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2020 Official Member Review: Sub 70 699 Pro irons


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Let me kick things off here. First, I'm really excited about this test for reasons over and above the cool feeling of getting new clubs. Jason Hiland, the founder of @GolfSub70, has been part of my go

Well, I still can't wipe the smile off my face from being selected as a tester. What an awesome opportunity. I live up to my user name but luckily for me my wife doesn't mind. I think there is more pr

Time for a first impressions post! My irons arrived yesterday afternoon. I was at the house waiting; I wonder if UPS has a way of signaling to their drivers when someone has hit refresh on the tr

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On 8/11/2020 at 8:33 PM, TBT said:

 


MPR I know you said originally that you were on the high side of the handicap range for these irons....how do you feel these will play for a higher handicap player?

I’m playing to a 16-17 at this point but these really have me intrigued.

A few years ago I played a set of Bridgestone J40 DPC’s which I think lean more towards players irons than GI irons.

I’m so close to pulling the trigger on these!


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I was a 19.7 when I ordered my 699 Pro's and currently down to 17.2 (dropping quickly) and the reason I'm dropping quickly is because these irons are both predictable and forgiving! Predictable in that they want to go high and straight... yes, I can turn one over left (normal for me) but I have to get "handsy" and forgiving in that shots out towards the toe are not losing huge amounts of distance nor going offline! The suggested handicap for the 699 Pro's is 3-13 (of which I'm not) but it's just making the assumption that players in that range "tend" to strike the ball better... I am/was a 19 because I duck hook off the tee into trouble, couldn't control the draw on my old irons, short game is a nightmare because I'm frazzled by the time I have to use it (working on refining it), and putting is very hit miss (grainy greens or slow ones kill me). I say all this because if your ball striking is reasonably sound, there should not be much concern but only under the assumption you don't need help getting the ball airborne (the reason there is offset on irons and more so with game improvement ones - use the 699's for that)!

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I was able to get on the Trackman Saturday and here are the average numbers...

Srixon Z965 - KBS Tour 130X

Club / CHS / Ball Speed / Launch / Spin (rpm) / Height (feet) / Carry (yds)

5 iron / 96 / 138.3 / 11.9 / 4787 (deviation 55 rpm across 5 shots) / 96' / 206.5

7 iron / 94 / 132.3 / 18.4 / 6139 (deviation 64 rpm across 5 shots) / 126' / 183.1

9 iron / 90.5 / 115.9 / 23.2 / 7401 (deviation 90 rpm across 5 shots) / 116' / 155.6

PW / 88.3 / 107.9 / 24.6 / 8135 (deviation 113 rpm across 5 shots) / 105' / 141.2

 

Sub 70 699 Pro - KBS Tour 130X

Club / CHS / Ball Speed / Launch / Spin / Carry

5 iron / 98.1 / 137.8 / 9.5 / 4879 (deviation 257 rpm across 5 shots) / 76' / 203.1

7 iron / 95.3 / 125.5 / 13.9 / 6149 (deviation 909 rpm across 5 shots) / 87' / 178

9 iron / 90.3 / 104.8 / 22.3 / 8325 (deviation 48 rpm across 5 shots) / 88' / 137.7

PW / 90.4 / 102 / 23.7 / 8507 (deviation 578 rpm across 5 shots) / 88' / 133

 

So a few disclaimers, it wasn't my best of swinging days, it was miserably hot and humid, but the biggest things I noticed are:

A) The Srixon Z965 irons are definitely more consistent in spin and carry distances.  These irons launch higher, are actually longer, and I hit the center of the face much more consistently.

B) The Sub 70 699 Pro irons are definitely more consistent in flight windows.  The peak heights were very consistent across the board, yet these launch lower.  This is mostly due to my attack angle being steeper with these for some reason.  My AoA was almost 2.5 degrees steeper with these clubs which is interesting in itself.  With the 7 iron that spun much less than average, it carried 12 yards longer.  I did see a 9 yard hot shot with the lowest spinning PW shot as well.   

