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Which clubs to choose for best progress


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Hi guys,

I started playing golf quite regularly for the last couple of months. I had been using an Adamsgolf bag, some GI irons but because the bag was quite mixed, my coach - who is a 3 handicap - advised it's best to use a complete set then switch later. As such I went back to my Spalding set, a real beginner set that I bought for cheap. For the last 2 months, I have worked on my swing quite a lot with some improvements, however, I have a nagging feeling that even that improvement is being limited by my equipment.

Now i am at a point of mulling buying new clubs but unsure which direction to look. What i should I base a new set on? I live in a country where we don't have a reputable pro shop so i'm unable to go somewhere and try out different sets, and have them adjusted specifically for me.

Looking at clubs online there is quite a bit of jargon i don't fully understand yet, there are the big brands, then the cast vs forged, bladed talk. 

What is the best brand when it comes to golf clubs?

I am looking at buying a set that can hopefully take me into single digit handicap territory, I set I can grow with. Any help would be much appreciated.

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Have you tried any other clubs? 
What I mean is have you tried your friends' clubs? Your coaches? etc... You may find something you like.

Also, Global Golf lets you try before you buy. I've never tried Global Golf but I've heard they are easy enough to deal with.

Lots of companies make really good stuff. It's probably more important to have the clubs fit you, than it is for any particular brand name on them.

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hi @ChetlovesMer thanks for your reply.

Yes I have played with 3 sets to date. The Spalding, Adamsgolf Idea A-something (which I kind of loved for the reason the flight was quite great but I wasn't a fan of how they sat on the ground with the huge head - it affected my grip somewhat). Lastly, I hit a few shots with some Mizuno blades and absolutely loved the sound and feedback they gave me but they are quite punishing on bad strokes.

Given that I have been thinking of taking a risk and getting some blades as I see they are what low handicappers use, but i'm not sure how wise that would be and whether one can grow into them ---- and lastly, if that is provides the shortest route to getting real good.

 

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58 minutes ago, chessnotchekcers said:

hi @ChetlovesMer thanks for your reply.

Yes I have played with 3 sets to date. The Spalding, Adamsgolf Idea A-something (which I kind of loved for the reason the flight was quite great but I wasn't a fan of how they sat on the ground with the huge head - it affected my grip somewhat). Lastly, I hit a few shots with some Mizuno blades and absolutely loved the sound and feedback they gave me but they are quite punishing on bad strokes.

Given that I have been thinking of taking a risk and getting some blades as I see they are what low handicappers use, but i'm not sure how wise that would be and whether one can grow into them ---- and lastly, if that is provides the shortest route to getting real good.

 

Just chiming in that blades are not necessarily what low handicappers use.  They are just what people who prefer blades use.  Blade users are in the minority even on the PGA Tour.  So don’t make your decision based on that conception.

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Like what @allenc said, blades are honestly unnecessary even for the best players. With current club technology you can get a players iron that has much more forgiveness than a typical blade and still has the capacity to work the ball left/right.

2 hours ago, chessnotchekcers said:

Given that I have been thinking of taking a risk and getting some blades as I see they are what low handicappers use, but i'm not sure how wise that would be and whether one can grow into them ---- and lastly, if that is provides the shortest route to getting real good.

I took the route you're considering by buying a set of Mizuno MP-4 blades when I was around a 18-19 handicap. Were it not for my world class stubbornness I would've given the game up long before I learned to use those clubs. If you're looking for a fair challenge to keep you working on your game without getting discouraged, I'd look into clubs like the new JPX-919's, the i210's from ping, or the AP2's from titleist. 

2 hours ago, chessnotchekcers said:

however, I have a nagging feeling that even that improvement is being limited by my equipment.

 Honestly, the only thing limiting you with your clubs would maybe be the shafts you have. When/If you do get new clubs I would try to make sure your clubs have shafts that will fit your swing. That will go a long way in making sure any problems you see in your game are resulting from your swing and not from your clubs.

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1 hour ago, benharris said:

Like what @allenc said, blades are honestly unnecessary even for the best players. With current club technology you can get a players iron that has much more forgiveness than a typical blade and still has the capacity to work the ball left/right.

While that's all true (not that GI clubs really ever did much to affect left/right workability - that's a bit of a myth), there are still practical reasons to play more traditional muscle backs (beyond just "they look better" or something):

  • They tend to be more workable re: height (vertical launch angle). GI clubs tend to be tough to launch low.
  • Thinner soles tend to be more versatile.
  • They tend to be more consistent.
  • They let better players know when they're catching the ball slightly off-center, which can provide valuable feedback for someone who tries to stay on top of their game.

All four are part of the reasons I continue to play blades. Plus, they simply look a lot better (to me). 😄

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All of what @iacas has said is why I play irons more towards the blade design. 

I will say that there are some really good irons that straddle both side, GI and Player irons. It really isn't a binary choice as it use to be 

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Just my $0.02 worth, but take a look at Tour Edge sets and see if you find them to your liking.  Great quality, and better pricing. 

