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Clampett: Is confusion the leading cause of golfers quitting the game?

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It seems that lately I’ve had a run of golfers attending my two-day Signature School with similar stories.

“Bobby, I have too many swing thoughts! I don’t know what I should think about when I swing.” Nearly without exception, these golfers tell me that their increased frustration had led to a deterioration of their game. It’s really a shame, because many of these frustrated golfers were at one time low, single-digit handicap players that had fallen to bogey-level golf.

In these schools, I have the time to start peeling back the onion with each student, and I’m hearing the same story over and over. My first question is always, “How did you find out about us?” Usually, it’s through referral or the result of an internet search for instruction help. My second questions is, “What do you hope to accomplish in our two days together?” They almost always respond, “Bobby, my head is spinning with too many swing thoughts. I don’t know what to do. Your approach to impact makes the most sense I’ve seen. That’s why I’m here.”

Statistics indicate that 4 million golfers quit the game in the United States every year. And if you polled each of these 4 million golfers, you’d find confusion to be the common denominator in their decision to quit.

I googled “golf instruction” and received more than 33 million results. Then I went to “YouTube” and typed in “Golf Tip.” There were 932,000 results. Scores of golfers get emails everyday suggesting a new thought or idea to improve their game. They watch television and pick up some more advice. They subscribe to golf magazines suggesting all kinds of ideas. Then they go to the range or course and put as much of it into action as their memories and bodies will allow… only to find it just doesn’t work! They’re farther away from playing good golf than they were when they began seeking out these swing fixes.

Many of my students are avid golfers who come to my schools on the brink of quitting the game all together. One student’s story was so sad. He confessed that no one at his club wanted to play with him anymore because his game had declined so sharply. He was considering selling his membership. In tears, he shared with us that all of his friends were members of his club.

Why is there all this confusion around the golf swing? There are two simple reasons.

The first involves the idea that “style-based” teaching is still the most common approach to improving a golfer’s game, and in my opinion, this doesn’t work very well for most golfers. Style-based instruction centers around a certain look. These teachers ask golfers to set up to the ball this way, get in these backswing positions, make this move on the downswing, look like this at the finish… and so on. Meanwhile, the Dustin Johnsons, Jim Furyks, and Bubba Watsons of the golfing world don’t possess golf swings that look anything like the “style” being suggested. When swing tips are given for “style” reasons, they’re arbitrary, a visual preference, and can’t be measured.

The second reason golfers are more confused today than they’ve ever been is the climate of today’s golf instruction world. We live in a new age, the digital age, and golfers are being bombarded by countless forms of media suggesting how to improve their games. These tips have a very wide range of theories and suggestions, most of which are conflicting.

Set up with your weight on the left foot. No, on the right foot. No, in the middle.

Have a short, compact swing. No, get a big shoulder turn for more distance. No, just swing around your body.

Finish high. No, finish low and left.

You get the picture. Without the ability to discern fact from fiction when it comes to all of this information, golfers go to the driving range in search of that secret pill that’s going to make it all work. The truth is that a secret pill that’s “style-based” just doesn’t exist. The best golf teachers know that the “style” of swing really doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters in playing good golf is creating good impact. That’s what Dustin Johnson, Jim Furyk and Bubba Watson all have in common, and that’s why they are all great golfers and great ball-strikers.

Good instructors understand what it is that these great players do to create that good impact, and they have the ability to offer clear remedies that might be built on only one or two simple thoughts. When a golfer is limited to thinking about only one or two key things, their mind is free and so is their swing. It’s not paralysis by analysis that ruins golfers, but rather paralysis by having too many needless and ineffective swing thoughts that ruins golfers.

Good instruction and good swing tips help golfers understand the impact their swing needs to create to be a good ball-striker. When a golfer’s impact isn’t good, a good instructor will help the student understand the specific element of their impact that wasn’t good and provide the appropriate remedy to fix it. Using today’s modern technology helps reveal precisely what was good or bad about a swing’s impact. After the remedy is given, technology will specifically be able to measure and show improvement in the various elements of impact. Game improvement can now be measured and verified by viewing the specific areas where impact is improved. When students see this measured improvement, hope is restored, confidence grows, scores drop and fewer golfers quit the game!

