My first set of "decent" irons were the Hogan Apex forged mb/cb combo's, which had a rather thin top-line, not much offset and didn't have too much distance. I loved these clubs, and only retired them when I got a chance to purchase some Mizuno Mp-52's cheap with only a couple of rounds on them. As a "social golfer" I steadily saw a drop in my scores, and managed to work my way down to an "unofficial" 11 handicap in my casual social group. I took a big break from the game to overcome a significant side injury and to concentrate on a different sport that I was at a National competitive level at. I then returned about 2 years ago, and resumed playing with my mp-52's. I was generally scoring in the mid 80's, only a few strokes more than before, but was still able to visualise and execute the majority of the shots required around the course with my irons.
At the start of this year, I decided to invest in basically an entire new kit. Given my swing had slowed down considerably from previous years, I decided to invest in some Taylormade M2 irons, to try and get back some lost distance and protect myself from the fear of overswinging and hurting myself again. I also decided to get off my ass and get a golflink handicap so I could play in the ISG OOM and meet all of you guys for the first time.
My 3 card rounds were all with the new m2's and blatantly, I had absolutely shocking rounds. At the time I put the results down to the conditions being quite tough, and also my home course Yarrambat playing much more difficult from the very back tees. For the first time in a long time, I was constantly pulling out irons longer than my 7iron to get to the greens, and my game basically imploded. I couldn't hit a GIR to save myself, with anything I tried to fade either resulting in a significant pull or push slice, and anything I tried to draw guaranteed to pull hook. Alignment was horrid, contact was inconsistent, and whilst the good shots had the distance, the bad shots were so thin or fat that I had reached a point where I didn't know how far I was going to hit any given shot, and I didn't know which side of the course I was hitting to. I feel embarrassed to admit that my first ever official handicap was in the low 20's, and I had lost the ability to play this game.
Out of desperation, I played a casual solo round at Growling frog on Saturday, and had a bit of a Frankenstein theme going on in the bag, Using my old hogans from 9-6iron, and using the m2's from 6-4, because of the much stronger lofts. Unfortunately I had lost my old 5iron, so this was my only choice to kind of have the irons form somewhat of a set.
All of a sudden, I had my old game back. I was able to set up for a draw and the ball would actually draw not duck hook. I was able to set up to go high or low and the shot result was what I would expect. I hit every par 3 in GIR playing off the very back tees, I was able to chip with my short irons again without fear of it running off the green, and I actually enjoyed the game again, because I was playing to the standard I expect myself to be able to play at. I carded an 82 off the very back tees on a course that I have a tenancy to struggle at because it requires the player to remain on the fairways for the round and have the feeling of being excited for golf again.
Now it's probably way too early to tell myself "I'm back in form" and may have just had a round where things went right for once, but the confidence and enthusiasm generated by going back to a more bladed style iron can't be ignored. For the first time this year, I was able to feel the game again and trust the shot I saw in my head. I found another full set of the same hogans on Gumtree, picked them up last night, and can't wait to give the "new" sticks a hit this weekend.
This little story raises a question to ponder. Are game improvement irons purely of benefit to a very high handicapper to help them with the basics of hitting the ball in the air, and more importantly, can these style irons actually significantly hurt someones game who has a fundamental understanding of how to hit a golf shot? Does all of the "technology" that goes into lower CG, more forgiving on mishits actually hinder a golfers ability to actually play the game?
Is all of this in my head, or can Game Improvement Irons significantly hurt your game to this extent?