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Have distance irons harmed your golf game?


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I was hitting a certain companies player distance irons. They basically had 2 set options. One thing I found was 5 shots that all felt solid 4/5 went 170 while the 5th would go 185. Seemed very random. When I was in high school my G10 irons only dislike was my PW was very hard to control distance. My AP2 712s were consistent. Since then I basically only play MB or CB type clubs. I’d love something a little more forgiving, but the race for more speed I feel results in less consistent distances and I’m a 3 handicap under 30. I don’t need a ton of help from the club compared to a guy 60+ who is bogey or worse. I saw a video with Crossfield where he discussed this very issue compared a blade from the 80s to a modern GI club. 80s blade had a tighter dispersion especially with distance. 

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My first thought 

The threads here just become these outlandish caricatures of real life events, it has always been like this , not saying it's a new thing.    Obviously there are differences between distance

Gee, I wonder where this thread is heading.

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My regular gamers are Callaway Epic Forged known as very long clubs. As someone else mentioned I had to get another wedge. My set has an approach wedge and a gap wedge. I also have a set of Bridgestone JC15 CB irons. Pretty traditional lofts. When I play with these I take one more club in general. 
 

I find I can shoot the same score regardless of which iron is in my bag. For me if the driver isn’t behaving or my putting is off has a much bigger effect on my score. 

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1 hour ago, PJF7789 said:

This is the exact issue I'm having. At my club, the tee box for the 9th hole is about 40 yards directly behind the 4th green, separated by a small hut with restrooms and an icemaker.  I was 165 out last Friday, hit a soft six iron and landed directly on the 9th tee box....with people standing on it waiting to tee off. 

The tee box is 40 yards behind the green so we're supposed to believe that you somehow hit your 6 iron 50 yards further than you needed and it was the clubs fault?

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50 minutes ago, kiwihacker said:

What model were your old Callaways?

 

My Dad has just bought the T300s but doesn't have them yet. He is a super smooth player with moderate swing speed and they came out best for him during a Titleist fitting. Interesting issue. I just thought 'Distance Irons' meant new clubs are 4° stronger than my old ones so I'll be hitting a 7 iron where I used to hit a 6 iron. Didn't realise you could get all these inconsistencies in distance control? 

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15 minutes ago, chippa13 said:

The tee box is 40 yards behind the green so we're supposed to believe that you somehow hit your 6 iron 50 yards further than you needed and it was the clubs fault?

If you read the end of the post - I clearly asked if anyone had any swing adjustment recommendations for hot irons. 

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49 minutes ago, Bad9 said:

Missing the sweet spot vs flushing it on an iron is not leading to to a 35yd difference in distance no matter what type of club

This is very clearly not happening on every shot - 

 

My issue is its happening 2 or 3 times a round when I'm playing from 160 yards in, aiming for the green, swinging soft with what I believe to be the appropriate club, and having a ball speed much higher than previous shots and flying the green anywhere from 10-30 yards. 

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15 minutes ago, PJF7789 said:

If you read the end of the post - I clearly asked if anyone had any swing adjustment recommendations for hot irons. 

It isn't swing adjustments that you need, it is swing ability. The only way someone would have up to a 30-40 yard dispersion with a 6/7 iron is by not being a very good golfer.

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1 hour ago, chippa13 said:

It isn't swing adjustments that you need, it is swing ability. The only way someone would have up to a 30-40 yard dispersion with a 6/7 iron is by not being a very good golfer.

I somewhat disagree. I sold my P790s because of that reason. My 7 iron would go 160-170, depends on how solid it was hit but every once in a while it would go 185  over the green into the trees or in the water.  Love the clubs but hated the extra 10-15 yards out of the blue.  I only have a 100-103 mph driver swingspeed, so a 185 yard 7 iron should be impossible.

