Did you know that the playing characteristics of your irons change with use, especially if they are forged?
As they are a much softer metal, they will tend to move in terms of loft/lie. If you are a regular player, then I would suggest that you have them checked at least once per year. Typically the lofts will become slightly weaker - you then may require a 6, rather than a 7, to reach your target.
The lie angle will also tend to alter, becoming either too flat, or more commonly, too upright.
Take a look at the first picture and I will explain. As you will clearly see I am having my loft/lie checked out by Jonny Small, who reckons that my 6 iron has become a tad too upright. This simply means that the club tends to sit too much on the heel end at address, with the toe slightly up in the air, clear of the ground.
When this happens the heel catches the ground first and causes the face to flip closed sending the ball well to the left of target. Jonny is checking this out, and will then adjust the club back to being a standard lie.
It is worth mentioning that the entire sole of the club does not sit flush on the ground. The toe end should be ever so slightly up off the turf. When the sole is flush on the ground, the toe end strikes the ground first, causing the face to twist open, resulting in a shot well to the right of target.
Now have a glance at the second picture, where I am discussing which type of new grips to have fitted. It is very important to have the correct thickness, if they are too thin the club will sit too much in the fingers, causing excessive hand/wrist action through impact.
This will result in hook shots, well left of your intended target. If however the grips are too thick, then the hold will be too much in the palms of the hand, always resulting in sliced, or fade shots well to the right of target.
How long should grips last? Well it depends on how much golf you play, but as a rough guide you require to change them at least every eighteen months. When they become worn, shiny, and slippy, you will then have to grip like grim death just to hang onto the club. Remember the old saying - when you grip it tight, the ball goes to the right.
If you feel as if you are losing distance with your irons, have them checked out soon - who knows it may well be the club to blame and not you. Good luck as always. Next week: Club fitting.