Some Thoughts on Blades/Gear, MPF and My Plans

As this year heads to a close I feel like I’ve had a wicked journey through golf this year. And a great deal of it involved golf gear. I guess at this point as the season winds down here, I’d like to share what I went through (as a high handicapper-down to a ‘respectable’ ball striker) and where I’m going next year…

Before I met Lag I thought I would never touch a blade. I listened to many of the so-called modern opinions telling me a non-scratch golfer should never touch a blade. Late last year Lag gave me links to Hogan blades. I told him I thought it was a crazy idea, but I found an '84 PC set for cheap. I loved them. I then went on to find an identical set of '84 Hogan PC blade heads, had them reshafted with S300 SL’s (a little lighter for my wrist) and new grips. I used these for 4-5 months and took NON-STOP guff from playing partners, regular threesomes, and even some light competitive play. It’s hard to ignore all of that. I even had a scratch player I just met this year look me dead in the face and say, ‘Even I would never play those.’

Fast forward a few months: I then went through a rough time over hooking the ball like crazy (for a few different reasons I won’t go in to.) Believing I needed as much ‘help’ as possible, I purchased a smaller cast head with a fair sized sole and perimeter weighting. In the long term this was a mistake. :unamused: Interestingly enough I admit, there IS additional forgiveness, but I now consider this a bit of a deal with the devil. :smiling_imp: I started to lose my ability to hit the very middle of the club. It’s not like I always hit it anyway, but the point is blades DO give you that feedback… even a half inch off (high/low/hosel/toe) hit IS given back to you in the form of feedback.

So I have come back to my blades. I have a very rare set of Mizuno blades. They are modern but they are bloody heavy for me, and I believe I’ll always be fighting a wrist issue and this concerns me. I want to go as heavy as possible without hurting myself.

I started looking into the Maltby Playability Factor. Anyone hear of this? Basically Ralph Maltby takes a club head and weights it. He gets a ‘playability’ factor derived from the measurements of the head. This includes (but is not limited to) the measurements of: center of gravity in relation to the hosel, reward center of gravity, MOI, and vertical center of gravity. (If you are curious about this rating system, see more HERE: )

A lot of that info, IMO, should be taken with a grain of salt. However, it’s interesting to note that some iron makers, such as Callaway seem to emphasize putting the ‘sweet spot’ of the blade as close to the center of the club as possible. Some do not seem to give that much consideration… such as Mizuno.

So I’ve come to the conclusion that even though I get heckled, I think a small forging is the way to go. But I would say it would be nice to have something modern only for the newer grooves, lofts, and some help getting the ball airborne. Basically I guess you can say I’ve come full circle, but I really don’t know what my set will be for next year. The debate rages on amongst my peers though. They often throw at me the fact that VERY few of even the PGA’s elite use a pure blade anymore. And some, who’ve been around a while, have been using slight game improvement castings like, Kenny Perry, Fred Funk, etc, etc. If they use clubs like that, should I really use a blade?

I look at this year as a massive learning experience. I guess where maybe I differ from Lag’s opinion is I think there is validity in a small forging that isn’t necessarily a muscle back design.

stay with the blades, and as you continue to improve, you playing partners will stop laughing and start asking you questions. I’ve found two things in my situation:
1. Playing partners laugh at first, then when you hit it by them a few times and, at the end, your score is better than theirs, they stop laughing.
2. I, myself, feel that I need to play for the era so to speak. I’m playing to prove to these guys that they’re listening to the wrong people, playing the wrong clubs. So I seem to bear down and concentrate more. My very first drive with persimmon this year occurred on #1. I was last to hit. Both players striped their big-headed metals. I stepped up, felt the nerves a little, and nailed one down the middle. When we got up to our balls, I was last to hit. I didn’t say anything, but I had a nice warm glow going through my veins. It was oh so much fun!!


