Perimeter Weighting Doesn't Fix Bad Swings
Since Karsten Solheim invented the Ping irons way back when, the industry has moved almost totally to perimeter weighting in the irons we get to choose from.

I spent some time in an Edwin Watts store this weekend, just to see what all was available.

There must have been 200 sets of irons on display, and less than a dozen were some kind of blade design, but even most of these are now pushing weight toward the perimeter of the clubhead.

I wrote last week about perimeter weighting in short irons, and that post is still getting lots of comments, all in agreement that a more blade-like short iron delivered better accuracy.

I'm not going to say that perimeter weighting isn't valuable to many golfers, but follow me here while we examine more deeply just what you can expect perimeter weighting to do for you.

First of all, there is no doubt that a ball hit off-center - especially if toward the toe - of a perimeter weighted iron, will fly farther and closer to the target line than one hit poorly from a blade type design. That's simple physics. And we know it because Iron Byron proves it, right ?

Well, let me tell you how that testing is done. Iron Byron makes a perfectly fundamental swing each and every time. Never an over the top move ... never an over-rotation of the hips, which drops the club inside the swing path ... never a handsy slap at the ball ... never anything but a perfect and repeating swing.

To test off-center hits, the researchers simply move the ball so that impact is made on various points around the face while Iron Byron makes his perfect, repeating swings.

Well, that isn't the way you mis-hit golf shots.

In your game, bad contact is the result of swing variations. A little outside the line here, inside the line there, over the top, too much hand action, etc.

We amateurs find thousands of ways to get the club back to the ball. But perimeter weighting can only effect bad "hits", not bad swings.

In other words, like Iron Byron, if you have the club approaching the ball on the proper path, and you square the clubface at impact, but hit the ball toward the toe or heel, perimeter weighting will get more out of the shot.

But here's a flash for you. If you have the club on the proper path and square the face, chances are that you are not going to mis-hit the shot. Those things typically deliver the face of the club squarely to the ball !

In other words, bad shots are caused by bad swings, not bad hits.

Your pushes are caused by inside-out swing path, not a toe hit. Your pulls are caused by outside-in paths, not heel hits. Your hooks by a rotating clubface at impact, your slices by a glancing blow with an open face. And all perimeter weighting can do for these is to make them go further in the wrong direction !

I'm not saying perimeter weighting is bad, only that it has its limitations of what it can do for your golf game. As I wrote in an earlier post, while perimeter weighting can certainly compromise the effect of your worst shots, it's also compromising the results of your best ones - think about that.
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[ comments ]
Mike says:
I just got back from a golf trip to Alabama and the clubs I hit the best, were also the one's that felt the best and the one's that hit the ball closest to the hole - my EIDOLON Golf wedges, which happen to not have a cavity back and which happen to have small heads, in comparison the my Ping I3 blade irons, which happen to be on their way out the door as soon as I can find a set of Mizuno blades to try and buy.

I didn't know how harsh those I3's felt until I hit these soft carbon steel wedges.

There's no doubt in my mind that a smaller head, softer steel and slower swing will knock a few shots off my 6 handicap.
4/22/07
 
birly-shirly says:
wedgeguy - I completely agree with your thoughts on the limits on what perimeter weighting can do. Can you expand on this to deal with the question of whether it really is easier to work the ball with blades? My thoughts are that draws and fades, lobs and knockdowns, are the result of manipulating the alignment of the clubface and that the weight distribution in the clubhead does not affect this. In other words, given a sweet centre strike, won't a one degree closed clubface hit the same draw with both a blade and a cavity-back?

Any thoughts?
10/23/08
 
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Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

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