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When we talk about "forgiveness" are we missing the most important factor?


RoyalMustang
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11 minutes ago, RoyalMustang said:

Some recent threads and my own fitting experience got me thinking about this recently.  

 

On the forum, we like to argue about how "forgiving" a club is, and I have often though "if only my club was more forgiving!  Those misses would be closer to the hole!".  Yet, my experiences haven't borne this out.

 

When I have tested clubs (and at a driving fitting recently), we realized that the best club for me is not the one that is most/least forgiving-longest/shortest-most/least spin.......the best club is the one where I am right in the middle of the face each time.  During my driver fitting, the clubs the fitter brought out were a G425 max/LST, Sim 2 Max/Sim2, TSi3, and my Mizuno ST200 (cut to 44.5).  After I got in a groove, we tested all of them on both the trackman and began marking the faces with sunscreen.  The Mizuno clearly was the club I found the face with most often: it was a very tight dispersion with high smash factor.  Sure, the G425 Max might be more forgiving on paper, but I was missing the sweet spot on several swings, for whatever reason.  At least on my good swings (when I cover the ball and keep the weight on my back foot to eliminate my EE tendencies), I find the center of the face and don't need "forgiveness".  I have no idea how to measure forgiveness if I am making better swings on one club vs the other.  A robot may find that the Mizuno is less forgiving, but a person's swing is not a set of data that can be grouped into a normal distribution, as swings aren't identical across clubs and shafts.  

 

It is the same with my irons.  On paper, the MP20 MMC is not as forgiving as the 921 Forged or the Z585 or the 718 AP3 I have tried extensively.  Yet, I don't hit any of those as well as the MMC. I just find the center of the club with the MMC; my tempo is better and the club minimizes my mistakes (don't worry, I still make plenty).  

 

So, when we are fitting, should we just throw our pre-conceived notions about "forgiveness" out the window and go with the club we can stripe most consistently? Does it even matter? I can tell you from my experience, I can be swinging well with my MMC MP20 and then pick up that 921 Forged with the wrong shaft and wrong feel: I immediately get quick and steep and make a bad swing.  I didn't find the face and therefore it isn't really fair to call out the 921 Forged: perhaps I was looking for a family SUV at the Porsche dealership and the only thing they have on the lot are 911s and Caymans.  Doesn't make them bad cars-far from it.  It just doesn't suit my needs. 

You sir.  Have figured it out.  I don’t know why they won’t hear this.  But it’s the truth. Find the club you hit it middle with.  Play that.  And middle is subjective. “ your middle “ is there. Find it.  It maybe 1/2 inch wide. Might be 2 inches wide.  If you’re wearing out the toe of an iron , and enjoying it. Whatever. But it’s not the best club for you.  The best club would be one adjusted or built to get that toward the middle.  

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Yes and no.

 

If you were to plug all of these shafts/heads into a robot that can swing the exact same way every time and then slowly start having it drift, you find your forgiveness values there. COR, MOI, offset, etc. all play a sizeable part in a perfectly repeatable, measurable swing.

Your swing is not perfectly repeatable, nobody's is. Your needs for forgiveness towards the toe may trump my need for less offset on my irons. Your driver swing may be too steep and require a deeper face to find the sweet spot compared to someone who hits up and can hit a shallower face consistently.

There's no need to "rethink forgiveness" as a whole.

This is why everyone endlessly regurgitates "Get fitted."

Because your swing is uniquely your swing and no manufacturer can repeat that in a machine. They can simply design for the tolerances and tendencies they see among golfers they can market certain technologies and designs towards better players and weekend duffers who need different things in their clubs to be forgiving specifically for them.

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It is for working stiffs like me who, after practicing daily for two  months, am happy to be able to hit my 44.5 inch driver "close enough" to advance the ball a good distance and have it land in the fairway most of the time.  I'd have to retire to practice more.

 

I can use my 41 inch driver and find the sweet spot, that but that isn't an option for most golfers.

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1 hour ago, RoyalMustang said:

Some recent threads and my own fitting experience got me thinking about this recently.  

