Blades Versus Cavity Backs: A Golf Club Epiphany
As I've spent 50 years playing this crazy game, and 25+ years in the equipment industry, I've had a number of eye-opening "epiphanies" (the dictionary defines "epiphany" as "a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something.").
One of those came in the mid-1990's as I was reviewing some Iron Byron results we were doing at Hogan.
Let me set this up by saying that I've always played blades - I like the shot control, trajectory and feel of them, not to mention the clean compact appearance behind the ball.
But for a few years prior to this time, I was playing Hogan Edge cavity back forgings. They felt OK, and my handicap stayed about scratch, but my game seemed different. There certainly was no question that they were forgiving.
Back to the research. I was looking at a chart of shot patterns of different irons we were testing, and was particularly struck by something I saw.
With Iron Byron set to swing a 6-iron with about 165 yards of distance, the cavity back irons we were testing were producing a pattern on dead center hits that was about 8' wide and about 15-17' long !
These are duplicate swings, dead center impact, and these shots are coming out 3-4' right or left of the target line, and as much as 8-9' short or long !
Not just with one model of iron, but with nearly every cavity back we tested. Now, realize that as we moved the impact further from the center of the face, the forgiveness factor was excellent, but I was puzzled by that "dead center" pattern.
Then I looked at the chart for the new Apex blade we were developing. On heel misses, it was slightly worse than the cavity back models.
On toe misses, the Apex was significantly worse (blades have very little mass out on the toe).
But on dead center hits - our shot pattern was about 1/4 the size of the cavity back pattern ! In other words, the perfect shots were much better !
So that got me thinking. My next round of golf, I dusted off my old set of Joe Powell blades, and I had an eye-opening day.
I was playing very well at the time, but not making that many birdies. That day I hit it within 10' of the flag a number of times, and while I did experience some misses that were worse than I had been getting with the Edge irons, my best shots were better than they had been in some time.
One of my friends who knows my game well exclaimed, "Where's that guy been ?"
He went on to explain that he had noticed I had not been "knocking down flags" for some time, which I usually did at least once or twice a round.
So, I made a permanent switch back to blade irons, my reasoning being that I will judge my rounds much more by the quality of my best shots than the acceptability of my worse ones.
I've kept that philosophy consistent. It's a common belief that mid- to high-handicap players need all the help they can get, and maybe that's true, but I firmly believe that more golfers can play blades than you might think - maybe even you !
There are some very good ones on the market now that have worked on the toe-hit forgiveness, so you might be surprised if you took a set of demos out for a round or two.
Just food for thought and maybe a golf tip that will help you enjoy the game more.
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[ comments ]
do you feel that this pattern would hold regardless of manufacturer? if not, wouldn't it be to one mfgr's benefit to tout their blades as being 'more accurate'?
just a thought,
sorry, i meant to add...
"by showing the dispersal pattern and challenging others to beat it".
I picked up a set of Mizuno MP-33's and am loving every moment of it. I had always played cavity back/game improvement irons. I absolutely love the feel of the MP-33's, and know immediately if I have done something wrong. We'll see how more scores respond soon enough :)
Artful Golfer says:
You've opened my eyes! I've been playing 2 years and have gone with a set of used ping zing2's. I've gotten my index down under 4 already and was convinced I should stick w/ my forgiving pings. I may now reconsider.
Good comments, guys. I think Sean will be amazed at how good his best shots are with the MP-33s, and how acceptable his misses are, to his surprise, probably. As for "nocurling", I think this truism would hold for most any top quality blades, as compared to cavity back irons. Like you, I find it quite interesting that no manufacturer touts the pinpoint accuracy of blades over cavity backs, and the only reason I can think of is that they do not believe they can make a dent in the mindset that perimeter weighting is the be-all, end-all that is pushed on the golfing public.
John Richardson says:
Another great post and a fascinating insight into some of the science behind it.
When I was learning I bought a set of game improvement Mx 17s which were a great choice. But as present to myself when I completed my par round I bought a set of forged Mp 30s. I love them but still slightly regret not going the full blade route. I bought an Mp 37 2 iron as a club for the range and I love it.
To most golfers it is almost impossible to hit but that is purely a perception thing. It forces me to work hard and hit the shot as cleanly and purely as possible. Undoubtedly it has improved my game. I may very well just see if I can do a ebay swap and change over the full set.
David DeVaughn says:
This was the most sensible thing that I have read about golf equipment ever - and something that I have found out myself testing clubs (wasting time and money) over the last few years. For me, blades are a game improvement iron. No distance or directional control with cavity backs - too much time in the rough behind the green or in the sand traps. I would rather be short because of a toe hit than in a bunker. Thanks you!!!
Thanks for letting me know I'm giving you guys some interesting and useful information. I've always thought that there is a big difference between "shot improvement" and "game improvement". Perimeter weighting can improve an individual shot, but you both are right that they will not guide you to improve the quality of contact, as the feedback just isn't there. Your idea about having a blade iron for practice is interesting, but I might add that it could be a 5- or 6-iron instead of a 2, and be a little more helpful for most.
Mike McEvoy says:
THANK YOU!!!! I began playing golf a little less than a year ago, and I learned this lesson the hard way. At last count, I had over 75 clubs in my house. I had tried everything I could to improve my golf game, but the best move I made yet was to buy an old set of Walter Hagen Ultra blade irons. Grooving my swing with those actually worked! (Try that with your Ping G5's! I did, and it didn't work.)
I am really glad to see someone advocating this position, even though it goes against "conventional wisdom."
Now, just say that a beginner should have blades as their first set and you'll be my hero!
Again, THANK YOU!
I play Ping I3 Blades. Minimal offset, etc.
What would I or what could I gain by using a real blade iron set ?
Mike, The Ping I3 is about as much a blade as the new square drivers are "traditional in shape". This iron design has most of the weight in the perimeter, and therefore cannot offer the shotmaking performance and feel of a true muscle back blade. What you'd gain by using a "real" blade set is a much more solid feel of impact, more consistent distances on your good shots, and more ability to work the ball flight, both vertically and horizontally. Try something like the new Mizuno MP 32 if you want to see for yourself. There are fitting carts on those everywhere.
Gee, Mike (McEvoy, how can I pass up an opportunity like that? Once you develop the ability to make resonably consistent contact, any beginning golfer could benefit from hitting shots with blades, at least during practice sessions. They'll give you more feedback from contact with the ball, and guide you to better swings. How's that?
Mike McEvoy says:
Ah, Terry, you're a man after my own heart. (Sigh).
Actually, I've never really gotten the whole "different clubs to practice with than what I play" concept. For me, it works better to use the same set consistently. After all, aren't we kind of practicing on the course, too? Just my 2 cents. Also, if I'm practicing with blades, I know what shot (hopefully) I will hit. If I switch clubs, who knows how the ball will fly?
Disclaimer: If you don't care about getting better at golf, but just like getting out on the course, save yourself the frustration of blades. :)
I'll look for a set to demo.
Terry you are right on, my best shots are amazing and feel so wonderful..and the misses (unless I'm completely off my game) aren't so awful...at least not significantly worse than my misses were with my older game improvement irons.
John B says:
I suspect that for the one to two percent of golfers whose games are scratch or close to it, blades are the better choice for an iron.
For the other 98% of us, the golfers who can't work a shot, can't practice 5-7 days a week, who shoot in the 90's (me) or worse or better, we need all of the help that we can get with cavity backs. The majority of golfers don't have a 'consistent swing' and don't hit the ball dead center every time...we just don't have the time to hone our games.
I wonder how many potential long-term golfers have given up the game throughout the years by playing blade irons and just saying 'to hell with it' in frustration. I know several golfers who have come back to the game after many years and now enjoy themselves due to the benefits of club technology...the game is easier (by a small measure, anyhow) for us.
Benefits like cavity backs and large driver heads are technological benefiots for the average golfer...the guy who shoots 80 or 90 or 100+.
Technology in golf is why we still don't play with hickory shafts and gutta balls.
John: First, I agree that technology is a wonderful thing in golf, and we push it hard at EIDOLON. And that blades are not for everyone; those who do not ever wish to "work" the golf ball should not use them. I do however, think your percentages are quite off. In my experience, most golfers who shoot in the 80s and below are trying to "hit golf shots", rather than just hit away. They also are hitting their short irons too high to be consistent in distance and accuracy. That's why I wrote this post. Our modern blades are not "throwbacks" -- quite the opposite. We are making them better than ever before as much as we are drivers and cavity back irons, hybrids, etc. My point is that once a golfer hits a certain plateau with his or her iron play, trying blades might prove to be a surprise for them. The industry has spent hundreds of millions of dollars telling us blades are hard to hit, and pushing perimeter weighting as the solution. But they've overdone it in my opinion. Read these posts and you'll see that many golfers are finding that I have a point. But you do as well. No golfer should refuse to take advantage of the technology available, and thankfully, there is a lot to choose from.
Brian P Green says:
I was just hip deep in this argument with my buddies today. I bought the MP33's when they first came out based on the theory that I would get instant feedback on mishits and improve my golf swing. It worked like a charm and I dropped 15 strokes in a year.
Brian, congratulations on discovering one of the "secrets" that major equipment companies might not want us to know. Can you share with all of us what your scores were like before the switch, and where they are now, and what other thing besides switching to blades you were doing to improve? Thanks.
Brian P Green says:
Mid 80's to high 90's before. Mid to 70's to low 80's now depending on the time of year. I'm in the northwest so I'm pretty rusty in the spring. If I'd put some time in on my short game I could drop a few more strokes.
Mike McEvoy says:
I'm still a newbie (picked the game up last June), but I can definitely tell a difference in my game since I began using blades. I was able to break 100 in my game rather quickly, but my average score was closer to 105 or 110 for several months. I could write 95 on the scorecard after some rounds, but that was generous with gimmes and mulligans. Now, after practicing regularly and really spending some time trying to improve, I broke 90 for the first time (legitimately) last week, followed it up with a 77 on a par 61 executive course, and shot 90 on a par 70 (my home course) twice in the last week. All legit scores, too - no gimmes, no mulligans.
My swing is much more consistent, though I still have a lot of work to do. I still get the occasional lost ball or water ball, but I could gain the most strokes around the green chipping and putting. Using blade irons has definitely given me more and better control on my long shots. Also, when I mishit the ball, which is not terribly infrequent, I know immediately how I mishit it. Therefore, I can immediately say, "Why did I hit it off the toe so badly?" I tried that recently with a Mizuno MX-17 (which is a VERY well-made club), but I couldn't feel my hits at all. That's the big difference to me. Blades are a much better teaching tool BY FAR. Also, having watched my shots closely at the range, I'm not sure blades are so unforgiving as everyone says. Sure, when you hit the middle, it's sweet, but I can miss the sweet spot by 1/2" and still get 90%+ of my desired power and my desired ball flight. All in all, I've improved 15 to 20 strokes in the last 3 or 4 months since I made the switch.
By the way, if you're interested in blades but don't like that Nikes, Mizunos, etc... cost upwards of $700, try the Snake Eyes 600B. It costs $30/head, plus your shaft and grip, or $60/club assembled from GolfSmith, and I think its quality is as good as or better than the name brands.
Congratulations to Mike McEvoy for his dramatic improvement and lesson learned. And there are lots of places to buy blades that are reasonably priced. I highly recommend a visit to a qualified custom clubmaker for this purchase. You can find a good registry of them at www.proclubmakers.org, the site for the Professional Clubmakers Society.
I'm looking for some new clubs and have been really intriqued by this discussion. I currently own a pair of square two clubs that I purchased very cheap just to update my Walmart clubs. I had intended to buy some ping i-3 + that I've been told are somewhat between blades and oversized cavity back clubs. I can shoot mid 80's to low 90's fairly consistently, but I really would like to improve my game. I just figured that would be the next evolution in my game and that blades would be too difficult for me to hit. I actually took a friend's blades out on the course one day for 9 holes and gave up. Guess that was not the best place to try them out. Can you recommend a direction as far as clubs that might be a good fit for me? There seem to be so many options and every sellsman seems to just care about selling me something and is not so interested in helping my game. I know you've mentioned that blades are made better now and I want to make sure I get the latest technology if I am to spend $500-$600 on a new set of clubs. OH, and I did want to mention that I bought the CG-10 wedges a while back and have learned to hit them great. Knowing so little about equipment, I never thought about the fact I'm hitting that sandwedge blade from the fairly 100 yards very well. I guess I could afford to do the same with the rest of my clubs??
Mike McEvoy says:
Here are a number of options you can try:
1. Buy a cheap set of blade irons from eBay. The ones I really liked were late 1970's Walter Hagen Ultras. This should cost you no more than $40 for the set.
2. Get GolfSmith to build you one (1) of their 600B blade irons. Probably the 6 iron is best. Then go to the practice range for a while and test it out. This will cost you $60 if they assemble it for you. You can save $10-$15 if you assemble it yourself, plus it's fun to build clubs!
3. Buy a used 2 iron blade from GolfSmith (can you tell I shop there a lot?). This should run you $6 to $10.
4. Buy a single assembled club from GigaGolf.com. Again, a 6 iron is probably the best practice. This should cost about $40. I haven't had a chance to check out GigaGolf's blades, but I played some Ping G5 clones of theirs that were very good quality.
Speaking from experience, it WILL be frustrating if you make the switch "cold turkey" and begin playing blades exclusively immediately.
Good luck! I really hope you get some true "game improvement" irons - ones that will expose your flaws and help you fix them!
Thanks Mike! I'm open to any other ideas from more experienced golfers as well!
Alex Elia says:
I googled blades versus cavity backs and found this interesting article which confirmed what I always thought. Blades are the real thing and definitely reward a good ball strike in a more honest way than cavity irons. Also cavity irons have that hollow, lighter feel on impact. One question though. You mentioned that with new technology that blades would be good for more people today. I'm using my father old and I mean old Spalding elite irons. I remember when i was a kid these were considered top of the line clubs and many a pro has told me i should never get rid of them. How much different can one blade be from the other when there just a solid flat piece of metal and do you still consider these as good as more recent blade irons ?
Alex, I would love to see that article, as this topic has generated much input -- thanks to all. When I talked about new technology in blades, what I was referring were two things -- the weight distribution and sole design. Many of the old blades have a very long hosel and therefore a center of mass that is not in the center of the face, but toward the hosel -- very dangerous!!! (Think the "S" word). Many of those old blades also had negative bounce in the sole which makes them very difficult to get back up and out of the turf. Then, there are some subtle improvements in blades wherein a modest amount of metal is repositioned toward the toe, making them more forgiving, without sacrificing the pinpoint accuracy on dead center hits that blades are noted for. Thanks for chiming into this conversation.
Gavin Chia says:
Where have I been. Just came across this article. I've been playing cavity backs for years. I started with my Dad's old Maxfli Australian Blades (the clubs are 5 years younger than I) Switched to cavity backs and have been playing them since. Now the cavity backs are nice and forgiving but I really missed the feel of the blades(on the good shots) Every time I ask about blades at the golf shop, I get a lecture about not getting the ball up in the air and stuff like that. I tried out my buddy's Mizuno MP32's. They felt good, they looked good and the ball was going where I wanted it too. Well 8 times out of 10. But hey I can live with that. Thanks Terry my next set will be blades. And iff my games goes south later, I can always whip out the cavity backs right.
Bad day on the golf course beat a good day in the office anytime.
This has been one of our most active subjects, and its encouraging to me that so many are not following the industry lockstep about cavity back irons. For Gavin, I will tell you that the MP32 is a very nice iron, as are most Mizuno blades. The modern blades are much easier to hit than the old Australian designs of 20-40 years ago, I assure you. And some have modest redistribution of mass that makes them more forgiving of slight mis-hits. I hold by my assessment that most golfers of 12 handicap or less will improve their scoring and shotmaking by playing such a design, especially in the short irons.
Dave Shaffer says:
Has Mizuno made a better blade than the MP-32?
I've decided to eliminate my 4 iron and PW with my MP set. The 3 iron was already gone. I'm going to go with the 4 Eidolon wedges so I had to eliminate a club and the one least used, if ever, was the 4-iron.
Dave, thank you for your confidence in EIDOLON wedges. Let me offer you a couple of pieces of input.
First, on the "better than MP-32", that's kind of subjective. All their MP models are pretty darn good, it's just which one suits you best. I would hit all of them, on the course, to see what works for your game. And you should definitely make sure whichever you choose is fitted for lie angle and grip size.
Regarding eliminating the 4-iron, that's a personal decision, but here's what I recently did when I decided to add the 60 to my bag. I reviewed all my longer clubs for gaps that were really not all that far apart. After this analysis, I dropped the 3 and 4 woods, and replaced them with a stronger 4, which is about 10-12 yards longer. I don't hit 3-woods at greens anyway, and I'm totally comfortable hitting a gripped down driver for accuracy from the tee. Then I replaced my Nickent hybrid with a Sonartec that was stronger and longer by about 10 yards. So now I have a nice 15-17 yard gap between my 4-wood and hybrid. Gripping down 1/2" cuts that in half. Then I had my clubmaker lengthen my 4-iron by 1/4", giving me a few extra yards, so that the gap between my hybrid and 4, and my 4 and 5-irons are also about 15 yards. Voila -- I had room for the 4th wedge and didn't lose a beat.
Dave Shaffer says:
Thanks Terry, you've given me a lot of variables to think about.
Looking forward to your book.
We are in an oppressive heat spell right now that makes golf tough here in Tennessee. It was 102 yesterday and that's hot for this part of the country. 104* today.
Pete K. says:
I just came across this discussion, and thought it quite helpful. I just started playing golf about 5 months ago. I purchased a knockoff big bertha set from gigagolf.com, and they've served their purpose. I get to go to the range and hit balls everyday, so i've been able to improve my scores from not even being able to finish a round (Due to frustrations and embarassment) to consistently shooting in the high 80's to low 90's. I want to spend some real money on a set now, I love the game and just enjoy practicing so much. However if i'm going to spend towards a 1,000 dollars for a set of Irons, i'd like to get a set i'm not going to grow (game wise) out of in a year. Should I purchase a set of blades (Any recommendations would be nice) and just practice like I have been until I can hit them confidently? Or should I just get something like the X-20 Tours that still offer a lot of forgiveness but some playability. I do enjoy trying to draw/fade the ball. Any help would be great before I make this purchase.
Pete, not to sound like a broken record, but a trip to a qualified clubmaker would be a great experience for you. Besides learning about your own personal specs, you can view a number of head designs. There are some great new blades on the market, but if they don't fit you, you'll be wasting your money. If you like to work the ball, I think you'll find any of the modern blades to your liking.
What an interesting subject. Here's my story. My dad purchased a set of Titleist Tour Model blades for me new in 1987 when I was a senior in H.S. My game was respectable as my handicap fluctuated from 10 -14 until around 2002, when I decided to switch to brand new Cleveland cavity backs. Interestingly enough, my handicap went down 2 strokes on average as I have been an 8 since then. Well, this year I decided to go back to my old Titleist Tour's and have shot some of the lowest rounds in my life. I don't really know exactly why, but I just realized how much more fun it is for me to play with blades. I have been hitting blade demo's now (mostly Mizuno) as I plan on upgrading to a more current set. Ultimately, however, I truly believe cavity backs are the best for the weekend golfer...
Pete K. says:
Well I pulled the trigger on a set of Mizuno MP-60's. They aren't your typical blade, but they are loaded with feedback (when compared to my other cavity back irons). Man have these exposed my flaws, you really don't understand how much having such a wide sole helps with fat shots until you try a blade style club out. The feeling of connecting right with these clubs is so addictive. It makes having to completely re-train my swing worth it. Thanks for starting this discussion.
