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xrayvizhen

Optimize Existing Irons or Buy New?

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Bravo, @1badbadger . Great post

15 hours ago, joro said:

Randall,  thank you for the reminder.    In the future when someone tells I don't know what I am talking about I WILL ignore it.     Let us keep it civil.

You could ignore him if you like. But for the record, as a moderator, I would never ask that of anyone. All I was asking for was to just say something like "Bill- you are incorrect when you say X. I've been in the industry, and believe me, I saw Y... blah blah blah." 

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On 10/23/2017 at 7:25 PM, billchao said:

I do a lot of research on golf clubs simply because I write reviews here, so I'll just start by saying I probably know more about them than most people would care to know. Hell, I'm not sure I would care to know if I didn't write about them. I'm not an expert by any means, but I like to think I know a thing or two.

This is not true. Static loft, for example, is not as important as dynamic loft, which include a number of variables:

You can actually have two golfers with the same club, swing speed, and centeredness of contact hit a ball two different distances.

Along with the loft is the amount of spin a golfer puts on a ball. As I quoted from the Trackman website, there is an optimal trajectory to maximize carry. Too much or too little spin affects that trajectory. That's why there was a recent surge in high launch, low spin. That combination produces longer carry distances. If you had high launch and high spin, the ball would climb too high and not travel as far. Launch it too low with too little spin and the ball doesn't stay up in the air long enough to travel as far as it could.

MOI, a factor commonly referred to as forgiveness, is also a factor. Perimeter weighting (not a new concept by far) allows the club hit off-center to transfer more energy to the ball. You're going to lose less ball speed on an off-center strike on a cavity-back than a muscle-back iron, and woods are even more forgiving. So you can hit a cavity-back and a muscle-back in exactly the same off-center spot and the ball will travel different distances. The trade-off for designing a low-spin club is forgiveness, BTW, so as some manufacturers have learned, only certain players benefit from really low-spin and high launching clubs (ball speed is a factor).

Today's irons are also designed by incorporating some elements previously only limited to woods in them, like hollow cavities, thin clubfaces that spring more, and different materials to manipulate the weighting and center of gravity which are aimed at changing launch properties of the club in order to optimize trajectory and carry distance.

I'll probably just stop there, yea.

I have that same skepticism. That's why I do research :smartass:

 

15 hours ago, 1badbadger said:

This is the way to do it guys...@xrayvizhen,had a dilemma, he did his homework/research online, then spoke to a few local experts to get their input, and made an informed decision that he is comfortable with.  Well done.

Keep in mind guys, this doesn't mean that this is the best choice in all situations...there are some circumstances where re-shafting an existing set of irons is the better move, so don't get the impression that it's never worth updating your current clubs.

I also have some thoughts about your comment that club manufacturers are "being deceptive and trying to manipulate their customers" into replacing their clubs that were purchased not long ago with new ones.  Perhaps I can give you another perspective from the over 9 years that I spent in the marketing dept. at one of the major OEM golf companies...

Anyone who is older than about 35 or so probably remembers a time when golf companies product line didn't change much for many years.  The Eye 2 irons were in Ping's line for 8 years.  MP-14s were the workhorse of Mizuno's club line for the same amount of time.  And Bridgestone's j33 drivers were made for 5 years.  It's hard to imagine a driver being offered for 5 years now days.  Some companies have gone to a 9 month life-span on their club models.  This frustrates and pisses off some consumers, which I totally get, but some others are excited to  be able to upgrade this often. Is any of this deceitful, deceptive or manipulative though?

