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Choosing Game Improvement Irons


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I've convinced myself I want new irons. My current irons are Dick's special Callaway Xhot N14. Nice clubs, but they're 7 years old. At the very least they need new grips. Additionally, they get a fair amount of play. 18 holes a week plus the range once a week. They're worn, and I think the new ones are better. Another consideration is, I'm 61, this will likely be the last set of steel shafted irons I buy. Which ones to get?

I've done research, I've gone to a golf shop and hit some, talked to friends, I have a few ideas, but there is no such thing as too much information, so here I am.

The clubs I seemed to hit best were Callaway Rogue X. I also hit Taylormade M4s, Ping 410s and Cleveland launchers. I was excited by the distance of the Rogue X, until I did some research. My concern is that they are delofted. I hit my current 7 iron 150+. I hit the Rogue 165+. But the spin is low, under 5000. My concern is suddenly having a PW that goes 130 with low spin rolling off the green like a marble on concrete. 

I'm going to go to a different golf shop on Saturday, and I'm leaning to the Ping 400s. They aren't delofted, and the price point is good, $699. On top of that, they're new enough they can be fitted. I'm looking at cast clubs, and I know some of the older new sets can't be fitted because they aren't in production. Another option that I'm considering is getting Rogue X for the longer irons, 4-6, and going with Ping for scoring clubs, for the spin. My neighbor is a High School golf coach, and he suggested I try forged, he thinks my swing is decent enough, I may be able to play them for scoring irons.

The input I'm looking for is: Are there options I'm not considering? Club brand, other models? What do you think of mixing sets? How much more playable are Ping 400s versus my current Callaways? I like to keep cost down, I'm not a great golfer, I'm a 12 in our 9 hole league. Like I said, I've all but convinced myself to buy the shiny new clubs, just trying to make a good choice.

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Good luck with your search.   You may also consider a hybrid club or two instead of the less lofted clubs.    There is a distinct difference in not only clubs but shafts as well.   The Rogue X are easy to hit but if you don't like it, don't buy it.  Your choice should be selfish.   Whatever you buy should be your choice and what's best for you.    It's not uncommon to have different wedges than irons and hybrids/woods/driver.   My set includes Callaway driver, woods and hybrids, Taylormade irons and Callaway wedges.    If you can get spin rates, why not get fitted?

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I have golf mental issues, so hybrids are a problem for me. I look at the big head, and my brain makes me swing harder. I know, it's insane, but so hard for me to overcome. I have 2 hybrids, if I swing like a person with a stable brain, they go pretty good. But, that good stroke leads to me trying to "improve" the distance by swinging harder. I went so far as picking up an old used ping 3 iron for distance, my 3 and 4 hybrid take a back seat to that club. Like I said, golf mental issues.

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34 minutes ago, daled said:

The clubs I seemed to hit best were Callaway Rogue X. I also hit Taylormade M4s, Ping 410s and Cleveland launchers. I was excited by the distance of the Rogue X, until I did some research. My concern is that they are delofted. I hit my current 7 iron 150+. I hit the Rogue 165+. But the spin is low, under 5000. My concern is suddenly having a PW that goes 130 with low spin rolling off the green like a marble on concrete. 

What's your peak height and descent angle on the Rogue X? Too many people get fixated on trying to hit certain spin numbers with certain irons that they don't realize the clubs have plenty of stopping power on the greens due to the trajectory.

I don't know how many Rick Shiels reviews I've seen where he'll talk about how low the amount of spin he's getting from an iron on his launch monitor is, then head out to the course and is surprised the ball stops or even sucks back a bit on a real green.

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22 minutes ago, billchao said:

What's your peak height and descent angle on the Rogue X? Too many people get fixated on trying to hit certain spin numbers with certain irons that they don't realize the clubs have plenty of stopping power on the greens due to the trajectory.

I don't know how many Rick Shiels reviews I've seen where he'll talk about how low the amount of spin he's getting from an iron on his launch monitor is, then head out to the course and is surprised the ball stops or even sucks back a bit on a real green.

