It’s that question we get every year: Is the new stuff really better than last year’s stuff? The answer is a without hesitation “yes.” That said, if you bought a new driver or set of irons or wedges or putter last year, it might not be instantly recognizable. Fact is, seismic shifts in golf equipment are few, the result of the fact that pretty much everything the past few years has been pretty dang excellent. However if you haven’t upgraded your clubs in four or five years or—heaven help you, longer—the chances of you seeing significant improvement is strong.
The fact is, golfers are getting better and equipment technology is the reason. That might manifest itself in better scores or a lower handicap. It might be in the form of more quality shots more often. Or it might come from a less-skilled player getting more enjoyment from the game because they are finally getting the ball in the air and moving it down the fairway. If you haven’t changed your clubs in several years we know the reasons. “I’m not good enough” or “None of that equipment helps average golfers all that much.” Then there’s the one we dislike the most, “I’m doing just fine with what I’ve got.” Unfortunately, not really. We’ve learned over the years that equipment is designed to help average players more than tour players, and the designs today are aimed at helping the mis-hit more than the Sunday punch. In other words, the game can be made easier. Not easy, but easier. And who doesn’t want that, especially when a case can be made that it’s happening across every section of your bag.
After several lean years, this category is showing renewed interest first because the engineering challenges for producing positive results from the most erratic of swings might be the most intriguing, and second, there is a growing diversity to the players that need these irons that provide maximum help. There are technologies that benefit the beginners and the 100-shooters whose rounds are ruined because they struggle to get shots in the air. With more forgiving hybrid-like hollow designs, including their fat-shot negating soles, this class of player might find a new enjoyment to the game rising just as their iron shots do. There also are players who swing plenty fast enough to generate trajectory, but need a larger head shape to corral those mis-hits. The good news is these larger-headed irons offer extra off-center stability and stronger lofts so those mis-hits still carry that short-right bunker. Finally, as the golfer demographic ages, there are more opportunities in super game improvement irons to add back some of that lost speed with lighter shafts and faces specifically designed to flex more effectively and add spin so shots stay in the air longer.