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I truly think it has nothing to do with distance irons. I think it has to do with getting fitted into the right clubs that give you the best chance to shoot a low score. Has to be a total package. Drive for show putt for dough. Same can be said about the long to mid iron being just as important as the short irons and wedges. Ive picked up strokes on course management more than anything. Distance irons are great but really only come into play on par 3's. Instead of hitting a 6 iron, Im hitting a 7 iron. But for me, the distance iron really only pays off if you are that far away from the hole to where you are needing a long iron into a green. Play what gets you to score your best regardless of distance clubs, players clubs or a mix of clubs. Get it done!!!!!

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5 hours ago, Clifford said:

I somewhat disagree. I sold my P790s because of that reason. My 7 iron would go 160-170, depends on how solid it was hit but every once in a while it would go 185  over the green into the trees or in the water.  Love the clubs but hated the extra 10-15 yards out of the blue.  I only have a 100-103 mph driver swingspeed, so a 185 yard 7 iron should be impossible.

 

Right, but should you hit a 6i 160-170? I gather your 6i swing speed is in the mid 80s with that driver SS and the answer is yes you should. I know i do and my easy drive is 103ish, 6i ranges 85-88. 3mph plus a better *strike* will equate to 5-7y more.

 

For the 790 , its a club strong. Period. That's the lofts. If you strike it fairly well one must adjust. I blend a 5/6 into my bag and I bent them 2 weak to correctly gap with my 7. 

 

I'm not saying people are making things up: I believe them when they say their results were over greens. I just don't have data for me that supports a hot club. I practice frequently and hit a lot of balls, including with a LM and strike is playing the biggest part of ball speed. The 790's retain a bit more speed on off center hits. I personally have not measured or seen on course, such extreme ball speed deltas off of my OG 790s. So its hard to support a narrative of hot faced clubs that are hard to control 🙂 

 

 

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I really think these long shots have more to do with not enough spin. You hit a down wind shot out of a dewy fairway, bye bye. 
I just bought and put into play a set of Callaway X14 irons. 
They are old, super game improvement irons that are pretty weak lofted compared to new irons with the same forgiveness. 
But they spin a lot. Pitch marks are only a couple feet from where the ball stops on a green. 

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Just now, gdb99 said:

I really think these long shots have more to do with not enough spin. You hit a down wind shot out of a dewy fairway, bye bye. 
I just bought and put into play a set of Callaway X14 irons. 
They are old, super game improvement irons that are pretty weak lofted compared to new irons with the same forgiveness. 
But they spin a lot. Pitch marks are only a couple feet from where the ball stops on a green. 

 

It seems many proponents of GI clubs forget that they can't hold the greens like more traditionally lofted clubs - so what is actually the advantage? After all the only distance clubs one needs are the driver and maybe one fairway wood and long iron. The manufacturers like Callaway and Cobra have everyone so confused that now GI players feel like people who play traditionally lofted clubs are somehow selling themselves short without acknowledging that their irons don't function as irons were initially designed - to get close to the pin and stay there using backspin.

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I’ve had the p790s, i500s, and gen 3 tours. I got inconsistencies with all of them. Great irons, but hollow body irons are just not for me. Back to a one piece forged (921 tour) and I GIR is getting better now that I am confident knowing the distances.

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I believe it absolutely happens with distance irons. I’ve been playing j40s for a couple years and made the switch to 921 hmps last week. I’ve played maybe 8 rounds and have experienced the “flyer”. 3 other people play distance irons our group and they experience the same thing time to time. Now with that being said, I don’t believe the clubs have “hot spots”. I believe it is a combination of the lie, and launch conditions. If the spin and launch angle are ideal, you experience the “flyer”. As the original poster said, I would also say it’s about a 30 yard dispersion front to back, But, IMO, here’s the difference in the hmps and the j40s. My stock hmp 9 iron is 160. I’ve hit it any where from 145, with a trash swing, and 175 with the flyer swing. With the j40s, my stock 9 iron is 150. When I nut it, it’s about 155, with the trash swing, off the toe, it’s about 130. So In total yards, the dispersion it’s still about the same. But with the j40s, I never worry about the long shot so I can adjust, but I’m struggling with the hmps. My girs with the hmps over the last 8 rounds are down from 10 -12, to 6-8. 

