Iron Lofts Over The Years

October 29, 2017

How much have iron lofts changed over the years? While most of us know that iron sets of today feature stronger lofts than those of yesteryear, seeing the progression from one decade to the next is eye opening.

Label this as just another reason why I love Twitter so much, but this tweet by Today’s Golfer Top 50 golf instructor Lee Cox is gold.

It’s incredible to see how average lofts have decreased since the 1960’s. While the 3-iron has only seen a four degree evolution from 24- to roughly 20-degrees, mid-irons and scoring clubs have seen a much larger jump.

Growing up in the 1980s, I remember hitting my 7-iron between 145-150 yards as a kid. According to the tweet above, my irons at that time featured a 7-iron with 38 degrees of loft. My current irons built in within the last five years include a 7-iron with 34 degrees of loft and an 8-iron with 38-degrees.

While I’ve gotten stronger as I’ve grown older, so have the clubs I play now compared to those I used while learning the game.

What’s also important to point out is how much easier long irons were to hit back in the day. Adding loft makes a longer club easier to control. A 3-iron of the 1960s with 24-degrees was the same as hitting a 4-iron of the 1990s.

Today’s 3-iron — if you still have one and haven’t switch to a hybrid — is incredibly difficult to master due to a loft set at a mere 20-degrees. Newer iron sets have technology to lower center-of-gravity and increase MOI to mitigate this risk, but even those enhancements have their limits.

As golf equipment manufacturers continue to push the boundaries of how far you can hit every club in your bag, understanding the compromises associated with stronger lofts is something to keep in mind.