Picking the right equipment for your game is an important step along the path to lower scores. Good equipment isn’t going to make this game easy – nothing makes this game easy – but it can help you to make progress toward reaching your goals.
One of the most important topics in the golf equipment world is the set of irons you choose to place in your bag. While many people spend hours and hours trying to decide on the right driver, it is really the irons which should draw most of your attention.
You will usually hit your driver no more than 14 times during a round, and often less than that. Your iron set, however, will be used on every hole, and frequently more than once.
Pick out the right irons and you will have confidence each time you reach into the bag to prepare for an approach shot.
The Forged Iron Difference
If you are currently playing cavity back, ‘game improvement’ irons, they are almost certainly cast rather than forged irons.
Cast irons are made by pouring hot metal into a mold, or cast, which gives the club heads their shape. Forged irons, on the other hand, are carved out of a solid piece of metal. As you might imagine, forging is a more expensive process, but most golfers agree it leads to a better product.
Typically, forged and cast irons are separated along the lines of a player’s skill, as better players tend to lean toward forged while beginners and high handicappers stick to cast irons. This is not as much to do with the cost as it is with the design of the clubs.
To make huge club heads with various design elements to help the ball get off the ground, club makers need to use casting. Forged irons tend to be simple in design, usually taking a muscle back or blade shape.
The Right Way to Start
If you are still in the category of a beginning golfer at this point, you would be wise to stick with an oversized set of cast irons.
You need all the help you can get at this point in the game, so don’t get ahead of yourself by ordering a set of forged blades before you are ready.
Even if you love the look of these kinds of irons, resist the temptation until your game has developed to the point where you can handle the challenge these clubs present.
Watch for These Three Signs
As you continue to gain experience on the course as the months and years go by, you will want to watch for specific signs that you are ready to switch to forged irons. Some of the most important signs are listed below.
#1 – Scores in the 70s
If you are frequently shooting scores in the 70s, there is a good chance you are ready to play forged irons. You don’t have to crack the 80 barrier every time you tee it up, but you should at least be able to sneak into the 70s from time to time before you reach for a new set of forged blades or muscle back irons.
If your scores are too far from this level, you likely don’t have the ball striking ability to justify such a club selection.
#2 – Hitting Double-Digit Greens in Regulation
Are you the type of golfer to keep track of your stats during each round you play? If so, you can use your greens in regulation statistic as an indication of your ball striking ability.
Out of 18 holes, you should be hitting at least 10 greens on average before you consider forged irons.
The ability to hit double-digit greens with regularity proves you have the swing consistency needed for these kinds of clubs.
#3 – A Desire to Hit Different Shots
Game improvement irons are great for beginning golfers for many reasons, but they have never been known for their versatility. If you would like to be able to produce different kinds of shots – lower trajectories, draws and fades on command, etc. – you may need to move into a forged set.
It is important to remember that you don’t want to force the action on this decision. It would be better to wait a little too long then make the move a little too early.
Be patient, watch the progress in your game, and make the move when you are sure the time is right.
What to Expect When You Switch to Forged Irons
Once you have made the move into a set of forged irons, you should expect a few things to happen. First and foremost, you are immediately going to notice a difference in the way the ball feels coming off the club.
Forged clubs feel great at impact – as long as you manage to hit the sweet spot!
When you miss the sweet spot, however, they feel…less than great. Overall, there is more feel in a set of forged irons, so your hands will be receiving tons of feedback, for better or worse.
You are also going to notice a loss in forgiveness from your old set.
Miss-hit shots are punished when using blades or muscle back irons. With an oversized set of irons, you might have been able to reach the green even if you hit the shot off the toe of the iron. You will no longer benefit from that kind of feedback. You are going to get the results you deserve, which means you will have to step up your game to play at a high level.
One Final Word
There is nothing quite like playing golf with a quality set of forged irons.
Yes, these kinds of clubs can be expensive, and yes they will test your skills. They do reward you tremendously in terms of feel and feedback, however, so you will likely become addicted to the way your new clubs play.
Give yourself some time to adjust to this new style of game and you may be on your way to new on-course accomplishments in the near future.
Cover Image via Flickr