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Newer Player - I've Only Used Single Length Irons - Any Reason to Try Standard Irons?


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#31 pinestreetgolf

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Posted 30 August 2017 - 10:16 AM

You should definitely try standard length wedges because there is no reason not to.  There are a million high quality ones on ebay that will resell for exactly what you paid.  Just get a chrome sm4 for around $45.  Price is pretty much always that, so you only "lose" shipping I guess.

The other thing I'd suggest is that there are numerous "systems" for hitting shots close to the hole predictably.  The most popular (probably) is the "clock" system pioneered by Dave Pelz that turned Tom Kite into the biggest ATM in the history of golf.  But there are others.  Siedeckman's is good, there are some who advocate one wedge for everything inside of X (Stockton) and some who think literally every club down to 7 iron has a role inside 75 yards (Leadbetter).

I'd honestly start by buying a cheap short wedge and doing some reading and youtube watching.  Once you get a system you are comfortable with you can fill it out with the right equipment.  For example, if you like Utley's "every shot is either high or low and you need a wedge for each" system, you won't need the same equipment as you would trying to implement Pelz's clock system or Siedeckman's backswing-relative-to-waist system.

In my humble opinion the players who are good close to the hole are those who are organized.  They know what they need to do and what club does what.  They can be "feel" players but *they know they are feel players* and they don't waiver from that.  Confidence and commitment will make you good from intermediate yardages and around the green regardless of what is in your hand.  You simply have to do some work, pick a system, and brainwash yourself.  Its like joining a cult - the more you believe, the better you get. The more you tinker and don't believe, the worse you get.

Edited by pinestreetgolf, 30 August 2017 - 10:19 AM.

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#32 rybo

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Posted 30 August 2017 - 02:34 PM

View Postpinestreetgolf, on 30 August 2017 - 08:14 AM, said:

I said last time you posted this I'd love to, and will likely be there fore either T-giving or X-mas.  Last time it sounded friendly, this time it sounded a little more of an aggressive invitation. :P  But I love meeting up and playing with WRXers either when I travel on business or when they come to NOLA, so a round would be great.  If you like picking out lanai's as targets, Naples golf is top notch!

Literally meant the exact opposite.  Didn't want you to think I was reneging on the offer.

The remark about aiming at lanai's is true for some courses, but certainly not all.  Naples does have the Shark Shootout, a senior PGA event and the season ending LPGA Championship. There are also plenty of courses with no homes on them, Calusa Pines (multiple top 100 course), Bonita Bay East courses, Old Collier, HideOut, etc.  Last count I heard was 88 courses in the county.  Lee county probably has 60 more.  No where in the country has the concentration of golf courses like southwest Florida.

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#33 Milfordlefty

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Posted 30 August 2017 - 03:43 PM

If you want to experiment to see what a VL wedge would feel like, just choke down on your SL wedge. My guess, at your stage of learning, trying to figure out if VL is better than SL for your current swing would impede overall swing/shot improvement, gunna mess with your mind. The clock drill is excellent to develop touch on less than full swings. It sounds like you are leaking shots in short game & putting and that might be the area to work on vs trying to see if you can gain full swing iron distance. Add a fw or hybrid to the bag to help on par 5's and long par 4's & 3's.
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#34 Hit 'Em Straight

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Posted 19 September 2017 - 07:08 PM

OP here.  I mentioned to a buddy about being curious about VL irons.  He noted that he had some old clubs that I was welcome to if I could hit them.

Turned out to be a Hogan Apex II iron set.  1 iron through Equalizer.

Doubtful of my prospects at success, I took them to the course on Saturday and with no practice shot a 41, with both of my double bogeys the result of hooking my drive into the trees.

Hit the irons really well.

Figuring it to be a fluke, I took them back out on Sunday and shot a 38.  Only my second time breaking 40.

I’ve never hit irons so well, leading to scores much better than my average score of 45.

I wasn’t so bold as to try the 1 or 2 iron, but did find the green on an approach shot with the 3 iron the only time I used it.