@billchao makes a good point. The other thing to remember is that if you hit your current 7-iron 150 and you hit the rogue x 7-iron 165, then you should NOT be comparing the spin numbers on these two 7-irons. Because you wouldn't use them in the same situation. Look at the spin numbers on what ever club you currently hit 165 and compare THAT to the spin numbers on the Roque x 7-iron. I don't care how much you spin a club gives you, if it's going to be 15 yards short of the green it doesn't really matter does it? 

That's another thing Rick Shiels does that drives me crazy. (Don't get me wrong I love Rick's channel.) He'll hit a 7-iron which is designed for max distance and complain that it only spins 4800 rpm, but he hit it 195 yards. Then he'll hit another 7-iron 160 yards an rave about it spinning 5800 rpm. Great Rick, it will hold the green... or course it will be 35 yards short of the green, but it's spinning like crazy. 

There's a lot to think about when getting new irons. Gapping, set make up, ease of hitting, do you like any offset, how much offset, do you want to work the ball, how much do you want to work the ball, do you want to "flight" the ball, how much do you want to "flight" the ball. How far do you hit your longest wedge that you will carry which isn't from your set? How far do you hit your shortest reliable hybrid or fairway wood. You may also want to think about the course you play the most. If you have a tricky par-3 that's 172 yards, you may want to make sure you have club for that. A really good fitter should walk you through all of that. Be wary of a fitter that hands you a bunch of 7 irons and which ever one you hit farthest is now "the best" set for you. There's more to it than that. 

Edited by ChetlovesMer
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  • iacas changed the title to Choosing Game Improvement Irons
2 hours ago, daled said:

I've convinced myself I want new irons. My current irons are Dick's special Callaway Xhot N14. Nice clubs, but they're 7 years old. At the very least they need new grips. Additionally, they get a fair amount of play. 18 holes a week plus the range once a week. They're worn, and I think the new ones are better. Another consideration is, I'm 61, this will likely be the last set of steel shafted irons I buy. Which ones to get?

I've done research, I've gone to a golf shop and hit some, talked to friends, I have a few ideas, but there is no such thing as too much information, so here I am.

The clubs I seemed to hit best were Callaway Rogue X. I also hit Taylormade M4s, Ping 410s and Cleveland launchers. I was excited by the distance of the Rogue X, until I did some research. My concern is that they are delofted. I hit my current 7 iron 150+. I hit the Rogue 165+. But the spin is low, under 5000. My concern is suddenly having a PW that goes 130 with low spin rolling off the green like a marble on concrete. 

I'm going to go to a different golf shop on Saturday, and I'm leaning to the Ping 400s. They aren't delofted, and the price point is good, $699. On top of that, they're new enough they can be fitted. I'm looking at cast clubs, and I know some of the older new sets can't be fitted because they aren't in production. Another option that I'm considering is getting Rogue X for the longer irons, 4-6, and going with Ping for scoring clubs, for the spin. My neighbor is a High School golf coach, and he suggested I try forged, he thinks my swing is decent enough, I may be able to play them for scoring irons.

The input I'm looking for is: Are there options I'm not considering? Club brand, other models? What do you think of mixing sets? How much more playable are Ping 400s versus my current Callaways? I like to keep cost down, I'm not a great golfer, I'm a 12 in our 9 hole league. Like I said, I've all but convinced myself to buy the shiny new clubs, just trying to make a good choice.

I’m also looking I am itching to try the ping G700 and i500 I’m waiting till summer when my swing is a little more grooved I know they are more but the you tube videos are all about forgiving 

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Don't count the Cleveland launchers out.  IMO  they are nice combination of an iron and an hybrid.  Seems like all the online reviews are very favorable. Everyone is different so don't limit yourself to just one brand or one specific model of club.

I ended up with the Cleveland HBs 4-PW and then went with the Cleveland CBX for my wedges.

Good luck and hope you find something that fits you !!!

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I'd say focus on what you hit the best consistently rather than what goes further (as an aside I think the RogueX is a club longer than the others because the shaft lengths and lofts are almost a club longer). But for example, if you average 150 yards with Club A and most of the shots are between 145 and 155, and average 155 yards with Club B and most of the shots are between 145 and 165, go with Club A.

