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Hi Guys,

A question for someone fairly new to Golf.

I am very much a beginner working on building up my skills going through some lessons at my local and working on drills in my own time too.

My intention is to put time into learning a good base of fundamentals.

Currently I would play a round once a week plus practice once or twice a week as well.

 

My current set of clubs is a mish-mash of hand me downs for the most part.

in particular my irons are a set of cavity backs from the 90's and compared to anything current they are far less forgiving but perfectly capable if hit sweetly.

Am i right in thinking this can actually be a good thing for someone at my level?

 

The thinking being that the lack of forgiveness will be better, more instant feedback on my ball striking ability.

I don't want to be masking any errors at the moment, I would rather preference honing my skills.

 

Interested to hear feedback from others who have followed a similar path.

Does it make sense or will I really be better off maybe looking for a newer set of irons (likely second hand still)?

 

 

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Well, less forgiving clubs will most likely make it more difficult to improve on one hand, but it might also help you find a repeating swing that you take muscle memory from.

I grew up with Persimmon woods, and I would say that someone who has never hit anything but a 460cc driver might have a really hard time hitting a persimmon with any sort of success.

Get good with harder to hit clubs, and then you can transition into more modern equipment I suppose.

I've got a PING 1 iron in my house here that I've pulled out from time to time to have some fun with with friends on the driving range, challenging anyone to see if they can hit it.  Most can't.  And since it's been years since I've had this club in my bag I struggle with it as well.

Beyond all of that, the way I learned to play golf was learning to hit my 7 iron, and no other club.  Once I got consistent enough with the 7 iron my Dad let me hit other clubs as well.  But starting out I think mastering one club is a good way to start in this game.  Keep doing what you are doing and master what you have, and newer clubs will suddenly seem easier to hit in the long run.

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Having clubs that are less forgiving may or may not help you get better. The lessons will have a better chance of that. As for equipment playing clubs that fit your swing are more beneficial than less forgiving clubs.

Since your are working with a pro work with him and go get fit for clubs that work with your current swing and will work with the changes your pro is working on.

as for feedback get some footspray and use it to see where you make contact on the face and see what the ball flight for that type of contact 

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I was just having a discussion about this topic on another forum.  I've had Mizuno MX-17s for the last 10 years, which have a pretty wide sole that helps with fat shots.  I broke my 9i this November, but my dad had a set of Mizuno JPX900s that he wasn't using.  MX-17s are classified as a game improvement iron, while the JPX900s are a players iron.  Based on that info alone, I planned to keep the JPX900s short term, and then get some new game improvement irons after maybe a fitting.  I hit the JPX900s ok, but what I really noticed is that they had a lot of distance variability for me.  On OTT chunky hits, my 7i was going maybe 140 total.  On solid in-out path hits, it could go as far as 165.  With my MX-17s, if my path was bad one day and I was hitting OTT chunky shots, I could just swing harder, and get the ball out to about 150.  With the JPXs, all the swing speed in the world wouldn't fix the issue.  I actually had to improve my path and strike to get the ball out past 150.  In effect, I couldn't cheat with the thinner sole clubs.

That's just my experience, and we're talking about someone with 10 years of experience in golf.  I don't know how that would translate to a beginner or even to an experienced golfer.  That said, knowing what I know now, I can see how incorporating a less forgiving mid-iron into your practice could be helpful.  I don't think getting blades for a beginner would be a great call, but practicing with one one club that isn't as forgiving could prove beneficial.  

Edited by bonvivantva
typos

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Less important - how forgiving the clubs are

More important - How well the clubs fit you

Like Rickybobby mentioned...starting out with clubs that don't fit your swing can actually cause swing flaws because you are compensating for clubs that don't fit.  Start with the basics and make sure the length, lie angles, swing weight and shaft stiffness are a good fit for your swing.  Once those basics are taken care of it will make it easier to find the center of the face.

As for the debate about forgiveness...I"m in the camp of more is better.  

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I learned to play by hitting blades, and wooden woods.  In the early 1970s, that's what you used, because that's all there was.  I don't believe I would have become any better or worse by learning with more modern game-improvement clubs, or that I would have had any more or less fun.  You can learn with anything.  But if you have a chance to play with clubs that are less demanding, there's a good chance your slight misses will be less bad than if you were to use blades right from the start.  You'll still hit awful shots, game-improvement clubs can't eliminate those.

