A Matter of Offset
We'll start off the New Year with a dialog about equipment, as that is one of my favorite topics. I'd really like to ask you all to send me your questions about anything related to golf club design, construction and performance, and I'll dive into it. There's enough there to fill every column for years. Today, I'm taking up the subject of "offset," in response to a question by Cat:
I own a set of Cobra's S2 Irons. Could you tell me if these irons are offset? Because I tend to pull the short Irons quite often. Would it be possible to name which Iron sets are made with offsets? Thanks for your input on this matter.
Well, Cat, the Cobra S2 irons are definitely offset; how much depends on which model. I’ve never seen a cavity back iron without offset, because it’s one of the most widely used (and mis-applied, IMHO) elements of golf club technology. Generally speaking, offset is used by a golf club designer for two reasons.

First, moving the shaft out in front of the leading edge of the clubhead helps force the club face to a square or closed position through impact. The easiest way to see this is to lay an offset and non-offset iron on a table, with the head hanging off the edge. The face of the offset iron will point more upward than the non-offset model. So, in effect, it’s already part of the way to square to impact in its “natural” state. Therefore, it takes less rotational force by the golfer to finish that squaring maneuver.

Because of this function of offset, any golfer who fights a pull or hook should avoid offset irons like the plague. That’s why you pull your short irons, Cat. You’ll fight that forever if you keep playing them.

The other function of offset, and the one that is most misunderstood, is that offset make the ball fly lower, which is why it is applied to the super-game-improvement irons so aggressively. Radical perimeter weighting, with the super-low weight distribution it affects, causes golf shots to fly much higher. That’s why modern irons feature more and more “jacked up” lofts, particular in the short irons. If you removed the offset from these designs, the ball would fly even higher still. By moving the center line of the shaft more out in front of the leading edge, the designer is trying to help you get the shaft through the ball before the clubhead, so as to keep the trajectory lower.

That’s why I continue to be a huge proponent of blade-style short irons for almost all golfers. Removing the offset helps solve the pull shot pattern most golfers – like Cat – experience with their short irons. The thicker face and higher center of mass in a blade-style short iron delivers tighter trajectories and better distance control. Many of you have taken me up on that challenge since I’ve written about this. More of you should.

So, in the matter of offset, a little can be really helpful to golfers who have trouble keeping the ball out of right field, particularly in the middle irons. But overdoing it is more a matter of the designer trying to correct ball flight issues resulting from their radical weighting, than it is anything else. In my humble opinion, that is.

Happy New Year again, to everyone. Cat wins a new EIDOLON wedge – who else wants one? Just send in your question via the link below and you’ll have a chance.

photo via Cobra Golf
The Wedge Guy is sponsored by SCOR Golf, where Terry Koehler is President/CEO. He encourages you to submit your questions or topics to be considered for his columns on Tuesdays and Fridays. Each submission automatically enters you to win a SCOR4161 wedge to be given away monthly. Click the button below to submit your question or topic today.

[ comments ]
Kickntrue says:
Very interesting stuff, especially the part about offset clubs being really bad for those who fight hook/pull. That is definitely me, and could be some of the reason I've struggled so much with my new cavity backs after moving away from my MP-57s. Maybe 2011- I need to look at going back...?
TWUES17 says:
That's what you get for cheating on mizuno, sucker.
Agustin says:
@ Kickntrue - Not all cavity back sets are the same. Some sets have a progressive offset (more in the long irons, little to one in the short irons). Some modern blade designs also have this feature. I recently purchased the Ping S56 and would highly recomend them if you looking at modern blade designs. Here are the specs (notive the offset):

Club Length Loft Lie Offset Bounce Swgt.
3 38.75" 21.00° 59.25° 0.17" 0.0° D1
4 38.25" 23.75° 60.00° 0.15" 1.0° D1
5 37.75" 27.00° 60.75° 0.12" 2.0° D1
6 37.25" 30.50° 61.50° 0.10" 3.0° D1
7 36.75" 34.25° 62.25° 0.09" 5.0° D1
8 36.25" 38.25° 63.00° 0.07" 7.0° D1
9 35.75" 42.50° 63.75° 0.05" 9.0° D1
PW 35.50" 47.00° 64.00° 0.03" 10.0° D3
Kickntrue says:
@augustin- thanks for the info. I know the Mizuno MP-57's still have a very slight offset- but nothing like the Nike VR Full Cavitys.
taylortony says:
well this article may explain my dead pull with my pitching wedge and 9 iron this past year! i dont think ive ever done it before this year and have been playing the same irons for the past 4, i play taylormade os2's any info will help! thanks
Agustin says:
Comparison of Offset between the S56, MP-57s and the the VR FCs. The nike's PW has the same offset as the Mizuno 4 iron :O No wonder you were hooking/pulling it.