 

I was hitting off a mat on grass but these numbers don't seem to match up with what I've seen on the course with the 699 Pros.  On the course, they have been about a 1/2 to 3/4 club longer, launch higher, and spin less.  It's an interesting comparison in a static environment though, but shows the importance of hitting clubs on real turf and getting fitted there if possible.

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On 8/31/2020 at 12:14 PM, Smellis745 said:

I was able to get on the Trackman Saturday and here are the average numbers...

Srixon Z965 - KBS Tour 130X

Club / CHS / Ball Speed / Launch / Spin (rpm) / Height (feet) / Carry (yds)

5 iron / 96 / 138.3 / 11.9 / 4787 (deviation 55 rpm across 5 shots) / 96' / 206.5

7 iron / 94 / 132.3 / 18.4 / 6139 (deviation 64 rpm across 5 shots) / 126' / 183.1

9 iron / 90.5 / 115.9 / 23.2 / 7401 (deviation 90 rpm across 5 shots) / 116' / 155.6

PW / 88.3 / 107.9 / 24.6 / 8135 (deviation 113 rpm across 5 shots) / 105' / 141.2

 

Sub 70 699 Pro - KBS Tour 130X

Club / CHS / Ball Speed / Launch / Spin / Carry

5 iron / 98.1 / 137.8 / 9.5 / 4879 (deviation 257 rpm across 5 shots) / 76' / 203.1

7 iron / 95.3 / 125.5 / 13.9 / 6149 (deviation 909 rpm across 5 shots) / 87' / 178

9 iron / 90.3 / 104.8 / 22.3 / 8325 (deviation 48 rpm across 5 shots) / 88' / 137.7

PW / 90.4 / 102 / 23.7 / 8507 (deviation 578 rpm across 5 shots) / 88' / 133

 

So a few disclaimers, it wasn't my best of swinging days, it was miserably hot and humid, but the biggest things I noticed are:

A) The Srixon Z965 irons are definitely more consistent in spin and carry distances.  These irons launch higher, are actually longer, and I hit the center of the face much more consistently.

B) The Sub 70 699 Pro irons are definitely more consistent in flight windows.  The peak heights were very consistent across the board, yet these launch lower.  This is mostly due to my attack angle being steeper with these for some reason.  My AoA was almost 2.5 degrees steeper with these clubs which is interesting in itself.  With the 7 iron that spun much less than average, it carried 12 yards longer.  I did see a 9 yard hot shot with the lowest spinning PW shot as well.   

 

I was hitting off a mat on grass but these numbers don't seem to match up with what I've seen on the course with the 699 Pros.  On the course, they have been about a 1/2 to 3/4 club longer, launch higher, and spin less.  It's an interesting comparison in a static environment though, but shows the importance of hitting clubs on real turf and getting fitted there if possible.

Very interesting. I used my Mevo for side by side testing before I ever went to the range or the course. Since the lofts were the same between sets and the data showed the same I wasn't all that excited. The range and the course showed something completely different.  So I just dropped the data collection and reported actual playing characteristics. So again it is interesting to see you experienced differences between data and actual on course performance as well. 

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3 hours ago, GolfSpy MPR said:

Haven't checked in here in a bit; the last couple of weeks have involved a chunk of traveling and a little less playing. But I got out for a nine hole round this afternoon, and also decided to take a quick look at where things stand with my on-course performance with the 699 Pros.

I'm using the old Arccos system numbers here, because it's easier to use the web dashboard rather than the app when compared date ranges. I'm finding that in the new system, my overall handicap is slightly higher and my approach handicap is somewhat lower. But the numbers here should just be compared relatively.

Here's my overall handicap for this season before getting the 699 Pros, when I had the PING G700s in my bag:

before-handicaps.jpg

And here's the rounds since I got the 699 Pros:

after-handicap.jpg

As I said in an earlier post, all else being equal, I'd rather have the 699s in my bag than the G700s. They're a pleasure to hit and they look great. That topline number suggests that perhaps all else is about equal.

But let's dig a level deeper and check the shot dispersion patterns before and after. Here's the before (limited to yardages that I'm likely to use my 5-PW):

beforeplotting.jpg

And here's the rounds with the 699 Pros:

afterplotting.jpg

So there's an incremental gain in GIRs. Still nothing good there, but an increase is better than the alternative. What I'm more impressed by is the 8% drop in approaches short of the green, with those misses either hitting the green (2% more) or missing left and right, but still the correct distance (6% more).

