There are plenty of great looking new blade irons availible from Nike, Mizuno as well as others. Other than the appeal of the low prices and vintage moniker is there any reason these vintage clubs would perform any better than the new gear. Lag maybe you could weigh in on this.
- usually heavier
- flatter lie angle (usually 1-2* flatter)
- Sweetspot more up on the face and towards the heel
- Sharper leading edges
- Smaller, more compact head size
There are some very good modern blades out there like the Mizuno MP-68, Miura, Scratch Golf, etc. But you have to be a bit leery about the swingweight. I like the sharper leading edges of the Hogan irons, feels a lot better and more powerful when you properly compress a ball than with a modern blade. Scratch Golf has a Tour Custom department where you can have them grind the club to have that sharp leading edge. Problem is that it’s $2,500 for their Tour Custom. You can go to the Iron Factor and get your stuff re-chromed and re-grooved with new shafts installed and pay $58-$70 a club which is much cheaper than going new. Lie angles can always be bent with forged and swingweights can be just a case of getting some lead tape until they are heavier. Modern irons have a much lower COG, even the blades, so that may cause some issues wiht the shafts. I would suggest Mizuno’s ‘Shaft Optimizer’ for shafts. I tried it before and thought it did a great job with suggesting shafts.
I am not so sure about the heaviness. for example the Maltby MMB 3 iron at 240G plus a 125 G shaft plus 50g grip comes to 415 g or 14.8 ounces. I think that is right there in the ball park with classic gear in terms of weight.
I was thinking more along the lines of swingweight. Today’s modern blades are usually no heavier than D-2.
That is intresting. If the total weight, shaft and grip are the same why is swing weight different. Some one posted in another post that for every 3’ flat (not sure) the swing weight increases by 1 point. Also distributing the weight away from the shaft/Hosel my decrease swing weight. That is why I think the sweet spot more near the hosel is a good thing. Totally guessing though.
If you go with an OLD SET of blades, be sure to check the LOFTS. In my experience, the lofts are about 1-club WEAK. I have a set of Dunlop forged blades ((Seve Ballesteros…late '80s)) & the loft of the 9 iron is about 45 degrees. PW is close to 50 Degree.
No problem though…
Think of your “PW” as a “GW”. Your “9” as a “PW”. Most of the older sets go to 2-iron so you have the irons covered.
In regards to OLD versus NEW blades…
New blades have bigger sweet spot with ease of shaping shots at the same time. They are a better PERFORMING CLUB, period. The OLD blades can be played, you just have to hit the sweet spot about the size of a NICKLE. Wonderful for training.
With a small sweet spot, the downside is that off center hits will twist club just enough that power is lost and accuracy suffers. I love the feedback. I’ve played the game for over 30 years & I can promise you as a 10 year old, I had ZERO problem playing a forged OLD BLADE. The idea that you need a Perimeter Weighted club is simply irresponsible.
Golf is sending the wrong message. The “Game Improvement” clubs make you soft. IMHO…Goydos proved that today. He hits his 3rd on 14 SOFT and paid dearly. IMHO…with OLD SCHOOL clubs, you step up to your shot and take responsibility for the results. Just puts you in the right frame of mind.
Of course…I’m prolly preaching to the choir.
I am…Titleist 680 Player.
The best iron play I have ever seen has been with old school gear. Watch the Knudson video on my youtube page and ask yourself if you ever see that kind of precision iron play by any modern player using new style blades. Of course Hogan’s precision we all have seen in the Shell’s match… who hits it like that?
I watched about 15 minutes of the Pebble Pro am and saw today’s pros missing greens from 150 yards from the middle of the fairway, pulling wedges 40 feet left of the hole… not impressive. Something has gone terribly wrong. And I believe gear, and the lack of precision feedback has a lot to do with why ball striking has not improved as it should.
Hand the modern tour player a set of classic gear, and you won’t see them hitting it as precise as Trevino did, or other fine strikers of the past.