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This is why I've tended to stick with one-piece forgings, even in the "player's distance" category.  I almost never see distance outliers with my 850 Forged.  A well-struck 7i goes 170 and a poorly struck 7i goes 160.  A really poorly struck 7i...well, that's a different story (as it should be).

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I have tried out Distance irons in the past, but have never bought any. I tend to do better with GI clubs, in part because GI heads have higher lofts. 

 

When the Callaway Rogue clubs came out, I got to try the different versions at a golf expo. And several months later, I got some "quality time" with the Rogue X irons at an evening event at a local golf shop.

 

The pro had a trade-in set of Rogue X irons, marketed as very strong lofts with a promise of fabulous distance gains. Several of compared 5i and 7i shots, our irons vs. the Rogue X.

 

With my own irons, I had a range dispersion of about 8 yards with my irons. With the Rogue X, the dispersion was about 15 yards. Others had noticeably greater range dispersion with the Rogue X, than with their own irons.

image.png.5768529bc5054afe33cfed6037036131.png

In 2016, I hit some Tour Edge Exotics irons at a demo day. The EXi was game improvement, and the EXd was distance. While the range dispersions didn't differ much, the EXi had a much better feel, while the EXd was a half a club longer. The two somewhat similar: Identical lofts 8i on up, slightly stronger EXd lofts at long end.

 

The third 2016 TE iron model was the hollow-headed CB Pro Tungsten, which I got in 2018 (see WITB).

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What's In The Bag (Summary as of October 2020)

 

Driver:  Tour Edge EXS 10.5°, weights neutral   ||  FWs:  Calla Rogue 4W + 7W

Hybrid:  Calla Big Bertha OS 4H at 22°  ||  Irons:  Tour Edge CB Pro Tungsten 4i-9i

Wedges*:  Calla MD3: 48°, 54°... MD4: 58° ||  Putter: Ping Sigma G Tyne (face-balanced)

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Answer: NO!

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Unfortunately, a pile of people have been fitted into irons with borderline or just flat out too little spin.

I have a friend who fits in this area and his GIR has gone down and his scores and handicap have gone up.

 

Think of it like this.  You used to spin a 7 iron 7000RPM.   You maybe did or didn't clean your grooves very often.  Well if you didn't clean and you got a little grass or dew in there your spin dropped to say 6300.  Your 7 iron might have flown a bit longer, but probably still held the green.

 

With a lower spin club your spin started at 6300 or less and you get a little grass in there it drops to 5600 or less and your ball sails the green or to the back and doesn't hold because the ball flight has gotten flatter and your descent angle is no longer 48*+ and your spin dropped.  Or your contact is such that your spin rates vary pretty wildly anyway and having borderline too little spin is causing the shots that used to drop your spin and you were still ok, to now you are.....wait for it.....over the green.

 

These distance irons only work amazingly in a couple of scenarios.

1. You are a super high spin player and need the lower spin these irons provide.

2. You aren't high spin but make solid contact and roll the ball everywhere and keep your grooves clean.

 

Are there other scenarios where they can work?  Yes.  Will they work as well as option 1 or 2?  Nope.

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11 hours ago, Clifford said:

I somewhat disagree. I sold my P790s because of that reason. My 7 iron would go 160-170, depends on how solid it was hit but every once in a while it would go 185  over the green into the trees or in the water.  Love the clubs but hated the extra 10-15 yards out of the blue.  I only have a 100-103 mph driver swingspeed, so a 185 yard 7 iron should be impossible.

 

It's been hotly debated on here by people that say it's impossible and people (like me) that have experienced it.  I bounced back and forth between distance irons and forged cavity backs.  It was either deal with the mystery flyer or deal with the punishment from a smaller sweet spot.  I'm a 6 handicap but use a lot of clubface.  Need the help on mediocre swings but also need distance control.  Ping G400 irons give me both.  Nothing like hitting a great shot but catching it a little high on the face and watching is sail right at the pin and then 20 yards over the green.  