In the 1970s, there wasn't any real fitting, at least that I was ever aware of.  Sure, Jack and Arnie had options, but most of us played with off-the-rack clubs.  Properly fitted clubs can definitely help you develop a swing with fewer compensations, but I'd guess that a huge majority of new players will do just fine learning with basic off-the-rack clubs.  

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On 1/27/2020 at 9:42 PM, aussiegolfer05 said:

Hi Guys,

A question for someone fairly new to Golf.

I am very much a beginner working on building up my skills going through some lessons at my local and working on drills in my own time too.

My intention is to put time into learning a good base of fundamentals.

Currently I would play a round once a week plus practice once or twice a week as well.

 

My current set of clubs is a mish-mash of hand me downs for the most part.

in particular my irons are a set of cavity backs from the 90's and compared to anything current they are far less forgiving but perfectly capable if hit sweetly.

Am i right in thinking this can actually be a good thing for someone at my level?

 

The thinking being that the lack of forgiveness will be better, more instant feedback on my ball striking ability.

I don't want to be masking any errors at the moment, I would rather preference honing my skills.

 

Interested to hear feedback from others who have followed a similar path.

Does it make sense or will I really be better off maybe looking for a newer set of irons (likely second hand still)?

 

 

I wouldnt get caught up in the "forgiveness" marketing hype unless you are playing from the fairway on most shots. If you are in the short turf most of the time, the fat soled clubs can provide some help...once you get into the rough, those "forgiving' clubs become a burden......

try all types, get fit and pick the best one....also get fit OUTDOORS on grass...not in a booth at the pga store.....two totally different worlds

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... I have said over and over again, I do not understand why anyone would try and learn the most difficult game to play and make it even harder on themselves. This will probably be on my tombstone:

Every golfer should play the most forgiving clubs they can effectively play.

... The only reason not to play SGI irons is your game has progressed to where the trajectory, spin and accuracy is better with a less forgiving club that allows you to hit shots that get you closer to the pin. Hitting the ball high and straight is by far the best way to learn the game and for many the best way to play the game. Properly sequencing your swing, returning the head to the ball with a repeatable face angle and hitting the ball on the same spot on the iron face is difficult for single digit players and damm near impossible for beginners and high index golfers. So positive feedback is essential for most beginners and the most forgiving clubs will give you the best chance of hitting positive shots.

... Once you become more proficient with your swing and face contact, you may find controlling your trajectory is better with a GI or even a Players Iron. You may find a lower trajectory is more conducive to hitting the ball closer to the pin and a variety of conditions. Then again, you may already have a good trajectory and the ability to move the ball to an effective degree with SGI irons. I played with a Club Champion from NJ that played the most forgiving irons Ping offered. He said he played a tree lined course with little to no wind. But playing with us in Texas, he really struggled in the constant strong winds and hard fast fairways because he did not flight his ball or hit shots with less spin. But back home in NJ he had no such problems and won his CC Mens Tournament many times with SGI ions. 

... Attempting to hit much more demanding clubs because they will fine tune your focus and stop you from making reckless swings is a mental problem, not a training aid. Of course much about golf is a mental problem, so if this works for you then obviously you should do exactly that. But for the vast majority, hitting better shots with better swings is the best way to improve and you can do that with a full set of hybrids. So learn to play the game with the most forgiving irons you can play. Then IF you need to change irons to facilitate improvement in ball flight and spin, try a more demanding iron to see if it is beneficial for your game. 

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1 hour ago, Tsecor said:

I wouldnt get caught up in the "forgiveness" marketing hype unless you are playing from the fairway on most shots. If you are in the short turf most of the time, the fat soled clubs can provide some help...once you get into the rough, those "forgiving' clubs become a burden......

try all types, get fit and pick the best one....also get fit OUTDOORS on grass...not in a booth at the pga store.....two totally different worlds

How do more forgiving clubs become a burden in the rough?

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5 minutes ago, RickyBobby_PR said:

How do more forgiving clubs become a burden in the rough?