I'm not quite sure why that wouldn't translate into a better overall approach handicap in Arccos, but that seems like a small but genuine improvement. At this point in my testing, the 699 Pros have won the subjective contest in a landslide, and they're beginning to pull ahead in the objective, statistical categories as well.

EDIT: I'll add here one picture from the new app. It shows my Strokes Gained: Approach trend line for my past 25 rounds. I think there is noticable improvement here as well.

SmartSelect_20200902-170905.jpg

Your percentage of approaches that go long is admirable. I play a course that 17 of 18 holes long = bogey and I still am at 5% long. 

The SG over the last 25 is an awesome trend. 

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18 hours ago, GolfSpy MPR said:

Haven't checked in here in a bit; the last couple of weeks have involved a chunk of traveling and a little less playing. But I got out for a nine hole round this afternoon, and also decided to take a quick look at where things stand with my on-course performance with the 699 Pros.

I'm using the old Arccos system numbers here, because it's easier to use the web dashboard rather than the app when compared date ranges. I'm finding that in the new system, my overall handicap is slightly higher and my approach handicap is somewhat lower. But the numbers here should just be compared relatively.

Here's my overall handicap for this season before getting the 699 Pros, when I had the PING G700s in my bag:

before-handicaps.jpg

And here's the rounds since I got the 699 Pros:

after-handicap.jpg

As I said in an earlier post, all else being equal, I'd rather have the 699s in my bag than the G700s. They're a pleasure to hit and they look great. That topline number suggests that perhaps all else is about equal.

But let's dig a level deeper and check the shot dispersion patterns before and after. Here's the before (limited to yardages that I'm likely to use my 5-PW):

beforeplotting.jpg

And here's the rounds with the 699 Pros:

afterplotting.jpg

So there's an incremental gain in GIRs. Still nothing good there, but an increase is better than the alternative. What I'm more impressed by is the 8% drop in approaches short of the green, with those misses either hitting the green (2% more) or missing left and right, but still the correct distance (6% more).

I'm not quite sure why that wouldn't translate into a better overall approach handicap in Arccos, but that seems like a small but genuine improvement. At this point in my testing, the 699 Pros have won the subjective contest in a landslide, and they're beginning to pull ahead in the objective, statistical categories as well.

EDIT: I'll add here one picture from the new app. It shows my Strokes Gained: Approach trend line for my past 25 rounds. I think there is noticable improvement here as well.

SmartSelect_20200902-170905.jpg

Good to see GIR's go up, but no shots long means you should probably take a little more club to get your shot pattern more centered. Maybe long is dead and short is better, but you should be missing at least some long.  No doubt the Sub70's are great! I feel like I'm getting my 639CB's dialed in now too.

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14 hours ago, THEZIPR23 said:

Your percentage of approaches that go long is admirable. I play a course that 17 of 18 holes long = bogey and I still am at 5% long. 

The SG over the last 25 is an awesome trend. 

 

3 minutes ago, golfingbrock said:

Good to see GIR's go up, but no shots long means you should probably take a little more club to get your shot pattern more centered. Maybe long is dead and short is better, but you should be missing at least some long.  No doubt the Sub70's are great! I feel like I'm getting my 639CB's dialed in now too.

Yep, @golfingbrock's reply is something I was going to say in reply to @THEZIPR23. My "no long" miss pattern is very common among the high-to-mid handicap crowd, because we all (hand raised) have a tendency to pick clubs based on "if I hit this properly."

I'm not even here talking about the guy who chooses his clubs based on "that one time when I was downwind of a cyclone on a fairway as baked out as Willie Nelson" distance. But it's very clear that I don't center my dispersion pattern over my target, which would lead to better scores.

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35 minutes ago, GolfSpy MPR said:

 

Yep, @golfingbrock's reply is something I was going to say in reply to @THEZIPR23. My "no long" miss pattern is very common among the high-to-mid handicap crowd, because we all (hand raised) have a tendency to pick clubs based on "if I hit this properly."