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17 hours ago, PJF7789 said:

Last summer I finally bit the bullet and bought new irons. I had been consistently shooting in Mid-80’s and decided to reward my hard work. My low score last spring was an 82. I figured now that I had consistency down, adding distance was the piece of my game that was missing. 
 

I was fit for a set T300’s with Project X LZ 120’s in 6.0 - I gained a considerable amount of distance, and can consistently hit draws and a baby cut. During my fitting I tried the Mavricks, JPX 919, and G410 - the T300’s were the most consistent on the monitor (indoor fitting - first mistake) so I pulled the trigger. I didn’t think I was good enough to try the T200’s or T100’s so I didn’t bother. 
 

The question I’m posing is: has anyone else seen their scores go up and GIR go down when switching to distance irons? In my old set of Callaways my 7 iron was consistently 150-155 yards. With the T300’s my 7 iron flys anywhere from 150-185, with the rest of my set having outrageous distance disparity, making my approach shots a total crap shoot. If you strike the ball even a centimeter away from the sweetspot it goes 150, in the sweet spot, the ball literally explodes off the face and goes 185. I have a relatively moderate tempo and prefer heavier, tip and butt stiff shafts so I don’t think my shafts are the issue. My reward for shooting in the 80’s bought me rounds in the mid 90’s 😞 
 

Had anyone else had this problem or made the switch back to normal, or even players irons after trying a distance iron? 
 

Is there a greater chance that this is a swing mechanics issue and not a club issue....are their techniques to finding consistency with “hot” irons? 

 

 

First things first. The T300 is NOT a "distance" iron. It is a Titleist's GI iron and has been around for at least 8 years as the AP-1.

 

The T200 is the previous AP-3, first created a season or 2 ago. THAT is Titleist's "distance" iron. The T400 is brand new and frankly I have no idea of its purpose/classification but I'm sure the website can tell you.

 

Secondly, no offense but you, as most likely a 16 or higher handicapper, probably have no (real) idea of where on the club you're striking the ball. The 150-185 disparity is virtually impossible without WIND being a major factor. I wonder if you even thought about the wind when you hit it either 185 (too long) or 150 (too short). Further, does your 185 hit and ROLL OUT ? And the 150 shot stops where it hits ?

 

Anyway, whenever I've hit distance irons into the launch monitor the 7 iron travels roughly 10 yards further than mine. This equates almost exactly with the loft and lower spin rate compared to mine. Of course there's no wind and no "flyers".

 

Given that there's no difference (for ME) other than the number on the bottom of the club, no point in buying them. 

 

Net-net, I'll answer your 2nd question since I can't answer your first.

 

Yes, it is FAR more likely it is your swing mechanics, with environmental factors being a possible secondary reason.

 

Good luck moving forward. Hope this helps. 👍

 

 

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My thought, with newer distance irons, spin is less than older clubs. Need to ensure you have height on your shots. If they launch low they will fly for a long way in my experience

 

Not that OP is going to carry around a launch monitor so would be hard to verify, but I'm guessing some of those longer shots are coming with less launch, might not be much less, but less. Given that he mentioned shooting in the 80s (Going to assume your handicap is around 12 or higher), might have to do with a lack of consistency with angle of attack. Again, probably doesn't take much to make a shot vary by 10 or so yards

 

All things consistent though, assuming you're delivering the club the same every time, shots shouldn't just jump like that unless there are other factors like moisture, mud, etc

My thought, with newer distance irons, spin is less than older clubs. Need to ensure you have height on your shots. If they launch low they will fly for a long way in my experience

 

Not that OP is going to carry around a launch monitor so would be hard to verify, but I'm guessing some of those longer shots are coming with less launch, might not be much less, but less. Given that he mentioned shooting in the 80s (Going to assume your handicap is around 10), might have to do with a lack of consistency with angle of attack. Again, probably doesn't take much to make a shot vary by 10 or so yards

 

All things consistent though, assuming you're delivering the club the same every time, shots shouldn't just jump like that unless there are other factors like moisture, mud, etc

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One problem this thread is having is varying ways of classifying iron models.

