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satchmodog

Are 30 year old blades still functional in this age?

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I just found my first set of clubs, MacGregor Golden Bears that my dad handed down to me in the early 80s once he bought himself a new set. I'd used these on and off for years and excelled with them. Realistically, are newer blades that much different? These are forged clubs with no offset on the head, which is what I am looking for in a new club currently. If the new clubs are superior, am I looking at a club length distance, twenty yards or even worse vs modern blades?

Just curious, I fondly remember playing these and if the are within a decent limit shorter hitting than newer clubs, I may just regrip them and use them.

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Thirty years ago, the lofts were different.  A seven-iron might be closer in loft to an eight or even nine-iron today.  You'd have to take that into consideration.  Another factor would be the amount of forgiveness.  More modern clubs have much more perimeter weighting to accommodate off-center hits.  

I still have a set of custom-made Kenneth Smith irons that I had built in 1969!  They are too stiff now and too heavy, but they still feel great when you hit that sweet spot, and they are deadly accurate.  I take them out occasionally to make me appreciate how much better the new stuff works for me!  :)

For years I hit a 7-iron 150  with those old irons.  Now, at age 74. I still hit the irons the same distances, but they aren't the same lofts!  Lofts have changed so much that now you have to have a gap wedge between the PW and SW or there would be too big a gap.  You don't see many people hitting two and three irons these days, because the lofts would be too strong to get them in the air.  

Please excuse the ramblings of an old man ..... :)

 

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43 minutes ago, satchmodog said:

I just found my first set of clubs, MacGregor Golden Bears that my dad handed down to me in the early 80s once he bought himself a new set. I'd used these on and off for years and excelled with them. Realistically, are newer blades that much different? These are forged clubs with no offset on the head, which is what I am looking for in a new club currently. If the new clubs are superior, am I looking at a club length distance, twenty yards or even worse vs modern blades?

Just curious, I fondly remember playing these and if the are within a decent limit shorter hitting than newer clubs, I may just regrip them and use them.

Pure blade designs haven't changed that much over the years because there's only so much you can do with a solid piece of metal in the shape of an iron. I think the biggest difference is the vintage blades tend to have the CoG closer to the heel and the leading edge is more square. There's no reason you can't play vintage blades if you can consistently hit the sweetspot.

I've read that if you want to play vintage clubs though, you might want to consider a shaft upgrade. Modern shafts have improved over the years. Also you should take them in to get their lie angles and lofts checked out.

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3 hours ago, billchao said:

Pure blade designs haven't changed that much over the years because there's only so much you can do with a solid piece of metal in the shape of an iron. I think the biggest difference is the vintage blades tend to have the CoG closer to the heel and the leading edge is more square. There's no reason you can't play vintage blades if you can consistently hit the sweetspot.

I've read that if you want to play vintage clubs though, you might want to consider a shaft upgrade. Modern shafts have improved over the years. Also you should take them in to get their lie angles and lofts checked out.

The shafts are supposedly stiff and they seem more like regular flex, that's for sure. I hit a bucket of balls with them today and they did well. I got great loft and about 220 for my longest 3 iron, which is less than my perimeter weights and cavity backs provide. But damn, the twenty yard worm  burners are humbling hahaha. You don't get those from GI clubs that's for sure. I'm going to do a new shaft on the 3 iron and see if it's worth the investment. I always loved these clubs

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Up until recently, I would have said, that there is certainly no reason why 30 year + irons cannot be used today, especially for those who started out using them. I have always used blades, or forged CB's (when Hogan Edge first came out).  For those golfers who have not had the experience of the older irons, of course they might have a hard time with them owing to the difference in lofts, smaller heads e.t.c.  Therefore, I had surmised that there was no reason for me to invest in a new set of irons. However, I have tried some newer G.I. and S.G.I. irons but they were not much better than what I had.