I don’t know that there is any great lesson for me to be learned here, but I was extremely surprised that I would do so well going out cold with not only VL irons, but ones that would seem much harder to hit.  Perhaps it's just as simple as better focus, as those small club heads certainly focused the mind to the task at hand.  It could have been better tempo.  There were too many variables to know why it went well, but it certainly was interesting.

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#35 Lobber

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Posted 19 September 2017 - 08:00 PM

Leave this site immediately and never return. Unless you want to catch the ho,disease that is an epidemic on this site. I was disease free until I started visiting here.  Or you can stay and buy set after set like many of us do!


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#36 Hit 'Em Straight

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Posted 25 September 2017 - 06:24 PM

View PostLobber, on 19 September 2017 - 08:00 PM, said:

Leave this site immediately and never return. Unless you want to catch the ho,disease that is an epidemic on this site. I was disease free until I started visiting here.  Or you can stay and buy set after set like many of us do!

Good word of warning.  Man I hope not.  I already went through that with shotgun sports (well, I need one for skeet, and one for trap, and one for sporting clays, etc.) and never did seem to do any better than I did with my old pump action.

I'll keep at it with what I have for at least the time being, with perhaps just filling in the top of the bag a bit.  Figure I have open slots for more clubs, so maybe fill one of those  with a 3 wood.

Of course if any other free golf clubs come my way, I don't think I'll be saying no.  It's certainly fun to goof around with new toys if the price is right.

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#37 Noodler

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Posted 27 September 2017 - 08:10 AM

The compromise that sits between the two extremes of SL and traditional VL, is MOI-matched 3/8" increment iron sets.  Standard/fitted wedges used alongside the compressed variability in the length of the irons (with MOI matching) is a fantastic solution for golfers who want most of the benefits of SL without the major drawbacks.

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#38 MrFlapjack

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Posted 27 September 2017 - 04:25 PM

View PostNoodler, on 27 September 2017 - 08:10 AM, said:

The compromise that sits between the two extremes of SL and traditional VL, is MOI-matched 3/8" increment iron sets.  Standard/fitted wedges used alongside the compressed variability in the length of the irons (with MOI matching) is a fantastic solution for golfers who want most of the benefits of SL without the major drawbacks.

I lengthened my shorter irons and compressed the lengths a bit and have liked the results.  I still have my wedges shorter though as I feel I need that to hit any touchy feely shots.  Built my irons and wedges to 2700 MOI and thats down from 2750 of my last set.  Want to pick up a second set of 545s to experiment with one more build.
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#39 Hit 'Em Straight

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Posted 31 October 2017 - 07:31 PM

I’ve stuck with the single length irons and have shaved a stroke off my handicap since my initial post starting this thread two months ago, so I haven’t hit the absolute wall I feared.

It’ll be interesting to see what the swing looks like after the winter layoff.  Seems SL in theory should help limit the time needed to shake off the cobwebs.

On a lark, I broke out the Apex II irons again this weekend.  It was a brutal round.  As suspected, it seems it was an unexplained lightening in a bottle moment posting low rounds using them for those two 9-hole rounds about a month ago. I don’t use that as an indictment against VL, just found it interesting that I had played so well with such difficult to hit irons and had figured (accurately) that the experience would not be repeated.

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#40 super20dan

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Posted 31 October 2017 - 07:47 PM

View Postrcain1us, on 28 August 2017 - 02:00 PM, said:

How long do you hit your 4 iron and what are you playing between that and driver, as short as you are you  must already be playing a lot of non SL clubs (hybrids, fairways, whatever).

As short as you are I would think SL is a hindrance to you playing with obscenely long wedges.
I agree . your short game may suffer eventually as you improve the rest of your game

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#41 OsnolaKinnard

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Posted 31 October 2017 - 08:36 PM

There is absolutely no reason to change.  None.  At All.

I currently play variable length irons, but have an appointment with an Edel rep in November to get fitted for their SLS irons.

I hit my dad's Cobra F7 SL irons...and immediately fell in love with the concept.

