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Posts posted by ajl

  1. A quick follow up in case anyone is interested.  Not that I'm an expert or anything, but perhaps this is the perspective of a beginning golfer.  I have gotten some new clubs, and have learned a bit...

    Before talking about the irons, I'll mention the woods:

    If you remember my original post, I said I was playing Strata clubs.  I have gotten some really sweet deals on ebay for TM Aeroburners (D, 3, 3h, 4h), and even got an original TM Rescue 25 degree (for $6!).  Yes, these make a tremendous difference.  I thought it might have to do with just getting better, but I brought out my original Strata's to test them again, and can confirm that the Aeroburners look, feel, and perform better.  Driver is about 30 yards further, and I was never able to hit the Strata 3 and 5h, but can easily hit the TM clubs.  So, I can confirm that the TMs are much better, and have likely resulted in 5-6 strokes per round (see below for why).  It could very well be the shaft, but the shape of the woods are nicer and I think give me a better chance at getting under the ball on the downswing.  The driver just feels way more solid, which adds to confidence.

    The irons

    I purchased the Maltby STi2 (8-PW, GW is on backorder) with the FST shaft.  I love these clubs.  Again, look and feel are superior to the Strata.  Performance?  Hard to tell at the moment.  The Strata PW was always my favorite club.  If I was within 80 yards of the green, the PW could usually make the green without difficulty.  The Maltby PW is equally good in performance, but the feel and sound are really a joy to hit.  But, I can't say that the Maltby PW lowers my score over the Strata PW. 

    The 8 iron is a fun club, but because I'm usually 130 yards from the green, while I loved hitting it, the Strata usually missed the green (left or right).  I am hitting more greens with the Maltby.  It might be the FST shaft, as the club just feels so nice as I swing through the air - I don't think the head contributes to that, so I'd have to give credit to the shaft.  Again, the look, feel, and sound is so much better.  Perhaps this gains me a stroke, given I am getting the ball up in the air better and hitting more greens with it.

    The 9 iron is about the same performance wise.  But again, the Maltby club feels and sounds so much nicer to hit.

    So my conclusion is that yes, better woods are much better than starter woods.  And, for irons, the better irons give a much better experience, but don't make such a dramatic improvement in performance (again, part of the reason being if you are 100 yards from the green, you'd likely still hit the green with a shovel).  

    With the Maltby's, I don't fat the ball as much as with my Strata.  The club seems to glide better through the turn, and feel better through the air.  But, say I were to get better at golf, I'd say a well struck Strata will perform as well as a well struck Maltby.  However, I believe a well struck Aeroburner D, 3, 4, etc., will perform much better than a well struck Strata.  

    My best rounds with the Strata irons have still been as good as the best rounds with the Maltbys (between 39-42 - remember, that's my best, not my typical!).  Although, the Maltby irons typically keep me under 47, where the Strata irons had a number of blow up rounds.  The Strata driver left me too far from the green to even think about making it in 2 strokes.  With the additional 30 yards of the Aeroburner, I have a much better shot at making the green in 2 for any hole that is under 400 yards.

    Long and the short is, if I'm striking the ball really well, it doesn't matter if I'm using the Strata or the Maltby irons.  The Strata's go as far and straight as the Maltbys (again, assuming I strike it well).  But, the feel of the Maltby makes a 3 hour round of 9 holes a much more pleasant experience.  

    The next frontier is to not have the blow up holes.  I like to tell people that I can par any hole on the course - I just can't do it in the same round!!  Perfect example: I had a terrific drive down the fairway, and then hit the 4h well into the rough, and told my friend "shame on me - there is no reason why that shot should have ever happened".   I need to eliminate those hole busters.

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  2. Hi iacas,

    I guess I'm asking anyone doing the SPS.   I suppose I should not have implied no rotation.  But certainly, it is less rotation than a conventional swing.  From what I understand, that is by design so that there are less moving parts.  Todd Graves explains it by saying when you open your front foot by 30 degrees, it limits what your hips can do.  So, you are more likely to return to a square face at impact.  I guess Mo Norman got more power by his slight lunge forward.  But my ultimate question is whether the SPS is designed to sacrifice distance for accuracy.

  3. just curious.  While I think you can keep the ball straight, without hip rotation, don't you lose distance?  It might be just fine - short and straight beats long and in the rough, I suppose.  But, it seems all the power is in his arms, and if you can put your hips into the swing, won't it go longer?