I am a firm believer that although their are several quality brands being marketed, there really isn't a "best of the best" brand of clubs.

I like what was posted above about "blades". I even practice full swings with a couple of muscle back blades. (2i & 6i) I tend to hit those blades farther than my equivalent GI clubs by a few yards.  That said, I still like GI clubs as a confidence booster. 

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Since you are relatively new to golf, I'd go to a dedicated golf store if you can find one and look in their used section.    Try to find someplace like Golf Galaxy or something similar.    There you can try them and they can statically fit them to you.   I wouldn't go out and spend a thousand dollars on a new set of irons in case you decide golf isn't your full time passion.     For you, I'd look into SGI or GI irons. 

Good luck whatever you choose.    Keep us updated...

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Thanks a lot folks for your valuable feedback! 

After much digging around, I am now considering the Ping i25 irons, mainly because I really love their look plus it seems i can grow into them and they are fairly adjustable. I am not sure how solid this decision is, but they seem somewhat affordable and great reviews.

If anyone has any feedback concerning this, it'd be highly appreciated as well!

 

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8 hours ago, chessnotchekcers said:

Thanks a lot folks for your valuable feedback! 

After much digging around, I am now considering the Ping i25 irons, mainly because I really love their look plus it seems i can grow into them and they are fairly adjustable. I am not sure how solid this decision is, but they seem somewhat affordable and great reviews.

If anyone has any feedback concerning this, it'd be highly appreciated as well!

 

As a new player if you like the I25, take a look at whatever Ping "G" model is current.  Won't look quite as sexy but the GI features will help play tremendously and Ping does GI really well. Better yet, get the previous years or even a used set (G25 or more current) and save money.  Then when you become an regular player you can buy the I25 and not feel bad about the dollars.

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On ‎11‎/‎13‎/‎2018 at 5:38 PM, iacas said:

@iacas, I wanted to relate an experience I had in Las Vegas. (No, not that experience, I mean a golf related experience.) In January 2014 I had a chance to be out at the Taylormade Golf Center in Las Vegas. It was their grand-reopening after they had bought the place from Callaway. There was some big-wigs from Taylormade’s R&D group there who answered questions and this test actually came up. They told us this test was a bunch of bunk. So, I am only passing on what I heard from these guys. I grant you, they have skin in the game so take it for what it’s worth.

 

They told us that this test was done by guys producing a new blade. And therefore, they did the testing NOT to test if Blades or Cavity backs are more consistent, but to prove that THEIR Blades are more consistent. His claim was that they did all the cavity-back testing with graphite shafts and delofted clubs and the blade testing was done with traditional lofts and steel shafts. (The lofts were important because they tested consistency between a dialed down 6 iron vs a full 6 iron.) He claims a similarly lofted cavity-back will be just as consistent as a similarly lofted blade when struck on the sweet spot. He said if they would have used the same shafts and the same lofts everything would have been equal. But that wouldn’t help them prove their blades were better.

 

The Taylormade guys kind of proved their point when they loaded up their Iron-Byron with all kinds of different clubs and demonstrated all kinds of stuff to us. They even gave some of us a chance to stick our own clubs in the Iron-Byron. Admittedly, I didn’t get to see my own, but they did a bunch of guys’ and gals' clubs. They even tested some guy’s fairly ancient Wilson cavity backs and launched 5 balls that all landed so close together you could have caught them in a kiddie-pool.


I can tell you what I saw with my own two eyes that every club they put in the Iron-Byron was uber consistent when struck on the “sweet spot”. No matter cavity-blade, blade, cast or forged.

 

Having written all of that, I’d love to see somebody do this test again. The test mentioned was 25 years ago. I think there are a lot of reasons to believe the results could be vastly different today.

1 – Forgings are no longer done in the US – Everybody (even you, Mizuno and Ping) are forging in China now. I can tell you from experience in other industries we don’t have great luck with forging quality out of China. You may recall, Callaway had to switch forging houses in 2008 while they struggled with the quality of their Chinese forging house to the point where you couldn't get any X-forged clubs for a period of a few months.  

2 – Meanwhile casting processes have improved over the last 25 years. … although not dramatically.

3 – This test was done before multi-material club heads had really taken off. Today’s cast heads are usually at least 2 if not 3 or more materials. (Forged ones too, for that matter.) I’m not sure how that would affect the test.

3 – 25 years ago irons weren’t made with CNC milled faces. I think there’s a chance todays consistency may be better across the board.

4 – If the different shaft thing the Taylormade guys were mentioning is true, well then somebody really needs to reperform the test with equivalent shafts. 

5 -  Finally, the test could be filmed and shown to folks who may cry foul down the road. 

 

Until I went to the Taylormade Center grand reopening, I used to quote this test all the time. But since then I’ve found many reasons to doubt it. I’d love to see somebody reperform this test. Ideally maybe somebody like GolfSpy; somebody who doesn’t have a vested financial interest in the results. Even if you are consciously trying to be fair, sometimes people are subconsciously trying to make their results fit their model. If there is newer testing out there on this subject please send me a link. I’d love to learn more.

