is the word forgiveness misleading ?

DG_1234

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Within the golf equipment industry "bigger is better" seems to be a widely accepted concept. I've tried to embrace the idea, but the supposed "more forgiving" clubs usually don't work as well for me as ones of smaller, more traditional size. For example:

1)DRIVER- I've had success playing many 460CC drivers but find a smaller head is more consistently accurate . My current KZG SP700 driver is about 355CC and I find it easier to consistently square at impact than the 460CC drivers I've played. For me average distance is essentially the same with any head size from 350CC to 460CC.

2) FAIRWAY METALS- other than from tee boxes, I struggle to play consistently goof shots from the ground with modern large head 3 and 5 woods. I think the heads are just too large to consistently square at impact with anything other than an ideal, level lie. So, my bag has 16* and 19* hybrids. The hybrids are about 15 yards shorter yardage than fairway metals, but impact quality and accuracy is better with the hybrids.

3) IRONS: For about 55 rounds of golf I played the largest head iron set I could find (Ping G700) and while it was fun getting super charged distance shots, the distance and accuracy control was not great.
So, I went back to playing my former set, MP63, which is not by any means a "small head", but it's significantly smaller than the G700, and with the MP's I am squaring the face at impact more than I did with the large head G700's.

4) PUTTER: I have not tried any of the modern large mallet head putters so I won't comment about putter forgiveness.

So, I think the word "forgiveness" may be misleading. If (for some players) large heads produce more mishit shots, is that large size really "forgiving"?
* I understand that computer data reveals a mishit will get better results from a large head than a smaller head. But if swinging a large head produces ore mishits (than a smaller head) is the large head truly more "forgiving"?
 

blueonblack

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Only thing is, you have the skillset to determine your best contact chances. I think this is probably how most folks feel that get their handi low.
Part of being able to hit from poor lies is part of being a better player, so the equipment often follows the shot you're trying to hit.

If your clubs are "getting in your way" that is probably the best indicator EVER that you're ready for "less forgiving" clubs. (y)
 

WLG1952

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Idk. I always looked at the term "forgiving" or "game improvement" clubs as selling/marketing type thing. Then again, I have to admit I know very little about how various types of clubs, and how they relate to various golfers' swings.

I remember something a pga instructor once told a group of us while giving us lessons. He told us, that if the golfer has a good swing, they will get the most out of what ever type of club they swing. He then proceeded to have us each pull an iron out of our bags, and he hit each one.

The clubs we pulled for him ranged from large cavity backs to muscle back blades. Metal shafts, and graphite. Some were cheap brands, while others were much more expensive. Some were ancient, and others were much newer. It didn't matter. He hit quality shots with all of them. He had "the swing". Better yet, he had a repeatable ball/club impact position.

My current irons are cavity backs, and are in the "forgiveness" grouping. That said, I have a few blades that I sometimes hit, that except for a few extra warm up swings, I hit them just as well as my normal gamers. In fact if I wanted to go buy a new set of irons right now, I probably get fitted for blades. The blades seem to go a little farther, and I tend to get more of natural draw ball flight with them.
 

DG_1234

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Only thing is, you have the skillset to determine your best contact chances. I think this is probably how most folks feel that get their handi low.
Part of being able to hit from poor lies is part of being a better player, so the equipment often follows the shot you're trying to hit.

If your clubs are "getting in your way" that is probably the best indicator EVER that you're ready for "less forgiving" clubs. (y)
I'm not sure I understand the theme of your post. The point I was trying to make is that for some players (regardless of skill level) larger heads might promote more mishit shots than smaller club heads. And this is why I question if the word "forgiveness" is sometimes misleading.
 

