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How many strokes have you shaved using game improvement irons?


theothertwo
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I float between a 4 and 6 depending on how much I play.  For years I have had two sets of irons - my steel shafted set is Maltby TE Forged, a definite players iron, and a graphite shafted set of Ping G25s for when I start to have arm/wrist pain. 

 

Late this last season I wanted to quantify what the performance difference between the two sets was so I played both sets together at our local par 3 course that requires you to hit every iron in the bag.  Over 10 rounds, I hit an average of 1.3 more greens per 18 hole round with the G25s. It is a 9 hole course but I played 18 each time - I can walk it twice in just over two hours and not many people are out when the temperatures are in the 30s and 40s.

 

Now that we are inside, I have continued to tinker when hitting balls on the Trackman 4.  The dispersion circles with the G25s are consistently about 1/2 the size of the TE Forged.  The ball speed and spin retention by the G25s is better when comparing like misses.

 

The other thing I saw in the on course testing is what happens with my big miss - which is something of a block that causes a flare to the right.  The TE Forged go farther right on those misses and make them worse.

 

While I will never get rid of the TE Forged, they likely will see little to no time in the bag next season.

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On 2/18/2021 at 5:20 PM, jonr38632 said:

None. I tried z565s 3 yrs ago as i was coming back from back surgery and a couple year hiatus. They felt great and went a long ways, but did not improve my scoring at all. My scoring (3-6 hdcp) stayed similar until after 6-8 months i found myself hitting a lot of fat shots, hitting all over the face, and my distance control was horrible. Went back to my z945, z745, z765s and still playing these types since. Really favor the z945s as the turf interaction is great. Distance control is spot on with these 3 sets. In the bag today is z945 5i-pw and z745 4i.

 

Ymmv...life is short...hit what you like 😃

 

Just like you, my answer is none, and that's best case.  In some cases, I went a small amount in the wrong direction.  So I've stuck with my various Rams with a dash of Mizuno.

 

Ran into something interesting when trying Ping G series (a friend plays them).  I found I could play them just fine in the long irons, but in the short irons, I found they'd balloon on me.  The example I remember the most was an I iron that came up 15 yrs short of the green.

 

For me, it seems I can't just grab whatever and give them a go.  <shrug>

(Even more true now that I'm switching to graphite in the irons)

 

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4 minutes ago, northernmi said:

I float between a 4 and 6 depending on how much I play.  For years I have had two sets of irons - my steel shafted set is Maltby TE Forged, a definite players iron, and a graphite shafted set of Ping G25s for when I start to have arm/wrist pain. 

 

Late this last season I wanted to quantify what the performance difference between the two sets was so I played both sets together at our local par 3 course that requires you to hit every iron in the bag.  Over 10 rounds, I hit an average of 1.3 more greens per 18 hole round with the G25s. It is a 9 hole course but I played 18 each time - I can walk it twice in just over two hours and not many people are out when the temperatures are in the 30s and 40s.

 

Now that we are inside, I have continued to tinker when hitting balls on the Trackman 4.  The dispersion circles with the G25s are consistently about 1/2 the size of the TE Forged.  The ball speed and spin retention by the G25s is better when comparing like misses.

 

The other thing I saw in the on course testing is what happens with my big miss - which is something of a block that causes a flare to the right.  The TE Forged go farther right on those misses and make them worse.

 

While I will never get rid of the TE Forged, they likely will see little to no time in the bag next season.

Did you have to adjust due to the different sole designs?  I believe the Ping G25 has a wider sole than the Maltby TE Forged.  That's my biggest problem with the wider soled GI irons.  I hit them great in the range on mats but hit them fat on the course. 

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3 minutes ago, theothertwo said:

Did you have to adjust due to the different sole designs?  I believe the Ping G25 has a wider sole than the Maltby TE Forged.  That's my biggest problem with the wider soled GI irons.  I hit them great in the range on mats but hit them fat on the course. 

 

No issue with the sole designs but then again I grew up playing with blades and then played Ping Eye 2s as my primary irons for many years.  

