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  1. #1
    3 Iron guitarman is on a distinguished road guitarman's Avatar
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    Questions about Cavity back versus Muscle back irons

    I currently use cavity back game improvement irons. This is my first year of play and I've really started hitting them with more consistency lately. Of course I'm in the 70+ area of rounds so far this year.
    In researching the different types of irons available I have come to the conclusion that cavity backs are better for beginners while muscle back irons are better for the advanced. Please someone correct me if I"m wrong.
    As I want to be somewhat serious about eventually being a half decent player should I be working towards eventually owning muscle back irons? Is there a design that is a hybrid of muscle back and cavity iron technology that may be better for either a transition to full muscle back or simply a compromise?
    As well I have to consider my age. I'm 46 and getting in to this sport at this age I won't kid myself about the possibility of not having the strength to use the more advanced clubs. Although I haven't been to a fitting yet or measured on a launch monitor, I would guesstimate that my swing speed would be around the 75 to 80 mph range. I would like to increase that but I would doubt that I may ever see 100 mph.
    Terry

  2. #2
    Got My Card zoic is on a distinguished road zoic's Avatar
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    Gee, this sounds familiar. OK,in a nutshell, I am 49, switched from cavity to muscle back a few rounds ago for all the same reasons. I truly feel these clubs have given me some improvement and consistency with my irons shots now, to the point I have pulled some woods out of my bag.

    They are not expensive (mine) and I have used them for only a few rounds but they are staying in my bag for now, they seem to work. Happy hunting!

    Is there a design that is a hybrid of muscle back and cavity iron technology that may be better for either a transition to full muscle back or simply a compromise?
    Mine seem to be that way, a cavity with a piece (muscle) coming up outside to partially cover it.
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  3. #3
    Hall of Fame jvincent is on a distinguished road jvincent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by guitarman
    In researching the different types of irons available I have come to the conclusion that cavity backs are better for beginners while muscle back irons are better for the advanced. Please someone correct me if I"m wrong.
    As I want to be somewhat serious about eventually being a half decent player should I be working towards eventually owning muscle back irons? Is there a design that is a hybrid of muscle back and cavity iron technology that may be better for either a transition to full muscle back or simply a compromise?
    While there are hundreds (thousands ?) of iron designs out there, the reality is that given a club face of the same area, there isn't really much difference in forgiveness between any two styles of irons. For example, I switched from cavity backs to blades last year. The club heads are essentially the same size and I haven't notice any less forgiveness with the blades. Both clubs are what would be considered traditionally sized, aka small heads.

    Where you really start to see a difference is when head sizes get larger, allowing the weight to be distributed more around the periphery, thus increasing the clubhead MOI (aka resistance to twisting). There are several oversize, high MOI irons out there today that do offer a significant benefit on mis-hits vs standard sized blades or cavities.

    Almost, or perhaps more important for irons is the sole / face design. I.e. is it a flat vs rounded leading edge, is it an offset design, etc. Depending on your swing, one of these styles may be more suited to you than another.

    It's also hard to ignore looks. I don't like to hit clubs that I don't like the look of, as do many others.

    You mentioned a hybrid muscle/cavity design. There are several models of irons that either come as a progressive set, i.e. gradual increase from blade to cavity through the set, or as mixed sets, i.e. you can mix blades and cavities with the transition at a specific club, usually 5 or 6 iron.

  4. #4
    3 Iron guitarman is on a distinguished road guitarman's Avatar
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    Would it be a good idea to pick up a couple of muscle back irons used to try on the course? And if so which irons would be best?
    Terry

  5. #5
    3 Iron guitarman is on a distinguished road guitarman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1972Apex
    I think my signature accurately replects my opinion on this subject
    Sooo... what your saying here is that you can make an iron with maximum forgivness work the ball or a muscle back be forgiving...? Not sure what your getting at. I'm sure technology has something to do with it. After all there are many begginners out there like myself that can take a set of standard Callaway X-18s out and actually look like they know what they are doing and yet the X-tours would have us chasing a ball all over the fairway. Yes I realize that the most important ingredient is lessons and working on your technique but to not give credit to technology, especially for high handicappers and beginners.....
    Terry