I don't know your build, height, athletic background, but as a guy that's 6'4" tall, 290 pounds...the added length of the 8-GW are a true help for me.  I don't feel hunched up.  I don't lunge at the ball, I don't rise up...I just make a nice smooth swing, and I get the results I want with a SL iron.  I literally never felt comfortable over anything shorter than 7 iron for almost 25 years of golf until I hit my Pop's SL irons.

As for chipping/pitching/wedge play...practice it.  A technique I discovered worked for me was to set up as I would a 7 iron chip and let the loft do the work.

It's not rocket surgery.

Besides...the only reason we have a variable length iron is because some Scotsman got drunk and said "MAKE THE 5 IRON 38" AND MAKE EVERYTHING ELSE 1/2" shorter or longer up or down the line"

There is, to my knowledge ZERO rhyme or reason as to why we have irons the length we do, or in the staggered lengths we do...other than to maybe make them fit in the bag.
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#42 pinestreetgolf

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Posted 01 November 2017 - 08:11 AM

View PostOsnolaKinnard, on 31 October 2017 - 08:36 PM, said:

There is, to my knowledge ZERO rhyme or reason as to why we have irons the length we do, or in the staggered lengths we do...other than to maybe make them fit in the bag.

Longer irons go faster around your body when swing with identical force.  If the player is skilled enough to hit them in the sweet spot consistently, they will go significantly further than SL irons at the same loft.

If a player is not skilled enough to hit it in the middle consistently, they start losing that centripetal force to off-center strikes, and might be better off with SL.

I am usually accused of being a critic of SL.  I'm not at all.  I'm a critic of this all or none thinking you are doing here.  For some players, usually higher skilled players, the distance of VL is significant and a larger advantage over more control (which they have anyway even with a 39" club because they are highly skilled players).

Further, on an actual golf course, your clubs arn't single length.  If its a sidehill lie, your club is a different effective length.  If its a downhill lie, same thing.  The only time you actually play SL clubs is on the driving range where there is no elevation and all the lies are perfect.  Its just geometry.  If a ball is in a different place each time relative to your stance and your club is always 37", you actually don't have SL irons.  You just have shorter irons.

Finally, I can magically make my VL iron SL.  I choke down.  SL is really good for players who have technical thoughts - you can pretty easily make a VL 5 iron a 7 iron length by how you hold it.  You don't need to actually cut it off.

SL is a great tool for people who struggle with contact in the low irons.  Its not a revolutionary way to play golf and it isn't better than VL.  Its different, no more.
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#43 Hit 'Em Straight

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 06:33 PM

View Postsuper20dan, on 31 October 2017 - 07:47 PM, said:

View Postrcain1us, on 28 August 2017 - 02:00 PM, said:

How long do you hit your 4 iron and what are you playing between that and driver, as short as you are you  must already be playing a lot of non SL clubs (hybrids, fairways, whatever).

As short as you are I would think SL is a hindrance to you playing with obscenely long wedges.
I agree . your short game may suffer eventually as you improve the rest of your game

In thinking about this and filling out the top end of my bag, I ended up picking up the Pinhawk SL Fairway Woods too.  The 7 wood is a beauty for me and gives me more distance than the comparably lofted iron.  5 wood works as well as the Cleveland XL that it replaced in my bag.  I'll need to work on the 3 wood.  I'm inconsistent with it off the turf and there just aren't that many times I would need to hit less than driver off the tee.  

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#44 Noodler

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 07:43 PM

View Postpinestreetgolf, on 01 November 2017 - 08:11 AM, said:

View PostOsnolaKinnard, on 31 October 2017 - 08:36 PM, said:

There is, to my knowledge ZERO rhyme or reason as to why we have irons the length we do, or in the staggered lengths we do...other than to maybe make them fit in the bag.

Longer irons go faster around your body when swing with identical force.  If the player is skilled enough to hit them in the sweet spot consistently, they will go significantly further than SL irons at the same loft.

If a player is not skilled enough to hit it in the middle consistently, they start losing that centripetal force to off-center strikes, and might be better off with SL.

I am usually accused of being a critic of SL.  I'm not at all.  I'm a critic of this all or none thinking you are doing here.  For some players, usually higher skilled players, the distance of VL is significant and a larger advantage over more control (which they have anyway even with a 39" club because they are highly skilled players).

