Blades Vs Cavity Backs [What Do Pro Golfers Use?]

blades vs cavity backs workshop out golfing irons and describing is one better for tell me more golf

Blades were once the only type of golf irons that golfers could play with but as time went on, a new type of iron was introduced: the cavity back. Titleist, Callaway, Mizuno, Ping, TaylorMade, etc., have designed varieties of cavity backs and blades, providing golfers a rich reservoir to choose from. 

Where most golfers get stuck is in choosing the right one for their game. Are blades longer than cavity backs? Do cavity backs really have more forgiveness than blades?

To answer these questions, the Tell Me More Golf research team examined the features of both types of irons, their pros and cons, who they’re designed for, and which of them the pros use the most. 

blades vs cavity backs workshop out golfing irons and describing is one better for tell me more golf

Are Cavity Backs Or Blades Better? The Lowdown

blades vs cavity backs workshop out on the golf course

Cavity back irons are easier to hit and have more forgiveness than blades. If you don’t play golf frequently or are a high handicapper, you’ll do better with cavity backs than blades. Cavity Backs feature a larger club face, making for a larger sweet spot, which makes it easy to hit the center of the clubface consistently. This makes you score a lot better!

This type of iron also comes with perimeter weighting, which means off-center strikes and mishits are more forgiving. A larger sweet spot and higher launch mean more distance for you. If you are a low handicapper, we wouldn’t recommend you go for cavity backs though. 

Blade irons are designed with better players in mind, who have mastered hitting their golf clubs to manipulate their shots. If you’re a highly advanced player, you already know that at your skill level, you don’t need a lot of forgiveness like beginners. You don’t need a larger sweet spot of the cavity irons since you hit the sweet spot consistently enough. The small sweet spot on the blade is enough for your game. Blades are also practical for playing under windy conditions. The lower launch allows you to hit the golf ball at a lower angle, making for more accurate and predictable shots. As a pro, traditional blade irons are better for you. 

Blades will give you a smooth feel, extra control, and crisp feedback, which is almost absent in cavity backs. Along with being sleek and clean, blades will force you to continually fine-tune your golf swing, something that even the best players prefer for their golf irons, improving your game.

Do Pros Use Cavity Back Irons?

blades vs cavity backs workshop irons

Titleist reports that up to 70% of tour pros use cavity back irons. The remaining 30% use blades. In another report by Golf Magazine, the number of players playing cavity-back is 44%, with only 26% playing irons. Even at 40%, the percentage of pros playing cavity back is almost half of all. Again, there are pros who have both clubs in their bags to maximize the benefits of both. While blades give them a better feel and control, cavity back provides more forgiveness. 

Jim Furyk, Phil Mickelson, Retief Goosen, Steve Stricker, Joe Ogilvie, Fred Funk, etc., are some of the players on the PGA Tour that swing cavity back irons. If the best ball strikers in the game are using cavity-back iron, then it makes sense that beginners should have it in their golf bag.

Why Do Pro Golfers Use Cavity Back Irons?

Many PGA Tour players look for long irons that not only offer forgiveness but also high launch and additional ball speed. Cavity backs (a.k.a. golf improvement irons) have their CG (center of gravity) placed lower, which is essential for maximum peak height. 

This, along with forgiveness, is what attracts pros to them. Not necessarily distance, which is what beginners often look for. So, next time you stroll through the golf course and notice experienced golfers’ bags filled cavity-back, don’t be surprised.


Blades Vs Cavity Back Distance: Which Club Will Perform Better?

Advanced players and PGA tour pros already know how to hit their irons long, consistently. To achieve distance, these players often draw on their skills, not relying on a specific feature on the golf club

Beginners, on the other hand, lack the skills to achieve further distance on their clubs. As a result, they need forgiveness and larger sweet spots on cavity back clubs to achieve better distance. If you’re a beginner, you probably have noticed you don’t hit the ball in the sweet spot enough to general sufficient distance. 

In that case, your best option is to choose cavity backs. Cavity backs have lower CG (center of gravity), which allows beginners to launch the ball high, thus adding to both carry distance and total distance. The larger sweet spot also enables average golfers to produce longer off-center hits, thanks to increased ball speed. 

If your goal is distance but you’re not a pro or a low handicapper, you should avoid playing blades. Blades have less forgiveness and as result, you’ll lose distance when hitting off-center strikes and experience a lot of hooks and slices.