Hi Terry. First, great discussion! After a long hiatus I began playing again approximately a year ago. In the past year I have played Taylor made R5's, Hogan Egde CFT's, and Hogan Apex Edge Forged Irons. I am scoring consistently in the low 90's on courses such as TPC Avenel, Raspberry Falls, Westfields, etc. I recently have been playing a Hogan Apex Edge 2 iron in place of a driver in many instances. I have also purchased a set of 2006 Hogan Apex blades with Rifle 6.0 shafts. I read a blog with respect to blades vs. everything else and the mid to low handicappers all arrived at the same conclusion: blades changed their perceptions of their games and helped engrain their swing mechanics. After reading the aforementioned blog I decided to take the blades out to the range and practice a bit. In between shots I contemplated the magnified feedback I was receiving from the blades. Thre was no dullness in ball contact. Also, the feedback was immediate and Iwas keenly aware of the amount of "forgiveness". I was surprised at not only how consistently better my ball sriking was but also the accuracy of my shots. My shots were within relative distance of my cav-backs but the flight and most important to me, had more character. This was because of a number of things in my opinion. For one, the blade is much more exact with respect to the sole at address in terms of setting up (at least for me). In addition, the blade top line is much more appealing at address givin me more confidence. The entire club felt more as an extention of myself as opposed to something I was attempting to manipulate...I saved that for the ball. After about 15-20 minutes I noticed I was more aware of my swing mechanics. I realized so many things I was doing incorrectly. It was enlightening to say the least. My conclusion is that blade irons are "swing improvement" clubs that will improve my game through understanding of my swing mechanics. Time will tell if I can rise to the occassion on the course, but for now my perception of my game and its possibilities is beginning to change. However, from what I have experienced on my own, and watching a couple low handicappers I know as well as attending The Masters, US Open, and other PGA tournaments watching the best play, I believe if a golfer wants to make shots of true character...the blade is it!
This has been a fun string of dialog, and I'm impressed that so many of you are finding what I propose to be true -- more golfers are capable of playing blades than the industry would like you to believe. One way I like to explain it is this: "Cavity-back irons are 'shot-improvement' clubs, but blades are 'game-improvement' clubs."
Only a blade type design can provide the feedback you need to learn, and give you the total control you need to play this game well. My own brother, who is a low single digit player, finally listened to "little brother" and switched from his Callaway irons to a set of Mizunos. He tells me he's hitting more greens than ever, has eliminated his pull hook and never sees those occasional rockets that fly everything.
But understand that modern blades are far superior to the ones of 25-35 years ago. Hosels are shorter and weight is better positioned to make them play much easier. Don't judge blades by the old set of your dad's or grandfather's that is in the garage!
T. Azure says:
I believe there is an alternate explanation for many of the reason people are improving when playing blades.
They are harder to hit. As a result you have to practice more and groove your swing. Your mistakes are magnified and your bad shots are worse.
To explain that the blades are better clubs because you improve your swing when using them is a poor argument. The PERSON is becoming better because of practice and the sudden ephinay that their own swing is the problem... not the club.
That being said, will playing blades make you a better golfer? Not unless you plan to practice and groove your swing. Hitting off-center shots on blades is devastating. Hitting anything above a 5 iron requires a precise and repeatable swing. With practice and lessons, blades can, by default, make your overall game better. To make the conclusion that the CLUBS are the reason is rediculous.
I've grew up playing the game with a set of Titleist Tour Model forged blades. I won't argue with anybody that playing with these from day one made my game better. But I would be taking my game back a step to go back to them.
I don't have the time to practice like I did before. As a result I am now hitting Cobra oversized irons. My off center hits are now playable and vary slightly from my center hits. My scores have dropped about 6-7 strokes after switching from my Mizuno Blades.
I will stick with my opinion that I would rather have 90% of my shots within an acceptable distance to my target, than 50% or less percent within an acceptable distance from my target. Even if 10% of that 50% are right on target, nocking down the flag.
If time allows me to start playing more and practicing more, I'm sure I will switch back to the blades for several reasons. Many of them are the same reasons listed in this blog. No other club can give you the feel of an iron. It is the sweetest feeling hitting a great shot with a blade. The workability is way better and you can get much more creative with knockdown shots, draws and fades. The distance control and ball flight is also much better for a low handicapper. Last, but not least, you can show everybody that you hit blades - because you are a purist and that is what the best golfers play. Isn't that why some of you like them so much?
I like my blades, but my scorecard likes my oversized forgiving Cobra's.
Dave Shaffer says:
I admit I really like the look of blades. I'm a purist. I've actually never played cavity backs although my son has tried to get me to get a set of fusions. I considered it for a little . . . but I just like the flight of the ball with my MP-32s so I'm staying with them. Yes, I do practice daily - at least 100 wedge shots.
Do I hit every shot perfect? Absolutely not! But the ones that I do are very nice to behold as they zero in on the flag.
Is not much of the modern golf equipment designed to help people with bad swings. I play with people all the time who are trying a new Driver - and it works for a round or two. All they really need is a better swing . . . and their OLD Driver.
Dave Shaffer says:
I've been to few Champions Tour events and it appeard that many of the senior pros use cavity backs as opposd to blades. It would seem that if anyone could use blades to their full potential it would b them.
What is the reason for this apparent discrepency?
Double Eagle says:
I think you passed your epiphany on to me.
Several years back, I was playing Tommy Armour forged irons (before the brand got sold and started appearing on low-end equipment). At the time, I felt like a surgeon with those clubs.
After using them for a few seasons, I broke my 2-iron and couldn't get it replaced and didn't feel like having it reshafted so I just bought new irons.
I ended up with Callaway X-16 Pro cavity backs, but had an injury that kept me from playing for the better part of two years.
This year, I came back and have never regained the precision I had with my Armours. Certainly, not having played for a while, I need to shake off the rust and iron out some swing problems, but what you said really rung a bell.
My bad shots might be a little better, but my good shots are not! I hadn't put it together until now.
I had been intending to get new irons before next season, but now I'm going to be a little more careful in my selection.
Thanks for a great post.
I'm glad you are all having fun with this post that I wrote way back in April. It's been the most responded to one that I've written. There are so many good insights from all of you into this subject that I tossed out for thinking. That's what this blog is all about!
Let me start with "TAzure"s comments. You are right on with your observation. Blades are not "better clubs", they just have different characteristics. But the facts are that they are more accurate on dead center hits, so any golfer who is more interested in how good his good shots are than how good his average shots are, blades should be given a try. You made the second choice and that's what makes golf so much fun. We have so many choices.
Dave made an interesting observation about the Champions Tour. And the only answer I have, Dave, is "the money". Most of these guys didn't play for the kind of cash that is up on the regular tour now, and my personal experience with them is that they are maximizing their earnings potential. Every company in golf will pay their players more to play their "consumer" models than they will to play their blades, if they even make them. Many of these guys' credo is "show me the money".
Finally, for Double Eagle, would you mind keeping us posted on your findings as you get back into the game?
Thanks guys. You are making this blog a lot of fun, apparently for many of us.
Double Eagle says:
I'd love to, Terry. I'll drop back in here with my experience with new irons in the spring. I'm also thinking of digging out my Armours for a round or two before the season winds down just to see if my memory is as clear as I think.
TIM K says:
This really cuts through all the advertising BS.
I recently, 2 years ago, returned to golf after 20 year absence less a few scramble tournaments.
My game was mid 90's. I could hit some long and nice shots but could not score.
I began volunteering at a local course and can play for free and practice free. Nice perk for pay.
My game now is all over 80! Shot 78 last week (par 72) and 82 from the back tees Sunday. I am a senior by the way. If I could putt better I would be in the 70's all day. (once I shot an 84 and had 42 putts. Yes half of the shots and backed it up a day later with and 82 and 40 putts)
My concern is the subject of discussion 'blades vs cavity". I have both. Mizuno T Zloid EZ Comps and a set of MP 33's. All used but in good condition, steel stiff shafts all stock.
I would like to go with one style but can play well ( or above average) with each. Note that I just began hitting the blades after playing the cb's. Hit some nice shots with the blades but the mishits are just that, mishits. Short by20%.
Oh I must add, today I wanted to draw a 4 iron as my drive was left edge of the fairway and a large tree did not allow a straight shot to the par 5 green. Well I hit the draw perfect less the 20% of distance. 30 yds from the green, pitched and 2 jputted from 7 feet for par. Great feeling.
Now the critical question is,,, The MP33 are fine but I can acquire a new set of Tommy Armour Silver Scot Muscle Back blades very reasonable. One comment was that the brand had been sold and quality was questionable. Are they top of the line clubs today???
And should I loose the cb's and stick with the blades?
Again Great Forum!!
I'd been through more iron sets in the past decade than I care to admit...playing with various Ping irons more than anything. Just under a year ago I cam by a set of Toski T-54 blades (designed and sold through Golfworks) assembled by a great clubmaker. I have not hit my irons this well in years. Fitting is essential no matter what you choose, but blades are nothing for mid-handicap golfers to shy away from. Don't dismiss "component" blades from Golfworks, Wishon, SMT Golf, etc. Joe Powell blades still have a great reputation and I see them in bags occasionally. In the hands of a good club maker, they are as good as any OEM company's irons.
Very interesting discussion, and timely since I'm about to buy a new set of irons, courtesy of a nice gift from my mother-in-law (no m-i-l jokes please--she's great). I'm a 13 hcp and of course wanting , and ready, to go lower. I haven't considered blades since switching to cb's a few years ago, after playing in the 70s consisitently in my teens with blades. My last set were Power Bilts. I'm 61 now and want to return to those magic 70s.
One shop around my way has this great 90 day deal where you can return clubs for any reason and get another set , which seems like a great way to try out clubs under course conditions.
What I'm wondering is what about shafts? Graphite or steel? My pro says to go light weight steel but I've got a not so good back and am concerned with the added vibration.
What's your hit on shafts vis a vis blades for someone like me? Is graphite a valid choice for blades?
Here's a response to several of you:
Tim K, I hate to pick on anyone, but Tommy Armour has been through questionable (non-golf) ownership several times, and I just don't think they get it -- you can do better.
Charlie, you hit the nail on the head. EVERYONE should avail themselves of a good fitter, and most of these guys can build you a great set of clubs that far surpass what the major brands will feed you off the shelf.
And Stephen, you are on the right track with the idea of graphite in your blades. I'm 55 and recently re-shafted a set of my Reid Lockhart blades with graphite and I'm very satisfied. I chose a high-flex, low launch shaft from Swing Science (the 800), which is not all that light (95 grams), but really feels great. I like the flight pattern and my clubmaker oriented the shafts so that they are perfect. But I would not recommend graphite shafts in irons from any major manufacturer -- have a qualified clubmaker do your work, or you just don't know what you will get. I hate to pick on these guys, but I know what they are turning out, and the consistency of their graphite irons are horrible. Just telling it like it is.
After goofing around on the golf course as a kid and never really was good at it, I got into golf again a year ago. I started playing some old Hogan Apex PC blades from the mid-80's that were hand me downs from my father-in-law. I played with these for a few months until I kinda got shamed into buying some new clubs from people at our club.
I bought some Navigator cavity backs(generic no name clubs) at a local shop. They looked good and all that. But the funny thing is that they really didn't improve my game at all. So after a year of playing, I got my wife's hand me down Taylor Made Burner oversize irons(she's the serious and better golfer of the two of us). I definitely seemed to improve and I think it was because of a stiffer shaft.
The Navigators turned out to be ladies flex and the Burners are men's senior. After finding out this information I decided to hit the old Hogans because they are stiff flex(I'm 41 year old man and still pretty athletic) and I am hitting some real nice iron shots. So I'm definitely looking at going the blade route. The thing is they are a little rusty and with some nicks and gouges on the face. I am considering re-gripping due to the grips being original but am also wondering about the Mizuno's everybody has been talking about here.
Is it worth sticking with these clubs, or is the newer blade technology far superior to the 80's Hogan Apex PC's?
Pete K. says:
Mizuno Cut-Muscle clubs are much more forgiving without sacrificing the feel. Pick up a players cavity back like the MP 60's or 57's, or if you really have some time to practice get the 67's or 32's.
So does that mean the Hogans aren't worth playing or even regripping? The rust is minor on the 8 iron and the gouges are also pretty minor. The sand wedge is the only club that shows very obvious use and wear and I will definitely replace soon. Is the new Mizuno technology that superior to the Hogans?
Amen! I wish I'd found your website much sooner. I had the same epiphany by accident; but struggled for a long time, refusing to believe it was true. I am a 46 year old, poor sportsman, who took up golf a year ago and play to a handicap factor of 30. I tested all the cavity backs from all the major companies and settled on a set of Ping G5 irons and was quite happy with them. A few months ago, during a Mizuno Demo Day at our club, I tried their MX-900 & MX-25 irons as these were their high handicap irons. However, they both came with high flight True Temper Dynalite Gold SL shafts. Because my normal ball flight is already high, I wanted to try the same clubs with True Temper Gold shafts. The Mizuno rep only had this shaft on the MPs. So, I tried the most forgiving MP-60. A few swings later and I was hooked! Wow! Refusing to believe I could already handle clubs like these, I chalked it up to a good swing day. I did start researching the MP-60s on the internet and everything I read said anyone with a handicap higher than 12 has no business using these clubs. Fortunately, our golf shop had a set of MP-60 demos that I could take out on the course. On 4 different occasions, I took out the 7 to PW and kept hitting flagstick after flagstick! My chips and bump & run shots also snuggled up much closer to the hole than usual. I also seemed to hit less fat shots with the MP-60s than my "more forgiving" G5s! This finally gave me the courage to have myself fitted for half a set of MP-60s (7 to PW). I could not be happier with my decision. I alternate playing my Ping G5 and MP-60 just to make sure it's not just my game improving and almost everytime, the spray pattern on my shots is tighter whenever I use the MP-60s. I still struggle to break 100 but have now broken 90 on 2 occasions - both times with the MP-60. Now, I'm considering the MP-57 4 to 6 iron. Initially, I thought I would only go with the 5 and 6 iron as the 4 hybrid I play with is one of my favorite clubs. However, after trying out the MP-57 4 iron, I observe the same tight spray pattern. As I am not very long (4 iron to 165 yards), I use my 4 iron on a lot of approach shots. I would gladly trade a slight loss of distance for accuracy. I still have my 3 hybrid or 5 wood for distance anyhow. Terry, the other thing I've observed is that because my home course is a tree lined course, mishits on my cavity backs just get me further into the trees. When I mishit my MP-60s on the toe (I seldom hit the toe anyhow), they go a shorter distance and this often keeps me from getting into trouble. You have a wonderful website and I sincerely hope more golf newbies get to read it as there are too many who get frustrated and leave the game. More power to you and if you ever need a high handicapper for a guinea pig, I'm ready, willing, and able.
TIM K says:
Guys, go to the next level with your game via forged blades or CBs. You will not go back. Do not listen to those who have warned you that you cannot do well with them. Forged Blades or CBs will make you better!
Terry, during our messages on my question I had to make a decision and went with the Tommy Armour Forged Cavity Back Irons, new Rifle 6.0 shafts, new in the box for $130.00 US.
I have played them 4 or 5 times. I shoot mid to High 80's (par 72). Last week I shot 78. Saturday I shot 78 in a $ tourney and won (a form of handicap is used) 1st team and individual. I had 3 penalty strokes (due to a flying right elbow off the tee box), hit 12 GIR, and had 34 putts. Did I say I love these Irons.
I am aware of TAs recent management problems but they still make a fine forged iron. I have been using a set of used MP33's that are really sweet. But the TA's do not take second place to the Mp's except resale. They both make the game more enjoyable. Even with the harrassment I have to put up with being accussed of sandbagging. These Irons make a difference.
With that, I have had the opportunity to hit several types of clubs and balls. I do not find a measureable difference between like n kind items. IE, 2 piece balls, cast cavity backs, forged clubs etc. But the difference between a cast and a forged club, especially a blade, there is a major difference. The forged Blades or Forged Cavity Backs will make one a better ball striker. Period. I will not go back.
Great Forum and I only hope others will be helped as I have by the information shared. I may not have gone forged without it.
I've been playing callaway x-14's for years now and they are, to me, the best cavity backs ever. When I started playing golf, I was shooting 90's. Almost 9 yrs. later, im shooting just over par with some under par rounds (I'll say my handicap is 2). Although I'm just a weekend golfer, my scores have too big a range. I figure it's time to try some blades and see if I can consistently stay par or better. I'm looking to buy some muscle backs and just wondering if you have any suggestions without me demoing any yet. I thought about staying with callaway and trying the x-forged irons, or maybe the titleist 695MB.
It's amazing and encouraging to me that this post of six months ago still generates this kind of buzz. I have to believe that all of you participating are helping hundreds of golfers figure out this mystery of the golf industry. Let me try to address a few of the recent posts.
For Paul: Yes, the current blade designs are quite a bit superior to the older models. Modern technology allows more precise location of the center of mass, and the slight bit of perimeter/toe weighting of most new models will help.
That all said, some are fashioning cavity backs with a blade-like appearance at address, and this is not what you want. To get the performance I've talked about, the club has to have significant mass/thickness at the center of the impact zone. That's why I'm not a great fan of the Callaway and a few others.
For Tim K, your enthusiasm is exciting, but don't get caught up in the forged/cast debate. The way a club is made is not nearly as important as the distribution of weight. A forged cavity back cannot perform with a quality cast true blade. Many years ago, blind testing was done with tour players, having them hit identical irons, except that one would be cast the other forged. Players like Ray Floyd and others could not tell the difference. Of course that assumes good metallurgy. Our wedges, for example, are cast of 8620 carbon steel and provide extraordinary feel.
Finally, for Trent: If you are a Callaway fan, the X14s would be fine, I'm sure. I'm not. I think Mizuno makes very fine blades, and Titleist, too. There are also some fine component blades by Wishon, Alpha and others that a custom clubmaker can show you. As I've said many times, I'm not a big fan of off-the-shelf irons, and think any serious golfer should have a clubmaker working with him or her.
Thanks, guys. Keep up the dialog -- we're all learning here.
Dave Shaffer says:
Hi, Terry -
You recently made a comment on the Reid Lockhart blades. I'm not familiar with them. Would it be appropriate to comment on them?
Are there reps nationwide that can fit those for you or how would that work?
Peter Reed says:
Iv been playing about 15 years and like a lot of people thought I wasnt good enough for blades. Have used many large headed irons with wide soles etc.. but never really thought I was in control of where the ball would end up. Recently had snake eyes python plus game improvement irons and was same old story. Saw a set of Mizuno pro 2 irons on ebay for -ú60 and as soon as I had these in my hand they felt and looked amazing. You actually feel like you are responsible for your shots...and the great thing is when you hit it well it goes where you aimed it - like an arrow. Its a great feeling. Also I dont even mind slightly mishitting it, because I get that feedback I need to improve further. Even though these clubs are 5 years old I havent yet seen a better looking set (in fact even the new mizunos look too chunky for me!), and there is no way on earth I am going back to cavity backs. I just wish I hadnt wasted 15 years before I realised.
eric nash says:
I have been following this discussion for a couple of months now and am amazed that interest has lasted this long. I wanted to follow-up with my experience and a couple of questions
I am a 2-4 round a month golfer with a 2-4 handicap. I hit 845's for 15 years before buying the MP 32's shortly after they came out. I played several rounds with different sets before buying, recommended by retails shops, and course pro's. Including the Nike Slingshot, Callaway's, and Cleveland cavity backs. I have always hit a lot of greens (12-14) and with the Slingshots for example, I feel like I could probably average 15-16 greens - but with little or no ability to 'work the ball' or 'dial it in' to the flag. The MP 32's I compare to shooting a rifle versus a shotgun. I feel I have the ability to hit any type of shot, work the ball easily, and when I am really on knock down several flags a round. Obviously a lot of this is confidence, but a lot is the feel that cannot be duplicated in a cavity back and the feedback that accompanies it. On bad days there is no doubt that hitting a more forgiving club could save me 3-4 shots but on a good day, the MP 32's probably score me 3-4 more birdies. I am no doubt a traditionalist when it comes to the appearance of golf clubs, and if it does not fit my eye, and if I don't have the feel I want, I cant hit them no matter how much they may improve my game, I will never hit cavity backs again.
Question for Terry or anyone else in the manufacturing/retailing business:
It was obvious to me that the 'newest' cavity backs were being pushed by the golf shops and golf pros, I would suspect, but can someone confirm if 1) there is a significantly higher profit margin and lower manufacturing cost for a cast cavity back v/s a forged blade?
I would also suspect that it is a lot harder to get a blade out of a golfer's hand if they are hitting it well than to convince a golfer with last year's Callaway cavity backs that this year's version is more forgiving, longer, and all-around better and they need to buy the new set to improve there game and keep up with the improvement in technology. Just a thought...
Eric, I think you are right about the newer cavity backs. The manufacturers have to keep promising more and more to keep golfers coming to the cash register. The last thing they are going to say is that the blades you are already carrying are best for you. Technically, I don't think the profit margins are that much different, but the purchase frequency could be hurt if golfers really realized that their game will not change much with a new set of irons purchase. And yes, I think it is a lot harder to get a set of blades out of a golfer's bag, because they've become old friends with which he/she is comfortable. The industry thrives on breaking up those "friendships".
