To have a solid game it is essential to choose correctly the clubs that will be part of our bag. To do this we must adapt the material to our swing and level of play. If you are asking yourself how do i choose golf irons then please read this article till the end.
Choosing the right set of irons is one of the most important decisions when it comes to complete the equipment, so we must know what aspects to look for, since we must not take into account the same things when choosing the woods as the irons, a driver, a wedge or a putter, so we will now discuss the keys to choosing golf irons.
What are the different types of irons in golf?
The irons available range from 1 to 9, and the different wedges, although the most common is to include in the bag from the 4 or 5 iron to the 9, a pitching wedge and a sand wedge.
A standard set usually goes from the 4 or 5 iron to the Pitch Wedge (PW) or Sand Wedge (SW). Nowadays the 2 and 3 irons are often replaced by hybrids.
The 3 different types of irons are:
- Cast irons: they occupy almost 90% of the market and it is a process in which liquid metal is spread over a mold to manufacture the club head. This process allows us to avoid torsion in the centered shots. We can also find 17-4 cast stainless steel irons, which refers to the composition of the iron being 17% chromium and 4% nickel. These cast clubs are usually focused for players with low handicaps.
- Forged irons: they are formed by a soft piece of steel to which blows are given to provoke the desired shape. They offer a much higher sensitivity and a higher cost.
- Titanium irons: Cast titanium is as strong as steel and weighs less than half as much as steel. It allows the construction of larger heads with larger optimal shot points. They tend to be very light, very easy to shoot and very forgiving but also the most expensive of the three. They are aimed at players with high handicaps.
Factors to consider when choosing the irons
When it comes to choosing a set of irons, power takes a back seat to tolerance and hitting comfort.
What we are looking for here is accuracy rather than distance. We need the ball to go precisely and consistently where we want it to go.
These important aspects are determined by elements such as the center of gravity, the shaft, the head or the sole of the shaft, so let’s consult the expert and try, if possible, to see which is best suited to our stroke.
Steel or graphite shafts?
The main difference between these two materials is the weight. In general, steel rods will always be heavier than graphite rods. Although it is true that we can find steel rods under 100 grams and graphite rods up to 120 grams.
The weight of the rod is what most affects the total weight of an iron. Lighter weight equals the possibility of increasing our swing speed, which means increasing the distance the ball flies after the shot.
Heavier shafts make the club heavier, recommended for those players who do not have distance problems and what they are looking for is greater control and feel of the ball, causing the rise of the club to be slower due to its weight.
On the contrary, the lighter shafts lighten the weight of the club and favor a faster movement, thus gaining more distance and greater ease to lift the ball. It makes the swing easier for players with less strength, ladies, seniors, juniors and beginners.
In addition, the steel and graphite shafts are totally different in the way they transfer the vibrations of the shots that reach the hands, which in turn affects the feel of the impact.
Graphite absorbs more vibration so it is said to have a dull feel on impact, while steel shafts are “sharper” when it comes to transferring the vibrations of the stroke. Thus some players prefer a “crisper” ball strike and use steel shafts, while others prefer a softer feel to the impact and are better off with graphite shafts.
In conclusion, if gaining more distance is our primary objective, we should fit graphite shafts, matching their hardness to the swing speed as we will see below.
On the other hand, if distance is not our main objective because we already have a high swing speed, if we like the feel of steel and our swing tempo coincides with a higher weight in the irons, steel is the best option.
“Flex” refers to the ability of a golf shaft to bend according to the forces applied to it during the golf swing. These forces are generated by the type of swing we have whether it is fast or slow, smooth or sharp.
There are five classifications generally used for shaft flex: Extra Stiff, Stiff, Regular, Senior and Ladys, usually denoted by the letters X, S, R, M and L (“M” is used for Seniors as this flex means medium/mature).
How much or how little the shaft of a club flexes plays an important role in how and when the clubface squares up at impact and therefore it is important to have the right flex for the speed of our swing.
Without it, there is a good chance that we will be out of time making it difficult to make good solid contact on a consistent basis, which affects both direction and distance of swing.
Generally speaking, we can say that hard flex shafts offer greater accuracy with faster swings but with less distance than others with slower speeds.
A light flex shaft is good for slower swing speeds, as is the case with senior players. The most common are normal flex shafts as they are suitable for most players.
Effects caused by a bad choice of shaft: If we play with a shaft that is too stiff for our swing, the shaft will bend on the upswing but at the moment of ball impact the club face will be delayed with respect to our arms and the tendency will be to open the ball (slice).
In the case of a shaft too soft for our swing the shaft will bend on the upswing but at the moment of the downswing the shaft will bend more than necessary and the club head will pass forward to our hands and the ball will tend to close (hook).
Bending point: The bending point indicates the place where the shaft bends. Depending on the bending point, the trajectory of the ball will be higher or lower.
- Low bending point: high ball trajectory.
- Medium bending point: medium ball trajectory
- High bending point: low ball trajectory
The importance of the length of the shafts is fundamental to achieve a good swing. By using specific golf clubs for our height, the “stand” (position in front of the ball) will be more comfortable. In this way we will gain:
- Power: It will be easier for us to move the club in the right place. We will achieve greater distances.
- Control: Customized clubs will make it easier to achieve a standard swing and repeat it consistently on each shot.
- Comfort: In the “stand” (position to hit) we will be more comfortable.
- Health: We will avoid unnatural postures and sudden movements.
The club head
Once we have selected the appropriate shafts, we analyze the center of gravity and the design and weight distribution of the club.
The great evolution of the irons is given by the design and weight distribution in the club head. The biggest change is given in the club neck where they have been shortened to be able to put more material-weight on the face to achieve a higher sweet point.
The lowest possible center of gravity to facilitate a high ball flight. The inclusion of lighter materials and shorter club necks have created clubs with larger “oversize” clubheads. All brands now use this type of club.
Blade, cavity or mixed:
- Blade: They do not have a cavity behind the face so the center of gravity is higher, the sole is narrower and the club head is smaller. They are the most difficult clubs to play but offer better sensations when hitting the ball, recommended for low hcp who play continuously.
- Cavity: The hollow behind the face makes it possible for the center of gravity to be lower and further back with a larger sole. Recommended for all types of players.
The latest trend for low hcp players is to a mixed, long irons with cavity and short irons plus blade.
- Handicap 36 -20 recommended clubs with cavity.
- Handicap 20-14 recommended cavity or mixed
- Handicap 14 -0 recommended cavity, blade or mixed clubs
Loft and position: if the iron head is too flat it can offer resistance with the grass and cause deflections to the right. If on the other hand the position is too vertical, the heel will drive the shots to the left. So we can conclude that shorter golfers will benefit more from flatter positions and taller golfers from slightly vertical positions.