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cdav1985

Game Improvement Irons vs Players Irons

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New member and first post...so be gentle ūüėÄ

Seeking advice from anyone similar or able to give good advice here... My plan is to go to a golf instructor for the first time ever and work out some swing mechanic issues.  Obviously I'll get some feedback there but love the idea of a larger forum/peeps that can offer insight as well.  So, from an equipment standpoint, I'm wondering if I should investigate game improvement irons vs players irons.

Present situation is I'm an early 30's golfer whose swing has evolved over time since mid-teens when I started.  At this point, have backslid into more of a 12-14 handicapper.  Most of my lost shots are inside 100 yards and putting is sub-par.  I chalk a lot of that up to not playing a lot (right or wrong) - I only get about  about a dozen times a year but want to make it out a lot more in 2019.  I live in Iowa so I seasonally have to shut down from about November to March.  I'm looking to get a few lessons and then upgrading my irons early spring.  I currently own an old set of Adams Tight Lies irons circa year 2000 I believe - I can't hardly find any info online about them.  They are older and were cheap then.  That said, I love them visually.  Thin top lines (which is visually important for me) and somewhat wider sole to help get the ball up (and they go high).  Distance is good.  I have quick/flippy hands which, yes, adds to my inconsistency but does produce most of my distance I believe.  From 170 I'll play a 7 iron and my favorite shot is a 3 iron off the tee which on average goes 210-220.  Sadly even with this above average distance, my scores wallow in the mid-80s normally.  A fair amount of pars, equal number of bogies, maybe a bird, and a miserably placed snowman and double is my usual card.  Again, I'm going to an instructor to help debug my mechanical issues but from an equipment standpoint is where I'm curious.  

From what I can tell, irons have evolved quite a bit since 2000 and I'm finally able to afford some iron upgrades.  Though I like my Adams irons, they're old and I feel I'll take whatever help new tech can give me.  I don't think I need the distance the newer irons give (and I get that's not their only enhancement) but I'm not sure I'm good enough for players irons.  I visually feel more comfortable over smaller, thin top line irons.  I'm hoping with some instruction and some new tech in my irons, my score will improve.  I'd love to be able to shape my shots more though I can't now (nor was I ever really able to).  I've always believed the equipment won't make the golfer but more recently I can't help but think why avoid something that can help even if it's only incremental.

So what would you all recommend with the assumption I'm seeking professional help and will play more in the future.  Game improvement irons or players irons?  Thank in advance!

 

 

 

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Game improvement. but if you don't like how they look, there are plenty of options out there that look more like blade irons with game improvement technology. 

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Second that. Game improvement. There are a lot of brands now that offer a more compact GI iron, Callaway, TaylorMade, Ping, Titleist, etc. They are more expensive but give you a nice combination of forgiveness and classic looks. They are going to have lower lofts and you will definitely hit them further that 18 year old Adams so just be prepared.

Don't buy clubs for where you think you will be a year from now. Buy them for now. Good luck.

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Thanks for the input and insight so far guys.  Do you have any recommendations to specifically look at or avoid?  There's so many top 10 lists but the narrower compact GI irons seems like a tough find online.  Understandably I'll know a lot more when I look and try in person.

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The newer hollow irons give you lots of game improvement properties in nice compact shapes.  The three lines I can think of are the p790, Ap3, and i500.  They're a bit more expensive than other irons though.

Tons of other irons these day are also tweeners.  The old "players" vs "game-improvement" is becoming an outdated dichotomy.

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Nothing wrong with a mixed set- You can go with GI clubs for the longer irons and move towards blade style for the more "touch" shots from 150 in. 

IF you are a consistent sweet spot type of striker you can move toward a less "I" GI club since a sweetspot strike is a sweetspot strike on any club. the feel of a blade style on a touch shot is unlike any other style of club, and IMO, those shots are where you want that type of feel.

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21 hours ago, allenc said:

The newer hollow irons give you lots of game improvement properties in nice compact shapes.  The three lines I can think of are the p790, Ap3, and i500.  They're a bit more expensive than other irons though.

Tons of other irons these day are also tweeners.  The old "players" vs "game-improvement" is becoming an outdated dichotomy.

I second this. Since Titleist introduced the AP2 iron, there have been plenty of tweener irons out there from different brands that fit nicely within the skill levels of the 75-85 shooter. They're usually not cheap irons though and that can be a hurdle. 

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This is going to be a little "outside of the box" but these may be worth a look.

https://www.hirekogolf.com/golf-components/clubheads/golf-irons/dynacraft-prophet-muscle-blade-iron-clubhead.html

Dynacraft.JPG

Its a bladed iron but with a hollow construction to aid forgiveness. Kind of best of both worlds (and good price point too)

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I have a similar handicap, and I love my Titleist AP1s. They are bigger, but you don't notice it as much unless you have them right next to the AP3 or AP2. I will elaborate on the Titleist line a bit, as I am more familiar with them, but all of the major brands have similar ranges.

