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Settle a debate on a long iron replacement


hartonjok
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I'm currently using the ZX7 irons. And I'm in-between minds on what to do with my longest irons. 

I like the ZX7 4 iron, but I'm wary on losing distance on the occasional mistrike. 

 

My friends recommends I go hybrid. 

My coach recommends I go driving iron. 

My ego recommends I stay with my 4 iron. 

 

Help settle a debate for me?

 

For context, my distances (carry) are:

 

3 hybrid: 228 yards

4 iron: 210 yards

5 iron: 197 yards

6 iron: 185 yards

 

127ac21b-3224-4c09-ad6d-62a47b4723c9.jpg

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Why not combo it with a ZX5 4 iron?

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Why does your coach like driving iron?  I’ve found that they generally don’t interact with the turf quite as well as a traditional iron or even a game improvement iron.

I'm slower than you and that makes it not even close for me.  Hybrid all the way.  4 iron is not a club I use off the tee very much at all so the second choice would be a GI style iron.  Driving iron would be a distant third.

If you decide not to go hybrid I would seriously consider something like the zx4. 
A lot of guys on here really like to use 4-p in a set of irons but I think it’s a mistake for most non plus handicappers.  Even a lot of the pros are looking for help in the long irons.  If people are doing it because it’s more fun for them then that’s great.  If they are doing it because they believe it is the best option for scoring I rarely think it is the right move (I’m not qualified to make this statement in any way, it’s just how I feel).

Even a fairly forgiving players club like the zx7 is difficult for most amateurs to hit consistently well and gap well with their 5 irons, despite what many claim.  So I would get a little help, either with a hybrid or something like the zx4.

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Those gaps are good. The question is whether they are consistent.

 

A while back I did some really intensive gap testing with my irons. I found that while I could hit my 4 iron 10-15 longer than my 5, and my 5 10-15 longer than my 6, in fact on the course I didn't (except off the tee).

 

So first I dropped the 4 iron for a hybrid. Then the 5 iron. And lately the 6 iron.

 

Mine have shorter shafts than most hybrids so I don't hit them any longer. But I now hit them consistent distances.

 

I also used to over draw my irons. Thanks to careful selection of neutral to open faced hybrids and adjustable heads, I hit it straighter and can even manufacture a fade.

 

I'm almost 60 and have lost a fair bit of distance from my younger days, so I have to hit long irons/hybrids a lot more.

 

But after switching to hybrids (and a run of great putting) I shot my lowest score ever (square) and reached my lowest handicap ever (5).

 

I have to say the search for the right hybrids wasn't easy. I used the ancient Adams Pro Gold for years because it was the only one I didn't hook. But as mentioned above there is now more choice for face angle and adjustability.

 

So I'd go hybrid.

 

 

Edited by sfdoddsy
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1 hour ago, hartonjok said:

I'm currently using the ZX7 irons. And I'm in-between minds on what to do with my longest irons. 

I like the ZX7 4 iron, but I'm wary on losing distance on the occasional mistrike. 

 

My friends recommends I go hybrid. 

My coach recommends I go driving iron. 

My ego recommends I stay with my 4 iron. 

 

Help settle a debate for me?

 

For context, my distances (carry) are:

 

3 hybrid: 228 yards

4 iron: 210 yards

5 iron: 197 yards

6 iron: 185 yards

 

127ac21b-3224-4c09-ad6d-62a47b4723c9.jpg

So a silly one and I might have missed this but... gapping...

 

Your current highest club next to what decision your trying to make carries 197y and not sure what your next wood up from hybrid etc will be. Essentially the important question is consistency of strike ie ability to hit the club the distance you think and then the gapping. Then also think about height / stopping power and usage. 

 

Eg:

 

My Fairway wood carries 250m, my Hybrid 230m (20m Gap) and then my longest Iron (4 Iron is 218) which is a 12m gap which is fairly consistent in my set. As a high swing speed player and low handicap I dont have massive strike issues or issues with stopping power. So I can hit a blade 4 iron and get it to cover the gap I need and the stopping power. I also use it happily off the tee as I can manage the flight. 

 

Looking at your circumstance it would be usefull to know your flight / descent angle on a 4 iron / Hybrid / Driving Iron as well as carry distance and then your intent. Ie second shots to par 5's, off the tee etc. Then pick the best tool for the job you need...