Molten

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No, I think the term is not misunderstood at all or misleading. It sounds more like a case of fit and confidence in your description than anything else. It really sounds like you have more confidence with smaller heads but they are less forgiving. It certainly doesn’t mean that people shouldn’t use them or that they aren’t good clubs.
 

blueonblack

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I'm not sure I understand the theme of your post. The point I was trying to make is that for some players (regardless of skill level) larger heads might promote more mishit shots than smaller club heads. And this is why I question if the word "forgiveness" is sometimes misleading.
When you get good enough, the training wheels come off the bike. Same with clubs. The better you get, the less "correction" you need. The training wheels start to get in the way. Time to take them off. You can't get down after the ball in deep rough as easily with wider soles and longer blade lengths. So once you know how to hit that shot out of that lie, you need the club that enables you to do so.
 

-CRW-

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Yes. For a variety of reasons.

From a Ping engineer:

 

DG_1234

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It really sounds like you have more confidence with smaller heads but they are less forgiving.
My point is really about the term "forgiving". Specifically, the golf industry promotion of the the concept that "bigger is better is more forgiving".
Let's say a player makes a dozen swings with a 380 CC driver and a dozen swings with a 460 CC driver. If he has 8 good quality strikes with the 380CC head and 5 good quality strikes with the 460CC head, doesn't that mean in some respects that the 460 CC is less forgiving that the smaller head ?
Or , from a variety of lies types a player makes a dozen swings with a small cavity back iron and a dozen swings with a jumbo over sized iron,. If he had 8 pure quality strikes with the smaller cavity back and 5 purely struck shots with the over sized iron, doesn't that mean in some respects that the over size iron head is less forgiving for that player ?
 

blueonblack

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My point is really about the term "forgiving". Specifically, the golf industry promotion of the the concept that "bigger is better is more forgiving".
Let's say a player makes a dozen swings with a 380 CC driver and a dozen swings with a 460 CC driver. If he has 8 good quality strikes with the 380CC head and 5 good quality strikes with the 460CC head, doesn't that mean in some respects that the 460 CC is less forgiving that the smaller head ?
Or , from a variety of lies types a player makes a dozen swings with a small cavity back iron and a dozen swings with a jumbo over sized iron,. If he had 8 pure quality strikes with the smaller cavity back and 5 purely struck shots with the over sized iron, doesn't that mean in some respects that the over size iron head is less forgiving for that player ?
Watch that video above. It applies to drivers and irons.
"Forgiving" is often applicable to off center strikes, as the video says.
 

wubears71

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Yes. For a variety of reasons.

From a Ping engineer:

This is a great video and explains why I play smaller headed irons so much better. I don’t have an issue missing the center of the face, so, it makes sense that i Have more control and consistency with the MP20s versus my old JPX 900s.
 

DG_1234

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When you get good enough, the training wheels come off the bike. Same with clubs. The better you get, the less "correction" you need. The training wheels start to get in the way. Time to take them off. You can't get down after the ball in deep rough as easily with wider soles and longer blade lengths. So once you know how to hit that shot out of that lie, you need the club that enables you to do so.
Your point about deep rough is understood. Now let's add fairway bunkers, sloped fairways, hard pan etc... I think for all of these less than ideal lies a larger club head may make it more challenging to produce good quality impact.
So, given all the different lie types a player faces during a round of golf, where is it that the larger club head is providing a benefit ?
 

jvbart

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This is a great question I have been wondering about. I usually shoot in the 90s and recently switched to AP1s from my first set which was an older smaller Callaway iron.

I have found a huge improvement where balls that used to be topped or chunked actually pick up decent distance and go straight and shots slightly off the sweet spot still look like a good shot. It’s been huge for my game.

Unfortunately I have also noticed some inconsistent distances. Sometimes I hit a pure shot that goes 25 yards past my target. My swing is inconsistent at times so sometimes I swing with more power but these beasts definitely feel a bit more inconsistent on distance. I have also noticed my misses can be worse if the ball goes left or right of target. Last weekend I hit a ball right on the sweet spot but watched it go 30 yards left of target. Maybe the added distance means bigger misses but it definitely feels like a left or right miss is more punishing with the GIs.