Clent Walker says:
Terry, I've been playing for almost 2 1/2 years now. I love the game. I play a old set of Spalding Elite Plus. I love them. Everyone tells me that I should buy some new cavity backs. Well I did, and I've notice that on my mis-hits I was off by 10+ yards, but with my blades on my mis-hits I was only off by 5 to 8 yards. I also keep stats on each club in my bag, and I also noticed that I was getting about 8 to 10 yards with my blades.
Thank for your help on my research.
After discovering this thread a while back and going back to my Hogan Apex PC blades I've noticed a few things. First, things have improved so much since re-gripping my clubs. 20 year olds grips just don't work as well as new grips.
Also, when I took them in to have the loft and lie adjusted for my swing I noticed that they seemed to swing a little different. I'm not sure that it is actually for the better, since the clubs lay a little different at address(they look open) and seem to swing slightly different. I'm getting nice ball flight and the fade has given way to straight so I'm not complaining too much, but they just don't feel the same. I like the flight just fine, but it feels like I have to manipulate the club when I swing if that makes any sense. I'm not more than 1 or 2 degrees off of spec. Is this normal when you bend blades or did the guy I had do it not do it correctly?
Thien Nguyen says:
Wow, Terry, you have no idea how glad for me to find this thread. I started out with Cavity Back (CB) iron set (Adams A1 Pro Set). It worked fine for me for almost a year, but one day I saw the Wilson Staff Tour Blade Fluid Feel (from 1986 I think) and I immediately fell in love with the look, the compact design, and the way it sets up behind the ball. I bought it and commit myself to practice and play with it.
The first few rounds with it, my scoring was completely devastated in high 110s. I couldn't judge my distance with my iron (which was my bad, because I never took my time to figure that out). My shots were all over the place. I noticed I lost 15-20 yards on my iron. My swing starts go into 3 swing planes (without realizing it), which I didn't have during my CB set.
For over 6 months, I have been fighting my temptation to switch back to CB set. Even my golf buddies tried to convince me to go back to my CB. I almost gave up, the "buttery feeling" on my good shot with blade has kept me persistent and hard-headed. I kept telling myself "It's not the club, it's the fault in the mechanic of my swing" ...
So, I took my digital camcorder and record my swings on the range and analyze them with Golf Swing V1 with my golf buddies' helps. I found numerous faults in my swing mechanic. I fixed them one by one, starting from over-swing ... I stopped blindly hitting balls at the range, rather I went to range with purposes.
Things have been much better for me now, I'm working my way to low 90s after 2 months process. I understand more about my swing and why things gone wrong. This knowledge allow me to adjust and make a quick fix if necessary on the course.
"The more golf balls you hit, the better you get at golf." - Not really. hitting the golf balls blindly at the range with no purpose is dangerous, you may end up with more bad habits than you bargain for.
"Blades are only for low handicapers" - Not entirely true. Would someone want to learn how to ride a motorcycle with a bicycle? It certainly helps to know how to ride a bicycle prior to the lessons with the motorcycle, but the feels are not the same.
Whatever your purpose is in golf, you gotta choose the right tool for the right purpose. Since shot shaping is important for me blade is my top choice. There is a lot of set back from this switch but the result is rewarding.
Well new grips are always an improvement on any clubs. Grips DO wear, and get dirty. Cleaning with a soft bristle brush and Comet, Ajax or the like usually does wonders. As for your experience after having the lies tweaked, that's a little puzzling to me. And unfortunately, I don't really have an answer for you. The difference in feel could be do to the club making ground contact either in the heel or toe area if the lie is incorrect. As for them laying open, that suggests to me that they are too upright for you, but "the guy" could have bent them wrong for sure.
Actually the difference in feel is in the backswing. It really could just be changes in my swing because I've been getting a lot of tips lately that I've been trying to put into action. When I make contact with the ball and ground it feels fine at that point and it flies very straight with a good trajectory except for my longer irons which I sometimes hook a little. But I attribute that to the fact that I tend to swing different with the longer irons even though I know I shouldn't.
My main concern was that when I'm setting up and put the club on the ground for address, if I'm not gripping it, but have it just laying in my open hand, it will kind of flop open as opposed to the way they were when they were unaltered and they would just sit up. I know that the loft and lies are not to spec anymore and I thought maybe the change in bounce affected this.
Its probably not a big issue because I do hit them better with the scoring irons. The slight fade is gone and I seem to be more accurate. I'm always just trying to "optimize" everything and I was wondering about the change in feel and if it could be attributed to the club laying open.
I hit my friends Mizuno wedge blade the other day and I noticed that his lay open as well at address in the same way mine do. I guess it doesn't matter since I don't swing with my hands in that manner(it'd be pretty difficult without a grip!).
Paul C says:
Thanks you for a very informative discussion. I have hardly played since my mid teens but have seriously re-taken the game up in the last couple of months, after nearly 20 yrs of very occasional hit and laugh. I am still looking to break 100,but working hard at it!
I have been researching cavity backs because I thought I needed the game improvement the manufacturers market so well. My first set was circa 1960 blade hand me downs from my grandfather and the current were a second hand set of forged semi-cavity backs from a friend. This discussion has refocussed my thoughts on clubs that I thought were out of my league, thanks.
Great forum..I am a weekender, play to a 14. Inspired, primarily by this discussion to try some blades. Budget is limited tho. Looking for maybe 5 thru AW set of muscle backs. Is it possible to get a set of quality irons made/fitted for under $500 or would it be better to look for a used set on ebay or someother outlet. If the latter, how does one tell which are new enough in design to employ the forgiveness charactaristics mentioned in this forum? Since I am far from expert on clubs and perhaps dont follow the fruition of particular model design, etc.
I apologize for being tardy, but was on a whirlwind two week trip to the PCS and PGA Shows in Florida. Watch for some new posts out of that. Now, let me catch up.
Paul, my guess is that when you are setting up these irons, they are "flopping open" because you are setting them on their heel, rather than square to the turf. Maike sure the club is soled properly when you take your grip. If this makes your hands feel too high, a good clubmaker can adjust those lies to fit better.
Paul C, I think you are on the right track to do some serious investigation into what irons are right for you. There are some very good "modified blades" out there now. Keep us posted on your progress.
And Byron, For a good set that you are considering, please visit a good clubmaker/clubfitter. There are some very nice "modern blades" out there from KZG, Wishon, and others, where you can only buy the clubs you need, rather than a full set. That clubmaker can guide you with a technical fitting session.
Thanks, and Happy New Year.
Blades are the real deal. I am a 17 year old high school player who recently just switched over to blades. The distance control is much easier with blades compared to cavity backs which were extremely sporadic even when hit dead center. I have dropped my handicap from a 6 to a 3 in the past 6 months. Thanks to your eye opening article about the quality of blades.
I'm glad we could help, and I'd love for you to keep us posted on your progress. I'll bet your golf coach is pleased!!!
Joe Myer says:
I have to concur with your article. I had been playing with perhaps the ultimate in forgiving clubs Macgregor V-foil M455 which are almost hybrid like. Went on vacation and played with a rental set of Nicklaus N-1 "Bear" muscle back irons. These were a revelation, after a couple of range baskets, went out and shot a 78. This from someone who is usually happy breaking 90. The control and shotmaking ability made me feel like a real player. I later found an identiical set on ebay for $30 bucks (!) and have definitely shaved strokes off my average. Terry, do you know anything about these sticks? They are bladelike but have something of a bar at the rear that is progressively lower in the irons. The shafts say "crankshaft."
Doug H says:
Very interesting Terry. As a mid-high handicapper, I love the idea of going to blades because I really prefer the look at address and feel on good shots of blades. That said, I have used cbs believing my more frequent off-centre shots need more help than my pure ones. My worry is so many comments here are anecdotal (I suspect people with successful results would be relatively more vocal). When was the last time you were able to do scientific testing on the Iron-Byron? Hasn't club manufacturing consistency and quality improved significantly in the past ten to fifteen years (as well as shafts). Have you been able to perform tests or find anything scientific comparing cavity backs and blades made by top manufacturers in the last 2-3 years?
I have suspected this for a long time. I have played only cb's since I started playing some twenty years ago. I took some years off because I never seemed to get any better, but have recently been bitten by the bug again. I bought some new clubs last year. In the process of buying, no one recommended "players" irons. In fact when I approached the hallowed, for single digit handicap only clubs, I was strongly discouraged. My game was not suited for such a club. The bias and ego or maybe just plain ignorance of others misinformation kept me in the dark. I finally demoed a set of mp 32's. WOW! What a difference. A lowly high handicapper can actually hit the unhittable. A true "game improvement" iron. Don't continue to waste your time and money on cb's because somebody keeps telling you that you don't have the skills to play blades. If you don't play them, you will never aquire the skills. I'm a little bitter about listening to all the low handicap blowhards out there for so long. My bad. Golf is exciting again. Thanks for a great topic.
Hey Doug H, my handicap is in the 18-23 range and I've gone back to playing the blades I originally started with about a year and a half ago when I started really playing golf. They are Hogan PC's from the mid-80's. I actually get a lot of harassment at our club because people are continually telling me that I'm not good enough to be playing blades. But all I know is I hit them more accurately when I do hit them well than I ever have with cavity backs. The distance is much more consistent as well as the piercing trajectory right at the target when I hit them well. Since I've started playing them again, everybody at my club says my swing looks better, yet they don't believe there is any correlation. I'd recommend picking up some on eBay cheap and seeing if you like them at all. Then you can get some of the better new blades that are being made these days if you like the feel. Unlike other people here, I can't say my handicap has gone down much, because my biggest problem is keeping it in play with the driver and woods. Good luck in your quest.
Guys, I have been quiet on this subject, as I don't know that I have a lot more to add that all of you aren't taking care of. The jury is in -- this dialog has been going on for almost a year, and the responses have been overwhelmingly in favor of giving blades a try. Most will be surprised. Thanks for all your input and assistance to other golfers that are asking the question -- "Am I good enough for blades?" The answer is a resounding YES!!!
Scott Cotter says:
My first set of clubs were a second-hand set of blades. While I am not and may never be a "great player", I still completely love the look and feel of blades. As I am pondering purchasing a new set of iron everybody keeps on trying to steer me towards cavity backs or muscle backs. Who decided that only low handicappers have the wherewithall to hit blades. My next set of clubs (and the set after that, etc.) will be blades.
I think that John Richardson (post 6) makes a very good and relevant point. When you hit an improvement club you think that it is easy to hit and consequently tend to chase it abit harder. For most mid handicappers the biggest error they make (and I include myself) is trying to hit too hard. A blade forces you to think about getting the club back to the ball sqaure and on target, to do that you tend to take abit of the shot and hit it clean.
I have only been playing for 15 months. Started with some hand me downs (knock off ping zings) and recently bought a set of adams a3 0s irons/hybrids. I feel like the clubs really help me get the ball near the green, but I always use my mizuno forged wedge when I get close. I hit it pretty good, so I bought a mp-33 6 iron on ebay for $10. I had bought the club to practice with.... Reading this article makes me feel like I may end up liking it more than I thought
Alex Winnett says:
I have played golf off and on for years but not seriously. The last seven months I have been serious about it. Six months ago I bought a set of super game improvement irons. I thought I was playing well with them. Until one day a good friend that is an accomplished player said with my swing I should be playing blades. I thought he was crazy. However he said that until I play with blades I would never know the feeling of a true golf shot. I gave it some thought and decided to switch to a set of Mizuno MP-67 Irons. He was absolutely right when I hit the sweet spot with them I do not even have to look up I know the results. My theory on this subject now is that cavity backs give you a false sense of security. Because a miss hit that still goes the same distance usually means big trouble around the greens. With a blade a miss hit usually comes up short which is still in the fairway or the approach rather than the bunker or lake beside the green. Blades also encouraged me to work on my swing a little more because they do not lie to you when you are having problems making good square contact. I will never switch back.
Great article! I've been playing the game for 10 years. I play to a 15. I have a scratch short game and a 25 handi tee game, unless I use a 3 wood or driver.
I started with a set of Tommy 845's and switched to Mizuno MP-29's the next year. I am an impeccable ball striker and have worn out the sweet spot on my clubs. My iron play is my strength and I stroke my 2 iron very well from nice lies of course. People question my use of blades given my index but shut up quickly when they see me hit them.
I have another revelation that applies to my game that I am confident about. I cannot hit a club that is big and bulky and my hand eye coordination dramatically improves when the instrument at the end of my hands is smaller. I've tried and immediately returned 3 sets of cavity backs over the years and the same thing goes for large headed drivers. Just as golf is a game of counterintuitives (do the opposite as you think to get the intended result), this applies to my club selection.
I put tape of the face of the huge drivers and miss the sweet spot; I put tape on the head of smaller drivers and never miss. I think the larger the club the more area to miss and the smaller the club the more likely contact will be on the sweet spot and backed by the mass of the club.
Nelson Sison says:
stumbled on this thread and read argument that blades don't make you the better player; it's the practice involved. Well I disagree and I have been told that in golf: "practice does not make perfect, practice makes permanent!" Having that thought in mind I ask: "If you don't know what's broke then how can you fix it?" Cavity backs, esp. the oversized ones mask every fault you have from your swing, address, ball - striking and ball position etc that it isn't even funny. Again I ask those who don't believe..."If you don't know what's broke, how can you fix it?" Hint: The answer lies somewhere with the blades!! Get em if your serious about improving. Get cavity backs if you wanna move the ball along so you can hang out with your friends on the golf course.
Doug H says:
Okay everyone - let's not get carried away. If I'm not mistaken, there are a lot of top tour players now who do not use pure blades. I believe the final group at the Masters and eventual Champion both used a form of cavity back. Same with Rocco - remember him? He almost won the US Open using big ol' CBs. They can't all be in it only for the sponsorship money (in fact, I believe Snedeker does not even use his own sponsor's clubs but another company's cavity-backs (Bridgestone sponsor and used Taylor Made r7s)). Before we all jump on the "CBs are evil" bandwagon, I think we should acknowledge a couple of things: (a) top pros are using CBs successfully and keep in mind these are people that practice more than anyone else (ie; the lack of feedback does not appear to be hurting the best players in the world); and (b) the entire impetus to this thread was that CBs are not as consistent - but that was from a test Mr. Koehler did for clubs that were likely made more than 15 years ago - surely the technology for consistency of such CBs has improved. I find it hard to believe the engineers at a club manufacturing company would see those results and then proceed to do nothing about it. No one here has actually shown any evidence of what that same test would look like like for modern CBs made in the last several years. I suspect they are greatly improved based on the increased use by PGA pros and frequency in bags at the top of the leaderboard. Don't misunderstand my motivation here - personally, I am a mid-high handicapper (index ~12) and a big fan of and recent convert to blades. In fact, I just purchased a set of used MP-32s and love hitting them (certainly more than my Taylor Made OS2s!). My thought is that perhaps a person's choice of blades vs. CBs is not as black and white as everyone on this thread suggests. It is more likely that a player's ultimate success may depend on their personality and how they learn and the level of tolerances and subtlety in relation to muscle memory for each person. What is optimal feedback will be different for different people. Either way, I suspect the increased use of CBs by winning PGA pros is evidence that CBs may be much better than originally suggested in this thread. It looks like at least 3 of the top ten ranked players in the world use a form of CB: Ogilvy, Cink, Stricker (Garcia and Rose only for long irons) ... and maybe even 5 if you count Mickelson and Els depending on how you characterize those Callaways Tour irons. I added this because I thought this thread needed a bit of objectivity. All this said, I will continue to play with my newly acquired blades and having more fun than ever with them. But that's just me.
Doug, thanks for the input. As you can see, I wrote this post over a year ago, and it still generates lots of feedback and dialog -- and we like that here. Your comments are right on target in many ways. Some tour players are using more CB like irons, and manufacturers have made lots of progress with blade designs to make them easier to hit without giving up the tack-driving accuracy blades are noted for. What I suggested, and many others have discovered, is that "blades" are not just for the very best ball strikers, and cavity backs are not the panacea that the manufacturers might like us to believe. I want golfers to experiment and challenge conventional beliefs. The posts we've gotten here indicate that they have, and many were pleasantly surprised.
Let's keep up the experimenting, golfers.
Very interesting forum indeed...
My situation is the following: I play titlesit 735 that I like but found out after a fitting session that the shaft was not stiff enough fir my swing speed (which might explain some of the mistakes I make during rounds). So I decided to look for a new set.
2 problems: 1/I don't live in the US and demo clubs are very limited in numbers in Europe and 2/I am 6"5' tall and all demo clubs are standard size
3rd problem now is that not all manufacturers will "build" clubs 1.5" longer like I require.
My first choice was Titleist ZBs but they are only available with +1"(could have a club maker lengthen them for me...). They can do the AP2s for me but I am not that enthusiastic about them...
I checked Mizuno MP-57 and MP-67 that I could get in the right length.
Not a big fan of MP-57 at first look but MP-67 are gorgeous!!! And I couldn't believe how good it was to hit them when I tried them out at a a shop (in a net only for the momment though, not outside!). The feedback was the best I have ever felt with any club (which was too short for me incidentally!!).
So now why not consider the Titleist ZMs??
I am a 5-6 handicapper and know there is no problem for me to hit blades for 6-P... 3,4 and maybe 5 irons are the reason why I'm still not sure. Will I be able to hit them well?? All demo clubs we have here are 6 irons so I cant' really try the longer irons...
Any suggestion on these 4 series:MP-57,MP-67,ZB and ZM?
Any recommendations regrarding my "problem"?
Lucky you golfers in the US, you can try whatever you want, whenever and wherever!!!
Thanks in advance for your help
I appreciate the restricted selection you have outside the U.S., but might I suggest a trip to a good independent clubmaker? I am quite concerned about your assesment that you need clubs 1-1/2" longer than standard because of your height. That is a trend in golf clubs that just doesn't make sense to me, and you won't find that variation on the professional tours, where there are a lot of larger players nowdays. Even tall guys like Ernie Els, Bob Tway and others only play their clubs 1/2" or so over "standard". This game is hard enough without making the equipment more cumbersome. Look at it this way.
The main reason an 8-iron is easier to hit straight than a 5 is that it is 1-1/2" shorter! It doesn't have to do with loft much at all. If you make your irons longer by much, you've just decreased your control of that club. For example, I've always been an advocate of average golfers either tossing the driver altogether or playing one that is 43-44" long at the very most. If tour players can only hit half the fairways with 45" and longer drivers, what chances do we have?
The simple fact is that the closer you are to "your work", the better ballstriking consistency you are going to have. This is a difficult game for larger players, because there are many more places to "put it" than us of more compact build. It's a simple fact that you, at 6'5" cannot copy my posture at 5'7". You have to flex more in the knees, put more tilt in your spine and allow your arms to hang naturally to get into position to make a good golf swing. Watch the tour players and notice the different posture of the tall players from the smaller ones. Compare Ernie Els setup to David Toms, for example. They are not the same.
The simple fact is, Cedric, this is an easier game for us smaller guys, but don't aggravage that disadvantage by playing clubs that are excessively long.
That's my .02 anyway.
That measure was actually done by a Pro during a proper fitting session. That's what I've also played in the last 3 years and like it that way. Played +1" before that and that extra .5" made a lot of difference.
I've heard indeed that big dudes like Els don't lengthen their shaft that much. I was also told that my arms are proportionnaly short!!! Maybe the reason for this 1.5"...
Any opinion on MP-67 and ZMs??
Mike McEvoy says:
I've followed this post with interest for more than a year. My first post to this topic was 04.16.07 at 8:23 am. Most of the time, I have found your posts to be educated and insightful, but I am simply flabbergasted at your last post.
"The main reason an 8-iron is easier to hit straight than a 5 is that it is 1-1/2GÇ¦ shorter! It doesnGÇÖt have to do with loft much at all."
Do you really stand by that? That's an absolutely ludicrous statement. I will admit that a shorter club makes for more control (8 iron vs. 5 iron), but the loft also plays a HUGE role in the results, as well.
For instance, try bending a 2 iron shot. I bet you can. I bet you can bend it right or left. Not very difficult, is it? Now, try bending a 60 degree lob wedge shot. Unless you are absolutely crushing the ball, you probably can get much more than a mild draw or fade, even if the ball will spin right or left on the green after it hits. Why is this? Because the LOFT of the 60 degree lob wedge OVERRIDES the potential sidespin from an inaccurate strike. You simply cannot exert a very large amount of sidespin with a highly lofted club. The 2 iron, on the other hand, doesn't have an inordinate amount of backspin, so the club has the ability to put more sidespin on the ball.
