Blade vs Super Game-Improvement Ironsbrinkley | October 11, 2010
I was thumbing through Golf Digest’s October 2010 edition when I came across a subarticle in the equipment section on blades vs super game improvement irons. The first two lines I thought were interesting.
Do you need to be a great ball-striker before you can play blades or does playing blades make you great by necessity? The idea of giving a beginning golfer blade irons isn’t a popular one, but it’s intriguing.
Then the author went off and ruined it all with a irrelevant test of having a 0, 6, 14, and 20 handicapper alternate hitting 10 shots with a blade and a super game improvement iron. UGH!!! I’ve worked in software engineering for almost 30 years and have fought, er I mean worked with test engineers on almost every project. This is not a proper test! The authors conclusion were also a yeah…so…when he said, “most golfers should choose larger-faced irons so they can at least save more ball speed on mishits.” Duh!!!
As a hickory player playing Stewart irons (blades with a wide sole) I had to laugh. Any hickory player already understood this about their modern clubs. In fact for many this is one of the reasons for playing hickory instead of modern clubs. The game has gotten way to easy. Mishit a shot and it’s still in the fairway or on the green with no distance penalty. Tom Wishon, a great modern designer, said that a mishit club today goes 95% of the distance that correctly hit shot does. Take a hickory iron and you’ll be lucky to get 75%. Now there is a penalty. Instead of putting your chipping or worse yet in the trash with a penalty stroke.
So this article irritation was getting the best of me when I was at my physical therapist who also plays golf. When I brought up this ridiculous test he came up with a really good alternative. Have a player practice with a compatible blade iron for a given amount of time and then go out and play with the super forgiving, mongo, never miss, shot forgiving clubs the article mentioned. The theory is the player would see significant improvement because he would learn to be a better ball striker practicing with blades.
Now that’s a valid test! In fact isn’t this exactly what Tiger was going a couple of years ago when he would practice with a persimmon headed driver? Then I got to thinking a little more.
Shoot I’ve been doing this test for 4 years straight now. Practicing and playing with blades from the 1920s. I should just pull out my mothballed modern Tom Wishon Special Edition 550s (A Payne Stewart, Bruce Lietske design Tom did a few years back) and see what would happen. They have almost the same MOI and would be almost a perfect match. And after all, I’ve already found out I needed to revamp my swing (which was sporting a 0 handicap at the time) because it had faults. The hickories and tournaments showed me that.
Nah, on second thought, I’ll just stick with my Stewarts and Jack Whites. I already know I’m better ball striker now than I was 5 years ago. The 1920 are making me a better ball striker and when I’m not I know it because I can feel it. I can live with the consequences of a shot and don’t need a super duper “Nanny” club to “helicopter” in and fix my problem.