Equipment companies compete for distance by messing with lofts
In Tom Wishon’s book 12 Myths That Could Wreck Your Golf Game, Wishon points out that the numbers on the bottom of your irons don’t mean diddly any more. The critical number is the loft angle.
Simply put: The lower the loft angle, the farther the ball will go, with a lower, more boring ball flight and more roll.
So what do equipment companies do? They lower the lofts to make it look like their irons go farther than their competitors’. And each time they do, they raise the bar and force other companies to lower their lofts to compete in the eyes of distance-obsessed golfers who don’t know much about equipment.
In a recent news letter from KZG Golf, the company lists the following lofts for 6-irons from a few companies:
Nike Slingshot: 30-degrees
TaylorMade Rac OS: 29-degrees
Callaway Big Bertha: 29-degrees
Hogan CFT: 30-degrees
KZG Forged ZO Blade: 32-degrees
The company says that the 6-irons of most Tour pros have a loft of no less than 32-degrees, because pros want control and a high ball flight to stop the ball on the hard greens they play on. I would also point out that pros have such mechanically sound swings that they generate enough distance without having to resort to lowering their lofts.
Thus, according to KZG, the 6-iron of Callaway is actually a 5.5-iron, with the 3-degree differential between it and the more traditionally-lofted KZG iron accounting for somewhere between 8-12 yards in distance.
After reading this, I checked the specs on the KZG OC-x1 irons I reviewed not long ago—the irons that now allow me to hit a very high 150-160 yard 9-iron—to make sure KZG wasn’t playing both sides of the game: complaining about loft abuse but then abusing it themselves in their player-friendly irons.
I was VERY glad to see that the OC-x1 6-iron has a loft of 31-degrees, practically the same as the traditional 6-iron loft.
So happily, I can say I hit that club 180-190 yards not because of the loft, but instead because I am a steroid-shooting, crack-smoking hulk who would just as soon kill and eat the slow players in front of me as ask to play through.
I wouldn’t want to sully the integrity of the game by playing clubs with a doctored loft.
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