Does Offset Matter? – Golf Myths Unplugged

Often Discussed?  Yes.  Important?  Let’s Find Out!

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 a 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 in 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.

Testing was done at, and with the help of, Club Champion.

The Results

Myth #1 – Offset promotes a draw

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 affect.

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.

Player Preferences

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!

Conclusion

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.

The following two tabs change content below.

Matt Saternus

Founder, Editor In Chief at PluggedInGolf.com
Matt is the Founder and Editor in Chief of Plugged In Golf. He's worked in nearly every job in the golf industry from club fitting to instruction to writing and speaking. Matt lives in the northwest suburbs of Chicago with his wife and two daughters.

Latest posts by Matt Saternus (see all)

23 Comments

  1. Dear Matt, great review and answers. However, I miss there a question, or test, if higher offset leads to tighter dispersion of shots. As the Myth (or selling line….) of having more offset is that it is more forgiving than no offset. From your testing, are you able to make any conclusion on this question? Thanks…

    • Matt Saternus

      Peter,

      Our data does not show a correlation between offset and dispersion. I would guess that such a claim is being made with the high handicapper in mind, the thinking being, “If you stop hitting shots to the right, your dispersion will be better.” A little dubious in my mind.

      Thanks for the question.

      Best,

      Matt

  2. John Loffler

    Matt,

    Really interesting. I might be being stupid but are the figures implying that thrre is little correlation between forgiveness and offset, and following that bad shots are not less bad with more offset. Hope so as I an justify to myself getting some Srixon 765’s to replace my M2’s which I often pull

    • Matt Saternus

      John,

      Great question. I’m not “yelling” at you, but I want the people skimming to see this:

      THERE IS NO INHERENT CONNECTION BETWEEN FORGIVENESS AND OFFSET

      That said, the most forgiving irons tend to have a lot of offset, so people connect the two.

      Sounds like you made a solid choice with the Srixons. Those are great irons.

      Best,

      Matt

      • Blake Ellis

        Go for the Srixons! They’re fantastic clubs. I am far from a scratch golfer and I love them. I got the 5i and 6i in the z545, then 7i-PW in the z745. I’ve heard the newer “65” line keeps all the best of the “45” line, plus a little refinement. They’re fun to look at and even more fun to hit.

      • Nischal Roopram

        Hi

        I hit the ball straight, how will offset affect me?

  3. Anthony Rocco

    Does the off-set irons data also apply drivers?

    • Matt Saternus

      Anthony,

      Drivers weren’t included in this test, but I would guess the results would be similar.

      Best,

      Matt

  4. curtis brzyski

    Great article !!

    I have always struck my irons well with a baby draw. Since I golf once a week I always looked for new irons
    with maximum forgiveness ( sweet spot size of quarter vs a dime ) with minimum offset . Irons like that are just hard to find.
    Most of the time big sweet spots come with maximum offset. The Ping I 200 was my latest upgrade from old Taylor made R7 tour irons.
    I have only used the I 200 for 1 season. With the I 200 I find the green more consistently and have gained yardage do to stronger lofts. But I still miss the pinpoint accuracy I had with my R7 . With my R7 Tour I could hit an 8 iron 155 or 9 Iron 145 or PW 135 and turn around and tell my foursome I m all over it just by the feel I would end up within 5 feet every time. But with the R7 I lacked consistency and that feel shot happened twice a round. Other shots were off the green left. Do I just need more time with my I 200 ?
    Or should I look at another iron set ?

    • Matt Saternus

      Curtis,

      I think the i200 is a great set, but another two to consider would be the TaylorMade P790 or the Callaway Rogue Pro.

