No benchmark, exact same yardages as modern blades when hit correctly with the same loft and shaft length using modern ball. Modern clubs are bent about 4 degrees stronger, shafts an inch longer. The weight is moved around some to the perimeter, but nothing like cavity back. The reason players think that vintage blades are shorter is because players can’t hit them as well as often, which of course they think is equipment problem.
I will attempt to give some insight here. Im young and in good physical shape (5’ 11" 180 lbs)… I used to be the guy that tried to kill it. a long time ago i would try to hit my upright oversized cavity back pitching wedge 150 yards. and anything 200 was always a 6 iron. now its totally different. i play in tournaments with modern prov1 (and i hate it) and here are my approximate yardages… keep in mind… when trying to hit it close… you want to be hitting it as low as possible unless your flag hunting a front pin. only then will i give it a bit extra and hit it way up in the air. by the way i swith between Hogan PCs and 1959 dynapowers… my wedges are modern clevelands
IMPORTANT: Keep in mind… one of the biggest lessons here at ABS is to play with intuition. I used to play with a laser and occasionally still do. but when im playing my best… its always from intuition… it always feels like a hard 7 or a soft 6. you can hit it close with any club! First figure out what shape the shot is asking for. then figure out the quality of strike necessary. dont attatch the ego to how far… attatch it to how close.
the reason i hate prov1’s is because you just cant shape the short irons the same. you cant get to those sucker pins by shaping it in the air AND on the ground. and i didnt grow up with balata. but i have experimented with them and my wedge game improves dramatically. the ball still compresses on slight mis hits. the modern ball feels like a rock on a slight mis hits.
If its dry and firm, i find i hit my persimmon much further due to the lower flight.
My irons, i play about a club more than modern gear, due to lofts
I dont own or use range finders. I glance at distance markers, but i concentrate hard on my lie, green firmness, wind direction, wind strength, humidity, pin position, and how hard of A ROCK im being asked to hit on any given day.
My set of golf clubs are over 40 years old, and i never feel disadvantaged, i feel empowered
i’m probably about a club shorter then woodenwoods, maybe almost 2 with my 3-4 irons. (haven’t been hitting the long irons
to good as of late). my lofts start at 50 degrees for my pw and go roughly 4 degree increments from there. my lofts tend to
get weak as I remove offset. my 5 irons for most of my sets are generally around 32 degrees.
when i flush my persimmon vs. the 983k it is largely the same and sometimes more roll when the fairways are dry.
i played a nice old club (jimmy demerat was the first head pro) a few weeks ago and the entire round one member kept talking about
how they can add tee boxes here and there…the course is 6800 from the tips and plenty challenging (especially for the majority of their
members). not to mention totally landlocked and shoehorned in there. I kept telling the guy if its that much of a problem just start playing persimmons…
18 tee i made everyone hit a drive with their driver and then my persimmon.
2 guys were flat out scared (haha) the other guy who played in college and has solid action knocked a beatiful tight draw. i could tell
some memories were unleashed from the titanium cobwebs of his brain. I knocked both my 983k and penna into an upslope in the fairway
and they both took a small bounce and stopped. they were within 3 feet of each other…
Since I don’t use yardages to play, I pull a club based upon trajectory. But from a general sense I would say
2 W 230
However, if I had to… I could hit every club 20 yards farther, and the driver 30 yards farther if I had to. Maybe an iron shot over a tree and I need the higher trajectory of an 8 iron to go 160 would be doable.
I don’t like the words “easy” or “backing off a club” I think hard and aggressive with every shot… I just take a much shorter backswing, then hit hard if I want the 5 iron to only go 160 or even 150. By keeping the same intensity to the strike for all shots, I have one less thing to think about. Now I can just focus on the shape of the ball flight, and making good contact.
The best way to hit a golf shot is to firmly commit to what you are doing. Indecision, indecisiveness, quitting on the shot are all sure fire ways to decrease the probability of success.
I have this in my notebook, don’t know how accurate it is but here is Hogan’s average yardages, with the ball of the day.
Lag–do you know if Hogan overclubbed often? I know he valued shotmaking with the irons, being able to hit a 5 iron 155, but also 130. He certainly believed in hitting all-out with the driver, the most important shot. Impressive distance with balata…
Those distances are from his book Power Golf. Those are the clubs’ ‘regular’ distances. He also listed ‘maximum’ and ‘minimum’ distances for these clubs. I have added these to your table. It suggests that he would somethimes hit any of his irons one club shorter, or two and a half clubs longer.
Golf is about the challenge of using all the clubs… especially into par 4’s. Long, mid and short irons each three or four times a round. Hogan’s yardages sound about right. Of course you can hit the irons different distances. Why would you want to limit a club to one distance? Silly really. Golf is more fun when you play it properly, and you quickly find out who’s good and who isn’t.
I was fortunate to have played there… just a surreal experience. I remember the wind opening up on the back nine and you can just toss the yardage book away. I remembered clearly thinking this course was designed with the prevailing wind in mind. I have such an appreciation for what the previous generations have left behind for us. Respect these courses, play them with proper gear and you will be rewarded with a much deeper experience.
Lag how do you think we can teach juniors to play and appreciate like this. Many of the thoughts on and the ways I play a course can not be separated from what you and Two have taught me. Simple way to show is The Master last year, Two was exited to tell me to read what you wrote about Augusta National design. 10 green is deep because it was meant to come in with a low trajectory long iron that wouldn’t stop easily, 12 and 15 shallow greens to come in with a high trajectory short iron that should stop. All that is gone in golf, all players that want lessons are about distance. Anything I tell them is contradicted by what is on TV. Two had a great young student that I have been teaching since he left. He went to golf camp with his friends and believes everything they tell him. Flat is bad, upright to throw writst into ball. Look at the pros, your working on the wrong things. They believe what they see on tour. He has been hitting it bad since, no distance control, and no curve control. This is whats bad, he was beating all his friends when Two was teaching him. Worse than that I know the guy that was teaching him at the camp. A hack that shoots in the 90s and knows nothing of teaching.
The first thing is to get a young player or any player onto a proper golf course. Learn to play it yourself, and then show them how to play it. Really tight courses are great because it really hammers down the point about hitting it straight. Have them bring their frying pans etc… then wipe them out and show them that distance is overrated if not simply carelessly dangerous!
I always say… if you can beat me… then I’ll listen to you…
Until then, it’s a Model 28 Spalding 50’s persimmon driver, and a set of heavy stiff and flat 56 Dynas and a lot of 66’s coming this year!