Sure, a shorter club gives you a better chance to hit the ball flush and have an initial launch direction that is closer to your target, but club length has NOTHING to do with the spin put on a ball, which (plus wind) is what creates the right/left movement of the shot.
This is why most golf instructors will recommend a high handicapper to tee off with a 3 wood instead of driver. Yes, the length adds control, but the higher loft takes a lot of the bend out of a bad shot.
One other point, though, is that a club which is too short requires a swing that is unnatural and uncomfortable, creating poor results.
To illustrate this in an extreme manner, I have played around with my son's clubs. He's 4. His clubs are tiny. There is no way in h*** I can hit any sort of a consistent shot with his clubs. Everyone would have guessed that intuitively.
My second example, though, is a little bit less obvious, but no less true. I recently went used 3 wood shopping at my local Golfsmith. I tried out about 10 different clubs and finally settled on a Mizuno MP 001 3 wood. 15 degrees of loft, Stiff Mizuno Exsar shaft. The thing stroked smoothly, and it felt like you couldn't mishit the ball. Problem was, it was apparently made for a 5'1" golfer, because it was about the length of my +1" 6 iron.
I loved this thing for about a week, then I realized something was wrong. In the store, I wasn't hitting this club in amongst my other clubs. When I did that, I realized that I had to bend my knees a lot more than usual, and bend more at the hips to get low enough to hit this club. When I stood up to a more normal height, I would slice the crap out of the ball. This makes sense. So, unfortunately, yesterday, the Mizuno went back and I got a standard length Titleist 980F. By the way, I'm 6'2".
The moral of the story? Get fit and trust the measurements. There are standards for a reason, and if Cedric is +1.5", he's +1.5"
Cedric, maybe I can help you. Have you ever gone to Golfsmith's website? It's www.golfsmith.com. On the left hand side of their page, you'll see a list of shopping categories. Instead of going to "Golf Clubs", visit "Golf Clubs - Custom Fit". There, you will find a selection of clubs available to be custom-made. Most of the ones I remember looking at allowed for +1.5", but it'll be really easy for you to find out. Another bonus, is that this system can sort-of allow you to "demo" clubs, because a lot of the manufacturers will allow you to custom order 1 club (and it can be anything from a 2 or 3 iron to the Pitching Wedge). I built my set of MP-60's piecemeal through this system.
Also, www.gigagolf.com is a pretty good site for clone clubs. You can also get clubs custom made, and you can also buy 1 at a time from them. Their selection is limited, but you could find a knock off for a particular club you're interested in and try one of theirs to see whether you want to invest in the full set of the name brand clubs.
Hope this helps!!!
That's the kind of in-depth responses I like to see here. There are many opinions on club length, and you make some very good points. As for the statment that length is a determinate factor in consistency, you are right about the spin aspect, but I was referring to the ability to control the club and make solid contact as well as to keep the club on path. My experience with observing most golfers is that they don't sidespin the ball all that much, but the vast majority of poor shots are from inconsistent contact and/or swing path, i.e. pushes and pulls rather than hooks and slices.
I would agree that clubs that are fitted are generally much better, but I also look to the PGA Tour as a "proving ground" for what we can effectively do to a golf club without compromising its qualities. One anecdote that sticks in my mind is an interview with Ernie Els about ten years ago, when the U.S. Open was at Congressional. Els said he had shortened his irons 1/4" so that he would be more accurate to the testing Congressional greens, and to his surprise he also picked up about a half club in distance! My point is that the best players in the world -- from the shortest to tallest -- play their irons pretty close to the same specifications. My theory (and it's just that) is that the "geometry" of golf clubs is not as flexible as we might like to believe. We have seen the shaft length/loft matrix change somewhat over the years, but no one on tour is playing irons very far off the "norm" . . . there's got to be a reason for that. Jeff Sluman's and Ernie Els' irons are not that far apart in specification . . . why? Because that particular length/loft/lie geometry allows the production of certain flight patterns in my opinion. Some swings are more upright, and some flatter, for sure, but no one is proving that excellent golf can be played with clubs that are too far off the center in specifications.
My point is that if you are fitted and it works, go for it. But fitters vary in their skill and experience -- and few are also swing experts. A second and even third opinion is valuable. And realize that swing ills cannot be fixed with fitting. In fact, fitting can trap you in an improper swing path so that immediately you'll see improvement, but you will not have the ability to improve your swing to a more sound technique if the clubs are "in the way". (If that's a goal of yours -- to some it isn't.)
What I love about writing this blog is that we get to share our ideas and experiences, and I encourage this kind of dialog.
Thanks, Mike, for the input.
Interesting website this www.golfsmith.com
Now I just hqve to figure how to fill in the blanks in terms of measurements as I only know metric measures (apart from my size) but with the help of any online converter, that won't be a problem.
This +1.5" has been measured twice by 2 different club fitters and I feel confortable with my actual clubs that are +1.5"...
So length is not really where my hesitations stand.
I know the swingweight of my clubs will at best be D6 but at 6'5" and 200 lbs, that shouldn't be a problem...
My actual thoughts are Mizuno vs. Titleist, MP-67 vs. ZM/ZB (have heard that Mizuno's forged is the best in terms of quality, but then how come is Luke Donald the only top Pro in contract with Mizuno if the quality is so great?)
Second hesitation is Dynamic Gold Super Lite S300 vs. Rifle Project X 6.0...
Lots of question to be answered and few possibilities to try out those clubs in Europe in the right length.
As you say, always possible to order one club to try out but I'm not sure those 2 brands will allow it. Titleist here are particularly arduous to deal with....
Be cautious when comparing the Dynamic Gold Super Lite S300 and Rifle Project X 6.0. Those are VERY different shafts -- apples and oranges. Make sure you hit several irons with each -- long, mid and short -- before you make the decision of which is better.
Yes I know...
I have to decide which shaft weight I'll go for...
I've tried the Dynamic Gold S300 (same pattern as SL, but heavier) and Rifle. SL was not available for demo.
"normal" dynamic gold will just be too heavy with +1.5"!!
The Chancellor says:
First off. This is the most thoughtful, well mannered exchange I've encountered online. Thanks.
I'm getting back into golf after a lengthy hiatus. I was, (emphasis on WAS) pretty good when I was younger. Not so much now in my 40's. I found a great set of white dot, Ping i2's, cheap, on ebay. Some mid-sized grips later, I'm off. Been playing them since the beginning of the season. I play at least twice a week, (9-holes), hit the range sometimes twice a week. And I've been slowly lowering my scores. (Mid 40's for 9). A few weeks back I hit some practice shots with my instructors Callaway X Forged 6 iron. I instantly understood the terms, "butter" and, "click". As I understand, the feel is mostly due to the forged steel, vs. a cast club. If I am to make the switch... I'm interested in hearing opinions on what clubs to try. Keeping in mind of course, my limited budget. (My wife is extremely understanding of my addictions to motorcycles, and golf. I don't wish to find out just how much understanding she's willing to exercise). Thanks in advance.
Welcome back to the game, Chancellor. And have fun experimenting. As for the difference in feel, it's probably more due to the form of the head and the metal used, not the forged/cast difference. That is one of the most long-lived discussions in the game, and we like it here. But casting itself doesn't make a club harder. After all, every stick of butter in the store is cast!
A few months back, I posted a similar question and received some very good advice from Terry regarding some budget friendly forged iron options. I bought some new graphite shafted KZG forged CB's off ebay. They deliver the buttery feel your talking about and it is quite intoxicating. Several options from MB, CB and a mixture of both are available in the KZG line. They even offer a mid handicapper option that are a blade type design but a bit larger, although not oversized. I am a 15 handicap. Aside from a bit of aprehension about being in a bit over my head, I bought the low profile forged CB's only because they were new, available and for a 163 smacks including shipping and I figured what the hay. They took a bit of getting used to but I decided to apply the logic suggested in one of these blogs that forged "players" clubs are not as unforgiving as their rep. and even if they are, they will in essence, force you to concentrate more, provide better feedback and ultimately improve your game. Quite frankly, I havent seen a drop or rise in my scores, primarily because of a substandard short game and my schedule only allowing for once a week play. However, for the first time I am able to "work" the ball (mostly on purpose) and I can tell you this, once you start using a forged players iron, game improvement irons will look at address and feel like pancake turners because of their size and bulkiness. Combine that with that feel when you hit it sweet and you will likely not want to go back. I am sure there are other budget friendly options out there, to include some of the used "name" brands but I guess my advice would be, visit kzg.com order one of their irons or puruse ebay, be patient and if you don't get too much money tied up in the process, you will be ahead of the game in terms of what type might suit you. Hope this helps...and good luck.
I have finally ordered a set of MP-67 with a Project X 6.0 shaft.
With my specs, it's not like I'll ever find them on ebay!!!
6 iron will be 39" and I've also reduced the loft of the clubs of 1-¦ to match the lofts I had in my former set...
Will send a new post when I get them!
Mike McEvoy says:
I've toyed with and played a lot of blade irons in the past year and a half. I'd like to hope that I have at least some knowledge to share, so here goes:
Here's a list of all the blades I've tried:
1970's Ben Hogan set
1970's Wilson Staff set
1970's MacGregor set
2007 Snake Eyes 600B set
Early 2000's Mizuno MP-14
Mid 2000's Mizuno MP-33
Mid 2000's Mizuno MP-32
2008 Mizuno MP-60
2008 Mizuno MP-67
My current set is a 2003 TaylorMade TP Pro Combo Set, that has muscleback blades from 7 iron thru 48 degree wedge and slight cavity back irons in the 3 iron thru 6 iron.
To be as honest as I can be, none of the modern sets differ very much in terms of overall feel or performance. Sure, one set will probably fit your eye a little bit better, but any of the ones I've tried have all performed well when struck well, and I've never yet met a golf club that could coax a good ball flight out of a bad swing (even the hybrids I've tried can't do that!).
Why have I gone through so many clubs? I'm a golf gearhead, and I love trying new stuff. I think though, that I've finally settled down with this set. They're beautiful and I absolutely love them. Plus, they're used, so I'm not nearly so mental about dinging or scratching them.
Anyway, what's the point? The point is that the quality of all blades made within the last 5 to 8 years is such that you can find a (used) set on eBay that you like the look of and get them. If they don't fit quite right, or if you don't like them perfectly, sell them back (usually at no noticeable loss of money) and get another set. That way, you can try as much as you want, all at a reasonable price.
By the way, Terry, to get back to the discussion above, I agree with your explanation. Shorter clubs are easier to control (say, 9 iron vs. 3 iron) because of simple physics. There are some problems, though, when you get too short for a particular club vs. your height. See my 3 wood example above. Also, I recently played golf with a guy who was about 6'6 and played standard length clubs. It was painful to watch how far he had to bend over at address to swing a 9 iron. And I'm not sure the short shaft helped him control that club well, because his posture was so out of whack it was amazing he could make contact at all!
My only point above was that comfort in the swing is also a vital component. Plus, it's so easy today to custom fit a set of clubs, why not take advantage of it?
Mike McEvoy says:
Sorry, last post was meant for Chancellor, not Cedric. My bad!
The Chancellor says:
Thanks for the input. I agree. To me, newer forged clubs all have that "feel" at impact. So I suppose, it comes down to personal preference and fitting. Fitting is key. The same suit, off the rack will never fit five different guys the same, (or any of them). Stock lie angle, shaft flex and length, and grip size are a good place to start. But getting clubs dialed in can't be skipped.
As for cast butter. I found it's not very forgiving to my waste-line. And I've never been able to putt with it. At least not on hot days.
The Chancellor says:
Am I insane to consider Mizuno's MP33's? I found 3-PW, stock, stiff shafts, asking $275. While I haven't seen them, they are advertised as rarely used, and look pretty clean in the photo's? I'll need to have the lie adjusted, mid-size grips, and shafts lengthened. That should run around $170. More to the point... To much blade for the leap from Ping i2's?
Thanks again for the insightful discussion,
You are not insane at all. But realize that the MP33 is not quite as forgiving as the more contemporary blades that are out there. But it is one heckuva fine pure blade design. And not as hard to hit as one might imagine.
The Chancellor says:
Thanks to everyone for all the input. I found a set of Mp-33's, on Craiglist, 2 degrees up, 1/2 inch longer, new midsize grips. All things I would have done right away. Used at a range once. Only 3 clubs ever hit. Basically new. $250. The seller was a young lawyer, who realized he has no time to play. Enough of a deal to take the chance that they may be too much blade for me. I can always retreat to my Ping's if I hit a bad streak.
Wish me luck. I can't wait to see if a draw will go where I intend it to.
Just spent the past 30 mins reading all the posts! - Great advice, but a little confusing given the vast amount of it!
My question is a pretty simple one. i have been playing for about 15 years to a reasonable standard. Handicap 10/12. On my good days I'm good and on my bad days I'm still ok. I am reasonably accurate with my irons. I have been playing with Mizuno T-Zoids oversized heads for 10 years and feel that I should be looking to change to blades or maybe blade 'types'.
I'm considering the Ping S58, Mizuno MP57, Mizuno MP60 or the Nike csi. Can anyone give me an idiots guide as to the differences between them. Also is the shaft more important than the head?
Given that you are looking at top quality heads, and all of them will serve you fine, the shaft needs special attention. As Mr. Hogan always said, " a club is 90% shaft and 10% how it goes through the dirt." Of course, that was when there was insignificant difference in one company's irons to anothers. But the point is clear -- the shaft is the "engine" of the golf club, and the best heads in the world will be ruined by shafts that are not right for you or mismatched in flex. Give attention there. Again, I highly recommend any serious golfer have a personal clubmaker/fitter to turn to for technical guidance.
Thanks for the prompt response! Would you feel that a trip to my local golf shop would be ok or should I jump in and make a decision on Mizuno and visit their factory for a fitting?
The Chancellor says:
This is just my 2 cents on the high-handicapper-using-blades issue. For the first time, I took my mp-33's to the range today, and never had a better session. After dropping my wedge shots into the same target again and again, I got cocky and attempted drawing and fading with everything from the 3 to the 6 iron. While I have executed the errant draw and fade in the past. I have never hit the same trajectory over and over. A fade was more consistent than the draw, but I've NEVER been able to hit more than one draw consecutively. Yes. I was smiling.
Again. This is only my 2 cents. (Please don't think I'm bragging. I really am a high handicapper). But when driving home, I was considering all the times I was told forged clubs were not for a higher handicapper. Then I realized who always preached this. The salespeople I was potentially buying from. As the saying goes. The worst person to get advice from, is the person you're buying from. I certainly don't believe there is some golf equipment conspiracy. But if the the golf world in general repeats the same mantra enough times, it becomes believable.
Personally, I don't believe my experience today is unique to me. And the exchange of posts here gave me the extra push to take a chance on a set of blades. So I'm just sharing here. But if you are hankering to try some blades, I am willing to speak contrary to the script that salespeople are programed to speak.
Again. Thanks to everyone here who's post I've read and enjoyed. I hope I've added to the dialog in a constructive manner.
After reading the advice from Terry and reading the posts from Chancellor I went for my fitting today at Nevada Bob's in Wilmslow Cheshire, UK. I was pretty much set on getting the Mizuno MP57 , but was pursuaded to try the MP 60, Ping S58, Taylor Made and the Calaway X Forged. I loved the look of the MP60 behind the ball and felt that I hit it OK, The Ping felt a bit harsh and the launch angle was way too high. I hit the Calaway X Forged and it also felt good, but if I'm honest I did prefer the look and the feel of the MP60.
So you might think that I bought them. However, the very knowledgeable sales guy then showed me the computer stats, and I was surprised to see that despite what my brain had told me (i.e. that I was hitting the MP60's the best, it turned out that the Callaway X Forged was producing the longest shots, with the best launch angle (22 degrees with a 6 iron) The shaft was a projectX 6.0.
My swing speed was around the 87mph mark.
So....................I reluctantly accepted what the salesguy and the computer was telling me and bought the Callaway's!
I notice that Chancellor also hit the Callaways and was impressed!
I was measured for lie and height etc. They recommended that I go for the ProjectX 5.0 instead of the 6.0 as they said it should give me a bit more distance.
I still really feel that I should have bought the Mizuno's as I'm a really big fan and they are renown as the leading manufacturers of forged clubs. But I went with the stats! Had the guy not given me the Callaways to hit I would never have considered them as I have never liked their products! I guess i will soon find out if I made the right decision!
If I could ask a bit of advice here - I hit the test 6 iron consistently between 148 - 155 with the ProjectX 6.0 shaft. The recommended the 5.0 shaft to give me a bit more distance as I was concerened at the loss of distance the the forged clubs were giving me (I normally hit my cavity back 7 iron 155)
I would be really grateful if you guys could give me the benefit of your advice - Have I done the right thing in terms of club and do you think that the shaft change is sensible?
Mike McEvoy says:
I've tried the X-Forged also, and I really liked them. I tend to avoid most Callaway clubs, both because I'm not a fan of Phil (stupid reason, I know) and because I don't tend to hit them well, but the X-Forged are a sweet set. If you liked the way they felt (which apparently you did) and their computer specs were the best, I'd forget about it and deal with owning a really sweet set of clubs.
By the way, about going with 5.0 vs. 6.0, I've never really felt like shaft flex makes that much of a difference. For me, it's always been more about the shaft feel, not the flex.
By the way, who cares about a particular distance with a particular club, as long as it's consistent and you can hit the target better?
As far as I'm concerned, hitting the hole from 150 with a 6 iron is better than being 30 feet long (or short, or wide) from 150 with a 7 iron.
The Chancellor says:
I agree with Mike McEvoy. For me, it doesn't really matter how the lengths of my shot are compared to anyone shots. As long as I know MY bag, and can choose a club to do the job I'm faced with. Today, I took my mp33's to a short 9 hole course, and shot a 4 over. The yardages I noted from the range the day before, held up. It doesn't matter what you need from 140, as long as the club/shot delivers. Today, the distances were predictably executed. I'm not saying I was a surgeon. But I got the job done with a confidence I've never had with my Ping i2's.
Even my wife noticed that my shots were more accurate today. While I totally realize that has absolutely no bearing on anything. I'm going with it, because for tonight, I'm the best golfer in my house.
Fred, Enjoy your investment. Please let us know how your next rounds go.
Regarding shaft flex, 87 mph is a 6.0 if you look at this
I was fitted for a 6.5 but ended up ordering a 6.0, as I was a little concerned it could be too stiff by the end of a round. However, everyone told me that difference between 6.0 and 6.5 was barely noticeable.
Obviously, flex makes a difference (don't quite agree on that matter with what has been written above), try to hit a senior or lady flex and you'll see if it's only about feel!!
I am however surprised with your launch angle recommenadtion manclawyer. 22 degrees with a 6 iron seems like a lot!!! My actual set gives me 19-20 degreens and balls do balloon way too much since my swing has improved so much. Which is the reason why I decided to change my set... The actual recommendation from the guy who did my fitting was around 15 degrees... And he has done fittings for Stenson and others...
Did you try the MP-67? I should get them next week, getting excited!
Mike McEvoy says:
Actually, I have played with a bunch of different flexes. In fact, my current set has a driver with a Stiff flex and a 7 wood (no 3 or 5) with a Senior flex. Now, I'm not saying there's NO difference between the 2 flexes, but my point is that I am able to comfortably execute with both clubs. With the 7 wood, I use a much smoother swing, but I am able to work both clubs left and right (somewhat consistently :) ).
I also used to play a driver I made for my dad that he didn't want. It had a senior flex, too. I hit it well, too.
One driver shaft I tried that was Stiff felt like swinging a 2"x4". I replaced it with a regular flex and all was well again.
My point is to say that it's possible to have good success with a flex that isn't the "right" flex for your swing speed. This is, in my humble opinion, much less important than lie angle and club length.
Just my 2 cents.
This is great stuff, guys. Allow me to add a few comments. Regarding testing and fitting in the store, that's only a start. The clubs need to be taken to the range and course to find out if they are really right. And shafts are not always what they are marked. Be careful there.
As for matching shafts in the set, you would not believe the difference it will make in your game if you do not have to change your swing from club to club. I recently wrote about matching my driver to lob wedge exactly, all using the UST ProForce V2 product. The improvement to consistency was quite noticeable.
Regarding the "loss of distance" with the blades, it is only due to loft changes in cavity backs. The cavity back 7 iron is probably close to the same loft and length as the blade 6, so of course you'd hit them about the same distance.
Thanks for chiming in, guys, and for helping each other out. That's what this blog is all about.
