Golf irons change every year. Whether you are a low handicap golfer or an average player, chances are you have had the difficult decision of choosing blades vs. cavity back golf irons.
Although this can be a tough choice, ball flight, performance, and overall scoring are greatly impacted by the type of golf iron you choose. So, if you are on the fence about cavity back clubs and their feel or are concerned about a cavity back and its forgiveness, we have all the answers you need.
What is a cavity back iron?
The cavity back iron is made from several pieces of material, and they have a hole or cavity to make them more forgiving, lighter in weight, and stable at impact. With a cavity back iron, you can expect plenty of ball speed, high ball flight, and something that would be considered a game-improvement iron.
With the cavity back clubs, you often have more forgiveness built in because of the variety of materials and the manufacturing process.
- Lower center of gravity
- More forgiving on off-center strikes
- Stable at impact
- High flying irons
- More affordable
- Available in both game improvement and super game improvement iron options
- Not as much workability
- Often don’t feel as pure at impact
What is a blade iron?
The blade iron in golf can also be called the muscle back iron. It is constructed from a single piece of steel to create a pure feel at impact, tremendous workability, and a penetrating and consistent ball flight. For most golfers, the blade iron is considerably less forgiving.
Many players prefer a blade iron in the shorter irons as they can be controlled more easily. Better ball strikers like the blade club head’s feedback at impact.
Be sure to check out our recent post on the Best blade irons.
- Great feel and is a perfect fit for lower handicap players
- Penetrating ball flight that can be controlled
- Extreme accuracy in the lower irons
- Clean look and thinner top line on most clubs
- More expensive
- No extra forgiveness
Cavity back vs. Blades
The most significant difference between the cavity back iron and blade iron is that the cavity back is manufactured by combining several materials that allow for a larger sweet spot and a forgiving cavity. Blade irons are more streamlined, producing a lower launch angle and more precise performance than the cavity back design.
When analyzing the different types of irons on the market, it’s impossible to say that the blade is the hands-down winner or that cavity backs are better. Instead, you need to look at the difference between blades and cavity backs regarding distance, feel, forgiveness, pricing, and spin.
Cavity backs have a large sweet spot, more room for error, and a higher probability of increasing the total distance that players get. However, most cavity back irons also have lower lofts than blades. Cavity back irons will often have a pitching wedge loft of 42 degrees, whereas the blade will have 46 or 47 degrees of loft.
The loft is a major factor in determining total distance in a modern iron. It is even more impressive when you look at a professional golfer using a higher lofted iron and still getting 40 yards more distance than the amateurs.
If you need distance in your golf game, the best golf clubs are the cavity back irons.
Do you lose distance with blade irons?
Switching from the cavity back to the blade irons will potentially cause a loss in the distance. With the cavity back being a more forgiving iron with a larger sweet spot, there is more room for error. A missed cavity back iron shot may travel five yards less, whereas a missed blade iron shot could travel 15-20 yards less.
In addition, it is important to remember that blade irons are often higher in loft. The higher loft helps golfers playing traditional blades to control where the ball stops on the green and improve overall accuracy.
How much distance do you lose with blade irons?
Blade irons can cause golfers to lose about 10 to 15 yards of distance, depending on the strike’s accuracy and the golf club’s specifications. The distance loss could be even more significant for a beginner golfer playing with blade golf clubs. For mid-handicappers, expect the difference to be around 8 yards or so.
Golfers that have always played blades will not necessarily lose distance; the only loss is shown when comparing the maximum distance of a cavity back to the maximum distance of a blade.
Most blade irons have better spin rates than a cavity iron. However, spin is greatly impacted by the particular design of the iron heads and the shaft you have in the set of clubs you play.
Spin rates being high in the short irons can help get a golf ball to stop on the green. However, too much spin can also create golf shots that fly incredibly high.
As iron sets continue to evolve (both blade and cavity), expect to see some lower spin rates in the longer irons and higher spin rates in the shorter irons.
The feel of the blade iron almost always beats the feel of the cavity back. However, the feel is terrible when you are playing with a blade iron and hit a poor shot. Blades give golfers so much more feedback than a cavity back iron, and when you do it right, the blade irons let you know.
The cavity back is generally referred to as distance irons over feel, but new advancements in forged technology have helped improve some of the feel in the cavity back irons.
Blade irons are almost more expensive than the cavity back type of club. Blade irons undergo an extensive manufacturing process that appeals to elite golfers who care about precision, accurate shots, and a better feel.
Expect to pay more for blade irons, but you will potentially be able to keep them in the bag a bit longer than the cavity back.
Cavity back irons offer excellent forgiveness. The design features a lower center of gravity, more room for off-center shots, and typically a higher initial launch angle. Although skilled golfers can use the cavity back iron, they don’t always need this extra forgiveness.
Most cavity back irons are considered game improvement clubs because of the forgiveness they offer.
Are blades better than cavity backs?
Blades are better for golfers looking for control, workability, and spin. Cavity back irons are better for forgiveness, distance, and a lower dispersion rate. Cavity back irons are so forgiving that the average golfer will have difficulty hitting a fade or a draw, as the shot will nearly correct itself.
See our post here on how to hit a Low fade vs high fade.
If your game has progressed to the point that you can feel and see these differences between blades and cavity backs, it may be time to go for a Golf club fitting. Many players, even those on the PGA Tour, are looking for long irons in the cavity back style with more forgiveness and stronger lofts.
As the set of irons transitions into the shorter irons, switching to the blade style is often the better choice.
Are blades harder to hit than cavity back?
Blades are harder to hit than a cavity back as the club head is often smaller, resulting in a smaller sweet spot. In addition, the cavity back irons are perimeter weighted and built with a lower center of gravity. However, it’s important to note that playing with blades well will produce a better feel and more precision.
This is one of those situations where you will have to determine the level of your game of golf, and which sets of irons can give you what you need on the course.
Are blades more accurate than cavity backs?
Blades are more accurate than cavity backs when they are struck well. When struck well, a traditional blade iron is highly workable and puts the player in full control. Cavity backs are more accurate because they have more forgiveness than blade-style irons.
For golfers that only play occasionally, it can be hard to consistently hit the center of the blade-style irons. The blade is a small piece of metal, and making consistent contact is hard. The more center hits you have, the better the chance of getting the ball close to the hole.
Who should play with bladed irons?
An experienced golfer and consistent ball striker who can make contact with the center of the clubface will benefit most from the blade irons. Many professional players like the design of blade irons, and the performance helps them get feedback on mishits and the accuracy they need on the course.
Who should play with cavity back irons?
Cavity back irons are a great choice for players that need more forgiveness and a little extra distance. Even a more experienced golfer will likely use a cavity back design in their long irons to help promote a better ball flight and more forgiveness. Cavity back irons have come a long way in both looks and performance; some can even feel like blades at times.
Check out our post on the average Distances for golf clubs.
The differences between blades vs. cavity back irons are getting less noticeable. With modern manufacturing and materials, these lines will be blurred even further in the coming years. However, your decision to play cavity backs or blades still comes down to feel, precision, and skill level.