Have you ever heard someone say “I just bought new irons, and I’m playing great with them!”
No, you haven’t. Because no one has ever said that.
What you will hear, however, is someone purchase a new set of irons, and for months say “I really like my new irons, but I still don’t have the distances and trajectories down yet. Once I get used to them I’ll be back to playing my game.”
The goal with an iron is to hit the ball as close to the target as possible; we can all agree on that. So, who cares if your new irons are spinning less and going farther. There’s no benefit to that if the ball isn’t going close to the hole.
When I hit an iron shot, I want to control exactly how much it’s spinning, the trajectory, and the distance. If I buy a new set of irons, how am I supposed to know where the balls going or how it will react? That could take literally years to figure out, especially considering I have 10 irons to figure out distances for. I’ve had my Hand-Forged Blade irons (1-PW) since 3 weeks before they hit retail, and there are still shots I can’t quite figure out. For example, I hit a quarter-to-10-o’clock rising squeezer with my 9 iron from a sticky, into-the-grain-lie the other day, and it went 184 yards instead of 186. Yea the ball came in a bit lower and scooted to four feet and I made birdie, but still.
Now what if in that same circumstance I had to hit that shot with a club I just got 2 weeks ago? I’d have no chance getting the distance even remotely close. I might not have even hit the green.
See, I can get on board with buying a new driver. Often with the large stick, instead of trying to dump the ball in a bucket like you are with an approach shot, you’re trying to advance the ball as far as possible down the fairway. I get it. I personally don’t buy new drivers because at my home club, much of the trouble off the tee comes in at 350 yards, and I usually average 345 yards, so if I gain another say 5-10 yards, I’d just start needing to hit 1 iron off every tee. Yes, I never miss with the 1 iron, but I rarely miss with the driver, either. No point buying a driver I’d never get the opportunity to hit, you know? But I see the benefit of it.
Irons are a completely different story.
You know why no one talks about optimal spin and launch of each iron, or optimizing the distance of an iron? Or the smash factor of an iron. Because it doesn’t matter!
I could buy a new Cavity Back set with lofts jacked through the sun roof, and probably hit my 8 iron 227 yards. Great. Now what am I supposed to hit from 181 with a slight breeze from left to right, pin tucked on the left behind a bunker and I need to hit a controlled hook in there that lands 10 feet behind the pin and spins back and to the left. That’s not an option with my new cavity back irons because all the tungsten around the perimeter of the face won’t let me hit enough of a draw, and the low CG means I’ll launch it too high and get absolutely tossed by the wind. Would probably just have to bail 20 feet right.
New irons are for the birds. And not the good kind of birds, either. Not the eagles or albatrosses. The bad kind of birds; the dirty peasants in Central Park. That’s what companies should do instead of making forgiving irons with Tungsten in them, they should build bird cages out of the Tungsten, and give those dirty Central Park peasants a home. At least that would be a productive use of Tungsten, rather than using it to make golfers struggle with distance control and shot making for months on end.
Do yourself a favor, if you see someone with a set of irons that came out in the past year, double your bet. Trust me on this one.