Muscle Back Vs Cavity Back: Which Is Better for Your Game?

The main difference between muscle back (also known as blades) and cavity back is in the design and playability. Muscle back is a type of iron with a compact club head, thinner top line and sole and a small amount of offset. The traditional design of the blades makes them cleaner and lighter than cavity back irons. 

The designers of muscle back irons have evolved the design on modern blades by adding more mass to the back of the hitting surface but less weight behind the head. This is done to allow pro golfers to work their ball and hit draws and fades. 

Most muscle backs are designed with low handicappers in mind. They aren’t as forgiving as cavity-back but offer a superior feel and tons of feedback. Although they’re harder to hit than cavity back, they reward golfers with an incredible feel and superior workability. If you’re a low handicapper looking for a new set of irons, then blades are an excellent choice, and according to our golf researchers, they will give you an advantage on your game.

Cavity backs, on the other hand, have a different profile from blades. These super game improvement irons have a bigger club face and a thicker sole. The sweet spot is larger as a result of the large club face. Then perimeter weighting in the cavity back allows the golf ball to go straighter and higher, resulting in more distance. Because they are built with forgiveness in mind, high handicappers will find them the most suitable. Generally, they’re not as flexible as muscle backs, which is why golf pros and low handicappers often gravitate away from them. It’s harder to work the golf ball with a cavity back and they provide less feedback on mishits overall.

Frequently Asked Questions: Which Irons?

Are blades better than cavity backs?

Golfers with a low handicap, who can manipulate the ball and can shoot below par consistently, will find blades better than cavity back.

Since their game requires less forgiveness and constantly looking for a better feel and feedback, more experienced players will find the blade optimal for their game. The majority of tour pros still choose the blades because they are lighter and have better workability than cavity back irons. It’s easier to shape shots on blades and they offer better control than their counterpart, which is why they’re called the “player’s iron”.

Are cavity backs more forgiving than blades?

Yes, cavity backs are more forgiving than blades. The reason for this is simple. Cavity backs have more offset at the hosel, perimeter weighting, and a bigger club head that is bigger compared to blades that have compact club heads. This means that the forgiveness of the club head will be greater when you mishit shots.

These features along with a thicker sole and larger club face, mean you have a larger sweet spot to work with when using cavity back irons. Not only are they easier to hit but you’ll be hitting the ball higher and straighter with a cavity back. Most game improvement irons are designed for average players, so they’re built with forgiveness in mind.

Can high handicappers use blades?

Yes, high handicappers can use blades. But, should they be using it? No! Blades (sometimes called forged blades) are more suitable for low handicappers because of the higher CG, which promotes lower ball flight and more spin. Blades also have a higher tendency to punish thin shots. As a beginner or high handicap golfer, you want the opposite of that.

You want lower CG (center of gravity) so you can launch the ball high, enjoy lesser spin and forgiveness. If you find it difficult to control your swing path or club face direction, you should not use blades. The clubhead on blades is smaller, reducing your chances of hitting the sweet spot consistently. They’re also less forgiving with off-center hits, making them unfit for high handicappers. This is why blade irons are not often recommended for beginners.

What are the best forgiving cavity backs? 

Some of the most forgiving blade irons include the Callaway Mavrik Max, TaylorMade Sim Max, and the Cobra SpeedZone Iron Set.

What are the best muscle back irons? 

The Titleist 620 MB and Mizuno MP 20 Iron Set are two of the top models to consider.  There are many others you can choose from, so this isn’t an exhaustive list.

Conclusion: Research by

black tell me more golf compressed logo with mottled background information for golfers

If you’re a beginner golfer or high handicapper, the most suitable iron for you is the cavity back. In this blades vs cavity backs guide, we tell you that it’s forgiving, has a larger sweet spot, and will allow you to hit the ball higher and straighter. However, if you’re a low handicapper or an advanced player, you’ll enjoy a better feel, workability, and flexibility of blade irons. 

You’ll also be able to manipulate the ball to draw command or hit fade and get immediate feedback on mishits.


Patrick Corley

From a golf scholarship to a Southern California University, to a private golf coaching career and an instructor position at a nonprofit organization, I’m here to help you get better at golf! With my 50+ years of golf experience; I bring you Tell Me More Golf. A golf coaching website that helps your game with instructional golfing content that’s ultimately geared toward making you a better golfer and having more fun!
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