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Gaming 18 year old Tourstage irons - crazy?


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Over the past several years, I've tried a bunch of different irons, had a few fittings that weren't convincing, just returned some brand new PXGs that weren't better than my 2019 Apex combos, and so on.  But my iron play, which used to be my strongest strength, has been in decline.  On a lark, I took my early 2000's Tourstage Z101 7 iron and PW to the range along with the Apex 7 and Apex Pro PW.  Z101's have SST pured stiff Nippon 1150's, which I had assumed were now too heavy/stiff for me.  I'm currently gaming stiff C Taper Lites, which feel like they require some work for me.  The Apex 7 is 31 deg vs. Z101 at 35 and the PW is 45 vs. 47.

 

I hit the Z101's great - sounded great, felt great, nice clump of surlyn residue on the sweet spot.  Apex's were good as well, but not as sweet and not as tight.  Apex 7's were going 159-163 according to my cheap PRGR launch monitor, where the Z101's were about 10 yards less, give or take.  Loft to loft, I should have compared the Z101 7i vs. the Apex 8i.  PW results were less dramatic, with a distance gap more like 4-5 yards.  It was easier to turn over the Z101s than the Apex.

 

Given the loft differences, could I game the Z101's, but pretend that each club roughly equates to the next club in an Apex?  If I normally hit an Apex 8i, then hit a Z101 7i and choke down a half-inch to adjust for length?  I assume I give up some forgiveness, but what else?  Is it a crazy idea to give up 17 years of engineering progress?  I sense that playing the smaller clubs may help me find that part of my game, but I welcome arguments that it would be stupid to do so.

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It does baffle me when people say this sort of thing about irons because to me it is a valid statement about driver, possibly 3 wood, but from 5 wood down.. meh.   But then I have had the op

Over the past several years, I've tried a bunch of different irons, had a few fittings that weren't convincing, just returned some brand new PXGs that weren't better than my 2019 Apex combos, and so o

I just bought a set of 1990s vintage Ram FX Tour grinds...no...it is not crazy.

Use whatever clubs fit the type of game you play and increase your enjoyment of same. Despite marketing to the contrary, irons are all about distance control with accuracy, not some arbitrary idea that must hit X stamped club Y distance. Tourstage produced some great product over the years, especially the z101, if not playing in competition that requires condition of competition groove rule, enjoy!

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I'm going to put them in the bag for a couple of rounds and see what happens.  Maybe I'll learn that I need a 4 iron from 175 and I can't get a 4 iron in the air anymore.

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I'm good friends with WRXer Sam-Tee-Time.  I met him almost 15 years ago at a demo day.  We went to demo days every year back in the day and have played a ton of golf over the years.  And he still games the Z101s.  He felt they were the best overall iron he ever hit. Eventually he got tired of demoing stuff because nothing knocked it out of the bag.  He bought multiple sets and a partial set for practicing.

 

IMO they were well ahead of their time.

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3 minutes ago, Nard_S said:

Nothing wrong with 18 year old sticks. Mine are 19, my back up is 29. Tourstage is top notch, enjoy.

Exactly. I still game Tommy Armour 845s from time to time that are nearly 30 years old. Nothing wrong with them at all. To the OP..... play what you like if it fits you regardless of the clubs age. Don't over think it.

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As said originally, I just pulled these out of the garage on a lark and took them to the range.  And while distance was less (obviously, due to much weaker lofts), feel and dispersion were nice. And maybe the old shafts fit me better than what I’m currently playing. And they can help me find my iron game.  It just feels like I’m giving up 15 years of technology. 

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4 hours ago, hanfrac said:

As said originally, I just pulled these out of the garage on a lark and took them to the range.  And while distance was less (obviously, due to much weaker lofts), feel and dispersion were nice. And maybe the old shafts fit me better than what I’m currently playing. And they can help me find my iron game.  It just feels like I’m giving up 15 years of technology. 

