Blades vs. Cavity Back Irons
Picking up a new set of irons can be a daunting task, considering it’s the tool in a golfer’s arsenal that determines the shot and ball trajectory. Two of the most common are blade and cavity back irons, and each comes with its differences and advantages.
Some players believe that blade irons are only suitable for serious or professional players, and cavity irons are more for hobby golfers. However, both can be useful for any player, depending on their playing style.
Below, we explore the differences between blades vs. cavity back irons. This information can help you decide which will be best for your skill level and shooting under par.
What Are Cavity Back Irons?
Cavity back irons are those conventional bulkier irons you see on the fairway. They are a suitable choice for casual players, as they are incredibly forgiving and easy to adapt to, regardless of the player’s skill level. That said, you may also see a few pros carrying cavity back irons in their bag.
Your chances of launching the ball far are incredibly high if you're using a cavity back iron, which is why they are typically the iron of choice for beginners. Many pros also keep cavity irons in their bags and use them to launch the ball with more confidence and accuracy. However, they don't offer as much control or feedback as other clubs.
Benefits of Using Cavity Backs
- - More Forgiving. This club is far more forgiving if you have an underdeveloped swing. Indeed, using a cavity back can help you improve your swing if you're just starting.
- - More Bounce. The wider bottom gives the iron more bounce, making it easier to launch shots far down the fairway. Even if you're a beginner, you should be able to land high, far, and straight shots using a cavity back.
- - Versatile. Cavity backs are incredibly versatile and can suit most playing styles. Whether you're a newbie, intermediate, or professional golfer, you can fare quite well by having a few cavity backs in your golf bag.
What Are Blades?
Blades are the more conventional irons. Professional golfers know blades to have a small yet effective sweet spot that can launch the ball with extreme accuracy. With that, they are usually too difficult to master for beginner or hobby golfers.
In terms of design, blades are much thinner than cavity backs. Forged from carbon steel and shaped by machine or by hand and chrome-plated, they look similar to a knife blade, hence the name. The design makes these clubs much less forgiving, but they provide excellent feedback if you make a mistake in your swing.
Are All Blades Forged?
Strictly speaking, yes, any club labeled a blade is a work of forged steel. Blades are relics of the past, so you won’t find many modern irons marketed as blades.
These thin pieces of metal required an exact technique, and unless the player hits the ball squarely, it could send up intense vibrations and produce a bad shot. Clubmakers eventually found ways to refine the head shape to improve shotmaking, leading to the iron design now called muscle backs.
Benefits of Using Blades
- - More Feedback. Any experienced golfer understands the importance of feedback to improve performance. Since blades are thinner and vibrate if hit incorrectly, it's much easier to get “feedback” from the iron and measure your swing.
- - More Control. Due to the design, blades offer more control over the trajectory of your shots. While this metric may not seem important if you're an average golfer, it's something the pros obsess over to ensure they win.
- - Easier to Shape. You can shape or fade your shots with a blade iron much easier than a cavity back.
Blade vs. Muscle Back Irons
From the surface, blades and muscle back irons look almost the same. Where they differ is in weight distribution.
Muscle back irons carry more weight towards the bottom of the club to make them function similarly to a cavity back. Doing so makes the muscle back more forgiving than a blade iron, which can be helpful for beginners or average golfers.
Since they have more mass, muscle backs aren't as forgiving as cavity backs. They sit somewhere in the middle between cavity backs and blades. The added mass to the club's bottom lowers the center of gravity, making it easier to launch the ball high up into the air. That said, the overall weight distribution doesn't match cavity backs, so forgiveness is limited.
Muscle backs might be the right choice if you're an average golfer looking to step up your game. You can use a muscle back iron to bridge the gap between playing with cavity backs and blade irons.
Cavity Back vs. Game Improvement Irons
Like cavity backs, game improvement irons tend to be more on the thicker side. As a result, they have a more prominent sweet spot and are beneficial for beginners.
