your clubface.

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@mvmac is telling you to hit the ball. It's the impact at high speeds which transfers the line on the back of the ball to your clubface.

That makes more sense.

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