Club S56 MP-57 VR FC
3 0.17" 0.161" 0.255"
4 0.15" 0.154" 0.245"
5 0.12" 0.146" 0.215"
6 0.10" 0.138" 0.195"
7 0.09" 0.130" 0.185"
8 0.07" 0.126" 0.175"
9 0.05" 0.114" 0.165"
PW 0.03" 0.114" 0.155"
lcgolfer64 says:
Bewteen this article and TWG's previous columns on irons [and my game feeling like it's improved this last year] - Makes me really want to try the mixed-bag approach this year with my irons: cavity at the 3,4,5 and 6i and blades at the lower end of the spectrum.
Virtuaframax says:
@lcgolfer64: i am thinking exactly the same thing... i'm actually looking for a PW, 9, 8, and 7 blades to pair to my AP1 longer irons...
Bryan K says:
lcgolfer64: I am going to try a progressive/hybrid approach this year. I've upgraded to a slight cavity-backed iron late in the year last year, but I couldn't hit the long irons to save my life. However, I have found that on the extreme cavity backs that I started the year with, I was pulling my 9i and Pi like crazy on the shots that I felt like I was hitting perfectly. Next year, I'll be using a medium cavity back (Adams Tight Lies) on my long irons, a slight cavity back (Adams Tour Pro) on my short irons, and blades (Adams Tour Pro Gold Forged) on my wedges.
Agustin says:
@ lcgolfer64 and Virtualframax - Consider the following setup:

Woods (2): Dr, 3W or 5W
Long Irons (2): 2Hy or 3Hy plus a 4Hy
Mid Irons (2 or 3): 5,6 and maybe 7 (Cavity back)
Scoring Irons (3 or 4): 7 or 8 thru PW Blades or Muscle backs
Wedges (3):Gap-Sand-Lob with at least one high bounce club and one low bounce club

Make sure the loft gaps are consistent to avoid distance gaps. For me I've found that 3° is enough for Long and Mid Irons; 4° for mid to low irons and 6° for wedges works well for me.

This is what I'm trying this year... I'm still undecided on the 4Hy or 4 Iron
9.5° Dr
15° 3W (X-Hot Titanium face 44" shaft really help out when the driver is off)
3+Hy (18.5°)
4Hy or 4 Iron (undecided)
5-6 Iron Callaway X20 Tour (for now I may swith to the S56 soon)
7-9 S56 Blades
PW 48.08 Vokey
GW 52° Eidolon (Love the versatility of this club)
SW 58° Cleveland with DSG (good out for fluffy sand traps and heavy rough)
LW 65.07 Vokey Low bounce ideal for firm sand and compact fairway lies 70yds and in...
Agustin says:
@ Bryan Kautzman - Sounds like a nice setup... let us knopw how it works for you... Adams Golf should market this set :)
lcgolfer64 says:
@Bryan Kautzman, Agustin
Thanks for the setup thoughts!
I haven't filled a gap in the 3i (don't own one currently) so I will definitely look into the 3Hy or 4Hy.

@Agustin - How did you like the X20 in the mid irons?

I found that I hit 5w (matched Cobra S91 Dr-3w-5w) pretty confidently from about 230 in to about 215 (depending on wind, elevation and lie etc.) but 4i is only consistent out to about 180-185 maybe a little longer when I get a good roll, but not real consistently (I get in trouble usually but really struggle trying to hit a soft 5w)
** Really want to fill 7, 8, 9 PW with Mizuno? *** (Or maybe the S56?)