Be aware that it’s fine to read these articles and view these swing tips for their entertainment and educational value, but golfers should only apply the tips when they know they will help them improve a specific element of their impact. Then and only then will their game improve. One thing is for certain in golf, better impact equals better golf. That is where the “hope” of a good golf game is to be found.

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For students wanting to experience how improving their impact will improve their games, Bobby suggests coming to his next Signature Golf School, creating your own private school for your own group, and/or signing up for a private lesson. Simply go to: www.impactzonegolf.com or call 239-236-5536. For those instructors who want to learn "Impact-Based®" instruction, Bobby Clampett now has a fully developed Advanced Level One online training fully supported by the PGA and LPGA with continuing education credits. For those who complete, Bobby and Impact Zone Golf are developing a Certification Program and ultimately a masters Program. Impact Zone Golf is ready to build an army of good golf instructors and rid the epidemic of frustrated golfers victimized by "style-based" instruction methods. Bobby Clampett is a well-known PGA Tour Winner and Longtime CBS Golf Broadcaster, but perhaps he will be best known for his discovery of Impact-Based® Instruction. His two golf academies are in Naples, Florida: Indoor Performance Studio (1040 Collier Center Way, Unit 14, Naples, FL 34110) and at the Tiburon Golf Club at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort. Bobby is the first golf instructor in history to be a PGA Tour winner and earn PGA Master Professional in Teaching and Coaching. He and his team of Impact-Based® Academy Trained instructors offer year-round Golf Schools, Private Lessons, Women’s Programs, Annual and Seasonal Coaching Programs, Competitive Junior Training and much more. He now offers Instructor Training and Certification approved by the PGA and LPGA. Visit: https://impactzonegolf.com or call: 239-236-5536.

41 Comments

41 Comments

  1. Warwick Weedon

    Mar 27, 2018 at 2:51 am

    I fully agree. I had a dreadful round. The next day I went to the range and asked the pro what aspect of the swing I should concentrate on. He replied, ” You have been playing the game for 30 years – just swing and hit the ball!” It worked like a charm!!!

  2. K Varnsen

    Mar 26, 2018 at 4:00 pm

    Time & money have been and always will be the most important factors in golfers quitting the game.

    • gino

      Mar 26, 2018 at 6:09 pm

      No… most of them quit because they come to the realization they are non-athletic cruud and can’t drive the ball over 200 yards.

  3. Ron

    Mar 26, 2018 at 1:09 pm

    “One student’s story was so sad. He confessed that no one at his club wanted to play with him anymore because his game had declined so sharply. He was considering selling his membership. In tears, he shared with us that all of his friends were members of his club.”

    Cue the violins. If this ain’t a 1st world problem idk what is..

  4. Mike Cleland

    Mar 26, 2018 at 12:49 pm

    The reason people are leaving the game is COST.

    • gino

      Mar 26, 2018 at 6:10 pm

      People also leave the game because nobody wants to play with them… they’re incompetent!!

  5. Tyler

    Mar 26, 2018 at 12:21 pm

    It’s pretty ridiculous to suggest confusion as the main reason why people are quitting the game. It’s finances and time but Bob should know that considering most of his articles always end up as a shameless plug for his teaching/amateur golf accomplishments. There is no other sport like golf where one much purchase so much over priced equipment, equipment that the equipment manufactures will tell you is obsolete in just a year or two. All the other majors sports require minimal equipment to purchase that hasn’t changed in years. Most companies now are targeting the high end market which will just continue to drive people away. What other major sports require dress codes? It’s just the way it is.

