Friday, May 13, 2011

I've Learned: Golf Irons - Cavity vs. Blade

Getting back into golf after taking off eight years of consistent play, and doing it in a competitive manner I've decided I need to learn more about the game and the equipment.

25 years ago when I graduated high school my dad took me to a local golf shop and bought me a set of new irons.  The first time I ever hit those clubs out on the course my life as a golfer was completely changed.  Thing is until now I never asked myself why.

Back in 1986 cavity backs were exploding onto the scene.  Ping was all the rage at the time with their cavity backs.  Many of the best high school guys I went up against were playing Pings and so it was no surprise that I gravitated to a set of cavity back clubs myself the Ram Laser.

Cavity back irons are made specifically to help high handicap golfers.  The cavity creates a much larger sweet spot on the club, so a miss hit won't go as far as a perfect hit, but it will go.  Suddenly those really bad toe shots are actually good shots.  For a new or high handicap golfer the difference between playing a blade club and a cavity club is incredible.

But there is a drawback to the cavity back irons.  For one thing you lose the ability to control the ball the way you can with a blade iron.  So if you are a low handicapper and you want to play a draw, you don't really have the control that you would have playing that draw with a blade.  Also if you can consistently hit the sweet spot of the club, you are not going to get the same consistency with a cavity back that you will with a blade iron.  With a blade you'll get the same spot, same distance every time on the sweet spot.  Not so with a cavity back which can have 10 ft. swings in distance or location.   

It should also be noted that a lot of people feel cavity back clubs can teach you bad habits.  With a blade you are forced to learn to hit the ball consistently on the sweet spot.  Not so with cavity backs and so there are some out there who feel cavity backs can teach bad habits.  Personally I don't buy into this as you still have to learn consistency, just consistency to hit a larger sweet spot.  Once you move to a blade, then you have to get more precise.   

The common strategy toward irons in 2011 is this.  When you first start playing golf you start with cavity backs.  As you improve your game you start to bring in some blades from say the 6 iron to the wedges.  Those closer in shots is where you really want the most control and accuracy.  You may keep a blend like that forever, or if you improve enough you may want to go all blades.

Next post will cover an iron's shaft.

1 comment:

  1. This was very helpful. I've never seen this issue explained so clearly before.