On the low end I have Maltby Wedges 50, 53, 58 and the Eidolon 52(51)that will replace the 50 once the snow goes
Agustin says:
I've had the full set of X20s for a while now... since they came out. They are Callaway's Tour version of the X20s which basically means they have much less offset than the normal X20s, weaker lofts (a good thing) and a much better shaft (Project X flighted 6.0). I hit them well and are happy with the mid Irons but started hooking the short irons with what i believe to be a better swing than what I had before. This is why I switched to the S56 blades on the short irons. My goal is to eventually switch them to the S56 as well.

Regarding the 3Hy, I think it will do wonders for your gap between the 5W and the 4I. My Nickent 4DX 18.5° Hybrid gives me between 210-220 consistently depending on if I choke down 1" or not. In fact, I hit is so well that I'm starting to consider a 4Hy for the 210-200 range.
Agustin says:
@lcgolfer64 - Sorry, the previous post was meant for you as well. I tried Mizuno's as well but found the S56 easier to hit; give them a try. It will probably come down to if you really want the feel of a forged club or prefer a little more forgiveness from pings S56 design. I tend to hit a little towards the toe and really did not experience much loss in distance.

Regarding your wedges, maybe with your 51° Eidolon the 53 will become expendable and may wish to add a 62 or even a 64. Probably don't need a 60 since you have the 58. I would keep the Eidolon at 52° since a Blade PW Either from Mizuno or Ping will have 47° loft and not the 46 or even 45° that some cavity PW have.
Bryan K says:
Here's what I have for a setup right now (which I think is pretty unique).
Driver: 12* Ping G15 gets me 230-270 pretty consistently. A lower angle misses too many fairways.
4 hybrid: This will get me 200+. There is a large gap between my driver and my 4h, but I have had no luck hitting any lower lofted irons, hybrids, or woods (with the exception of my driver).
5i, 6i, 7i: These are all from my Adams Tight Lies set. My 7i will get me 170.
8i, 9i, PW: These are from my Adams Tour Pro set. The PW is 46*.
GW: 50* Adams Tour Pro Gold Forged
SW: 55* Adams Tour Pro Gold Forged with low bounce to get out of deep rough.
SW: 55* Callaway Big Bertha has a cavity back with a ton of bounce for hitting out of the sand.
LW: 60* Adams Tour Pro Gold Forged is easily the best club in my bag.

Yes, I carry two sand wedges and five wedges total (I consider my PW an actual wedge since it has 46* of loft).
smeghead49 says:
This article confirms what I figured out years ago. I used to use Ping Zings but when my skills improved, all I could do was throw the ball to the left. I replaced the Pings with Hogans and my shots instantly straightened out. I plan to replace my Callaway hybrids with Nike VR hybrids.
greeneman says:
I am using the MP-52's which are really a merged set with more cavity in the longer irons and short almost pure blades. I have had excellent success with these. I also have a set of Ping s59's which I go back to from time to time. The 59's are a little harder to hit but provide great accuracy when I am swinging OK in mid summer.
Matt F says:
Looks like my choice of irons being bought this year is a good one. KZG Evolution...very minimal offset .068" for 6 iron.

lcgolfer64 says:
@Agustin and @ BKautzman
Great suggestions again, appreciate the input.
@Agustin - Do you find yourself using the 65 a lot from the fairway, if so are you using for full shots or more short lob shots. The reason I ask is that I've generally choked-down, 3/4- 1/2 backswing on the 58 or opened it up to control distance on the 'betweeners' inside 70 yds
jem_porter says:
When peope talk about drivers, I sometimes hear them refer to how "pingy" the clubface is. I think this refers to how much of a trampoline effect a given material and design produce when the club face contacts a golf ball. Is this an important consideration when choosing a driver, or any other golf club for tat matter, or are most modern drivers designed at about the maximum allowable "pinginess"? And is there a measure of this pinginess that the average golfer can understand?
Agustin says:
@lcgolfer64 - Yes, I do use my 64° Lob wedge from the fairway. A full swing gives me about 80 yds. I generally use it between 80 and 60 yds. FRom 50 and in the club selection depends on the shot and how much green I have to work with.

I found that I can control disctance with full swings and half swings or less. 3/4 swings give me a lot of trouble. I end up hitting it long or short... This is why I got the 64° wedge. I ended up wasting good drives by leaving the approaches with 3/4 swings with my 58° wedge either long or short. So far I's worked well.
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