A blade iron is historically known as being the classic iron style with impressive performance and feel.
Cavity backs are known for their forgiveness and game improvement capabilities.
However, there is more to these two styles that golfers should know.
Some players that could be using a blade are afraid of the performance it will have.
Others that, without a doubt, could benefit from a cavity back think that it will lack in its features and capabilities.
Let’s take a more in-depth look at blade irons vs. cavity back irons and how your game could be impacted by making a switch.
Blade Irons Vs. Cavity Back (Differences, Pros, Cons)
Blade Irons Vs. Cavity Back
The main difference between a blade iron and a cavity back is the way the golf club is manufactured.
With a blade, iron manufacturers take one solid piece of steel and create a golf club head.
With a cavity back iron, the club can be put together with multiple components and is very often hollow.
The manufacturing process differences create many unique features in these irons and will cause them to perform differently.
Depending on what type of player you are and what matters to you in a golf iron, you need to be careful about which to choose.
Here are the main differences between blade irons and cavity backs.
Distance in a golf iron is not only created by the materials used in the club head but also by the loft on the golf clubs.
Several years ago, golf manufacturers realized they could lower the lofts on the golf irons but still give players plenty of forgiveness.
This has mostly been done thanks to improvements in the center of gravity technology.
A typical pitching wedge that was 47 or 48 degrees now may be 44 degrees.
This difference in loft still allows players to hit the ball high, but now it travels considerably further.
When golfers update clubs and see that their new 9 iron flies as far as their old pitching wedge, this should come as no surprise.
Total distance is important when deciding which clubs to use, and each manufacturer will set their clubs with a loft that they think improves performance.
When you look at the overall lofts of blade irons compared to the game improvement cavity back irons, the blade irons have higher lofts.
These higher lofts improve precision on the golf course and allow players a bit more accuracy in the shots they hit.
However, this does cause some golfers issues with distance.
Blade irons are not as long as cavity back irons, but it’s usually because of the loft settings and a slight decrease in overall forgiveness.
Distance is important, within reason.
If you are a player with plenty of swing speed and can hit your 7 iron more than 150 yards, does it matter if a blade is a few yards shorter than a cavity back?
This is why you see many strong golfers choose the blade iron; they know they can still get the distance they need from the club.
When it comes to forgiveness, the cavity back iron is almost always going to win.
Cavity back irons were created out of a need for more forgiveness for the average player.
The club has a large sweet spot, plenty of room for error, and allows golfers the chance to be human!
With a cavity back iron, even if you miss the center of the clubface, you will still get a good amount of distance and performance.
However, forgiveness is not always a good thing.
Let’s take the example of a golfer starting to lower their handicap and realizing that they will need to hit a draw and a fade to attack pin locations.
In this instance, it’s not that forgiveness is a problem; it’s that it will inhibit golfers from working the ball.
When you try to hit a shot a little left or right, the club steps in and straightens things out for you.
Of course, it takes an advanced level of play to get to this point, but it still can be frustrating.
At the same time, that forgiveness is not always a positive for some golfers; it’s also an issue with blade irons.
Blades are considered to be entirely unforgiving.
Many golfers think that they need to have a low handicap and a perfect swing to play with a blade iron.
A blade is indeed a bit more unforgiving than a cavity back; however, it is untrue that blades have no forgiveness.
In fact, in recent years, we have seen how the cavity back has gotten a bit better from a workability standpoint, and the blade has become more forgiving.
The key for you as a golfer is finding something you are comfortable with on your good and bad days.
If you have to play your best game ever just to hit a blade iron solid, it’s not the right choice.
If the cavity back irons keep inhibiting you from hitting the shots you want, they are also not the right choice.
The overall feel of a golf iron is extremely important.
A golfer that plays with blade irons will enjoy the soft feel and outstanding overall workability that the club offers.
This feel makes golf clubs enjoyable to hit and allows players to feel rewarded when they make solid contact with the ball.
The overall feel of a golf iron is important also because it gives players feedback.
Feedback tells you whether your golf swing produced a great shot or if it needs improvement.
Cavity back irons typically offer less feedback and a more consistent feel.
If you have ever played baseball in the cold weather, you can quickly learn how and why feel is so important in a golf club.
When you hit the baseball in the center of the barrel, the shot will likely fly high and far, and you won’t have much ringing or vibration in your hands.
However, if you hit the ball closer to the grip of the baseball bat, it can be painful.
The bat rattles, letting you know that is not where you want to make contact.
Blade irons are certainly not as extreme as a baseball bat in the wintertime, but these clubs will let you know when you make solid contact and when you need to work on your approach to the ball.
This feedback can then be used to change swing techniques and mechanics.
With cavity back irons, the feedback or feel does not change as much, improving overall consistency in the clubs.
Decide which type of player you are and how much you want your golf irons shots to teach you about your game.
Golfers often need to play around with the height of their golf shots as well as the overall ball flight.
Sometimes with a pin tucked into a corner of a green and a tree and a bunker to navigate, the only option is to choose a golf shot where you move the ball.
Blade irons are hands down the best for this.
Having played with blade irons many times in my life, I can tell you that they react quite well to whatever you ask.
With a cavity back iron, getting this type of control can be much more difficult.
However, some recent changes in technology and performance have bridged this gap between cavity back and blade irons.
More and more golfers are noticing the impact of shaft selection on the ball flight capabilities of a golf club.
If you choose the right shaft, you will be able to manipulate the ball flight much more than initially thought possible with a cavity back.
In addition, more cavity back irons are being produced with a forged face that further increases the club’s forgiveness and performance.
Overall precision and workability can greatly improve your scoring ability on the golf course.
If you are not smart about how the golf clubs react to you and what you are capable of doing with them, you may find yourself frustrated by the performance.
