Blade irons appeal to many golfers but they are not for everyone. While not for beginners they have a lot of benefits for better golfers. If you are going to invest in them, make sure you select the best blade irons that will enhance your game and improve your score. We will give you some relevant information and take you through our top 5 picks.
Best Blade Irons
- Editor's Choice: Callaway Golf Men's Apex CF16 Irons Set
- Best Blade Irons for the Money: Wilson Staff C300 Set of Golf Club Irons
- Most Forgiving Blade Irons: TaylorMade Golf P790 Men's Iron Set
- Best blade Irons For Feel: Wilson Staff Golf Men’s Right Handed Blades
- Best for Increased Ball Speed: TaylorMade Golf M6 Irons
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What are blade irons?
Golf clubs have changed and evolved dramatically over the long history of the sport. Around the middle of the 19th century, hard rubber balls started being used and this resulted in changes in the clubs.
The clubface of choice was metal, generally forged by a blacksmith in those days. They were thin and sharp hence they became known as blades.
For a long time they were the only style of iron available but over time, easier to play and more forgiving irons came onto the market.
Blades are now generally only used by better players and pros.
Blade irons vs cavity back: Key Differences
Original blades were forged and were very thin and unforgiving. They have small sleek heads.
Over the years, technology and materials have improved dramatically. Modern blades are designed to be a lot more forgiving than the early forged models.
The blade irons available today have more weight behind the lower part of the face. They are infinitely easier to hit than early blades. These modern blades with the additional weight are often referred to as muscle backs.
- Compact head
- Fairly basic design
- Less weight behind face
- Thin top line
- Thin soles
- Accurate feedback
- Good control
- Good feel
- Many golfers prefer the look of blade irons
- Generally marginally less distance
The popularity of golf resulted in a very lucrative but highly competitive market for golf equipment. Most golfers were and still are prepared to invest in equipment that will give them an edge and help to improve their game for a better score.
Golf equipment manufacturers spent vast amounts of money and effort to create clubs that were easier for players at all levels to hit. The bulk of the market is, however, the average golfer.
Ping was the first to produce a quality iron that was cast in iron.
Molds are used and molten metal is poured in to produce irons faster, at a lower cost and with more freedom to experiment with shape, weight and a range of other factors.
The cavity back was soon formed where the weight could be positioned to the outer edges, the base, or a range of combinations of the two.
The result was not only less expensive irons but also irons that were infinitely more forgiving.
Many of them also hit slightly further than blade irons. Another advantage is the design could be tweaked for different styles of golfers.
- More sophisticated design options
- Perimeter weighting
- Wider soles
- Larger topline
- Less expensive to produce (in most cases)
- Highly forgiving
- Good for distance
- Reduced control
- Less workability
- Not nearly as much feedback on mishits
- Sound and feel not as good as most blade irons
Different types of irons
There are so many types of iron designs and technologies these days that the difference is not always clear.
While we have explained the difference between blades and cavity backs as well as forged and cast irons, there are a few other distinctions.
Cavity back irons can be standard irons or fall into one of the following categories:
- Game Improvement Irons
These are a bit larger than traditional cavity back irons with perimeter weighting and a good loft. They are designed to give a good combination of forgiveness and distance.
- Super Game-Improvement Irons
These are designed for beginners and are larger with a thick sole and top line. Their main objective is forgiveness. Most of the weight is behind the clubface. You will sacrifice a bit of distance but they are more forgiving.
Are blade irons harder to hit?
Most people will automatically say yes, blades are harder to hit. The truth is, if you hit correctly they are no harder to hit than other types of irons.
The difference is when you do not strike the ball perfectly that you see the difference.
Cavity back or game improvement irons are much more forgiving.
Often you will mishit a ball and barely notice it because of this forgiveness. Mishit a blade and you will know immediately.
Unless you are a top golfer the odds are that you mishit fairly often.
For this reason, blades will make your game more difficult but that is not to say they are more difficult to hit.
Who are they suited to?
Golf is exceptionally rewarding but can also be a frustrating sport. It is always wise to choose clubs according to your skill level otherwise you will simply add to your frustration.
Blades have a lot of appeal. Most golfers like the look of good blades and the classical style they represent. We have spoken about the benefits above and this is something that many players want.
The reality is that the majority of amateurs do not strike the ball consistently near the center of the clubface. If this is the case then blades are probably not a good idea just yet.
If you are a low handicapper and the majority of your shots are struck in or close to the center of the face then you can certainly look at blade irons.
If you really want the control, feedback, and workability and are prepared to sacrifice some forgiveness then, by all means, try blades.
Do blade irons go further?
As a general rule, no. This is a common misconception. In most cases, a cavity back iron should hit further than a blade iron. The difference, however, is marginal.
The range of modern variations of both types of irons, blades, and muscle backs, is staggering.
This means that in some cases a good blade built for distance would hit further than a cavity back that is designed more for forgiveness.
Blade Irons Features To Look For
This will largely depend on your needs and skills. We have run through the advantages of the various irons so you need to decide on your priorities to choose the best option for you.