 

On the forum, we like to argue about how "forgiving" a club is, and I have often though "if only my club was more forgiving!  Those misses would be closer to the hole!".  Yet, my experiences haven't borne this out.

 

When I have tested clubs (and at a driving fitting recently), we realized that the best club for me is not the one that is most/least forgiving-longest/shortest-most/least spin.......the best club is the one where I am right in the middle of the face each time.  During my driver fitting, the clubs the fitter brought out were a G425 max/LST, Sim 2 Max/Sim2, TSi3, and my Mizuno ST200 (cut to 44.5).  After I got in a groove, we tested all of them on both the trackman and began marking the faces with sunscreen.  The Mizuno clearly was the club I found the face with most often: it was a very tight dispersion with high smash factor.  Sure, the G425 Max might be more forgiving on paper, but I was missing the sweet spot on several swings, for whatever reason.  At least on my good swings (when I cover the ball and keep the weight on my back foot to eliminate my EE tendencies), I find the center of the face and don't need "forgiveness".  I have no idea how to measure forgiveness if I am making better swings on one club vs the other.  A robot may find that the Mizuno is less forgiving, but a person's swing is not a set of data that can be grouped into a normal distribution, as swings aren't identical across clubs and shafts.  

 

It is the same with my irons.  On paper, the MP20 MMC is not as forgiving as the 921 Forged or the Z585 or the 718 AP3 I have tried extensively.  Yet, I don't hit any of those as well as the MMC. I just find the center of the club with the MMC; my tempo is better and the club minimizes my mistakes (don't worry, I still make plenty).  

 

So, when we are fitting, should we just throw our pre-conceived notions about "forgiveness" out the window and go with the club we can stripe most consistently? Does it even matter? I can tell you from my experience, I can be swinging well with my MMC MP20 and then pick up that 921 Forged with the wrong shaft and wrong feel: I immediately get quick and steep and make a bad swing.  I didn't find the face and therefore it isn't really fair to call out the 921 Forged: perhaps I was looking for a family SUV at the Porsche dealership and the only thing they have on the lot are 911s and Caymans.  Doesn't make them bad cars-far from it.  It just doesn't suit my needs. 

 

 

 

If you are trying to say that fit supercedes a small increase in club-head MOI or whatever, than yes, i get what are were saying.

 

But comparing different clubheads on different shafts at different lengths, doesn't allow for much of an assumption on which club-head is a better fit.

 

 

Edited by morgan1819
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"Forgiveness" in a golf club is not some mystical hard to grasp concept. Its an engineering/manufacturing process that by the laws of physics creates a better opportunity to hit the ball straight through perimeter weighting and COG placement. 

Pre-conceived ideas don't change the laws of physics.  

Manufacturers make all kinds of clubs because one design doesn't work for everyone.

Sounds like you found what works for you.

 

 

 

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12 hours ago, RoyalMustang said:

At least on my good swings (when I cover the ball and keep the weight on my back foot to eliminate my EE tendencies), I find the center of the face and don't need "forgiveness".  I have no idea how to measure forgiveness if I am making better swings on one club vs the other. 

 

Club fitting is a game of tradeoffs. You want to minimize error tendencies and maximize accuracy.

 

The default definition of forgiveness is the club launches the ball easily for most golfers. Waaaay back in 2008, I was dumping DG S300 irons and stiff woods for lighter, easier to use clubs. I was losing distance and "fighting the shafts."

 

My first stop was SGI irons: Ping G10s and Callaway second-wave Big Berthas. These also had high-launch shafts, which was too much of a good thing. On 7i on up, the ball ballooned badly. I finally settled on Callaway X20 Tours, a "friendly" GI head with lighter PX 5.0 shafts. The ball launched well overall.

 

I also tried some Callaway X Forged irons, but had no ballooning. Way to the other end, I had trouble getting good launch on the shots. Too much club for me.