5. Spin Rates
A spin rate is another important consideration when looking at cavity back irons vs. blade irons.
Spin rates will change based on a player’s golf swing and even the golf ball used.
This is not something to get overly distracted with, but it’s worth paying attention to.
For the most part, the spin rates of the blade irons are going to be higher, especially in the short irons.
The goal with blades again is more about precision than distance; therefore, the spin works to stop a ball in place.
Stopping a ball on the green can become much more important than seeing how far you can hit the shot.
Spin rates are best determined through a custom fitting where everything from swing speed to launch angle to carry and total distance are analyzed.
For some fast swing speed golfers, spin rates can get too high with blade irons, and adjustments are made to the shaft to ensure that it does not inhibit overall performance.
It is now easier than ever to check the spin rates of a golf iron and determine if they are the right fit for your game.
Sometimes the manufacturer and model of the club can also impact spin rates and make an iron a good or bad choice for your game.
When checking spin rates between blades and cavity back irons, we highly recommend looking at the short irons and seeing how they are impacted as these tend to be where spin rate matters.
As we mentioned in the beginning, when giving you the main difference between blade irons vs. cavity backs, the biggest issue here is the manufacturing process.
Blade irons and cavity back irons are manufactured entirely differently.
The blade irons take longer, have more precision involved, and typically use higher quality metals.
With cavity back irons expect a lower price but a different feel at impact because of the materials and manufacturing process.
Golf clubs are all expensive, especially those considered to be of better quality.
However, you as a player need to decide which one is best for your game and how it will impact your performance.
We have noticed through the years that blade irons don’t update their technology quite as quickly as cavity back irons.
This means that a blade you purchased today could still have some relevant technology and feel seven to eight years from now.
Typically speaking, cavity back golf irons will fall behind in technology at around the 5-year mark.
Consider whether you are making a long-term investment and how your golf game will progress, and then it may be easier to decide which golf iron type is best suited to your game.
7. Player Handicap
Blade irons are designed for lower handicap players and cavity back for mid to high handicap players.
However, we feel that this doesn’t tell the whole story.
Believe it or not, there are plenty of lower handicap players that are using cavity back irons and higher handicappers using blades.
The key to finding the right set of golf irons for your game has more to do with the way the club performs for you than the way the club performs overall.
If you are capable of hitting great shots with your golf clubs, does it matter that the club is considered unforgiving?
So many great players have a strong, strong game and great distance, but they struggle with accuracy.
Sometimes missing the center of the face of a blade iron is just enough to cause a major problem for a golfer, and they will have to make adjustments in their game.
This is not worth it when you know there is a golf club that can fill this void for you.
Cavity back irons can easily step in and make it considerably easier for players that struggle in this area of the game.
We notice this happening more and more in the long irons.
It’s hard to hit a 4, 5, and even 6 iron consistently every time.
When you have blade irons in your bag, it gets even more difficult.
Many players are changing this for themselves by putting in combo sets that have a mix of blade and cavity back irons.
These combo sets provide a variety of performances and ensure that you can get both precision and forgiveness.
We mentioned that the blade irons tend to have relevant technology a little longer than cavity backs simply because things don’t change as quickly in the blade world.
However, there is no reason to be concerned about the longevity of a cavity back.
Modern golf irons go through so much product testing and compliance before they are released to the market that they don’t have issues with longevity.
If you buy a high-quality set of golf clubs, expect it to last for quite some time.
Many players are finding that investing in a great golf iron from the start can have positive returns in the long run.
The most that you may have to do to a set of irons at some point is to have them regrooved, which is not a significant issue.
There are dozens of golf irons on the market for players to choose from.
However, the cavity back choices seem to be more plentiful than the blade-style golf irons.
With blade irons having a better feel, more and more golfers are realizing that they can be a great solution for their game.
However, most golf manufacturers will only make one or two blade irons for players to choose from.
The majority of companies will have several cavity back choices.
If you are looking for a wide selection of products to choose from, blade irons could end up being an issue that you have to overcome.
In the end, there are always going to be plenty of golf irons out there; you may just have to make a tougher decision when choosing a cavity back over a blade.
Which Is Better, Cavity Back Or Blade Irons?
Now that you have a more in-depth and complete look at what golf irons have to offer and how the cavity back and blade styles differ, it’s time to understand a bit more about which is better.
So many people assume that the blade is a better iron because of its impressive feel and overall functionality for the better player.
The way we like to look at this is that the blade is excellent for this reason, but it is not necessarily the best iron on the market.
The best iron is the one that allows you to perform at the highest level without having any issues with consistency, feel, or distance.
For some players, this is a cavity back iron, and for others, it’s a blade.
Years ago, we may have been able to say that the blade iron is the best overall, but today things have changed.
Golfers realize that it doesn’t matter if you have a blade or a cavity back; you need the right shaft choice and a club that allows you to play to the best of your ability.
As a new player to the game without much experience, that better choice is probably going to end up being the cavity back.
For lower handicap players, a mixed set that has some cavity in the long irons and blades in the short irons is the best overall choice.
Play around with different set configurations as well as various manufacturers to get a better idea of blade irons vs. cavity back irons.
We hope you now understand fully all that plays into the differences between blade irons and cavity backs.
Both of these golf clubs have tremendous benefits for players.
In addition, golfers have been able to improve overall performance because of technological advances in both types of golf clubs.
Don’t get stuck on the old concept that blade irons are only for low handicappers and cavity backs are for high handicappers.
You can find something that works specifically for your game and make the necessary changes that will help you perform on the course.
Remember that no irons are magical and will all take players that have a solid and efficient golf swing to play well.
More important than equipment is your skill and ability.