Further, on an actual golf course, your clubs arn't single length.  If its a sidehill lie, your club is a different effective length.  If its a downhill lie, same thing.  The only time you actually play SL clubs is on the driving range where there is no elevation and all the lies are perfect.  Its just geometry.  If a ball is in a different place each time relative to your stance and your club is always 37", you actually don't have SL irons.  You just have shorter irons.

Finally, I can magically make my VL iron SL.  I choke down.  SL is really good for players who have technical thoughts - you can pretty easily make a VL 5 iron a 7 iron length by how you hold it.  You don't need to actually cut it off.

SL is a great tool for people who struggle with contact in the low irons.  Its not a revolutionary way to play golf and it isn't better than VL.  Its different, no more.

Way too many flaws and false statements to let this sit without a response...

The idea that VL irons get a significant amount of their distance difference due to to the additional length is a golf myth.  The difference in length between individual irons (be it 1/2", 3/8", etc.) has very little impact on the final club head velocity attained.  The difference in length between most golfer's longest and shortest irons/wedges is usually 3.5" or less.  I have an application called "Swing Perfect" (discussed on Dave Tutelman's site) that allows you to model the golf swing and modify parameters to see the impact on final club speed (among other output variables).  When you change the club length by 1/2", the simulation shows barely any change in the resulting club head speed.  Also, the difference in club head speed between a 35" wedge and a 38.5" long iron is only 2 mph (with all else being equal).  Take this back to the real world, and for an "all out" full swing, across every iron in a bag, you will not see that much variation in head speed.  More than the 2 mph in the model, but not much (usually it's around 5-6 mph).

The vast majority of the difference in yardage is due to loft angles, not club length across your irons.

The advantage of SL has been stated many times; it is the matching of the swing heft and feel across the iron set.  This advantage does not "disappear" just because of variations in course conditions/lies.  Choking down absolutely does not replicate the full advantage of SL irons, as it does not replicate the swing heft/feel; only the distance of your hands from the club head.

I play irons at 3/8" increments.  This compresses the length range to 2.625" between my wedges and my 4 iron.  The only reason I don't go even less on the increments is due to wanting to be able to use off-the-shelf components.  Tighter increments (or SL) requires more radical changes to get the set matched.  SL sets provide a significant advantage over VL and I don't believe this is a passing fad, but unfortunately golfers can be so rooted in tradition that it creates challenges for their adoption.  If we started every junior golfer with SL irons, in 10 to 20 years SL irons would probably be the vast majority of iron sales instead of VL irons.  VL would be looked at as being the "weird" way to play golf.

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#45 pinestreetgolf

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Posted 15 November 2017 - 10:09 AM

View PostNoodler, on 14 November 2017 - 07:43 PM, said:

Way too many flaws and false statements to let this sit without a response...

The idea that VL irons get a significant amount of their distance difference due to to the additional length is a golf myth.  The difference in length between individual irons (be it 1/2", 3/8", etc.) has very little impact on the final club head velocity attained.  The difference in length between most golfer's longest and shortest irons/wedges is usually 3.5" or less.  I have an application called "Swing Perfect" (discussed on Dave Tutelman's site) that allows you to model the golf swing and modify parameters to see the impact on final club speed (among other output variables).  When you change the club length by 1/2", the simulation shows barely any change in the resulting club head speed.  Also, the difference in club head speed between a 35" wedge and a 38.5" long iron is only 2 mph (with all else being equal).  Take this back to the real world, and for an "all out" full swing, across every iron in a bag, you will not see that much variation in head speed.  More than the 2 mph in the model, but not much (usually it's around 5-6 mph).

For sure.  Can't "let it sit".  Noodler to the rescue!

I pulled this part out, although I thought the whole thing was nonsense, because I don't understand it.  Note "i don't understand it" isn't code for "you're wrong and should feel bad".  However, you are leaving out initial velocity - your post reads as if all golfers swing the same speed.

