The influence of 5-iron clubhead mass distribution on clubhead presentation and initial ball launch conditions – Part II: Player tests

E.S. Wallace, T W Corke, K M Jones, N F Betzler, S R Otto

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    Iron clubheads can be classified as blades or perimeter-weighted, depending on the distribution of their mass. Despite the widely held views that perimeter-weighting can offer performance benefits for lesser skilled players, a direct comparison with players using these two clubhead types has not been thoroughly investigated. The aims of the study were to determine differences in clubhead presentation and ball launch between a blade 5-iron and a cavity-back 5-iron in a mixed cohort of golfers and examine trends in central tendency and variability in relation to skill for males using the blade club. Nine clubhead presentation variables and six ball launch variables were measured for 96 participants hitting shots from natural turf with each of the clubs. Group means for club effect were analysed statistically using an independent samples approach, whilst a rank-based nonparametric test was used to determine significant trends between handicap categories and ball launch conditions for the male cohort. The cavity-back displayed higher effective loft, lower effective lie and a tendency to have ball strikes closer to the centre. Higher values were also noted for the cavity-back for vertical launch angle and total spin. As expected, higher handicap male golfers showed lesser consistency and displayed slower ball speeds and lower efficiency than the more skilled players. Together these results concur with the findings in Part I in support of the theory of ‘forgiveness’ associated with cavity-back clubs, whilst also highlighting the over-riding importance of skill level on performance.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)46-52
    Number of pages7
    JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part P: Journal of Sports Engineering and Technology
    Issue number1
    Early online date11 Dec 2020
    Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Mar 2021

    Bibliographical note

    Publisher Copyright:
    © IMechE 2020.

    Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


    • golf
    • iron clubheads
    • perimeter-weighted
    • performance
    • player variability


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