Got my MP-67 a few days ago.
Only thing I can say so far is that they are not a problem at all to play with! Not even the 3 iron! And great shots are really awesome...
No, the biggest issue for me will be to get used to the new shaft (project X) which is completely different from the Dynamic Gold Lite that I had on my previous set. Once this is done (a matter of weeks I guess), I will be a better golfer.
One thing to finish: don't be afraid of blades!!
This article rocked my golf world! Thx Terry!
I just picked up some used Wilson staff Fi5 Forged irons and they blew me away. I took 9 holes to get used to the distance, after that I hit the most green in my life. I was using oversized cavity back before, so the difference was considerable. No more ballooning irons and 'rockets' out of the rough.
The Fi5 are a progressive set,
muscle back: pw,9,8
cavity back: 7,6,5
sole weighted: 4,3
I haven't hit any new blades, but I find the accuracy with the mid cavity's it great, and the 3 and 4 aren't too hard to hit and quite it bit more forgiving than grandpa's 2-iron.
You may remember me from a couple of weeks ago - I have been playing with Mizuno T-Zoids oversozed cavity backs for 15 years and got down to 8 handicap. Decided that a new set of forged clubs would get me even lower and improve my game so went to be fitted for a set and tried various makes, Mizuno MP60's, Ping S58's, Nike CC's etc. The pro said the Callaway X Forged were the ones for me, so I ordered them and eagerly awaited the delivery. They were 2 degrees flat as opposed to my old Mizuno's which are 1 degree flat.
To cut a long story short, I am ready to jump off a bridge (taking my Callaways with me). Whereas with my old clubs I would be thinking 'how close to the pin can I get this from 150 yards out, now I'm thinking 'how near to the green can I get! I have completely lost my confidence in my ability to hit shots with irons. My driver is still good thank God, but I'm sha**ing, even my 9 irons, and seem to have lost about 2 clubs in distance. I am also now drawing the ball and even hitting a straight pull shot whereas with my old clubs I was deadly accurate and hit shots as straight as an arrow. in fact I couldn't hit a draw even when I tried! I went round in 94 on Sunday where my average score is between 80 and 82. All this in 2 weeks!
I went to the pro who has suddenly altered my grip (he says it's much too strong to ever play consistent golf - but how did I get to 8 then playing with cavity backs??) He has also told me that I need to move my weight back in the backswing - a slight sway away from the ball, before driving the hip laterally towards the target on the downswing.
Should I go back to my old clubs and old swing and live with never getting better than my 8 handicap, or is the pro right and should I continue to have lessons and wait for the light to go on?
Just one final question if I may guys - do you think that the slight difference in the lie (1 degree to 2 degrees) could be a factor in why I am now drawing/pulling my shots?
Please guys, help this poor struggler or I might be forced to give the game up and that would mean spending my Sundays at home with the wife. NOooooo!
Hi Terry; I love your threads. I have owned Tommy Amour 845, Callaway x14, and Wilson early 80GÇÖs blades. Funny the WilsonGÇÖs side by side with a Nike blade look very alike. I recently made an impulse buy of the new Hogan Apex FTX. The pw through 8 are muscle back pure blade while the 7 through 3 remain forged blade but introduce a progressive cavity. What do you think of the Hogan clubs? Are the muscle backs the higher quality and modern design you speak of and what about that transition to cavity?
First, to Manclawyer, don't jump off a cliff yet!!
You have changed an awful lot of things all at once, so it's hard to pinpoint the cause of your problems, but let's start with the irons. A difference of 1* shouldn't make that much difference to totally affect your shot pattern and impact. I'd suggest your first step is to take both the Mizunos and new Callaways to a qualified independent clubmaker to have them measured and compared -- lie, length, shaft frequency, etc. -- to find out the real differences. That is a must. And i'll bet you will find enlightening information there.
Then, with regard to the instruction, take it in small doses. Not seeing your swing or grip, I certainly would not question your pro, but you might be overdoing it a bit. If you are swaying too much, and moving too much laterally in the forward swing, you cannot stay centered over the ball and therefore your contact will suffer greatly. Try "undoing" a little of what you think the pro said, and see if that doesn't help. But first, PLEASE get those clubs measured and compared.
I grew up a Hogan fan and complete believer, and spent time there as the Director of Marketing. But the company has been through so many changes of ownership and direction the past ten years, I don't really recognize it anymore, to be honest. I would not pass judgement on the Apex FTX, because I am not familiar with it, but I'll be the irons are fine. My concern would be the consistency of the shafts and would highly recommend a trip to an independent clubmaker/fitter to have them checked. I continue to talk about this to all of you, but it is SO IMPORTANT. Unless you know for sure what is in your bag, you will not play your best golf, and the only way to know that is to have a good clubmaker/fitter on your team. Besides, it's really fun to see what all goes into a golf club.
Thanks Terry, you are probably right in that I am trying too hard to put everything that the pro mentioned into action all at once.
I will take your advice and maybe tone down the lateral movement and experiment with what works for me.
I'll let you know how I get on!
Thanks again Terry - How about the Nike blades, where do they stand?
Pat, I don't typically comment on any brands if I can help it. There are so many good irons out there, and so few that are not, it makes deciding tough. But no matter what brand you buy, I'm a huge fan of having a qualified professional clubmaker/fitter check them for you, preferably before you commit your money. The consistency and quality control from mass-produced clubs often leaves a lot to be desired.
Thank you, everyone.
I have been reading all the comments on this topic several times and without ever swinging a forged blade club, I suddenly felt the urge to try the effect as described by many. Everything I read here made perfect sense to me. So finally I ended up buying a set of irons that no sane person with my overlookable experience in golf would even consider. To be honest, I am a beginner. Period. I started golf 6 month ago and since then I have spent quite some time on the driving range, played as many rounds as my time schedule allowd me to and had about 30 pro lessons. Initially, to start off, I bought a set of Cobra S9 "SGI"-irons, as recommended, to help me through my learning phase, which I estimated to be about 2 years long. After reading all the interesting comments about blades vs. CBs, I could not resist a set of Titleist ZM 2008 forged irons, that was offered to me at a very intereseting price. This is supposed to be an extreme players iron for highly skilled golfers. Oddly, they are equipped with Aldila graphite shafts (!) and are about an inch shorter than my S9s. They must have been made on order for someone, that did not take them in the end. Maybe a skilled female golfer.
Today I tried them for the very first time and I must say, that I am truly amazed! I will not touch my Cobra S9 irons again after what I experienced today. Actually I cannot even look at those oversized clubheads any more after enjoying the clarity and simplicity of the slim and compact blade clubhead at adress. It was great. I never felt so much in control of a golf ball. Not even with my 60-¦ wedge. Normally, I would try to avoid my irons, if there is an alternative like a wood or a hybrid, that I could use in the situation, but with these forged irons, I cant wait for a situation that requires to play them. If you hit them nicely, it is such a satisfying experience and on mishits, mostly the damage is rather small, since you dont end up in the trees because of one bad swing.
Changing my irons to those forged blades has added a whole new dimension to my enjoyment of golf! I think there will be much more to come.
Thanks again for the precious advice.
Mike McEvoy says:
Yeah, the look factor is HUGE for me. I can't stand seeing those toplines that need to go on a diet! Seriously, though, whenever I'm messing around with someone else's clubs, it's inevitable that their topline is so thick as to be distracting. I think this is the biggest issue for me. Yeah, the better performance on good hits and improved feedback are great, but not having to hit an ugly club makes me smile :). Welcome to the high handicap/good equipment club :). The dues are cheap here.
This is a great topic. I moved from Mizuno MX900's to MP-57's and, even though I'm a high handicapper, I haven't lost any distance and I have gained accuracy. Although it's against what seems to be conventional wisdom you don't have to have a single figure handicap to play with a club that is more blade-like. One of the really great things is that I feel that I can do things I couldn't previously, like get a soft fade when my natural shape is a draw.
By the way there's a great article on this subject on the link below:
A cavity back will have less-precise center hits because it hits the ball higher making it more susceptible to the wind.
It is a well known fact that blades are more accurate and less forgiving. That is why ONLY low handicappers should use them. I played cavity backs for a long time until I was consistent enough to play blades. Then, I made the switch. There is no reason for a 6 or 7 handicap to be playing with clubs that are going to punish them more for their mishits. A few more feet of accuracy no where near outweighs forgiveness for poor shots. If you walk off every distance and have a chart of the greens that spells out the distance from center to the pin location, then you should play blades. Otherwise, enjoy that toed 8 iron that ends up on the right side of the green instead of 15 yards short in the hazard.
Question- is he referring to forged vs. cast clubs? Cause there are not much difference between a forged blade and a forged muscle back.
I'm very close to pulling the trigger on the Mizuno MP-52's... does anyone have any experience with them? Feedback, warnings, etc?
I just started playing the mp-52's and love them. Here is a review: www.oobgolf.com/content/reviews/1-2152-Mizuno_MP
I'm glad to see this topic still gets more comments than any I've ever written. To address Snyper, you are right, but only to a point. Read the comments from over a hundred high handicap players who found modern blades to be a boost to their scoring. To Sidewinder, the forged/cast point is moot -- it's about the material and where the mass is positioned, not how the head is formed. A stick of butter is cast and pretty darn soft, right? And tour players with Vokeys and Clevelands are all playing cast wedges.
All I'm gonna say . . . again . . . is if you are looking for a shot of "new" for your iron game, and are playing a thin-faced cavity back, borrow a set of modern blades with a shaft that remotely fits you and watch what happens. You're likely to be quite surprised.
Kent Ferris says:
I have been playing for a little over a year. I was improperly fitted with Big Bertha Callaways when I started. I have struggled with these clubs since day one. I started realizing it wasn't me when I travel I rent clubs and my game improves drastically. I am in the process of upgrading clugs and was looking at the x-22's. I recently tried the x-forged and absolutely loved them. I am a lefty so I have limited opportunities to try other irons. I mentioned my experience to the guy that I'm working with and he is strongly suggesting I not go with blades and stay with the x-22's. This is even before fitting me. I'm hoping my experience with the x-forges was not a fluke....i love how they look at address and do NOT miss the offset. I may have to find a different place to get fitted for an open opinion.
Marky Sparky says:
I finally have to join in here after following this article for a long long time. HereGÇÖs my scoop, IGÇÖm a 13 handicap whose been playing for 4 years and am totally working on my game and have fallen in love with golf. I started with Ping G2 irons, very forgiving which I needed at the beginning ;-(. After hearing Terry Koehler on golf smarter podcast ( smarterpodcasts.com/golfsmarter/golfsmarter.html June 3 2008) I was sold on his wedges, I ordered a full set of 48/52/56/60 and never looked back, they are amazing. I emailed Terry and thanked him for giving me the ability to finally spin the ball back on greens (a great feeling) etc and mentioned that his wedges are so gorgeous that now I hate hitting my ugly fat topline G2s and need to buy a set of blades GÇ£in jestGÇ¥. He sent me this link and I too shared his epiphany with him and many of you.
Marky Sparky says:
I went and hit a set of Mizuno blades and Tigers new victory red blades at the range and instantly fell in love with the sweet feeling of hitting a ball and not feeling it at all. I was amazed at how well I could hit them. I also became aware through the tape on the clubface that I had been hitting my long irons off the toe, my cavity backs never gave me the feedback I needed to correct this, now I have.
Marky Sparky says:
I just received my first blades, Mizuno MP 62's, IGÇÖm in love ;-). They are very easy for me to hit and my miss hits are just a little shorter, usually still in the fairway or first cut ready for my awesome wedges to come in to play.
I am very happy for the info on this blog, we are being duped by the manufactures sales pitch, you are good enough for blades. I also discovered shot making recently and my game has really improved. I am using the wet/cold winter up here in Vancouver to get ready for a very special summer in 09.
Thanks Terry, thanks guys, wish me well,
One poster just commented on going to x forged...as blades....they are a cavity back...so although forged in material vs cast...they are still a cavity back...albeit a more workable and less forgving desing...still a cavity back which the original author here...wedgeguy is saying you should consider breaking away from to try...unless i am wrong here?
I actually play callaway fusions and have considered the (in my opinon) beautiful x forged as my next set....but if i am reading the author right? If i want to experiment and take his advice...the x forged would not meet his criteria....something more like a mp60..with only a dimple of a cavity...with mass in center...would meet his suggestion?
am i right? I look forward to terry's reply...as i have read this thread with interest for about a yr now...and want in off season here in ontario...to buy a new set for experiment....
I thought I would throw in a little comment about what Wedge guy mentioned in his first post about the sweet spot being closer to the hosel on a blade.It has to do with The famous picture of Ben Hogan at Merion with his one iron. Hogan's one iron was lost or stolen. Years later a man found a Macgregor one iron at a junk shop and thought it might be Hogans since it said personal on it. He contacted Hogan through his company and sent it to Hogan to see if it was his. Hogan said it was because the sweet spot was worn just to the left of center, closer to the hosel!! That is where Hogan tried to hit his ball, not dead center, this was long before Iron Byron There is nothing like hitting it on the sweet spot, it seems when I miss them it is always on the toe, never on the left of center.
They are also beautiful to look at, I was playing with a friend in Palm Springs the other day who was Playing Mizunos mp33's, they look so nice at address, and beautiful in the bag too
Real Men Play Blades!
Sharkhark, regarding your switch to blades, the Callaway x forged is not a bad modern blade at all, but it does have a slightly lower center of mass than the Mizuno. I would suggest that you find someone with a set of each and see if you can't play a round with both to see which you like better. I'd bet the ball flight will be a bit higher with the Callaway, but you need to find that out for yourself.
teevons, My comment about the sweet spot being close to the hosel was about the older blades, with their long hosels. Modern blades from any company benefit from computer design and other technology, and the sweet spot is in the dead center of the face in most cases. Modern blades achieve this by moving some mass toward the toe,which also makes them much more forgiving than the older models.
Thanks wedge guy for the response, I collect and play blades, I have over 250 sets of blades and all of Hogans that his company made up untill 2006. I was referring to the older blades, thanks for bringing it to my attention so if some one buys a newer set they will aim for the center. It is also real sad to note that the Hogan company seems to be dead and buried, no new clubs in 2 years. Also when any new club reviews come out the clubs I grew up with and cherish, Wilson and Macgregor are no where to be seen.
The finest set of blades I have ever played is my set of Wilson Pro Staff (Tour blade) FG-17's. #'s 1-9,PW. They make a round of golf a distinct pleasure. They require skill to play, but that is what the game is all about. If you "setup properly" and swing "in plane" you make proper contact and receive great feel up those "stiff steel shafts' and hit a long and accurate shot. These clubs were new in 1978 (well maintained) and produce more consistent results than the 5 other sets of blades I play at different times, some of which are cavity backs. The 1 iron is a pleasure to work the ball with in cross winds and I can still play it out to a 240 yds ave. carry. What do you think of that? JWH purist
JWH, I think you are "the man". You know, this game can give us all kind of pleasure, and it's usually not "numerically gratifying", if you know what I mean. I occasionally take my old Reid Lockhart persimmon driver out and the feel is so . . . . well, it's just butter. And yes, it is a bit shorter than my Alpha, but that is more due to the shaft than anything. Still, there is a certain sweetness of that ball coming off the persimmon head.
Marc D says:
I just bought the blades Tiger used (@$100CDN) to win 3 US amateurs and his first Masters when he crushed the field with his Mizuno MP-14's (no not the actual set he used). He later signed a contract with Titleist on the condition they would be the same as these.
My Cobra CXI's with Dynlite Reg flex will probably be on sale mid summer once I've had a chance to play after the snow is gone in Milton/Burlington ON.
The best golf article I've read in a long time and keep coming back to read comments.
I've used a variety of clubs and only used the cavity back CXI's since I thought the only advantage of the blade was to work the ball left or right but am now convinced there's more to it. Thanks.
My handicap is about 15 with my weakness being a short 230 yard drive with a 3 wood.
I miss playing a blade, they feel great.
Question: Anyone know if the MP-14's are considered the old or new design?
The MP-14 certainly qualify as a modern blade, even though they do not have the modest weight management like the newer Mizunos. I think you will be quite happy with them. Be sure to keep us all informed, OK?
I am a mid-handicapper (13) and have been playing Taylormade CBs for about 5 years. Last year, I demoed the Macgregor blades a few times and absoutely loved them, but I wasn't in the market to buy irons at the time. I planned on buying them this year but I didn't feel like buying new clubs from a company that might not exist in a year. I decided to try out the new Nike VR blades and Mizuno MP-67s. both were great. The only big difference was that the Nikes were a little easier to find (as opposed to having to special order them). I found it interesting that the golf outfitter tried to convince me out of the blades by stating that "only a few people in the world" play these. Has the industry gotten so ingrained in the de-facto game improvement club bias that retailers just assume that the easier-to-hit clubs are "better"? I'm sure as I get used to my new blades that my scoring might suffer a little, but I am confident my game will improve over time. Thanks for all the success stories!
It's because the sales clerks, golf pros and others are buying the major companies' BS that you are not good enough to play blades. My bet is that you won't find your game suffering at all, and in fact, I'd bet you see a visible improvement in your ball striking and proximity to the hole on average from the very first round. Be sure to come back and let us know what happens, OK?
I am also a Hogan fan, and am looking at buying a set of 2003 Apex blades - they look georgeous! How do they play? Do you recommend them? The online reviews say they are not forgiving at all... any feedback greatly appreciated.
Btw: thanks for this discussion wedgeguy, it has been a real eyeopener! Went to the range yesterday and found a Hogan Apex Blade on a kids shaft. Having played CBs for ever, this discussion got me wanting to test some blades before splashing out for a whole set. I asked the pro if he would prepare it for me - his response - too much hassle, and why did I want that? Asked me my handicap (mid to high - coming back to the game after a 7-8 year hiatus). Recommended me a Hogan Apex Plus 5 iron which I bought, so have some experimenting to do... still want that blade for comparison, so I might go get it and have it reshafted for some testing.
I love the 2003 Hogan blades,but then I love most all of Hogans blades. I would never depend on online review, you need to try some, You can get a very nice set of older Hogan blades on Ebay for shipping mostly, try some before you spend the big bucks,then get fitted once you think you want to buy some.
Terry, quick question, though not a true blade, what would your opinion of the MP-57 iron be? I have been playing the MX-20's for about 2 yrs now and am playing to about a 12 (will get a valid index this year), and have hit a wall. I'm ready to apply myself this year to getting as good as I can be (work nights so practice time is plentiful) and will be spending some good money on an iron set upgrade. I am wondering if, all things be relatively equal, I need to look at several "true" blades versus something like these 57's, VR Split-cavity, X-Forged, etc. Do you think these "forgiving muscle backs" would have the same effect (I know not as much but a significant improvement over full CB's) regarding improving swing mechanics to make better contact? I would love to start flag-hunting this year to make more birdies as I have a good short game and will be working on improving that aspect as well.
The MP 57 is precisely the kind of modern blade I'm talking about. We amateurs don't need to be playing the "pure" blade that Tiger prefers, but a style like the Mizuno and many others will open your eyes to what you can really do with an iron in your hands. Be sure to let us know how you fare, OK?
I need to buy new clubs. I tried a set of Hogan Apex blade at Golf Smith and I really like it. According to the computer they have, I hit it consitently straight.
A pro who gives lessons there tried to talk me out of buying them. Because of this I haven't bought the set yet. But I'm really thinking to get them. His bottom line was "Why not take advantage of the technology and get a cavity back set so you won't be frustrated on the course when you miss hit." He aslo used the internet as an analogy, "we've got computers and the internet now and I bet you use those don't you?"
To take the technology idea to the extreme, what if they develop a shotgun that can shoot golf balls accurately. I mean, you decide what "charge" you want, lets say 100 yards, load it, put the golf ball in, and shoot! That would really be taking advantage of technology. Technology is good but, we haven't given up our paper and pens or good old books made with paper yet! Will we ever?
Weekend HAcker, I just read your post. Please let me know what your decision was. I'm actually in the same boat you are. Haven't played for a few years, getting negative advice from the pro and staff who sell them. Granted, they are giving it to me nicely, and I appreciate it because they are genuine. But my gut keeps telling me to go with the hogan blades (very cheap I might add. I also foudn them for $300). I know it will be a challenge, but I want to perfect my golf swing. Even if if I only can play 2 times per week (at best). Maybe I'm a glutton for punishment.
If you play two times a week, you'll love the blades. All you have to do is read two years of comments on this article and you can see that there is substance to what I'm talking about. Go for it!