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Zero strokes

 

My lowest cap in years was 2018 with blueprints, not much around less SGI than those

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On 2/19/2021 at 7:11 AM, TigerInTheWoods said:

 

For being hard to quantify you surely tried to quantify it with some very suspect science! Your experience is you hit GI clubs well. That's fine. You have no numerical data showing your toe strike example. I would argue that a cavity covers up the feel of a miss hit so you feel like you're being punished less, but the difference is not as large as the difference in feel. CBs will add launch though so if you don't compress the ball well and have a shallow angle of attack they can help. 

So you think a toe strike on a MP20 is going to perform better than a toe strike on a 921 Hot Metal? 

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56 minutes ago, northernmi said:

 

No issue with the sole designs but then again I grew up playing with blades and then played Ping Eye 2s as my primary irons for many years.  

I also learned to play with blades and played the Tommy Armour 845 Silver Scot when the Ping Eye 2s were very popular.  Good times.

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Here is a DIRECT quote from Tom Wishon. 
 

, in my opinion from 26 yrs of club design and testing, a blade is not more accurate for on center hits than any other iron head design. You can make some GI designs with a thin, high COR face so they generate a higher smash factor (ball speed divided by clubhead speed) than a blade for sure. But accuracy wise for on center hits, if everything is equal for COR, loft, lie, CG and all assembly specs of a blade vs cavity back, they will be the same for on center hits.

If the CG were different enough on the two heads, this is where the one with the lower CG could generate a higher launch with more spin, and for some golfers that might mean more fade or draw for an on center hit than a higher CG head. But here again, this is minimal, and in reality, between most muscleback blades and most deep cavity backs, the blade has the lower CG. Yes it does.

At what level of ball striking ability does it make sense to play a blade? ONLY when you are at the point that you hit 100% of your shots On Center. Seriously. The off center hit advantages of a good cavity back are so superior to that of a blade that I cannot see why any golfer would want to pass up getting the most performance when they do make that swing mistake and hit the ball off center. Even if you only do that a couple of times per round. What if that one time you catch the blade off the toe is a shot to a green with a water hazard hugging tight against the entire front of the green? With blade you just made bogey or double. With good MOI cavity back, you got away with that off center hit and made par.

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Thanks everyone for all your input.  I will keep the J33 CBs and will not buy the GI Honma TW XP-1 Irons but will play these 2009 TourStage X-Blade 701 CBs for now. Same shafts and almost identical to the J33CBs but maybe just a hair bigger.  No intention of playing blades but would like to have the Bridgestone J15 MBs just because they look beautiful.

 

 

Screen Shot 2021-02-20 at 8.38.16 AM.png

Edited by theothertwo

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I don't think game improvement irons have lowered my index, but I'm sure they have lowered my high scores. When I'm playing well, for instance when shooting a round that will be used in my handicap calculation, I am generally swinging well, and hitting the middle of my club face. When I'm swinging poorly, I am not hitting the middle of the face consistently, and that's when GI clubs help. Of course, that doesn't show up in my index, just in my average score.

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On 2/19/2021 at 7:11 AM, TigerInTheWoods said:

 

For being hard to quantify you surely tried to quantify it with some very suspect science! Your experience is you hit GI clubs well. That's fine. You have no numerical data showing your toe strike example. I would argue that a cavity covers up the feel of a miss hit so you feel like you're being punished less, but the difference is not as large as the difference in feel. CBs will add launch though so if you don't compress the ball well and have a shallow angle of attack they can help. 

Here is a DIRECT quote from Tom Wishon. 
 

, in my opinion from 26 yrs of club design and testing, a blade is not more accurate for on center hits than any other iron head design. You can make some GI designs with a thin, high COR face so they generate a higher smash factor (ball speed divided by clubhead speed) than a blade for sure. But accuracy wise for on center hits, if everything is equal for COR, loft, lie, CG and all assembly specs of a blade vs cavity back, they will be the same for on center hits.

If the CG were different enough on the two heads, this is where the one with the lower CG could generate a higher launch with more spin, and for some golfers that might mean more fade or draw for an on center hit than a higher CG head. But here again, this is minimal, and in reality, between most muscleback blades and most deep cavity backs, the blade has the lower CG. Yes it does.

