How-To Guides: Buying an Iron Set
Golf season is here, and everyone is thinking this will be the year for dropping the handicap. The right set of irons — and consistent practice and play — can definitely help you achieve that goal.
Now, most golfers golf bag consists of 14 clubs built for various reasons. What most people need to realize is that it takes just one decision, what iron set to buy, to influence a golfer’s entire set of clubs.
So what I recommend involves a simple three step process: Research; Consultation; Fitting.
Before you even enter a store, search around a few manufacturers’ websites to learn a little about the latest and greatest iron technology on the market. Read some online reviews, such as from 2nd Swing Blog’s comprehensive and free search archives, to help you figure out what kind of iron may match your skill level, club needs as well as playing goals, such as adding loft, feel, flex and distance.
Whether you are interested in a PING, TaylorMade, Titleist or Callaway irons, first learn a little about the new iron sets each company recently released. This will give you the confidence to know some of the clubs’ general specifications (specs) as well as the technological advances certain iron sets may have made in the passing years since you last purchased clubs.
You can trust these manufacturers to give you a brief summary of features and benefits for their new irons. Then try to be ahead of the game by having a favorite model of iron after you researched what might be best for you, like the popular and well-performing new PING i25 series, and you will be far ahead of the game.
By consultation, I mean pretty much demanding a proper education by your local golf store or club shop salesperson or pro on what type of iron will be best for you. There are so many types of irons out there that it can get overwhelming very quickly.
It’s important to be honest with yourself about your golf abilities, or it could spell disappointment or disaster on the course later for you. In reality, keep in mind that there are only a few decisions you have to make:
- What iron head is best for you (traditional blade, midsize or game enhancement, oversize or game improvement)?
- What type of shaft you prefer (steel or graphite)?
- What improvements are you exactly looking for in this new iron set?
- Do I want an iron that is more forgiving or more workable?
- How much does the look and feel of the iron weigh in your decision?
- What are the benefits of each iron head?
Answering these few questions can ultimately take hundreds of different irons sets down to just three or four. And you will quickly realize which iron sets could be best for you.
This phase of the buying process is the most important. Here we can analyze and discuss what might be an iron set that is good and what might be an iron set that is great.
First thing to keep in mind before a fitting takes place, is whether the clubfitter that I am working with is both knowledgeable and certified. You will come away from this experience so much more confident and excited about your new irons if you are paired up with the right fitter.
During your personalized and custom club fitting, two main phases occur: deciding on the perfect set of irons; and fitting those irons to your ability and golf swing. When you are testing iron sets (or demo-ing them), keep in mind how they look and feel. These are the only two areas that a fitter can not analyze. The better the irons look and feel, the more confident the golf swing you will have.
These are criteria that must decisively match your needs.
Assess the assessor
Now performance is the deal breaker, of course. It does not matter how good an iron set looks or feels — if you aren’t hitting it well — you are not going to buy it.
At least I wouldn’t. So you don’t either.
Now a proper fitting process will cover four main topics:
- Static fitting (This determines what club length you need.).
- Dynamic fitting (Tells you what lie angle you need.).
- Ball-flight analysis (This will validate the decisions made to this point, such as iron head size and kind, club length, lie angle and shaft type.).
- Course assessment (Get out and play! Make sure that the set is right for you and fit for you.)
Be aware of how the irons are performing. Do you notice any consistent ball-flight tendencies? If they are performing a certain way for you, are these good or bad tendencies?
Make your fitter aware of your progress after you leave the store. Fitting should be ongoing. Keep the lines of communication open. Don’t be afraid to keep asking questions after you’ve made your purchase.
It might take a couple of rounds or tweaks to dial them in perfectly. Remember it’s all about improving and having fun. The two usually go hand in hand but I promise if you spend the time and go through these important steps, both will occur.