Golf is one of the world’s most popular recreational sports. It can be a very fun game. One of the most important factors to enjoying the game is the right equipment. Nothing can kill your desire to play faster than a set of clubs that are beyond your skill level or just not what you thought you wanted. The two keys to buying a good set are forgiveness and personal feel. Not sure how to find a set that matches those requirements? No worries, just read on.
Today’s iron manufacturers are numerous. On top of this each manufacturer has several different models. More often than not the different lines from a single manufacturer tailor to different skills levels or preferences. Before you go running around deciding that you like the look of these or those irons its probably better to decide which type of irons fit your skill level and, of course, your price level. Some sets of modern day irons straight out assault your bank account. With sets going as high as $1400 and not much lower than $400 for a quality name brand set new clubs are a big investment. The more golfing technology advances, and the older your clubs are, the more you can benefit from dropping those vintage irons from your bag and subsequently less balls into the lake.
Iron heads generally come in four different categories. Hybrids (picture 1), large cavity back (picture 2), small cavity back (picture 3), and blade (picture 4). Hybrids as the easiest clubs to hit, large cavity back the next easiest, and so on. Moving more toward blade irons the clubs are progressively harder to hit and thus continually geared toward the better player. Hybrids are very forgiving but are generally only offered as long-iron (2-4) replacements. However there are some irons that are full hybrid sets, like the Tour Edge Bazooka J Max. Most players however, even high-handicapped amateurs, don’t need a full hybrid line. The shorter irons are usually easy to hit for just about everybody. The other important consideration for the buyer is shaft material and flex. Shafts come in iron and graphite. Flexes ranges are, from softest to stiffest flex; Ladies, Senior, Regular, Stiff, and Extra Stiff. Steel is generally heavier, but provides better feedback as to quality of ball striking. Graphite is very light, a little more expensive, and can often dampen the vibrations caused by mis-hit shots.
To begin looking for a new set you should start out with a price range. It’s easy to move up the ladder, continually wanting the newer, cooler set, until you’re spending 4 digits. Once you’ve decided price you can begin to look into features. Appraise your own skill level based on what kind of clubs you’ve swung before and decide what kind of head you want. If you’re reading this article, chances are you won’t be looking for muscle-back or blade irons. Players who use these have grooved a very consistent swing, and generally buy these clubs for more workability and general feel. For the average player, a club that is more workable simply translates into a club that is less forgiving because you’ll end up unintentionally “working it” into the woods and into the water. Along the same lines, a club that has more feel will probably just sting your hands more every time you mis-hit one. My suggestion is to go with forgiveness. Large cavity back irons and hybrids are the way to go. Once you can hit these consistently, and desire more feel or workability, then consider changing.
After you choose the model and head you want you’ll need to pick the shaft. The biggest consideration for the average player here is probably a simple preference. Steel is cheaper, so keep that in mind. The ultimate question is, which one fits your personal feel better? My recommendation would be to go to your local demo day or retailer and hit a few balls with some of the sets you are considering. You’ll find that some just seem to tailor better to your swing, some may be too heavy or light, and others may just not fit that personal feel I keep mentioning. Shaft flex is most easily determined at one of these sessions, either by trial and error or with a little help from the store pros. Don’t be afraid to ask opinions while you’re shopping around either. Just remember that they are opinions. The most important thing in golf clubs isn’t what’s newest or hottest on the market; its what gives you the results you want. A club that feels good to you will build confidence, high confidence builds good swings, and good swings build good golfers.
Buying a new set of irons can be a daunting task for some. With so many models it’s hard to know which is right for you. Keep in mind the basic mantras I brought up here. Forgiveness and feel. If you find a model that does not demand pro tour level precision and that feels right in your hands you’re off to a good start. You’ll have more fun with the right set of clubs, I guarantee it. So go out and start hitting those greens.