A lot of today’s courses on tour are offering mid iron shots into all four 5 pars. Therefore, what we are seeing essentially is the tour playing a par 68. And if you consider how much better the greens are than 50 years ago… if we compare golf scores relative to par… it’s far from impressive. 68 is basically old school even par. So when you see a guy shoot 16 under on a golf course he is hitting 5 iron into all the five pars… you are seeing even par golf. Five pars a supposed to be three shot holes… that is why they are called five pars. If they are to be reached in two, it is because the pro played a very risky approach with a fairway wood, or took a big risk off the tee really trying to crank one out there to get a shot at it with a long iron. In the old days, going after a persimmon driver 110% meant you took a big chance of finding big trouble because the heads were so much smaller… It took great precision to really go after drive, along with power. Long iron out of the trees or rough meant you were not hitting the green. There was a beauty and strategy to the risk and reward elements that is no longer present in today’s game.
The 14th at Pebble averaged over par this week Lag and although I stand to be corrected I don’t think anyone got up to it in two.
You often talk about today’s players missing greens in comparison to yesteryear’s pro’s but that implies that none of the guys from the ‘golden age’ ever missed a fairway or green which we know is completely untrue. You are comparing apples with oranges. The guys missing greens from 150 this week will not have been featuring at the business end of the leaderboard on Sunday. In the same way if we were to look at the stats of the guys bringing up the rear of the ‘clambake’ in the 50s and 60s I’m quite certain we would see missed greens figuring high in the explanation for their poor rounds.
I’m not trying to be argumentative but I think it is right to point this out.
Seve almost won the Open in '76 and barely hit a fairway all week! Meanwhile Tiger kept it out of all bunkers at the Old Course in 2005 and in 2006 at Hoylake hardly missed a fairway or green for 72 holes.
I get the point Styles…There is a huge difference however.
Today’s players never hit much more than a 7 iron into any par 4 and almost every par 5 they play is reachable in two shots
The vintage players had a 4 iron or more into 65 % of their par 4 holes and reaching 20% of par 5’s in two shots was a feat
The ball doesn’t deviate in today’s game which makes a wedge 40 feet away from the hole very unimpressive
and apparently the equipment of today makes misses more manageable- so why the average shots?
The courses are manicured to perfection today and a bad lie is nigh impossible… the greens are mostly impeccable… every bunker raked to perfection even though they are termed a ‘hazard’
I would take an estimated guess that the guys that feature these days on most weeks are putting their socks off… they hit a few crap shots yet get up and down. they hit bad drives but the trees are not alongside the edges of the fairway so penalties are few and whatever rough has been trampled down by spectators…
when was the last time you can remember any player hitting a ball out of bounds or better yet even having to take a penalty drop? …yet the fairways hit average is dastardly bad for the field and the greens hit stat is bordering on below average even with all these advancements and platters handed to the players.
We only have to watch some of those old Shell Matches or even the old World Matchplays at Wentworth… the gallery were one step off the green and guys were ripping 4 irons in and no-one got killed.
Today you need a hardhat within 25 yards of the fairway or the green and the stands are pushed way back to allow for player’s miscues otherwise it would be 7 hour rounds with everyone calling for a ruling for a drop from the stand.
I would still almost to this day bet on Lee Trevino in his wheelchair against just about any of today’s young guns in a persimmon and blade match around a classic old track from it’s original tees
No probs Hugo, like I said, I respect the pros of yesteryear but I will not stay silent to the modern game bashing. There is sometimes a little too much nostalgia about the ‘old days’ imo.
I’m not sure even Lee buck could take Tiger though!
I think anyone watching an old video like a Shell game and some coverage of ANY event today can see the difference for themselves…
I would add that I have just disconnected my Foxtel at home ( which I had got a couple of years back just for golf tournaments) because I’m bored to death watching the PGA, European Tour and the like. Only one I still like is the LPGA, but that might be for other reasons…
I think the nostalgia doesn’t come from people necessarily being more talented back then, but the game being more of a test of approach shot ball striking in the old days. I was surprised to see my course is basically as long, if not a little longer than Pebble Beach played on the weekend. Give me an extra 20m on my drives with a titanium, and a longer stronger iron set and I’ll be hitting no worse than a 7 iron around my course if I drive it straight. So what am I going to work on to get low scores, my 3 iron play? No I’ll be working on gap wedges, chipping and putting.
