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Charl Schwartzel’s drilled-out Miura irons: A builder’s perspective

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We see plenty of cavity back irons on the PGA Tour. Most of these irons have been strategically designed to position weight and center of gravity to maximize performance. Spotted this week at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am: a nonconventional set of “cavity backs” in the form of Charl Schwartzel’s drilled-out Miura MB-001 blade irons.

As first reported by Golf.com’s Andrew Tursky, Charl, an equipment free-agent, bought the irons online, and after tinkering with them (obviously, Charl is a true gear nut), he felt the irons were just a bit too heavy at D6 swing weight and wanted to bring them down to around D3. These number will seem quite arbitrary to some, so to help explain swing weight, we have a short video below

Now, the question comes down to why would he drill out the irons instead of just having the clubs built to his desired spec?

In the case of Miura irons, a company founded in Japan. The iron head weights are heavier than others on the market because Japan spec irons are generally built to shorter lengths than their North American counterparts. The clubheads are noticeably heavier in the shorter irons and wedges (see chart below), which is why we see more holes in the pitching wedge vs. the longer irons.

Since the MB-001’s are a solid muscle design with no badges or weight ports in the head, there is no other way to remove the mass needed to hit a lighter swing weight for Charl—unless Miura was to produce a set heads at a lighter weights by grinding off mass during the final production steps before final finishing.

Head weight specs 3-PW starting at 245g at the 3-iron.

As a result, when built with heavier tour weight shafts (anything 110g or above) and at a standard North American length (37″ – 7 iron, or longer), the clubs will end up being heavier than what would be considered standard swing weight (usually between D1-D4). Let me please point out that in the golf club manufacturing world there are very few standard practices or measurements beyond the USGA ruler and swing weight scale. Although the phrase “standard clubs” is still common nomenclature, it applies very little to the custom club building world. 

Beyond adding mass to the grip end of the club to counteract the heavier weight of the heads, a practice known as counterbalancing, the only other option is to drill mass out of the clubhead (see full video above for further explanation). Charl reportedly did the drilling himself when fine-tuning the clubs and after a few holes got them right where he likes them.

Based on the thickness of the iron muscle and the amount of mass removed from each head (roughly six grams), these holes have no effect on the performance of the irons (but have probably killed any potential resale value on the open market—bearing in mind that last part is tongue in cheek). If Charl wins another major with these, who knows what they would be worth.

Other examples

This process of drilling out mass has also been referred to as “porting,” and club builders have been doing it for a long time. In the case of wedges, porting not only helps reduce clubhead weight, but can also help (in a very, very small way) remove mass from lower in the head to raise the CG. It’s the exact reason Callaway introduced this design feature in the original PM Grind and continues with the design philosophy today in the JAWS MD5.

With Bryson’s wedges being more than 1″ over standard length, weight had to be removed from the head.

We don’t recommend you start drilling holes in your irons and wedges just yet and suggest seeing a professional club builder to help you sort out your specs and get you dialed in. For more pictures of the clubs Charl Schwartzel is using this week, head to the GolfWRX forum: Charl Schwartzel – WITB 2020 AT&T Pebble Beach

 

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Ryan Barath is part of the Digital Content Creation Team for GolfWRX. He hosts the "On Spec" Podcast on the GolfWRX Radio Network which focuses on discussing everything golf, including gear, technology, fitting, and course architecture. He is a club-fitter & master club builder with more than 17 years of experience working with golfers of all skill levels, including PGA Tour players. He is the former Build Shop Manager & Social Media Coordinator for Modern Golf. He now works independently from his home shop and is a member of advisory panels to a select number of golf equipment manufacturers. You can find Ryan on Twitter and Instagram where he's always willing to chat golf, and share his passion for club building, course architecture and wedge grinding.

20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. craig adams

    Mar 12, 2020 at 12:42 am

    Charles golf game has holes in it. He’s out of the top 200? A golfer as talented as he is shouldn’t have to tinker with clubs. Manufacturers should be throwing their clubs at him. Did his game go sour since moving to PXG? Why do golfers change a winning combination? Look at Westwood and Jiminez; been playing with Pings all their career.

  2. Eldrick

    Feb 20, 2020 at 3:38 am

    Looks like his Gapr low is a glued non adjustable one.

