Old Irons and their Weight/Blalance

Being inspired by everyone on this board, I just picked up two sets of clubs off Ebay, the first is a Wilson Staff Dynapower (don’t know the date but easily early 1960’) and a set of Mac Gregor M85 irons. The clubs have original shafts and original grips in place. Some things I notice:

  1. The Dynapower staff feels light, lighter than my current sets (Srixon and Nike forgings). I’ll weigh them eventually but they feel lighter surely. I thought the older blades were supposed to be heavy just as Lag likes them.
  2. The M85 feels heavy in the head but the shaft feels light. I don’t know if anyone here ever remembers the Goldwin clubs in the late 1990’s where the weight was placed all in the head but the shafts were light. The M85 feels similar.
  3. What I find odd is the balance of the club at address. If I just set the face and leave them alone, both irons like to fall open. I’m used to my clubs setting up nice and square so this may take some getting used to.

I want to ask, is this normal?

Why is a standard sand wedge inclined to fall closed when you set the face in a similar way?


I’d be interested in the swingweight and overall weights of both sets when you get a chance to measure them relative to the same numbers for your “current sets”. Hard for me to believe they will come out lighter than your newer offerings. I just got a set of Bullet-backs that are in the D-5+ range and heavy overall. I would think the M85’s would be even heavier.

I never considered a clubhead that opens or closes at address so I can’t comment on that.


Are we talking today’s sand wedge?

If so-- TOO UPRIGHT and TOO MUCH BOUNCE-- would be my logical guess

What does this mean and what’s the point of it in relation to Nick’s original question?

Any of the 50’s or 60’s stuff that has a #1 on the shaft band is going to be a heavy club, because those shafts would be X shafts by any of today’s standards. Back then they made stiffer shafts by making the shafts thicker walled, hence heavier. Those shafts were a nice match with the heavier heads of that time.

The ball cares much more about the dead weight of the club, especially if you are hitting, because you bring the shaft into the equation also.
Swing weight is really only of value to keep a similar feel from one club to another from a feel perspective, not so much a physics perspective regarding impact compression dynamics.

The more mass in the head, the less the clubhead is going to slow down due to the forces of impact.

When Sarazen invented the SW in the 1930’s, he knew to make it HEAVY… so the club would keep moving through and down into the sand with a lot of mass. With a proper SW like those classics, you won’t be skulling them over the greens like the lightweight ones people use today.

The modern sand wedge may say SW on the bottom, but basically it is a fairway wedge with a bit more bounce. They are not really good sand wedges from an “in the sand” perspective.

You asked why is a standard sand wedge inclined to fall closed at address?..it’s because the lie angle of todays clubs are too upright and because they put too much bounce on the sole of the club… it’s got to fall closed with both those things in it’s set up

As for Nick’s question about weight… The old grips on them will make a difference. get them off and new ones put on and they will start to feel better weightwise…old clubs were designed by better players. they will have less bounce moulded into them and probably fall open inline with that theory and the weighting dynamics— all today’s clubs are toe heavy/perimeter styled with weight to help the hacker
the older clubs didn’t do all that they were more mass behind the ball…blade/muscle back style… it’s all the weight distribution
Even today these companies make different models of drivers for this ‘look at address’… The clubs they give out in the tour van to the pros are all ‘open faced’…(talking woods here)…because the pros don’t want to see a closed look to a driver as they want to visually see it the other way so they can move the ball around to some degree…yet most of the drivers that hit the stores are all draw bias…again designed for the hack to hide their inadequacies in some way shape or form

Yeah I was more trying to get Nick to think about it for himself than just tell him why. A SW is inclined to fall closed primarily because of bounce, and I would argue that a modern SW actually has less bounce than the older ones, on average.
The old irons not having any bounce fall open as the weight in the toe swings around the lowest pivot point. I don’t see how the lie angle really plays that big a part in it. Maybe a little bit, any thoughts on that?

I think upright lies want to fall left and close as you sit the sole flat on the ground and flatter lies want to roll right and lay open because of grounding of the sole contributed with the weight distribution…of course if we aren’t soling the ground it makes no difference

that’s my presumption as to lie angles as well as weighting contributing to this look at address … although I would say weighting does have a more overall bearing on it

BOM & TWO: I think lie angle may be the primary factor. As Two said, the more vertical, the more closed.

One day, for one of my rat reasons, I gripped a club normally and wanted to see what would happen. So I stood on the first rung of a series of steps and let the shaft and my arms hang perfectly vertical- like a plumb bob- with very, very soft arms and hands.

When I did this the toe closes big-time. So…it made sense to me from that point to gently rotate the shaft clockwise until the toe gets to the correct side of the shaft’s vertical axis- then regrip the club.

Speaking of balance: ever tried this—balance the club on your index finger, and once balanced take your left hand grip of the club while its balancing? :slight_smile: RR

Yeah I really see it as a bounce and sole grind issue, I just can’t see how a few degrees of lie angle can have any sort of a significant impact on those two things when it comes to how the face falls. Weight distribution is an issue too. The question is about what happens when the club is grounded as in a set up situation with the leading edge, regardless of lie angle, perpendicular to the ground. RR by the sounds of your description you’re talking about the club hanging in the air I think, which is a separate issue. Am I right saying that about your description?
In my mind, even if the shaft is coming up out of the head at 90 degrees, if there’s minus bounce the club will pivot around a point somewhere on the leading edge and fall open, I just can’t see anything else happening to it. I’m open to that being countered because there could be something obvious that I’m overlooking…

I’ll just throw in my two cents here…

If you grip the club very firmly, and are actively firing the hands into impact as promoted by Hogan and Snead and others… meaning, we are really taking control ourselves of release, then subtle variations in clubface balancing are going to have next to zero affect upon how the club is reacting through impact.

If you are a dead hand swinger, with a very light grip, then you open yourself up to these kind of worries, and heaven forbid if you ever hit one slightly off center and have to deal with the clubface twisting in your hands.

Others can do that…

not me.

Hey Bom: This is a very interesting topic…my noggin says that active hands or not, the way the club is balanced statically is going to affect somehow impact dynamics by way of very minute last second adjustments. Cuz’ once weight starts moving it’s going to want to seek some kind of balance- whether it be the club, body, or both. but I’m not sure. But I do have some thoughts on this that will be good to kick around.

Ya’ gotta try, just for the hell of it, placing your L hand on the grip while the club is balancing on your right index finger. Now compare that to setting your L hand on the club while the club is soled on the ground, and once done, raise the club back into the air into that previously “balanced” position. There can be big differences between to two as to how far the L wrist gets under the shaft or not.

Range opens today, so my time is going to be very constrained for the next 7 months, will get back when I can. But I am going to make an effort to learn how do post videos- which will make life a lot easier, cuz’ for me posting in words is way to difficult. I think I should learn to post them on YouYube first? What do you think?

I have Windows XP…is there a tutorial somewhere which tells us goofballs how to post videos. I wish there was a site somewhere where people could go to practice computer skills. Or is there? Later RR :slight_smile:

I like that gripping idea, RR. I was originally confused as to which balance point you were talking about. With your history I was wondering were you talking about balancing it head up on the grip end :slight_smile:
It’s relevant to me at the moment actually as I’m working on moving the club a little further up into the palm of my left hand or into a little more of a neutral hanging position in the hand.
Good luck with the season. I don’t know, but I’m sure youtube have some info on how to upload vids- I would imagine they’d be doing whatever they can to make that as easy for people as possible.