I'm not even here talking about the guy who chooses his clubs based on "that one time when I was downwind of a cyclone on a fairway as baked out as Willie Nelson" distance. But it's very clear that I don't center my dispersion pattern over my target, which would lead to better scores.

Haha ok I thought it was intentional. 

So if that is the case while testing just take your normal yardage and add 1 club and see what the difference is. 

Raising GIR % is fastest permanent path to lowering handicap. 

As far as your dispersion pattern, to me it is not that far off. Moving the circle 5 yards longer would make a difference. But in reality only 9 of your 51 approaches fall outside 30 yd circle short. 

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1 hour ago, THEZIPR23 said:

Haha ok I thought it was intentional. 

So if that is the case while testing just take your normal yardage and add 1 club and see what the difference is. 

Raising GIR % is fastest permanent path to lowering handicap. 

As far as your dispersion pattern, to me it is not that far off. Moving the circle 5 yards longer would make a difference. But in reality only 9 of your 51 approaches fall outside 30 yd circle short. 

I've noted elsewhere on the forum that my GIRs are suppressed a bit by the tiny greens on our course (they average just over 3,000 sq ft, so about 18x18 in yards). This reality also likely inflates my putting stats a bit, as it's very rare to be faced with a 50' putt on our course.

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1 hour ago, GolfSpy MPR said:

I've noted elsewhere on the forum that my GIRs are suppressed a bit by the tiny greens on our course (they average just over 3,000 sq ft, so about 18x18 in yards). This reality also likely inflates my putting stats a bit, as it's very rare to be faced with a 50' putt on our course.

That kinda touches on something I've had kicking around in my head the last few months, what's the effect of playing one specific course on someones stats? Especially when that course might have certain traits that sway from the "average", ie. smaller greens, smaller fairways, short, severely undulating greens, etc. I've been manually keeping some stats lately and I'm not totally sure if the comparisons I've been using are totally fair relative to the courses I've been playing. I also wonder if Arccos, Shot Scope, or others take course layout like that into account? Anyway, I digress...

Either way, it's nice to see the distance dispersion tightening up! At least from the appearance of the graph there, it looks like there were a few "bigger" misses left with the G700's than the 699's, do you think there's anything to that you've picked up? Or maybe it's just me trying to find more in the graph than there actually is haha.

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3 minutes ago, ncwoz said:

That kinda touches on something I've had kicking around in my head the last few months, what's the effect of playing one specific course on someones stats? Especially when that course might have certain traits that sway from the "average", ie. smaller greens, smaller fairways, short, severely undulating greens, etc. I've been manually keeping some stats lately and I'm not totally sure if the comparisons I've been using are totally fair relative to the courses I've been playing. I also wonder if Arccos, Shot Scope, or others take course layout like that into account? Anyway, I digress...

Either way, it's nice to see the distance dispersion tightening up! At least from the appearance of the graph there, it looks like there were a few "bigger" misses left with the G700's than the 699's, do you think there's anything to that you've picked up? Or maybe it's just me trying to find more in the graph than there actually is haha.

As someone who plays about 99% of my rounds on a single, quirky course, I'm convinced it matters a lot. So not only do we have tiny greens (that's going to skew my putting and approach numbers), but we have a bunch of dogleg holes, several of which are full 90° holes. Consider the 2nd hole, a short par 4:

image.png

At under 270 yards, this is a tiny hole. But it is heavily forested on every side; cutting the corner isn't a real option (it's sometimes done for fun in scrambles, but you're lofting an iron over tall trees completely blind). So you end up hitting a wedge into the corner (didn't quite catch my PW properly on this swing).

I have to assume that every single time I play this hole, Arccos marks me down has having lost strokes driving, because I'm (at best) looking for a 130 yard "drive" here.

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48 minutes ago, ncwoz said:

Especially when that course might have certain traits

My iron distance data (particularly 6, 7, 😎 in both ShotScope and Arccos have been skewed by our league course. Depending on wind, tee, and pin, all 5 of the par 3's can play the same distance, even though they are different on the card. Since switching to Arccos, I feel like have enough rounds on different courses that I'm comfortable that it is correct.