I would be the same way.  I think the other posters are correct that it shouldn’t matter, but I would struggle with it.  The weaker lofts wouldn’t be an issue for me, but I would feel that I was “giving something up” even though iron tech is not that impressive compared to drivers and woods, unless you are using SGI irons.  I would probably play the tour stage to get some confidence back (confidence is worth more that any tech improvement for sure) and look at some modern irons that are similar.  Maybe the new srixon 7 series and try the nippon shafts in them.  The shafts seem as likely as the heads to be what is jiving with you...

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11 hours ago, hanfrac said:

As said originally, I just pulled these out of the garage on a lark and took them to the range.  And while distance was less (obviously, due to much weaker lofts), feel and dispersion were nice. And maybe the old shafts fit me better than what I’m currently playing. And they can help me find my iron game.  It just feels like I’m giving up 15 years of technology. 

 

If you compare the distance by loft, are they really different?

 

I'm very much in the older irons camp.  My newest set that gets regular play is from 2005, others are from 1992, and I'm about to reshaft a 1983 set of Golden Rams for regular use.

 

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Driver: TM Original One 11.5* set to 10*, Aldila RIP Alpha 80 X, 43.5"
3w:  Cobra King LTD, Matrix 8m3 X, 42"
Hybrid:  TaylorMade Stage 2 Tour, NV105 S or DGS400

Irons grab bag:  3-PW Mizuno MP37, Recoil Proto 125 F4 (reshaft pending); 1-PW Golden Ram TW282 or Vibration Matched Golden Rams, RIP Tour 115 R (coin flipping for the reshaft project); 1i & 3-PW Golden Ram TW276, NV105 S
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Putter:  Snake Eyes Viper Tour Sv1, 34"
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The lofts are as follows

 

club.   Apex.   Z101

4                     23

5          24       27

6          27       31

7          31.5     35

8          35       39

9          39       43

PW       44      47

GW       49

 

You can see that aside from the Apex GW vs. Z101 PW, the lofts of the Apex are 1 club strong across the set.  My comparison yesterday was 7i to 7i and PW to PW.  I need to do 7i vs. 6i and PW vs 9i to get a better idea of how I would have to use them on the course.  I expect that assuming I can hit a Z101 6i roughly as consistently as an Apex 7i, the distances will be relatively close.

 

I did this outside with range balls and a cheap swing speed/distance monitor.  If I had access to a good launch monitor, this would be really interesting.  If I can hit a Z101 4i roughly as consistently as an Apex 5i, then it's true - the number on the bottom of the club doesn't mean much.  However, if because of technology the 5i flies higher with more spin and holds greens better than the 4i or thin misses turn out better with the Apex, that's the tradeoff.

 

I'm definitely going to give it a try.

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There is nothing wrong playing with old irons as iron tech for blades and player's CB has stagnated for decades.  The only thing knocking against them is their grooves may not be USGA compliant.  Unless you are in a USGA or R&A tournament one shouldn't worry about that.

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"Loft for loft, length for length, and shaft for shaft, the ball will go the same distance when hit on the sweet spot regardless how old the iron."

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7 hours ago, jomatty said:

I would be the same way.  I think the other posters are correct that it shouldn’t matter, but I would struggle with it.  The weaker lofts wouldn’t be an issue for me, but I would feel that I was “giving something up” even though iron tech is not that impressive compared to drivers and woods, unless you are using SGI irons.  I would probably play the tour stage to get some confidence back (confidence is worth more that any tech improvement for sure) and look at some modern irons that are similar.  Maybe the new srixon 7 series and try the nippon shafts in them.  The shafts seem as likely as the heads to be what is jiving with you...

Yeah - if this experiment is promising, then maybe I pull the shafts and install them into a more modern similar head, like Srixon, Bridgestone, Miura.  I agree that I may be feeling the shafts, which I got fit for in 2007 at significant cost (I paid something like $850 to reshaft these irons back then).

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Just don't use the Tourstage MR23 CBs/MBs. They both have the sweetspot about the diameter of a pencil eraser.

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13 hours ago, hanfrac said:

It just feels like I’m giving up 15 years of technology. 

 

It does baffle me when people say this sort of thing about irons because to me it is a valid statement about driver, possibly 3 wood, but from 5 wood down.. meh.

