The topic of “Which is better – Blade Irons or Cavity Backs” has been an ongoing debate for some time now, and it is still ongoing; even different mediums such as internet forums, golf magazines, and TV debates have tried to clear up which is better. However, this question is still subjective, so it does not have a simple answer.
This is why no conclusion has even been met – in order to answer the question it must be based on a number of things that relate to the golfer that will be using them, and this means it will vary from person to person – swing style and training, training aids, which golf balls they are using and so on.
So does this mean it is down to preference?
As the popularity of golf was rising the main complaint from new golfers was that it had a steep learning curve. It wasn’t enough to simply just to try and hit the ball towards the flag. Cavity backs were seen – and marketed – as a much easier alternative, so it was a lot simpler for anyone to start playing golf.
In order to understand why they are seen as simpler to use, it is important to understand the differences between the two;
- Cavity backs are made by pouring liquid steel into casts in order to replicate the same from a mold. This means they are identical down to even the logo and manufacturer labels. They tend to have a large club head, and this means that the ‘sweet spot’ is also bigger. This means that if you do not quite hit the ball correctly, you are likely to find it is somewhat self-correcting and still ends up near where you had planned. This is called ‘forgiveness’.
- Blade irons, on the other hand, are forged from steel and are usually chrome plated. They have a smaller head and are far less forgiving then Cavities as any mis-hit shot will show in the distance and flight of the ball.
From this, it is easy to tell why some golfers prefer to use cavity backs and on paper, they would appear to be the smart choice, so what lets them down? It is correct to say that they are easier to get the hang of and you can achieve a decent level of play and consistency, but on the other hand they are not without their downfalls.
First of all, when you peak when using cavities you will find it harder to correct any problems in your swing as the irons, by their nature, will make it harder to identify any problems – the forgiveness in them will make it look like you are hitting perfect every time. As a result, you are likely to become lazy and stagnant so your game will not improve beyond this point.
Blades, on the other hand, demand attention and even if you are a master golfer you will be able to notice any slight alterations you will need to make. It will keep you on your toes, and as a result, you will be getting better and better with each game. Also, as mentioned above, cavity backs have over-sized heads so when it comes down to your short game it can be hard to know which adjustments you might need to make. Even with due care knowing the result of a small change might be hard to notice. However, with game improvement irons, you are in full control, so this won’t be a problem.
As asked above – is it down to preference then?
The debate on which is best will surely continue for several more years, at least, so the usual advice is to play with whichever one suits you – everyone is different, so there is no blanket response without knowing your swing, the golf balls you use, your training aids and of course your commitment to improving.
If you are determined to be a golf master, and you want to know your game inside-out then choose blade irons as you are going to learn much more by doing so – but bear in mind it will probably take more time and dedication to get there. If you are new, recently learning or just want to play for fun then cavity backs are a safe choice. If you want to experience both then there is no harm in using a set of mix-and-match irons – you don’t have to use one or the other, and many people are not using some blades and cavities together.
You can always change from cavity backs to blades once you feel you are not getting any better. Be warned, though, that most people will take a performance hit if they have used cavities for some time. This is only natural and practice will soon fix this and have you playing a better game.