Golf Irons

Irons are some of the most versatile clubs you'll find in your golf bag. Ranging from low lofted clubs designed for distance, to higher lofted clubs engineered for high launching, soft landing shots into the green, irons present a number of shot making options from just about every lie on the course. Irons sets are also as varied as they are versatile, coming in a number of different designs that appeal to different skill levels looking for different performance benefits. They also come in different set make-ups, allowing for the implementation of hybrid clubs or integrated wedges for golfers looking for a uniform set-up. Below, we'll tackle some of the most common unique characteristics of iron sets and help narrow down the style and construction that will fit your skill level.

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Clubhead Design

The main option to consider when selecting an iron set is the design on the clubhead. Larger club heads with more perimeter weight will provide a more stable hitting area and provide greater forgiveness on off-center shots, while more compact irons, while unforgiving on inconsistent ball strikers, can provide better player with a fine-tuned level of distance, spin, and trajectory control.

Super Game Improvement

Super game improvement irons feature the largest club heads of all irons. While some golfers struggle with their large profile, others see a big club face and have confidence they will strike the ball solid. Most SGI irons have wide soles, where the base of the iron interacts with the turf, in order to place more mass behind the impact area and launch the ball higher and with more distance. The larger club head of SGI irons allows for more weight to be placed low, and along the perimeter of the irons. Low weight aids in launching the ball higher, while perimeter weight restricts the clubhead from twisting when the ball is struck off-center, allowing shots that aren't perfectly struck to still go long and straight.

Game Improvement

Game improvement irons would be generally understood as the standard, or stock model of iron sets. They are the style that most golfers will gravitate to, and are able to accommodate all levels of ability. Game improvement irons have many of the same characteristics as super game improvement irons, but will have smaller club heads and thinner soles. Most game improvement iron features are designed to allow the sets to perform in a wide range of turf and conditions, giving golfers without specific iron needs a very well-rounded set that can execute many different shots and provide all-around performance from every lie on the course.

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Cavity Back

Cavity back irons get their name from the hollowed out cavity of mass behind the clubhead, and while SGI and GI irons also have cavities, cavity back irons have smaller indents and are generally designed to provide more precision for better golfers. Cavity back irons have small clubheads, with the compact profile appealing to golfers who like to curve and shape shots, as well as hit into greens with lower or higher trajectories with variable spin. Most golfers who use cavity back irons are advanced golfers with low handicaps who strike the ball well and consistently.

Blade

Blade style irons are tour-level cubs that are utilized by professionals and very skilled amateurs. The name “blade” comes from the physically appearance of the irons, with their very compact and small head sizes being the smallest and most precise available. While most models of irons feature some form of cavity back or perimeter weighting, blade irons have none of these performance aids and instead rely on consistent and accurate ball striking by the golfer in order to provide high-level benefits. Due to their pure and compact head size, very little spin is imparted on the ball due to the outside influence of the club head, and is instead created directly by the strike and contact of the golfer. Better golfers use blades in order to have full and total control over their iron game, using the clubs to shape shots, change trajectories, and completely dial in spin on every shot.

Combo Set

Lately, it's becoming common for manufacturers to provide combo iron sets to golfers, generally putting together two or three different clubhead designs together in order to give golfers performance benefits where they most need them. Many combo sets have some sort of game improvement irons in the low, harder-to-hit slots in the set. For example, the 3-5 irons in a combo set will have larger faces and provide more forgiveness for when golfers have to tackle long and difficult shots into greens, or are trying to play it conservative on the tee. The rest of the irons, down to the wedges, may then be cavity back or even blade irons, allowing golfers more precision and control on the easier, shorter approach shots. Intermediate to advanced golfers who understand their specific needs and abilities on approach shots may benefit a great deal from the versatility of performance offered by combo sets. If a combo set isn't specifically available in a certain model, many manufacturers are able to create sets on custom order if prompted.

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Hybrid Combo Set

Hybrid combo sets use the same idea of standard combo sets, but instead add easy-to-hit hybrids in place of long irons in order to maximize forgiveness for beginning or intermediate golfers. After the hybrids, the set will evolve into a standard game improvement set, giving golfers forgiveness and distance-enhancing technology from every club in their set.

Graphite vs. Steel Shaft

Irons sets come standard with either graphite or steel shafts installed, and both materials provide different benefits to different preferences and skill levels. Graphite shafts are made of lighter materials to help increase swing speed for golfers who need it, and provide more whip and give on the downswing in order to launch the ball higher into the air so shots land softer on the green. Generally, golfers with slower swing speeds benefit most from lightweight graphite shafts, with more accomplished golfers who swing harder losing accuracy due to the give in the material. Steel shafts are more sturdy and heavy than graphite, and provide a more solid feel at impact and accuracy to golfers whose swings fit their characteristics. Steel is the most common material in iron sets, but if in doubt, it's best to consult a teaching professional. Both graphite and steel options are available in a variety of models, flexes, weights, and kickpoints, and golfers looking to dial in performance to fit their swing would benefit a great deal from consultation with an experienced salesperson or equipment professional.