 

But then I have had the opportunity to hit a lot of hickory clubs. It is a major PITA to find one that feels the right weight with a good balance between components but when you do you realise that loft for loft it goes roughly the same distance and that most of the tech talk is just marketing goo.  And that's giving up 115 years of technology!

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1 hour ago, morrisminor said:

marketing goo

 

I absolutely love this  <salute>

 

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Driver: TM Original One 11.5* set to 10*, Aldila RIP Alpha 80 X, 43.5"
3w:  Cobra King LTD, Matrix 8m3 X, 42"
Hybrid:  TaylorMade Stage 2 Tour, NV105 S or DGS400

Irons grab bag:  3-PW Mizuno MP37, Recoil Proto 125 F4 (reshaft pending); 1-PW Golden Ram TW282 or Vibration Matched Golden Rams, RIP Tour 115 R (coin flipping for the reshaft project); 1i & 3-PW Golden Ram TW276, NV105 S
Wedges:  Dynacraft Dual Millled 52*, DGS400; Scratch 8620 DD 53*, SteelFiber i125 S; Ram Watson Scoring System 55*, DGX 7i shaft; Ram TG-898, DGS400; Ram TG-898, NV105 S; Wilson Staff PMP 58*, DGS300; Ram 1982 Commemorative Nickel 58*, Dynamic S; Ram TW282, DGS; Ram TW276, DGS; Ram Troon Grind 58*, Dynamic S; Maltby Design 60* mid sole, DGS400; Maltby Design 60* mid sole, NV105 S
Putter:  Snake Eyes Viper Tour Sv1, 34"
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Played 3 rounds with the Z101's this weekend.  The aspirational hope was that these clubs would help me rediscover good iron striking.  Here's what I've learned so far:

 

- the clubs show me that I've definitively lost distance in the 10+ years since I've played them.  There's no surprise in that, although modern iron lofts might have fooled me in to thinking my swing is just as powerful as it used to be.  It is not.

- with the shorter irons (7-PW), results were pretty good after adjusting for distance.  I feel somewhat more confident with these short irons vs. Apex Pro

- had more trouble with the long irons - again, no surprise, as I have long iron problems with my modern set

- dispersion on misses did seem tighter.  Left/right misses were not that bad

- thin hits fell out of the sky faster

- fat shots are worse.  I think the Z101's have a sharper leading edge that promotes more "dig"

 

And the biggest learning - my swing needs work.  Playing 3 rounds with the old clubs has not been a cure-all for my woes.

 

I'll probably keep at it for another weekend or two, but mix in some range work to get off my right leg, which seems to be the real problem.

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I replaced my 95 Taylor made burner irons last January... with 2012 adams cmbs... I played some good golf last year... 

 

there isn’t all that much technology in non distance irons. If you like the set you have, game them... loft might make a difference, but that just means your new pitching wedge replaces your old gap wedge as a club... toss a hybrid in at the bottom of your bag and you’ll be good to go.

 

if you want more technology in your irons, buy a set of players distance irons.

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After trying a bunch of the new forged CB stuff to replace my 2006 Bridgestone J33 CBs, I also went the other way.  I ended up with a set of 2009 Tourstage X-Blade 701 CBs.  Got a deal for a very lightly used set and so far, I'm loving them since they look a lot cleaner than my old J33 CBs.  Same forged feel with a bit more forgiveness.  I do remember owning a set of the Tourstage Z 101s and those are like the perfect irons, wish I still have them but happy with the X-Blade 701. 

 

I have watched the cycle of new players forged CB irons and I believe the designs are just being recycled over the years by all the different manufacturers.  This TS 2009 iron looks a lot like the 2019 Honma TW 747V and the 2016 Srixon Z765.