 

If you hunt around, there's a Golf Digest article interviewing iron designers. Overall comments:

  • Players irons have a + 3-yard distance variance on solid shots, but not much forgiveness on lesser shots.
  • GI irons have a + 7 yards, with modest forgiveness on lesser shots.
  • SGI it's + 10 yards, with quite a bit of forgiveness; but, SGI irons don't really reward excellent shots that much.

So, best iron choice for a golfer will vary by physical coordination, swing speed and playing time.

 

12 hours ago, RoyalMustang said:

So, when we are fitting, should we just throw our pre-conceived notions about "forgiveness" out the window and go with the club we can stripe most consistently?

 

Yes, see what works best (within our budget). I would like to caution, however, about looking for that one magic iron set (or driver). After twenty years of demo days, I find that most of the major OEMs make at least one iron model I could play - as long as it had the right shafts in it. 

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12 hours ago, Itsjustagame said:

"Forgiveness" in a golf club is not some mystical hard to grasp concept. Its an engineering/manufacturing process that by the laws of physics creates a better opportunity to hit the ball straight through perimeter weighting and COG placement. 

Pre-conceived ideas don't change the laws of physics.  

Manufacturers make all kinds of clubs because one design doesn't work for everyone.

Sounds like you found what works for you.

 

 

 


Agreed. The objective measure of forgiveness is not player dependent and what we are talking about here is fit and personal preference.

 

Quote

but I was missing the sweet spot on several swings, for whatever reason

 
Were the other drivers stock length? If your Mizuno was cut down to 44.5" then it could have been 1" to 1.5" shorter if they were, and that is the beginning and the end of this story. You found the very common problem that most stock drivers are way too long and centered contact is much easier with a shorter length. This isn't a matter of forgiveness or anything it feels like you may have overanalyzed here, simply a better fit that if duplicated with the other heads would also produce similar results.  
 

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18 hours ago, Jeff58 said:

Forgiveness- The amount of distance variation induced by non-centered impacts.

 

Playability (I.e. Maltby) - “Simply put, via Maltby Playability Factor, a higher handicap golfer will experience straighter shots and more consistent distance (typically longer) with a HIGHER Playability club. That same golfer, with a LOWER Playability club, would find it more difficult to get the ball up in the air and the feel at impact would be less solid The result would be a tendency for shots to miss to the right or left and be shorter.”

 

What you’re describing is a variation in fitting, where a specific club’s length, lie, overall weight, and weight distribution interact with your personal mechanics at produce a given swing path and timing. It’s individual and has nothing to do with the relative ability of a club head to minimize dispersion.


 

 

 

True, and you need a HUGE sample size to measure it over the long run. Fittings are a great start but once you get on different courses with different lies, weather etc. it's inevitable that you will have a larger contact pattern on the club face. 

 

 

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47 minutes ago, Stuart_G said:

 

Well, how good the MPF might be at representing the forgiveness of a club head design is unproven and very arguable (and best left for a separate discussion/thread).

 

But the rest of the post is spot on.   The real problem has to do with peoples misconceptions on what a good fitting really is all about.   If you really want to compare how forgiving a particular head model might be, everything else except the head model has to be identical - grip, playing length, shaft model/weight/flex, loft, lie angle, and swing weight.   If one is comparing the results of two clubs where those things are not the same, they can't attribute any of the differences in ball flight or consistency to the head model.

 

I would think that it may be necessary to have different shafts and setups on different heads to fit a club to a person, especially if the club heads are quite different from each other (size, weight, shape, offset, etc.).  If the fitter isn't working with you to get that done, you are demoing more than being fit.  If the fitter can't get you to the point with a club that you can hit it as consistently as your current club (or at least close enough that you can reasonably assume that it's something you can work out with familiarity and some time on the range) it may not be the right club head for you or it may be that the fitter doesn't have the ability (skill level, available shafts, whatever else) to fit you into it.  In any case, as many have said, looking at forgiveness at that point is useless.

 

Also, I don't think I've ever heard anyone discussing trade-offs between forgiveness and fit.  It's almost always been trade-offs between forgiveness and workability or forgiveness and feel (which is a very ambiguous term)...