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Depends on the individual.  I replaced my old set's 4i (JPX 850 F) with a hybrid when I broke the shaft hitting a punch from under a tree.  I've never really gotten along with the hybrid replacement (titleist 816 h1), especially off the tee on long par 3s.  I don't have an issue with hybrids...I love my 3h...but the 4h is a hook machine.

 

I now play 921 Forged (5-A) and am struggling with the same question, but I'm likely to get a GI 4i from the JPX family (HMP or HM)

Edited by forrester_fire
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I have similar gaps and I opt for a 4 iron and 2 driving iron for my gapping. For whatever reason I hit irons more consistently into par 5s or long par 3s. I will echo what was said above, if you can find a good 4 hybrid then it is easier to hit. I had one and stupidly sold it when a new one was on order and never have been able to find a hybrid that was as consistent. I wouldn’t hesitate to put a 4 hybrid in that works over the 4 iron. I like a 2 driving iron for tight courses and flighting a safety shot into the fairway. 

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210 for a 4 iron (if that is carry distance) is very respectable. As long as you can get the elevation on it I say why change.

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Try a hybrid shaft in your 4i. I play ZX7 5-GW and I have a Nippon GOST in my 5i. I found I got more consistent distances from the hybrid shaft. I just sanded it down a smidge to fit into the .355" hosel.  I do use a 4h and 3h right now, but may switch that up to a 4h with a longer length, and go back to a 5 wood. Trials are about to begin.

 

200y was my gap issue for a long time (3,4,5 irons were bunching up at 185y,) but the new 4H is up 185y-200y and the 3H is like 200y-215y. But now I'm struggling with 225y, but my 3wd is too good off the tee on most par 4s to drop it, so I'm gonna look into consolidating the hybrids and get a 5wood so i can get higher into shorter par 5s.

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2 hours ago, ewaldbeukes said:

So a silly one and I might have missed this but... gapping...

 

Your current highest club next to what decision your trying to make carries 197y and not sure what your next wood up from hybrid etc will be. Essentially the important question is consistency of strike ie ability to hit the club the distance you think and then the gapping. Then also think about height / stopping power and usage. 

 

Eg:

 

My Fairway wood carries 250m, my Hybrid 230m (20m Gap) and then my longest Iron (4 Iron is 218) which is a 12m gap which is fairly consistent in my set. As a high swing speed player and low handicap I dont have massive strike issues or issues with stopping power. So I can hit a blade 4 iron and get it to cover the gap I need and the stopping power. I also use it happily off the tee as I can manage the flight. 

 

Looking at your circumstance it would be usefull to know your flight / descent angle on a 4 iron / Hybrid / Driving Iron as well as carry distance and then your intent. Ie second shots to par 5's, off the tee etc. Then pick the best tool for the job you need...


Interesting take. I completely forgot to take into account of the role of my 4 iron. 

I found its actually my main club off the tee for “safety” shots. When I need a 210 yard fairway finder. Also some shots for short par 5s. 
 

Maybe I should put it through a test, compare how the traditional 4 iron, hybrid & driving iron performs. 

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I just learned how to play golf with four irons and a putter.  I carried a 4 iron for shot making. 

Need to hit a ball under a tree?  4 iron. Need to keep the ball on the fairway side of a hill?  4 iron. 

 

Need to keep the ball on the ground since I can't see anything airborne due to the bad lighting nor find it  once it lands in the leaves. 4 iron. 

Being able to see the ball skipping through the leaves really helped maintain my composure on what used to be a frustrating hole.

I learned to walk the line my ball took and find it, even though it was under leaf cover.

 

 

Edited by ShortGolfer
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3 hours ago, jomatty said:

Why does your coach like driving iron?  I’ve found that they generally don’t interact with the turf quite as well as a traditional iron or even a game improvement iron.

I'm slower than you and that makes it not even close for me.  Hybrid all the way.  4 iron is not a club I use off the tee very much at all so the second choice would be a GI style iron.  Driving iron would be a distant third.

If you decide not to go hybrid I would seriously consider something like the zx4. 
A lot of guys on here really like to use 4-p in a set of irons but I think it’s a mistake for most non plus handicappers.  Even a lot of the pros are looking for help in the long irons.  If people are doing it because it’s more fun for them then that’s great.  If they are doing it because they believe it is the best option for scoring I rarely think it is the right move (I’m not qualified to make this statement in any way, it’s just how I feel).

