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Should I ditch my 5 iron?

I turned Pro in 1997 and back then a typical set of irons went from a 3 iron through to a Sand Wedge.

Taylormade's original firesole rescue club

We hadn’t heard of gap wedges and Taylormade’s famous ‘Rescue’ club, now more commonly known as a hybrid, was just about to make a name for itself.

Fast forward to 2020 and you will be hard-pressed to find a 3 iron from any supplier.

The reason for this is due to the vanishing loft phenomenon...

Advances in club design have meant manufacturers can position the weight lower down in the club resulting in a higher ball flight. This, in turn, has caused the loft of the clubs to decrease to produce the desirable ball flight trajectory.   

When I turned pro my Tommy Armour 845s Silver Scot 8 iron was 42 degrees and now we see most Pitching wedges with lofts close to that. For example, the new Callaway Mavrik Max Pitching Wedge is 43 degrees!

Tommy Armour 854s Silver Scot vs Callaway Mavrik Max Iron
My Tommy Armour Silver Scot vs the new Callaway Mavrik Max
Iron1997*
lofts
2020**
lofts
42620
53023
63426
73830
84234
94638
PW5043
SW5654
*Tommy Armour Silver Scot 845s  **Callaway Mavrik Max

This means golfers are hitting the ball further than the equivalent iron of 30 years ago but it has caused two problems:

1. A new club had to be invented. 

To still be an effective bunker club the Sand Wedge loft has barely changed over the decades. It has remained at about 54-56 degrees. But, because the pitching wedge has decreased in loft down to the low 40’s there is this huge gap. So, we welcome the appropriately named ‘Gap Wedge’ which at 48 to 52 degrees is the old loft of the Pitching Wedg

2. Long irons are difficult to hit

With a 4 iron now at 20 degrees, it is a challenging club even for the most accomplished of golfers to hit with any degree of consistency. This is despite the advances in technology and clubhead design.

Case study

A seven handicap golfer recently installed a tracking system to his clubs which quite cleverly uses GPS to show how far each shot goes. The data this fed back to him showed that his 6 iron went further on average than his 5 iron.

His initial reaction was that the lofts of the club must be incorrect, so he brought the clubs in for us to inspect on our loft lie machine.

The machine showed that the loft gap between the clubs was correct so the problem was elsewhere.

The launch monitor in the studio at Dunes revealed that the 5 iron did go further but only on well-struck shots. This was not happening enough on the golf course and therefore the average shot distance was less than the 6 iron.

The solution…
In this case, the golfer in question would probably be better off with a 5 hybrid instead of a 5 iron.

Watch me trying out the Mizuno JPX FliHi Hybrid

For many golfers, switching to hybrids is a challenge because they have been so used to playing with long irons all of their golfing life. But, now is the time to give a hybrid a go to see if it can make the game easier and more enjoyable.

We like the Mizuno JPX FliHi as they can be fitted with the same shafts as you would get in your irons, steel for example, which makes them feel much more like the rest of the set.

If you would like to try out your 5 iron against a 5 hybrid then come along to Dunes and ask for a demo. All you have to do is buy your range balls (baskets start at £2.80) and our staff will set you up with a few different ones to try.

Book a fitting

A custom fitting with one of our trained staff will show you exactly how far you hit each club and identify your best solution. Custom fitting benefits all levels of golfer, even if you have just started playing. For more information and to book click here, or give us a call on 01346 510693

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Have you ever been told to keep your head down?


Why this is the biggest myth in golf…

I find myself compelled to repeat this message every year as part of my mission to help people play better, more enjoyable golf, and in this case…to save them from injury to.

Every week I hear amateur golfers telling each other that the cause of the bad shot they just hit was because they lifted their head.

This is usually followed by the instruction “KEEP YOUR HEAD DOWN!”

I even have pupils tell me after a bad shot in a lesson that they ‘knew’ what went wrong there… “I lifted my head!”

I often show the pupil the video back and prove to them that they did not lift their head and in actual fact, the thought keeping their head down was one of the main causes of the bad shot.

This SHOCK news is often hard to take on board, so ingrained is this thought in the mind of the amateur golfer. In fact, this swing advice seems the fix for pretty much every bad shot.

Let me help you now…GET RID OF THE THOUGHT ‘KEEP YOUR HEAD DOWN!’ It will be one of the best things you do for your golf game, AND your physical health!

In over 20 years as a PGA golf coach I can tell you how many times someone lifting their head was the cause of a bad shot – NOT ONCE!

Most advanced level players understand that keeping the head down is some what undesired and once they have hit the shot they allow the head to release freely. 

An inhibited head movement in the follow through restricts shoulder rotation, weight transfer and then ultimately club path through impact. It will also effect the release of the forearms and club head.

Worse still, it putts extra strain on your back and neck and, if you were to rotate effectively through impact and keep you head ‘down’ at the same time, you would rupture the top of your spine!

Keeping your head down also effects your starting posture. The spine becomes curved and with the chin tucked in to your chest you cannot turn properly and build up power. In many cases keeping the head down like this actually causes the body to lift in the backswing as the shoulder pushes the chin up.

Annika Sorenstam – certainly not ‘keeping’ her head down

Jim Mclean and Hank Haney are two of the Worlds’ top coaches and here is what they have to say:

“Many top players never see the ball at impact or even in the downswing. Players that do this include – Annika Sorenstam, David Duval, Jim Furyk, Steve Elkington and Paul Azinger. You must almost consciously look up at the target quickly after impact or risk hanging on the right side too long and restricting the movement of the body.”
Jim McLean

”I worked with Tiger to look up very quickly almost before he hit the shot like David Duval and Annika Sorenstam. Releasing the head early really helps to stop the body from working underneath and back in the downswing.”

Hank Haney (Excerpt from The Big Miss)

I hear so many well intentioned parents, grandparents, husbands, friends and so on telling the new golfer to ‘keep their head down’. I cringe when I hear this as I know what damage it does to a potentially good golf swing. So, please stop giving out this terrible advice and start letting yourself and your fellow golfers develop a swing that flows through to face the target, just like all good players do!

Look at the head position of all of these top golf pro’s when they are at or around impact

STOP TELLING EACH OTHER TO KEEP YOUR HEAD DOWN – PLEASE!

You could argue that there are many top players who are still looking at the ground where the ball was after impact but I can tell you that this is not a conscious effort. You will see that the head is free to rotate with the body thus allowing the swing to sequence better, creating more power and greater accuracy.

Next time you go to the range – give it a go for yourself and experience the freedom of movement and extra power you can create.

Find out what you need to do differently to improve any aspect of your game…

If you want to unlock your potential simply book an initial lesson with at Dunes Golf Centre for just £30.00. Call 01346 510693 or go to www.dunesgolfcentre.co.uk/bookalesson 

Lessons are available 7 days a week 10am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 4pm at a weekend.

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