Instructional Tip - Longer and Stronger May Not Be By Todd Daignault
Every year the golf companies come out with the latest and greatest set of irons that are promoted as the longest and straightest yet. Golfers all wonder how they can keep creating clubs that go farther each year. But if you dig a little deeper into the specs, you will notice the clubs are stronger in loft and longer in shaft length. In the mid 90’s, a six iron loft was around 32* at 37” and now it’s as low as 26* and 38.25”!
There is no argument that a lower loft and longer length can produce higher ball speeds which in turn could get you more yardage. Logic would dictate that you could bring your current clubs to a repair center and have them lengthened and strong lofted to achieve the same effects. But that won’t work. These modern clubs have, in addition to longer lengths and stronger lofts, a very different center of gravity than clubs of just 10 years ago.
Modern manufacturing processes and computers have allowed companies to fine tune the center of gravity of irons to create a higher launch and spin than the older models. The byproduct of this is the ball will launch higher and spin more, so companies have to strengthen the loft of the club to achieve the same peak height and ball flight you are used to seeing. As far as shaft lengths go, modern shafts are much lighter and softer than shafts from 10 years ago. This means the manufacturers can make the clubs longer without making them bulkier.
Now all of this may seem like the magic bullet, and it can be for some players, but for every rule there is the exception. Longer length clubs are harder to hit cleanly. Lighter shafts can be harder to control. And stronger lofts create less spin so holding greens can be a problem. The best way to approach this is to take your clubs and compare them to newer clubs on a launch monitor under the watchful eye of your fitting pro. Then you can see what gains are realistic and which ones are illusions.