  6. dennis Clark

    Mar 26, 2018 at 8:29 am

    I’ve been writing about this topic for over 6 years in this site. “Impact teaching”, a concept I learned from John Jacobs 30+ years ago, is the ONLY way to approach instruction. Reference my 100+ articles, same theme…always was, always will be..

    • gino

      Mar 26, 2018 at 6:04 pm

      That’s because you are ignorant about the latest scientific revelations about the golf swing… like the Kinetic Chain… and Newtonian Physics… all beyond the brainlets of old dog teachers who can easily con gullible golfers looking for an instant fix.

  7. Speedy

    Mar 25, 2018 at 9:24 pm

    Proper grip, stance, posture aren’t adhered to by most amateurs. They haven’t the “Basics” discipline to succeed.

    • gino

      Mar 26, 2018 at 6:05 pm

      Yup… every time they swing they invent a new swing… lol

    • Chad

      Mar 27, 2018 at 9:28 am

      Because grip stance and posture rarely cause issues. Your logic is precisely why people aren’t getting better.

  8. BarnRat

    Mar 25, 2018 at 11:58 am

    33.7% of Americans are obese and are totally unable to play golf. If they started golf when they were children and became obese as adults they can compensate… but those who start as obese adults they will fail utterly. I know because I’m obese and a 20 y.o. tour pro golfer.

    • gino

      Mar 26, 2018 at 6:06 pm

      Fat men can’t wipe themselves cleanly… and can’t swing because their blubber resists rotation.

  9. Man

    Mar 25, 2018 at 10:22 am

    They quit the game because they suck at it. No matter how hard some people try, they just don’t have it, right? They get frustrated because they just aren’t athletes of any calibre, and they fail. So they quit. Good.

    • ogo

      Mar 25, 2018 at 11:50 am

      Correct… frustration, failure and finances to play the game. Also, the generational shifts from the sickly Baby Boomers (ages 6o and over) who are rich and privileged to the Generation X and now the Millenials who are too poor to play golf and prefer a sedentary lifestyle playing video games and Texas Holdem Poker. Every generation is either retiring from golf to quitting because golf is not a satisfying recreational experience. Golf is dying and is only for the super rich.

      • Bob Jones

        Mar 26, 2018 at 2:43 pm

        Come out to my Men’s Club day some Tuesday morning and show me where the super rich guys are among them. I sure don’t know.

        • gino

          Mar 26, 2018 at 6:08 pm

          That’s because you live in a little dream world with the other “Men’s Club” deluders….

  10. sebastian

    Mar 25, 2018 at 7:43 am

    not sure how this all fits, but in my experience, finally understanding concepts changed my game. the biggest game changer to me was the arm swing illusion thread here by Jim Waldron. For me, it had nothing to do with positions, but a concept. Arms move up and down, body turns. Then add bobby lopez, “no offsides” concept, and I dropped like 20 strokes off my game due to consistency and concepts. No positions, no checkpoints, but concepts and understanding.

    That was after wasting lots of money on lessons with instructors who taught radically different things. Hold the lag, stab the front leg, turn left, swing toward first base, etc…

  11. Jack

    Mar 25, 2018 at 1:17 am

    True indeed self diagnosis works just about as well as trying to self diagnose a complex disease. Not sure why golfers do it, but I do lol.

    • steve

      Mar 25, 2018 at 5:39 pm

      Very astute observation…. and if you think of it, you cannot see nor feel what you are doing during the golfswing. You can’t see it because most of it is out of sight… and you can’t feel it in real time because there is a 500 millisecond delay between what happens and what you eventually feel. Even viewing your swing on video is unhelpful unless your swing error is egregious… and even then you don’t know what to do to fix the error.
      It’s a game of trial and error and error and error …. 😮

  12. Xavinoo

    Mar 24, 2018 at 11:24 pm

    I’m reminded of this quote..,.

    “Swing Your Swing”
    “Not Some Idea of A Swing”
    “Not A Swing You Saw On TV”
    “Not That Swing You Wish You Had”
    “No! Swing Your Swing”
    “Capable of Greatness, Prized Only By You”
    “Perfect In Its Imperfection”
    “Swing Your Swing”
    “I Know I Did!”