What happened was massive technology breakthroughs in the 1990's that resulted in noticeable improvements in club performance.  This was the result of the development of computers that were able to analyze what happened when a club hit a ball, which taught us a lot that we didn't realize before.  When the USGA but the breaks on, and limited things like the size of the head, the C.O.R. and other parameters, improvements became more difficult to attain.  Golf club and golf ball manufacturing is a highly competitive industry with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake.  A company that does not continue to improve it's products, or isn't trying to develop new technology will get run over very quickly.  One thing that frustrates a lot of players is when a company discontinues the ball they play, or makes changes to it.  "I finally found a ball that was perfect for me, and a year later they quit making it!"  I heard that more than once.  Sometimes equipment is discontinued because it sucked and nobody bought it.  But even if it's great now and is a top seller, you better believe the manufacturer is already working on how to make it better.  If a company doesn't update their products on a regular basis, it won't take long for consumers to feel their stuff is not cutting edge and is antiquated.  

Personally, I hate the really short life cycle that some companies have implemented. It has crushed the used club market, and as a result clubs do not hold their value like they used to.  But, it has created an urgency for R&D depts to push themselves and develop better products.  It's no different than other industries...auto manufacturers have been releasing new models every year for decades.  Computer companies and cell phone manufacturers release new versions constantly too.  But none of these items hold their value either.  I understand the concept that a company wants to offer a "new and improved" version on a regular basis, whether it's every 9 months or 2 years to spark sales, but here is what happens:  Joe Golfer buys the latest and greatest driver from his local golf store for $400.  Less than a year later, that model is replaced with a newer latest and greatest.  When that happened, the model Joe has was closed-out and marked down.  Shops with excess inventory are now selling last year's model for $250 and the newest model is $400.  Joe likes what he hears about the new model, and decides to trade in the driver he got 9 months ago on the new one.  If Joe's driver is selling for $250 now (new), how much will a used one sell for?  Maybe $150?  Probably closer to $125.  So what is the trade-in value for Joe's driver...around $75?  So you've got to tell this customer that the driver he bought from you 9 months ago for $400 is now worth $75.  Trust me..it doesn't go over well.  Anyway, I don't consider any of this as manipulating the public into buying their products, or that it's deceptive.  What I do consider deceptive is a company that changes the packaging of a product like golf balls and tries to pass it off as new and improved, without making any changes.

On a quick side note, I see examples of people being factually inaccurate regarding golf equipment on a daily basis. Consumer education used to be one of my main responsibilities, so I have no problem explaining the accurate facts to avoid confusion or misinformation from being spread.  This to me is different than an opinion-based topic like "which is better...Ford or Chevy?"  That's debatable.  But if someone said "When hitting a driver, you want to try to get as much top-spin on the ball as possible for more roll-out"  that is simply wrong and I feel it should be corrected if possible.  There is enough confusion in this game already!

Well thought out and written comments @1badbadger . I can buy some of it, specifically the part about computer advances allowing mfg’s R&D departments to analyze the instant of impact of a golf club on a ball. But now we’re in a situation that just about every club is about to or has already run up against the USGA’s limitations of head size and COR. So unless the governing powers relent, which seems doubtful, are we going to go back to a time when equipment changes came every 5 years? I don’t think so, the main reason being that these are large companies with stockholders who want to see year over year improvement in sales and profitability. The other fly in the ointment is the fact that according to most statistics, the number of people playing golf and the number of rounds being played annually is declining. So with fewer customers to sell to what are the companies going to do to sell more clubs? While the term “deceptive” that I used above may be overly harsh, they do have to create what is called in Marketing (and I was in Marketing, so I know a thing or two about this) “cognitive dissonance” which is another way of the manufacturer’s saying, “let’s give them the feeling that what they have now isn’t as good as what we’re selling now.”

Case in point: This past spring I was thinking of getting new clubs. So I took my 16 year old 5-iron into a store’s Trackman booth and matched it up with new 5-irons from Titlest, Callaway and Mizuno. After 45 minutes of hitting balls and analyzing the results there was no real difference in either distance or dispersion between the old and new clubs. I was hitting all of them within 5-7 yards of each other. Basically, a center hit on the old would go further and straighter than a slightly off-center hit on the new and visa-versa. 