A club is a lever.  Your body is a stationary point.  A lever will always reach top speed at 90* to its axis (its axis is your spine, 90* is impact).  The longer the lever *given an initial starting velocity* the faster the speed the lever will reach at 90*.

It based in percent, which is why I don't understand your analysis.  What starting velocity are you using?  If I start the club down at 2 mph I will see virtually no difference between a 20 inch club and a 7 foot club.  if I start the club down at 2,000 mph I will see a massive difference between a 36" club and a 36.5" club (in terms of speed when it reaches 90* to its axis).

The faster the swing the more longer shafts augment speed.  You can't just say its "usually around 5-6 mph" for an "all out" swing.  Whose all out swing?  My all out 113 mph driver swing?  Dustin Johnson's all out swing?  My dad's 88 mph all out swing?  All of those calculations would range WAY differently than just "oh, 5-6 mph".

It is indisputable that a longer lever creates more speed (and you didn't dispute it, you just argued it didn't matter).  However, it is also indisputable that by 90* to its axis (i.e. impact) the speed of that lever being longer will increase proportionally to the initial velocity the club has - in other words, if you swing harder a longer shaft goes faster by more.

Explain your comments in that context.  How in the world can you say what the effect is of lengthening the lever if you don't know initial velocity?  Are you suggesting that the increase in velocity from a 36" shaft to a 38" shaft is the same for all players?  If I moved from a 36" PW to a 37" PW with my swing speed, are you suggesting my 80 year old dad would experience the exact same change in speed as a result of that shaft lengthening?

Or are you just not changing swing speed in whatever software this is?  Swing speed isn't a constant.

Of course its a passing fad.  Ping tried to sell drivers using Turbolators, they'd sell SL if they thought it would work.  Bobby Jones played with them almost 70 years ago.  SL is a really cool idea, but it still requires basic ballstriking mechanics that 90% of golfers don't have.

Edited by pinestreetgolf, 15 November 2017 - 10:25 AM.

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#46 rybo

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Posted 15 November 2017 - 10:37 AM

View PostNoodler, on 14 November 2017 - 07:43 PM, said:


Way too many flaws and false statements to let this sit without a response...

The idea that VL irons get a significant amount of their distance difference due to to the additional length is a golf myth.  The difference in length between individual irons (be it 1/2", 3/8", etc.) has very little impact on the final club head velocity attained.  The difference in length between most golfer's longest and shortest irons/wedges is usually 3.5" or less.  I have an application called "Swing Perfect" (discussed on Dave Tutelman's site) that allows you to model the golf swing and modify parameters to see the impact on final club speed (among other output variables).  When you change the club length by 1/2", the simulation shows barely any change in the resulting club head speed.  Also, the difference in club head speed between a 35" wedge and a 38.5" long iron is only 2 mph (with all else being equal).  Take this back to the real world, and for an "all out" full swing, across every iron in a bag, you will not see that much variation in head speed.  More than the 2 mph in the model, but not much (usually it's around 5-6 mph).

The vast majority of the difference in yardage is due to loft angles, not club length across your irons.

The advantage of SL has been stated many times; it is the matching of the swing heft and feel across the iron set.  This advantage does not "disappear" just because of variations in course conditions/lies.  Choking down absolutely does not replicate the full advantage of SL irons, as it does not replicate the swing heft/feel; only the distance of your hands from the club head.

I play irons at 3/8" increments.  This compresses the length range to 2.625" between my wedges and my 4 iron.  The only reason I don't go even less on the increments is due to wanting to be able to use off-the-shelf components.  Tighter increments (or SL) requires more radical changes to get the set matched.  SL sets provide a significant advantage over VL and I don't believe this is a passing fad, but unfortunately golfers can be so rooted in tradition that it creates challenges for their adoption.  If we started every junior golfer with SL irons, in 10 to 20 years SL irons would probably be the vast majority of iron sales instead of VL irons.  VL would be looked at as being the "weird" way to play golf.

Truth!!

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#47 pinestreetgolf

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Posted 15 November 2017 - 10:52 AM

You should re title this thread for some nice clickbait -

CLICK HERE TO DISCOVER THE BEST IRONS, HIDDEN FROM AVERAGE PLAYERS FOR 65 YEARS, FINALLY REVEALED!!