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Lie Angle

The lie angle of an iron refers to the angle between the sole of the club at address and the shaft. Irons that are bent to create a smaller angle between club and shaft are known as “upright” or “up,” while irons that are bent to increase the angle are known as “flat.” Lie angle is a very player-specific feature of an iron set, and is very important for each individual golfer, as an incorrect lie angle could potentially alter even the most fundamentally sound swings, or cause the golfer to employ bad swing habits in order to overcompensate for poor-fitted clubs. Clubs with improper lie angles may contact the turf at sub-optimal locations and cause twisting at impact or off-center hits. While many golfers will fit to standard size irons, it’s important for all golfers of varying heights and swing mechanics to have their irons properly fitted to appropriate specifications and correct lie angle.

Set Make-Up

Iron sets come available in a variety of set make-ups and it's up to the individual golfer to chose a set that offers the ideal mix of clubs to suit their needs. Some iron sets do not include a 3-iron, as many golfers struggle with such a club and often replace it with a hybrid. Some iron sets come standard with matching gap, or sand wedges that integrate to perform the same way as middle and short irons. Some golfers prefer to separate their wedges from their iron sets while others do not. Before purchasing a set, it's helpful to take stock of your current mix of clubs, note an hybrids or wedges you plan to keep using, and then mold your set make-up in order to fit your personal preferences and performance needs.

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Basic Iron Fitting

Iron sets come available in a variety of set make-ups and it's up to the individual golfer to chose a set that offers the ideal mix of clubs to suit their needs. Some iron sets do not include a 3-iron, as many golfers struggle with such a club and often replace it with a hybrid. Some iron sets come standard with matching gap, or sand wedges that integrate to perform the same way as middle and short irons. Some golfers prefer to separate their wedges from their iron sets while others do not. Before purchasing a set, it's helpful to take stock of your current mix of clubs, note an hybrids or wedges you plan to keep using, and then mold your set make-up in order to fit your personal preferences and performance needs.

Step 1 – Determine Shaft Length:
Shaft length is determined using a combination of measurements, your overall height and a wrist to floor measurement from your dominant hand. We will provide a chart below which will help you in this process. Simply find your wrist to floor measurement and height, and the corresponding box will have your shaft length in proportion to the standard club length.To find the wrist to floor measurement you will need a measuring tape and a helper. Simply stand up tall with your arms straight down at your side. Have your helper measure the distance from the wrist bone on your dominant hand to the floor.

Step 2 – Determine Lie Angle:
The lie angle of a golf club is the angle at which the sole (bottom) of the club contact the ground. A lie angle that is too flat will have the heel of the club (the part of the club head closest to the shaft) digging into the ground. This will cause a ball flight that will tend to go left (for a right handed golfer). A lie angle which is too upright will have the opposite effect. The toe of the club (the part of the head opposite the shaft) will dig into the ground and cause the ball to be pushed to the right (for a right handed golfer).

Determining a general lie angle is very similar to the way we got our club length. Use the measurements we took when finding the club length and apply them to the cart below for the lie angle. This will give you a general idea of what the lie angle should be. It will fit 85-95% of the golfers out there.

A more exact method for determining lie angle is to have the player hit their irons off of a lie board with some lie angle tape on the sole of the club. The lie board is simply a plastic board for hitting off which marks up the lie angle tape while leaving the club unharmed. For this more extensive fitting, please see your local golf pro.

Step 3 – Steel or Graphite:
There is no right or wrong answer to the question of graphite or steel shafts. Steel has long been known as the more consistent and accurate material for golf shafts. However, modern graphite shafts can be every bit as good, if not better for the average golfer. Graphite tends to have a lighter weight which helps generate a higher rate of club head speed as well as lowers the center of gravity. This helps the player get a higher overall ball flight.

Step 4 – Shaft Flex:
Shaft flex will be the most difficult to determine accurately. The correct shaft flex is necessary as it helps to get the proper distance and spin for a golfer. If a shaft is too stiff, the ball will not generate enough spin and will be short. A shaft that is too flexible will have more spin and will tend to balloon up into the air as well as accentuate any side spin for less accuracy. Our general method uses a player’s 150 yard club to determine a baseline. Hitting an 8 iron, a player will most likely need a stiff flex, and a 6 iron will be regular. A player hitting a 7 iron will be in between stiff and regular flex and will need a bit more in depth club fitting. For players that hit a 9 iron or less 150 yards, extra stiff flex may be appropriate, and for those hitting a 5 iron or longer 150 yards senior flex will be necessary.

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