I think it must come to this. I stumbled across many forums mentioning the benefits and hazards of using bladed irons and how handicaps should and shouldn't justify the uses or lack thereof of such a thing. It seemed across, not just this forum but every other forum Ive checked to seek some answers about the subject that, there is a deeply divided opinion about who should play blades and who should not. Thats where this topic will hope to help.
Some background first. I played the game as a late teen junior and off and on into my early-mid twenties. I played up until early 2008 when a job opportunity forced me to give up playing golf as I was working interstate and travelling endlessly. When I left in 2008 my handicap was 12.9 and once I returned to Cairns and golf in early 2010 the new handicap system spat me out a nice even 11 handicap. Since then I went out to 19 in almost 12 months, clawed back to 14 in a further 10 months and now back in to 8.2 where my current handicap is.
Ive definitely improved as a whole since last October, breaking 80 for the first time including a +4 (75) at Sea Temple up here at Port Douglas. My irons havent really been the issue, its been the driver and putting that has always let me down along with poor course management. But a shorter shaft in my driver, a new putter and plenty of practice have had me heading in the right direction for a few months. This is where the blade idea came to me.
"Am I good enough to benefit from playing blades??"
After reading so much about the 'buttery' feel and the laser-like control of blades it got me thinking the above question. I hadnt hit a blade since I whacked around my grandfathers in the give up as a kid and most of the comments I was reading were telling me that even at 8.2 I dont have the game for blades. Yeah there were the guys saying hit what you want or what you feel comfortable with but I still wanted to get better and didnt want to fix something that wasnt broken or sabotage my game as it was cruising...
So first off I got on ebay to find the cheapest but also nicest old style single blade that I could find and buy it and practice with on the range before going all out. I picked up an old Titleist 6 iron that has "Tour Model" pressed in the back. Cost me $20pp.
Thats when I got excited and found a complete set of Mizuno Pro Super 11's in not bad condition for $80... So I bought them too. Same day.
I hit them for the first time tonight and they were absolutely amazing. Far exceeding what I ever expected the 'buttery' feel to feel like. Were they hard to hit??? Absolutely not, in fact I found that I hit them beautifully and that they were laser like instead of wandering around on and off the target line. Did mishits cause my hands to fall off?? No. Only twice did I thin it so bad as to get that feeling..agreed not nice but most mishits felt exactly the same as my Taylormade R9's except they were slightly shorter and went straight at the target. Flight was really good compared to my stratospheric flight with the R9's and I was even able to hit knockdown shots with almost every club, something I struggled with with the high flight of the R9's. I was even able to hit the 3 iron solid, straight and very very long, so all in all it was amazing. I couldnt tell exactly how different the distances were but it seemed to be almost exactly the same as the R9's.
Plus I also purchased, on ebay again...when I shouldnt have, a brand new set of 2011 Taylormade TP MB's 3-PW for $450 even before my other ones had arrived... Impulse buy or what? Cant wait til they arrive. As luck would have it I actually tested a set mid last week and loved them from the first time I saw them..hence the impulse buy.
This little experiment however will be backed up by stats and obviously by the rise or fall of my handicap. I use Golfshot for iphone to track all of my stats and so far Ive found it really useful in conjunction with Golfplan for mapping out where I need to work more and areas where I need to work less.
Heres a shot of my stats for the last 5 rounds
As you can see driving is pretty consistent and putting really isnt that bad considering the iron shots Ive been hitting into greens. Recovery performance still needs some work but I think that the switch to blades will put me on more greens in reg, closer and that the GIR figures will be higher over the next few months. Thus resulting in more birdie putts from better positions and the putts per GIR numbers lower.
So let me begin by making a prediction. I think that after what I saw and experienced tonight and as long as the rest of my game remains at least static or improves as it has been, then I think 3 to 4 strokes off my handicap by September is quite achievable. Im only really basing this on the ability to hit it close to the pins and to be precise where my R9's weren't.
If I dont improve significantly however then there are decisions to be made. Even worse if the blades completely dont work and my iron shots become abysmal. We will see.
I hope this can be of some benefit to people who are in the same position as me- that is wanting to play blades or muscle backs but being too afraid that they're "too good for me".
I will keep you posted and add stat sheets as well as reviewing the MB's when they arrive.
Let the experiment begin...