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"Cup face" technology for irons - anything to it?


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The Callaway XR irons have the cup face and they are supposed to be really long and forgiving as well. they definitely don't feel like a typical cast club. The performance is there, but the feel takes some getting used to.

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Spring face technology is gaining momentum with irons. This "cup face" business is in reference to increased COR and subsequently distance. I think it's good technology and will continue to grow. Taylormade has their slots and callaway is going for a spring "wraparound" face (thus cup shaped).

Wishon makes spring face irons with a variable thickness face that's reputed to be at the legal COR limit.

One thing I've noticed about spring face irons is they don't feel as smooth as clubs with a thicker face. Two worlds are going to collide when the forged fanatics are falling behind in distance to the spring face guys and there is nothing they can do about it. Spring face irons sound a little tinny and harsh. Maybe the manufacturers will figure out how to manage that better but I'm not so sure it's possible.

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[quote name='Nessism' timestamp='1437938556' post='12022844']
Spring face technology is gaining momentum with irons. This "cup face" business is in reference to increased COR and subsequently distance. I think it's good technology and will continue to grow. Taylormade has their slots and callaway is going for a spring "wraparound" face (thus cup shaped).

Wishon makes spring face irons with a variable thickness face that's reputed to be at the legal COR limit.

One thing I've noticed about spring face irons is they don't feel as smooth as clubs with a thicker face. Two worlds are going to collide when the forged fanatics are falling behind in distance to the spring face guys and there is nothing they can do about it. Spring face irons sound a little tinny and harsh. Maybe the manufacturers will figure out how to manage that better but I'm not so sure it's possible.
[/quote]

I highly doubt that this trend will cause a collide......some people are not generally concerned with distance in irons.

Out of curiosity, why exactly when I am trying to hit 170 do I want a spring face? How does that work with consistency?

Also, as I am teaching my 6 year old the game, and he wants it to go far, I have explained to him that nothing will make the ball go farther than hitting it in the center, so make a nice easy swing and hit the center....mind blowing as he grasps this and sees the results in his controlled swings. Is he flushing shots....of course not he is 6, but is he seeing a 40 yard drives on smooth and good contact vs. 15 yards of disaster and swinging hard? You betcha. And he is smart enough to realize this and is already focused on smooth swinging because that is when the big shots happen.

As long as you are comparing 2 conforming clubs of equal lofts and shafts etc., the only thing that you can do to hit the ball farther is hit the ball on the club face where the maximum of your energy is transferred...the center. To imply that a conforming club of equal specs will be leaving the current forged club offerings behind in the dust in distance is probably a little bit of an over exaggeration.

I am not an engineering expert, so again all of this is based on logical thoughts and very well could be wrong.

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Cup face tech isnt anything new, but is newer in the irons than the woods. I;m still swinging the Exotics cb1 3 wood. have no idea when that came out but was a long time ago cb1, cb2, cb3, cb4, etc. the cup face works great, and prob the reason why the Exotics fairway woods were considered the longest...more distance w. no loss of accuracy.....if the same happens w. the irons its a win win situation....better to be able to hit an iron into the green than a hybrid or wood. better to hit a wedge into a green than an 8 iron.

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MacGregor released the MT line in 2008 that largely focussed on cup face technology both in woods and irons. Although the woods are great clubs, I don't think that the cup face really adds that much to the levels of forgiveness. It did allow the clubs weighting to be moved around in the irons to give a higher launch allowing the lofts to be jacked for more distance.

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Biggest advantage to me is the XR Pros are very forgiving on my miss hits.

I can not really speak to distance as I went too many years not playing to really have a valid comparison. All I can say is at 56 I am almost as long as when I was 26 with these irons but a bit shorter with driver. Still it is not enough to put to something other than ball.

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I hit the XR irons in the store several times and was very impressed with them. I saw some long shots on the launch monitor but then I hit my Cleveland CG Black irons against them and any thoughts of purchase went out the window because my Blacks were longer.

While my Clevelands were longer, the XR's seemed a bit more consistent in the store.

I guess you should try and hit them prior to purchase.

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I just went with a set of XR's. They are definitely long, but they are consistent as well. During my fitting, no other iron could match its consistency shot after shot. It was eye-opening to say the least.

The irons do sound and feel a little different than other irons, but I can live with it. The companies will be able to tweak the sound/feel over the next few releases.

