When should I change my golf irons? Well, I’ll freely admit that I was one of those amateur golfers who never really saw the need for change when it came to their clubs. I had used my previous set for over 10 years and was comfortable using them. I’d even shot below 80 twice with them, so I felt that I was justified in keeping hold of my irons for the time being.
That mindset slowly changed a couple of years ago when my brother purchased a new set of Ping irons. While at the range together, he let me have a few swings with his clubs and I was amazed at the difference. Not only was I hitting balls further (I was hitting the Ping 7 iron the same distance I was achieving with my old 5-iron), they were holding a better line, the clubs were lighter and easier to swing.
Suffice to say, when I had the money a little later, I went to the pro shop myself and got myself a new set of irons and the difference is tangible. I’m still very much getting used to them, but it feels now at times, like I am playing a different game.
In truth, there are only a couple of reasons why players really need to change their irons, but realising you have reached this point could have a massive impact on your game for any player.
1. The passage of time and the speed of golf technology
In my case as outlined above, so much time had passed since I bought my first set of irons, and then replaced them, that technology had vastly improved the abilities of the new clubs to such an extent that playing with my old set, was handicapping the distance I could achieve with my swing. As I stated above, with my new set of clubs, I am hitting the ball at least 20 yards further with each club. Furthermore, the clubs are much lighter and more forgiving off off-centre hits. The rapid pace of golf technology is such that my old set had quickly been surpassed and that I was effectively at a disadvantage when playing players of a similar ability, who had newer clubs.
Of course, this realisation has to be tinged with a sense of perspective and reality. It is not practical to spend thousands of Euro every year on new irons for a tiny improvement in your game. However, it is well worth keeping abreast of latest developments and when your irons start to look and feel a little dated and the new ones on demonstration at the pro shop are giving you markedly improved results, then it may be time to consider replacing them.
2. When your game dictates you need to change
Perhaps even more important than ensuring your irons are not past their ‘use by date’ when deciding to replacement, is the accurate diagnosis of the state of your game and the understanding that your current set may not be the best choice for you, given your current situation and golfing ability.
For example, most beginners will start the game using a relatively simple set of cavity backed irons. These irons offer less distance and control than blades, but they are much more forgiving for the beginner and have a much larger sweet spot. However, if you have developed your game as an amateur to the point where you are now attempting shots that require more touch and spin, greater feel and greater ability to control and shape the ball, then your current set of cavity backs are not likely to get that job done. As such, replacing them with a made-to-measure set of blades will help you improve your game still further.
It is also important to remember that the opposite is also true. If you were a very low handicapper who played with a set of blades, and have returned to the game after several years not playing, you may find your abilities suffer trying to use these clubs. As such moving back to a set of cavity backed irons will produce better results and help you regain your abilities with more confidence and less frustration – you can always move back to the blades when you rediscover your touch.
3. Lastly, remember changing irons is not always straightforward
When you do elect to change your irons, it is always best to be measured up for the set by your local golf pro. Spending an hour or so trying a variety of irons before selecting the best fit for you, is always time well spent. Despite this, don’t expect everything to be plain sailing immediately. Your new irons will feel different in your hand and will, at first, produce results that you are not expecting. That 7-Iron approach to the first green with your old set of clubs may now be an 8 or even a 9-iron approach.
Changing irons will make small changes in your game. Take time to relearn the new distances you hit your new clubs on the range and be patient – the results will come once you have become used to the irons.
Lastly, what is important to remember is not to be blinded by fashion. Club manufacturers will bring out the ‘latest’ set of irons each year, but if your game is at a place where buying these new irons will not help you, then you are just spending money you do not need to simply to stay fashionable. It is much better to buy the right clubs at the right time, than to buy the new clubs, simply because you can afford to.
Images by Gorilla Golf Blog