In terms of design, game improvement irons and cavity backs are virtually the same. You might have subtle differences in weight distribution due to the weighing technology the manufacturer uses to produce the clubs.
Like cavity backs, game improvement irons come with several advantages:
- - Larger heads can boost confidence while playing
- - Added weight for increased height and distance
- - Easier to turn shots
- - More forgiving
What to Consider When Choosing a Set of Irons
It can be easy to get frustrated and find yourself yelling at your irons on the course if you invest in the wrong set. You don't want to be that player. Instead, review these factors to ensure you choose the best set of irons for your playing style.
Above, we mention that some irons offer more forgiveness than others. Every golfer knows that some days are better than others, and there are times when you just can't seem to hit the ball right. That's where having a club that offers forgiveness can come in handy.
The iron’s forgiveness comes from its construction and design. Clubs with larger clubheads and faces, wider soles, and lower weight in the clubhead all provide forgiveness that makes up for bad swings or sloppy ball contact.
If you have a higher handicap, you’ll want an iron with more forgiveness. Cavity backs and game improvement irons are your best option here.
Distance irons are a sort of breakthrough technology in the golfing industry. Before, it was much more challenging to achieve great distances using an iron. Today, several irons offer enhanced reach and are worth checking out. While these clubs don't necessarily make the game easier, they allow you to have more power as you play.
If you're a player that struggles with distance, consider looking for an iron that will help you make those longer shots. In comparing cavity backs vs. blades, your best bet will be the former here since they let you hit higher and straighter. Once you find a suitable set, you'll quickly realize that you have the potential to land extremely long shots.
Control is a widely discussed metric among pro golfers as they need to make extremely accurate shots to reduce their numbers to win tournaments. While it might not be something you're currently concerned about, it's worth understanding the kind of control your irons offer.
In this case, blade irons could be the better option. They have a smaller sweet spot but offer much more control over the distance and trajectory of your shots.
That said, there's a long learning curve for knowing how to use them properly. You may be better off going with muscle back irons before transitioning to blades.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Blades Better Than Cavity Back Irons?
It's tough to declare one better than the other because it heavily depends on experience and playing style.
Above, we mention that blade irons offer more accuracy and control. However, they are much less forgiving and are incredibly challenging for beginners. Many instructors claim that only professionals should use blades, as you don't need that kind of control if you're just an average player.
Cavity back irons also come with their own set of challenges and advantages. For starters, they are much bulkier. The sweet spot is larger and easier to hit with that added weight and surface area. You can achieve great distances with less technique, making them suitable for average golfers. However, you could end up overshooting due to the lack of control.
If you're just a hobby golfer and aren't concerned with reaching the professional level, you'll do just fine with cavity backs. For those looking to take the game seriously, you can opt for learning how to use blades.
Do Pros Use Blades or Cavity Backs?
The majority of pros surprisingly opt for cavity backs, even though blades offer more control and feedback. You may still see a few pros sticking to traditions and only using blades, but most will have a mixture in their bag. Many pros claim that they've mastered using cavity backs to hit with similar accuracy as blades.
Are Blades More Accurate Than Cavity Back Irons?
In terms of accuracy, it's tough to determine whether blades or cavity backs are supreme. A larger sweet spot would mean it's easier to hit the ball with precision. That said, you have far less control when swinging a cavity back over a blade iron.
You also have to consider that it's easier to shape the shot when using a blade iron. The only caveat is it's much more challenging to master a blade iron over cavity backs. In short, cavity irons will give you more accuracy overall.
The debate between blades vs. cavity backs can start a lively discussion among veteran golfers. Many seasoned players claim that using cavity backs is lazy because they offer more forgiveness. However, that doesn't make them automatically easier to play with or will necessarily improve your wing. In most cases, players who have mastered blades will have more control over their shots.
What iron you choose depends on your skill level, goals, and preference. Even seasoned pros might prefer a cavity back over a blade.Regardless of which irons you choose, you want to protect your investment. Check out Stitch golf bags for a selection of lightweight, reasonably priced options. Shop STITCH today.