 

The classification system most use in our discussions is the Golf Digest Hot List groupings: Players, game improvement (GI), and super game improvement (SGI). A couple of years back, players distance entered the fold.

 

And reviewers and club designers often drop in the grouping of players cavity.

 

18 hours ago, PJF7789 said:

Is there a greater chance that this is a swing mechanics issue and not a club issue....are their techniques to finding consistency with “hot” irons? 

 

Reality check: Most irons perform best if you make impact on the fourth groove of the clubface. If you hit above, you are getting into the high face zone where you start to balloon and lose distance. if you hit below, you are getting into the thin zone where the ball will come off hotter and lower - distance may vary, possibly longer on the third groove, possibly shorter on the second groove if you end up with a 5-foot high line drive that falls quickly.

 

I worry that some golfers who try distance irons might try to help the club get them even more distance. Could this unconscious urge foster inconsistent swing tempo, and fewer centerish hits?

 

image.png.b7ede6c03abee8fe4b99664d15a54a2b.png

I wouldn't go this far, but I can say that most OEMs make at least one model of irons I could play, as long as they had the right shafts in them.

Edited by ChipNRun
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What's In The Bag (Summary as of October 2020)

 

Driver:  Tour Edge EXS 10.5°, weights neutral   ||  FWs:  Calla Rogue 4W + 7W

Hybrid:  Calla Big Bertha OS 4H at 22°  ||  Irons:  Tour Edge CB Pro Tungsten 4i-9i

Wedges*:  Calla MD3: 48°, 54°... MD4: 58° ||  Putter: Ping Sigma G Tyne (face-balanced)

Ball: Calla SuperHot (Orange preferred)  ||  Bag: Sun Mountain Three 5 stand bag

For details see:  Pending (need protocol to embed file list).

     * MD4 54°/10 S-Grind being tested as possible SW to replace MD3 54°/12 W-Grind.

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9 minutes ago, ChipNRun said:

 

 

 

 

I worry that some golfers who distance irons might try to help the club get them even more distance. Could this result in inconsistent swing tempo, and fewer centerish hits? 

 

This depends on the person. Some players enjoy trying to strike a given iron as far as they possibly can, and that mind set absolutely may harm the golf swing. Others treat distance irons as ones which provide ample yardage from a relaxed swing, and that faith gives the player confidence to make a smooth tempo , good effective rhythm swing.

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3 hours ago, gdb99 said:

I really think these long shots have more to do with not enough spin. You hit a down wind shot out of a dewy fairway, bye bye. 
I just bought and put into play a set of Callaway X14 irons. 
They are old, super game improvement irons that are pretty weak lofted compared to new irons with the same forgiveness. 
But they spin a lot. Pitch marks are only a couple feet from where the ball stops on a green. 

this 100%. I decided to give the P790s a whirl, but bent them weak and went to a higher spinning ball and have no fliers, but great distance retention on miss hits. Im playing the same club as my old set, but they a bit hotter since I am getting the same ball speeds out of them despite them being 1/2" shorter than my other sets (dang length inconsistencies from OEM to OEM!)

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To the OP fro me really the P790 JPX921F etc....all help in different ways add usable distance.  On fitting with 7 iron is where I can try shafts and pay attention to different ball types to get spin where it needs to be and then still have my distance cake and eat it to.  I think its a great movement for those of us who have sub 110mph driver SS to be competitive.  In the end we all have the choice to simply use traditional lofted offerings as well or a blend of both.  Choices are what is great about todays equipment IMO.

 

 

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1 hour ago, nsxguy said:

 

First things first. The T300 is NOT a "distance" iron. It is a Titleist's GI iron and has been around for at least 8 years as the AP-1.

 

The T200 is the previous AP-3, first created a season or 2 ago. THAT is Titleist's "distance" iron. The T400 is brand new and frankly I have no idea of its purpose/classification but I'm sure the website can tell you.