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I’ve always found the shaft to influence the location of the strike significantly more than any head design in irons. Most irons overall perform similarly for me at the same loft, or at least they don’t seem to influence my scores. 

 

However, CG/weighting in a driver head seems to influence contact up/down the face and dynamic loft for me. The driver fit seems to influence my scores a lot. 

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23 minutes ago, cardigan said:

I would think that it may be necessary to have different shafts and setups on different heads to fit a club to a person, especially if the club heads are quite different from each other (size, weight, shape, offset, etc.).

 

Most head specs (like Size and offset) have no effect on the shaft performance.  They shouldn't be different in weight if you were properly fit for 1) grip 2) playing length and 3) swing weight and all those were kept constant.

 

Head BBGM can have a small effect on shaft performance but it's usually pretty minor and even if the player is sensitive enough to detect it, it can easily be compensated for by any builder who knows what they are doing.

 

Shaft selection should never be about launch/spin - so a shaft change should not be used to try and compensate for different launch characteristics of different heads.

 

So I'll have to respectfully disagree.   Any shaft that is a good fit with one head should be a good fit in any head. 

 

 

 

23 minutes ago, cardigan said:

Also, I don't think I've ever heard anyone discussing trade-offs between forgiveness and fit.  It's almost always been trade-offs between forgiveness and workability or forgiveness and feel (which is a very ambiguous term)...

 

That's because most people don't understand fitting very well so don't realize how much it's effecting the results. Or they assume that anytime they see someone who called themselves a "fitter" the results must be a good fit.

 

Edited by Stuart_G
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1 hour ago, Stuart_G said:

Well, how good the MPF might be at representing the forgiveness of a club head design is unproven and very arguable (and best left for a separate discussion/thread).

 

image.png.f00914603c81c44feb1d76546a32f9ee.pngMPF was an attempt to measure scientifically the physical characteristics of a clubhead, and how it supposedly influences ball flight. Maltby Playability Factor uses a four-variable algebraic equation to determine a head's MPF score. Diagram to left shows Step 2 of process.

 

The 1980s marked the advent of aerospace engineers beginning to work in clubhead design. Prior to that, the trend was to copycat the characteristics of the irons that successful pro players used.

 

In using MPF, remember the limitations of MPF outlined by Maltby himself:

  • MPF only addresses characteristics of the clubhead. Shaft dynamics, grip size is not taken into account.
  • If two irons are within + 100 MPF points of each other, the golfer probably won't be able to tell a playability difference. 

 

In my own experience, MPF is a pretty good rough sorter of irons I might want to try. Several years ago on a rainy day, I did a search on the iron models available from the top six manufacturers, from the then current and just prior production cycle. My search yielded 68 different iron models. MFP was a good clue to what I did and didn't want to try.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Note: The MPF has six categories of irons. The original Golf Digest Hot List collapsed the slots to only three: Players, Game Improvement and SuperGame Improvement. (Yes, a couple of years ago Hot List added the Players Distance slot.). Hot List assigns clubs to categories per perceived market niche, not using an algebraic equation.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Maltby is a good guide, but not perfect. I generally fall in the GI + lighter shafts zone. When Ping came out with the i200, it was billed as a Players club - too much for me. But, I found I could launch the ball quite well with lighter shafts. I could even hit a 4i off the deck. So, MPF is a good guide, but personal preferences should rule final decision. 

   

 

Edited by ChipNRun
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Driver:  Tour Edge EXS 10.5°, set 9.5°; 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°... MD4: 54°, 58° ||  Putter: Ping Sigma G Tyne (face-balanced) + Evnroll Gravity Grip

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

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1 minute ago, ChipNRun said:

 

http://ralphmaltby.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Defining-Rearward-Center-of-Gravity.jpgMPF was an attempt to measure scientifically the physical characteristics of a clubhead, and how it supposedly influences ball flight. Maltby Playability Factor uses a four-variable algebraic equation to determine a head's MPF score. Diagram to left shows Step 2 of process.