I love the clubs so not really complaining but it’s definitely something I have noticed as well and have to factor in to my game.
 

Gman79

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I think we forgiveness is understandable that through the different club design you can't expect forgiveness to be the same meaning on a blade vs players cavity vs game improvement vs. super game improvement!
 

blueonblack

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Your point about deep rough is understood. Now let's add fairway bunkers, sloped fairways, hard pan etc... I think for all of these less than ideal lies a larger club head may make it more challenging to produce good quality impact.
So, given all the different lie types a player faces during a round of golf, where is it that the larger club head is providing a benefit ?
We're on the same page and largely saying the same thing in different ways, I believe. Re-read what I've said and I think you'll understand that I am not in opposition to what you are saying/experiencing it. Only trying to provide analogy as to why.
Did ya watch that 3 minute video? Woods and irons apply.
 

Molten

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My point is really about the term "forgiving". Specifically, the golf industry promotion of the the concept that "bigger is better is more forgiving".
Let's say a player makes a dozen swings with a 380 CC driver and a dozen swings with a 460 CC driver. If he has 8 good quality strikes with the 380CC head and 5 good quality strikes with the 460CC head, doesn't that mean in some respects that the 460 CC is less forgiving that the smaller head ?
Or , from a variety of lies types a player makes a dozen swings with a small cavity back iron and a dozen swings with a jumbo over sized iron,. If he had 8 pure quality strikes with the smaller cavity back and 5 purely struck shots with the over sized iron, doesn't that mean in some respects that the over size iron head is less forgiving for that player ?
No, subjective good shots for a player do no define forgiveness. For example, CG and sweet spot size relative to face are measurable and quantifiable.

What you are describing is fitting and what an individual performs best with.
 

DG_1234

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Watch that video above. It applies to drivers and irons.
"Forgiving" is often applicable to off center strikes, as the video says.
Yes, I've watched the video. All equipment company engineers sing the same song about larger heads offering improved shot results from mishits. What they don't talk to is whether the propensity for mishits increases as club heads become larger.
We can all agree that an 800CC driver or an iron head 3X the size of anything on the market today would be clubs with heads too large for anybody to swing and square at impact. So, if that is agreed, then it just becomes a question of at what point does club head size become too large , counterproductive ?
 

DG_1234

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No, subjective good shots for a player do no define forgiveness. For example, CG and sweet spot size relative to face are measurable and quantifiable.

What you are describing is fitting and what an individual performs best with.
I understand your points, thanks for your reply.
My primary criticism of fitting is that a level lie studio or driving range is very unlike actual golf course playing conditions. For example, on a golf course it might be 3 to 7 swings with a variety of clubs, and as much as 30 minutes time, from one driver shot to the next. But a fitter has a player making dozens of consecutive driver swings , so big difference there.. And on the course a player may face 6-iron shots from the rough, sloped lies, a fairway bunker, into or with the wind etc.... and may only swing 6-iron a few times per round, spread out over a four hour period. But during a fitting the player is making dozens of consecutive 6-iron swings, all from a perfect level lie. So, big difference there from actual golf course playing environment.
 

Molten

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I understand your points, thanks for your reply.
My primary criticism of fitting is that a level lie studio or driving range is very unlike actual golf course playing conditions. For example, on a golf course it might be 3 to 7 swings with a variety of clubs, and as much as 30 minutes time, from one driver shot to the next. But a fitter has a player making dozens of consecutive driver swings , so big difference there.. And on the course a player may face 6-iron shots from the rough, sloped lies, a fairway bunker, into or with the wind etc.... and may only swing 6-iron a few times per round, spread out over a four hour period. But during a fitting the player is making dozens of consecutive 6-iron swings, all from a perfect level lie. So, big difference there from actual golf course playing environment.
Very valid criticism of the fitting process. It isn’t perfect by any stretch. We are light years ahead of where we were ten years ago but innovation on that front isn’t dead.
 