Now, today.....(metaphorically speaking), I recently acquired a new trial six iron from Tour Edge and had it with custom specs. (1/2 inch longer, 1 deg upright). Also the club is designed differently, what with the what I call the speed slot, weighting, modern tech.  There is a difference in terms of feel and performance. Much more consistency, easier to hit, and then some.

I will be completing the set soon.

Edited by Hacker James

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1 hour ago, Hacker James said:

Now, today.....(metaphorically speaking), I recently acquired a new trial six iron from Tour Edge and had it with custom specs. (1/2 inch longer, 1 deg upright). Also the club is designed differently, what with the what I call the speed slot, weighting, modern tech.  There is a difference in terms of feel and performance. Much more consistency, easier to hit, and then some.

The topic is about blades, though, not GI clubs. Blades haven't changed much, and if you're good enough to play blades, the difference is probably negligible. 

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Yeah, that is kind of the whole deal! If you can deliver the entire mass of a player's blade directly into the back of the ball, on the correct line and trajectory, that ball will go like crazy!

But, how many folks can do that?

That's the whole reason for GI clubs, with the weight spread around. To help the shlubs hit the ball halfway decent!

I don't know if it works or not. According to the stats there's been no appreciable decrease in HI for20-30 years! So, how do these clubs improve your game?

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On 9/30/2017 at 1:05 PM, satchmodog said:

I just found my first set of clubs, MacGregor Golden Bears that my dad handed down to me in the early 80s once he bought himself a new set. I'd used these on and off for years and excelled with them. Realistically, are newer blades that much different? These are forged clubs with no offset on the head, which is what I am looking for in a new club currently. If the new clubs are superior, am I looking at a club length distance, twenty yards or even worse vs modern blades?

Just curious, I fondly remember playing these and if the are within a decent limit shorter hitting than newer clubs, I may just regrip them and use them.

I'm not a very good golfer and I can hit my set of 80's blades pretty well - at least up to the 5 iron. And as @Buckeyebowman stated, when you hit one correctly, the ball flies.

That said, if there was $100 on the line to make a shot, I'd opt for my game improvement iron every time.

As far as a comparison, I really don't know much about modern blades but I'd trust what others have said. As far as the lofts, maybe not worry about how distances with a 1980's set of clubs compare to today's clubs.

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For myself I can hit my old Staffs or my mp32 or my g25.

If my life was on the line I would hit the Pings.

On range I can turn the ball left and right better with the older clubs.

I don't play golf trying to turn it both ways though so the Pings are my choice in life vs death.

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Interesting thoughts from all. It certainly seems to me that any new to newish club of any quality can out distance a 40 year old club. But my conclusion is not scientific at all. While I pushed my cavity backs and Perimeter weighted clubs further down range, it wasn't by much. Maybe 5 yards tops. That can still be my not swinging well enough after back surgery, who knows. But I will say this, the slice I developed once I picked up GI irons is gone with blades. But, I also have hit some balls of the end of the face with GI and had the ball go 170 yards. I tipped a few yesterday and I was lucky to get 170 feet. One went less than 60 feet. 

But I grew up on blades and personally feel they teach you golf properly. I just don't see how GI irons ever make you a better golfer. They seem to be technique band aids. By far, the most pleasant irons inswing are Hogan apex plus. They have smaller heads and seem to just rocket the ball where I want it to go. They don't punish you for mistakes as badly as these blades do but they still let you know your swing sucked. The GI clubs just don't seem to do that and I firmly believe they allowed me to build some bad habits while I was learning to swing again. I'm going to spend the rest of the fall with these 40 year old blades, remember my dad and I golfing as the 20th anniversary of his death approaches and enjoy the fact that I can still golf. 

I'd love to find a scientific way to measure the distance on these clubs vsbmy others, just for curiosity.

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The lofts are going to be about  a club or so weaker as others have said, but the important thing is to just enjoy them and their connection to your Dad. The Golden Bears of that era were pretty good clubs. Fresh grips will improve the feel.

