Cavity Back vs Muscle Back vs Blades (Differences, Pros, Cons)

If you’re looking to get a new set of irons you’re probably a bit confused because there are so many different options to pick from. In this post, I’m going to be showing you the difference between cavity back, muscle back, and blade irons.

You might be thinking that cavity back irons are only for average weekend players while blades are for tour pros. Even though that’s partially true, it’s not always the case and a lot of it comes down to personal preference. A lot of professional golfers actually have a mix of blades, muscle back, and cavity back irons because of the benefits each of them provide.

There are a number of pros and cons to each type of club and I’ll be talking about that next. We’ll also touch on the key differences between them, which one you should be playing, and examples of each type of iron.

What Is A Blade Golf Club?

Cavity Back vs Muscle Back vs Blades

A bladed golf club is an iron that has a more traditional look to it. They’ve been used for a long time and are commonly known as forged clubs. They have a small sweet spot, aren’t very forgiving, and are primarily used by skilled golfers.

A classic blade iron is like what they used back in the day. They’re much thinner than modern irons and they’re a lot tougher to hit because the sweet spot is so small. The only people who should use these would be pro golfers on tour.

The reason some people like these type of irons is because they provide more feedback at impact. A cavity back iron is so forgiving so it’s sometimes hard to feel what you did wrong. Hitting a blade you’ll know right away when you hit it solid or not very well.

A blade iron will also be easier to shape the ball around. You’ll be able to draw or fade the ball much easier compared to a cavity back. You’ll also be able to control the trajectory better and that’s what most professionals would want.

An example of a classic blade iron would be the Hogan Apex or Willson Staff Blades. They’re much thinner than a cavity back and there’s not as much metal on the bottom compared to a muscle back.

What Is A Muscle Back Iron?

Cavity Back vs Muscle Back vs Blades

A muscle back iron has a more traditional look to it and is commonly referred to as a forged club. The top of the club is quite narrow but the base is thicker which will increase forgiveness and launch the ball higher. These irons are more commonly used by low handicap golfers.

A muscle back iron is very similar to a blade but it’s slightly thicker on the base and is a bit more forgiving. I use a muscle back iron myself because I think it feels better at impact and I want it to force me to improve my swing (rather than getting a club that’s super forgiving).

The sweet spot on these is bigger than the classic blade but much smaller than a cavity back. They aren’t going to launch as high and they probably aren’t going to go as far, for most golfers. Only play these if you’ve been golfing a while.

Companies basically took a blade iron and gave it a bit more forgiveness and the ability to hit higher shots. Most people these days would play an iron like this over a blade and if you prefer a classic look then this will probably be your best bet.

An example of a muscle back iron would be the Callaway Apex MB or the Titleist 718 MB. There’s a lot of others to pick from so it’ll all depend on what brand you like.

What Is A Cavity Back Iron?

Cavity Back vs Muscle Back vs Blades

A cavity back iron is a modern-looking iron that is bulkier looking and more forgiving. These irons have a much larger sweet spot and launch the ball higher in the air. These irons are most commonly used by average golfers but some pros do have them in their bags.

A cavity back iron is the easiest of the three to hit and should be played by most golfers. If you’re just an average golfer who’s out for fun then you’ll get the best bang for your buck with these. They’re the easiest to hit, are the highest launching, and will most likely give you the most distance.

The reason some pros don’t use them is that they don’t offer as much feedback on mishits so it’ll be kinda tough to figure out what you did wrong. They also aren’t as good at controlling the trajectory and shape of the ball.

Pros need as much control over the ball they can get and most cavity back irons won’t give them that. For people like you and me, it’ll do the job just fine because we’re who they’re designed for.

An example of a cavity back iron would be Cleveland Launcher CBX or the Taylormade M6 irons. Again, it’ll all depend on which brand and model you like best.

Difference Between Cavity Backs And Blades

The main difference is that cavity back irons are bulkier than blades and have a hollow section at the bottom of the club. Cavity backs have a much bigger sweet spot, are a lot more forgiving, and will generate more distance.

The reason most weekend golfers use cavity backs is because of the increased forgiveness. As long as you make contact somewhere in the face, you should be able to get some sort of distance. This is part of the reason why some pros use cavity backs in their longer irons.

A lot of professional golfers will actually carry both of these clubs. Since cavity backs are easier to hit, some pros will use them in their longer irons. They’ll then use a more bladed style in their shorter irons and wedges because of the increased control.

Difference Between Blades And Muscle Backs

The main difference is that muscle backs have a thicker bottom section compared to blades and that’s going to produce more forgiveness. Along with the increased forgiveness, a muscle back iron will generate a bit more distance.

This is the main reason pros prefer a muscle back iron over the traditional blade. Both of these irons are very similar looking and it can sometimes be tough to tell the difference. A lot of the muscle back irons will actually say “MB” somewhere on the club and that’s usually the easiest way to tell.

There are a few pros who still use pure bladed irons and the main reason is that they grew up using them. I’m not saying you can’t or shouldn’t use them, all I’m saying is that you’ll probably get better results with a MB iron.

Should You Play Blades, Muscle Backs, Or Cavity Backs?

For the majority of players out there I’d recommend going with a cavity back iron. They’re generally the cheapest of the three and they’re the most forgiving. Average players like us need all the help we can get and that’s what these clubs were designed for. Get these if you’re a higher handicap or beginner golfer.

If you’re a bit of a better play and prefer the classic style of iron (like myself) then you could go with a muscle back. They’re usually a bit more expensive but I like them because they feel much better at impact and I can grow into them. When I get better they’ll be much more useful compared to a cavity back.

As for the classic blade, I probably wouldn’t recommend them for someone reading this. They’re only for professional golfers and I’m pretty sure none of them are reading this. Go with a muscle back for the increased distance and forgiveness.

Let me know your thoughts and any questions you have. Like this article? Feel free to give it a share!

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