So what’s the upshot of all this? Again, this is my opinion and I better not hear from anyone saying I’m factually incorrect, (I can understand why Joro took offense) but yes, while equipment may be marginally better, and I’m willing to concede that, our golf games would improve a lot more significantly if instead of spending money on clubs, we spent it on practice time at the range, taking lessons, or spent no money at all and simply worked on our short game and putting.

In the meantime, my fitting saga continues. When and if I ever make a decision, I'll post it here.

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12 hours ago, xrayvizhen said:

I can buy some of it, specifically the part about computer advances allowing mfg’s R&D departments to analyze the instant of impact of a golf club on a ball. But now we’re in a situation that just about every club is about to or has already run up against the USGA’s limitations of head size and COR

Not really. Irons are not close yet, but I doubt they would make them as such. They would be too unreliable. Drivers have been at max head size and COR for about 15 years now. They have come a long way since then.

12 hours ago, xrayvizhen said:

So unless the governing powers relent, which seems doubtful, are we going to go back to a time when equipment changes came every 5 years?

Except for maybe Taylormade or Callaway with their woods and drivers, most companies operate on a two year cycle. I'm not sure moving to a 5 year cycle will be a thing.

12 hours ago, xrayvizhen said:

This past spring I was thinking of getting new clubs. So I took my 16 year old 5-iron into a store’s Trackman booth and matched it up with new 5-irons from Titlest, Callaway and Mizuno. After 45 minutes of hitting balls and analyzing the results there was no real difference in either distance or dispersion between the old and new clubs. I was hitting all of them within 5-7 yards of each other. Basically, a center hit on the old would go further and straighter than a slightly off-center hit on the new and visa-versa

Not really case and point. You are using a singular instance, your self, as a generalization for your entire argument. I can throw a counter to this really easily.

If my dad hit my Mizuno MP 59 5 iron, and went into a store and hit a Ping G Max 5 iron, he's going to hit the Ping G Max farther. The reason being he does not have the clubhead speed to get the distance out of my 5 iron. The Ping G max might even have lower loft. It is lighter, it has a golf shaft designed towards my dad's game, and the center of gravity is much lower. This will allow my dad to produce the required height on the shot to get the maximum distance out of it.

Most golfers do not have the clubhead speed to get the maximum distance out of their 3,4, and 5 irons. This is why those golf clubs have become more hybrid-ish, or those golfers have switched to hybrids.

There is a lot of good technology out there for people if they are smart enough to figure out how that technology would maximize their current playing ability.

12 hours ago, xrayvizhen said:

while equipment may be marginally better, and I’m willing to concede that, our golf games would improve a lot more significantly if instead of spending money on clubs, we spent it on practice time at the range, taking lessons, or spent no money at all and simply worked on our short game and putting.

I would agree with this. Proper lessons, with proper practice, will out perform gains from upgrading equipment each year.

 

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4 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

Not really. Irons are not close yet, but I doubt they would make them as such. They would be too unreliable. Drivers have been at max head size and COR for about 15 years now. They have come a long way since then.

Except for maybe Taylormade or Callaway with their woods and drivers, most companies operate on a two year cycle. I'm not sure moving to a 5 year cycle will be a thing.

Not really case and point. You are using a singular instance, your self, as a generalization for your entire argument. I can throw a counter to this really easily.

If my dad hit my Mizuno MP 59 5 iron, and went into a store and hit a Ping G Max 5 iron, he's going to hit the Ping G Max farther. The reason being he does not have the clubhead speed to get the distance out of my 5 iron. The Ping G max might even have lower loft. It is lighter, it has a golf shaft designed towards my dad's game, and the center of gravity is much lower. This will allow my dad to produce the required height on the shot to get the maximum distance out of it.

Most golfers do not have the clubhead speed to get the maximum distance out of their 3,4, and 5 irons. This is why those golf clubs have become more hybrid-ish, or those golfers have switched to hybrids.

