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Putter precision tests - Now with irons!

Mon, Feb 13 2023 12:09 AM (211 replies)
  • Soggyblogger
    224 Posts
    Sun, Dec 15 2013 5:52 PM

    This is all very interesting. Thanks for sharing the results of all your hard work.

    Playing and replaying tournaments with ZERO wind has convinced me that lack of precision in all the clubs accounts for a lot of the error we see. I dinged the exact same shot 4 or five times with as close to the exact power applied on Congressional 10 from the tee, and the variance was 2 yards or more to either side of the hole.

    i hate to be greedy and seemingly unsatisfied, but it would be cool to see all clubs tested this way. I'll keep checking back.

    Thanks again.

  • bhoese
    679 Posts
    Sun, Jun 1 2014 4:59 PM

    Hey gang!

    I'm sorry it's been a while.  The good news is that, in the meantime, we've gained the ability to combine mulligans with replays, making irons testing possible.  There are also new clubs to test.

    I'll start with some low-wind testing of high-level mid-long irons.  First up is the L97 Nike irons, paired with L81 Nike balls:

    I used the same method as with the putter tests, layering images into Paint Shop Pro and erasing or cutting around upper layers to expose those underneath, then merging the layers into one image.  I used Bethpage 10 for its low wind and flat landing area.  I also found that the "live" camera behind the green always shows up on the replays, so I used that view, which let me add the pitch&chip grid as a measuring tool.

    I left the marker alone, used full swings, collected only dinged shots, and paused the replays at the landing point.  The L81 Nike was a leftover, so I got as many dings out of it as I could.  The main point here was to work out the kinks in the testing process, and if any difference between no spin and full backspin would become apparent, that would be a bonus.  I'll do another Nike combo later with a larger sample.

    The only conclusion that I'm willing to draw from this data set is that there doesn't seem to be much difference in precision between no spin and full backspin shots in low wind.  FBS shots varied by 16 feet front-to-back and a mere 6 feet side-to-side, while no spin shots varied by about 10 feet front-to-back and about 12 feet side-to-side.  My gut feeling is that a larger sample would yield two circles of around 16 feet in diameter, maybe a little bigger.

  • bhoese
    679 Posts
    Sun, Jun 1 2014 5:23 PM

    I wasn't at all happy with the speed of the process, and I was underwhelmed by the final visual, as well, so I changed my method.

    Instead of blending all of the images together (which looks great on the putter tests but not so much here) I decided to replace the balls with white dots.  I still used layers in order to perfectly synch the photos.  The image above shows how I added the third shot (the middle ball, the first two dots are faded in the ;left image because the transparency of the top layer is turned down) and replaced it with a dot before discarding the new layer.

    I also found out that it's unusual to get the back pin on this hole, even with the "hard" setting, and getting the back pin with a specific wind direction requires a lot of I'll use the front pin from now on.

    I think that's quite a bit more legible.  Pink dots count as two; that's where two balls landed in almost exactly the same spot.  The black line gives an idea of how far the shots moved off-line.  

    I wanted to do 20 shots with the R11, but grew frustrated at my inability to hit the ding and cut the trial short.  The L94 Max Meter Irons were nice and dingable, and I think they held their own in the precision department.  Both sets varied by about 22 feet front-to-back.  The R's were 13-14 feet side-to-sice, the MAXes 16-17.

    The MAXes should be grouped a little tighter because they only carried about 177 yards vs. around 183 for the R11 group.  Then again, it probably makes less than a foot of difference, and that might be totally mitigated by the extra 1 mph of wind speed if stronger winds lead to more variance, which I suspect.  I did start with the 200 yard MAX 4 Iron, but was forced to start over after mapping six shots when I lost my mulligans, wind, and launching point.  Lesson learned:  don't hit near the hole.

  • hpurey
    11,505 Posts
    Sun, Jun 1 2014 8:45 PM

    Outstanding work!   bravo

  • Jimbog1964
    8,378 Posts
    Sun, Jun 1 2014 8:55 PM

    Outstanding work!   bravo

    +1 thanks very much for this interesting work.