Titleist has 6 lines, T-MB, MB, CB, AP2, AP3, and AP1. You can see their website for a detailed description. I think the ones that would interest you most are the AP lines. The MB and CB are really for better players, and the T-MB more of a specialty club. They are blade style, but hollow body. A lot of professionals use the longest irons as driving irons, but they do in fact make a complete set.  The AP1 is the most forgiving, and is in the game improvement category. The AP3 sits between the AP1 and AP2, and has a good deal of forgiveness, but looks a little more player iron visually from the top. The AP2 is a forged players iron used by many tour players, but still has some of the technology of the AP1 and AP3.  Loft wise of the 3 AP's, the AP1 is strongest, the AP2 the weakest, and the AP3 is in the middle. The AP1 is approximately a full club stronger than the AP2 through the set, and the AP3  roughly splits the difference. Just based on your handicap and the fact that you are younger and stronger than me, I could see you gravitating toward the AP3. They are a couple hundred higher for the set than the AP1s. Current street price is around $999 for AP1 4-GW; $1,199 for the AP3.

The new Mizuno JPX 919 series has a similar relationship: 3 sets that are GI, forgiving player style, and better player style.

While I do love my AP1s, I am not necessarily hawking Titleist; all of the major brands have similar ranges.

 

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Really appreciate the feedback everyone.

The AP1 irons have definitely caught my eye - watched several YouTube reviews and read some as well.  I also saw the JPX Forged as a possible option.  The Srixon z785 also seem like a good option - maybe even the older models like z765.  The Callaway Rogue looks decent as well but its top line appears to be thicker.  

The prices are all more up there than I was hoping but understand that's part of the territory being considered.  Used in the right circumstances may be something I look at as well.

Ultimately my bad shots are horrendous and no club is going to save it.  But I've read/seen some statements that allude to the fact that some of the jump in distance and ease of use really just helps the mental part of the game.  That'd be huge - just an increased confidence.  Frankly my nature would convince me (a la placebo effect even) if I spent upwards of $800-$1000 on irons that they must be better and therefore I will be better.  Rightly or wrongly if I'm honest that will probably happen!  

 

Thanks again guys and keep any suggestions/ideas/comments coming!

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All the advice above is good.  I'll just say that you can definitely get a nice improvement going from such old, cheap irons.  I went from mid 90s RAM irons, from a cheap, SW through driver set I bought back then, to some Titleist 695 CBs, and the improvement was vast.  And that wasn't even as much of a time gap, just some time gap plus a big jump in club quality.

Also, on your note that most of your missed shots are inside 100, obviously I don't know your stats, but that's a very common misconception.  I think it comes from the fact that everyone feels like most of the 8 footers should go in (even tour pros are only 50/50 from there), and their SW and LW shots should always hit the green and usually be really close, neither of which are reasonable expectations for someone anywhere close to your handicap.  So they are mad about those misses and remember them.  But they expect a decent number of tee shots or longer irons to go wayward and cost strokes, so don't focus on those.

My point is, if you're shooting 83-90, unless you're honestly 3-putting 4 times a round and take 2 pitches to even get on the green twice every round from just off the green, or shank every 3/4 SW even though you absolutely never shank other shots, you probably only have a couple strokes to gain from improving short game.  The path from mid 80s to mid 70s is significant improvement in tee shots and full swing irons.

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I have a very Jekyll/Hyde driver.  Always have battled a hook (inside out swing plus flippy wrists).  That's pretty much from swing/grip mechanics so not so much the tech (although tech can help some).  With that hook in the back of my mind, course management (take the hook out of play) will have me use an iron off the tee which I'm always happy to do.  I love hitting my long irons - especially my 3 iron.  I have the most confidence standing over a 3-5 iron.  I think it's because they have smaller profiles - they seem surgically exact to me.  Chunky long irons just look odd to me.  Sadly probably just as accurate with those 3 clubs as I am the next three 6-8.  So I really have enjoyed hearing the idea of mixing my club composition but I'd almost do the reverse - have more blade like long irons and more GI short irons.  I'll probably get a 3-iron separately if the range offers one.  Probably sounds completely backwards to most but suspect it'll be the most comfortable for me.  

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1 hour ago, mdl said:

take 2 pitches to even get on the green twice every round from just off the green, or shank every 3/4 SW even though you absolutely never shank other shots,

ūüėĀ¬†this does tend to happen btw

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AP1s don't have a thin top line. Imho they actually look clunky

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Interesting.  Have you seen this pitching video?  That totally changed my short game.  The "float load" and paint brush feel, plus the other mechanics tips, gave me a great place to start from.  And then I used to live in a place where I had space to practice pitches/chips up to ~35 yards.  If you really bleed a ton of strokes around the green, this video plus some good practice could really drop your scores!

Of course, some lessons so you can use your driver might help too :-P

 

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