There is a lot of good technology out there for people if they are smart enough to figure out how that technology would maximize their current playing ability.

I would agree with this. Proper lessons, with proper practice, will out perform gains from upgrading equipment each year.

 

Good post

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I’m willing to concede that, our golf games would improve a lot more significantly if instead of spending money on clubs, we spent it on practice time at the range, taking lessons, or spent no money at all and simply worked on our short game and putting.

Hopefully everyone knows most mishits are operator error, not equipment - certainly the case for me. I’d GUESS it wouldn’t make any significant difference what club brand/model I was using for 90% of my poor strikes.

I’ve become a firm believer that if you want to improve, lessons are an essential ingredient, plus practice.

However thanks to LSW, I’ve also become a believer in “separation values” so I devote the bulk of my time on full swing irons and driving, and less on short game and putting.

My game improved noticeably from mid Summer on for three reasons.

  1. Relearning to NOT try to kill the ball,
  2. Lessons with focused drills/practice, 
  3. LSW

YMMV

Edited by Midpack

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10 minutes ago, Midpack said:

Hopefully everyone knows most mishits are operator error, not equipment - certainly the case for me. I’d GUESS it wouldn’t make any significant difference what club brand/model I was using for 90% of my poor strikes.

I’ve become a firm believer that if you want to improve, lessons are an essential ingredient, plus practice.

However thanks to LSW, I’ve also become a believer in “separation values” so I devote the bulk of my time on full swing irons and driving, and less on short game and putting.

My game improved noticeably from mid Summer on for three reasons.

  1. Relearning to NOT try to kill the ball,
  2. Lessons with focused drills/practice, 
  3. LSW

YMMV

Those are great thoughts

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O.P.'s FITTING UPDATE

As part of his normal process, my local fitter, Tim Mosel, made up a 6-iron for me to test. He custom built it to my swing specifications with components from Wishon; a CSI-771 head and graphite shaft. I had thought with my swing speed (5-iron = 80) that I would need to go back to a regular shaft but instead, it’s a stiff shaft, but with the “frequency” matched to my swing. Tim said not to get hung up the flex. It’s also a half inch longer, (38”) than my current 6-iron. I can say that the Wishon is very easy to hit, somewhat forgiving but with a decent amount of workability and longer by at least a club, and on some shots a club and a half, than what I have now. It also launches the ball much higher, which Tim said would happen.

I played three rounds, using the 6-iron as much as possible, even on shots where a different club was needed, and played fairly well. I also tested it extensively at the range, several sessions over the past 3 weeks, hitting at least 500 balls. Although Tim said I could keep the club as long as I wanted, even over the winter, I decided now and I ordered a set, 4-PW, which I’ll pick up next week. I’m a little nervous about the Wishons, having always played with Wilson Staff or Callaway, but I’ve read good things about them and watched a lot of Tom Wishon’s videos in order to sell myself on them.

In the meantime, I also took a video of my swing, which I haven’t done in quite a long time. Funny, how I’ve done this only 2 weeks after shooting my best round in 20 years (74). I used two cameras, one from the side and another from the rear shooting simultaneously at 60 IPS. I wanted to see what I was doing right but instead what I saw made me sick. I’m definitely casting my irons, releasing way too soon. At impact, my hips have rotated with my belt buckle pointing to the left at about a 45° angle but my hands are by my right pants pocket instead of in line with the inside of my front thigh. My right elbow is also too far from my body during the downswing.  This answers the question of why I’ve been losing distance with my irons.

I never used to cast, but I think what happened was a year and a half ago I had a bicycle accident. I swerved to avoid a truck, hit a curb and went ass-over tea-kettle over the handlebars and landed on my neck on someone's lawn. I was initially fine but the next morning when I woke up I couldn’t raise my left arm above my waste and it was flopping around like a wet noodle. It turned out I had damaged some nerves in my shoulder and had a partially torn Rotator Cuff. I started physical therapy and was eventually cleared for golf but with a mostly useless left arm I had to make changes to my swing and the casting of the club from the top must have been something I was doing unconsciously. That’s my theory anyway. It took a full year for my left arm and shoulder strength to return to normal and get the full range of motion back but it’s fine now so the casting is something I’m going to work on over the winter.