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4 hours ago, dbuck said:

The lofts are going to be about  a club or so weaker as others have said, but the important thing is to just enjoy them and their connection to your Dad. The Golden Bears of that era were pretty good clubs. Fresh grips will improve the feel.

I orders some Lamkins that are identical to the grips currently on the clubs. Those spiral grips seem to treat me right, so we're going with those.

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I still have my 64 Wilson Staff Dynapower that I played with in High School , a used set. When I start hitting my CB bad I sometimes practice with the OLD sticks, hit them half way good makes the CB easy to play with for a day or two. God I love this game !!!

 

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On 10/4/2017 at 1:02 PM, satchmodog said:

 

But I grew up on blades and personally feel they teach you golf properly. I just don't see how GI irons ever make you a better golfer. They seem to be technique band aids.

I've said the same thing more than once on this forum. I think the smaller heads of the old time player's blades, as well as the old persimmon woods, taught you to have a more precise swing. You'd better, or you'd be dead meat on a stick!

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It depends on condition. Are the grooves in good shape or are there nicks or dings in the club face? The heads themselves will remain good as technology hasn't progressed that much in blades. The shafts are another story though, I believe that if you're playing a blade, it will only perform as well as the shaft you have in them. I would recommend getting fitted with a current shaft that will optimize your ball flight and spin, especially with such an unforgiving club.

As far as lofting goes, most bladed clubs come with traditionally-style lofts, meaning the wedge will probably be about 47 degrees, sometimes higher depending on how old they are. As most blades are usually forged rather than casted, you could probably get them bent a few degrees stronger if needed, but anymore than that would mess up the bounce and make it easier to hit shots fat.

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@satchmodog I found some old info that might be helpful to you.  Good story with a special link to your dad.  I like that!

I use to play my Eye2 's and they were about a club off of my buddies playing new stuff.  Once I dialed them in, I knew how far every club would go and club choice became easy.  Sometimes I messed other up as they asked what I hit and then grabbed the same club... oops!  Yea, we have different lofts... looks like that ball is OB!

If you put some new grips and better shafts on them, you might never play anything else!

*** Not the gospel but the info below was what many companies used back in the day ***

Iron - length/loft/lie
2 -- 38.5" / 20* / 57*
3 -- 38.0" / 24* / 58*
4 -- 37.5" / 28* / 59*
5 -- 37.0" / 32* / 60*
6 -- 36.5" / 36* / 61*
7 -- 36.0" / 40* / 62*
8 -- 35.5" / 44* / 63*
9 -- 35.0" / 48* / 64*
Pw- 35.0" / 52* / 64*
Sw- 35.0" / 56* / 64*

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Couple of thoughts here. 

1. Lofts. They are going to be way off modern clubs. 1-1.5 clubs, sometimes 2 full clubs different than today's clubs. This means you need to be prepared to drop any gap wedges you might have and fill the top half with hybrids. Also you have to put your pride away because you'll be hitting 1-2, sometimes 3 clubs more than your buddies. You can tell them they are older, blah blah, but still. I tried putting the lofts to normal clubs of today, but the trouble with that is you have to bend them so far you start to play with the bounce even giving some of the clubs a negative bounce. Which is okay if your a really good player, but not so good if your a weekend warrior like myself. They could be very unforgiving. 

2. Shafts. You should definitely replace them. I have found that most shafts in older clubs like you are talking about are very far away from today's shafts. That is a must.

My club has a few tournaments a year where you can't play any clubs newer than 1985 and it is a blast. The persimmon heads and older irons are fun. We even occasionally bust out balata balls. But I wouldn't play anything that old today in my bag regularly. 

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34 minutes ago, mchepp said:

2. Shafts. You should definitely replace them. I have found that most shafts in older clubs like you are talking about are very far away from today's shafts. That is a must.

I'm kind of curious, how would I go about getting a shaft fitting for my vintage clubs? Can I just assume that I should play the same shafts as my gamers, or would I get a different profile shaft for the blades?

Alternatively, I could just put the shafts I pulled from my gamers into them and see what happens.

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