Cup face tech is the real deal.

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[quote name='Bigmean' timestamp='1437940523' post='12022976']
As long as you are comparing 2 conforming clubs of equal lofts and shafts etc., the only thing that you can do to hit the ball farther is hit the ball on the club face where the maximum of your energy is transferred...the center. To imply that a conforming club of equal specs will be leaving the current forged club offerings behind in the dust in distance is probably a little bit of an over exaggeration.

I am not an engineering expert, so again all of this is based on logical thoughts and very well could be wrong.
[/quote]

Yes, you are wrong.

Think about drivers. Old style thick face drivers without any spring face action hits the ball a good bit shorter than a modern driver. Same thing applies to a spring face iron with COR at the legal limit.

Ping G400 Max driver w/Aldila Rogue 125 Silver 60S
Cobra (Lexi blue) F7 5 wood w/Aldila Rogue Black 70S
Cobra (Lexi blue) F7 Hybrid w/Aldila Kuro Kage 80S
Ping G410 irons w/Recoil 95S
Ping Glide 55/60 wedges w/Recoil 110S
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Thank you for helping me learn.

Can you explain why I could hit my original grey king cobra metal wood driver with stock shaft farther than my 913 with GD tour AD shaft by the tune of 30 yards?

I really miss being a 300 consistent driver and I would assume based on the response that I should be enjoying such distances at 35 that I had at 23......
Unless of course you factor in the fact my swing has changed and as I have gotten better and more consistent and accurate and well, older, that I have lost that ability to knock 300 on a whim despite my such superior tech in clubs.... Hell, my driver and shaft cost more than my whole bag did back then and I am still 25 yards shorter off the tee........

Has anyone here gained a real non swing related 40 yards off the tee in the last 15 years? Expecting that in your irons with cupped faces are we? I mean something so notable with conforming clubs that it has changed your clubs in by 2-3, and thus lowered your cap significantly? Don't get me wrong, I feel like my driver is better, but I know that tech isn't it....I know that despite the money I have spent, and the Fancy shafts and all that I don't have what I did at 23......I remember playing in college and having a partner say "that is just fun to watch" regarding a McHenry metals 300+ drive I just launched on the tee........man.... no one tells me my tee shots are freaking fun to watch anymore! not in a long shot....at best they are just "nice drive".......

Keep drinking the kool aid.......the reality regarding conforming clubs is and always will be fundamentals and physics.......math doesn't lie.......

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[quote name='Bigmean' timestamp='1437955775' post='12024236']
Keep drinking the kool aid.......the reality regarding conforming clubs is and always will be fundamentals and physics.......math doesn't lie.......
[/quote]

Sounds like you need to go back to math class. Simple fact is that a driver with COR at the legal limit will transfer more energy to the ball than an old skool driver with lower COR. Same goes for irons. One difference with irons though is that consistent distance is needed for scoring. That's why some manufacturers are toning down the spring effect in the shorter clubs - Taylormade for example. No slots in the short irons and wedges.

Ping G400 Max driver w/Aldila Rogue 125 Silver 60S
Cobra (Lexi blue) F7 5 wood w/Aldila Rogue Black 70S
Cobra (Lexi blue) F7 Hybrid w/Aldila Kuro Kage 80S
Ping G410 irons w/Recoil 95S
Ping Glide 55/60 wedges w/Recoil 110S
Ping Anser/Arna putter - the "real deal!"

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[quote name='Bigmean' timestamp='1437955775' post='12024236']
Thank you for helping me learn.

Can you explain why I could hit my original grey king cobra metal wood driver with stock shaft farther than my 913 with GD tour AD shaft by the tune of 30 yards?

I really miss being a 300 consistent driver and I would assume based on the response that I should be enjoying such distances at 35 that I had at 23......
Unless of course you factor in the fact my swing has changed and as I have gotten better and more consistent and accurate and well, older, that I have lost that ability to knock 300 on a whim despite my such superior tech in clubs.... Hell, my driver and shaft cost more than my whole bag did back then and I am still 25 yards shorter off the tee........

