The goal of golf is to hit a tiny ball hundreds of yards with a club into a cup that is little more than 4 inches wide. Easy right? Not. To excel at golf, you need both skill and patience. This beautiful game can all at once be elegant in its simplicity yet endlessly frustrating. Fear not, years ago, manufacturers began producing a new type of golf club designed to help us all. They are called game improvement irons.
What Are Game Improvement Irons?
Game improvement irons are designed to minimize the effects of swing error. They correct for a loss in accuracy and distance that result when the club head and ball are not perfectly aligned at the point of impact. Designers had beginner golfers as well as golfers with higher, double-digit, handicaps in mind when they developed this category of clubs.
- A larger club head
- Deeper cavity back
- More loft on the club face
- A lower, deeper center of gravity
- Wider and rounder sole
Larger club heads create a wider sweet spot for connecting solidly with the ball. They increase the chances that less experienced golfers will make a good shot.
A cavity back is a hollowed out space on the back of the iron. Its purpose is to shift more of the club head’s weight to the perimeter. Known as “perimeter weighting,” this design compensates for imperfect hits and makes hitting with the club easier for less proficient golfers.
The opposite of a cavity back is a “muscle back,” in which the back of the club is not hollowed out.
Game Improvement Irons Are Forgiving
Game improvement irons are forgiving. They help beginner golfers do two things well – get the ball in the air and direct it more accurately toward the target. The better your swing, the less need you’ll have for a forgiving golf club design. Most nonprofessional golfers can benefit from using forgiving clubs.
Game improvement designs alter the physics of clubs, specifically, the center of gravity and the moment of inertia, to achieve their purpose.
How Center of Gravity Affects Game Improvement Clubs
The center of gravity affects both the trajectory and the accuracy of shots. In game improvement clubs, weight is added near the bottom of the club head to lower the center of gravity. Shifting the weight reduces the twisting and vibration of the club when it strikes the ball imperfectly.
The lower the center of gravity on the club head, the more lift the ball gets into the air and the more softly it lands. Similarly, the farther back the center of gravity is from the face of the club, the more lift the ball receives when hit at any angle on the club head. This especially helps players control their longer irons better.
The closer the center of gravity is to the shaft, the less likely you are to hit the ball to the right of the target (or left if you’re a left-handed golfer). This is called a push. Likewise, the farther from the shaft the center of gravity is, the more likely you are to push the ball off to the side of the target. The reason is that the closer the center of gravity is to the shaft, the higher the moment of inertia (MOI).
The Moment of Inertia Lessens Loss of Distance
MOI is a measure of the level of the club’s resistance to twisting as a result of swing error. (Many clubs have an MOI rating.) Perimeter weighting, through cavity backs, raises the club’s moment of inertia. With irons, a higher MOI means less twisting of the club head will occur when your swing is off. MOI results in a larger hitting area and more forgiveness for mis-hits. Balls travel farther and more accurately even when not hit well.
The smaller the club head and the more its weight is positioned close to the center of the head, the lower the MOI will be. This increases the likelihood that a mis-hit ball will be harder to get off the ground and travel a shorter distance.
Are Super Game Improvement Irons Best for Beginners?
Many experts think that beginners are better off using super game improvement irons. As the name implies, they are the next step up from game improvement irons. Players with mid-handicaps, 10-12, may be best served by the game improving irons, leaving the super GIs to those with higher handicaps and beginner golfers.
So, what’s the difference between super game improvement irons and game improvement irons? The super GIs feature:
- Larger club heads that create more MOI to aid in getting the ball off the ground
- Deeper cavity backs to shift the weight of the club and make hitting easier
- Extra-wide soles as a result of shifting weight from the center of the club
- More perimeter weighting to lessen the impact of mis-hitting the ball
- Lower center of gravity to make it easier to get the ball in the air
- More offset to give the player more time to square the club face before striking the ball
- Thick top lines, resulting from moving material from the center to the perimeter to help frame the ball better at address
Offset positions the club’s leading edge slightly behind the hosel, the place where the shaft and club head connect. The club face will point slightly upward. The wider sole and a thicker top line on the club head correct for swing error by helping to close the club face through impact. This makes for a straighter shot.
Whether you go with a game improvement iron or a super game improvement iron, you’re sure to find they help your game and make getting to the greens a lot more fun.