Upgrading Tommy Armour 845 irons (steel stiff). Considering Callaway X2s. My 7-iron swing speed is 85mph. I’m 48, fit, and a good ball-striker. Stiff or regular flex?

      — Chris, Estero

Tommy Armour 845s? What a great set… 20 years ago! All kidding aside, they were one of the best irons. With today’s technology, however, it’s time for an upgrade.

The Callaway X2 Hot Pro irons are a great set — especially for the price — plus they come with a great stock shaft in the True Temper Project X95. Slightly lighter weight than the Original Project X. If you compare the standard loft and shaft length from your 845s to the new X2 irons, you will probably gain one club in distance right there. Plus more forgiveness with the X2’s without losing that classic iron look.

I would stay with the stiff shaft — your swing speed numbers can handle it no problem. You might gain a little distance with a regular shaft, but you would lose consistency. Plus, you are already accustomed to the stiff flex.

I would treat yourself to an upgrade. I see no downside — only more distance with the same effort. And I promise they will be easier to hit in the long irons.

I want to buy a new driver. I’m 54 and have an 85 mph swing speed. Any recommendations?

      — Rocky

I’m reluctant to recommend equipment — particularly without evaluating the swing. It’s akin to an optometrist prescribing glasses before conducting an eye exam. But (as my wife will attest) common sense never stopped me before.

I recommend several drivers, including the:

  • Titleist 915D2. Titleist makes fantastic drivers. I particularly like the 915’s configuration mechanism. The 915D2 appears a nice compromise between forgivability and a traditional player club. It looks great, too.
  • TaylorMade R15. There’s a reason why TaylorMade makes the world’s most popular drivers — constant innovation. It’s always worth testing the latest TaylorMade driver, if only to compare the latest trend with the other manufacturers.
  • Srixon Z545. I play the Srixon Z545 driver. It’s excellent. Full disclosure: Srixon’s a sponsor. But the titanium cup face is hot and low spinning — adding penetration, roll, and reducing side spin. And the Quick Tune System is intuitive and easy-to-use.

You might also consider one of last year’s models. Most changes in golf equipment are evolutionary — not revolutionary. Last year’s models usually offer great technology with deep discounts.

We live in a golden age of golf equipment. Today’s technology, materials, and engineering are better than ever. The market’s flush with great drivers. You can’t go wrong with any of the major brands.

But be sure to get fitted for the shaft as well as the head. Shafts are frequently overlooked but easily as important as the club head.

How long do golf balls last?

      — Steve, Chicago

As long as you can keep them in play!

But seriously, today’s golf balls last longer than ever — up to seven rounds according to Golf Digest… and in my experience, even longer.

As long as your ball has no serious scuffs or scratches, keep using it.

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