Spoiler alert: its SL irons.
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#48 Milfordlefty

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 04:24 PM

View Postpinestreetgolf, on 15 November 2017 - 10:52 AM, said:

You should re title this thread for some nice clickbait -

CLICK HERE TO DISCOVER THE BEST IRONS, HIDDEN FROM AVERAGE PLAYERS FOR 65 YEARS, FINALLY REVEALED!!

Spoiler alert: its SL irons.

Only if you want fewer lucky shots
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Hybrid - Nickent 3DX 4h, TT Dynalite steel R, 38.75", std° lie angle
Irons - Ping G20 5-W, CFS steel R, Black dot lie, std length
Wedges - Ping Tour 50°-54°-58°, Black dot lie angle, std length
Putter - Original Odyssey #7 XG w/ SuperStroke Flatso 2.0, red paint by Continental Golf

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#49 ohioglfr

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 06:02 PM

In a broad sense, switching to stepped-length irons would be like going from a PC operating system to a Mac for the fist time.

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#50 Hit 'Em Straight

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Posted 03 December 2017 - 03:06 PM

OP here. Since handicap posting season closed, I've been using my Apex II irons on a consistent basis as they are the only VL irons I have and the price was right (i.e, provided by a buddy free to me).

Small sample size thus far, but my average score has been less than two strokes higher with the Apex II vs my usual Pinhawk SL.  And it seems that is just as likely to be chalked up to the fact that they're old school blades vs. modern game improvement irons as it is to be a reflection on VL vs SL..

Looks like at least for me the answer could very well be that there is no real difference in the results.  It's been a fun experiment.  I'll likely keep it going if the good weather continues to hold up.  

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#51 Hit 'Em Straight

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Posted 03 December 2017 - 03:37 PM

My understanding is that older irons were made shorter than modern ones and therefore the variability in length in the old irons is more compressed than with a modern VL set.

Perhaps (as was suggested by a poster above), we'll see more folks using a smaller incremental change in length from iron-to-iron in their VL length irons to try and capture some of the benefits of both concepts.

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#52 kody17

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Posted 03 December 2017 - 03:51 PM

View PostHit, on 27 August 2017 - 05:08 PM, said:

Greetings all.  I’ve been playing for just over a year now and wanted to get some thoughts on switching to standard (variable) length irons from single length.

The concept of using irons of varying lengths didn’t seem intuitive to me, so I bought a single length set right from the start.   I use single length throughout my iron/wedges (4 iron thru LW).

I didn’t bother keeping score last summer and was over a 25 index on my first GHIN handicap card in the fall once I started keeping score.  I’m now down to about a 13, and continue to drop about a stroke a month.  But I can feel the scoring plateau coming soon.  

So my question is will the single length irons somehow hinder continued improvement?  I’d hate to regroup and use regular irons if there’s no upside.  But I don’t want to hit a self-created ceiling.  

It seems for the typical player the question is why would he/she bother switching to single length.  Guess mine is the opposite - is there any reason to switch to standard?  

For a little info that may be helpful - I play approximately 27 holes a week with no additional practice time.  My distances are tough to provide because they keep increasing as my swing improves.  But I’m short to maybe average distances at the moment.   As of now I hit my 50 wedge about 105-110 yds.  7 iron (35 degrees) about 130-135.  Driver 220 (but hit one 255 just yesterday).  

Cordially yours and thanks for your thoughts!

If you just took up the great game of golf a little over a year ago, and have dropped from a 25 hcp to a 13 in that short of time, I would say the single length irons are working pretty well for you. In such a short amount of time to be playing the game, you will find that you will become progressively better in the short game the more you practice and play. That will really start to drop your scores even more. I would stick with your irons if you are already down to a 13 after just one year of playing. They don't seem to be the problem.

If you are truly curious about standard length irons, go to your local golf store and hit some on the simulator. See what you think of them. There really is no "better or worse," it is more of what your personal preference is and what you are most effective with.

Edited by kody17, 03 December 2017 - 03:52 PM.


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