  3. Nack Jicklaus

    Feb 12, 2020 at 1:02 am

    He should have just drilled all the way through the faces like the old “Hammer” driver. Boom!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Ima Fitter

    Feb 10, 2020 at 5:02 pm

    Love it! You don’t need to spend a ton of money on a new set of irons. As long as they are forged and you like the appearance, pre-owned irons can be fit to your swing. Change the loft & lie, change the shaft, change the grips…any qualified club builder can make them work for you.

  5. Benny

    Feb 8, 2020 at 8:02 pm

    Great catch Wrx and article. Charl left PXG a while ago. But truly suprised he couldn’t get a set directly and have them custom grinded. Anyways great details and love the comments fellas.

  6. bob stelben

    Feb 8, 2020 at 3:01 am

    Good video on swing weights. Can you explain tipping of the shaft and the reasons or advantages/disadvantages?

  7. Steve

    Feb 7, 2020 at 3:23 pm

    I thought Schwartzel was a PXG guy? Guess I am mixing up who Parson’s friends are. And I agree….drilling holes in Miura irons is like adding your own touch up paint to the Mona Lisa. To each his own, I guess.

    • Funkaholic

      Feb 7, 2020 at 4:55 pm

      I doubt a pro is bagging those Miuras for status, he is going to play the grooves off of those babies, appearance is for weekend hackers.

  8. Donn Rutkoff

    Feb 6, 2020 at 3:17 pm

    Palmer probably drilled out hundreds of clubs. Tinkering was common. To suit your own swing.

  9. Fergie

    Feb 6, 2020 at 12:33 pm

    Drilling Miuras like that is, well, blasphemy. He should just get it over with and get CB’s.

    • Funkaholic

      Feb 7, 2020 at 4:53 pm

      CB’s are not the same idea at all, he is reducing swing weight, a CB redistributes weigh to lower in the head making raising MOI and them easier to launch.

  10. Mike Cleland

    Feb 6, 2020 at 10:32 am

    I grew up playing D5 S/W clubs with standard lengths. Does any manufacturers make heavy headed clubs or do they just shove weight down the shaft & change the center of gravity. All my clubs are covered with lead tape. Any suggestions?
    PS: I really enjoy your blogs

  11. jgpl001

    Feb 6, 2020 at 3:50 am

    Nasty workmanship on a quality blade

    He appears to be missing the drilled effect of hs old pig’s……

  12. Dennis

    Feb 6, 2020 at 1:28 am

    Do all the pros go for swingweight instead of MOI-Matching?

  13. Gurn

    Feb 6, 2020 at 12:19 am

    Those Miuras need that treatment like a hole in the head

  14. bill bourne

    Feb 5, 2020 at 8:01 pm

    Does drilling out the backs affect the overall thickness spec?

    • JP

      Feb 6, 2020 at 8:32 am

      Huh? Overall thickness spec? What is that?

      • Tim Armington

        Feb 7, 2020 at 7:54 am

        You dont know what a thickness spec is??? Wow.

        • Funkaholic

          Feb 7, 2020 at 4:56 pm

          Ha! This guy doesn’t know what thickness spec is!

          • maroon

            Feb 8, 2020 at 4:32 am

            I know but it has nothing to do with golf 😉

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Equipment

Puma unveil new Ignite NXT Crafted footwear

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Puma Ignite NXT Crafted footwear

Puma Golf has launched its new Ignite NXT Crafted footwear – a new version of the NXT with premium leather accents.

The upper of the shoe features a premium leather saddle wrapped around Pwrframe reinforcement. The Pwrframe TPU is an ultra-thin frame that is placed in high-stress areas of the upper for lightweight in a bid to offer added support and increased stability.

Puma Ignite NXT Crafted footwear

The new additions feature Puma’s Pro-Form TPU outsole with an organically-altered traction pattern, containing over 100 strategically placed directional hexagon lugs in proper zones, designed to provide maximum stability and traction.

Puma Ignite NXT Crafted footwear

The Ignite NXT Crafted footwear contain a full-length IGNITE Foam midsole, wrapped in Soleshield in design to offer maximum durability, comfort and energy return. Soleshield is a micro-thin TPU film that is vacuum-formed around the midsole designed to make cleaning off dirt and debris effortless.