Fortunately, just changing back to persimmon and old blades, puts some life back in my course. On the longest hole on the weekend, I hit the drive of my life. I pured the persimmon, and it followed the contour of the hole, landing in the middle, 255y long after a week of rain. 7-8 iron in? Nope, 180y 4 iron still, into a narrow green, which I barely missed.
Sure if I was playing the tour I’d probably have to give in to new technology and hit mostly drives and wedges to make birdies, but while I’m not taking it as seriously as putting food on my kids plates, I love the idea that I still need to hit long irons to some greens, and need to pure my drives to even have that chance on some holes.
To get back to the original topic, I do think modern blades have longer shafts and strong lofts. I put my Ping i5 7 iron next to my Hogan 5 iron, and it looks like they are both the same number iron. So if someone is puring a 7 iron at flag sticks with modern blades, I still give them a lot of credit, as they are probably hitting it close to 180y, regardless of what that number on the bottom of the club says.
So much of the quality of a golfing experience in my opinion, is to match the gear to the course you are going to play.
Where I play at Mare Island, you can bring all the modern gear you want and I am going to wipe you out with classic gear because I can control the ball with it. A player hitting 340 yard drives at Mare for instance is fine until they miss one slightly and are reloading… even if a player only does that twice, that’s four shots you don’t want to give me in a game. Then being able to control your distances into these small greens is so crucial, so the guy hitting wedge from 150 is going to get that ball hung up in the wind, while I’m punching a 6 iron from the same distance and sticking it in there tight keeping it under the wind.
However, if we are on a 7500 yard course where the premium on driving accuracy is at a minimum, and I am giving up 40 yards on every hole, then I won’t be able to capitalize as much on my abilities as a shotmaker, and someone who hits the ball straight.
Who is the greatest auto racer of all time?
I’m glad just because it’s 1985 and the club is a chunk of wood that this becomes something to aspire to, a ‘great ballstriker and shotmaker’ with great lines. And who suddenly decided that you can’t be long AND have a good pivot? Tiger gets trashed and dogged but Greg Norman all of the sudden had a great move. I guess when I get my PA making my posts I’ll get it.
Great post! I was wondering how all of a sudden Norman became the model of ball striking excellence… where the hell did that come from?!
Greg Norman was one of the greatest drivers of a golf ball in history. I know, I played against him many times and saw it up close. His driving stats showed it… I think they have been posted here somewhere on this site.
Tiger’s driving stats are horrific. Usually well out of the top 100 in driving accuracy… however, I don’t blame him as much as the equipment. My feeling is his driver is too light for the swing speeds he is generating, and he simply can’t feel the head the way he needs to. His iron play is wonderful, so he knows how to swing the golf club. But Tiger is a much better putter than Greg Norman ever was.
Norman’s ball striking was top shelf.
If you put a persimmon in both their hands and had Tiger and Norman in their prime going at a driving contest where they had to pipe 9 out of 10 drives down a 20 yard wide fairway… I’d have my money on Norman… mainly because of his superior use of ground pressures.
All that proves is that he was a phenomenal athlete and was scary good at saving it, until the last 9 holes of a major which no one will ever argue. But I thought we were trying to take timing and all that flip and save out of it. People talk about Hogan being hard to replicate, he was nothing next to that…
Lag. I agree with your views an awful lot of the time but to call Norman a top shelf ball striker is way off. Why did norman lose the 86 masters? 2 words- ball striking. He needed a par on the last to get into a playoff and hit it into the gallery with a 4i. 86 open he drove it in the trap- driving or decision making is a tough call. Same in 96, all ball striking. tiger hits way more good shots than norman and i’m not even a tiger fan… though i agree, he’s a way better putter than norman. If Norman was a real top shelf ball striker he would’ve added those 3 majors alone to his tally never mind the rest!
And I’ll take that bet all day long!! One is a winner and one ain’t…