Junior Golf Alliance of NY

Jan 272018

By Terry Manziano, PGA Professional, Northway Golf Center

A couple of things to keep in mind when you’re looking for your next set of irons:

What is my technique and is there an iron design that can help improve my technique?

Very simply, how you swing should be taken into account when looking for a new set. For higher handicap golfers who attack the ball from the top of the swing an iron with more club head mass and weight will be beneficial. This allows the golfer to be more consistent with ball striking and timing and will tend to even improve their technique, to a degree. Irons with more weight help higher handicap golfers avoid casting the club so drastically.

Current examples: Mizuno JPX900 Hot Metal, Ping GMAX K1, Ping G700, Cleveland Launcher HB, Callaway Epic, Cobra FMax, Callaway Rogue X, Titleist 718 AP1, Taylormade M2 or MCGB, Cobra King OS).

Along this line of thinking, the MCC +4 and CP2 Pro grip can also help in an effort to curtail casting in the golf swing. These grips do not taper as much as other grips. The lower half of the grip is built up to take some pressure out of your bottom hand.

For the average golfer looking for your standard game improvement iron (Midsize bottom flange, cavity back, perimeter weighted).

Current examples: Ping G400, Cobra F8, Cleveland Launcher CBX, Wilson D300, Callaway Rogue, Taylormade M4, Cobra F8.

For more accomplished golfers who utilize their lower body for weight transfer and rotation but are not in the scratch or professional class, a ‘tweener’ might be the best fit. A tweener is a golf club that is designed to look like a player’s club; thinner profile, smaller face and less offset. However, it has more forgiveness, greater speed off the face and overall a much larger sweet spot than a forged blade. (current examples- Ping I200, Epic Pro, Taylormade P790, Callaway Rogue Pro, Titleist 718 AP3, Cobra King Forged Tour, Taylormade M3, Mizuno JPX900 Forged, Titleist AP2).

For those scratch golfers and pros out there, there are always some nice forged blade models. Forged blades have the thinnest profile with a heaver head and small sweet spot. They tend to provide less forgiveness, but set up neutral at address. (current examples-Titleist 718 CB/MB, Mizuno MP18, Callaway X Forged, Callaway Apex MB, Taylormade P770).

Should I be looking at steel shaft or graphite shafted irons?

Again, this is a major question to be answered before you purchase irons. The best way to determine this, in this fitter’s opinion, is to get fit using the Mizuno Shaft Optimizer. This tool is designed to measure what your swing produces; your swing speed, toe down, kick angle, tempo and release factor. It takes all of these factors into account and tells you not only what shaft composite you should be playing, but what flex and a recommended gram weight range. With steel you get a heavier feel in general. Mostly, steel shafts provide more consistent results. For those golfers who lack strength and power graphite is softer on the body, can help increase swing speed and is lighter in weight. It just depends on you.

Chipping woes?

Take a look at Cleveland Golf’s Smart Sole wedge or Callaway’s Sure Out. They both provide a wide sole that helps you set up for a chip correctly. At address, the club naturally promotes a forward shaft lean when the club is soled on the ground. This sole feature also helps keep the club in a square position at impact. Due to its added head mass, it’s easier to use from the bunker, short shots around the green and from the deeper rough.

For some a chipper may still be best, Cleveland’s Smart Sole Chipper is excellent as well as the Odyssey Tank Chipper. The biggest difference between a chipper and the wide sole wedge is you have the ability to hit full shots with the wide sole wedge. Chippers are designed solely for chipping.