For me it isn’t about hitting it by them. I have partners I now out drive on a regular basis. It’s more a matter of doing what’s right for Prot. :wink:

You may be right though. I am currently convinced going with a smallish forging is best, but to what degree? And to what era?

The ‘rare’ irons I make a minor mention of in my original post are tour issued Mizuno MP-62’s that were owned by Luke Donald. He’s a lot shorter than me and he had them set at standard lie/loft… I had them bent 2* flat. :sunglasses:

The are tour issue… and I feel like a fool playing them. (Man they are heavy to me as well… very heavy). My wife thinks I’m ‘ruining’ them by playing them. LOL :blush: But she may have a point. For now I’ve pulled out my Hogan’s, but what I’d really like to do is settle on a forging that does what I need, and stick to it for a full year, no swapping. I’m not sure what to go for at this point. I do have a friend who is a NIKE rep and I might be able to get my hands on a well priced set of NIKE Victory Red blades. But is that a good way to go just because the price is right? I know TwoMasters likes Mizuno forgings… So I have some thinking to do.

I got rid of all my new irons and went all in with Lag b/c I felt like I would be cheating myself by not learning to hit an old school blade. As hard as it was to accept the truth, I came to the point where I knew in my heart that no matter how much better a shot result might be on a mishit (or how forgiving it is), the cold hard truth would always remain - it still was a crap swing (perhaps with a little lipstick), and I have only my own body and mind to blame.

I know it will take a lot of work to get to the point where I’m an excellent ball striker (I’ve surely got a lot further to go than most on here), and I think I’d short circuit that growth by going against Lag’s advice. That notwithstanding, my humble suggestion, which you can take with a grain of salt of course (or tell me to kindly f off - I can take it), is to go with old school blades and stick with them and immerse yourself totally in Lag’s approach, assuming that’s the road you want to follow. It seems that mixing and matching portions of Lag’s teaching with those of other instructors (who are no doubt excellent in their own right) all of whom likely subscribe to a different school of thought also could be recipe for disaster. I just got a Hank Haney book as a present and I don’t even want to open it…

Bottom line for me – the only way to get good enough where I can play old blades is to play old blades.

DITTO to CheeseDonk!!
Lag and Two have a lot more to say on this, but you can’t go wrong with anything that says Hogan or Hogan Apex from 1960’s - 1988. What can be better than having one of the best ball-strikers ever overseeing or making your clubs? Lag has other fav’s also (Dyna’s, Mac’s, etc.).

Well I’m glad you guys are so committed to Lag’s ideals, and his ideals for equipment.

Don’t forget, I’ve been doing Lag’s drills for almost a year now. I don’t want you to misunderstand I’m not saying “Blades” are “bad”.

The problem with old blades is you can end up with a lot of old, bad shafts, old grooves, old lofts, no bounce, old grips. If this is your cup of tea, by all means, drink it all in. Like I said I have two sets of Hogan blades I love dearly.

I won’t be getting persimmon drivers. I had an event that was all old school gear, and it was fun, but I am somewhat competitve, and I don’t have the length to take a wooden driver to an event, even as an amateur, and the guy next to me is using a 460cc driver with a 47" shaft. And that’s just pure honesty.

Back to the point; What I am saying is I’d like to remain in a ‘blade’ category but take advantage of groove changes, and modern lofts. The perfect example of what I’m talking about is the ‘newer’ Hogan blades I bought… the former owner bent the hosels on half of the heads while pulling the shafts resulting is really wonky lofting issues that my local guy tried his best to deal with.

I’m glad you guys are into this wholesale. I think it’s great, but I played and used those Hogan blades for a good 4-5 months. I switched after hurting myself, and I admit I probably made a mistake in going with a casting. I also agree with you that it can be hard to take the continual criticisms. I am working on blocking those people out, even though there is some merit in pointing out a great deal of PGA top players do not use blades anymore.