    Arnold Palmer

    I enjoy golf the most when I let my swing happen the way it works for me. I play better, I’m more focused, It allows me to play to the course and it’s strategy not my swing and what I hope it will do.

    I got interested in navigating my way better around the course and using my brain not my brawn. Thereby playing to your strengths not the shot you hit 3 times a year. Being consistent from 150 yards in not 550 yards in was crucial for me.

    As boring as it is my score lowered when I chip with my hybrid, putt outside the green from tight lies, go for par 5’s in three, club up on approaches swinging easy, try to ‘chip’ out of bunkers whenever possible, hit fairway wood, hybrid’s, and long irons off the box more than I whip out the big stick keeping it in play. I can smash my 5 iron 215-225 and get a good 230-240 when I want with my 16.5 4 wood. With that distance when you play from your appropriate tee box you find the game more manageable and enjoyable.

    What really helped was practicing my putting on my kids playmat into a children sized cup repetively from 1-6 feet for 1/2 an hour a day. I found that I usually 2 put at least 6/9 holes when I play and can save par/bogey 75% of the time. I don’t think nearly as hard on those shorter putts plus I try to not play the break 95% of the time aiming for center cup only.

    With two kids a full time job I don’t have the time to dedicate myself to low digit play. I would love to play to high 70’s but I’m stuck in the 80’s. I have good rounds I have really nasty ones. It doesn’t matter no one is handing me my tour card tomorrow. I’ve learned to accept the game I have. Not the swing the golfing conglomerates think I should have. Seve, Daly, Couples, Watson & Furyk all good examples of not over thinking their swings.

    But the more than anything else I’ve tried to enjoy the game I love, Not contemplate the intricacies of my swinging technique. Life’s too stressful and short to not enjoy golf.

  13. steve

    Mar 24, 2018 at 10:45 pm

    Why do adult men believe they can think their way through a golf swing using swing tips?
    Any athlete will tell you they don’t overthink their sport, they just do it automatically.
    Adult male golfers who are non-athletic or declining with age and are desperate, seek improvement from golf tips and new equipment. They don’t understand their decline is due to a deteriorating body. If they want to slow down the decline they must work daily to recondition their body. Nothing else works… believe it.

    • Mat

      Mar 25, 2018 at 1:08 am

      Because target-sport athletes are given specific thoughts by the best mental teachers. Unfortunately, instead of just one thing, it’s 10 for ams.

      • gino

        Mar 26, 2018 at 6:13 pm

        So it’s mind over matter… from the best mental teachers who scam gullible fat golfers?

  14. Sean Foster-Nolan

    Mar 24, 2018 at 6:39 pm

    I have been saying for a long time, the swing is all about impact, and it doesn’t matter how you get there as long as you get there. While golf instruction can be confusing, anything new a student learns takes time to master. It requires patience and hard work. Some folks are unwilling to commit to what needs to be done and opine that, “Golf instruction doesn’t work for me,” as they revert back to their old habits.

    • george

      Mar 24, 2018 at 10:35 pm

      Ball flight is all about impact, precisely…5-6 ten thousands of a second.

      Golf swing is determined from P6 to P8. That is where Furyk is perfect as was Ben Hogan, IMO

      • gino

        Mar 26, 2018 at 6:20 pm

        So just swing from P6 to P8 if that’s the secret to your swing. Btw… positions are just static snapshots and in no way describe the dynamics of the golf swing. Only scientific analysis can fully reveal how the golfswing functions.