  6. #6
    Sir Post-a-lot dH is on a distinguished road dH's Avatar
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    guitarman; If you have your heart set on musclebacks; start looking around the forums people will post em lots of great deals to be had. The more offseason you look the cheaper it obviously is. FWIW I've played w/ all types of irons and unless its a sheer blade they are all virtually the same from my point of view. I'm a higher handicap though so keep that in mind But if your buyign clubs in the Ottawa area you'd be crazy to not look for them here

  7. #7
    Hall of Fame jvincent is on a distinguished road jvincent's Avatar
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    If you want some comparisons of different iron designs and their relative merits, check out the following link.

    http://www.wishongolf.com/designs/by_type/

    I play the 550M blades BTW.

  8. #8
    3 Iron guitarman is on a distinguished road guitarman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dH
    guitarman; If you have your heart set on musclebacks; start looking around the forums people will post em lots of great deals to be had. The more offseason you look the cheaper it obviously is. FWIW I've played w/ all types of irons and unless its a sheer blade they are all virtually the same from my point of view. I'm a higher handicap though so keep that in mind But if your buyign clubs in the Ottawa area you'd be crazy to not look for them here
    Its not so much that I have my heart set on muscle back irons. Actually I have my heart set on the right irons for me. So I just want to understand the different irons available. I guess its a little confusing. I've read that muscle back irons have more workability, less forgivness and sometimes better distance. Yet on the Callaway site I read about the X-Tours and X-18 Pro series that offer these same features and are cavity backs. Other than less offset what makes the X-18 different so different than the X-18 Pro series. Is it just callaway hype and only a true muscle back can deliver workability distance etc..?
    Terry

  9. #9
    3 Iron guitarman is on a distinguished road guitarman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1972Apex
    What I am getting at is that anyone who believes a shovel is infinitely more forgiving than a blade is dreaming. Most of it is marketing hype. I guess if you believe you'll play better with an X-18 than an X-Tour it is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
    Hopefully I get what your saying. Game improvement clubs are a hoax. I should be able to play the same clubs that tiger or phil can play on tour. Fitted for me of course. And its all in my mind that I hit an FT-3 Fusion driver badly but the r7 460 travelled 230 yards for me when I mis hit it off the heel. I'm not being sarcastic here, just want to understand this as much as possible.
    Terry

  10. #10
    Must be Single 1972Apex is on a distinguished road 1972Apex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by guitarman
    Hopefully I get what your saying. Game improvement clubs are a hoax. I should be able to play the same clubs that tiger or phil can play on tour. Fitted for me of course. And its all in my mind that I hit an FT-3 Fusion driver badly but the r7 460 travelled 230 yards for me when I mis hit it off the heel. I'm not being sarcastic here, just want to understand this as much as possible.
    Forget it. Sorry I replied. My apologies. I've yet to learn that opposing viewpoints are no longer welcome on OG
    The opinions expressed in this post are mine and may not necessarily reflect the opinions of others on OG.

  11. #11
    Golf Canada Rules Official L4 LobWedge is on a distinguished road LobWedge's Avatar
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    Regardless of whether you're using an ultra game improvement iron (Nike Slingshot, etc.) or a true muscleback blade (Titleist 695, etc.), the sweet spot of either type of club is exactly the same size, the head of a pin. When manufacturers tell you that their clubs have a larger "sweet spot", they're actually telling you a white lie. What they're referring to is called "effective hitting area". This is the area on the clubface around the actual sweet spot where you can "miss" without seeing an appreciable loss in distance, or line, if you hit the ball within that area. The EHA on a blade is approximately the size of a dime. On the game improvement iron, it’s about the size of a toonie, and possibly slightly oval shaped from east to west on the face. Where you will see the biggest difference is outside of that dime-sized area. A ball hit with the game improvement iron will have a much smaller loss of distance and line than a blade will.

