Iron Fitting – Iron Out The Details

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Since the vast majority of golfers’ full complement of “irons” should include a mix of hybrids and irons, here are a number of other important elements of iron set fitting that can help ensure golfers are custom fit for the best overall iron set.

Iron Lengths and Length Increments

The starting length of the combined hybrid/iron set starts with a measurement of the distance from the golfer’s wrist to the floor.  The measurement is then compared to a chart that lists the initial length of the irons for each different W to F measurement.  The final length is then a process of swing evaluation to determine if the initial length recommendation should be altered slightly longer or shorter based on the golfer’s posture, flexibility and comfort over the ball and through impact.

Once the final iron length is determined, there is no rule that says all the irons have to be made in the usual half-inch increments seen on the vast majority of irons sold off the shelf.  Most golfers who measure for longer length irons can find much better iron consistency and maintain the most consistent swing posture when the iron length increments are altered to 3/8”.  With 3/8” or even 5/16” increments between the irons, the higher number irons progressively become longer in relation to what they would be in a set made with normal half-inch increments.  This can deliver a much higher level of comfort over the ball and through impact with the high number irons and wedges. 

Iron Shaft Fitting

Golfers of average to below average strength or golfers with a smoother swing tempo who have always played heavier weight steel iron shafts (100-130g) can find more comfort as well as a few more yards in distance by switching to a much lighter weight graphite iron shaft (55-85g).  Measuring the golfer’s swing speed and observing their downswing force and point of wrist cock release allows the golfer to find the best performing shaft flex and bend profile (distribution of stiffness) in the shafts. 

Iron Swingweight or MOI (Iron to Iron Swing Feel Matching)

All golfers need to find the right headweight feel to match to their sense of swing timing, rhythm and tempo to be able to achieve the highest level of on-center hit consistency.  But let me clue you into a totally valid replacement for conventional swingweight matching that has proven to be a better way to make all the clubs swing with the same feel and effort – MOI Matching.

Unlike swingweight matching, making the irons to each have the same Moment of Inertia will make each club so it requires the same effort to swing.  If you’d like to experience what MOI matching can do for your or any golfer’s shot consistency, use lead tape to make your irons follow a progressive, half-swingweight point increase per club down through the set.  Interested golfers and clubmakers can read more about MOI matching as a replacement for swingweight matching.

Iron Lie Fitting

What more can be said?  Every golfer must have the lie angles of their irons dynamically fit and adjusted to ensure the centre of the sole is the point of contact with the ground.  Not static lie fitting, but dynamic lie fitting so every variable from the swing is accommodated to ensure the proper lie angle for each iron.  Failure to do so is a ticket to missing more greens.

There are two different accepted methods of dynamically fitting the lie angle of the irons, hitting shots from a lie board to note the point of impact on the sole with the board, and the ink line on the back of the ball method.  Of the two, the ink line on the back of the ball is being recognized as more reliable and accurate.  This method involves putting a thick line on the ball with a Sharpie pen, positioning the ball with the line vertical and facing the clubface, then looking at the angle of the ink line transferred to the clubface to note the proper lie adjustment.  With a properly fit lie, the ink line will be vertical on the clubface.  A lie that is too upright for the golfer will be revealed by the ink line being angled toward the toe.  When the lie is too flat the ink line will be angled toward the heel. 

Overall, the proper custom Iron fitting analysis can make a big difference for golfers and can bring about more greens hit in regulation as well as a lower score.

Tom