I read all the comments on this page because everyone of them peaked my interst. I started playing golf last summer with a set of old Pine Eye Two cb Irons. I play OK I broke 100 for the first time earlier this spring and I would love to get my hands on some blades. Alot of people commented on the Mizuno mp's, either the 32 or 67's. I was thinking of maybe getting a single club and trying it out before I bought a whole set (online for a good deal). What us your opinion on this?
sorry for taking so long to respond to your question... I bought the Apex 50s. :) Also got the 3 apex wedges. Have only used the gap wedge on the range so far as I am rebuilding my swing... it feels great. Chipping around the green is laser like - shot dispersion is really tight shot after shot, and as I keep doing my 9 to 3 drills, my contact is improving dramatically. I like you, have a long term goal to build a consistent repeatable swing, so it was a no brainer to get them. I still have my CBs and didn't want to buy another set. So if you are prepared to work and you liked how they felt, go for it. Good luck with them.
update for gpierson:
get them!!! Haven't been able to play due to a bout of the flu, so went to an indoor driving range today and worked through the whole set. They felt sweet... the ball just clicked off the face, no matter whether it was a 3 iron or the lob wedge. I had tried the Mizuno cut muscle models and the Bridgestone J36 blade, but these felt clunky and cumbersome... not the Apexes... beautifully balanced and it felt like the ball was being swept away affortlessly. Highly recommended.
Btw... I couldn't believe my ears. The owner of the indoor driving range looked at my clubs and said they were beautiful and wanted to buy a set but couldn't find them. I told him that the pros at the golf shops were trying to talk me into buying cavity backs... he said I did the right thing - much more feedback to improve the swing rather than swinging those shovels where you can't feel anything. Pleasantly surprised.
I use game improvement irons when I play. Recently I found a Mizuno MP-60 in great shape in a used club bin. I bought it because I have always wanted to hit a good blade. It is sweet. I use it for practice at the range, and have really improved my ball striking with my other irons.
Hi Terry, just wanted to give you an update. I bought the MP-57's after trying several different irons (MP-52, MP-60, Nike Split-Cavity and the Bridgestone J36). I'm partial to Mizuno but wanted to be as fair as possible. Still haven't gotten a USGA handicap but have tracked my scores since Mid-April when I bought the irons. Full disclosure here, I also bought new wedges (Miura 52 and 60, Spin-Mill 56). Before the spending spree, my average score was about 86 ( I tallied a bunch of scores after I initially posted and saw that I was a little generous with my "12" estimation). I would shoot the occasional 80 or 82 as well as the occasional 88 or 92 and I only broke 80 once ( a 77 late last year).
...The new irons took some getting used to and I was humbled more than I would have liked. In the last 30 days my low scores were 78 and 76 with the average being 82. I went from graphite CBs to steel MBs so I initially dropped about a club to a club and a half distance-wise. I tried multiple balls and found 3 that I really like that gained some of that distance back. EVERY time I mis-hit a ball it is an immediate reminder to swing within myself and concentrate on good, solid contact. The results speak for themselves. I am giving myself WAY more chances at Birdie that have increased my Pars per round.
...I used to be happy with 1-2 birdies a round. I am now dissapointed if I card less than 2 per side. One other thing, I used to play "preferred lies" all over the course (cheating that inflated my scoring skill). This scoring improvement came with playing completely "as it lies". I am so thankful I found this article and thread. If a person can repeatedly make a decent pass at ball, I would HIGHLY recommend that they give MBs a try. When you "flush" one, you'll realize that sweet spot contact is a great feeling that yields great results. Thanks again!
Torleif Sorenson says:
Terry, I was really struck by your quote above: "As Mr. Hogan always said, 'a club is 90% shaft and 10% how it goes through the dirt.'" Perhaps that's why I ended up liking a set of used Hogan Edge forged cavitybacks (3-flex) in 1999; I found out later about Hogan shafts' considerable reputation. The other reason is that I was looking for the "best of both worlds," feedback and forgiveness.
Two years earlier I bought a 2-8 set of Spalding Bobby Jones forged blades for a cheap investment. But between the regular-flex shaft, the slightly smaller grips (I have short fingers), and the instant (and sweeeet!) feedback, I got sold on forged blades. I've put my Spaldings away lest I break one of them, but reading this thread not only makes me anxious to find a good set of blades, preferably down to at least a 2-iron. Thanks, Terry, and to all the rest of you who've posted here!
This column has really helped me. I am just getting back to golf after a long
break. I recenty purchased an R9 driver which I really like and some Burner
cavity backs, which don't seem to be working for me. I'm going back to my mid
70's Haig Ultra blades for precision. I saw some Cleveland blades today
which don't look too different from the old blades.
I am 52 & played to a 9 with Top Flite Tour cavity backs. I went back to my '99 Hogan Apex Blades & dropped to a 7. The blades seem to make me concetrate more & focus on a better swing. I don't always make one, but when I do, I am rewarded, which is how it should be.Yardages vary due to different lofts, but most of the shots with the blades, are better than the best of the cavity backs.I plan on a new set of blades before next season. P.S. The Hogans will never be for sale!
I'm considering this configuration as I return to the game.
3 hybrid, 4-PW old Haig Ultra blades, then new Burner A wedge and S wedge.
I am fairly new to the game(3 years) and have played 2006 Big Bertha irons from the beginning. I play alot of golf and have posted my best rounds this season. After reading some comments in this thread, I purchased a set of TMade TP irons. Should I be swinging the "blades" any differently than I've been swinging my game improvement irons?
I'd sure suggest you give the EIDOLON V-SOLE wedges a try. We get rave reviews and have a foolproof satisfaction guarantee. Just a thought. ;-)
I own 3 new Burner wedges, but I am still experimenting with equipment.
Will keep the EIDOLONS in mind.
Just got back from range. The '09 Burner irons are starting to work.
The R9 Driver is worth its weight in gold-- oh maybe not at today's
@ nique, I have a set of the '09 Tour Burners I love them. I suggest not going with the Burner Plus I think they are called (too many bad stories from lots of friends)
@wedgeguy- I currently live real close to Marineville, USA (Camp Lejeune, NC city of Jacksonville, NC) Though we have a plethora of courses within an hour or 2 to play, I have yet to find a retailer who will allow me to test drive a set of blades. I mean sure I can go to dick's or golf galaxy or golfsmith and hit them all day in the shop, but hitting a ball off a mat hardly compares to a downhill/sidehill lie, or a bunker or numerous other things you find on the links. I just want to find out if any place allows people to test drive clubs in an actual round scenario, without having to shell out several hundreds to a thoushand plus dollars to purchase them. Thanks
Thanks for the comment; I had been talking to myself.
I traded my Burners for Mizuno MP-52s and I really like them--more blade like.
rafael villasenor says:
Hey there I like your view on this matter I had Adams clubs from w- to driver but I happened to come across a set of mizuno short Irons are MP32 and the long irons are MP 27 my wedges are mizuno too all have stiff steal shafts it took me three months to be able to hit them OK having had a set of Adams hybrids but after six months I got more distance and more accurate my misses are usually when i shank it but its so much more fun to be able to draw and cut on command with this Irons my long Irons are a little forgiving I love the mizuno clubs well now I want to get some real mizuno blades any suggestions?
Try the MP-52s,seemingly a good compromise between cavity back and pure blade.
They have been for me.
I shoot in anywhere from the low 90's to the low 100's. I am constantly told that I have a great swing, but I don't believe my Taylormade R7's are rewarding me on the good shots like blades can. A guy I work with, who used to have a PGA card, agrees with all of the information on here. So I decided to take the plunge and give blades a try. I'll give an update on what happened to my game. By the way, thanks for posting this information, it helped me make my decision to try blades. So many people talk down about them. Nay-Sayers, just a bunch of nay-sayers. Shane
I usually shoot in the 90s. My first set of irons were Mizuno MX 23s. They were great. When the MP 32s came out to rave reviews in all the golf mags, I decided to try blades. I tried for a year. I lost distance and paid dearly when I did not hit the ball squarely.My scores suffered. I gave the MP 32s to my brother in law and got a set of MX 900s. For me, game improvement irons just make the game more enjoyable.
( i have to shout, I'm so far down on the list no one will hear me ):
IT'S NOT THE CLUBHEAD. >1st - IT'S YOUR SWING. >2nd - IT'S YOUR SHAFT (a shaft is about 75% of the clubs performance - period ). >3rd - THE MAJORITY OF YOU ALREADY PLAY BLADES & LOVE THEM - THEIR CALLED YOUR 'WEDGES' PW THRU 64. >4th - GET CUSTOM FITTED & YOU WILL BE SURPRISED TO DISCOVER THAT YOU CAN HIT A BLADE ( SAY UP TO A 6 IRON FOR MOST GOLFERS OF AVERAGE SKILL. >5th - TAKE SOME LESSONS ( they’re expensive but not when you compare what you spend on new ‘hyped’ clubs ) - IF YOU TAKE LESSONS AND PRACTICE AT LEAST 3 TIMES A WEEK YOU WILL BE ABLE TO HIT BLADES UP TO A 4 IRON + YOUR HIGHER LOFTED IRON SHOTS ( they’re called ‘scoring’ irons for a reason ) WILL IMPROVE EVEN MORE. >6th - If you are concerned that switching to blades may add a few shots- take some Putting lessons ( the ONLY answer to lower scores ). Magazines are for marketing – don’t let them brainwash you.
Of course your swing and the shaft matter and lessons will help everyone. However, all things being equal, the average guy will be more consistent with a game improvement iron than a blade. I have played both. I found game improvement irons to be easier to hit, longer and produced more consistent results.
Has anyone tried the Mizuno MP 58s?
Congratulations on the longest running thread on golf!
Left-handed, 16 h'cap for 5 years - broke 80 a couple of times but mostly mid-to-high 80s. Usually, Birdies, pars, bogey-bleeds and 1-2 meltdowns. :)
My clubs are Callaway X-14s that I got off Ebay - not fitted in any manner. My iron distances are quite good - I can hit a 9-iron 150-155 yards. I don't feel skilled enough to consistently shape draws or fades. My general tendency is to push the ball 5-8 degrees from the target-line. So I compensate...and tweak...and tweak some more...this train is not going anywhere in a hurry.
I'm open to any and all suggestions to improve my game - I feel I have above-average game intelligence; the execution falls through in critical situations. Oh and I use a Cleveland CG12 SW (blade) and can work the sand, flop and short pitch quite well, with the occasional shankeroo that takes off at a 90 degree angle (either toe or hosel).
Thanks much in advance for any tips.
Frank W says:
I've only been playing a short time, but in my opinion the skill you get from learning on blades is like the skill tennis players get from learning on a standard sized wood tennis racket. The last of the truly great shot makers in tennis (Sampras, McEnroe, Agassi, Federer, while they play mid-sized composites now, they learned to play with standard sized wood. Good shots were great, and bad ones sucked. The young players of today who learn on mid & over-sized composites are basically power players without a full arsenal. I'm going to find a used set of blades and go to work!
If cavity back irons are so easy to hit, why do I see people playing with them hitting absolutely horrible golf shots? Truth is, you still need to make a good swing with a cavity back or a blade. I wonder what those same people would do with a blade in their hands…hmmm. It’s also a huge misconception that blades are the only clubs that are really workable. In the 90’s when Jesper Parnevik was playing great he was known as a very good ballstriker and worker of the golf ball. He was playing with Callaway X-12’s…super cavity backs. I’ve hit both off and on for a few years and the main difference is feel. I can hit a poor shot with both.
Well I bought the blades a few months ago. Louisville Golf Persimmon Blade 304 Irons, 3 thru PW. Although I have only been able to play them five times, each time my game is improving. I like the feedback on poorly hit shots, which was not there with my R7's. My score is improving with each round and will greatly improve once I groove my finesse shots around the green. Accuracy is better with the blades and I seem to be hitting the sweet spot more consistently than I did before. Is that because of the blades? Hard to say, but I'm improving with them much more than I ever did with cavity backs.
I am 58 years old and have been playing on and off since I was a teenager. I just got back into golf recently and bought a set of Titleist CB775 cavity back clubs. They are nice and I thought I liked them until, I found a set of Mizuno MP32 blades. The difference is I now feel like I did all those years coming up when all we had were blades. It feels great to be rewarded for a good strike. It feels like golf as I've always known it to feel. And here's the cool thing about blades. The ball flight looks like it should. The ball lands and either stops or rolls out as I always thought it should. It's a blast to hit an iron that gives you exactly what you feel it should according to your swing. And blades are not hard to hit as long as you have the basics of a good swing happening. Hey if you stink, no club is gonna make you not stink. I say put in some time and learn how to get a basic, good swing together and have fun. I'll never touch cavity back irons again. They just do not feel good to me.
I am truly inspired...a post that has been on going for over 3 years, wow!
I just picked the game up last year and got CB hand me downs and is now able to consistently shoot high 90s since start of this season. I am in the market for new irons and are down to three sets from reading this post and research; was hoping to get some opinion on which...Mizuno MP52, Nike VR TW Forge Blades or the Nike VR split cavity. Thanks in advance
I have played MP57's for the last season and a half after sidelining my 33's. I was convinced by Mizuno that the 57's would maintain feel but help my game. A combination of playing more (2/week) getting video swing lessons and the new fitted irons produced a drop in index from 15+ to 8.1. Out of curiosity I decided today to try out the old 33's. After being slowed up by some young dudes in front of me I decided to mess around and hit several iron shots in to the greens. I was very surprised to notice a very tight dispersion. I got to a 165 yard par 3, hit two balls on top of each other (6 iron if you are wondering) and thought... I wonder how many I can hit until I miss the green. 10 balls later I have not missed. Not only that, my balls are very precise, they are grouped together. My mind spinning on the subject I decide to Google "why blades golf", assuming there must be a benefit (not just cool factor), I arrive at this great 3 year old page. My 33's will stay in the bag tomorrow!
As I am playing more often now and looking to improve, I really wanted to try blades but like many before me have been told they are not likely to be suitable. After reading these posts I decided to give it a go and picked up a set of Miura blades off e-bay with NSPRO X shafts, knowing they would be too stiff for me but got them at a good price, so was able to visit a local fitter to be measured and swing speed assessed and have the shafts & grips changed to fit me. Sticking with NSPRO but lighter, 1/2" shorter, and regular flex). I hope to pick them up next week and will leave a post of my experience.
I am currently using Callaway X22 irons with TT regular shafts and my 150yd club is a 5 iron. When testing a bladed club with the shaft I will be getting, (NSPRO 950) I was hitting a 7 iron 150yds on the range.
Good advice in earlier post to get fitted, this was my first experience of the process and could not believe the difference it makes getting the right shaft to match your swing speed etc.
I used blades before and find them hard to hit. Then i was given a cheap set of clubs called Xcat tour, i assume they are callaway knock offs. I was able to get good lift and distance with these knock off cavity blades. I recently purchased a set of Callaway X22's and they make alot of difference than the cheaper ones. The difference in distance is unbelievable club for club. Me personally i don't like the blades i prefer cavity more. I guess its all about preference or i just can't hit the blades as good. I've only been playing for two years though
I'm a high HC guy and I've played mostly CB, but have played old school MB blades w some success. Play CB now. I notice with both, a tendency to slowly loose yardage, even as my HC improves. It just seems to erode and I hit lower and lower irons from the same tees, locations. Then something - don't know what - clicks back into place and I get re-set to my usual 150 = 7i setting and begin the slow erosion process all over.
I have experienced the same as windowsurfer, in my case I have to keep my swing speed right down to get a good contact and therefore distance, this is with both CB or Blade clubs. As soon as I think I am hitting the ball well and try to speed up I start losing distance because the contact deteriorates and have to start over again.
For me less is more and something I have to live with.
I recently sign-up for a membership and am playing about every other day. I have dropped 12 strokes in my last three rounds. June 4th shot 106, June 6th(D-Day) shot 95, and yesterday shot 94. Been under 100 before but not consistently. Distances hit with the new blades is different than my old R7's so I've made adjustments on approach shots and am hitting pin high more often. Chipping and pitching greatly improved with me experimenting in that area, and my putting average is 1.84 and dropping. Removed the F-Speed driver and replaced it with my Persimmon driver. And now I'm more accurate off the tee too.
My friends keep commenting on my old school set-up. Persimmon driver, wood 3w, Stan Thompson Ginty 5w, 3 thru PW blades, and a blade putter. I have to say that the F-Speed driver when hit correctly will send the ball a mile down the fairway, but accuracy and consistency with the club is marginal and it caused my game more headaches than anything. I hit the persimmon driver only a few yards shorter but mainly in the fairway or minutely off-line so recovery is much easier.
does anyone have a set of used fairly recent blades they were looking to sell? I love the mizuno line specifically the mp-60's and mp-67's but as everyone knows they easily run $1,000 if you were to get them fitted, brand new, and fully customized(a bit pricy for a struggling college student). I am 19 years old (5 handicap) and going into my first year at college. I have been using pingeye2's since I was 15 when my dad got them for me. They are great great great clubs but I think it is time for me to step into the 21st century. Especially since I have been shooting in the low to mid 70's with my old clubs made in 1989. I am trying to walk onto my college golf team this year and would love to pick up a nice set of blades to get adjusted to over summer before I go away to school to try to make the team. If anyone has ideas or a set of blades they are looking to sell please let me know.... Thanks everyone
Follow up to an earlier post.
I now have my blades back with new shafts. This is the first time I have used any bladed club and these in particular with custom shafts. I found the accuracy of the blades incredible compared to cb irons. My swing cannot possibly have changed so much in a couple of weeks so the only conclusion I have is that blades are MUCH more accurate than cb irons.
I am definitely not a good golfer, usually high 80's low 90's, but I would highly recommend trying blades if you haven't already.
It seems most advice is blades are only for good golfers, my experience is that they are for every golfer who is past the early stages of learning the game. I wish I had not been put off and tried them years ago. Go out and get some!
I couldnt resist. I found a new set of Mizuno MP-32s for an incredible price and pulled the trigger. I will have them this weekend. Cant wait to hit the links with them.
FWIW - I play the Golf Channel AM Tour. I have been languishing in the Senior Snead. Thats the bottom flight. 20+ Tournament index (which is about 10 strokes higher that a regular index). Playing Ping Eye2's for 15 years. I finally started thinking I have been led down a path by equipment companies saying you have to be scratch to play a blade. So I hit a friends. Sweet. I bought a set of Titleist 680 muscle backs on Ebay. Dropped 10 strokes off of my usual score at PGA West - Stadium. I also won that event. Won the next event by scoring 85 at Oak Creek in Irvine. Basically blades are more difficult at first but if you put in the time on the range grass ... you find a swing that is more precise ... or your hands & teeth will be ringing from mishits. I have been moved up one flight to Senior Jones.
I now score in the mid 80's instead of the mid to high 90's. I fully expect to score in the high 70's real soon once my putting improves by hitting closer to the pin.
Try them - you'll like them.
I am a 3 handicap and i was wondering that if i were to switch to a blade iron from my crappy cobra fp cavity backs would it make a night and day difference?
I received my MP-32s today and went right to the course. I have to say I find these just as easy to hit as my Adams A3s and I am not exagerating at all. The one thing I really enjoyed about this set is the 3 and 4 iron. The A3s were my first set and it has 3 hybrid through 5 hybrid, along with the 2 hybrid I bought with it, so I never hit more than a 6 iron. When I first bought these I thought I would keep the 3 hybrid and play 4-pw but now I am debating using a hybrid at all. Another thing I really enjoy abot these is that I was fitted with them so I no longer have the fade that I had with the A3s. I hit these pretty straight.
I bought a set of used MP-32's after reading this article and all the posts. I love the feel when I hit it pure, I never got that feeling from my cavity backs. I played my best nine last nine for men's league, shot 44, my previous best 2 weeks prior was 50. I do have a 1,3 and 5 hybrid that I really like and have just ordered a Mizuno MT-10 56 degree wedge to replace my cavity back sand wedge. Thanks for this topic Terry!