Has anyone here gained a real non swing related 40 yards off the tee in the last 15 years? Expecting that in your irons with cupped faces are we? I mean something so notable with conforming clubs that it has changed your clubs in by 2-3, and thus lowered your cap significantly? Don't get me wrong, I feel like my driver is better, but I know that tech isn't it....I know that despite the money I have spent, and the Fancy shafts and all that I don't have what I did at 23......I remember playing in college and having a partner say "that is just fun to watch" regarding a McHenry metals 300+ drive I just launched on the tee........man.... no one tells me my tee shots are freaking fun to watch anymore! not in a long shot....at best they are just "nice drive".......

Keep drinking the kool aid.......the reality regarding conforming clubs is and always will be fundamentals and physics.......math doesn't lie.......
[/quote]
I think the biggest advantage to the new high-CoR tech is when it allows players to build the slow controlled swing without sacrificing distance. I'll use your child as the example. Say he swings as hard as he can and hits it 50 yards one time and 15 another. Now he works on controlling that swing and hits it 35-40 every time. Give him the new high-CoR tech and he can hit it 40-45 every time. Just about where he was with the super hard lucky swing, but now without the extra effort.

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It's not new technology, any company currently claiming its an advancement or new tech is full of it. TEE has been using it since 2004 in the fairways, also pay attention to the material used in the cup face, steel or Titanium or some blend. Each will produce different feel and speeds. Having a Camaro is great......but its just a cool looking impala or malibu unless its got the SS engine.

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[quote name='tomuch23' timestamp='1437936008' post='12022694']
I had a set of MacGregor mac-tec nvg2 irons with 360 cup face and they were great. I know the faces were very hot on them but they were bulky. There is definitely something to cup face imo.
[/quote]

I had the players version of this iron 10 years ago and they were MUCH longer than anything else at the time.I played them until about 2 years ago. Lost 1.5-2 clubs immediately when I got rid of them.

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A lot of people believe "cup face" is new technology so it has benefited callaway this year. The McGregor irons with 360 cup face technology were incredibly long but they didn't garner much attention. I still think they were phenomenal clubs for the distance and forgiveness they offered. Kinda shocked callaway has been bragging so much about this "new technology" but most never knew about the McGregors from 10 years ago. Ad from McGregor but its in Chinese. Still get the idea though.

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[quote name='jhd12' timestamp='1437934742' post='12022620']
I am looking at some new irons. They say they are made with "cup face technology".

Is there anything to "cup face" or is it not so important? What advantages does it give me?

If there is something to it why don't all iron manufacturers use it?

Thank you!
[/quote]

Great topic, tons of fun, and an area that has been a big focus in my head design work since the mid 90s. So I love to talk about it because I think few others have as much experience in high performance face design as I do in my career.

A cup face construction, whether on a driver, wood, hybrid or iron, is done to try to increase the off center hit ball speed. Not the on center hit ball speed. You can hit the maximum COR for any clubhead with an edge welded face construction if you know what alloys to use and how to configure them for the specific face shape, size and area. But with edge welded faces, you do end up with some of the weldment touching the back of the edges of the face plane. So edge welding can put a little bit more of a "brace" or rigid behavior to the areas of the face that are closer to the edges of the face. With a cup face, this increased rigidity of the very outer edges of the face is not present, so more of the face area is eligible to flex inward to increase the COR and increase the ball speed. But again, we're talking off center hit areas of the face, not the on center area.


Cup face construction first came along in drivers in the mid 90s. And chiefly when driver heads were beginning to be made in a 4 piece construction. Prior to this all titanium driver heads were investment cast and that process just did not lend itself in a production consistency environment to allow a cup face construction to be used.

But there is also no question that when variable thickness faces first came out in the latter 90s, in many cases this proved to be more effective for off center hit performance than cup face constructions which were of a single face thickness. The reason is that in the variable thickness face, the center section is thicker by a tiny amount over the perimeter areas. The center section is not that large either. So what you have is thinner areas of the face existing closer to the center of the face to be able to increase face flexing more, which is the key to higher COR, higher ball speed for off center hit areas too. With a single thickness cup face, you get a little more off center hit flexing but not as much as you can get with a well designed variable thickness face.

Cup face construction on irons is relatively new, for sure. Not all iron styles lend themselves to a cup face construction. For example, if you like a thin topline of say, less than 5mm shading to 4mm, you can't do that with a cup face iron because the top area of the cup has to fold over the top line for a greater distance than that. Or rather it is very difficult to do to still get the cup face to do its thing to help off center face area flexing.

