I love to find shocking articles by credible writers to give me the real truth about ways to improve my golf game. Stephen Altschuler – in a recent GolfWRX BLOG wrote “Forgiving irons? A perspective you might not like.” I just wanted to share the abbreviated version of his comments because I always thought that this was the truth.
“Club manufacturers have glommed onto the term “forgiving” to coax golfers to their products, and I think it’s done more to detract beginners from learning the game properly and eventually dropping out. In the process, people try the game thinking their forgiving clubs will essentially do it all for them, almost by magic.
Today, with irons looking more like garden tools, and drivers more like battle-axes, forgiveness is the keyword. As the commercial for the XE1 wedge says: “The XE1 is awesome. It just popped the ball right up,” says a guy with a swing not unlike Charles Barkley’s. Effortless? The club does all the work? Right: All you have to do is take the same lousy swing you’ve brought to the course for 30 years, and it bounces right on the green. I kid the XE1. It’s probably a fine club, (tongue-in-cheek) but we all know down deep the club is probably not much better than Gene Sarazen’s sand wedge he invented in 1928. You still need to swing the club properly to make it do what it was intended to do. That takes good instruction and lots of practice.
Back in the day, with a 200cc persimmon driver, you had to have pretty darn good technique to make solid contact, so the emphasis for the recreational golfer was solid contact and not so much club head speed. Swings then were smoother, better paced, slower and more athletic.
But in one of the greatest marketing ploys in sports history, golf club manufacturers have convinced us that salvation was in larger and larger club head sizes for both irons and drivers, digging out huge cavities in the backs of irons, switching to whippier and ever-lighter graphite shafts, and fatter, flatter, less tapered grips. These days, young golfers wouldn’t know what Trevino meant when he joked, after being struck by lightning with a long-iron in his hands, “Only God can hit a 1-iron.”
You can’t reliably buy a guaranteed better game, unless you’re talking about lessons. If you practice the wrong fundamentals, you will dig yourself a deeper golf hole. As Palmer says in a recent TV spot, “Swing your swing. Perfect in its imperfection. Swing your swing. I know: I did.” And, please, don’t buy a club because it’s more forgiving. Just forgive yourself for not using your pro more often, and squeezing in just a bit more time for practice and playing.”
I love to read the hype about new club concepts that will turn my game on fire. It’s just lots of hype. Save your money for lessons after you get a good club fitting to match your strength and ability with the right clubs for you.
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