At what level of ball striking ability does it make sense to play a blade? ONLY when you are at the point that you hit 100% of your shots On Center. Seriously. The off center hit advantages of a good cavity back are so superior to that of a blade that I cannot see why any golfer would want to pass up getting the most performance when they do make that swing mistake and hit the ball off center. Even if you only do that a couple of times per round. What if that one time you catch the blade off the toe is a shot to a green with a water hazard hugging tight against the entire front of the green? With blade you just made bogey or double. With good MOI cavity back, you got away with that off center hit and made par.
 

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58 minutes ago, theothertwo said:

Thanks everyone for all your input.  I will keep the J33 CBs and will not buy the GI Honma TW XP-1 Irons but will play these 2009 TourStage X-Blade 701 CBs for now. Same shafts and almost identical to the J33CBs but maybe just a hair bigger.  No intention on playing blades but would like to have the Bridgestone J15 MBs just because they look so beautiful.

 

 

Screen Shot 2021-02-20 at 8.38.16 AM.png

The j15 mb are very nice and not hard to hit, I have a set I drag out a handful of times a year

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1 hour ago, hammergolf said:

 

Here is a DIRECT quote from Tom Wishon. 
 

, in my opinion from 26 yrs of club design and testing, a blade is not more accurate for on center hits than any other iron head design. You can make some GI designs with a thin, high COR face so they generate a higher smash factor (ball speed divided by clubhead speed) than a blade for sure. But accuracy wise for on center hits, if everything is equal for COR, loft, lie, CG and all assembly specs of a blade vs cavity back, they will be the same for on center hits.

If the CG were different enough on the two heads, this is where the one with the lower CG could generate a higher launch with more spin, and for some golfers that might mean more fade or draw for an on center hit than a higher CG head. But here again, this is minimal, and in reality, between most muscleback blades and most deep cavity backs, the blade has the lower CG. Yes it does.

At what level of ball striking ability does it make sense to play a blade? ONLY when you are at the point that you hit 100% of your shots On Center. Seriously. The off center hit advantages of a good cavity back are so superior to that of a blade that I cannot see why any golfer would want to pass up getting the most performance when they do make that swing mistake and hit the ball off center. Even if you only do that a couple of times per round. What if that one time you catch the blade off the toe is a shot to a green with a water hazard hugging tight against the entire front of the green? With blade you just made bogey or double. With good MOI cavity back, you got away with that off center hit and made par.
 

the big lebowski opinion GIF

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33 minutes ago, cardoustie said:

The j15 mb are very nice and not hard to hit, I have a set I drag out a handful of times a year

Yes I agree, should not have sold mine, lol.

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Definitely looking at this idea myself. I’ve been playing CBs from different brands, but I can’t help but remember how STRAIGHT my shots were back in 1994 when I played Ping Zing 2! Seriously considering taking a stab with the new G425 irons to see if I can be more consistent, especially when I’m hitting balls all over the iron face.

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I took a 15 year break from golf and started back up again in 2015.  I had previously played Wilson Staff blades for my entire golf life.  At that time I got some 716 AP1’s and then some G410’s, thinking that a GI iron would be good for me.  Honestly, my iron play was terrible with both those sets.  I did not like either of them.

 

I then moved into i210’s, figuring that they were a forgiving “players” cavity back and I really liked them. Not blades, but not shovels either.  My game started to improve with them.  I was way more consistent, even tho I lost some yardage.  Was it specifically the irons?  I don’t really know.  All I can say is around the time of that switch, I started playing a LOT of golf.  My wedge game also really improved too, as did my putting.

 

At the end of the day, irons are not the best part of my game, but I’m more comfortable standing over a players cavity back iron then I am a game improvement iron.

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I think sole shape and width are mostly ignored in mat fittings

 

some big soles, and narrow ones, simply don’t suit swing types or local turf conditions

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4 hours ago, TigerInTheWoods said:

the big lebowski opinion GIF

Actually it’s Tom Wishon’s. But of course you know much more than he does...

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You'd really need to define what a players iron is and what a GI iron is. But overall i think actual strokes shaved will always be a low number. Probably a good deal lower than most people think

 

The majority of your shots are going to be with driver, putter, and 7-LW....Clubs which are likely not that different in terms of result. The shafts are shorter and the lofts higher. I wonder how much difference a 15 index would see in terms of results between a blade and like a Ping G410 if we're talking about 9 irons. Probably not a big difference

 

The biggest difference will be in like, 4 irons...How many times a round do you hit a 4 iron?

