We walk into the golf store and there they are. Lined up along the walls, sleek and shiny sets of irons that have the appearance of elegant instruments. We succumb to their beckoning and take one that is most attractive down from its perch. With our hands embracing its fresh grip, visions of wonderful shots rush through our heads.
Too often that’s the extent of our decision process. For the more conscientious buyer, the process may include a discussion with store personnel about who uses the club on tour, what are the most popular sellers, and what does that person think about these clubs. Sometimes we will even hit some ball with the club and watch the flight projected on a big screen.
There are other factors to consider. Important ones. Here are 3 of 6 considerations when making a selection:
1. Where is the clubs center of gravity (CG)? If there was one “most important” characteristic of the club this would be it. The CG is the most important factor determine how solid the ball feels, how easily the club gets the ball in the air
BOTTOM LINE: the lower the CG the better.
2. What is the clubs moment of inertia (MOI)? If we can combine a low CG with a high MOI we are talking about an optimally forgiving club. The MOI increases as we move weight from the middle of the club out to the toe and heel (perimeter weighting).
BOTTOM LINE: the weight should be distributed around the perimeter and the CG should be as rearward as possible.
3. Imagining a line that runs down through the center of the shaft and right through the bottom of the golf club, what is the distance behind that line where the leading edge of the club begins? Between and eighth and quarter of an inch is considered a moderate offset. This offset is considered to be a game improvement feature.
BOTTOM LINE: look for offset.
4. Forged or cast? Test results have proved that excellent golfers have been unable to tell the difference in the feel between forged and cast clubs built to comparable specifications. Forged are generally more expensive and have higher aesthetic value. Cast are more readily consistent in their performance from two iron through wedge.
BOTTOM LINE: if you have narrowed you choices down to two models that are comparable on the above points 1 – 3 and one of the choice is forged and the other is cast, choose the one that is the prettiest or the one that fits your wallet the best.
5. Shaft. Steel and graphite shafts can be equally stiff and equally flexible. The graphite shaft is typically lighter and therefore may allow the player to achieve more club speed. The important feature of the shaft is its flexibility. Since the shaft actually bends “forward” as it approaches the ball the loft of the clubface is increased and therefore the ball will have a steeper trajectory. For slower speed swings a more flexible shaft can mean extra distance.
6. When considering a new set of irons, consider a set consisting of 6 iron through sand wedge. Get hybrids for yardages between 6 iron and 3 wood.
BOTTOM LINE: Get hybrids/fairway woods
BOTTOM BOTTOM Line:
1. New clubs are not the answer for a troubled swing.
2. Buying clubs are like buying tennis shoes. Choose the ones with the features that you want and then be certain to have someone who is trained fit them for you.