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Forged Beauty Never Fades

John M

For those of us of a certain age, if you bought a set of irons, it was a forged set of irons. In 1978, I was 23 and just about to get out of the Navy when I bought my first set of irons at the Exchange. (Navy's version of the PX) $42.00 for a set of English made irons endorsed by that South African guy that won the 1978 Masters. With a chrome finish that I keep shiny by cleaning after each and every round, I used these clubs until the mid 1990's. when I bought my first set of cavity back irons. Throughout this period, I used Titleist golf balls and had a set of wedges, so I was always aware of the quality of the products made by Titleist. Cut to 2010, I was missing the look and feel of a forged iron. A set of forged irons that made a distinctive clinking sound when I carried my bag from the car to the pro shop for one of crack of dawn rounds. I also missed the clicking of the steel spikes on the concrete and mentally kick myself for getting rid of my leather Footboys with the metal spikes. I came across a set of 690mb's, the 4 iron of which you see in the photo. My golf buddy gave me grief for buying a set of clubs that was beyond my then 11 index and noted that he hit his 6 iron 10 yards or so farther than mine. I ignored him as well as the endless magazine advertisements masquerading as "gear reviews" and resisted the urge to buy the latest and greatest for many years. Then, after having a fitting for a driver and fairway woods by a Titleist fitter, I gave in to that temptation and bought a set of 714 Ap1's. Yes, I really like the AP1's and these probably are a better fit for my current ability. Still, I could not part with my forged beauties. A couple of months ago, I retired and now have more time to play and practice golf. I also had some time to think about what was important for me, including what I valued about the game of golf. I realised that it wasn't as important as it used to be what I scored. It was more important to open my senses to the game. Whether that meant smelling the freshly cut grass as I walked down the first fairway right as the sun peaked over Mt. Diablo. Or being the only person on the course because it was pouring rain and still having the time of my life because I had thought to bring my waterproofs. It was a special kind of quiet and I understood then what Seve meant when he said that the happiest time he had spent on the golf course in his youth was playing in the rain on a course by himself. So, with frame of mind, I put the cavity backs in the garage and dusted off my set of 690's. Yes, it's true, it can be painful to hit one thin on a cold morning and I hit about 10 yards less with the 4 iron here compared with the 714 4 iron, but there are compensations. One of which is the chrome finish which just looks fantastic to me. You can have your Picasso's or Monet's, I'll take the look of my Titleist forged irons any day. Or, when you hit a shot that is so perfect, you don't feel the club strike the ball, I'm just swing the club and look up to see a ball in perfect flight. I feel blessed that my forged beauties took me back. Cheers

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16 Replies

  1. Joey L

    I think you made the right decision
  2. Jerry M

    John, That is one good looking forged iron! Enjoy your retirement and your time on the golf course.
  3. Garry B

    Very well written. Thanks for taking the time to do so.
  4. Dale V

    My first set were Arnold Palmer Golden Standards. I now play Titleist 718 T-MB's. A blade look but many of the modern benefits. My first car was a '63 MGB. I now drive a MB SLK250. Sure, I miss my MGB but i wouldn't want to go back to it being my everyday car. It would be nice if it was in the garage for an occasional run around the block.
  5. TeeJ

    Amen!
  6. Michael JC

    Thank you very much for sharing that ! I also play an older set of Titleist forged irons.
    The feeling of a pure strike is amazing as is the feeling of a thin shot!
    One of the best times I had on the course was in a downpour, on the back nine, the farthest from the clubhouse. Had an absolute blast of a time. Got totally soaked, but hit some great shots!!
  7. Don O

    Love the story. Even considering looking for some 690s or early 708-712 MBs to use for days when I don't care what the score is. At least this will keep from getting hickory shafts, balata balls, and knickers.
  8. Frank W

    Congratulations on your realisation. This makes me think about my diminished ability but greater enjoyment of my Saturday morning rounds.
  9. John B

    First full set purchased with my HS graduation money in 1980 - Dunlop Australian Blades 2-PW... still have them!
  10. Tom J

    John, loved your heartfelt post. I share your (and Seve’s) appreciation of those quiet times on the course. I do fondly remember my forged “The Standard” irons from a company called First Flight. However, I confess I moved on to cast irons and haven’t looked back.
  11. pulplvr

    Since you're waxing nostalgic about the forged irons, what about switching back to persimmon or laminate woods? I've still got the set of clubs I bought new in 1968 in the Pro Shop of the US military golf course in West Berlin, Germany: laminate 1, 3, 4, 5 woods and 2-PW forged irons. I replaced the shafts in the woods with graphite back in the '80s, but the irons are still as purchased, other than having replaced the grips. I have taken them to the range from time to time just to remind myself what golf used to feel like -- low, piercing woods and hand-stinging irons, especially on cold days. They also remind me why I now play perimeter weighted metal woods (915 F), hybrids (913h, 910h, and 816 H1) and forged irons (716 AP-2s).
  12. Don O

    pulplvr

    Since you're waxing nostalgic about the forged irons, what about switching back to persimmon or laminate woods? I've still got the set of clubs I bought new in 1968 in the Pro Shop of the US military golf course in West Berlin, Germany: laminate 1, 3, 4, 5 woods and 2-PW forged irons. I replaced the shafts in the woods with graphite back in the '80s, but the irons are still as purchased, other than having replaced the grips. I have taken them to the range from time to time just to remind myself what golf used to feel like -- low, piercing woods and hand-stinging irons, especially on cold days. They also remind me why I now play perimeter weighted metal woods (915 F), hybrids (913h, 910h, and 816 H1) and forged irons (716 AP-2s).

    Just found a set of Titleist Forged Tour irons circa 1980 that also include 1-3-5 Titleist (actual) woods. Thinking I should get these, as warm days are coming.
  13. H Killefer

    John, you've done well to shrug off the naysayers and choose the path/equipment that brings you the most enjoyment. Use the 690's in good health!
  14. Travis W

    I hear so many players say they can't hit blades, I remind them that back in the day, we called them "irons". There weren't cavity-backed game-improvement irons until Pings came along, so everybody played blades. I played Titleist Tour Models back in my earlier high school days. I did get a set of png Eye-2's (1-SW) and played them from 1986 to 1999, along with Cleveland Classic persimmon woods. I took about 15 years off, so when I started playing again around 2014, I wanted to get back to a forged iron for feel. I settled on 714 AP2's, which feel nice, but I still consider a game-improvement iron. Hope to move up to forged blades soon. One thing I can say is that forged blades won't let your swing drift much, whereas you can get away with a lot with cavity backs. There is something to be said about feedback, even when it is painful.
  15. John M

    @pulplove If I thought to keep my Hogan driver, I might be tempted to use it. What I would lose in distance, I would gain in accuracy. My main golfing buddies are my 3 son in laws and while they can all hit it farther than me, I still beat them like a drum. I get why modern clubs are great but, I’ll stick with my old fashioned clubs. Cheers.
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