  4. onthehunt526: I used to live in Ithaca a bunch of years ago. Loved it there.  I hadn’t picked up golf yet, but always parked next to the Robert Trent Jones course when I worked at Cornell.  I can’t wait to get back for a visit and play a few courses up there.  

  5. On 11/19/2020 at 10:32 AM, ajl said:


    thanks for the thoughts.  I had a bad round with some shanks a few weeks ago with my 7i, and from then on, I've been terrified of shanking the ball ever since.  So, guess what I do?  Yep, I shank it more!!  Using some foot powder, I discovered that I'm not hitting off the hosel but rather hitting off the toe, and having the club turn in my hand.  So, I grip harder, tell myself don't shank it, don't shank it, and then go ahead and shank it.  

    I do think the better option is to hit the irons better.  But like bkuehn 1952, I feel like I can hit a hybrid with my eyes closed and in my sleep so maybe just do that and forget the irons.  

    I might just buy a 7h head from Monark Golf and slap one of my old shafts on it just to see how it plays. That way, I'm only out $20.  If it's as dead-on as the other hybrids, I may finish out the set.  If not, I'll likely pick up a set of irons from Maltby.


    Just as a follow-up, I went ahead and bought the 7h from Monarch.  Best move I’ve made in months.  I normally shoot around 45–47 when I play nine holes. With the hybrid I am now in the 40-43 range. Any shot between 135 - 150, and I pull out the 7h.  I’m usually on the green.  Sometimes, from 180 I’ll use it and that will get me around 30 yards from the pin so I can use my PW to get it close to putt. 

    sometimes, even try to play a shot to be within 150 yards now.

    from 120, I think I am comfortable with my 9i, and the PW is likely better as an iron for more control.  The next few times I play I’m going to see how often I am between 130 and 150 yards from the pin.  

  6. Carl3,

    thanks for the thoughts.  I had a bad round with some shanks a few weeks ago with my 7i, and from then on, I've been terrified of shanking the ball ever since.  So, guess what I do?  Yep, I shank it more!!  Using some foot powder, I discovered that I'm not hitting off the hosel but rather hitting off the toe, and having the club turn in my hand.  So, I grip harder, tell myself don't shank it, don't shank it, and then go ahead and shank it.  

    I do think the better option is to hit the irons better.  But like bkuehn 1952, I feel like I can hit a hybrid with my eyes closed and in my sleep so maybe just do that and forget the irons.  

    I might just buy a 7h head from Monark Golf and slap one of my old shafts on it just to see how it plays. That way, I'm only out $20.  If it's as dead-on as the other hybrids, I may finish out the set.  If not, I'll likely pick up a set of irons from Maltby.

  7. I’m wondering if people have an opinion on this.  I hit my driver, fairway wood, and 3 and 5 hybrids really well.  I mean, really well – straight every time.  I also hit my pitching wedge quite well.

    My problem is hitting my 6,7, 8, and 9 irons.    When I hit them well, it sounds, feels, and looks beautiful.  But, in doing some analysis I am finding that I am only getting clean hits around 75% of the time.  The other 25% are worm burners, fats, hooks, and slices.  In fact, from 150 yards away, I rarely hit the green with my 7-iron.  I like to say I can hit long, or I can hit straight, but I can’t do both :-) at least with the irons

    This is likely costing me four or five strokes a round. Contrast that with my 5h and I am pretty much on the green every time from 160 to 170 yards away. 

    in looking to upgrade my irons, I started thinking that maybe I should pick up hybrid versions of 6-9.  It’s going to sound funny saying this, but I almost feel dirty doing it.  I mean, it seems like proper golf would require me to use real irons and not hybrids in those shorter clubs.  

    Are hybrids the easy way out? Should I just suck it up and learn to hit those irons better? I just don’t know if I will regret having a bag full of hybrids and no irons.  

    does anyone play with hybrids for their short irons? What are your thoughts?


  8. Wow, there's a lot to unpack here.

    yes.  I apologize if I dumped an entire truck on everyone :-)  I hope that wasn't rude of me, not completely sure of the forum etiquette. 

    Thank you for your thoughtful response. Also thanks to Adam C.  Great insights.  