Based on the physical properties of a wide sole alone should give you that answer......but a popular golfer once said  "To have shotmaking options, like picking it clean or setting it back in the stance to trap it low, a player needs to be able to tell the club what to do. With wide soles, essentially the turf is telling the club what to do."

keeping the point VERY basic, when playing from the rough, its hard to get a wide soled club down in the grass to have a productive shot.....if its sitting up, great...but if not, you basically have little chance of the club giving you "forgiveness"......

but like i said, if you play from the fairway a lot....by all means use a wide soled club to make things easier to hit it in the air......but there is no link to better scoring as its a small part of the entire game

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5 minutes ago, Tsecor said:

Based on the physical properties of a wide sole alone should give you that answer......but a popular golfer once said  "To have shotmaking options, like picking it clean or setting it back in the stance to trap it low, a player needs to be able to tell the club what to do. With wide soles, essentially the turf is telling the club what to do."

keeping the point VERY basic, when playing from the rough, its hard to get a wide soled club down in the grass to have a productive shot.....if its sitting up, great...but if not, you basically have little chance of the club giving you "forgiveness"......

but like i said, if you play from the fairway a lot....by all means use a wide soled club to make things easier to hit it in the air......but there is no link to better scoring as its a small part of the entire game

That’s interesting because I’ve played several wise sole clubs (i20, p790, z545) as a few and never had issues with the rough other than the challenge thick rough presents. 
 

The problem I see from amateurs is the technique used to get out of rough. Many try to use the same swing and hitting out of rough tends to requires less of a shallow swing

 

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Just now, RickyBobby_PR said:

That’s interesting because I’ve played several wise sole clubs (i20, p790, z545) as a few and never had issues with the rough other than the challenge thick rough presents. 
 

The problem I see from amateurs is the technique used to get out of rough. Many try to use the same swing and hitting out of rough tends to requires less of a shallow swing

 

yea but just in physical properties, Golf Digest once said "The sole of an iron is like the hull of a boat. The wider it is, the less it will sink."

From Oob Golf

"If you're hitting an iron with a wide sole, it will tend to skip off the turf rather than dig deeply into it. Golf designers try to match the width of the sole and the amount of bounce in the club. Oob Golf explains, "A narrower sole with more bounce can provide the same assistance as a wider sole with less bounce. Usually, irons with wide soles have very little bounce, or they'd be practically unplayable."

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1 minute ago, Tsecor said:

yea but just in physical properties, Golf Digest once said "The sole of an iron is like the hull of a boat. The wider it is, the less it will sink."

From Oob Golf

"If you're hitting an iron with a wide sole, it will tend to skip off the turf rather than dig deeply into it. Golf designers try to match the width of the sole and the amount of bounce in the club. Oob Golf explains, "A narrower sole with more bounce can provide the same assistance as a wider sole with less bounce. Usually, irons with wide soles have very little bounce, or they'd be practically unplayable."

None of that impacts hitting a ball out of the rough being harder. 

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Just now, RickyBobby_PR said:

None of that impacts hitting a ball out of the rough being harder. 

my head just exploded....lol

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8 minutes ago, Tsecor said:

Based on the physical properties of a wide sole alone should give you that answer......but a popular golfer once said  "To have shotmaking options, like picking it clean or setting it back in the stance to trap it low, a player needs to be able to tell the club what to do. With wide soles, essentially the turf is telling the club what to do."

keeping the point VERY basic, when playing from the rough, its hard to get a wide soled club down in the grass to have a productive shot.....if its sitting up, great...but if not, you basically have little chance of the club giving you "forgiveness"......

 

... To be fair you are talking about a very small percentage of shots even for those that may face them. Yes, here in the midwest where we get a ton of rain, some rough is thick and healthy and a wide soled club will not gouge the ball out as easily as a smaller, thinner soled club. That said, it still takes some advanced skill to make decent downward/forward shaft lean contact in thick rough. But if it isn't very thick, if it is growing in the direction you are hitting and most importantly if you live somewhere that thick rough doesn't even exist, it is irrelevant. Playing in California, Phoenix and most of Orlando I rarely see rough and certainly not really thick rough.  Heck, even here in Chicago there are many more courses with medium to light rough and some courses with no rough at all. 

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32 minutes ago, chisag said:

... I have said over and over again, I do not understand why anyone would try and learn the most difficult game to play and make it even harder on themselves. This will probably be on my tombstone:

Every golfer should play the most forgiving clubs they can effectively play.