    The most important differences, IMO, between game-improvement irons and “player’s” blades are the location of the centre of gravity, and the presence (or lack of) peripheral weighting. The CG on a blade is higher and closer to the face than the game improvement club. This promotes a flatter, more “boring” ball flight, and will provide more consistent, repeatable results when the ball is hit “sweet”. The CG on the game improvement stick is meant to be lower and further from the face, promoting a higher trajectory with more backspin. Combined with east-west peripheral weighting, your shots that hit outside the “dime” will stay closer to centre and fly further than the mis-hit blade.

    You may also notice that commonly, iron lofts will be a couple of degrees stronger throughout a set of game improvement irons, compared to their blade counterparts. This is to combat the ball “ballooning” due to that same lower CG and the usual greater offset of these clubs.

    If you want more consistent, repeatable results, and can live with bigger misses along the way, switch to blades. If you want to maintain the “fudge factor”, stay with the game improvement irons (remember, there are a lot of world-class players that use this type of iron too). Or, you can always try the “best” of both worlds, such as the Titleist 695CB or Taylor Made RAC TP forgings.
    When applying the Rules, you follow them line by line. You don't read between them.

  12. #12
    3 Iron guitarman is on a distinguished road guitarman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1972Apex
    Forget it. Sorry I replied. My apologies. I've yet to learn that opposing viewpoints are no longer welcome on OG
    I'm not opposing your view. I find your view very interesting as it doesn't agree with the masses. That doesn't necessarily mean its wrong but normally when a view, such as this, opposes what most say it just takes a little more explanation to back up what your saying.
    Terry

  13. #13
    3 Iron guitarman is on a distinguished road guitarman's Avatar
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    Great explanation lobwedge. Thanks.
    Terry

  14. #14
    Postaholic mcgoo is on a distinguished road
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    Nice contribution LobWedge

  15. #15
    Albatross Smoothie is on a distinguished road Smoothie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by guitarman
    Would it be a good idea to pick up a couple of muscle back irons used to try on the course? And if so which irons would be best?
    I'd be interested in your x-18's if you decide to sel them!

  16. #16
    Got My Card zoic is on a distinguished road zoic's Avatar
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    And its all in my mind that I hit an FT-3 Fusion driver badly but the r7 460 travelled 230 yards for me when I mis hit it off the heel.
    Not necessarily. I have tried about 10 large frying pan head drivers (460cc), and they all did poorly (fade/slice) with my normal swing except a TM R580, reg flex ??? if that even means anything. It flew dead straight and added 30-40 yards to my distance.
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  17. #17
    3 Iron guitarman is on a distinguished road guitarman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smoothie
    I'd be interested in your x-18's if you decide to sel them!
    Its not likely that I will sell them any time soon, but perhaps some thought might go in to subing out the shorter irons (possibly 8 to pw) for irons with more workability, such as the X-18 pros. Purely just research for now. I mainly wanted to know more about muscle backs as a comparison.
    Terry

  18. #18
    Shagging Balls DavidY is on a distinguished road DavidY's Avatar
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    Tommy Armour Morph irons are pretty cheap these days ($198 at GT) and have three different head design features...3-5 have two piece deep cavities, 6-8 have mid cavities and 9-SW have blade deisgns. The three head designs are shown at the GT website.

    Here are a couple reviews on the Morph irons:
    http://www.golfreview.com/cat/irons/...5_2940crx.aspx

    Interesting to say the least...

    Dave

  19. #19
    Golf Canada Rules Official L4 BC MIST is on a distinguished road
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    The posts by jvincent and lobwedge are excellent. The one characteristic where many say there are differences between the two types is in working the ball. Most say that blades are better and I can't quite get a handle on why.