    My kids bought me a Callaway XR 6 iron with a graphite shaft for Christmas off of ebay.  I don't particularly like the graphite shaft.  It is too light.  It almost feels like its not there.  Someone told me until your swing gets more consistent, it is often hard for a beginner to know where the club is on the downswing.  So, a little heavier steel shaft is better, as you are more aware of the club's trajectory.  That made sense to me.  

    As far as a fitting: I'm 5'9" with a 34" wrist-to-floor length.  I'm guessing it will come up as standard lie, regular length.  Also, I feel like my swing will change still (it is definitely getting better, with cleaner hits each month), so I don't want to necessarily get fitted until I have a consistent, and improved swing.  

    Thanks again for the great insights.  

  9. New golfer here, and I haven't really gotten a straight answer on this question regarding what makes one iron better than another.  Now, after hitting a Strata driver vs. a Mavrik driver, I totally get it.  Wow, what a difference.  But, what about an iron from Strata or Top Flite 9, or even a clone from gigagolf or Integra (or any iron for that matter) vs. a Callaway x18 or x20, or even a newer Mavrik.  The Callaway guy I asked these questions to almost seemed to be offended, and started arguing with me.  But really, all I want is an education as to what makes it different.  Now, keep in mind, we're not talking about Tiger Woods here.  We're talking about a guy who is just starting to break 90 (BTW, the driver was a big reason I got under 90 - Strata driver goes between 175 - 200 when considering poor and well hit balls, and my Razr is 190 - 220, depending upon the hit (even slices go 190 now) - those extra yards certainly helped the 2nd shot).

    Here's what I observe: clubs are made up of 5 pieces: grip, shaft, ferule, iron, and some epoxy.  So, let's take it in turn (easy ones first):

    grip: the Golf Pride grips aren't much different from what I see on a Top Flite or Strata.  And, if they were, I can always buy a new Golf Pride grip for about $6.  

    ferule: obviously, no difference.  In fact, clubs don't even need one.  So again, like the grip, not really an issue.

    epoxy: I doubt a clone or beginner set has any difference.  So, now we get to the two biggest issues:

    head: is there a difference between the chunk of metal at the end of the shaft?  The Strata has basically the same loft and lie as the Mavrik.  Maybe the Mavrik is 3 degrees different.  But, a loft is a loft.  Need more distance, choose the next club in the bag with a loft that fits your need (i.e. hit the 9 iron of a Strata vs. the PW of the Mavrik).  The Strata also seems to have the same number of grooves, and they seem about as deep.  The offsets on a Strata or Top Flite look about the same as the Mavrik. The Strata has a cavity back just like the Mavrik. I'm sure even the cheapest Chinese foundries can copy a perimeter weighting cast, right?  And, I suppose that clones (who say they use the same foundries as the elite clubs) are almost identical.    So, what is the difference?  Is it the material?  Is it the weighting?  Does it matter for a guy breaking 90?

    shaft: My Strata has a steel shaft.  I'm sure it's crap.  It has to be - the entire set cost $150, including the bag!!  But, when I flex it, it doesn't feel a whole lot different than the Callaway shaft.  It doesn't appear to be "whippy".  It gives a little when I flex it between my hands.  So, where is the difference?  I've see analogies like do you want a burger from MacDonalds or Peter Lugars.  I'll take Peter Lugars, thank you.  But, what does that have to do with golf shafts :-)  Fun analogy for sure, but I'd like to know what that actually means when we're talking about shafts?  For the burger analogy, I'll tell you that Peter Lugars is jucier, is fresh and never frozen, is aged and has more marbling, is cut from the tenderloin, etc.  Very tangible answers to the hamburger question.  What does the better shaft actually accomplish?  Will it make me more accurate?

    Why am I asking?  First, I'm really enjoying golf, and want to learn all I can about the game, and the equipment.  Second, I'm getting better, and am thinking about upgrading my Stratas.  I have upgraded the driver and woods (actually, I've gotten hybrids).  Those upgrades were worth it.  But, what about the 6-PW?  I can conceptualize the differences in woods, but as I mentioned above, irons look about the same - a hunk of metal with a loft, and general cavity back. 

    So, answers I've gotten from salesmen are:

    it's going to be more forgiving on mishits.   Ok, why is this?  Why isn't the Strata or Top Flite more forgiving?

    it will get the ball up in the air better.  Are those clubs doing something different in the weighting?  If so, why aren't these cheaper game improvement irons just copying the general design?