Tourstage X-Blade 701 Photo.png

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Driver - Honma TW 747 455 10.5*

4 Wood - Tour Edge Exotics EX9 Tour 17* 

Hybrids - Honma TW 727 UT 19* and 22*

Bridgestone J33 Airmuscle Utility Iron 24*

Irons - Tourstage X-Blade 701 5-PW

Wedges - Miura Tour 52* and 58*

Putter - Slighter Seattle Prototype

 

 

 

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On 1/13/2021 at 4:12 PM, hanfrac said:

Over the past several years, I've tried a bunch of different irons, had a few fittings that weren't convincing, just returned some brand new PXGs that weren't better than my 2019 Apex combos, and so on.  But my iron play, which used to be my strongest strength, has been in decline.  On a lark, I took my early 2000's Tourstage Z101 7 iron and PW to the range along with the Apex 7 and Apex Pro PW.  Z101's have SST pured stiff Nippon 1150's, which I had assumed were now too heavy/stiff for me.  I'm currently gaming stiff C Taper Lites, which feel like they require some work for me.  The Apex 7 is 31 deg vs. Z101 at 35 and the PW is 45 vs. 47.

 

I hit the Z101's great - sounded great, felt great, nice clump of surlyn residue on the sweet spot.  Apex's were good as well, but not as sweet and not as tight.  Apex 7's were going 159-163 according to my cheap PRGR launch monitor, where the Z101's were about 10 yards less, give or take.  Loft to loft, I should have compared the Z101 7i vs. the Apex 8i.  PW results were less dramatic, with a distance gap more like 4-5 yards.  It was easier to turn over the Z101s than the Apex.

 

Given the loft differences, could I game the Z101's, but pretend that each club roughly equates to the next club in an Apex?  If I normally hit an Apex 8i, then hit a Z101 7i and choke down a half-inch to adjust for length?  I assume I give up some forgiveness, but what else?  Is it a crazy idea to give up 17 years of engineering progress?  I sense that playing the smaller clubs may help me find that part of my game, but I welcome arguments that it would be stupid to do so.

 

Its fine, as long as you understand your process isn't very good.

 

1. Some on these boards have this idea that playing old clubs "because they just work" is really cool and romantic when in reality they're just worse.  There are people who should play old clubs because they are best for them, due to either habit or eye.  But it is *incredibly* unlikely that 17 years have passed between those and now.  What are the chances nobody has put out a set of irons that work better for you in that time?  Its really slim.

 

2. You are engaging in a logical fallacy - the strawman.  Here, the Apex's are the strawman.  You spend a page comparing the Z101s to the Apexes and then conclude "nothing" in the last 17 years is better because those Apexes were about the same.  Huh?!  There are a million more sets of irons than those Apexes, and you can conclude absolutely nothing about the 1,000 other sets from the last 17 years based on tests against that one set.  This is a silly mode of analysis that doesn't actually tell you anything about anything.

 

3. Similarly, you have equated "smaller clubs" to "the Z101s".  That isn't true.  There are plenty of small headed clubs with lots of technology in them.  You are making the leap of "I want to play smaller clubs, therefore I should play the Z101s" which also doesn't make any sense because its another example of a strawman argument.  You should play the best for you small headed irons, which may or may not be the Z101s.

 

4. So, the next question is, where do you try all these different irons so you don't just have this absolutely insane Tourstage vs. Apex for all the bag slots showdown and the answer is you go get fit by somebody who is very qualified, on a grass range.  I did it, and my bag is set.  It kicked out irons that have been there since 2013 (and boy did it).  I would wager (just wager) that the numbers are the numbers and the reason your other fittings "weren't satisfying" is because they didn't recommend something super unique and cool (<- cartman voice) like 2001 irons.

 

So, to summarize:

 

Process: Compare the Tourstage to only the Apex, conclude the Tourstage is better.  Then, based on this test, extrapolate that the Apex is representative with your swing of every single iron produced from 2001 to now, and therefore conclude modern tech "can't help you" because the Apex can't help you.  Further decide, again without comparing anything, that you want a smaller headed iron and since Tourstage has a small head, decide to game it.

 

Basically, take one iron set made between 2001 and now with a small head.  Pick another with a larger head.  Compare them. Game the one that wins on the theory that the other is representative of all other iron sets made in that period.

 

So, yeah, to answer your question and use your words - its pretty stupid.

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6 hours ago, pinestreetgolf said:

 

Its fine, as long as you understand your process isn't very good.

