Your next irons just might be hollow.
One of the themes of the 2015 PGA Merchandise Show was hollow irons, which have a hidden interior cavity much like hybrids, fairway woods and drivers.
Advantages frequently stated for hollow irons: higher trajectory, greater distance because of a more active face and optimal forgiveness on off-center hits. Possible disadvantages: distance control (these irons sometimes are characterized as being extremely hot) and an overall feel at impact that is solid but not as soft as users of forged irons might prefer.
We're not talking about irons with a huge undercut in the back cavity. Instead, these hollow irons have a significant cavity that cannot be seen.Three new irons exemplified this trend at the show: the Bridgestone J15DF Driving Forged, Nike Vapor Speed and Mizuno MP-H5. Bridgestone is set for a Demo Day at the club in May.
Because touring pros have no tolerance for irons that might fly an extra yard or two, they aren't going to stick hollow irons in their bags. But amateurs, particularly those who don't play with great frequency, might choose these irons for their power and forgiveness.The Bridgestone, Nike and Mizuno irons all feature a traditional look at address. Answering one of the concerns about hollow irons, the top lines of these three are not visually intrusive.
Hollow irons are the beneficiaries of modern welding techniques, and many golfers will not realize the irons are hollow.Said veteran iron designer Mike Taylor of Nike, "With the Speed iron, we were able to redistribute some of the weight that came out of the cavity."
The goal is to move the center of gravity as low and far back as possible. This has long been a challenge for clubmakers, but today's hollow irons are made with improved materials and better construction techniques.
"It's a distance-driven iron with a player's profile," said Bridgestone’s Josh Kinchen of the company’s J15DF. "The hollow area is between the face and the back of the club. You're going to get that trampoline effect." Dick Lyons, senior vice president and general manager of Mizuno USA, let's his golf game do the talking. Of all the MP and JPX irons in the Mizuno lineup, he plays the MP-H5.
"I hit the ball too low," Lyons said. "Because it looks great and because I can hit the ball higher, this iron is the best one for me.”
More amateur golfers may go hollow in 2015.