I’m going to try to hunt down something modern. For now the Hogan’s are back in play though. So I’ll hang up the cast clubs for the foreseeable future. Hopefully we can all agree on that much. :sunglasses:

Just a quick reply as to your comment that “[t]he problem with old blades is you can end up with a lot of old, bad shafts, old grooves, old lofts, no bounce, old grips.”

I agree, and I think Lag would agree as well. As to old, bad shafts, at his suggestion I pulled the old shafts in my sets and put brand new x-100s in. As to old grooves, I found my problem wasn’t getting the ball to back up on the green. It was hitting it straight, so, even though I was lucky enough to find a classic set in terrific condition, I didn’t worry too much (I also have some old Hogan Bounce Soles that are beat up). I’ll worry about gooves later when I hit 16/18 greens but run over the back edge. As for old lofts, I had mine bent strong to conform to Lag’s chart (which was consistent with my old set of Mizunos with modern lofts). This will change bounce conditions, but I think I remember a post by Lag talking about his pattern not needing a lot of bounce (although conditions may warrant otherwise). I changed the grips out to new ones, so no issue there either. THe added benefit was that I had a great time figuring out how to reshaft and regrip the clubs on my own (and even adjust loft/lie) – gives me great satisfaction looking down at my Dynas.

Anyway, bottom line - I have old heads that are now set up close to modern equivalent (except they’re bent 4 degrees flat off Lag’s chart’s standard (which is probably even flatter when considering whatever the modern std is). One hit on the sweet spot and I was in love…

Don’t get me wrong, I’m as competitive as the next guy. Probably more so. Which is I’m being patient in changing my swing dna…

What’s wrong with old? The ball doesn’t know how old the club is. Only the hitter. Bad is one thing. Old is another (I like to call it Vintage) If shafts, etc. are bad, then don’t buy them or change them out. 1988 Hogan Redlines have square grooves. Driving has always been my weakness. With persimmon I’m hitting way more fairways and getting it out there pretty good. Most courses I play it doesn’t matter that I hit it shorter than I did with the monster clubs. I never saw the fairway with titanium anyway. I suppose if I was playing from the tips at a long course, then it might make a difference. For me, there isn’t a difference if I hit 7i or 8i instead of 9i. Prot, don’t write off persimmon yet. Give it a try.

I have been using a set of Hogan Medallion (copper coin) that I got on e-bay for about $100 shipped .1978-1981 was production years. The shafts were in great shape Apex 4. The heads had very little groove damage or bag chatter. I played them the other day in a local event and they were great. The ball actually spun like mad, even more than using my ‘modern irons’, which really surprised me.
I have a bunch of Hogan sets now… Apex grind.-- Apex PC-- PT111-- Hogan Decade-- Hogan Medallion. Would love a nice set of Apex II and then I am happy.!! I even just found a stunning set of MacGregor Ben Hogan parmasters with woods in mint condition and leather grips for about $80. Except for a rusted driver shaft you would think this set fell out of a time warp they are in such good condition. They are for show in my office but the shafts feel very stiff and I bet I could go smack them tomorrow and they would be great.
Hogan was really onto something with the underslung neck/hosel. It helps so much with the flat lie angles we want and sticks that center of gravity right out to the middle of the face… I have NO idea why no other companies make them that way
Sometimes we luck into some good buys, some are junk on ebay but being patient and jumping on the right set can make all the difference.

Jgradds, I am not saying old = bad. I have one beater set of Hogan PC’s, and as I explained above, I bought another set that are AMAZING for grooves, but the fool who owned them previously didn’t know what he was doing when he removed the shafts. The hosels were in bad shape, some irons over lofted, some de-lofted. It took a lot of tinkering to get them in any sort of shape. I put new shafts and grips on them.

For a while I was worried about bounce. I wanted to strengthen the lofts on the Hogans a bit, but the Hogans have very, very little bounce. So by doing so, I basically turn them into a set of butter knives. Interestingly enough I’ve been reading more about this and since I would describe myself as a ‘sweeper’ or ‘picker’ of the ball, I’m not so sure how important bounce is to me aside from sand traps… So it might be a moot point.