Here are a few important factors to consider:
Other factors such as looks and budget might also be worth considering.
Callaway has aimed for the two main things golfers want from their blade irons, distance, and playability. Callaway has had a lot of success with its popular Cup Face technology.
The 3 to 7 irons have this feature which allows for greater face flex which should produce faster ball speeds and therefore distance. Callaway also claims that this technology improves forgiveness, something that is welcomed in a blade iron.
The CF in the name indicates the Cup Face technology.
The advanced forging, what Callaway calls “precise quadruple net forging” combined with the 1025 mild carbon steel and precision milling are all designed to further improve the soft feel that most players find in the Apex CF16 Irons.
As with earlier models of the Callaway Apex Blades, they have used a multi-material design. Six separate materials have been used.
The body is 1025E Forged Carbon Steel while the face is 17-4 Stainless Steel. The combination of the various metals used is designed to improve the feel of the blades while producing a pleasant sound.
Most better players find the CG, progressive offset sole, notch weighting, and other technologies work well together to deliver good playability and control. Most also enjoy the ball flight produced.
While beginners and intermediate players might find the look at address intimidating most better players find it appealing and classy.
The irons have a subtle but generally appealing matte satin chrome finish.
All in all, the combination of technologies, performance, and the looks made this stand out as our editor’s choice.
Modern blade irons are not always known for great value for money but the Wilson Staff C300 irons deliver quality at an affordable price.
While these irons give the distance you expect from good blades they are more forgiving than many other options. This is great for players wanting to progress to blades but still need forgiveness.
The Power Holes, a popular Wilson trademark, is one of the key technologies that make these blades so popular. They consist of slots that surround the face perimeter.
Wilson has increased from 8 to 10 slots to make the technology more effective.
The slots are designed to allow the TE031 Urethane to practically float. This gives more face flex and a larger sweet spot. The result is powerful ball speeds and greater forgiveness.
Speaking of the face, it consists of a High Strength 17-4 steel chassis with a tough Rockwell Hardness C40 insert. It is a fair size face for a blade with good strength. The thin face will further help with speed, forgiveness, and control.
The appearance appeals to many golfers but some dislike the look of the power holes.
Forgiveness is generally not something one would expect from blade irons. Cavity backed irons are simply more forgiving.
The TaylorMade P790 might not be as forgiving good cavity backs, but by blade iron standards they are exceptional. They still would not be recommended for high handicappers but if you want a players iron with forgiveness these are worth a look.
TaylorMade has had great success with the P790 forged irons and they are top sellers.
They are not entirely forged and what they did was use a full forged 4140 Carbon Steel face that covers the cast body which is 8620 carbon steel. The face is strong but ultra-thin.
This design left a hollow and SpeedFoam has been inserted through a screw in the toe. This gives it support allowing for the thin face and gives what many golfers consider a really good soft feel with pleasing feedback.
For extra power and speed on the 3 to 7 irons, there is a Cut-Thru Speed Pocket. This allows for a thinner face with greater flex resulting in better energy transfer and speed.
The appearance is basic but has the classic stylish blade look.
At address, it does not make you quiver like some of the thinner blades on the market. The is arguably one of the easiest blade irons to hit.
There is no doubt that feel is important for all players on all clubs but never more so for blade irons and the market they are aimed at.
The precision milling and Diamond Scoreline Pattern help give these blades a feel that is appreciated by many players. It improves consistency and control, also very important in blades.
Another interesting feature is the Fluid Feel Hosel which is an evolution of earlier Wilson technology. It reduces weight in the hosel which allowed them to create a wider sole and a larger head.
This helps with forgiveness, turf interaction, and playability. The Optimized Sole Camber is a bit more rounded to further help improve turf interaction.
Looks-wise most would agree that these are attractive blades with the traditional but classical players blade look.
The second TaylorMade blade irons to make our top 5, the M6 Irons are built for speed.
Many purists might argue that, like the P790s, these are not true blade irons. The M6 irons have a cavity back with a Thru-Slot Speed Pocket. What is different here is the Speed Bridge. This bridge connects the back of the club to the top line.
This fairly unique design allows TaylorMade to fill the hollow with SpeedFoam.
Not only does this give an improved feel and response but it provides support for a super-thin clubface. The 1.75mm face also incorporates inverted cone technology for maximum energy transfer, good speeds, and, what many golfers agree, impressive distances.
Super-strong forged 4140 carbon steel has been used and tungsten weighting has been positioned for optimal inertia and energy transfer.
The face design allows for more flex which improves forgiveness across the face.
That should give you more insight into the advantage and disadvantages of blade irons. While we have presented a range of leading options in different categories the standout winner, our editor’s choice is the Callaway Golf Men’s Apex CF16 Irons Set. They tick all the right boxes for what you want from the best blade irons.
They deliver good distance and have a soft feel with great playability and control. They are pretty forgiving as blade irons go and most agree that they look great.
Give some thought to your specific needs to choose the best option for yourself.
The Editorial Staff at Golfible is a team of golfing geeks and enthusiasts led by founder Alec Rose. All have the same obsession with golf tech, equipment updates and avoiding rain on the course.