    I suppose it does sound like I'm arguing, but I'm really not.  I play guitar.  I actually know something about harmonics, frets, machines, and strings, and can articulate what makes a Taylor or Martin guitar better than the Keith Urban guitar on the HSN channel.  And, I can tell you that a Taylor will sound better the very first day a beginner plays it - so, it is even better for the beginner (if you want to spend that kind of money).  But, I don't tangibly know what the difference is between a Top Flite and Callway iron.

    thanks for any expert insight you can provide.  


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  10. I purchased a Strata starter set, and it has served me well.  In fact, I really love the clubs, but am ready to graduate to something better.  Many people say to just buy some good clubs (Callaway, TaylorMade, Ping) off of eBay.  I get it, I get it -  the Strata set was only $150 (including the bag!), and came with D,3W,5H,6-PW.  So, you are getting an entire set and the bag for the cost of a single Callaway iron.  Obviously, the quality of a Callaway XR must be better.

    But, with technology always improving, even for clones, do you think that a 2019 Strata set (or even Top Flite) has enough improvements to make it comparable to say a 2006 Big Bertha set?  In other words, maybe a 2012 set of Callaways are fine off of eBay, but once you get down to 2006 or earlier, they are no better than cheap starter clubs from today. Do you think that is true?

    I think about TVs.  My cheap 2020 Vizio isn't better than an expensive and tricked out 2018 Sony, but is certainly better than anything that came out in 2006. 

  11. As a newbie who is just starting to break 90, I can offer the following advice:

    1.  I think the driver shot is most important, because:

       a.  it's the largest club in the bag, with the largest sweet spot.  You should be able to hit it, just a controlled swing. DON'T TRY TO KILL IT!!

       b.  if you aren't trying to kill it, even a nice, controlled swing with the driver will likely go 180-200 yards.  No way for a beginner to get that distance with a 6 iron (at least not me!).  You are likely getting 30-40 yards beyond your 6 iron with the driver.  If you slice it (moderate slice, not a disaster), you are still in the rough, but likely 200 yards closer to the green. 

      c.  if you do hit a 180-200, it really takes the pressure off - a huge sigh of relief for your next shot.  On a par 4, 300, that means you can use a PW next.  On a par 4, 320, that means you can use a 9 iron, on a par 4, 360, that means you can use a 6 iron.  On a par 4, 400 - well, at this level of skill, you probably should not think about GiR.  Just get to the green, bogey the hole, and if lucky, maybe you get a par.  I have learned in the 400yd example that there is no way I'm going to hit GiR.  So, we go for a bogey, and hope to get lucky with a par. So, the driver gives you a lot of options going forward - just don't try to kill it - have I said that before :-)

      d.  if you have a wide fairway, go for it - really try to hit 200 or 210 - still, don't try to go 260!.  If the fairway is a little more narrow, just go more controlled, and you'll likely be on the fairway, but maybe only 170 or 180 forward.  Still, likely better than the 6 or 5 iron.  What a sigh of relief to be 160-180 away from the hole after using the driver.  Then, you can decide if you can make the green, or lay up and then chip and run.

    2.  Have an iron that is consistent.  For me, the 7, 9, and PW are pretty good.  I can usually hit those straight (130, 110, 100).  With an 8:00 swing, the PW can go 50 yards.  

    3.  Be smart on par 3s.  If it is 120 - 140, a 9, 7, or 6 should get you there.  If it is 180, forget about it (at least for me). If I use a driver or a 3 wood, it is unlikely after sailing 180 yards, I'll drop it on a 40 yard green width. A 6 gets me around 40 yards from the hole, and I can try to chip and run.  Fairways are much wider, that is why a 180yd driver shot should wind up in the fairway.  

    other observations:

    Notice that I rarely talk about the LW - I love how it looks - beautiful high shot that lands and sticks like a cat.  Unfortunately, 7 out of 10 of my LW shots get bladed and sent flying!  I have to improve on that. 

    Right now, my 3 wood is horribly inconsistent.  But, I would say that learning to hit that off the fairway is the next frontier. If I can do that, then we are likely looking at 350 yards with the first 2 clubs.  

    Personally, I think I have a better chance with a driver, 9, and then a chip and run with a 7, rather than using my 6 successfully, 3 times in a row. 

    With practice, I might be able to hit my driver beyond 200 yards. I'm only 8 months in to this thing. 


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