DG_1234

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This is a great question I have been wondering about. I usually shoot in the 90s and recently switched to AP1s from my first set which was an older smaller Callaway iron.

I have found a huge improvement where balls that used to be topped or chunked actually pick up decent distance and go straight and shots slightly off the sweet spot still look like a good shot. It’s been huge for my game.

Unfortunately I have also noticed some inconsistent distances. Sometimes I hit a pure shot that goes 25 yards past my target. My swing is inconsistent at times so sometimes I swing with more power but these beasts definitely feel a bit more inconsistent on distance. I have also noticed my misses can be worse if the ball goes left or right of target. Last weekend I hit a ball right on the sweet spot but watched it go 30 yards left of target. Maybe the added distance means bigger misses but it definitely feels like a left or right miss is more punishing with the GIs.

I love the clubs so not really complaining but it’s definitely something I have noticed as well and have to factor in to my game.
Excellent post !
So, I read you have good practical sense awareness of your game and the shots you strike. Now it's just a matter of you weighing the pros and cons of the two different iron head sizes and deciding which one is best for your playing enjoyment and scoring.
 

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Isn't almost every adjective in golf marketing misleading? They are all the longest, highest, straightest, best feel, etc. :LOL:
 

jvbart

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Excellent post !
So, I read you have good practical sense awareness of your game and the shots you strike. Now it's just a matter of you weighing the pros and cons of the two different iron head sizes and deciding which one is best for your playing enjoyment and scoring.
Thanks man! Yeah I’m a couple years in with golf now and starting to make some improvements with my ball striking. I’m planning to get fit this year and try out both GIs and some players distance irons and see what the data looks like. I love the easy GIs but am starting to think a step up might benefit me.
 

DG_1234

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Thanks man! Yeah I’m a couple years in with golf now and starting to make some improvements with my ball striking. I’m planning to get fit this year and try out both GIs and some players distance irons and see what the data looks like. I love the easy GIs but am starting to think a step up might benefit me.
I think club head size is more about a players own game and swing than it is about skill level. I've known pro skill level guys who consistently perform their best with the largest head irons they can find and I've known beginner skill level players who strike consistently better shots with small head irons than they do large headed ones. And the same is true for other clubs such as driver.
I am in favor of the equipment companies offering both large and small head sizes for iron sets, drivers, fairway metals, putters etc... This way the consumer-player has the opportunity to try the different sizes and see which performs best for them. It's true that companies do offer different head size options, at least for their irons sets they do , but the "bigger is better" marketing is so pervasive that it has consumers believing that if their name is not Tiger Woods they should only have in their bag the largest club heads available.
So, I am all for different head sizes but don't believe marketing/promoting the clubs by skill level categories is helpful to players-consumers. For example, if Ping gave sets of both their smallest head iron and largest head iron to a dozen 18 handicap players, and had same play five rounds of golf with each set, my guess is that the scoring-shot making results would be split 50-50.
 

jdish13

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I've always thought of forgiveness more as ball speed retention across the entire face and the ability for the ball to fly relatively straight and high even if it isn't struck perfectly. Whether you can square the face up or not has nothing to do with forgiveness in my opinion.
 

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I think “forgiveness” is subjective. Just like the feel of a golf ball. In the eye of the beholder type thing. I might think a club is extremely forgiving (i.e. still produces results on a less-than-perfect strike or mishit) while another person might not.
 

JB

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Very valid criticism of the fitting process. It isn’t perfect by any stretch. We are light years ahead of where we were ten years ago but innovation on that front isn’t dead.
Of course it is. But much forgotten is that the ground shouldnt impact how a player delivers the club. That would be lie angle if anything at best. The OP has stated quite a few times, he has never been through a fitting, so it would be hard to be critical of the process.
 

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