  15. John B

    Mar 24, 2018 at 5:46 pm

    I am a 56 year old lifetime golfer who has a good friend who is an excellent teaching pro and my age. On my good days I was breaking 80… Several years ago I went to him and I told him I wanted to get to scratch over lunch. He looked me in the eye and said we can rebuild your swing and try and fix your flaws, BUT it could be miserable for a couple of years and you may end up the same or worse. He told me there is a reason there is a senior tour and many of those guys disappear after 55-56. He suggested I enjoy and keep playing with “MY GAME” and that I practice pitching, chipping and and putting around the green. I took his advice play about 60 rounds a season in the northeast and work on my short game once or twice a week for about 30 minutes. Well my good days are in the mid 70s now. When I get my golf magazines I never read the instruction articles any more. I just play and enjoy the course, friends and the playing.

    • Acemandrake

      Mar 24, 2018 at 7:31 pm

      This. I’m like you only older (60) and everything you said (well written BTW) applies to my game.

      I particularly appreciate your pro’s advice: Play “MY GAME”…work on short game…enjoy the game you have from a lifetime of playing.

      It’s okay to seek improvement but we need to be smart & realistic about it.

      There are multiple ways to enjoy this great game.

      Me? I’m grateful to be out there soaking up the atmosphere 🙂

    • Warwick Weedon

      Mar 27, 2018 at 2:47 am

      Excellent!!

  16. Steve Wozeniak

    Mar 24, 2018 at 4:39 pm

    I LOVE IT!!!!!! This coming from a guy that read the golfing machine cover to cover a hundred times and is to this day completely confused about what happens in the golf swing…..hey but keep trying Bob…..

    Steve Wozeniak PGA

    Watch Bill Mehlhorn giving a clinic to Florida State golfers on YouTube, it’s from the mid 70″s and you might get a clue. Now that’s simple baby……

    • steve

      Mar 24, 2018 at 10:48 pm

      In another WRX article by Bobby, he is in a photo with a lot of computer screens with the latest high tech golfswing data. It’s never too late to find truth and simplicity through the latest science… and burn TGM because it’s total rubbish.

  17. Brett Weir

    Mar 24, 2018 at 4:00 pm

    Amen….I was ready to quit the game 4 years ago and decided to work on my swing from scratch with an emphasis on having the clubface square through impact with a lot of shaft lean. Since then, I’m been shooting from the 90s to the 70s. The game is fun again.

    • MuskieCy

      Mar 24, 2018 at 11:34 pm

      While I question a 20 improvement in handicap, I need to know one thing.

      If a square face to path is revelation, what were you thinking about before?

      • TheCityGame

        Mar 26, 2018 at 12:59 pm

        Watch people on the range. They’re not focussing on square impact at all. They hit a bad shot, and they starting rehearsing moves with their right elbow halfway down, like if they just fix that, they’ll hit it straight. They think about weight distribution, transition, shortening the backswing, holding a finish. They generally seem to be thinking about everything except what was happening with the face and the path at the ball.

  18. WigerToods

    Mar 24, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    According to the tiger cubs, it’s tiger retiring that will kill golf

  19. Square

    Mar 24, 2018 at 2:42 pm

    100% correct! This is the truth. when I quit working about my back swing, positions, etc and focused on impact and a solid impact position, I dropped my handicap to +2. This is the holy grail of instruction and I’ve used a few drills from Bobby to help out. I met him at the PGA show a few years back and he couldn’t have been more passionate and was very accommodating. Keep up the good work!

    • 2putttom

      Mar 25, 2018 at 1:44 pm

      #Ditto. keep it simple is the new motto for amature golfers.

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Golf's Perfect Imperfections

Golf’s Perfect Imperfections: What’s your takeaway waggle?

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Two wonderful examples on the PGA Tour are Sung Jae Im and Justin Thomas. We explain how this takeaway waggle brings your awareness full circle to how your backswing matches the direction you want to start the ball on. With awareness and confirmation that the backswing fits and that you don’t have to rush through it. You get a sense of calm that you can accomplish the task you set out and your chances at consistency have increased exponentially.

 

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On Spec

On Spec: A deep dive into iron specs and “loft jacking”

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With so many new iron releases being announced, host Ryan Barath gets deep into the world of iron design and specs—most specifically loft.

The topic also revolves around trying to fit an iron-based on handicap and why that is a flawed model.

