Blade Irons Vs Cavity Back Or Improvement Irons
The topic of "Blades vs Cavity Backs" is one of those questions that have been debated to death in both golf magazines and internet forums and websites for the past decade or so.
After all that dialogue is the golf community as a whole any closer to having a definitive answer...not really.
The fact is that there are too many vested interests and too many different player styles and preferences for this ever to be resolved in favor of one or the other.
It's worth remembering, however, that until Ping made a huge impact on the golf equipment scene ALL irons were "blades". The greats of yester-year all improved and perfected their game on thin, small sweet spot irons that offered feel yet little forgiveness.
It's only in relatively recent years that the industry as a whole has poured money into research and marketing to establish cavity back or improvement irons as "the" clubs for anyone who isn't approaching a scratch score sheet.
The crux of the debate lies in the following:
Cavity backs offer a large sweet spot which makes contact will the ball easier and as a consequence will "correct" slightly mis-aligned shots. This is called "forgiveness" and it is what these clubs are famous for and have been marketed as providing. The bottom line is that they make it easier for you to hit the ball straighter and with distance more consistently - they are assistive.
In contrast, blade irons provide a much truer reflection of your actual swing on any one shot. For example, if the club face is slightly mis-aligned on impact then this mis-alignment will be apparent in the trajectory, distance and direction of the golf ball after contact.
So - cavity backs are the obvious winner you might say as they will enable me to hit the ball straighter and further more consistently?
This is both true and not true.
While cavity backs are easier to hit and will result in a quicker level of consistency they do encompass two flaws which depending on your own aims for your golf game and your playing habits you may or may not want to have to accomodate.
The first of these is that because they are corrective in nature faults in your swing can be masked (ie hidden from you). Therefore, while you may make faster progress in the short term you are also likely to plateau more quickly as unlike blades they don't force you to make a rigourous inspection and analysis of your swing. Many players consequently find that when they then decide to switch to blades after using improvement clubs for a lengthy period that there game falls to pieces as swing faults that were once hidden become instantly magnified. The consequence - a loss of confidence and an increase in scores. This experience by golfers is often the source of most negative comments about blades. "It's the clubs they say", when in fact it is very much their own swing.
The second and critical flaw if your making real in-roads into the game is that the short cavity back irons which are critical in your approach to the green are lacking in feel and shot-making capabilities. It's your short game where the nuances of golf really come to life. A little more here, a little less there - that's what your looking to perfect on your way into the green and the clunky nature of the over-sized improvement iron club heads make such control difficult.
So how do you decide?
Our recommendation would be to make a decision based on your own plans for your game. How serious about golf are you, how disciplined about improving?
If you really want to perfect your swing and control the ball with the short irons a set of precision blades are perfect but they will require commitment from you. If in contrast, you're just learning the game, play for enjoyment or want to build confidence with your long irons in particular a cavity back set is the way to go.
There are a lot of irons on the market and it's best to take the time to read the reviews available for the different sets. As with most things once you've done your research instinct will tell you which ones are right for you and you'll only really know whether the decision was right or wrong once you get out on the course and put them and yourself to the test!
Discussions About Blades And Cavity Backs
Why Use Blade Irons
The Blade Iron Set - A Look Inside
Forged Blade Irons - A Look At The Market
Left Handed Blade Irons - A Look At The Market
History Of The Blade / Tour Iron
How To Hit (use) Blade Irons