Personally I love my Ping G25s and yardage example above is why I picked them over another product.  If you like the Pings when you are demoing them, I think you'll be pleased.  I don't think you need a split set.  If you are playing to a 12, you will probably want to stop your irons with the UW (or possibly PW) and use blade wedges below that. Ping keeps lengthening the shafts of its irons ever slightly, so I would recommend hybrids instead of 4i and above (or possibly 5i).

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17 hours ago, billchao said:

What's your peak height and descent angle on the Rogue X? Too many people get fixated on trying to hit certain spin numbers with certain irons that they don't realize the clubs have plenty of stopping power on the greens due to the trajectory.

I don't know how many Rick Shiels reviews I've seen where he'll talk about how low the amount of spin he's getting from an iron on his launch monitor is, then head out to the course and is surprised the ball stops or even sucks back a bit on a real green.

Right; if you’re getting close to 50* descent you don’t have much to worry about with stopping power. Also, course conditions can vary even hole to hole. 

17 hours ago, ChetlovesMer said:

@billchao makes a good point. The other thing to remember is that if you hit your current 7-iron 150 and you hit the rogue x 7-iron 165, then you should NOT be comparing the spin numbers on these two 7-irons. Because you wouldn't use them in the same situation. Look at the spin numbers on what ever club you currently hit 165 and compare THAT to the spin numbers on the Roque x 7-iron. I don't care how much you spin a club gives you, if it's going to be 15 yards short of the green it doesn't really matter does it? 

That's another thing Rick Shiels does that drives me crazy. (Don't get me wrong I love Rick's channel.) He'll hit a 7-iron which is designed for max distance and complain that it only spins 4800 rpm, but he hit it 195 yards. Then he'll hit another 7-iron 160 yards an rave about it spinning 5800 rpm. Great Rick, it will hold the green... or course it will be 35 yards short of the green, but it's spinning like crazy. 

There's a lot to think about when getting new irons. Gapping, set make up, ease of hitting, do you like any offset, how much offset, do you want to work the ball, how much do you want to work the ball, do you want to "flight" the ball, how much do you want to "flight" the ball. How far do you hit your longest wedge that you will carry which isn't from your set? How far do you hit your shortest reliable hybrid or fairway wood. You may also want to think about the course you play the most. If you have a tricky par-3 that's 172 yards, you may want to make sure you have club for that. A really good fitter should walk you through all of that. Be wary of a fitter that hands you a bunch of 7 irons and which ever one you hit farthest is now "the best" set for you. There's more to it than that. 

Yeah. It doesn’t matter what the club says on the bottom of it in terms of “7i” or whatever. You want clubs that will perform reasonably how you anticipate that it will. With irons we don’t care how far they go; we want them to go whatever distance they go and in your desired trajectory window time and time again reliably. 

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@billchao and @ChetlovesMer both had good points.

On the Rogue X, the ball goes a long way but some people have trouble with the yardages overlapping between clubs. A local golf shop had a monthly-get-together, and several of us hit a trade-in set of Rogue X irons. A 7 iron would range from 150 to 165 yards, and the six iron would range from 160 to 175 yards.

A Rogue X 4i might be good for a clearout club, but the whole set could give you a hazy distance yardstick.

As @IowaGreg suggested, take a look at the Cleveland Launchers. The CBX version is more a benevolent GI model, while the HB version is SGI. For the CBX, you might find the stock shaft is a bit light. A local fitter said he has sold quite a few Launcher CBX sets over the holidays. He said players would come in looking for TaylorMade or Callaway, and deciding on the Clevelands after a side-by-side test.

Finally, being you are 61, consider graphite shafts to save wear and tear on tendons. Graphites absorb the vibration much better than steel. Take a look at the Recoils and the lighter SteelFiber shafts - solid and with good balance.

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I bought Rogue X with graphite shafts last year and just turned 66.  I really like them.  They do go a little further.   I had Callaway Big Bertha irons for a good 10 years.  I'm hitting them straighter it seems.  If you are concerned about loft check out the Rogue irons and not Rogue X.  Like others have said I think for the money the Cleveland Launchers are very good clubs and not as expensive. I have CBX wedges and really like them.

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1 hour ago, WUTiger said:

On the Rogue X, the ball goes a long way but some people have trouble with the yardages overlapping between clubs. A local golf shop had a monthly-get-together, and several of us hit a trade-in set of Rogue X irons. A 7 iron would range from 150 to 165 yards, and the six iron would range from 160 to 175 yards.