I will wager that the tighter dispersion with blades is due to better quality shafts. Blades are targeted to better players and so typicaly come with premium shafts. GI/CB irons dont usually have such good shafts or have lightweight shafts for bad golfers who need more distance. It doesnt make sence that a club head will repeatedly test differently all things being constant. We all know shafts can test differently test to test. this is the x factor and the reason for the dispersion
we would all be better off taking the money we would spend on a new set of blades and buy some lessons. even the pros are moving away from blades... the only reason anyone needs to hit blades is if they work the ball. Golf has changed...we dont work the ball anymore. We hit it long and straight. The balls are made to go long and straight. dont handicap yourself by thinking you need to play blades
I am a high handicapper and have been following this thread for a while. I see the widsom of both sides of this debate. After reading this I decided to try a set of blades. I had a set of r7's then bought a used set of Wilson FG51's for $12.00 at Goodwill in Atlanta and have fallen in love with them. I have since sold my r7's. Even though i have lost some distance with each club my accuracy is much improved. I practice quite a bit and have learned to tweak my swing accordingly. I dont have the tome nor money for lessons so all i can do is research online and practice on my own. This has been a very helpful thread.
@johnt555g you should have taken your r7's and had them reshafted with quality shafts. Taylormade uses cheap lightweight shafts in those clubs. I'll bet you your new Wilsons are True Temper Dynamic Gold. Im sorry to hear your loosing distance. btw, everyone is more accurate when they hit the ball shorter distances
The reason most newer clubs (CB's) are longer than blades is due to the decrease in loft not because of the cavity or perimeter weighting. I'd rather hit my 7 iron 150 and stay on the fairway than hit it 170 into the weeds.
Good stuff, guys. To Ripj24, while the shaft is a big part of the equation, the consistencey advantage of blades is due to the increased mass behind the impact zone. This faces just are not as consistent, even on repeated dead-center hits. Iron Byron tests prove this repeatedly. larrynjr is right on about lofts and distance, and a review of these 200+ comments will pretty much bear out the premise I posited with this artcile and it's brethren. Keep the dialog going!!!
Wedgeguy, please indicate if you controled for shafts in your experiments or did you just go with whatever stock shaft was already fitted in the club. Also, please comment as to why you feel the reason is more and more tour pro are moving away from true blades to play perimeter weighted clubs?
Ripj24, in the testing I referred to, we were testing single clubs, so the shaft wasn't really an issue. In my opinion, the reason more and more tour pros are playing perimeter weighted clubs is that they grew up with them and that's all they know. PLUS, that's where the endorsement dollars are. The modern young gun plays a blast and gouge game, rather than a precision shotmaking game. They play the tools that match their approach. But if you look at the best players throughout modern history, see how many are playing blades -- it's pretty interesting.
Im not sure how you would define modern history as the game has changed so much is recent years with technology. It would at least be the Tiger era but then even Tiger played steel in his driver as late as 2004! So to examine something not subjective we can look at the current top ten. Only Tiger, Kaymer and Ernie play full sets of blades...Im not even sure if Ernie and Kaymer's can be considered traditional blades, Calaway and TM are def using discretionary weighting in the back of the club
AH 50 says:
From these ever popular blog and my personal contacts with Terry, I have bought KZG Evolution #8 & #9 irons. No ?s that the modern blades does wonder from the scoring zones besides the E'wedges. I compliment it an old Bridgestone forged CB for the 6 & 7 irons. These E'wedges & KZG really bites on the green even though I don't have the club head speed like the pros. Highly recommended. Hope to get my hcp down. Good golf happens when you have people like TWG around.
For what its worth I got rid of the MP-32s and I am now bagging a set of Adams A3OS irons that I really enjoy with a 3,4 and 5 hybrid. I also have graphite shafts on them. The MP-32s were just too much club. I am much more consistent with the Adams.
i got a blade/cativty back style iron. love them.
Bryan K says:
This was a timely time to move this article to the top. I want to get a set of blades, and Terry and I have gone back and forth a couple of times regarding how important a club fitting is. When it comes to cavity back irons, I don't think a fitting is as important. But when dealing with a set of blades where being off a milimeter can be a big deal, a fitting is very important. That said, since I can't afford a set of blades at the moment, I went with the shallow cavities of the Adams Idea Pro set (5i through PW).
I got a set of Titleist 710mb at playitagain sports for 400 dollars. 900-1000 dollars new. A local pro had traded them in and they couldn't sell them so they lowered them to 400. I traded in any stupid sports thing I didn't use anymore and got them for $195.00. I figured at the time if I didn't like them, I could turn around and sell them for more on EBAY. I just wanted to see what a good blade was like. I love them. They have really made me think about my golf swing and how serious I want to take the game.
I have 3 modern wedges, old school forged blade PW, 9i, 8 and modern cavity back forged 7i-3i. I am 12 HC and I feel this is the best scoring set up for me. I have cav back PW-8i, but prefer blades. Distance is less w blades, but – so what?
211 posts here, and only mine over on ClubSG. This site is the best for golfer interaction!!
Nice work guys, good stream.... Great reading...
I switched to a modern style blade set earlier this year. I will admit I struggle with the long irons, especially if I don't practice. But the short and middle irons have changed my life. They are precision tools compared to the game improvement stuff. The minimal offset is key. I may eventually switch to something with a bit of cavity, but I am really enjoying the musclebacks. I hit some awful thin toe balls that barely go anywhere, but I only have my swing to blame. Playing traditional clubs is like taking a good hard look at the mirror and seeing what's up with your swing. Not everyone wants to do that lol. It's kind of hardcore. But I say it's rewarding a]nd really instructive.
Is this really such a hot topic? Awesome!
There's a basic logic: If you hit a blade dead center, it will be straight - giving the alignment and centeredness feedback. Even if you hit a cavity dead center it may not be as straight/ accurate. The word "blade" is really scary, though, right up there with "grip down," "anywhere but the water," "You'll never reach them," "I'll just play conservatively," "It's a tap in."
Muscle back, V-muscle, etc. are much better.
Do I dare an auto reference? Excessive forgiveness in irons is like having no control over your steering, but having lanes twice as wide to drive in - forgiveness!
I grew up playing Hogan Radial sole-weighted musclebacks. I also play a set of set of '98 Apex blades and Ping ISI (yes, very, very different). I enjoy playing all three sets for different reasons, but keep coming back to my old, beat up Radials. I have little trouble get height and distance with even the 2-iron off the deck. My perception is that they play at 90% of the Apex blades but feel like that have a much larger sweet spot despite the fact that the face of the club is quite small - certainly no bigger than the Apex. The Apexes have Rifle 6.0 flighted and the Radials have Apex 3 (AMF) shafts, which I very much like.
Terry, I'm curious how you would classify the Radials. They feel like the best of both worlds. Good feedback, smooth and very workable, but they also seem surprisingly forgiving. Or perhaps I like them b/c I've used them for so long.
My eight year-old son has a set of Radials with junior shafts, btw, 3-E.
Now, you would think that if a 20 handicapper plays a "better players" blade they would be having problems hitting the ball. This is not true, the blades feel and workability really translate to a good training mechanism.
Last year a friend and I switched from PING eye2's and Wilson game improvement Deep Reds respectively. My friend bought Titleist MBs and I got Titleist CB forged. I went for CBs because, to me, they provided the same feel as the MBs and I just liked how they looked and the weight seemed a bit better for me.
The thing I dont buy at all is that golf companys sell these forged clubs as being for 0-6 handicap players. At the time I still couldn't break 100, after buying the forged clubs my game improved. I can now regularly break 100 and have had a few rounds in the 80s.
What the golf companys (Iron and Driver sellers) fail to reveal is that your 20 handicap is not overall due to your Irons at all. But more due to your putting and chipping.
What is the best feeling in golf?
It's the solid and pure "CLUSH" when your swing and shaft square that ball up and lauch it majestically hurredly over the landscape. It's the most significant intrinsic reward in the game, and keeps us coming back. The sweet "bloink" of the putter is nice, the arresting "POOM" of a crushed drive gets the blood pumping, yet the almost unexpected "CLUSH" of the iron, with some resitance from the easily plowed aside, reigns supremeNow if the shaft is youthfully stiff and steeled, the head forged into a compact, muscled shapely business end, you're really going to get off! If somehow these instruments of ecstasy find their targets, well... now you'll be loving it and scoring well!
What is the best feeling in golf?
It's the solid and pure "CLUSH" when your swing and shaft square that ball up and lauch it majestically, hurredly over the landscape. It's the most significant intrinsic reward in the game, and keeps us coming back. The sweet "bloink" of the putter is nice, the arresting "POOM" of a crushed drive gets the blood pumping, yet the almost unexpected "CLUSH" of the iron combined with resitance from the easily plowed aside turf, reigns supreme. Now if the shaft is youthfully stiff and steeled, and the head forged into a compact, muscled shapely business end, you're really going to get off! If somehow these instruments of ecstasy find their targets, well... now you'll be mashing it and scoring well!
I still need to wade through the comments but I decided to try something.
I'm a 28.0 index, not a prototypical blade user. Went to the course I play at and got a MP68 demo 6i ansd small bucket of balls.
I hit 2 so thin it hurt. I also saw what people mean about the lack of forgiveness. However I hit a few solid shots and they were amazing. I felt nothing at impact and just watched the ball zoom away, nice and high and drop. I don't hit that shot with my M565s. The flight is more what the pro has when I watch him hit balls.
I'd say that my index would go up if I went with blades BUT I'm seriously thinking of going in that direction now. Those few solid shots were sooo good. The mishits I could live with.
@bortass -- me too, I tried the same thing today. Went to a golf shop while at lunch and they had a barrel of $10 demo and fitting clubs of all makes and models. I picked out a forged blade 6 iron (MacGregor), with DG S300 shaft +1/2", thinking I'll use it for training and just see what happens. Went to the (real grass) range tonite and hit about 100 balls. I had a blast. Sure, in the first few swings had some stingers, but it really feels great on good contact. I think the shaft spec/length was a pretty good fit for me, which may be a large part of the fun I was having. I don't know if I'll go so far to switch to playing full blades, but this should be a good experiment. We'll see how it goes after some more range time.
Blades are excellent for improving ball striking. No one should be put-off by using a blade. I started using a blades as a 16 handicap golfer and within 12 months I was playing off 11. I don't understand why cavity backs are called game improvement clubs when they give no feedback. I thinks stores promote cavity backs because the manufacturers produce more of them and stores get a greater mark-up when they sell them.
Terry, do you recommend blades in the 3 and 4 irons as well as the rest of the set? I bought a set of Nike vr pro combo irons but I'm thinking of trading them in for a full set of 3-pw in only the blades. My driver swing speed is about 90 mph, on average. Not sure what I should do. I know that using the simulator helps, but I wanted your input.
I forgot to mention that I am having trouble finding the right shaft. I got the Nike vr combo irons with a dynamic gold s300 shaft which is way too stout for me. I was told that I should be using a 90 gram shaft in a regular, but it feels too light and possibly too flexible. I am used of using the Brunswick Precision fm 6.5 shafts in my other irons, which feels perfect to me. I'm not sure what shaft would be comparable?
Blades vs Cavity Backs works for putters too. :) What is now sold as a blade putter....is not. For the real thing try a thrift store.
Straight Hitter says:
For the last three years I have been playing with a set of Titleist 804 irons. I have noticed over the past three years that I didn’t have the same accuracy that I used too. One day while practicing with my irons I picked up one of my old Walter Hagan blades that I have had since 1966, the grips were hard and cracked but using a 4 iron I hit six shots perfectly. That day I took my old blades and had them re-gripped. Wow now I am back on track… However, the reverse is true with my woods I am sticking with my 986 Metal Titleist straight and long!!.
Exactly why I just switched to the Mizuno MP63's. So much more consistency in ball flight, distance, and trajectory. I love them.
I'm a 3rd year player that just switched from TM R7 (R Flex) to MP-57 with S300 and have had terrific results. Played twice with them and shot 43 (9 holes) and a personal best 85 (par 72) the next day. I'm hitting more greens than usual (3 and 4 GIR streak) and my confidence is soaring. They play so much better out of the rough. I also hit a green for the first time with a purposely shaped shot in my life, with a 160yd draw around a tree to 15 feet.
I'm in love
While ads keep some golfers from trying blades, ego may keep others from abandoning them. Within every category of irons there are levels of forgiveness and workability; I think what's really important is a willingness to experiment without preconception and the ability to select within parameters which we create for ourselves.
I'm a rookie so take this with a grain of salt. I've played with Wilson Ci7's. Decided to purchase a used set of Ben Hogan Apex irons (98-02 model), just for the curiosity. Yesterday at the driving range I hit some bad and moderate shots with them, just like with Ci7's. Thin shots, skulling, toehits, you name it. I didn't perceive bad shots being any much worse. I'm quite sure I would play as many double-bogeys with these as with the latest game-improvement-irons. I would dare to say that for the high handicapper it really doesn't make a difference in the scorecard if you play with blades. Practicing with them can only be better. Feels like a win-win situation. Btw, if someone could comment on this: Here in the driving range the balls are kinda poor. How does it affect the feedback if I hit the sweet spot? Usually the feedback to my hands/ears is a "wooden knock". Does it mean I missed the sweet spot or are those limited-flight balls just that hard? I guess I generally miss the sweet spot, though.
@ clapu, I would say you missed the sweet spot. I've never played the Ben Hogan Apex irons but my Mizuno's, when you hit the sweet spot, you hear almost nothing and it feels like you it a super ball or marshmellow. The ball just flies off the face like a rocket.
(Love this topic.) I go back and forth btwn a set of newer cav back forged MacGregors and a 1980 set of Toney Penna blades. Played recently at Banff Springs (which will be on TV: skins game this July, in Canada anyway) and it is a bucket-list course. Period. Anyway, played the Toney Pennas and had a career round (sort of -- it was a bestball.) They are small and rusty, no offset, old school lofts and grooves, heavy swing weight. None of the game improvement stuff we are told is critical to success. But when you are ON, nothing is better - just ask my bestball partner!
Feels like maybe I am kidding myself (15 HC), but I know my results are as good or better, statistically and intuitively, with these old-timers. For sure, 7i-SW, there's no question - the blades are longer and more accurate.
@larrynjr, thanks for the reply. I noticed I was playing the ball too forward in my stance. Now I can feel the sweet spot! The balls are softer than ever.
It was fun to look at my posts on this topic from last year. One: I can't agree more with the forged blade feedback and control. I've tried plenty of hybrids since November but still prefer the low irons. Two: Tiger's crap was the dominant discussion back then, and I had employed some pretty juicy language in reference to Tiger's issues. This may have been discussed, but I'll say again how beautiful the irony of Tiger no-show vs. Rory history. I'm not racist, much of my family is black. However, I'm not sure how many supermodels Rory has teed up for the "frant and back nine."
Geoff (UK) says:
This thread is a fantastic read - thanks indeed to the host and all those who have contributed thus far.
My 10p (cents for the US contingent).
I've only ever used blades - I've had 2 sets of clubs in 25 years of playing golf. The first was a set of John Letters Gary Player Mk2 Master Model (my "beginner" clubs), and my current set is 3-SW Maruman Conductor 31-EX with regular shafts which I bought in 1996. Yesterday I bought a set of MP-33s with stiff shafts on eBay for £138 - can't wait to try them.
For me, I like the fact that if I hit a good shot with a blade, then it's me doing it, and not "the club". A well struck blade iron sets off a tuning fork in your heart and the grin spreads from ear to ear. I don't get that feeling with a cavity back.
I may hit a bit shorter than my golf partners (the 7-iron distance is about 140 yards, so I typically use 1/2 clubs more than someone using CBs) but I am usually closer to the pin ;o)
Keep up the good work
I wonder if it has more to do with how you swing. I really hit down on the ball and take a pretty good sized divot. I feel that cavity backs just don't have enough mass behind the ball to really compress it. It seems like friends that are more "pickers" really like their cavity backs and play well with them. I played (learned) blades as a kid and have never really like cavity backs. I am now considering the MP63 since it has more mass behind the ball, yet some perimeter weighting. They sure feel good in the store.
Tks very much for post:
I like it and hope that you continue posting.
Let me show other source that may be good for community.
Source: Golf beginner mistakes
I'm buying some Titleist 710 MB's this weekend, I will let you know how I like them. I'm a 5.6 handicap hoping to improve my game some.
Do the TaylorMade Tour Preferred MB irons fall within the modern blade that a 16-18 capper should try?
Had a terrifically fun, not dispassionate and not academic row on this topic (over a few beer) after recent golf trip with the boys. I stood for blades and was bloodied, but not bested, in 5 against 1 debate. I liked the banner I was carrying and felt noble. Best of all, in actual golf (not conversation), over three days, I beat the guy (a lower handicapper than moi) who felt it necessary to tell me during a run of shitty shots on day one that I had no business playing blades. Guess that bitch shoulda played blades! (PS - we all play good shafts, newer drivers and new style balls, so it's not like I'm a darn purist or anything. I just think blades can work for average hacks like me.)
I'm inclined to wonder if the test with the Iron Byron struck the ball dead center in the Geographical sense, or the Center of Gravity sense. Was there any mention thereof ? The physical center is not always the sweetest part of the club and therefore does not always produce the best results.
@Richard Knock yourself out; The only person who should not use blades is the one who cannot hit the ball consistently at all.... That guy needs to buy Nike Slingshots or adams A7's and swing away ... On the other side, its cheaper to fix the ball striking than it is to keep buying sets to fix it...
By not consistent: i mean nothing is center struck ever... all fat or scalded or toe or heel...
What do you think of Mizuno MP9 Tour Proven Blades?
I have a friend who is a 3 handicapper and uses blades that look like butter knives. He hits them extremely well and has encouraged me to try them by giving me a set of Hogan Apex forged blades. I am a 16 handicapper who hits the ball consistently well with my cavity backs but often off line. I know it may be the indian not the arrow but based on his input and this thread why not try them. Experiment starts tonight.
For those of you thinking about the switch to blades, think about this. Good golf requires two things; 1 the ability to take advantage of well struck shots, and 2, the ability to minimize the mistakes. Basic math, good shots must balance out the bad shots. On good shots, blades allow you to get twice as close to the pin. 8 ft putts have 50% chance of going in and 20 ft putts have a 10% chance. This is a no brainer. Apply that same logic to the bad shots. Let's examine the toe shot, hit fat. It is the most common mistake. Cavity backs you might be 15 yards short and 5 to the right. How much worse is the blade shot in comparison? Not much, maybe 20 yards short and 7 to the right. Mathematically, you have no better chance of making the next shot. Nor the shot after. Don't believe this? Next round drop a ball 15 yards short of the green and one at 20. Be honest with yourself. Good shots must be as close as possible. Use blades and don't look back!
I have played hogan apex II blades for the past ten years. i am getting older and figured I should face reality and switch to cavity backs. I found a set i loved at the store and the range. i have no doubt I got the best set of cavity backs i could find for me anyways. On the coarse however, it was a different story. i could not judge distance but I never hit any really BAD shots. My scores went up however and after three rounds I went back to my good old blades and posted one of my lowest rounds of the year. followed by yet another great round. they are less forgiving, but I think that my better shots were way better with the blades. there is no worse feeling than hitting a cavity back pure and dead at the flag having it fly 20 yards over the green. it's soul crushing IMOP.
A couple of years a ago when I started to get serious about golf and curious about the clubs I play with I found this article. I never have played with cavity backs but all of my friends have them. I play a set of Powerbilt Citation 7600 from 1976 and I must say I love my clubs. The real difference is when its good its great and since having them regripped and working on my swing I have gained about 20 yds of distance per club. I must agree with many of the commenters that when you hit a 'perfect' shot with a blade it does feel like I haven't hit anything at all and the bad shots force me to examine my swing and try to improve. I guess I figured what is the point in playing golf with clubs that don't force you to improve to use them correctly. Now if I could just fix my putting and swing consistency I might break 100 this year. Thanks for a great article Terry.
Twelve months ago I splashed out and bought just about a whole bag of G15s (Driver,fairway, hybrid and irons). This was a 40th b'day one-off, ten year purchase. I'm making slow progress down from a 20 h'cap - currently 17. Reading all this stuff makes me think I should junk the Pings for some blades (maybe a discounted superseded model). Please help me with the jargon - what am I looking for? Is muscle back the key phrase?
Bryan K says:
I now play blades. And here is the deal. Within two rounds, I found I was hitting these clubs amazingly well. What I love about them is that I'm no longer wondering what happened when I have a shot that has allignment that is just off. If I hit a nice looking shot that is just left of the target, I know whether I missed the sweet spot or if my allignment based on how the shot felt. It's amazing. And even more importantly, I can't believe how accurate my sweet spot shots are. I've knocked three strokes off of my handicap in two weeks. However, I have also learned that blades are extremely tricky in wet conditions. I'm keeping my cavity backs around just for thae purpose of playing in the rain.
Interesting blog...how would a set of Hogan Apex's fit into this discussion.(circa 1982)
Tom from Va.
