Entries Tagged as 'Equipment'

A matter of degrees

Is a 5 iron really a 5 iron?

My first golf cub was a Slazenger Bobby Locke 5 iron.   Some time ago the shaft and head went there separate ways, but it is still possible to pick up some similar clubs in opp shops.  That club, along with many others of the era, included details of the loft and lie.  Today research is needed and some details can be found on the web but for others you might need to check with the pro or the golf shop.

Slazenger Bobby Locke 5 iron

Check the loft and the lie!

My first 5 iron had a loft of 34 degrees.  A five iron today will have a loft of around 25 to 27 degrees.  And not all 5 irons are the same either!

Some comparisons:

What does this mean?

In practical terms:  Very little really because all players get to carry 14 clubs in whatever configuration they choose, as long as they conform to the rules of golf.

In marketing terms three things have resulted:

  • The sucker marketing line that says “Our clubs play longer than any others”.  One way to make sure your 5 iron will travel further than the oppositon is to decreae the loft.  Todays five iron travels further than my old Bobby Locke 5 iron – but I’m not so sure that the equivalent club (Precept 7 or 8, Callaway 7, Lind 8 iron) will.
  • A gap has opened up beyond the sand wedge that has been filled by wedges of varying degrees. A pitching wedge was once 48 degrees and a sand wedge 56 degrees. A pitching wedge is now closer to 45. Now gap wedges are made the narrow the “gap” between wedges.  These clubs are increasingly including the loft as part of their sales pitch.
  • Iron sets are often 4-PW (rather than 3-SW). Additional clubs and additional cost are to be anticipated.

How should a golfer respond?

Find a set of clubs that suits your swing,  then make sure there are no large gaps in the distances you hit each club.  Just don’t get sucked into claims of extra distance from any club maker.

BTW – I suspect that the LIE angle of clubs has been reveresed – measuring from the horizontal line rather than the vertical  line. The lie of most standard clubs is now around the 60 degree mark, compared to the 29 degrees on the 40 year old Slazenger! Check our The Science of Golf for more information.