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On 9/2/2020 at 4:49 PM, GolfSpy MPR said:

Haven't checked in here in a bit; the last couple of weeks have involved a chunk of traveling and a little less playing. But I got out for a nine hole round this afternoon, and also decided to take a quick look at where things stand with my on-course performance with the 699 Pros.

I'm using the old Arccos system numbers here, because it's easier to use the web dashboard rather than the app when compared date ranges. I'm finding that in the new system, my overall handicap is slightly higher and my approach handicap is somewhat lower. But the numbers here should just be compared relatively.

Here's my overall handicap for this season before getting the 699 Pros, when I had the PING G700s in my bag:

before-handicaps.jpg

And here's the rounds since I got the 699 Pros:

after-handicap.jpg

As I said in an earlier post, all else being equal, I'd rather have the 699s in my bag than the G700s. They're a pleasure to hit and they look great. That topline number suggests that perhaps all else is about equal.

But let's dig a level deeper and check the shot dispersion patterns before and after. Here's the before (limited to yardages that I'm likely to use my 5-PW):

beforeplotting.jpg

And here's the rounds with the 699 Pros:

afterplotting.jpg

So there's an incremental gain in GIRs. Still nothing good there, but an increase is better than the alternative. What I'm more impressed by is the 8% drop in approaches short of the green, with those misses either hitting the green (2% more) or missing left and right, but still the correct distance (6% more).

I'm not quite sure why that wouldn't translate into a better overall approach handicap in Arccos, but that seems like a small but genuine improvement. At this point in my testing, the 699 Pros have won the subjective contest in a landslide, and they're beginning to pull ahead in the objective, statistical categories as well.

EDIT: I'll add here one picture from the new app. It shows my Strokes Gained: Approach trend line for my past 25 rounds. I think there is noticable improvement here as well.

SmartSelect_20200902-170905.jpg

Interesting.  You look to be a little bit more accurate with the 699s but your right side misses have increased (perhaps due to less offset?)  Good data.

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On 9/3/2020 at 10:38 AM, GolfSpy MPR said:

 

Yep, @golfingbrock's reply is something I was going to say in reply to @THEZIPR23. My "no long" miss pattern is very common among the high-to-mid handicap crowd, because we all (hand raised) have a tendency to pick clubs based on "if I hit this properly."

I'm not even here talking about the guy who chooses his clubs based on "that one time when I was downwind of a cyclone on a fairway as baked out as Willie Nelson" distance. But it's very clear that I don't center my dispersion pattern over my target, which would lead to better scores.

It is my observation that a healthy 90% of approach shots I hit and those I play with, over decades of play, are short vs. long.  Oddly enough, on many courses, being long takes out most of the score stealing false fronts and bunkers.  One of my playing partners in Yuma has been pushing me to visit the backside of greens more often.

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4 hours ago, fixyurdivot said:

It is my observation that a healthy 90% of approach shots I hit and those I play with, over decades of play, are short vs. long.  Oddly enough, on many courses, being long takes out most of the score stealing false fronts and bunkers.  One of my playing partners in Yuma has been pushing me to visit the backside of greens more often.

It depend on the courses architect.  My home course  is a Robert Trent Jones. You can't be long on 14 of the 18 holes. A lot of the greens are also sloped from back to front. If you are long the down hill putts will kill you. We have fast greens. True, if you come up short a lot you will find bunkers if you are not dead straight. You do have run ups if you are centered.

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:taylormade-small: 3 Wood, SLDR 17*  R Flex

:taylormade-small: 5 Wood, SLDR 19* R Flex

:cobra-small: 7 Wood, F6 22.5* R Flex

:Sub70: Irons, 699 Pro's S Flex (5 - AW)

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I went to the range Saturday to work on my Hybrids. My gap is between 180 ish to 195. I have 5 different hybrids that I have tried over time. I just hit them all like crap. Totally disgusted I gave up and went to play 18. Quite a mistake. I'm glad I didn't keep score because I would have been around 100.  It was so bad I just played the first 4 holes over and over. I didn't want to get to far from the car just incase I wanted to pack it in. Was just a terrible day. The hybrids got in my head. How can you hit every club in the bag well except for the hybrid?