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Opinion & Analysis

The death of the 3-iron and what it means for your bag setup

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The 3-iron is almost extinct. It sounds like an odd statement, but it’s very true. Don’t believe me? Go try and buy one in a set. They are not easily found.

As we evaluate this topic, I’ll refrain from specs from “players” clubs as these are not the irons normally purchased. Yeah, it might skew the data, but even the players capable of playing the long irons are opting out of the 3 iron. And let’s be honest, should any of us be playing a blade 3-iron?

Mizuno only offers 4-PW in the JPX line now. Titleist only offers a 3-iron in T100s, while the rest are void of 3-irons. TaylorMade provides 4-PW in the P790, P790Ti, and P770. Callaway has done the same, only offering a 3-iron in the “players line” of clubs, while the rest is again void of the-iron. Cobra golf has also followed suit.

So are 3-irons just too hard to hit? Is that why no one is buying them, thus causing the OEMs to stop making them? The only ones left to buy are the “players” 3 irons, and those aren’t even reasonable unless you’re a professional.

What if I told you we were being deceived? What if I told you the 3-iron is still very much alive in all the iron sets available but under the guise of a different number?

Let’s hop into the “wayback machine” and take a quick look at the history of iron lofts.

The year is 1970, and the vast majority of irons available are blades. You know, the razor-sharp leading edges that are ready to break your wrist with a deep divot.

The image above is an actual snippet from a catalog from the ’70s. At this point, the 1-iron was virtually extinct, and in 1975, Lee Trevino was immortalized by his joke about how God couldn’t hit a 1-iron, which typically fell in the 18-degree range at the time. 2-irons were standard issue in the set, and the lowest loft you might find is 20 degrees.

Then the ’80s came, and things started to progress. As you might expect, lofts started to decrease. It wasn’t because of flight windows, or launch numbers, because they didn’t have that kind of technology readily available to measure those attributes. It was simply a quest for distance.

Then in the ’90s, you’d pretty much see all iron sets with 21-degree 3-irons, down to 48-degree PW’s, and 21 degrees being the norm for the lowest lofted 3-iron. 2-irons at this time were typically 18 degrees and available by request only.

Then came the 2000’s, an era we all should be familiar with. This is where things started to get interesting. Not only because lofts continued to be strengthened, but because the hybrid became a new option to replace the long irons. Adams Golf made a killing as it perfected this golf club, creating the Idea line that was in the bags of most of the senior tour players and many of the PGA Tour players. These were a fan favorite at retail too. The hybrid was an easy long iron to hit and quickly started to replace 3-irons in golf bags across the country and even on tour.

By this time the pitching wedge lofts started to get pushed to 46 degrees, which was a big jump, to be honest. In the 1970s, MacGregor was making pitching wedges with 49 degrees of loft. So, for the 90’s to be around 48 degrees, it wasn’t too much of a shock. But in the 2000s, we now saw PW’s drop to 46 degrees; a half club stronger. This is where the downfall began, in my opinion.

The first decade of the 21st century needed the gap wedge, also known as the approach wedge or utility wedge or just plain old “wedge.” Now, keep in mind, this club wasn’t anything new. The gap wedge existed ever since the beginning because at 50-52 degrees it was simply a pitching wedge from the ’70s. But it became a necessary element for the bag since the lofts of every iron were starting to move farther and farther away from the sand wedge.

Now in 2020, the average loft of the PW is 43.5 degrees, and the average 4-iron loft is 20.6 degrees. Turns out, the 4-iron from 2020 is .3 degrees stronger than the average 2-iron (20.9 degrees) from 1970. We have come full circle! Instead of maintaining those classic numbers, of 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, PW, the new sets are labeled 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, P, G.

I wonder how many golfers out there carry a 4-iron thinking it’s a club they can hit? Probably too many! Obviously, the 3-iron is dead at this point, since it would actually carry the loft of the elusive 1-iron Trevino claimed was unhittable!

