12/18/2016 When diving into my research for the difference between blades and cavity back irons, it was amazing to look at how much the game has changed.
Do you consider yourself to be an old school golfer or a new school one?
Do you long for the throwback years of the original Big 3, Hogan’s steely intensity, 1-irons and classic courses like Oakmont and Winged Foot? Or do you love the grip it and rip it, tight shirts in loud colors, the new Big 3 of McIlroy, Spieth and Day and teeing it up at Chambers Bay or Erin Hills?
Maybe you’re somewhere in the middle.
Regardless, if you’re of a certain age, your golf clubs have come a long way in a relatively short amount of time. Just look at the difference in irons.
Blades and cavity back:
I remember growing up playing persimmon woods and blade irons because that’s what everybody played and you had no choice. They weren’t very forgiving and certainly weren’t revolutionary at all. They were the same clubs your dad or brothers were playing.
Then clubmakers went looking for a more cost-effective way to manufacture clubs and make them easier for the average player to hit.
Muscle back irons gave way to cavity backs.
Now this was revolutionary.
With a cavity back, the weight on the clubhead was moved to the edges and made them far more forgiving and easier to hit. A mishit wouldn’t suffer the same distance or direction loss as it would with a blade. They were also easier to get off the ground. Clearly, cavity backs were to be the standard club moving into the next few decades.
But if you’re one of those old school golfers, don’t toss out your blades just yet. Blades do have certain advantages over cavity backs besides just looking cool.
PGA pro Mark Crossfield (check him out at markcrossfieldgolf.com) tested a set of Mizuno MP5 irons (blades) and a set of Mizuno JPX EZ (cavity) to see if maybe the differences between the two aren’t quite as severe as you might think.
He hit a bunch of 6-irons with both blades and cavity backs.
The results were rather interesting in what performs better. Watch:
Most interesting right off the bat was the average distance for the two clubs.
The MP5 blades averaged 162 yards. But the JPX EZ cavity was just one yard better. You would think the cavity would be much better.
Blade Average distance: 162 yards
Cavity Average distance: 163 yards
The range of distance was interesting as well. The longest shot with the blade was 169 yards and all the shots were within 8 yards.
Blade Longest: 169 yards
Cavity Longest: 167 yards
But the best hit with the cavity 167 yards, while the worst was 158 yards. Nearly a 10-yard range.
Blade Range: 8 yards
Cavity Range: 10 yards
Now granted the sample of shots Crossfield used was pretty small.
He hit about 10 shots with each club, but what he concluded based on it was the blades weren’t all that different from the cavity back irons. The numbers were very similar and the drop off wasn’t really there.
An important thing to note, in my opinion, is Mr. Crossfield’s pedigree. He’s a teaching professional who can hit the center of the clubface with more regularity than the average golfer. Of course, a blade outperformed a cavity back. Cavity backs are designed for more off-center hits and for forgiveness.
An important thing to note, in my opinion, is Mr. Crossfield’s pedigree.
Now, I’m not saying you should go buy a sack of blades either.
You need to find clubs that work for you and your swing. Low handicappers may prefer blades for better feedback and the ability to shape their shots better. Higher handicappers may seek out cavity backs for more forgiveness.
The only true way to find out is to try them for yourself and see what school you fall into.
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