So this long thread originally started with me asking the question whether or not it would be feasible to optimize an existing set of old irons. It turned out, because of the way X-14's were made, it's not so that led me into the arms of a local fitter. I'm in his hands now and only time will tell if it's the right decision.

 

Edited by xrayvizhen
Grammar

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I agree with the flex thing.    Just because a person is old does not mean they should go to a softer shaft.    A lot depends on the release and whether or not it is a snap or a swing.     In my case I am even as old has been a quick release player and distort a soft  which makes me inconsistent.    I have not gone to a really heavy shaft either and find mid weight and stiff works best.   I have always felt there is not much difference tween a Reg and a Stiff anyway.    I know what the machine or flex board says, but we are not machines, we are real with real performance needs.    

Of course I am old school, but maybe what works vs. what the machines and people,{self made Gurus} show is best.     This is a game of going from here to there in the best way you can and we have become very, very technical, maybe too much so.     I am not saying it all is bad, but some hurts more than helps.     Confusion reigns at times and is that a good thing?     

Good luck and you are on track with the shaft thing.

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9 hours ago, xrayvizhen said:

So this long thread originally started with me asking the question whether or not it would be feasible to optimize an existing set of old irons. It turned out, because of the way X-14's were made, it's not so that led me into the arms of a local fitter. I'm in his hands now and only time will tell if it's the right decision.

Good luck! Hope we get some fair weather this winter and you can get out with your new irons.

9 hours ago, joro said:

I agree with the flex thing.    Just because a person is old does not mean they should go to a softer shaft.    A lot depends on the release and whether or not it is a snap or a swing.

Definitely. There's no industry standard to begin with, so one company's x-stiff can be another's stiff, etc., but how stiff a shaft a person needs has a lot to do with how they load and transition and not simply a function of swing speed.

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There can be a big difference in Graphite where there are no std. flexes.    Ones R is another companies S, but steel does not have that same difference, they are all pretty std.     But in Graphite you have to know what is what, and that is tough.    The one difference in steel is  the so called flex point, which is not very much.     My answer for low flight is stiffer and high flight is softer.    It seems to work just fine.    And then there is Torque.    It can get very complicated unless you know.

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1 hour ago, joro said:

 Ones R is another companies S, but steel does not have that same difference, they are all pretty std.

Not so sure we can say this for all steel shafts, that they are all pretty standard.

My pro fitter said he was really glad that I chose Nippon shafts to re-shaft my MX200's because they were very consistent in all respects, a high quality manufacturer, as opposed to some other steel shaft manufacturers. That made his job easier in tuning everything to me (we ended up with Nippon NS PRO 850GH, Regular, with one soft step). I'd like to hear folks' experiences with steel shafts.

As for graphite, he also re-shafted another set with Aldila VS Proto HL70, also Regular, one soft step. Admittedly, he said these were not as consistent, but he was able to do all the tuning, spine-align, etc. and they suit me. My current Project X shafts are very consistent in flex and loading.

I guess, from reading this, that I am agreeing one must be careful with graphites; but I would say the same is true for steel. All this even with the advancements technology has brought. I always research all components heavily and get expert opinions.  It is part of the fun. Best, -Marv

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Marv, I hope you like your new shafts, but I will stick with what I said.    After years of working on and building clubs I have spent many hours with engineers {toot toot} on the benefits and consistency of Steel and that is the result, consistent throughout.     Graphite however is different per manufacturer.     Nippon by the way builds a great shaft.     Best to you and your Golf.

Edited by joro
misspelled name

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