... The only reason not to play SGI irons is your game has progressed to where the trajectory, spin and accuracy is better with a less forgiving club that allows you to hit shots that get you closer to the pin. Hitting the ball high and straight is by far the best way to learn the game and for many the best way to play the game. Properly sequencing your swing, returning the head to the ball with a repeatable face angle and hitting the ball on the same spot on the iron face is difficult for single digit players and damm near impossible for beginners and high index golfers. So positive feedback is essential for most beginners and the most forgiving clubs will give you the best chance of hitting positive shots.

... Once you become more proficient with your swing and face contact, you may find controlling your trajectory is better with a GI or even a Players Iron. You may find a lower trajectory is more conducive to hitting the ball closer to the pin and a variety of conditions. Then again, you may already have a good trajectory and the ability to move the ball to an effective degree with SGI irons. I played with a Club Champion from NJ that played the most forgiving irons Ping offered. He said he played a tree lined course with little to no wind. But playing with us in Texas, he really struggled in the constant strong winds and hard fast fairways because he did not flight his ball or hit shots with less spin. But back home in NJ he had no such problems and won his CC Mens Tournament many times with SGI ions. 

... Attempting to hit much more demanding clubs because they will fine tune your focus and stop you from making reckless swings is a mental problem, not a training aid. Of course much about golf is a mental problem, so if this works for you then obviously you should do exactly that. But for the vast majority, hitting better shots with better swings is the best way to improve and you can do that with a full set of hybrids. So learn to play the game with the most forgiving irons you can play. Then IF you need to change irons to facilitate improvement in ball flight and spin, try a more demanding iron to see if it is beneficial for your game. 

I think that was stated in one sentence....lol.....

"try all types, get fit and pick the best one..."

 

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1 minute ago, chisag said:

 

... To be fair you are talking about a very small percentage of shots even for those that may face them. Yes, here in the midwest where we get a ton of rain, some rough is thick and healthy and a wide soled club will not gouge the ball out as easily as a smaller, thinner soled club. That said, it still takes some advanced skill to make decent downward/forward shaft lean contact in thick rough. But if it isn't very thick, if it is growing in the direction you are hitting and most importantly if you live somewhere that thick rough doesn't even exist, it is irrelevant. Playing in California, Phoenix and most of Orlando I rarely see rough and certainly not really thick rough.  Heck, even here in Chicago there are many more courses with medium to light rough and some courses with no rough at all. 

disagree completely on courses not having tough rough but thats your experience....where i am in NY its completely different....but like i said, if you are playing from the fairway or the ball sits up.....absolutely.....

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From my experiences, picking the ball off the turf with thin or wide sole clubs results in similar shots when trying to hit a straight ball.  It's more difficult to move the ball one way or the other with the wider sole clubs.  Depending on the turf, a wide sole club may be more beneficial in soft conditions and Bermuda grass if the shot is a little fat.  However, I think it's easier to hit a fat shot off a tight lie with wide sole clubs, but that's my opinion based on my experience. 

I agree with @chisag that most rough I've experienced (I've played all over the country) is not that difficult because the majority of golfers can't handle thick rough.  From the typical rough I've seen, wide sole clubs and hybrids work fine and likely better for beginners and high handicappers. The ball will sit a little higher off the ground which means that the ball will get up in the air, even on a poor strike.  If the player is good enough, the thin sole clubs... struck properly, offer the chance for better control when the rough is thicker.

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33 minutes ago, Tsecor said:

disagree completely on courses not having tough rough but thats your experience....where i am in NY its completely different....but like i said, if you are playing from the fairway or the ball sits up.....absolutely.....

I play courses throughout western New York when I go back for visits and several have thick rough. Never once did I think when having p790s in my bag and having to hit from the rough “man I wish I had smaller soled clubs”

38 minutes ago, Tsecor said:

I think that was stated in one sentence....lol.....

"try all types, get fit and pick the best one..."

 

Exactly and there are no absolutes in golf. To say one club design is better from rough is putting an absolute in something that isn’t. 
 

Some people love hitting hybrids from the rough and others don’t or can’t. Doesn’t mean a hybrid is good or bad from the rough compared to shorter grass.

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