 

The 1980s marked the advent of aerospace engineers beginning to work in clubhead design. Prior to that, the trend was to copycat the characteristics of the irons that successful pro players used.

 

In using MPF, remember the limitations of MPF outlined by Maltby himself:

  • MPF only addresses characteristics of the clubhead. Shaft dynamics, grip size is not taken into account.
  • If two irons are within + 100 MPF points of each other, the golfer probably won't be able to tell a playability difference. 

In my own experience, MPF is a pretty good rough sorter of irons I might want to try. Several years ago on a rainy day, I did a search on the iron models available from the top six manufacturers, from the then current and just prior production cycle. My search yielded 68 different iron models. MFP was a good clue to what I did and didn't want to try.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Note: The MPF has six categories of irons. The original Golf Digest Hot List collapsed the slots to only three: Players, Game Improvement and SuperGame Improvement. (Yes, a couple of years ago Hot List added the Players Distance slot.). Hot List assigns clubs to categories per perceived market niche, not using an algebraic equation.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Before I go on, a personal confession: Pre-COVID, I was a demo-day commando - often went to two or three a season. Maltby was a good guide, but not always. I generally fall in the GI + lighter shafts zone. When Ping came out with the i200, it was billed as a Players club - too much for me. But, I found I could launch the ball quite well with lighter shafts. I could even hit a 4i off the deck. So, MPF is a good guide, but personal preferences should rule final decision.    

 

Although it's nothing new to me, it may be useful to others so thanks for posting.

 

But it really doesn't change anything.  The relative merits of the different club characteristics and which should be included at all, are still based only on Maltby's opinion and have never been validated through proper testing.  Proper testing and validation - meaning both methodology and data published for peer review.

 

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Forgiveness, to me, is simply how much sidespin will a driver (or fairway) allow.

 

The mizuno stz fairway doesn't induce much sidespin. It goes really straight. It is forgiving. A more forward center of gravity club will induce more sidespin. 

 

Same with drivers. The sim2 induced less sidespin than OG sim. Drivers are a bit of a different story though. With mwt, a driver can be made more "forgiving " by moving weight to reduce sidespin.

 

So, can you find a setup that you hit more centered more often? Yes. But that brings shaft play more into the framework than a head's forgiveness measure. If you hit it center but are open or closed to path then you will induce sidespin. A driver with CoG back and low will offset that sidespin. 

 

If you don't have solid control of path and face then a high moi driver will always be your friend...just have to get the right shaft.

 

If you have solid control of face and path then you can get better forgiveness by altering face angle at address and CoG so the sidespin you naturally induce is lessened, or better put, made more consistent. 

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There's probably a reason why so many tour pros use less-then-blades even though all of them could hit blades better then any of us.  Having that little bit of forgiveness on slight off-center strikes can make the difference between carrying a hazard or not, even if that only happens once a round or less it can be huge for your scoring average over time. 

 

I caught a glimpse of one of Adam Scott's iron faces at a tourny and there was a distinct wear mark the size of a goddamn DIME, right in the middle of the middle of the face.  He was playing blades.

 

I do love my blades though, nothing like a pured out the middle strike

Edited by tofur99
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Good fitting reduces the need for forgiveness. But how many people go into a fitting saying "I want to reduce impact cluster"? They say, "I want to hit it farther, higher and straighter". Well to get to that, requires more forgiveness, because often it's about loft and lightness. Which is really not conducive to reducing impact cluster, is it. Can't really blame the fitter here, the customer is always right.

 

 

 

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I like the person who said play the most forgiving iron you can stand to look at. I play Ping G15's and they have been great for me. And now they look great to me. I would still love to be able to put a set of Mizuno or Titleist blades in my bag. And maybe I could play good with them on a good ball striking day. But if someone loves blades I say play them. The game is about enjoying yourself. 

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On 9/29/2021 at 8:39 AM, Stuart_G said:

 

Well, how good the MPF might be at representing the forgiveness of a club head design is unproven and very arguable (and best left for a separate discussion/thread).