Even a fairly forgiving players club like the zx7 is difficult for most amateurs to hit consistently well and gap well with their 5 irons, despite what many claim.  So I would get a little help, either with a hybrid or something like the zx4.


I’m a very shallow player & my swing path is 7-10 in to out. Hybrids, usually, are left biased. My coach recommended I try a driving iron to get some added height & stopping power (compared to my old 4 iron). 

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Maybe go "combo" with that one club and use the 4 iron from a "friendlier" series? Or maybe change out the shaft in the current 4 iron - could make the difference and be best of both worlds.

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@hartonjok this is WRX, don't limit yourself to one option!

 

I have a driving iron and a hybrid in the slot above 4i. I took both to Bandon with me and ended up playing the hybrid, mostly because I wanted to see how it played in firm conditions.

 

I'll probably alternate between the two clubs at home next season based on a combination of weather, course conditions, how I'm playing, phase of the moon, etc.

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My prior iron set was Tour Edge CB Pro Tungstens with KBS Tour 90 R-flex shafts.

 

Set came 3-PW. The 3i was just a no-go, and the 4i was a bit iffy. So, I had the 4i refit with a lighter hybrid shaft. It turned into an excellent driving iron (22* loft), and could also be used for approaches into the wind.

 

In your case, you have the ZX7 irons which I believe have a taper-tip 0.355" hosel. So, that rules out hybrid shafts.

 

But consider softstepping the 4i shaft. This would make it easier to launch, and smooth out the swing a bit without a noticeable change in touch. Or, you could go with lighter weight steel or graphite shaft. This would have the same effect, but might be more noticeable in your swing.

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My numbers are like literally the exact the same as yours and I use a driving iron in my 4i. My XFCBs are really similar to the ZX7s and I just found a bit more confidence looking at something bigger when I do need to hit that 4i into a par 5 or long par 3. I can still miss hit the DI but the miss is a bit more manageable, and the MMT shaft being lighter than my X100s is also nice transition in that spot in the bag.

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TxG tested these 3 its online,hybrid is easiest usually.G410 4hy is now my goto,can flatten Lie Angle so anti hook...so its a Radar....i also grabbed a 620CB 3i head but yet to shaft it.Everybody has their own ideas on whats best so buy 2 or all 3 and try.Had a FlyHi years ago,also made a Hogan 3i with ex909 hybrid shaft..that was nicer than flyhi!

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I have a set 4-iron but also a 4-hybrid built with that same shaft, playing length, loft, swingweight, etc. Took a good bit heavier than stock head weight to match it up, so that's something to keep in mind if you try shortening a hybrid. It's an 818h2 23* turned down to 22* FWIW and I just switched from MMCs to ZX7s. The 4-iron and hybrid are interchangeable on distance but the 4-hybrid flies pretty high. Most people use a hybrid beyond their longest iron, but I like having a 200-205 high flight carry option, and that's a distance where it's realistic to get the hybrid benefit out of the rough. Beyond that I have a utility iron for more distance. Both are fine off the deck or a tee, both are now quite reliable, and I can chase the utility iron. I'm on the coast in SC so wind is a factor and to me this is a good balance.

 

Still trying to sort out that last spot between driver and utility iron. Fairway woods have been the hardest spot for me, so it might be a low-lofted hybrid, it might wind up as another utility iron, or I might find the perfect fairway wood that gives me confidence. I carry one now but I hesitate to use it. So, that's a pretty big hole but I work around it for now. 

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6 hours ago, hartonjok said:


what hybrid setup did you settle on in the end?

 

I went with the mavrik pro 2h and 4h (18 and 23 degrees). Reason being they have more of a fairway wood profile when looking at the face. These seem to be even more versatile out of rough and sand versus the iron type profile hybrids. Maybe personal preference as well as it just gives me confidence looking at that shape.

 

Edit: to be fair i also have an 18* driving iron. I will switch it out with the 18 degree hybrid depending on course. The 18 degree driving iron is exclusively hit off the tee. Not hitting that off ground, just way to inconsistent. If i play a course where i might have a few 230 approaches (par 3, or seconds into a par 5) but no need for hitting a DI off a tee then the hybrid goes in the bag. I find that about 80% im carrying the 18* DI, 23 degree hybrid. Also have thought about both 18 degree clubs and dropping a wedge but havent actually done so

Edited by Red4282
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If budget isn't an issue I'd grab a hybrid, a driving iron and compare them to your 4 iron. If you play multiple courses that vary in design they all could be beneficial to your game.

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