 

I don't like blades, and i'm a 0.6 right now. If i played blades next year i doubt it would affect my index more than half a stroke at most.

 

 

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3 minutes ago, hammergolf said:

Actually it’s Tom Wishon’s. But of course you know much more than he does...

 

Didn't say I did. You're putting words in my mouth 😉

 

You like shovels. That's cool. I like smaller clubs. That's also fine. 

 

I'll just leave this here. Think of it what you will but I tend to agree big time. 

 

 

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1 minute ago, TigerInTheWoods said:

 

Didn't say I did. You're putting words in my mouth 😉

 

You like shovels. That's cool. I like smaller clubs. That's also fine. 

 

I'll just leave this here. Think of it what you will but I tend to agree big time. 

 

 

Not about what I like. It’s fact. A blade is less forgiving than a cavity. Period, end of story.

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1 minute ago, hammergolf said:

Not about what I like. It’s fact. A blade is less forgiving than a cavity. Period, end of story.

 

Again, that's just your opinion. It's not a fact. You replied faster than it would've taken to watch the video. Test after test shows that blades/small CBs are more consistent in distance, peak height, and spin than game improvement irons. I also swing pretty fast so I'd guess it starts to matter less. If you need launch you need launch. 

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12 minutes ago, TigerInTheWoods said:

 

Again, that's just your opinion. It's not a fact. You replied faster than it would've taken to watch the video. Test after test shows that blades/small CBs are more consistent in distance, peak height, and spin than game improvement irons. I also swing pretty fast so I'd guess it starts to matter less. If you need launch you need launch. 

I’ve seen the video. I watch all of his videos. He’s a single digit handicapper with a YouTube channel. Did he ever compare the exact same mishit location at the same loft, speed, delivery? No he did not. The fact is, a blade hit 1/4” off the toe vs a cb iron hit 1/4’” off the toe will not perform as well. It’s physics and fact. Tom Wishon is an engineer that’s designed, tested, studied golf performance for 30+ years. Whether it’s 1 yard in carry or 6 yards of carry can be debated. But the fact a cb is more forgiving is not debatable. 

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1 minute ago, hammergolf said:

I’ve seen the video. I watch all of his videos. He’s a single digit handicapper with a YouTube channel. Did he ever compare the exact same mishit location at the same loft, speed, delivery? No he did not. The fact is, a blade hit 1/4” off the toe vs a cb iron hit 1/4’” off the toe will not perform as well. It’s physics and fact. Tom Wishon is an engineer that’s designed, tested, studied golf performance for 30+ years. Whether it’s one yard in carry or 6 yearns of carry can be debated. But the fact a cb is more forgiving is not debatable. 

 

Reg flex Ping crew laying down facts on the peasants eh? The point is measurable difference to score, and it isn't there in my mind. There are more variables in golf - we are not robots. Someone who reacts negatively to offset my alter setup (alignment being one of the most important factors in a swing) to accommodate and create worse shot patterns. Someone who is fine with it may benefit from that barely measurable help. Some don't do well with high bounce wide soles, some do better with them. You can't generalize as you are - unless of course you're talking about robots.

 

Check out the ball speed drop offs in the below. You're overblowing "forgiveness" to fit your narrative and justify your equipment choices. Again, if you play your best golf with what you have more power to you. I think you could play the entirety of next season with a fitted shaft and 5-PW in the MP20 MB and your index wouldn't change so long as you could not alter your swing/alignment due to visuals. 

 

 

 

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1 minute ago, TigerInTheWoods said:

 

Reg flex Ping crew laying down facts on the peasants eh? The point is measurable difference to score, and it isn't there in my mind. There are more variables in golf - we are not robots. Someone who reacts negatively to offset my alter setup (alignment being one of the most important factors in a swing) to accommodate and create worse shot patterns. Someone who is fine with it may benefit from that barely measurable help. Some don't do well with high bounce wide soles, some do better with them. You can't generalize as you are - unless of course you're talking about robots.

