Whenever I talk about irons in my golf lessons, students invariably ask which style is best-cavity back or blade. The cavity back has its advantages and its disadvantages. It also has its fans.
Golfers, however, shouldn't choose an iron style because it's popular in the clubhouse, since the style many not fit their game. The key to iron styles, as I've said in my golf tips, is finding what's right for you.
Cavity backs are popular these days-and for good reason. A cavity back has a small amount of metal removed from the back of its clubface, producing a small hole. Removing the metal re-distributes the clubhead's weight around the edges of the clubface, father away from the center of gravity (COG).
Re-positioning the COG creates a much more forgiving iron, with a larger sweet spot along the blade. Thus, a mis-hit with a cavity back is more likely to stay on target than a similar shot with a blade. Why? Because the cavity back twists less in a player's hand when the ball is mis-hit. A mis-hit with a cavity back is also more likely to travel farther than with a blade.
Cavity backs are "game improvement'' clubs, offering special features that help golfers play better, like an oversize head. I've talked about these clubs in my golf tips. Players with high and mid golf handicaps prefer cavity backs, although some low handicappers and touring pros use them.
Blade irons are not as popular as cavity backs. A blade iron features a solid clubface back, distributing the weight more evenly across the clubface, closer to the clubhead's COG. Thus, a blade has a much smaller sweet spot than a cavity back. A blade is also much less forgiving than a cavity back because it twists more in a player's hands on mis-hits.
Distributing the weight evenly across the clubface, however, creates an iron with better control and more feel. These irons need to be hit nearly perfectly, though, to avoid a bad shot. Thus, it takes a lot of practice and experience to hit these irons well, something I work on in my golf lessons with low handicappers.
The blade iron is known as a more traditional iron because it lacks the cavity back's special game improvement features. Players with low golf handicaps and touring pros prefer the blade style iron because the added control and feel enables them to shape their shots better-a necessity when playing on challenging courses.
Manufacturers make cavity backs and blades in cast and forged versions. The terms "cast" and "forged" refer to the manufacturing process used to form the iron head's shape.
Casting turns the metal from which the iron head is made into a molten liquid, which is then poured into a mold to form the iron head. It's then left to cool.
Forging involves pounding or compressing the metal, in it's solid form, from which the iron head is made into the desired shape. Other machining and drilling steps complete production.
The manufacturing process has no impact on the iron's capabilities, as I've explained in previous golf tips. If you have two irons, one forged and one cast, of exactly the same shape, with the same center of gravity, same loft, same grip, hitting the same ball, and so on, the shots will travel the same distances 99 percent of the time. And the players won't know which iron head is cast and which forged.
You need to find the iron style that best fits your game, as I point out in my golf instruction. If you're a less experienced golfer, the cavity back is probably a wiser choice, since you're more likely to mis-hit a ball. If you're a more experienced player, then a blade is probably your best choice, since it provides more control and better feel for shaping shots.
The best way of choosing a style that fits your needs is to test it out. Hit a few balls with each style. If one style feels better than another does, and you have confidence in it, that's the style that's right for you.