 

Secondly, no offense but you, as most likely a 16 or higher handicapper, probably have no (real) idea of where on the club you're striking the ball. The 150-185 disparity is virtually impossible without WIND being a major factor. I wonder if you even thought about the wind when you hit it either 185 (too long) or 150 (too short). Further, does your 185 hit and ROLL OUT ? And the 150 shot stops where it hits ?

 

Anyway, whenever I've hit distance irons into the launch monitor the 7 iron travels roughly 10 yards further than mine. This equates almost exactly with the loft and lower spin rate compared to mine. Of course there's no wind and no "flyers".

 

Given that there's no difference (for ME) other than the number on the bottom of the club, no point in buying them. 

 

Net-net, I'll answer your 2nd question since I can't answer your first.

 

Yes, it is FAR more likely it is your swing mechanics, with environmental factors being a possible secondary reason.

 

Good luck moving forward. Hope this helps. 👍

 

 

I'm a 14 HC. 

 

You're correct in that I don't usually factor wind into my club selection - I live in west-central Florida and it is rarely windy on my course.  My ball usually skips around 5 feet away from where it lands - the fairways at my course are relatively soft and my decent angle is steep. 

 

 

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GBB Epic 15 w/ HZRDUS 65 T800 6.0 

Mavrik 18 w/ Riptide 70 6.0 

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T300 w/ Project X LZ 6.0 5-GW 

SM4 52-8, 58-8 

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To the OP, I bought (fitted) AP1's right before they were replaced by the T series and I ended up hating them on the course. Low pulled shots came out out unbelievably hot and usually OB.

 

Since trying to replace my J40 DPC's I have bought and sold several sets, I still have not played as well as I have played with my old irons. ""Come to think about it maybe I just put new shafts in these irons - 🤔

 

 

Others - I think that the delta between bad contact and regular 'good" contact has remained unchanged (if not slightly improved) with the new technology irons, however the long knuckleball that you can get has increased the distance difference between poor contact and this "flier" instance.  Its true I have seen it and "done" it.

 

 

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EXS Pro 3W 15*
818 18* & TS3 22*
Gen 2 0311XP
MD5 54/MD4 58*
Stroke Lab Dbl Wide
AVX

 

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16 hours ago, Bad9 said:

Missing the sweet spot vs flushing it on an iron is not leading to to a 35yd difference in distance no matter what type of club

Right.  But. A decent amount of swing speed plus the low spin flyer will.  It exists.  It’s not even debatable.  It’s not a “ hotspot “ it’s when you catch one a good bit higher on the face than  the Vcog -but middle horizontally...Or... get some grass between the face and ball on that same higher spot.  It launches like a tees up driver and barely spins.  
 

the face and design lets it act like a mini driver.  Other irons won’t do this. On traditional irons -Catch it a groove high on the face and it’s dead.  I500 was my experience with this.  Specifically long irons. I’ve hit some 4 irons of crazy lengths.  From semi Rough lies.  If you asked me how far I hit that club - I’d give you a 40 yard variance from tight  lie to teed up.  

Edited by bladehunter
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Titleist tsi2 10* Mitsubishi TB 70x 

Titleist ts2 16.5 * Tensei CK pro Blue 80TX

Cobra F9  7 wood 22.5 blue board 80TX 

Titleist T100 4-pw   modus 130x 

Vokey sm7 50*54*58*v grind s400

Cameron GSS 009  1.5 , sound slot , tungsten sole weights , head speed shaft. 

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16 hours ago, Bad9 said:

Missing the sweet spot vs flushing it on an iron is not leading to to a 35yd difference in distance no matter what type of 

Edited by bladehunter

 

Titleist tsi2 10* Mitsubishi TB 70x 

Titleist ts2 16.5 * Tensei CK pro Blue 80TX

Cobra F9  7 wood 22.5 blue board 80TX 

Titleist T100 4-pw   modus 130x 

Vokey sm7 50*54*58*v grind s400

Cameron GSS 009  1.5 , sound slot , tungsten sole weights , head speed shaft. 

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