I had an interesting experience regarding this topic the other day. I had followed a link from my FB page to a different golf forum site where they were reviewing the new Mizuno MP69's. I made reference to this topic without specifying this website and my opinion that you don't have to be a 10 or better handicap to play blades. I was jumped on by just about everyone there and told that "they know about Terry's idea's" and that Terry has made his focus plain by starting SCOR4161. I was also chastised for thinking that it's important to hit the sweet spot on your irons. That it is more important to worry about your swing then concentrating on hitting the sweet spot. I may be wrong but I think focusing on perfecting your swing AND trying to hit the sweet spot are both pretty key. I could have a perfect swing but it I'm still hitting it off the toe, I'm not getting as good a result as I could.
I just started playing golf again after a 22 year lay off. (47 now)
Anyway, I am totally addicted and play 3/4 times a week. In my 6 months back playing I have gone from a 28+ handicapper down to 10. I have purchsed 2 sets of clubs in this time and after reading this post am considering a 3rd but last change.
I started of with a set of "John Letters T8" cavity backs. They were fine for about 7 weeks but I needed better as my game improved quickly due to the time I put into the game...
I moved on to a set of "Cobra S3" Musclebacks and quite like them but boy do I hit the ball HIGH. If there is wind of any nature I catch it beautifully due to the height I hit the ball.
I still get decent distance with my irons but, I really need a better ball flight, something that will help me under the winds radar.
Any advice for me on this guys?
Should I move to blades?
Any advice would be appreciated.
Robert from Edinburgh, Scotland.
Congrats Robert on your rapid handicap reduction. I'm not sure if blades will make a difference for shot height or not, it has to do with the loft and center of gravity plus how you strike the ball. I would try to find a custom club maker/fitter and see what he recommends for you. Try to find one that has some sort of launch monitor equipment, that way you get exact data as to why your shots are so high flying.
Miura ($$$$), Hogan 50th Anniv, Cobra S3 or Mizuno (suggestions?) Playing to a hovering 5-7 hdcp with cavity back. Known for hitting irons well and accurate; find that I'm getting too much correction with cavity back too many times.
Hey guys. This post has really gotten me to decide to buy some blades. I do have one major concern though, besides the forgiveness, or lack of in blades, but I am worried about loss of distance. I do not hit it very far, I hit a pitching wedge about 110, and 7 iron 150, could anyone tell me the difference in distance they found when they switched from cavities to blades? thank you very much. I am 18 years old, and if you guys have any suggestions on blades then I would love to hear them. I am about a 14 handicap, so I am pretty nervous about the forgiveness too, but you guys have convinced me to go with blades. Thanks in advance!
@hogan; if you wallet can handle the Miura's go there... butter pure and sweet butter.
@Abrfest: this spring find the big Demo Days in your area and hit them all.. go to Golfsmith and do same... dont worry about anything but which ones feel good. then start weeding them out on technicalities... your distance will be fine. Pay the $100 and get fit by an independent that comes highly recommended in your area; preferably one with access to a Trackman system.
I love this article. I just decided to buy a fitted set of clubs for myself after my mother died and left me a few dollars. I figured that every time I play I will think of her. Now, I was just fitted and was told that the new Taylormade R11's were the best club for me. 2* flat with dynamic gold X-100 shaft. Swing speed was 96-99 MPH. I just found this post and am now wondering 1) how do these clubs stand as far as CB vs MB? The have a bit of blade look as they are thinner than most CB. 2) should I maybe have tried a blade? My ball speed was around 126 MPH with these clubs.
I'm wondering if a "muscle cavity" brings the best of both worlds. The MP-30 is definitely not a true blade- it has a cavity, but it has a hemispheric mass on the sweet spot. I noticed the new MacGregor VIP irons have a very similar design. I think the current Mizuno "Diamond Muscle" design (like the MP63) is its latest version, but I really like the MP30.
When I do hit it on the sweet spot, it's obvious, feels great, and it doesn't jump distances. When I miss, it still goes a decent distance, but not as much as with a full cavity back. I'm appreciating the thinking that if you don't hit it flush, you may not want it to go very far because you tend to bring a lot of trouble around the green into play, like water, bunkers, slopes, etc.
You can imagine how much of a leap it was for me to go from Taylormade Burner 1.0 irons with stock regular to this set. I'm glad I did, and I have this thread to thank. It may even convince me to pick up a couple of SCOR clubs this spring.
If that mass behind the sweet spot controls the flex and jumpiness of the club face, then I'm sold.
Then again, I did try those Cleveland CG1 Tours, and they felt great too....
@rengawmg Thanks! that makes a lot of sense. Thanks for the input.
So I have decided to get the Titleist MB 712 irons. I am very excited, and I will update you all once I get them. Thanks everyone!
After reading this wonderful discussion I decided to put my Mp32s back in play after having switched to the more forgiving MX23s a couple of years ago. Have used them for 3 rounds now and I don't think I'll be going back to the MX23s anytime soon. Apart from the fact that they are just a thing of beauty to behold, in the bag and in the hands, my scoring has been good with the potential to get significantly better.
I use my 9 or PW for chipping mostly, depending on what sort of carry to roll ratio I'm trying to achieve and the more blade-like Mp32s so far have given me much more precision and an increase in up and downs. Had been fighting a hook with the Mx23s and that seems to have become much less of a problem (although that could well be due to the difference in shafts - Mx23s the light weighted Dynalites in regular and the mp32s in stiff dynamic gold). The misses? Mostly short but relatively straight, whereas with the 23s it would usually be left, with the odd flyer carrying everything.
I love this thread. Only been golfing a little over a year. Play a lot of scrambles with friends. So don't really have a clear index or handicap. I've shot 105 and 95 in the sam weekend. Been trying different sets of clubs I buy off ebay to experiment with. Callaway X14 pro,Big Bertha 08, Taylormade R9, Burner HT. Would have never bought a blade until I read this. Played my first round with Mizuno MP32s w/dynamic gold r300 shafts ,another ebay find, 200 bucks including shipping,,,,Wow,,, Shot a 42 on the front 9 at my local,my best ever. But more than that ,the feedback was awesome. I get it. The feel of sound.I already had the golf bug pretty bad but i'm really addicted now. The miss hits punished my hands more than they sprayed the woods. I was surprised. The 3 and 4 a little tricky but 5 up was great. I think these are the ones for me.They not only look great in the bagboy,There teaching you as you play. Definitely an eye opener for me .Thanks Terry .. B.J.
About my 4th entry here (so far). A great topic for our difficult sport. I played 1980 "butter-knife" blades on purpose, when I rtnd to golf after a 15-yr lay-off. Did so to improve ball striking - never played blades in my orig golf life (where i got as low as a 10 HC). I got interested in club-building and with a growing list of pains - figured it was prime time to test out the cavity back world. Built a set w reg graphite shafts and Avon grips to help assuage stingers and sore shoulders, hands, elbows. After long championing the use of blades by mid-cappers like me, I now can say that - while i still think that is FINE - the right set of cavity back irons can be great too. My Maltby CER 900 have a thinnish top line (a preference carried over from my Toney Pennas) and are not oversize, but they do help me with accuracy. Feedback is there, but subtle. A little less distance. Confidence overall is +++ and that's worth a lot.
I play Tommy Armour silver scot MB for past 2 seasons and I like this club alot. I went from TA 845s to MB...and not looking back. It makes me focus little more.
This year, I think I am going to experiment with different shaft to see if I can make little bit more improvements. Love working on my clubs.
I have been playing Callaway X-18s for the last 3 years. I just purchased some Ping Forged Ansers and I am having a hard time hitting them. I was getting really discouraged until I read this huge post. I have played 2 rounds with them and now I know what I need to do. I just need to keep playing and keep practicing. I am one of those ones that started playing golf and have taken it up as a challenge to keep trying to improve. I was going to take my old Cavity Backs out tomorrow morning for my 9am tee time but now I'm going to stick with the beautiful Ping Ansers and keep on keepin' on! Thanks everyone for all your posts, insight, motivation and inspiration. I hope to get my handicap from 16 to single digits this summer!!!
I'm really thinking hard about moving into the blades,not only do I love the look of them in the bag and at address, they offer much more feedback in the rounds I've demoed blades. I'm looking at getting the Titleist 712 MBs as I take my golf very seriously. I'm 14 and been playing for nearly 3yrs with cavity back irons. I just got a Titleist 910D2 9.5 and simply loving it. Considering I've dropped from 33 to 8 in less than 18 months shows I have the drive to improve my game. I've never been an awesome iron player, making all my shots around the greens. I'm an exceptional putter averaging around 27-29 putts per round, and rarely getting more than 30 putts. My main area of focus is iron play from outside 110m (130yrds). My goal is to be playing on Tour by the age of 19, as I live in Australia blades would be fantastic to the improvement of my game, due to the standard whether we get I can afford the mishits when I start using them.
Great information here ... I do have a question I have played blades my entire life and obviously from the very beginning learned how to squeeze the ball to get the ball high at a ver young age. During college I carried an estimated +4/+5 hc playing for a div 1 school. However that was 25 years ago and now hit miura tournament blades. I still play near scratch and can break par but have noticed my iron distance is 2-3 clubs less than a weekend 12-13 hc kind of guy using game improvement irons. My 7 iron distance is 165 yards carry on a trackman I am happy with it but was thinking of trying cb. So two questions concerns will I balloon a cb club (ap2 player cb) and second will I actually see a distance improvement? I know I will lose spin but I already spin the ball excessively so not a concern and I am not playing too many windswept courses so the need to flight the ball is not called for as often as when I played competitive events in lousy weather. (as I no longer compete so I only play on sunny nice days)
Guys.....a little off topic, but i am in the market for some blades as I agree, they provide any golfer the best feel and result when hitting good shots, no matter how few there may be depending on individual skill levels.......since i last bought blades 20 or so years ago the online market has grown greatly and would like to know if any online brans retailers are legitimate.....the retailer I am looking at is called My Gold Store and selling brand clubs at very low, alledgely wholesale prices.....as mosst of everything is designed locally and manufactured in asia region, i was wondering if this asian retailer was offering the real deal or carbon copies.....any insight would be appreciated....Thanks
I played one of my best rounds of golf (3 over par)on a 9-hole municipal course back in college using my dad's 1960's MacGregor Jack Nicholas blades (at the time they were 30 yr old clubs with slippery grips). V-grooves, dents, scratches and nicks. When the PING i-2 rage came around I was sucked into the cavity back marketing. After reading this article, I'm going to pull out those old MacGregors again and get them re-gripped. Should be fun :)
@GeoffP, if the prices are too good to be true for "brand" name clubs, they are probably clones. They won't play the same as true OEM clubs.
Net sonar - if ou are carrying a 7 iron 165 yards, you are not 2-3 clubs hotter than a 12 capper playing game imp iron. You are at most only 1 club shorter, I'd stick with what works for ou.
I've been using blades on the range. A set of Wilson Staff Dyna-power from the '60s. I also have been using a persimmon club off and on, on the course. The reasoning is that these clubs provide feedback with your swing. I use them as a training tool and it's helping my swing alot. I could play the Wilsons but they are a bit shorter then my normal clubs.
Does anyone know of any blades that affordable but still good. I live on a golf course and took up the game a little over a year ago. I have a set of Ti Techs cavity backs with other mix and match clubs. I have one bladde. Any feedback would be nice. Thanks
Webster .... Pick you up a set of Mizuno MP 32s off ebay for around 200 bucks. You will love them. Thats what I did under the wedge guys recommendation and I love them. If you need reg flex like I did , be patient, some will show up.
After reading this, I'm going back to my Macgregor VIP's from the ? 60's. I was playing Ram Laser Fx forged CB with pretty good results, but not like I used to play with the VIP's. I went out yesterday and hit 6/9 greens, 3 over with a double and a 3 putt with the first round since last august.
This has been fun to scroll through... I've been playing for over 50 yrs, starting in '61 at a time when as a kid you were given your dad's hand-me-down clubs. For me that was a set of MacGregor irons. Blades were the only thing around then, not sure Ping was making irons yet. To this day I've always considered a true forged blade as the ultimate game improvement club because you can tell what you've done (once you've learned enough to know a little...).
I've just been fitted, by Ping, recently and am considering using that information to have an old set of Hogan PC Blades adjusted to those specs... Does anyone know if there is a conflict between a fitting on the different types of clubs?
@family4golfer; a competent club fitter should have little trouble refitting your Hogan's to match or exceed the Ping clubs. Matching swing weight or MOI, shaft length, loft and lie are all standard fitting. I'd be interested to learn what you think of the refitted Hogans in comparison to the newer Pings. Good luck and fun golfing!
This is by far the best insight I've heard on blades vs. cavities I've read yet. I have been a decent golfer for a while (8 hcp), not scratch by any means but certainly someone that is capable of hitting some golf shots. I have always been tempted to try blades but have never gotten past the sales person that "talks sense" into me by asking, "Why would you make it any harder on yourself by playing a less forgiving club?" Well, just recently, I have finally taken some demo blades out on the course and I immediately found my answer. I have never felt shots like that before. My good shots felt great and were far more accurate on a consistent basis. I was in realistic birdie range far more often in my rounds than I have ever been before. I know that I will have my miss hits and I can live with that. Thats a "me" problem. My mishits weren't doing me any favors with my CBs either. I'm making the switch to MBs and I'll get those strokes back with more birdies. Its the birdies that keep you coming back anyways.
I think this is one reason good to split your clubs...on long end of the club, go with player's cavity back...and go with blades on the shorter irons.
As for cavity back, not the GI or SGI cavity back, but those of player's cavity back. Best of the both world, in my opinion.
Duke of Hazards says:
all right, I'm in, taking the plunge. mp-33's. sink or swim.
Finally people who are thinking like me , I'm a 24 hc been playing 10 months I was playing some Wilson 1200 the cheap ones cb s and my irons were my strong point in my game ish . So I went to American golf an tested out the mizuno jpx 800 pro and the Nike vr pro combo with the blades , I gotta say I was hitting the mizuno sweet 6 iron 196 yds straight but the Nike were 175 - 188 and not so straight obviously the sales bloke was trying to push the mizuno on me an didn't understand why I was wanting to make my game harder , what I told him was I want a club that's gonna make me better not do the work for me so to speak . I played a club comp with them today started out bad but got a bit better but the feedback was amazing , just gotta figure out what they are telling me lol
As a 50+ year old who has just taken up golf for a little over a year, I don't pretend to know much about this great sport except that it is extremely difficult. I purchased my first complete set of irons this past September - a used set of Adams A4r's. I believe they are considered game improvement clubs. Before then, I had been hitting balls in the yard with some Ben Hogan Radials (early 80's). This is what I know to be true: They don't make a club that will fix one of my shots that is really off the mark. I understand about the idea behind a weighted perimeter, lower center of gravity, higher moment of inertia and I believe there is truth to all of that as far as improving slightly mis-hit balls. But at my level, I still have to hit the ball cleanly - whether it's with GI clubs or 30 year old technology. I bought into the new GI option but I have my doubts. One of these days I'm going to leave the Adams set at home a play a round with those old Hogans that feel so much better to hit with.
Miles Howe says:
Currently playing a set of cavity backs and scoring mid 80's. Never been really happy with the feel of these so I recently bought a used set of Mizuno MP68's. Will let you know how I get on.
I recently purchased a set of Titleist 695 MB irons and let me tell you they were the best irons I ever hit! I can't believe the difference in shot dispersion compared to my Titleist 712 AP2's. I had a few mishits but even so they still went the distance. I have read so many forums on different sites saying you have to be a scratch golfer to play blades. This may be true in some cases but not from my experience. I am a believer that as long as you have a decent swing and are willing to put in the work you can hit any club out there. Thanks for this forum opening my eyes.
It all depends on two major factors. Your commitment level, and your current skill level. If you are highly committed that means you practice 3+ times a week, go on course at least twice a month (I'm thinking in terms of people who work). High skill means you have a consistent swing and fast swing speeds
High Commitment / High Skill - > blades or whatever you want to hit
Mid Commitment / High Skill - > Combo of CB and Blades
Low Commitment / High Skill - > CBs
High Commitment / Mid Skill - > CBs
Mid Commitment / Mid Skill - > GI/CB combo (does this even exist?)
Low Commitment / Mid Skill - > GI
High Commitment / Low Skill - > CBs or GI or GI/CB combo
Mid Commitment / Low Skill - > GI
Low Commitment / Low Skill - > GI
And hybrids should be used to replace any distance gaps or clubs you can't hit at any level. Even pros do it. They need maximum consistency, and hybrids, since they play them, I think can definitely provide that over a 2 or 3 iron.
obviously the above is just my opinion. I've been thinking about this alot lately so just wanted to add to the discussion. The suggestions are formulated to bring a balance of improving your game and enjoying it at the same time. I've seen beginners on the range, and they would be lucky to make contact with the ball, much less on the sweet spot. Not to mention their swing. Clubs are really the least of their worries at that level, but a big head doesn't hurt.
I play with blades since I started with golf (4years ago). before I bought my first iron set I spent about two hours on testing day. They was reluctant to lend me any blades when I told I am a beginner, but I was very opinionated to try them. It is true that it was a little bit harder to hit them to the sweetspot but since I hit the blade on the sweetspot first time I have known that I want to buy blades and I will never want anything else. In my opinion the blades is the best choice for everybody who is ready to play golf at least 1 time per week or often. For those players anything else than blades is just marketing lying because the producers want to sell more and more golf clubs.
I have played with cheap second hand blades all my life. The golf pro has been bitching at me about how handicap golfers can't hit blades. He persuaded me to spend $1000 on a new set of cavity backs as they will lower my score.
My assessment is as follows.
Yes cavity backs are easy to hit
Yes cavity backs do make the ball go straighter
Yes cavity backs do make the ball go higher
Yes 'modern technology' in cavity backs together with stronger lofts and longer shafts do make the ball go further
I don't want the trajectory of my ball flight to be always high
I don't want the direction of my ball flight to always go straight
I don't want to be second guessing the yardage of each club give or take 8 yards, sometimes 15 yards.h
I want to shape my shots even with a wedge
I want to know the precise carry distance of each club
I want to hit low, mid and high shots
I'm reverting back to my $20 second hand set of old blades.
Another point. As I have grown up playing with blades striking a 2 or 3 iron is normal for me because I have developed good timing and technique. My golf pro (the one who is against handicap golfers using blades) couldn't hit my 2 or 3 iron as he is used to swinging his cavity backs as hard and as fast as he can which brings me onto the point that cavity backs are swing destroying clubs. As many people have already pointed this out, it's in the golf equipment manufacturers' interest to make sure golfers do not improve their handicap otherwise they can't keep selling new models every year which promise to make your ball go straighter, higher, longer.
I think all novice golfers should start the game learning with blades to gain a better understanding of true golf. I'm not knocking freedom of choice but those who start playing golf using cavity backs and stick with cavity backs refusing to try blades are missing out on understanding and feeling real golf shots.
Wilson FG17's...........ive bought a few sets, ive sold a few sets but to be honest this time they stay in the bag. They may be old but I love them.
I became an avid golfer in late May, 2012 (used to golf zero to two times a year) and my handicap hovered between 23.6 and 21.9 until I switched to blades on May 1st, 2013 and my handicap plummeted to an 11.9 as of Nov. 15. I do not believe this would have been possible without the feedback they give me. As one poster noted. Blades are SHOT improvement clubs!
I am an Indonesian, 28 HC, 30 yo, 159 cm, 90 kg, male, left eyed, play right handed and put left handed, playing using normal weight grip (applying normal grip when the club rested head down on my right shoulder, equal to extreme strong grip for most occasion). I play mostly low pull fade, and my error mostly hooked "torpedoes". SS 85 - 95 MPH.
I use to play with Spalding Molitor, Callaway Hawk Eye, and currently using Paragon R600 3 - SW + Golden Bear Claw GW and LW. Shaft True Temper R300 from my Molitor.
My friend, a fitter, suggest me Lynx Bomba, but, out of curiousity, I also tried United SBB1 Tour, and that the best feel I get on swing, miss hit aside, I never hit the ball that good, and with such a good feedback to my hands! No more hooks!
That begin my "tour", trying several blades / available here.
Long story short, my fitter suggest me a used Mizuno MP-59 + NS Pro 950 Stiff, 2nd hand, Full set, at $250 (new at $ 1250). So far, all blades I tried, except MP-6, are Great! Will test it shortly. :)
Whoops, my bad, the suggested club should be Mizuno MP-69. Don't know how to edit those, sorry, dear admin. :)
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