Puma Ignite NXT Crafted footwear

Speaking on the new Ignite NXT Crafted footwear, Andrew Lawson, PLM Footwear, Puma Golf said

“The Ignite NXT Crafted perfectly fuse the beauty of handcrafted shoemaking with modern development techniques to deliver optimum elegance and peak performance. With the combination of style and performance these shoes will appeal to a wide variety of golfers – those who appreciate the classic look of a leather saddle shoe and those who value modern comfort and stability technologies being a part of their game.”

Puma Ignite NXT Crafted footwear

The Ignite NXT Crafted shoes are available in 4 colorways: White-Leather Brown-Team Gold, Black-Leather Brown-Team Gold, Peacoat-Leather Brown-Team Gold and White-Hi-Rise-Team Gold) and come in sizes 7-15.

Puma Ignite NXT Crafted footwear

The shoes cost $140 per pair and are available online and at retail beginning today, June 5, 2020.

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What GolfWRXers are saying about the best Nike driver ever

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@ukgolfclubsales

In our forums, our members have been discussing Nike drivers. WRXer ‘DixieD’ is currently building up a Nike bag and has reached out to fellow members for driver advice, and WRXers have been sharing what they feel is the best Nike driver ever made.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • Ger21: “VR Pro LE? I have two I was still playing last year.”
  • mahonie: “The STR8-Fit Tour was one of the best drivers I’ve played. Still have it the garage and take it to the range occasionally…it would possibly still be in the bag if it hadn’t developed a ‘click’ in the head which I cannot fix. Long, straight(ish) and nice sound.”
  • jackr189: “The VR_S is one of the best.”
  • Finaus_Umbrella: “I played the Vapor Fly Pro, and still do on occasion for nostalgia sake. Sound and feel are great, but it demands a good strike.”
  • PowderedToastMan: “I enjoyed the SQ Tour back in the day, the one Tiger used forever. Do I miss it? Not at all, but it was a pretty good club for its time.”

Entire Thread: “Best Nike driver?”

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What GolfWRXers are saying about driving irons for mid-handicappers

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In our forums, our members have been discussing whether mid-handicappers can benefit from a driving iron. WRXer ‘jomatty’ says:

“I average about 230 off the tee on good drives. I can get a little more sometimes, but 230 is probably the average. I’m 42 years old and shoot in the mid to low 80’s. I do not get along with fairway woods very well, especially off the tee, and really don’t get enough extra length over my hybrid to consider using it aside from very rare situations on par 5’s (I’ve considered just going from driver to 19-degree hybrid and getting an extra wedge or something).”…

…and wants to know if he would be better served by a driving iron. Our members have been sharing their thoughts and suggestions.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • MtlJeff: “If you can shoot mid 80’s, you probably hit it well enough to hit a bunch of different clubs. Personally, I think hybrids are easier to hit….but some driving irons are quite forgiving. I use a G400 crossover that is very easy to hit and looks more iron-like. Something like that you might like. Be careful with some of them though because they aren’t always super forgiving, so you’d have to hit them first.”
  • HackerD: “G410 crossover is my version of a driving iron, feel like I hit it straighter than a hybrid. Just as easy to hit as a hybrid.”
  • hanginnwangin: “I shoot in the low 80s normally and in the 70s on my really good days. I have probably around the same or similar swing speed as you. I have been hitting my 4 iron off the tee on tight holes, and it’s been working pretty well so far. I hit it about 190-220. I have a 4 hybrid but just can’t hit it as consistently as the 4 iron, and it doesn’t even go much farther. I have a 5 wood which I only use for 220+ yard par 3s or wide-open fairways. Basically, it’s all personal preference and what you do best with. Everyone is going to be different. Try new stuff out and see what works. But if irons are the strongest part of your game (they are for me as well), I would give the 4 iron a shot. You can get a lot of roll out on the tee shots with it,”
  • Hellstrom: “Don’t laugh, but I bought a 17* hybrid with a senior flex shaft at a garage sale for $5, and I can hit it nice and easy and keep it in play without losing any distance. My driver SS is between 105 and 110 usually and swinging this thing feels like swinging a spaghetti noodle, but it works. I don’t have it in the bag all the time, but I do use it for certain courses. I take my 6 iron out and throw that in, so if I struggle with getting the ball off the tee, I just go to that.”

Entire Thread: “Driving iron for a mid-handicapper”

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