Whether they know the term “offset” or not, most golfers’ opinions of an iron’s looks will be dramatically shaped by it. Higher handicap players tend to see an iron without offset and cringe in fear. Better players will stick out their tongues at more than a whisper of offset.
We wanted to know whether this strong visual preference is based on performance or not, so we put it to the test.
The Myths Myth #1 – Offset promotes a draw Myth #2 – Offset creates higher ball flight
How We Tested For this test, we brought together five testers with handicaps ranging from scratch to 15. Each player hit seven shots with four irons – each one with different amounts of offset. Every shot was captured on TrackMan.
Each player used the same shaft in each iron, and each iron was set to the same loft. Unfortunately, the heads were slightly different, so the data and conclusions here are imperfect.
In our test group, 4 out of 5 testers saw more offset correlate to more draws. Those four players hit the most offset iron with a face-to-path that was, on average, two degrees more closed than the next closest iron. That’s a substantial difference. It can turn a small fade into a straight shot, a straight shot into a tight draw, and a draw into a hook.
We also looked at other effects of offset on accuracy and dispersion. Three of the testers hit their single most leftward shot with the most offset iron. Additionally, every tester saw their overall dispersion shift left with the most offset model.
Myth #2 – Offset creates higher ball flight
On a robot, it’s possible that offset will create a higher ball flight. With our testers, however, that was not the case. Though offset moves the center of gravity back, it also created a closed face-to-path which neutralized that effect.
Ultimately, we saw the highest peak height from the least offset iron. On average, the least offset iron’s peak height was six feet higher than that of the most offset iron. Individually, four testers hit their highest shots with the least offset iron.
Similarly, the least offset iron had the highest launch angle. Spin rates were less predictable: some players had more spin with more offset, others had more spin with less offset.
The most offset iron was universally panned. Comments ranged from “I’m fighting this” and “It looks closed” all the way to “I just hate this thing.”
On the other end of the spectrum, the least offset iron was admired. Every golfer rated it as their favorite to look at.
What was most interesting was how the testers correlated offset with forgiveness. When asked which of the irons they would choose, most selected the iron with the 3rd most offset. Their answer usually sounded something like, “I would like the (least offset) but it would be smarter to take (more offset).” These answers came in spite of the fact that many had just hit the two irons with less offset as well or better on the launch monitor!
Does offset matter? Only if you care where your golf ball ends up. For players that struggle with a slice, more offset can be a great way to straighten out ball flight. Golfers who already hit a draw, however, would do well to look for an iron with less offset.
With more than 35,000 custom hittable clubhead and shaft options, Club Champion will find the perfect fit for you. Experience the Club Champion difference! Call us at 888-340-7820 or request an appointment online atclubchampiongolf.