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JRM4440

With Stronger lofted Irons, do I need a 4 Iron?

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I spent this afternoon up at Haggin Oaks in Sacramento, CA testing clubs on their range. I fell in love with the new Callaway X Hot2 Irons and hybrids. IMHO, they feel like butter. I was checking the specs, and I know club lofts are getting stronger. Here is my dilemma. The 5 iron is 23 degrees. The 4 iron is 20.5 degrees, and the 3 hybrid that I would get is 19 degrees. It seems like the 4 iron is almost redundant. Or am I missing something here?

Thanks for your thoughts.

Jamie

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Yeah going with a 4 iron doesn't seem to make much sense unless you want to go from a 20.5* 4 iron to a 15* 3 wood or a 17* 4 wood.

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I will just say this: there's a lot more to the angle the ball launches at than loft.

Again, a good example: the Titleist MB and CB. The CB had about 2-3° less loft, yet the sets blended at any iron throughout the set because the CG was lower in the CB and produced pretty much the same launch conditions across the set.

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The 24/38 rule should be in effect here.  The average golfer can't any iron of less the 24* or 38" in length consistentally.  As any rule there are exceptions, but over 40 years of teaching golf, I find them few and far between.

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My 4 iron is 21* and my 3h is 19*. I keep my 4 in the bag for certain shots. Basically because I have room for it. I use the 4 iron mostly off the tee on short sharp par 4's and when the wind is up. Im able to flight this lower than my 3H. If I didn't have room in the bag for it, it would be gone, no question. But if you have room and can hit it fairly well, no harm in keeping it.

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... I fell in love with the new Callaway X Hot2 Irons and hybrids. ...

The 4 iron is 20.5 degrees, and the 3 hybrid that I would get is 19 degrees. It seems like the 4 iron is almost redundant. ...

Remember to account for shaft length. Here are the Callaway specs:

X2Hot Club Comparisons

Club

Loft

Shaft Length

SwWt

3H

19*

40.5”

D0

4H

22*

39.75”

D0

4i

20.5*

38.875”

D2*

*4i = D2 for steel, D0 for graphite

Compared to the 4i, the 3H shaft is 1.65" longer, roughly +15 yards in distance, plus a couple more yards for the stronger loft. My guess would be you'd get more overlap from the 4H (slightly longer shaft) and the 4i (slightly stronger loft).

You would need to get launch monitor data to see the exact yardage difference.

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When I bought the x-hots last year, I went without a 4 iron. Previously had one with my AP1s (but it was rarely in the bag), but did not feel that I would be able to hit the Callaway one consitently.

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I have a 4 iron and a 3 iron and hit them pretty well (when I'm playing okay) but honestly I could almost always shoot the same score without either one of them. I could take something off of my 5 wood just as well.

Come to think of it I could take even more off of my 3 wood and ditch the 5 wood and probably do just as well without any of those clubs.

So while I have all of those clubs it wouldn't be a major loss if I didn't have them. Would be a lighter bag too. :-D

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I didn't go with the x-hots but rather went with the Cobra Amp-Cell irons which also have less loft. My pitching wedge is 44*. I did not buy the 4i given I carry a 3h and I don't miss the 4i at all. Besides, given the loft the 4i in the Amp-Cell irons I really couldn't hit it that well, much prefer the 4h.

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I'm facing almost this same question, just measured the lofts on all irons and wedges. I have a Adams tight lies 1308 set... my gap wedge is 49 which creates a huge gap between it and my 58 degree. ON the low end my 6 iron is 26 degrees.  only 2 degrees stronger than my 4 hybrid.  I'm almost tempted to drop the 4h and 6i and add a 25/26 degree hybrid and a wedge.

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I will just say this: there's a lot more to the angle the ball launches at than loft.

Exactly. Don't base anything on looking at just the loft alone. @ JRM4440 my advice is get the 4 iron, get as full a set as you can even if you doubt you will play those lower irons. If once you start to play, you find you do have a gap, it is a lot easier to fill it with the club that belongs in the set than it is to hunt for a replacement. In the good old days, before we started dumping low irons for the mix and match of hybrids, fairway woods, etc., I think it was easier to avoid gaps. Even at the high end, you didn't have the gaps we get today because yesteryear's 9 iron is today's PW, the PW iron is today's gap, etc. That's a tradeoff we get into for game improvement clubs. But you can't look at just loft as an indicator. So many factors go into distance and trajectory, I think the best idea is to get out there and play the clubs for a while. While there is no guarantee that even a set is consistent in its yardages from one club to the next, it is probably the most reliable starting point.

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In the recent GolfWorld, they said Ben Hogan's 1953 irons were, on average, 2.5 degrees weaker than modern day clubs.

I think that's a lot less than many people would believe.

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Quote:

In the recent GolfWorld, they said Ben Hogan's 1953 irons were, on average, 2.5 degrees weaker than modern day clubs.

I think that's a lot less than many people would believe.

Hogan was famous for being fastidious about his equipment. I recall reading a story where before a round, his fellow pros saw Hogan looking at a new box of balls with a magnifying glass and occasionally discarding a ball. One of them asked him why he was throwing out these news balls. Hogan's reply was, "Too much paint in some of the dimples." I didn't read the GolfWorld story, but having seen other writeups about Hogan's clubs, I recall they were quite custom. Shorter than standard, some varying swingweights and lie angles. Arguably, he was decades ahead of everyone in terms of attention to his equipment. I wouldn't be surprised if he jacked his lofts slightly (compared to standard of the day) to give him a mental edge.

I think if you look at 9-iron lofts from '70s and '80s (sourcing from Maltby's book) you pretty much see lofts in the 45 - 48 degree range. You even have the Hogan Apex PCs (mid 1980s?) being the outlier with a 49 degree 9-iron. As comparison, even a modern blade like the Titleist MBs have a stated 9-iron loft of 43 degrees - a club and a half stronger than the Hogan PCs. Certainly if you get into the cavity back arena at least on paper things get a little crazy. The Callaway X2 9-iron is a stated 39 degrees. BUT as you point out, loft is just one factor in distance and trajectory. I think this all gets back to having to hit the clubs and not just look at the specs.

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My 4i has 24* loft; I also carry a 4h with 23* loft.  I carry the 4i about 205-210, and the 4h about 215-220 with a higher traj.  They are both there in my bag for a reason.  Loft doesn't mean as much as it used to.

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