    Think I read the HL Max set are less trajectory?  If true I guess they would struggle stopping wise on real high elevated greens as well.  Still they look better than I thought at that  hole if some one is struggling with the ding line I guess.

  • bhoese
    679 Posts
    Sat, Jun 7 2014 1:14 PM


    Outstanding work!   bravo

    +1 thanks very much for this interesting work.

    Think I read the HL Max set are less trajectory?  If true I guess they would struggle stopping wise on real high elevated greens as well.  Still they look better than I thought at that  hole if some one is struggling with the ding line I guess.

    You're welcome.

    Jimbo, the Maxes don't stop quite as well, but by no means are they bad irons in that respect.  I'm not sure that there are any routine shots in the game where they can't hold near the pin and the Rs or Nikes can.  You have to play a different shot that requires more memory and less math, but it isn't necessarily a harder one.  

    There are a few (BPB 5, StA 2) where the Rs and Nikes can't hold without a headwind or lucky bounce either, and on those holes the Maxes will leave a longer putt.  But they're a small part of the game.

    The worst thing about the Max set is the 215 yard 3 iron.  From the tips, there are a lot of holes with 220-230 yard approaches that the 225 yard 3 irons are perfect for...probably at least 2 on every 18.  Those shots are a lot tougher with a choked 3W.

  • bhoese
    679 Posts
    Sat, Jun 7 2014 1:24 PM

    The Nike97 / Cally 33 combo.  This is the tightest grouping so far, although still not all that different from the other high-level irons.  It looked better right up to the 20th shot, which was the one that flew the farthest.

    I can't say that there's any detectable difference that could say anything about the new wind range display.  Even if there is one, it would be hard to see in low wind.  I do wish that I had tested under windy conditions with the old display, so that it could be compared to the new one.

  • JFidanza
    1,676 Posts
    Sat, Jun 7 2014 3:46 PM

    What an awesome job. My thanks to you.

    At the risk of sounding foolish. or did you explain: Is this wind indicator from the view of the player or of the reverse angle camera shown? (I know the pointer changes w/ different camera views.) Natch, I'm guessing from the player.

    I see the balls are screen right and the wind pointer insert is blowing right to left. The terrain and slope come into play, so I am just asking to be perfectly clear.



    this is interesting because your test w/ :' L97 Nike irons, paired with L81 Nike balls:' shows the balls landing screen right of the aim w/ a small wind pointer showing left to right.

    Then this latest test w/ 'the Nike97 / Cally 33 combo.'  also shows the balls landing landing screen right of the aim  w/ a small wind pointer showing right to left.

  • bhoese
    679 Posts
    Sat, Jun 7 2014 8:36 PM

    Thanks JF, and thanks again for asking about how to read the graphics.  The putter tests were aimed at the pointer;  the irons were all aimed at the bottom of the pin.  I did it this way because the putting grid doesn't move, so I could easily replicate the exact aim piont at the intersection of grid lines for the putting tests.  With the Irons, the easiest way to replicate the aim point is to leave it at the default position at the base of the pin.  

    The aimer triangle appears in the images only because it's there when the grid is shown, and I used the grid as a  way to easily measure and compare distances.  Each grid line is 2 feet, and each grid box is 28 feet.

    The one thing that I'm attempting to measure here is the relative position of each iron's shots to each other...the iron's precision.  I placed the grid box in the landing area for easy reference, and never hit a shot with that aim point.

    The distance off of the line between the launch point and the pin (wind effect) is interesting but secondary, because I don't yet want to deal with the trouble of setting up the exact  same shot in the exact same wind from iron to iron.  The winds are different, and so is my launch point.  I included them because it's interesting to look at and accurate enough for an informal comparison.   I will attempt to control for those factors later when I test in higher winds.

  • bhoese
    679 Posts
    Sun, Jun 8 2014 9:57 PM

    The Midlevel Nike Vr set came in with the best result so far, even better than the L97s.  I think it's worth saying yet again...20-shot samples are not large enough for drawing grand conclusions.  Still, they look like great clubs.