    If I hit the ball on the true sweet spot, why would using the blade allow me to curve the ball better? A slightly open club face and a slightly outside path should result in a slight fade, with both types. I would agree that if I hit both 1" toward the toe, the cavity may curve the ball less because of the perimeter weighting. If I hit the ball 1" off centre, I am not good enough to be intentionally curving the ball anyway.

    My own experiments with blades and cavities indicate no difference in my ability to curve the ball. I have a set of 550 blades from Wishon,(my favourite) a set of his 550 semi-cavities and a set of his new 560's, full forged cavity backs and they all basically play the same.

    And besides. Why curve the ball anyway? Just hit it straight at the flag.

  20. #20
    Arrow shooter Chieflongtee is on a distinguished road Chieflongtee's Avatar
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    Great post lobwedge. I just want to add a few comments. I recently tried a set of Tommy Armour blades and ball flight was definitely lower with the blades than with my regular Raven undercuts. If I missed towards the toe(they were not adjusted for lie btw) I would get a bigger hook than usual(maybe this is what they mean by working the ball i.e less forgiving when either struck towards heel or toe) Feelwise the blades felt pretty good when struck on centre. However the blades were not very forgiving on fat shots. And finally distances were a bit shorter with the blades because of weaker lofts on blades vs new modern irons lofts and launch angle.
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  21. #21
    Sand Wedge lmh3 is on a distinguished road lmh3's Avatar
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    I've played both blades and cavity back clubs, the set I am currently using is the Taylor Made RAC TP MB, it is a muscle back club with two feel pockets, like the TP wedges. This gives a little more forgiveness than a straight blade, since there is a little more weight on the perimeter of the club.

    The key difference between blades and cavity backs is the center of gravity location, blades will have a higher center of gravity located closer to the face which will give a lower ball flight, hence the reason for higher lofts. Cavity backs have a lower and deeper center of gravity gives a higher ball flight, so the stronger lofts prevent the ball from ballooning. Another significant difference is the width of the sole, blades will traditionally have a thinner sole with less effective bounce, this will make the club dig in to the ground more if you hit behind it. Cavity backs usually have a wider sole which helps them skip off the turf if you hit a little fat.

    The workability of a club is a result of where the center of gravity is located, the higher and closer to the face, the more subtle changes in the swing will affect the trajectory and flight of the ball. This doesn't mean big hooks or slices, it simply refers to the ability to hit a three yard draw or a two yard fade, this is easier to do with a blade than a cavity back because of where the center of gravity is. I also notice a difference between blades and cavity backs when trying to hit very low knockdown shots.

  22. #22
    President's Cup Wknd_Warrior is on a distinguished road Wknd_Warrior's Avatar
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    Find out for yourself what you prefer, the rest is a living breathing never ending debate fueled by common sense and dubious relevence on both sides. Each is not without it's merits.

  23. #23
    Hall of Fame jonf is on a distinguished road jonf's Avatar
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    I'm going to comment as a mid-high capper (sitting at about 20 right now) who made the switch to blades this year. I never thought I would do it, as I hit my old cavity backs great. But a great deal came along and I made the switch. The crucial part is whether you feel comfortable. Personally, despite my crappy scores, I have always considered myself to have a pretty good swing, and always felt that ball-striking is by far the best part of my game. That gave me the confidence to be able to look down at that tiny head and have faith that I could still hit a good shot with it (and lo and behold, I can). I have been hitting my blades just as well, if not better. I find that I am better able to work the ball (likely more a result of better concentration than the club itself). As far as accuracy, there is no difference. A ball will not slice any more with a blade than with a cavity back. The primary difference on mis-hits is that a mis-hit with a blade might not go as far, and might leave a little bit more of a ringing in your wrists, but personally, I like the feedback.

    Also...what Weekend Warrior said. that's pretty much all you need to know.

  24. #24
    1 Iron manitoulin is on a distinguished road manitoulin's Avatar
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    cavity back are the best for beginners. more of the face it use to hit a good shot, and more over muscle back are point related. giving the shot more consistince.
    power for cavity backs and accurate for muscle.

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