 

1. Some on these boards have this idea that playing old clubs "because they just work" is really cool and romantic when in reality they're just worse.  There are people who should play old clubs because they are best for them, due to either habit or eye.  But it is *incredibly* unlikely that 17 years have passed between those and now.  What are the chances nobody has put out a set of irons that work better for you in that time?  Its really slim.

 

2. You are engaging in a logical fallacy - the strawman.  Here, the Apex's are the strawman.  You spend a page comparing the Z101s to the Apexes and then conclude "nothing" in the last 17 years is better because those Apexes were about the same.  Huh?!  There are a million more sets of irons than those Apexes, and you can conclude absolutely nothing about the 1,000 other sets from the last 17 years based on tests against that one set.  This is a silly mode of analysis that doesn't actually tell you anything about anything.

 

3. Similarly, you have equated "smaller clubs" to "the Z101s".  That isn't true.  There are plenty of small headed clubs with lots of technology in them.  You are making the leap of "I want to play smaller clubs, therefore I should play the Z101s" which also doesn't make any sense because its another example of a strawman argument.  You should play the best for you small headed irons, which may or may not be the Z101s.

 

4. So, the next question is, where do you try all these different irons so you don't just have this absolutely insane Tourstage vs. Apex for all the bag slots showdown and the answer is you go get fit by somebody who is very qualified, on a grass range.  I did it, and my bag is set.  It kicked out irons that have been there since 2013 (and boy did it).  I would wager (just wager) that the numbers are the numbers and the reason your other fittings "weren't satisfying" is because they didn't recommend something super unique and cool (<- cartman voice) like 2001 irons.

 

So, to summarize:

 

Process: Compare the Tourstage to only the Apex, conclude the Tourstage is better.  Then, based on this test, extrapolate that the Apex is representative with your swing of every single iron produced from 2001 to now, and therefore conclude modern tech "can't help you" because the Apex can't help you.  Further decide, again without comparing anything, that you want a smaller headed iron and since Tourstage has a small head, decide to game it.

 

Basically, take one iron set made between 2001 and now with a small head.  Pick another with a larger head.  Compare them. Game the one that wins on the theory that the other is representative of all other iron sets made in that period.

 

So, yeah, to answer your question and use your words - its pretty stupid.

Thanks for taking a lot of time to respond, but it doesn’t appear that you responded to what was written.  
 

i never say the z101s are equal to or better than the Apex.  I don’t think I say “I want to play smaller clubs.”  I got fit and was put into the Apex.  I got fit again by PXG and tried their clubs for a while.  
 

in any event, you didn’t understand my question.  But thanks anyway. 

 

Edited by hanfrac
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On 1/13/2021 at 4:12 PM, hanfrac said:

Over the past several years, I've tried a bunch of different irons, had a few fittings that weren't convincing, just returned some brand new PXGs that weren't better than my 2019 Apex combos, and so on.  But my iron play, which used to be my strongest strength, has been in decline.  On a lark, I took my early 2000's Tourstage Z101 7 iron and PW to the range along with the Apex 7 and Apex Pro PW.  Z101's have SST pured stiff Nippon 1150's, which I had assumed were now too heavy/stiff for me.  I'm currently gaming stiff C Taper Lites, which feel like they require some work for me.  The Apex 7 is 31 deg vs. Z101 at 35 and the PW is 45 vs. 47.

 

I hit the Z101's great - sounded great, felt great, nice clump of surlyn residue on the sweet spot.  Apex's were good as well, but not as sweet and not as tight.  Apex 7's were going 159-163 according to my cheap PRGR launch monitor, where the Z101's were about 10 yards less, give or take.  Loft to loft, I should have compared the Z101 7i vs. the Apex 8i.  PW results were less dramatic, with a distance gap more like 4-5 yards.  It was easier to turn over the Z101s than the Apex.

 

Given the loft differences, could I game the Z101's, but pretend that each club roughly equates to the next club in an Apex?  If I normally hit an Apex 8i, then hit a Z101 7i and choke down a half-inch to adjust for length?  I assume I give up some forgiveness, but what else?  Is it a crazy idea to give up 17 years of engineering progress?  I sense that playing the smaller clubs may help me find that part of my game, but I welcome arguments that it would be stupid to do so.

