The sole of your irons should mesh with your particular swing.
Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images
The sole of a golf club is just like the sole of your shoe, the bottom part that touches the ground. A casual golfer might not pay any attention to the sole of his clubs. But the width of the sole in your irons can make a big difference in the performance of your clubs and your ability to get the most out of your game. "The sole that suits your swing should move through the ground like it isn't even there," states "Golf Digest."
As "Golf Digest" explains, "The sole of an iron is like the hull of a boat. The wider it is, the less it will sink." If you're hitting an iron with a wide sole, it will tend to skip off the turf rather than dig deeply into it. Golf designers try to match the width of the sole and the amount of bounce in the club. Oob Golf explains, "A narrower sole with more bounce can provide the same assistance as a wider sole with less bounce. Usually, irons with wide soles have very little bounce, or they'd be practically unplayable."
Why Go Wide?
The Golf Channel compares a wide sole to a knife blade turned on its side and a narrow sole to a knife blade with its cutting edge facing the turf. Since a wide sole doesn't dig into the ground as sharply, you aren't as likely to chunk shots as often. As Oob Golf expalins, a wide sole has more forgiveness, making it a better choice for higher handicappers with more erratic swings. In addition, wide soles concentrate more weight at the bottom of the club, which makes it easier to launch shots with higher trajectories.
Why Go Narrow?
If you shoot in the 70s or are named Phil Mickelson, your irons are likely to sport narrow soles, which give skilled golfers more control and versatility. "Golf Digest" says, "To have shotmaking options, like picking it clean or setting it back in the stance to trap it low, a player needs to be able to tell the club what to do. With wide soles, essentially the turf is telling the club what to do."
Skill level is not the only criteria in determining the right sole width for your game. For example, "Golf Digest" notes that if you play on courses with soft and lush turf, wider soles can help you from digging too deeply into the sod. If you play on dry and hard courses, narrow soles enable you to take a divot more easily. Bottom line -- and no pun intended -- if you want to assemble the perfect set of clubs for your game, it's essential to get your clubs fitted by a professional who can steer you toward the sole, shaft, clubs and ball that suit you best.