Hmm, that surprises me too since not only is the groove shape different…the entire process is different (as I’ve been told by a very good club maker).

I really like my Hogan PC’s. I mean, I have two sets! I think ideally if I found a really good set of old heads, that would be great. I have a slightly lighter shaft which is my personal preference on the Hogan PC’s. I really do like them; basically when Lag convinced me…I guess about 5-6 months ago to try ‘old’ blades, I thought he was crazy, but in that time I spent all of my ‘key’ learning moments with the PC’s in hand at the range all winter… hitting into the snow. So I do have an affection for them.

As far as the ‘underslung’ neck, are you talking about the way the blade seems to be bent back, underneath the shaft a bit? I noticed that on mine and thought it was unusual.

So is it fair to say in your opinion there is ZERO benefit to buying a new blade? I know Lag’s opinion on this, but I want to hear your honest opinion. You’re in a very rare position where you’ve played at the top level, grew up playing ‘old’ stuff, but also were sponsored by ‘technology’ based golf gear companies. I’m curious to know if you think that the grooves, new shafts, new mutli-materials, etc, have any improvement on a club or not?

I am more than happy with my old sets of Hogans. Don’t ask me why…I just like them, Maybe they give me a sense of well being? However I rarely mishit them at all- I have not lost any yardage with them- I seem to spin the ball just as much, although less spin would suit me fine-
The only noticeable difference is that I again get a slight flier from the rough-- which in my opinion is great-- I am happy to be able to drop back a club and allow for that. In past times with all the new clubs I couldn’t even get the ball to come out of the rough at all and was wasting strokes by never being able to get the ball on the green- always short- as I would have to use loft to get the ball out but then it wouldn’t go anymore.
In my opinion- and yes I did grow up with the older equipment- the newer equipment did nothing for my game. Not saying that’s for everyone-but that’s my opinion now I have gone in reverse again back to old gear.

““As far as the ‘underslung’ neck, are you talking about the way the blade seems to be bent back, underneath the shaft a bit? I noticed that on mine and thought it was unusual.””

You are correct about the underslung look…it is exactly what you said above. It makes the hosel look goose necked: and if you run your finger down the shaft and point it out through the head- that gooseneck has moved the shaft/COG near the middle of the club (flat clubs help promote this even more) and not in the heel like all other clubs… That’s why I love playing the old Hogan clubs. The guy was a genius on many levels and that is just another example of it. He even set his clubs up in a position to help the player.

Did you change the lofts on the irons at all? I ended up strengthening the lofts just to get the yardarges to fit my wedge set up. In hindsight, maybe this wasn’t a good idea.

When I was studying the clubs, it’s the first thing I noticed when I received them. I admit at first I thought something is wrong with these! :blush: But now I finally know this is an intentional design.

I really loved “An American Life: The Ben Hogan Story”. In it they reference a time period where Hogan receives yet another set of MacGregor (I think) woods and they aren’t to his specifications. There is a segment where an interviewer is trying to talk to Hogan while he hammers the lies flatter. The book often references times where he talks about how he would make his own gear…up until the point where he has a very strained conversation with the C.E.O. of MacGregor to see their new ball processing plant (which Hogan won’t play and at this point has already decided to go with his own company).

I’m glad you like the clubs. It gives me some good food for thought. I will keep the Hogan PC’s in play until I can find better.

I set my lofts around my wedge also- but I have my wedge at 49 instead of todays 48 or less and work down by 4 degrees on each club 45 (9), 41 (8), 37 (7), 33 (6), 29 (5), 25 (4), then I went 22 (3) and 19 (2)
So they are slightly weaker than todays modern standards in the loftier clubs but not much and I have good spacing between the lofts to then have a 55 and a 60 wedge to round out the set
All approx 6 degrees flatter than todays standard- which really makes that gooseneck (undersling) noticeable and points that shaft downwards straight through the center of the face to help avoid face twisting