What should we be thinking about when it comes to choosing our irons? Should we be going for looks or performance? Or both.
And when should you break the set with hybrids? What about combo sets? Are these a good idea?
We sat down with Mizuno club designer Chris Voshall who gave us some advice for choosing a new set of irons
When it comes to putting a set of irons together for an 18-handicapper what do you think a set for them might look like?
“It’s really player dependent. Just because you are a 20-handicap doesn’t mean you’re weak and swing slow at it.
“In terms of which actual iron model you use the rule of thumb I use is play the most forgiving thing you can stand to look at.
“But for the set make-up you need to determine how much speed you are bringing to the table.
“Ultimately ball-speed is king. Once your ball speed starts to drop-off and you can’t maintain your distance gaps that’s where you need to break that set.
“Whether that’s at the 7-iron or it’s the 3-iron and handicap is almost irrelevant. There’s a lot of good ball-striking low handicappers that need a more forgiving 3 or 4-iron which is why you see long-iron replacements.”
Should more golfers think about combo sets with their irons?
“More and more people should have combo sets. The problem is getting a bit worse now where some companies do fittings just with hitting a 7-iron.
“Almost anybody can hit a 7-iron but when you get to the 6,5,4 the more difficult it becomes and the more spread you will see.
“So you need to make sure you’re not just looking at the fitting club you are trying out – you need to think about how the set is going to flow. A combo set is a great way to overcome that.”
Even at Mizuno, there seems to have been a shift towards giving golfers more help, right?
“Forgiveness is a good thing for everybody but you just have to execute it in a way that appeals to that type of player.
“The MP-25 for example, ticks all the MP boxes – it’s compact it’s thin. So if you can do a club that looks right to that player and then there’s more forgiveness in there then its a benefit for everybody.
“You’re starting to see tour players opt for more forgiving golf clubs because if you can get the look right then forgiveness is a great thing regardless of who is paying it.”
How much does ego play a part where some players just want to play a sleek blade even though it’s not right for them?
“Ego is a huge thing in irons. One of the jokes we always talk about is the fact that Luke Donald – one of the best ball-strikers on the planet hasn’t played a blade since the MP-33.
“He’s now got the MP-5 in the bag because it’s a more forgiving blade. We sell a lot of blades each year so there’s a lot of people who opt for a blade because – sure they can hit them – but they could be getting more out of their game if they were playing something else – so ego does play a big part.
“But golf is one of those games where ego is a big part of it – you want to have that proper look you want to look like a player you want to dress and look the part – have the bag of a proper player. So trying to put more technology into the look is actually trying to overcome some of those ego handcuffs.
“We’ll put some top lines thinner than we traditionally would because a thin top-line is a must for some players.”
How much does the custom fit come into getting the right irons – not just the right length, lie angle, shaft flex etc…
“There’s so many different steps in the custom fitting process. You can’t just see numbers on a computer you need to actually see ball flight and a PGA professional should be there to help you get dialled in properly. You need the knowledge to de-code all of those things and know how to piece all those things together.”