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Results: The 2016 Iron Buying Study

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A couple of weeks ago we asked you about the clubs in your bag and whether or not you were considering purchasing new irons in the near future. We also asked about what you've bought recently, why you bought it, and most importantly, what might entice you to buy a new set of irons.

What you shared with is us is definitely interesting, and we're going to share all of that today.

Before we get to the meat of your responses, let's spend a couple of questions worth of time reviewing some of the demographic data you shared. This data should help you learn a bit more about your fellow readers, and it helps us to better know our audience as well.

Your Handicap

handicap

Over 46% of you fit somewhere between scratch and a 10 index. Another 27.50% currently play to an index between 11 and 15. Simple math tells us that nearly ¾  (73.77% to be precise) of you have handicaps of 15 or below.

Interestingly, or perhaps humorously, .07% of respondents don’t even play golf.

Your Age

age

We found a fairly even distribution between 25 and 74 years old with a slightly larger distribution of 55 to 64-year-olds. That's really cool. While some talk of golf as a dying game, the numbers in the 24-34 and 35-44 demographics give us reason to be encouraged.

What Clubs are In Your Bag?

in-your-bag

Both the chart and the data table are too big to try and squeeze in this space, but let me share some interesting notes:

  • 13.68% of you still carry a 3-iron, while 52.66% carry a 3-hybrid. Not that you asked, but I currently carry neither.
  • Mercifully, only 3.8% of you still carry a 2-iron.
  • The 9 iron (99.09%) is the most popular single choice among all clubs followed by the driver (98.95%).
  • Only 87.25% of you report carrying a putter, which I think speaks more to attention spans and options at the bottom of long lists, rather than the reality of what’s in your bag.

Have you purchased irons in the last year?

purchase-new-irons

37.25% of you say you have. I believe this speaks to the gearhead nature of this site. Based on typical replacement cycles, that number would typically be between 20% and 25%.

What Brand of Iron Did You Purchase?

what-brand-buy

Callaway (18.15%) was the most popular choice among our prepopulated selections. Mizuno was second at 16.66%. The Other category as a whole equaled the Callaway number with popular choices (as seen in the word cloud below) including Srixon, Wishon, PXG, and Ben Hogan among others.

what-brand-cloud

What Iron Model Did You Purchase?

We left our iron model question open-ended. That means tallying answers requires a bit of sorting and some spell-checking (DEFINITELY no judgment here), so let’s again default to the text analysis (word cloud) to determine the most popular choices.

which-model-buy

It's easy to see the strength of the Callaway brand with Apex, Big Bertha, Steelhead, and XR Pro all visibile on this list.

Cobra (KING, Fly), PING (G Max, G30, S55), Titleist (AP1, AP2), TaylorMade (Rsi, PSi), Mizuno (MP-25, MP5), and Srixon (Z745, Z755) and Nike (Pro Combo, Fly) were also well-represented.

Why Did You Purchase New Irons?

why-buy

Looks and Feel were the most popular responses (65.09% and 55.81% respectively). When we look at quantifiable performance characteristics, Forgiveness (48.18%) and Accuracy (43.57%) were the most popular choices.

Somewhat surprisingly, distance was selected by only 35.05% of respondents.

Are you in the market for new Irons?

are-you-in-market

Wow…72.25% of you said you would consider buying new irons. 27.75% won't. What's particularly interesting here is that 37.35% purchased irons within the last year, which means some of you are considering buying for the second year in a row.

What would compel you to buy new irons?

why-new-irons

Among the 72.25% of you that say you’re considering purchasing new irons, 74.38% of listed Feel as a reason why you might buy a new set. Among this group, Looks was listed by 58.17% of respondents. Accuracy (68.34%) was the performance category listed most often, followed by Forgiveness at 58.89%.

Somewhat surprisingly (again - given the marketing focus), distance was only listed by 48.1% of respondents.

Speaking to the pyramid of influence, I suppose; only 5.55% said you’d buy based on a sales person or a local pro’s recommendation.

Of note, those responding Other mentioned consistency, high ball flight, fitting, and single length as reasons they might buy.

Why Won’t You Buy New Irons?

 

why-no-buy

Among those of you not considering new irons, liking your current irons (77.26%) was the most popular reason stated for not being in the market (that never stopped me).

Nearly 25% of you said you don’t feel like spending the money, while another 5.65% said they don’t play enough golf.

Among those selecting Other, comments included sets being only a few years old, leaning towards lessons instead of gear, electing to buy used, and the perception that there haven’t been any technology breakthroughs that justify a purchase.

Stay Tuned

We have some new polls planned in the future and we're really looking forward to having you share your thoughts about the clubs in your bags and the companies that make them.

About Tony Covey

Tony is the editor of mygolfspy. His coverage of golf equipment extends far beyond the facts as dictated by the companies that created them.

