Our golf irons are some of the most relied-upon clubs in our golf bag, with many players using them more than any other clubs they own
Useful in a plethora of scenarios and environments en route to the pin (off the fairway, out of the rough or even off the tee) it makes all the sense in the world that these clubs endure more impact than the rest of our clubs combined – perhaps even including the driver.
But given their usefulness and constant workload, does this automatically qualify our golf irons as the most durable clubs in our bag? True, they feel solid enough, and they’re made from sturdy, quality materials, but how do they compare in durableness when held up against some of the other clubs in our arsenal?
Let’s take a look…
Which golf clubs get damaged or break the most?
While we don’t have any specific data on the rates at which certain clubs get damaged or break entirely, there seems to be a trend that the driver is one of the most commonly damaged clubs in our collection, along with the fairway woods.
Considering just how much brute force these clubs are built to withstand, this may come as a surprise. But, on closer inspection, several traits make them prone to picking up damage when they’re not cared for properly, or even if they are.
Their oversized yet hollow heads can be easily dented if they’re struck by a hard, heavy object, which in turn can affect how the driver or wood operates. Plus, many drivers are designed to be as lightweight as possible, to aid swing speeds, which makes them slightly more vulnerable to damage than their heavier, more filled-out counterparts.
Add to this the fact that the shafts of many drivers are made with thin graphite rather than steel and it’s easy to see why our drivers demand the utmost care and attention.
Why are golf irons the most robust clubs we have?
More often than not, the heads of golf irons are crafted from a form of stainless steel – one of the most hardened and reliable metals around that’s capable of withstanding severe pressures and impacts. This makes the metal an ideal choice when forging golf clubs, because of the consistent strikes they will experience on the clubface.
These golf iron heads are usually created in one of two processes – casting or forging.
Casting golf iron heads involves pouring molten metal (often steel) into pre-made casts to produce the perfectly-sized iron head, before it is hardened and further treated to produce the stunningly durable irons we all love.
Forging, on the other hand, is the process in which more malleable metal (often carbon steel or a similar variant) is hammered constantly by powerful machines until the desired shape is achieved.
Casted clubs are believed, by some professionals, to be slightly softer in their responsiveness, because of the malleable metal used in their production. But, either way, both these methods produce tough and resistant irons that will serve their owner well time after time.
Continuing the steel trend, the shafts of most golf irons are produced using steel, making them far heavier than their graphite cousins.
However, steel-shafted irons hold several advantages over irons that are more lightweight. The added weight helps many players inject more power into their shots and the improved balance provided by steel helps bring the club back into perfect alignment on the downswing, aiding accuracy. Steel shafts also produce very little bend when compared to graphite shafts on the downswing.
Their resistance to bending and denting makes these steel-shafted irons some of the most hard-as-nails clubs you can buy.
Less prone to dents and deep scratches
Because their heads are not hollow when compared to those of fairway woods or drivers, irons are far less prone to sustaining dents or deep scratches when they’re faced with the same levels of unwanted impact.
The fact that the club heads are, essentially, one large chunk of refined metal – rather than several thin layers of metal or carbon that’s been shaped – means the chances of iron heads cracking or suffering similarly catastrophic damage is slim to none.
If you take care of your golf irons, you can easily expect them to last you for several years, before you begin to notice issues that may mean it’s time to replace them. Speaking of which…
When is the right time to replace golf irons?
There are three main reasons why golfers choose to replace their irons:
- Damage to the clubface
- To replace them with more modern golf technology
- A simple desire for change
Significant damage to the club face – such as heavy scuffs and scratches built up over years of ball striking – cannot be repaired. If you’ve noticed your iron shots aren’t quite as accurate as they used to be, and you spot some of these markings on the clubface, it would be wise to replace the individual iron or invest in a new set for consistency, if that’s the type of player you are.
Having said that, whatever your reasoning, if you’re looking to replace your golf irons you should always shop with a reliable, reputable golf shop who can advise you on the best clubs to match your needs and personal playing style. With the right tools at your disposal, and durable enough golf irons, you can expect to be playing your best games now and well into the future.