I'd also love to hear your thoughts. I've played both blades and cavity backs, forged and cast over the years. I've liked and disliked some from every category. I don't think I have a high enough sensitivity to really appreciate the finer differences. 

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From a design stand point of view MBs tend to be more consistent primarily because the clubhead are singular material (mostly, with some small exceptions) throughout the cross-section. Composite structures like GI and SGI irons are heavily dependent on assembly quality as much as design. In short, MBs are easier to get it 'right' than GI and SGI. On the same note, cast clubs can be just as good as forged clubs. Ping has made some high quality cast heads over the years that rival any forged feel.

I would concede that club mfgs have gotten better in their assembly QA to narrow the gap. 

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6 minutes ago, GolfLug said:

From a design stand point of view MBs tend to be more consistent primarily because the clubhead are singular material (mostly, with some small exceptions) throughout the cross-section. Composite structures like GI and SGI irons are heavily dependent on assembly quality as much as design. In short, MBs are easier to get it 'right' than GI and SGI. On the same note, cast clubs can be just as good as forged clubs. Ping has made some high quality cast heads over the years that rival any forged feel.

I would concede that club mfgs have gotten better in their assembly QA to narrow the gap. 

Totally agree with you. I think you are dead on.

That would affect the consistency from one GI iron to the next, but why would it affect the consistency from one center struck shot on a GI iron to the next center struck shot on the same GI iron? 

If you told me striking the center of your 7 iron was different than striking the center of my 7 iron, I totally agree. I'm just at a loss as to why striking the center of my 7 iron should vary the next time I strike the center of my 7 iron????

Remember back when this test was done both cast and forged clubheads were made from only 1 material. (Cast steel, forged steel) I would think today's multi-material heads would actually help their consistency. But I don't really know. That's why I think somebody should do this test again. 

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3 hours ago, ChetlovesMer said:

but why would it affect the consistency from one center struck shot on a GI iron to the next center struck shot on the same GI iron? 

Firstly, let me acknowledge we are splitting hair here. 

The answer is in composite 'harmonics'. Composites (metal/rubber/plastic combo) have a larger variance in counter reaction to strikes by nature with small differences. Each element in a composite have a different 'natural frequency'. If consecutive strikes have the exact same speed, AOA and spot on clubface, etc. then yes, you will not have any inconsistency as long as there is not a qualitative defect in the 'inserts' or how well it is bonded to the base metal. But we are not robots.  

Also, GI and SGI irons tend to have softer shafts, which means low natural frequencies (tuning fork effect) and hence inherently higher chances of catching impact at different reaction point each strike since kick points on the shaft are more like kick zones. 

Anyway, modern FEA modelling and fast prototyping has made it much easier to get to optimum full club 'harmonics' so yeah, unless you are a high speed, high skill ball striker, chances are you are better off with clubs that have lots of polymer inserts with thin faces and all the weight out on the edges. Ball gets up easier in the air which is a much greater advantage than a small insignificant strike to strike variance disadvantage. 

 

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As long as they are stainless steel or forged there is no such thing as the best brand. Buy what sets up good to your eye and is in your budget. The difference on a well struck shot is minimal. 

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On 11/15/2018 at 12:16 PM, ChetlovesMer said:

They told us that this test was done by guys producing a new blade. And therefore, they did the testing NOT to test if Blades or Cavity backs are more consistent, but to prove that THEIR Blades are more consistent.

I don't know if this is the same story.

This story was written well after the fact, and he was testing his own blades against his own cavity backs.

Beyond that… that's hardly a big point in my list of reasons why I prefer muscle backs.

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On 11/13/2018 at 3:25 PM, benharris said:

 Honestly, the only thing limiting you with your clubs would maybe be the shafts you have. When/If you do get new clubs I would try to make sure your clubs have shafts that will fit your swing. That will go a long way in making sure any problems you see in your game are resulting from your swing and not from your clubs.

@chessnotchekcersreally pay attention to this. No one need listen to a high HCP like me, but research shafts. Flex, weight, torque, flex points, launch angles are all terms we need to understand. For example, before I stopped playing golf a few years ago, I played my best using 2004 Cleveland TA6 irons with their proprietary light graphite shafts. Recently I got the same clubs but in a senior "A" flex. In general, I can hit them better than my much newer Mizuno's though the lofts are weaker as was the norm then ; the weight and flex allows me to "feel" the loading of the clubhead in my old man slow swing. Anyway, shafts matter a lot. 

On 11/13/2018 at 7:25 PM, dennyjones said:

 For you, I'd look into SGI or GI irons. 

Finally, yes to this. Check out sources like the Maltby Playability Factor and others for information on the highest MOI/forgiveness clubs. Hint...Newer is not always better. Some old Callaways are the most forgiving ever.  Not everyone wants a forgiving club, but I don't want to make a hard game harder. Best of luck in your quest, -Marv

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