I was talking to my wife over dinner about my dilemma with the missing club in my game. Then I brought up the 7 wood post. She then said she had one in her golf bag. Heck, what do I have to lose?

Went to play 18 this morning armed with my Sub 70 irons and my wife's 7 wood as well as the rest of my clubs. Ok  the shaft was whippy and the grip was small, but it was the missing ingredient. Hit it a few times on the range. Got to hit it twice in the round. Good results. Now looking for a mens 7 wood.

The 699 Pro's  are still doing well (Forget about Saturday, it was all  me). I had another decent round today. One bogey one birdie on the front and  3 bogeys and two birdies on the back . 36 / 36.    72

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:ping-small: Driver, G400 11* SR Flex

:taylormade-small: 3 Wood, SLDR 17*  R Flex

:taylormade-small: 5 Wood, SLDR 19* R Flex

:cobra-small: 7 Wood, F6 22.5* R Flex

:Sub70: Irons, 699 Pro's S Flex (5 - AW)

:cleveland-small: Wedges, CBX 56* & 60*

:odyssey-small: Putter, Marksman Fang 35"

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Played 18 today on a course I haven't played in a few years with three friends. The irons performed well again. Even one of my playing partners commented on my iron flight being much better with these irons. Nothing spectacular, but a solid round. 36 on the front and 37 on the back for a one over 73.  One bogey due to a drive which ended up on the right side of the faiway but the green was blocked by a large tree. The rest of the holes were even par. Missed three birdie putts. But still very happy with these irons. 14 greens in regulation today.

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:ping-small: Driver, G400 11* SR Flex

:taylormade-small: 3 Wood, SLDR 17*  R Flex

:taylormade-small: 5 Wood, SLDR 19* R Flex

:cobra-small: 7 Wood, F6 22.5* R Flex

:Sub70: Irons, 699 Pro's S Flex (5 - AW)

:cleveland-small: Wedges, CBX 56* & 60*

:odyssey-small: Putter, Marksman Fang 35"

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Glad to hear things are still working out great for you Tom!  

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I haven't played a ton of tracked rounds in the past couple of weeks. Golf league is over here, and so Thursday nights have switched to scrambles. In general, I leave Arccos off for events like that.

But my play with the 699 Pros continues to be what I hoped. They have not revolutionized my game; I'm not making any outlandish claims for them. In Arccos's revised stats system, I'm treading water handicap-wise, sitting right in the 10–11 range. But my approach game continues to be consistent and predictable, and it has improved with the 699 Pros over the PING G700s, which is something I wouldn't necessarily have predicted at the outset of this test.

Earlier, I posted my approach game shot distribution with both sets of irons. For a refresher, here were my shots with the PINGs from this season, before switching irons:

beforeplotting.jpg

And here are my current numbers with the 699 Pros, with a few more rounds since my last post:

image.png

There are some fairly significant differences here from the last time I posted my numbers with the 699s. Last time, I was pleased to see my short misses diminishing enormously (they were down to 37.3%) and my GIRs slightly climbing (to 27.5%). I had more left/right misses with the 699s.

Now, my left/right misses are both lower than they were with the G700s, but the short misses have soared. Some of this might be attributable to the change in seasons; it's already starting to get colder here (most days have highs in the 50s or 60s), and I haven't adjusted my club choices accordingly. That said, both the old and new Arccos systems say that my approach handicap has trending in the correct direction by a little more than a stroke since switching to the 699s.

I'm still wanting to settle in to the garage this week to do some SkyTrak head-to-head numbers between the G700s and the 699 Pros. But as far as the on-course numbers go, I don't feel as though I've lost anything over my G700s.

For those following this review who are in the mid-handicap range with me, who can't relate well to the numbers that @Smellis745 and @Tom the Golf Nut are posting in this thread: I'll go ahead and say that if approach play isn't some radical (negative) outlier in your game, these are absolutely clubs you should consider. Subjectively, I think they check all the boxes for looks and feel. But I don't think that a reasonable mid-capper has any reason to feel intimidated by these irons.

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