He believes in performance over hype. #PowerToThePlayer

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Comments

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Bob Pegram October 31, 2016 at 1:40 am

I play an iron set with old nearly new condition cavity back Orlimar forged heads and new X-flex overlength graphite shafts. They have old style lofts. I’d love to play a 2 iron and a 1 iron, but the 14 club limit gets in the way. My 5 wood comes in handy more often. Pretty hard to hit a 1 iron out of the rough on a par 5! (as in just about impossible!) I have fun hitting the 1 iron on the range – can hit it great when I have a good lie. :-)

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Jupe Boland October 29, 2016 at 3:28 pm

Had a set of Miura 301’s and thought they would be my last but as soon as I saw the Mizuno MP4’s, I had to buy them. Am 68 and they are by far the best irons I have ever owned or hit. They are absolutely awesome. I see they are not listed on Mizuno site any longer and that is a shame. New ones I’ve seen at Golftown (MP5’s) maybe it was, aren’t even close.

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Jules Coleman October 29, 2016 at 11:59 am

I don’t know how common my experience is, but once I reached the age of 65 (four years ago), I started changing irons and drivers so often I never developed a relationship with any. Felt more like youthful dating — at best. This in spite of the fact that I have always played well and was in college a loyal CF4000 owner, then as an amateur a Mizuno loyalist. Then I got hooked on trying to get more out of my irons though not sure what kind of ‘more’ I was ultimately after — though distance was obviously part of it. This past year was my most promiscuous yet– until I was fitted for PXG. Whatever the more I had been looking for PXG had it — at least for me, though purchasing from Parsons is for me nearly the moral equivalent of playing golf or staying at a Trump golf course or hotel: something I would normally inclined to do only under extreme duress :-)
Like to think I found a mate for the duration, but if recent behavior is any indication, I should know better

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Pops October 28, 2016 at 6:52 pm

I play a wilson 17 degree D200 2 hybrid, 185 to 200 yards. Could never hit a 3 iron consistently. My mishits are playable. Hybrids have improved my senior golf game

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Jonah Covitz October 27, 2016 at 6:22 pm

I still carry a 2-iron because that mph5 2 iron is incredible. That club is relatively easy to hit, and has half of the dispersion that my hybrid used to, and I can get it way up in the air when needed to land and stop on a green.

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Uhit October 26, 2016 at 9:30 am

Due to my higher swing speed (and probably a few miss hits), I broke 4 X-stiff shafts this year and have to exchange 3 more, because of excessive bending, causing less loft, and therefore disturbing the gapping between the clubs…

…thus, for me, the question raised, whether I should spend half of the costs of a new set of irons for reshafting the old ones with grip, or grab a new set, with hopefully better shafts.

Guess what – I grabbed a new set of irons and re-shaft the old irons…

…just in case that one set suffers excessive shaft damage during the next season.

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Dennis Z October 25, 2016 at 11:21 pm

I have TM burner plus and don’t think a new set will improve my game. I think new clubs are over rated.

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James North October 26, 2016 at 2:46 am

I play a 16 degree compact hybrid and a 3 iron. Best clubs in he bag

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Ryebread October 25, 2016 at 10:10 pm

Great to see the results. I’ve responded to similar polls on other sites and never saw the results. They felt like free market research for the OEMs.

As for 1 irons, my first set had one and I don’t miss it. My uncle plays his best golf when he breaks out his 1 iron for tee shots, but that’s not for me.

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Brad Loomis October 25, 2016 at 11:37 pm

Just took my apex knife out of the bag this year…for a crossover 3

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Ben Clabaugh October 25, 2016 at 8:47 pm

I haven’t seen one since 2010 when I last played one.

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Christopher Pompilio October 25, 2016 at 8:29 pm

It’s been a big help to my game my whole life as something to hit off a tee that calls for more accuracy

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Ron Lunsford October 25, 2016 at 5:39 pm

I would love a 15-17° 1 or 2 Iron for my Wilson Golf FG Tour 100s… I had a 2 Iron for my Fluid Feel irons and a 1 Iron for my FG49s… Of course, the newer 3 irons are delofted enough to be 2’s anyways, so who’s really NOT playing a 2 Iron today?

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Uhit October 26, 2016 at 1:50 am

You could buy a TaylorMade 16° RSi TP UDI, or a Mizuno MP-H5 1 iron with 16° loft…

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Gary Kirkpatrick October 25, 2016 at 3:02 pm

If you have a modern 3-iron, you too are playing a 2-iron!

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Christopher Pompilio October 25, 2016 at 8:30 pm

True! Hell, some game improvement sets have the 4 iron at like 19*

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Michal Hož October 25, 2016 at 2:26 pm

And 99% of that 3.8% are not able to play it

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Rene van Zeeland October 25, 2016 at 2:10 pm

I just purchased myself a Titeist 716 T-MB 2 Iron! Love it!

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Brian LaBardi October 25, 2016 at 1:49 pm

I still play a one iron!

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