Making irons with a higher COR is more difficult because iron faces are asymmetrical in their shape. the tall toe, short heel shape of all irons means you have to do a good bit of work to figure out what alloys at what thickness can allow the faces to flex enough to increase the COR and offer more distance. With drivers it's easy as pie because driver faces are much more symmetrical in shape. With woods and hybrids, while the faces are more symmetrical than in irons, the fact that the wood and hybrid face areas are so much smaller than drivers and even irons, that it too is a challenge to design high COR woods/hybrids. But that is possible because high COR woods and hybrids have been available since the early 2000s from some companies.

Anyway, enough yammering. Bottom line is that cup face construction is only going to be used in an iron that is being made with a high COR and thus as a super game improvement iron for golfers who want/need more distance and off center hit forgiveness with the irons. Because such a design also has to include the face being thinner to get the face to flex more, such iron designs will always feel different and perform different than any of the traditional thicker face cast or forged iron designs.

But just because an iron is a cup face iron does in no way mean it is better than a high COR iron that is an edge welded face construction, and especially if that edge welded iron has a well designed variable thickness face. Cup face + variable thickness face can be a little better, but not typically so much that it would make anyone with a good edge welded variable thickness face iron go WOW when they hit acup face + variable thickness face model.

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[quote name='Bigmean' timestamp='1437940523' post='12022976']
I am not an engineering expert, so again all of this is based on logical thoughts and very well could be wrong.
[/quote]

[quote name='Bigmean' timestamp='1437955775' post='12024236']
Keep drinking the kool aid.......the reality regarding conforming clubs is and always will be fundamentals and physics.......math doesn't lie.......
[/quote]

THIS is why I love reading GolfWRX.

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[quote name='TomWishon' timestamp='1438014106' post='12027856']
[quote name='jhd12' timestamp='1437934742' post='12022620']
I am looking at some new irons. They say they are made with "cup face technology".

Is there anything to "cup face" or is it not so important? What advantages does it give me?

If there is something to it why don't all iron manufacturers use it?

Thank you!
[/quote]

Great topic, tons of fun, and an area that has been a big focus in my head design work since the mid 90s. So I love to talk about it because I think few others have as much experience in high performance face design as I do in my career.

A cup face construction, whether on a driver, wood, hybrid or iron, is done to try to increase the off center hit ball speed. Not the on center hit ball speed. You can hit the maximum COR for any clubhead with an edge welded face construction if you know what alloys to use and how to configure them for the specific face shape, size and area. But with edge welded faces, you do end up with some of the weldment touching the back of the edges of the face plane. So edge welding can put a little bit more of a "brace" or rigid behavior to the areas of the face that are closer to the edges of the face. With a cup face, this increased rigidity of the very outer edges of the face is not present, so more of the face area is eligible to flex inward to increase the COR and increase the ball speed. But again, we're talking off center hit areas of the face, not the on center area.


Cup face construction first came along in drivers in the mid 90s. And chiefly when driver heads were beginning to be made in a 4 piece construction. Prior to this all titanium driver heads were investment cast and that process just did not lend itself in a production consistency environment to allow a cup face construction to be used.

But there is also no question that when variable thickness faces first came out in the latter 90s, in many cases this proved to be more effective for off center hit performance than cup face constructions which were of a single face thickness. The reason is that in the variable thickness face, the center section is thicker by a tiny amount over the perimeter areas. The center section is not that large either. So what you have is thinner areas of the face existing closer to the center of the face to be able to increase face flexing more, which is the key to higher COR, higher ball speed for off center hit areas too. With a single thickness cup face, you get a little more off center hit flexing but not as much as you can get with a well designed variable thickness face.

Cup face construction on irons is relatively new, for sure. Not all iron styles lend themselves to a cup face construction. For example, if you like a thin topline of say, less than 5mm shading to 4mm, you can't do that with a cup face iron because the top area of the cup has to fold over the top line for a greater distance than that. Or rather it is very difficult to do to still get the cup face to do its thing to help off center face area flexing.

Making irons with a higher COR is more difficult because iron faces are asymmetrical in their shape. the tall toe, short heel shape of all irons means you have to do a good bit of work to figure out what alloys at what thickness can allow the faces to flex enough to increase the COR and offer more distance. With drivers it's easy as pie because driver faces are much more symmetrical in shape. With woods and hybrids, while the faces are more symmetrical than in irons, the fact that the wood and hybrid face areas are so much smaller than drivers and even irons, that it too is a challenge to design high COR woods/hybrids. But that is possible because high COR woods and hybrids have been available since the early 2000s from some companies.

