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Blade Irons vs. Cavity Backs

Have you ever asked yourself what style of irons you should purchase, blades or cavity backs? This post will go through the pro and cons of each.The old staple used to be that blade irons were more commonly seen with professional and tour players, because they were notoriously difficult to hit and very unforgiving. Whereas cavity backs were labeled as game-improvement irons. Unless your swing was dependable and consistent, blades were not for you.

This has changed in recent years, as more and more we are seeing clubs with cavities called blades, and the line between beginner and lower-handicapped irons has blurred. A good example would be the Callaway X-Tour Blades – they have a large cavity and are quite forgiving, despite being called a blade.

Be that as it may, there are still some obvious difference between blades and cavity backs; for comparison in this post I’m going to refer to the classic look of these two types of irons.

blade cavity back differences

Here are the major physical differences with reference to these pictures.

1) Offset

Based on the odds, if you’re a beginner golfer, you likely suffer from a slice. This is why many cavity back irons have some sort of offset, which will help you to hit the ball a little straighter (as seen on this Callaway Big Bertha Model). On the other hand, for better players, this club would most likely produce large hooks, and would appear closed at address.

2) Sole Width

As you can see, the difference in the width of the soles of each these clubs is quite dramatic. The reasoning behind this is simple:

A) The wider sole encourages the club to skim off the ground rather dig into it. This is especially important when you consider the angle of attack on beginners vs. better players. The wider sole with give you much more room for error.

B) The more mass on the sole of the club, the lower the center of gravity and the higher it will hit the ball.

C) The extra mass on the toe and heel of the club will help reduce it from twisting in long grass and on miss-hits. We get into this further in the third point below.

D) The larger clubhead design allows for a larger sweet spot, and more surface area for impact.

E) On the other hand the wider sole and lower center of gravity prevents a player from working the ball consistently, for example knock-downs, draws and fades.

F) Another complaint of the wider sole is the lack of feel; every shot feels exactly the same, therefore the distinction between a good shot and a bad shot is blurred.

blade cavity back differences

3) Heel and Toe Weighting

The added weight on the toe and heel of the cavity backs will increase the MOI of the Callaway Irons improving miss-hits. This means, that when you hit a ball off the toe or heel, or with a clubface that is not square, the heel/toe weights will help to keep the ball on a straighter line. You may have heard of the “gear effect” in the past. This is the general principle.

When looking back at the Titleist 735 CM blades – we do not see these large heel-toe weights. Without a high MOI, working the ball is a breeze; however your miss-hits will not be kept in-line with the gear effect. This is why blades are recommended only for lower handicaps, as they can be rather unforgiving on inconsistent golf swings.

So the question then becomes do you prefer workability and feel, or consistency? Find that answer and you have narrowed down your choice of clubs to purchase.

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