Combo sets have become a common sight on professional Tours. Collin Morikawa famously shifted to an iron set that included both P•7MC and P•7MB before winning his second major championship at Royal St. George's. But how do you determine if mixing and matching is the right choice for you? Furthermore, where do you even begin when selecting the ideal set composition?
Before getting fit, it starts with taking an honest look at yourself as a golfer. What type of player are you? What are your strengths, weaknesses, and needs? How do you approach the game, and can a combo set help you obtain your golfing goals?
Most players who are looking to combo are focused on scoring in their short irons. In this instance, we define "scoring" as having the proper descent angles and spin rates needed to attack precise pin locations on approach shots. Do you think about shaping shots into front flags, tucked pins, or dangerous hole locations? Are you the type of player who considers what side of the hole you want to putt from while you're still standing in the fairway or on the tee box of a short par-3?
If so, you may very well benefit from a set comprised of P•7MC long irons and P•7MB short irons.
On the other hand, are you a player that needs a little help generating ball speed and producing high launch? Shaping shots and controlling ball flight may not be in your arsenal yet, and hitting the green is your primary goal. In this case, opting for a combo set may not be necessary. However, that doesn't mean you can't still benefit from the right combination of irons.
P•790s deliver stellar results in speed, power, and distance. However, if you want to grow into a golfer who's heavily focused on scoring, places increased emphasis on accuracy, and aspires to play a more traditional-looking iron with a thinner topline, then stick to your aspirations. A combo set with P•770 short irons and P•790 long irons may be the choice for you. As we alluded to earlier, be honest about the player you are and know the player you're working to become.
COMBO SET TIPS FOR BETTER PLAYERS
One of the most common setups we see on Tour is a player electing to replace a 3-iron cavity back or blade with a forged-hollow construction, such as P•770 or P•790. This strategy can also pay off for better players at the amateur level – replacing both 3- and 4-irons can even be a good idea. The one callout: You need to have proper gapping.
When you jump from a P•7MC to a P•770, for example, there's a significant drop-off in spin (the P•770 will have noticeably less spin). That means there's the chance for a low-spinning, low-trajectory ball flight that goes for miles. While that's great in some instances, it can create a significant distance gap between neighboring irons. Replacing long irons in a combo set may require adjusting lofts to create the proper spin rates and distance gapping. Determining the correct loft is a process that needs to take place with a skilled custom club fitter in the appropriate setting with the right equipment, such as TrackMan or GC Quad. (NOTE: We do not recommend you attempt to bend and manipulate the loft of your irons on your own. It can damage the integrity of the iron and/or lead to undesired results. Please only allow trained technicians to alter your clubs or specify your custom lofts within your original order.)
There are cases where better golfers opt for a complete set of players distance irons. For those needing added distance and effortless power, the pairing of P•790 long irons with P•770 scoring irons can be the perfect match. The one caveat is that you'll need to be comfortable looking at a club with a thicker topline and more offset than traditional blades or muscle cavities.
The final piece of the combo equation for better players is one that's often overlooked — the golf ball. As we just discussed, maintaining the proper spin rates when jumping from one iron style to another is pivotal for distance gapping. The golf ball you choose to play significantly impacts the amount of spin you generate. Suppose you're electing to combo a players distance iron with a muscle cavity. In that case, you may need to switch to a spinnier ball to obtain better gapping. For example, switching from TP5x into TP5.
In summary, take a two-pronged approach to determining if combo sets are right for you and what the ideal set configuration should be. 1) Be honest with yourself and your custom fitter about who you are as a golfer and your goals with the game. 2) Be custom fit (while using launch monitor technology) to determine the proper set makeup, spin numbers and distance gapping.
COMMON COMBO PAIRINGS
• P•770 (4i-5i) & P•7MC (6i-PW)
• P•790 (4i-6i) & P•770 (7i-PW)
• P•7MC (4i-6i) & P•7MB (7i-PW)