Having just switched from cast to forged I have noticed a massive difference.
The distance thing has been sidestepped by getting superior shafts in the new clubs.
I now can stop anything up to a 5 iron where before every club above the PW had a fair bit of run.
I have also noticed the strikes feel purer and better, I get a lot more feel and feedback from the head.
Overall I think it has been a positive move, I am playing better as a result. Shots go higher and I have more confidence in going for greens from further out.
I do hate it when people say "mine is better than yours" Everyone to their own in equipment, whatever makes you play best! Plus not everyone can afford the best, lets make this world better and keep our superiority complexes to ourselves.