Now, it’s time to discuss how we got to this point. You’ll hear a lot of companies talk about “flight windows” or “launch angles” and how it was changed by engineering, lowering CG’s, and increasing speed through thin faces. Some will talk about how the ball has changed, and it just launches higher, and it requires the lofts to be strengthened, or it will just go too high!

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that is all a bunch of baloney, and here is why: They started making gap wedges as part of the set. If the launch was too high or the window was too different, why make a matching gap wedge with the same technology and have the loft of a pitching wedge from the 1990s? Wouldn’t that launch or window then be too high for that club too? And yet you still need to buy another gap wedge to fit the 52-degree range. If the average golfer bought a 2020 game improvement set today, they would find the set make up to be 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, PW (43.5 degrees), Gap #1 (48.6 degrees), Gap #2 (52 degrees). That means if you happen to carry a 56 and a 60 degree, you now have the same amount of label wedges (5) as you do irons (5)!

Five wedges in the bag! Does anyone think this is weird?

Furthermore, when was a higher launching iron shot a bad thing? Wouldn’t average golfers benefit from a steeper angle of descent so the golf ball stops quicker on the green?

I conducted a study where I tested a Titleist 716 MB 8-iron with 39 degrees of loft to a TaylorMade P790 9-iron with 40 degrees of loft. All the data was captured on the Foresight GC2 launch monitor. It wasn’t a perfect test since they didn’t have the same shaft or loft, but my findings were surprising none the less. They went the same distance, almost down to the decimal. The Titleist went 165.2 yards, and the TaylorMade went 165.1 yards. Launch was only .6 degrees different while peak height was less than four feet different. So, unless you are Tiger Woods, you are not noticing a difference out on the golf course.

Some of you might think, “so, the label on the bottom of the club changed, it’s all going the same distance. So, what’s the big deal?” To me, it’s the confusion it creates more than anything. By decreasing the lofts, you’re just making the numbered iron go farther, and you are creating even bigger problems by having large gaps with the sand wedge when all amateurs need those clubs. It’s also putting clubs into the hands of golfers when they have no business hitting, like the 4-iron with 20 degrees of loft. Titleist has already made a T400 5-iron with 20 degrees of loft, and that’s just silly.

There also is the argument that golfers love distance, and when they start playing and can hit a 7-iron relatively far, it helps grow the game. Growing the game isn’t a bad thing, but if they are new to the game, they shouldn’t have any preconceived notions of how far to hit a 7-iron, and that means loft at that point becomes irrelevant.

I will not refute that a 40-degree lofted game improvement iron will be slightly longer than an identical lofted players club, but I think you’d be surprised to see the actual difference is a maximum of about three yards longer. The technology works, but by no means is it so substantial that we need to change the label on the bottom of the golf club.

The bottom line is that loft is king, regardless of the technology involved, and I have seen, but one equipment company make a change backwards! This is TaylorMade with their P770 irons. In comparison the P790, they increased the loft by one degree in the short irons and up to two degrees in the long irons, to add height and spin to the irons to improve performance. Imagine that, more spin and height are an advantage! And that was backed by their testing and their data.

Now to even further nail down my point, it is worth noting that TaylorMade Golf offers the highest lofted Pitching Wedge in the industry at 49 degree, which are in the Tiger lofts of the P7TW irons. That same iron set has a 22.5-degree 3-iron. At 22.5 degrees, it is typically the lowest-lofted iron in the golf bag of the best iron player on the PGA Tour in 2019. Of course, he has the skill to play an iron with lower loft, but the point that history reveals to us is that the effective loft of playability for an iron is about 22 degrees and higher. Anything lower lofted than that is typically replaced with a hybrid. This is not just a trend for the amateur golfer either, and it is even happening on tour with the best players in the world.

We will probably never see the lofts rolled back, but the least we can do is update Lee Trevino’s quote, “if you ever find yourself in a thunderstorm, lift up your 4-iron, because not even God can hit a 4-iron.”

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