 

The Z101's are the best feeling irons I've ever hit in over 40 years in golf. I played 2 sets from '04 to '07 and a few years later went to the J40 CB because of my prior experience with the Z101. Excellent irons!

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I wish I still had my set of Tourstage TS-202's (thats going back to the bombsquadgolf days LOL) that I played for a few years. One of the best set of irons I ever owned. I wish I could find a set in decent condition. 

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Vokey SM6 58*/12* K Grind
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T.P Mills Dale Head
 

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1 hour ago, nitram said:

 

The Z101's are the best feeling irons I've ever hit in over 40 years in golf. I played 2 sets from '04 to '07 and a few years later went to the J40 CB because of my prior experience with the Z101. Excellent irons!


have you hit the j40 DPC? If so, how do these others compare?

G400 Max 9* 419-TFC Stiff Flex

SIM 15* Ventus Red 6X

Mavrik 4-SW Project X 5.5

PM Grind 64* Dynamic Gold Wedge

Bettinardi QB5

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33 minutes ago, pinestreetgolf said:


have you hit the j40 DPC? If so, how do these others compare?

 

Yeah, I tried the J40 DPC before going to the J40 CB. If they were good enough for Freddie..., right? They set up about the same although the 101 has a little smaller profile, like the J40 CB. The grind on the 101's is similar although the width of the soles are noticeably thinner than the DPC. The 101's and J40 CB are remarkably similar in size and shape and while the Bridgestones are also Endo forged, they are not the same iron. The top-line of the 101 is the best looking on a CB I've seen.

 

Everyone has heard about "Endo forging" and I can't say I've hit everyone they've ever produced, by a long shot. But I will say I've hit close to 400 different iron models in my lifetime and without a doubt the 101's had the best feel I've ever hit followed by Hogan '99 Apex. I'm also pretty fond of the 101's because about this time I was playing the best golf of my life reaching +4 territory for the first time and ball striking had a lot to do with that.

 

I know you've recently moved on from your Bridgestones after bagging them for a while and I can understand why. But if you ever get a chance to hit a Z-101, just do it. It'll be worth the trouble.

JBeam Bullet 10*                           Fujikura Ventus Black 6X

Exotics CBX119 3 & 5WD              Accra Tour Z RPG 382 M5

Exotics CB2 7WD                          Accra TZ5-85 M5
MIURA CB57 5-7                           MCI MMT-125TX

MIURA Tournament Blade 8-P      MCI MMT-125TX
Chikara V1 Proto 52, 57, 61           MCI MMT-125TX (8-iron)

Cameron 009 33/350gr. 1.5 Beach Prototype (A010656)

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Although harshly delivered, @pinestreetgolf does make some good points regardless of the exact phrasing of the OP's original question.  If you are going to broadly ask am I crazy, be prepared for a lot of crazy answers, most of which you will not like.

 

Even if you were so good you were wearing out dime size spots in the center of your irons, there are not a lot of reasons to play a 17 year old set of irons vs what is out today other than you just like the look.  Nevermind the pros are paid to play the current clubs, the fact is they would play 17 year old irons in a heartbeat and give up equipment money if they won more often.  So if they play modern equipment with the best fitting, why wouldn't you?  Especially since these days you can pretty much access any customization a pro has access to; it just costs a lot more.

 

Z101s were/are no doubt one of the best forged CBs ever made.  Clean lines, soft feel, great design.  It's hard though comparing clubs with different shafts.  Get fit with someone you can trust.  Process should be the fitter takes your favorite 6 or 7i, measures the detailed specs, watches you swing when you are warmed up, and gets a baseline.  Recommends a better shaft given your needs; i.e. need better spin, and offers up 4 - 5 heads for you to try based on that happy medium of what works for you and what you like to see, dial in the best performing head, then go back and try different shafts to dial that in.  When you go through that, then you can confidently compare and know what new tech gets you vs 17 year old tech.

 

Good luck!  Cool you are in MP, and cool you have Z101s just hanging in the garage.  PM me if you are looking for a game.

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