Anyway, enough yammering. Bottom line is that cup face construction is only going to be used in an iron that is being made with a high COR and thus as a super game improvement iron for golfers who want/need more distance and off center hit forgiveness with the irons. Because such a design also has to include the face being thinner to get the face to flex more, such iron designs will always feel different and perform different than any of the traditional thicker face cast or forged iron designs.

But just because an iron is a cup face iron does in no way mean it is better than a high COR iron that is an edge welded face construction, and especially if that edge welded iron has a well designed variable thickness face. Cup face + variable thickness face can be a little better, but not typically so much that it would make anyone with a good edge welded variable thickness face iron go WOW when they hit acup face + variable thickness face model.
[/quote]

This is why I love GolfWRX!

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  • 1 year later...

I am looking at some new irons. They say they are made with "cup face technology".

 

Is there anything to "cup face" or is it not so important? What advantages does it give me?

 

If there is something to it why don't all iron manufacturers use it?

 

Thank you!

 

Great topic, tons of fun, and an area that has been a big focus in my head design work since the mid 90s. So I love to talk about it because I think few others have as much experience in high performance face design as I do in my career.

 

A cup face construction, whether on a driver, wood, hybrid or iron, is done to try to increase the off center hit ball speed. Not the on center hit ball speed. You can hit the maximum COR for any clubhead with an edge welded face construction if you know what alloys to use and how to configure them for the specific face shape, size and area. But with edge welded faces, you do end up with some of the weldment touching the back of the edges of the face plane. So edge welding can put a little bit more of a "brace" or rigid behavior to the areas of the face that are closer to the edges of the face. With a cup face, this increased rigidity of the very outer edges of the face is not present, so more of the face area is eligible to flex inward to increase the COR and increase the ball speed. But again, we're talking off center hit areas of the face, not the on center area.

 

 

Cup face construction first came along in drivers in the mid 90s. And chiefly when driver heads were beginning to be made in a 4 piece construction. Prior to this all titanium driver heads were investment cast and that process just did not lend itself in a production consistency environment to allow a cup face construction to be used.

 

But there is also no question that when variable thickness faces first came out in the latter 90s, in many cases this proved to be more effective for off center hit performance than cup face constructions which were of a single face thickness. The reason is that in the variable thickness face, the center section is thicker by a tiny amount over the perimeter areas. The center section is not that large either. So what you have is thinner areas of the face existing closer to the center of the face to be able to increase face flexing more, which is the key to higher COR, higher ball speed for off center hit areas too. With a single thickness cup face, you get a little more off center hit flexing but not as much as you can get with a well designed variable thickness face.

 

Cup face construction on irons is relatively new, for sure. Not all iron styles lend themselves to a cup face construction. For example, if you like a thin topline of say, less than 5mm shading to 4mm, you can't do that with a cup face iron because the top area of the cup has to fold over the top line for a greater distance than that. Or rather it is very difficult to do to still get the cup face to do its thing to help off center face area flexing.

 

Making irons with a higher COR is more difficult because iron faces are asymmetrical in their shape. the tall toe, short heel shape of all irons means you have to do a good bit of work to figure out what alloys at what thickness can allow the faces to flex enough to increase the COR and offer more distance. With drivers it's easy as pie because driver faces are much more symmetrical in shape. With woods and hybrids, while the faces are more symmetrical than in irons, the fact that the wood and hybrid face areas are so much smaller than drivers and even irons, that it too is a challenge to design high COR woods/hybrids. But that is possible because high COR woods and hybrids have been available since the early 2000s from some companies.

 

Anyway, enough yammering. Bottom line is that cup face construction is only going to be used in an iron that is being made with a high COR and thus as a super game improvement iron for golfers who want/need more distance and off center hit forgiveness with the irons. Because such a design also has to include the face being thinner to get the face to flex more, such iron designs will always feel different and perform different than any of the traditional thicker face cast or forged iron designs.

 

But just because an iron is a cup face iron does in no way mean it is better than a high COR iron that is an edge welded face construction, and especially if that edge welded iron has a well designed variable thickness face. Cup face + variable thickness face can be a little better, but not typically so much that it would make anyone with a good edge welded variable thickness face iron go WOW when they hit acup face + variable thickness face model.

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