 

But the rest of the post is spot on.   The real problem has to do with peoples misconceptions on what a good fitting really is all about.   If you really want to compare how forgiving a particular head model might be, everything else except the head model has to be identical - grip, playing length, shaft model/weight/flex, loft, lie angle, and swing weight.   If one is comparing the results of two clubs where those things are not the same, they can't attribute any of the differences in ball flight or consistency to the head model.

 

Stuart hit the nail on the head!! Hitting clubs with different specs isn't a comparison.... it's an exercise in frustration!!!  If you're not finding the center of the clubface, the club doesn't FIT YOU. Proper fitting and weighting will help you find the center of the face REGARDLESS of what club you're hitting.

 

BT

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On 9/28/2021 at 8:56 AM, RoyalMustang said:

On the forum, we like to argue about how "forgiving" a club is, and I have often though "if only my club was more forgiving!  Those misses would be closer to the hole!".  Yet, my experiences haven't borne this out.

I am glad you said that.  Depending on a persons game level, hunting forgiveness can be a misnomer.  Probably why USGA index breakdowns haven't borne much in the way of improvement. 

 

Personally, I never chase forgiveness because my result using 620 MB or 620 CB are similar, misses are fractionally off from optimal.  That means MB dime-size sweet spot 4i still goes straight just 10-12yds short of CB 4i, no wild misses in either direction. 

 

From my experience with big perimeter weighted CB forgiveness, it helps the person that doesn't practice much and habitually misses, up or below, forward or towards the heel of the nickel size sweet spot.  Forgiveness attempts to prevent wild misses and extreme loss of distance.  But an added misnomer is a fitting and forgiveness will NOT overcome poor mechanics = no index improvement.

 

On 9/28/2021 at 8:56 AM, RoyalMustang said:

So, when we are fitting, should we just throw our pre-conceived notions about "forgiveness" out the window and go with the club we can stripe most consistently? Does it even matter?

All depends on the persons golf goals and skill level. 

 

Yes, it matters, but you left out any reference to the shaft profiles in those clubs, and which shaft better fits your mechanics.  Basically, club heads are NOT the focus, shafts that fit your swing mechanics are #1.

 

An 11-14 handicap deals with this subject differently, they want to prevent wild misses, so they chase forgiveness.

  • Titleist TS2 @10.25', Ventus 5 Series S
  • Titleist TS2 @16', Ventus 6 Series S
  • Titleist 718 T-MB 2i - Tensei AV White S
  • Titleist 620 Series 3-4i Tensei AV White S
  • Titleist 620 Series 5-PW - MMT 125S
  • SM6 F-52/8 - MMT 125S
  • SM6 M-58/8 - MMT 125S
  • SC CA Monterey
  • DASH-ProV1x & AVX
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Call it forgiveness or whatever, I judge how well a club works for me based upon my worst shots with it, not my best. The days when I hit more perfect shots than mediocre shots are behind me, so I'm using 'game improvement' clubs not to improve my game, but to maintain it.

Cleveland Launcher HB Driver 10.5 degree

Cleveland Launcher Halo Hybrids 16, 19, 22 degree

Cleveland Launcher HB Irons 5-SW

Cleveland CBX 2 Wedge 60 degree

All with senior flex graphite shafts

JumboMax Ultra Lite size M on driver, size S on the rest

Taylor Made Daddy Long Legs putter, Winn Dri-Tac Jumbo Lite Pistol Putter Grip

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I have been really interested in this as well. I went from a smaller profile cavity back in my first set to much bigger AP1's. There was a huge improvement on my frequent off center hits as a beginner but I definitely felt a little awkward with the larger heads and felt like I maybe hit the sweet spot more often with the smaller profile. 

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I love my forgiving irons.  I don't hit middle every time I almost always get the club head back to square more or less.  I'm the perfect player for Ping G irons.  I don't see any downside to them.  I've given up playing fancy high, low, draws, or fades.  Playing 18 holes once a week they do what I need them to do.

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