Your Golf Equipment Buying Guide, Part III (cont): Irons Demystified

Now that you understand the basics of iron design (cast vs. forged, muscle-back vs. cavity-back, player’s club vs. game-improvement club), let’s talk about getting the right fit. When it comes to irons, you’ll need to consider the following:

1. Lie angle.
The lie angle of an iron is the angle made between the ground and the club shaft when the sole of the club rests flat on the ground (as if you were addressing the ball). When this angle is smaller, the lie angle is said to be “flatter.” When this angle is larger, the lie angle is said to be “more upright” (see diagram below). Longer clubs are flatter, shorter clubs are more upright. Continue reading

Your Golf Equipment Buying Guide, Part III: Irons Demystified

We’ve covered the driver, and now it’s time to discuss irons. In this post, we’ll address the basics. Next time, we’ll talk about how to make sure you get an iron with specs that fit your swing.

So let’s get to it. When shopping for irons, the three basic decisions you’ll need to consider are:
muscle-back vs. cavity-back
1. Cast or Forged?
Cast irons are made by pouring molten metal into a mold. Forged irons, on the other hand, are made by pounding and shaping a heated chunk of metal. Cast irons tend to be harder, forged irons softer. If you like a harder feel at impact, go with cast. If you like a softer, sweeter feel, go with forged. In the end it’s simply a matter of preference.

One other consideration is that cast irons tend to be more brittle than forged irons. While softer forged irons are easily bent to adjust loft and lie angles, cast irons are not. So, if you decide to buy cast irons that need to be adjusted (we’ll discuss the importance of getting the right fit next time), it would be wise to custom order them from the manufacturer instead of having the golf shop bend them (and possibly break them) for you. Continue reading