There are several reasons why I use progressive weighting. For one… I don’t base any of my clubs on swing weight. It’s a worthless measurement as far as I am concerned… but what I do is progressively increase the mass of my shorter irons beyond “normal” or “standard”.
First reason is heavier means more feel. I can certainly handle more mass in a shorter length iron say an 8, 9 or PW due to the shorter shaft. There is no control issue.
Second, I am more likely to encounter bad lies rough or with a shorter iron… green side or pitching. My ball is more likely to be in a deep divot from 120 than from 190. The extra mass helps bulldoze through those situations much more effectively.
Third, since irons are for accuracy… the short irons are really for accuracy, so I like to have firm shafts in them that can accommodate the increase in weight. I am not concerned about how far I hit a PW or an 8 iron… but want control, and to be able to feel the clubhead with a shaft that supports properly.
Forth, I want the clubs to actually feel the same WHEN I SWING THEM… not waggle them. Because the longer irons are lighter in dead weight I get a lot of the FORCE into the strike from greater speed and acceleration and the increase in pull from CF. So with the shorter irons… the length of travel of the head is not as great and neither is the CF or velocity… so I set up my set so that my clubs feel the same when I swing them… NOT WHEN I HOLD THEM STATICALLY.
On tour I played 13.5 ounce persimmon. Now increased the mass to just under 15. The reason is that because I don’t play often… I need to really feel the clubhead. Heavier helps dramatically. But the other good news is that swinging, drilling and playing with a 15 ounce persimmon has made me stronger over time. So now I can swing the heavier club just as fast, but now the head has more mass so I get much better strikes… and the miss hits go much better with more mass in the head. Most all the great strikers went this route. I held Moe’s gear personally at it was SHOCKING at the time. We know Hogan and Snead played very heavy gear. A friend who knew Knudson confirmed that he did also. I have met and discussed with a couple old timer equipment guys… one who did Palmer’s sets back in the 60’s and said he was in the one pound range also.
The verdict is still out if anyone on tour today will be able to figure out how to hit the lightweight gear laser straight. Not seeing it yet. Any real quality test of a layout requires accurate driving of the golf ball. That should always be a priority. Very few players play PGA Tour layouts. In all honesty, they don’t interest me one bit. If I am not asked the question from the tee… a shot shape, trajectory and position in the fairway, I lose interest and respect for a golf course quickly.
Being able to drive the ball straight makes this game a lot easier, and it is a great virtue to have no fear of any golf course due to tee shot accuracy concerns.
If players shy away from tight courses as many on tour to… it shows a lack of confidence and character in my opinion.