 

Check out the ball speed drop offs in the below. You're overblowing "forgiveness" to fit your narrative and justify your equipment choices. Again, if you play your best golf with what you have more power to you. I think you could play the entirety of next season with a fitted shaft and 5-PW in the MP20 MB and your index wouldn't change so long as you could not alter your swing/alignment due to visuals. 

 

 

 

Stay classy there Richard. Once again, NEVER compare the same mishit at the same speed or delivery. Maybe Kevin Na would be better to listen to cause he’s not a member of the “reg flex Ping crew”. 
 

“I can’t play a blade. It’s too difficult, and I’m a pro golfer. I think a blade goes shorter. Off-center hits aren’t going to perform as well as cavity-backs. I don’t see a reason why you’d want to play a blade. I really don’t. I played blades in my early 20s, maybe one year — when I was dumb. But I’m wiser now and play a cavity-back.

In the longer irons, I even look for more — I don’t want to say a high-handicapper club — a more forgiving club.”

 

 

 

 


 

https://pluggedingolf.com/should-you-play-blades/

TaylorMade Sim Max 9* @ 7* Aldila Quaranta Reg
Ping G425 3wd @ Flat setting Grafalloy Pro lite 3.5 Reg
Ping G425 7wd @ -1 Flat setting Graffaloy Pro Lite 3.5 Reg
Ping G425 22 hybrid @ Flat setting Aldila NVS 85 Reg
PXG Gen 3 0311XP 5-GW Mitsubishi MMT 80 Reg

Ping Tour-S Raw 56* @ 55, 60* KBS Tour 90 Wrx combo grind
Evnroll ER8 33”

 

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7 minutes ago, TigerInTheWoods said:

 

Reg flex Ping crew laying down facts on the peasants eh? The point is measurable difference to score, and it isn't there in my mind. There are more variables in golf - we are not robots. Someone who reacts negatively to offset my alter setup (alignment being one of the most important factors in a swing) to accommodate and create worse shot patterns. Someone who is fine with it may benefit from that barely measurable help. Some don't do well with high bounce wide soles, some do better with them. You can't generalize as you are - unless of course you're talking about robots.

 

Check out the ball speed drop offs in the below. You're overblowing "forgiveness" to fit your narrative and justify your equipment choices. Again, if you play your best golf with what you have more power to you. I think you could play the entirety of next season with a fitted shaft and 5-PW in the MP20 MB and your index wouldn't change so long as you could not alter your swing/alignment due to visuals. 

 

 

 

Or maybe this guy. He’s not in the “reg flex Ping crew” either... I remember when I thought my manlihood was tied to what flex shafts and type of club I played. But I grew up since then.

 

https://pluggedingolf.com/should-you-play-blades/

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TaylorMade Sim Max 9* @ 7* Aldila Quaranta Reg
Ping G425 3wd @ Flat setting Grafalloy Pro lite 3.5 Reg
Ping G425 7wd @ -1 Flat setting Graffaloy Pro Lite 3.5 Reg
Ping G425 22 hybrid @ Flat setting Aldila NVS 85 Reg
PXG Gen 3 0311XP 5-GW Mitsubishi MMT 80 Reg

Ping Tour-S Raw 56* @ 55, 60* KBS Tour 90 Wrx combo grind
Evnroll ER8 33”

 

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2 minutes ago, hammergolf said:

Or maybe this guy. He’s not in the “reg flex Ping crew” either... I remember when I thought my manlihood was tied to what flex shafts and type of club I played. But I grew up since then.

 

https://pluggedingolf.com/should-you-play-blades/

 

Wasn't meaning offence. You're just really acting like your opinion is all that exists. Maybe I should get some G25? Do you think my HC will go down?

Callaway Epic Max LS @ 8* Ventus Black 6x

Callaway Epic Speed 3w MMT 70x

Callaway TC Apex 2019 Hybrid @ 19* Veylix Rome 988X (Gamer) | Taylormade Sim UDI 2i Hzrdus Handcrafted Black 105x

Titleist U500 4i Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 

Miura TC201 5-PW Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 

Callaway MD5 Raw 52S, 56X, 60T Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Scotty Cameron Special Select Newport 35" 

Srixon Z Star XV 2021

Linksouldier 

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