Don't everybody's yardage ranges overlap in their bag? If your 7i is your normal150 club, you're still going to hit a normal shot anywhere between ~140-155 which overlaps with the 6i at ~150-165.

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I made a decision, not the one I expected. I went to Golf Galaxy on Saturday, expecting to try some clubs and likely pull the trigger. The salesman appeared to be a few years my senior, and pretty knowledgeable. Hitting clubs at Golf Galaxy on a Saturday... uh no. I couldn't believe how busy they were. But the salesman had time to go over options. We talked about my game, and my current clubs. He said he had sold a LOT of those clubs and they were pretty good clubs, I agreed, and said I wanted better if I would notice it. He agreed distance would be a factor, but then he suggested that I keep my current sticks another year or two, and go for graphite shafts. I was reluctant because I'd always heard graphite is very whippy. Salesguy said that was the old graphite, the new stuff is pretty good, and that Hale Irwin had won on the champions tour with graphite shafts. I hate when logic gets in my way. He also said the Golf Pride tour velvet grips were on sale $4.80 each. They must not be on commission because that guy talked me out of buying new clubs. I'm going to re-grip, sharpen the grooves, and run for a couple more years.

I felt better about the decision yesterday. It was barely warm enough to play, just barely 50*, so I went out for 9. On a 150 yard par 3, pin on the back, I hit my 7 into a light breeze and stuck it about 6 feet from the hole. Missed the putt, but the tee shot felt nice. Now if I could just find a putter that was automatic! I'm kidding, I have a nice putter, it's all on me.

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Glad you are getting new grips. As much as you play, you should probably change every two years at the least.

I am 61, and bought steel shafts last year. I like my Titleist 818AP1's. The lofts are hot, but they fly high and stop ok. A friend has the Mizuno JPX 900's and he likes them. The JPX's got an upgrade for this year, and they the line included a cast and two forged offerings.

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 3/22/2019 at 12:41 AM, daled said:

The clubs I seemed to hit best were Callaway Rogue X. I also hit Taylormade M4s, Ping 410s and Cleveland launchers. I was excited by the distance of the Rogue X, until I did some research. My concern is that they are delofted. I hit my current 7 iron 150+. I hit the Rogue 165+. But the spin is low, under 5000. My concern is suddenly having a PW that goes 130 with low spin rolling off the green like a marble on concrete. 

I also bought new irons (fitted and awaiting delivery) and, like you, I found the Rogue X easiest to hit.  My current iron set is Hogan Apex Edge 3-PW and a Hogan SW (10 years old).  Whilst getting fitted on the launch monitor my Hogan 7 iron was carrying 125 yards with a good hit (yes, thats very short! 😥). 

The Rogue X 7 iron IS delofted (a lot) but my shots with it were going a fair bit higher with a steeper angle at the end of the shot and carrying 160 yards.    I went ahead and bought the 4-PW Rogue X with a graphite shaft (synergy 50), but I also bought the Rogue X AW, GW and SW (46, 51 and 56 degree lofts).  That gives me a very light and very forgiving full set of irons with maybe only a 60 degree lob wedge needed (maybe). 

I really like that I can get my 5 iron distance with a shorter club (Rogue X 7iron).   By adding the extra wedges I feel like I got the best of both worlds - help with distance and a set of wedges for the shorter shots.

 

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On 3/21/2019 at 6:02 PM, daled said:

I have golf mental issues, so hybrids are a problem for me. I look at the big head, and my brain makes me swing harder. I know, it's insane, but so hard for me to overcome. I have 2 hybrids, if I swing like a person with a stable brain, they go pretty good. But, that good stroke leads to me trying to "improve" the distance by swinging harder. I went so far as picking up an old used ping 3 iron for distance, my 3 and 4 hybrid take a back seat to that club. Like I said, golf mental issues.

I am a fellow GI person. Working my way through to the 70's ... :) ...

I have the G400 hybrids (4 & 5). I moved from some other, older, clunky hybrids.  I found that if I think of them like irons and ignore the size and follow my iron path swing it usually is a good shot.

Maybe that will help you.

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