      Best,

      Matt

  5. Todd Williams

    Looks like I need to try some offsets. #SecretGiveaway

  6. Matt,
    I hit the Taylormade P790 and I agree with your recmendation!
    You just made up my mind on my next new irons!😁

    Thanks ,
    Walt

  7. Matt

    Will a stiffer shaft affect how much further left an offset iron will go? Will it help in straightening a shot and will a too flexible shaft go left more?
    Thanks

  8. This is a really great article. Thanks for creating it.

  9. Will decreasing lofts change the offset in a G425? I have had these clubs about a year and ,y misses are left.

  10. Good myth to check. I had an untested suspicion that the big offsets on game improvement clubs were a gimmick. But what about the extra wide soles one sees on GI clubs? Seems like they’re intended for good striking off a mat, but maybe not so good for real course conditions. What’s your take?

    • Matt Saternus

      Bill,

      I’m not sure where you got “gimmick” from our results; I would not agree with that statement at all.
      Regarding sole width, it absolutely makes a difference. I don’t think it’s as simple as “wider sole for higher handicap player,” but it’s definitely a fitting consideration.

      -Matt

  11. Matt,
    Another great article. Please keep them coming. I cannonballed into this latest rabbit hole this morning. I am an every other weekend warrior. I do not have a lot of time for lessons or to play lately. I had steel shafted regular flex 2014 ping karsten irons. Prior to those ping g20’s. I went to a local golf shop early 2021 with ping g710 irons in mind based on the forgiveness they are suppose to offer. I like the way they look too. I hit the g710 7 iron on the launch monitor and the golf guy said they were much better result than the karsten 7 iron i was currently playing. Night and day he said but never showed my dispersion circles. I tried both stock graphite regular flex and steel regular flex. I have RA. The graphite felt better. I asked the guy if dispersion with graphite shaft on g710 would be as tight of a circle spread as the steel on g710. He said they would be the same and kept pointing out distance gained with graphite. I told him i care about dispersion front back left right more than distance. I asked if g425 would be a good option. They were just about to be released. He said go g710 because max forgiveness and that it would take a while to get either one because of covid and supply chain issues but i would wait much longer on the g425. So I ordered the g710 with stock graphite reg 6-s. I have had them out on the course and range for a year now. My golf swing is not honed in but my iron dispersion overall stinks worse than I think it should. I used to be able to at least hit some greens with predictable distances. With the g710 I slice the 6 and 7 iron. Six iron is currently locked in the basement in case I find time for lessons. i should sell the sob. I tried to replace 6/7 with g425 6/7 hybrids with varying results. Already had the g425 5 hybrid. Of the hybrids I hit the 5 hybrid the best overall. 6 hyb so so. 7 hyb horrible erratic (not sure how that math works out). No matter the hosel setting. Sometimes I draw the g710 8 and 9 iron (not on purpose) sometimes they go straight as i hoped/intended, sometimes the shots rocket launch further than a normal average shot. Pitching wedge dispersion left to right is wider than I am used to. The utility wedge (gap wedge) and Sand wedge are more acceptable results still a wide circle though. I hit a g425 lob wedge with stock graphite regular straight as an arrow and it was predictable/controllable front to back based on feel. I felt in control. I was able to put it where I wanted to. It was awesome. The clouds parted. The sun shined down directly on me. That got me excited and upset at the same time. Would I get that result from a set of g425 irons? Are they that much better/more appropriate the the g710? I spent a fortune on those g710 irons. What is causing all my iron issues? Is the graphite shaft the main culprit? Is it the offset? Can offset be personalized iron to iron? Should i trade in for g425 irons with steel shafts? Should i put steel shafts in my g710’s? Is that stupid expensive? Trade in and start over with a legit club fitter instead of that used car salesman i went to last time? My wife is going to kill me. And why the heck do you reckon I can’t hit a 7 hybrid? In theory it Should be gravy. I also hit g425 sft 3wood decent, 5 sft horrible slice, 7 sft awesome, 9 g425 max awesome. Why the five worse than the three regardless of the hosel settings. Thanks for your time. Sorry for so many questions.

    • Matt Saternus

      Joshua,

      My primary recommendation is always to work with a quality fitter that you trust. If a fitter won’t show you the data you’re asking for, that’s a red flag and a cue to leave.

      Best,

      Matt

  12. Class article and questions!

    Cheers to all.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *