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Help me understand irons. And what do the pros use?


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So to my understanding, blades are a solid iron (such as mp69's) and are the toughest to hit. Cavity backs are irons with a cavity (such as rocketballz irons) and are easiest to hit. Then there are hybrids (such as mp58's), which are a mix of both?  is this right? in terms of how easy they are to hit do hybrids lean more towards blades or cavity backs?

I have heard that more than 50% of pros are using cavity backs now? is this true? do any of them use hybrids?

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Originally Posted by redhotchlypeppr

So to my understanding, blades are a solid iron (such as mp69's) and are the toughest to hit. Cavity backs are irons with a cavity (such as rocketballz irons) and are easiest to hit. Then there are hybrids (such as mp58's), which are a mix of both?  is this right? in terms of how easy they are to hit do hybrids lean more towards blades or cavity backs?

I have heard that more than 50% of pros are using cavity backs now? is this true? do any of them use hybrids?

You're sort of mixing up some terminology here.  When I hear "hybrid" I think of the long iron replacements that everybody is using these days that basically look like a tiny fairway wood. :)

You are correct about blades.  But a little too simplistic in regards to cavity backs.

Basically, everything out there that isn't a blade (or muscleback) is some sort of cavity back, and those range from Titleist 712CB (only slightly less hard to hit than blades) all the way down to the game-improvement-iest shovels like Callaway Big Berthas or a more modern equivalent. ;)

The "hybrids" you are referring to, like MP-58's would be a lot closer to the hard-to-hit "players iron" end of the spectrum like blades, than they would be to the super game improvement stuff.

I believe there is a website (Maltby something or other) that I've seen people talk about on here a lot where the guy scores clubs with numbers to make it really easy to see where everything falls as far as "playability" goes.

I have no idea if your 50% on tour number is correct ... but I wouldn't doubt it.  There are an awful lot of guys out there now eschewing blades. :)  A lot of guys use MP-58s (Luke Donald I think for a time, not sure now) and they pretty much all have hybrids too. :)

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"Blades," also known as musclebacks, are a type of iron that has a full, smooth back. Blades are less forgiving than cavity backs, but offer greater feel and workability. "Cavity back" refers to a design feature in golf irons that produces increased perimeter weighting, thereby making the iron more forgiving on mishits.

Here is an article that might better explain the difference... http://golftips.golfsmith.com/blades-vs-cavity-back-irons-2404.html

Back in the 1990's. TaylorMade Golf developed a "rescue" club. The reason being that long irons, especially the 2 and 3 irons, are very difficult to hit. Hybrids are the same loft as long irons, but are designed like "mini-woods." The hitting character of a hybrid is that they go approximately the same distance as the long irons, but with a higher trajectory that does not roll as far. Hybrids, besides being easier to hit, have a more consistent ball flight than blades. After early Rescue clubs experienced success, golf manufacturers took this club a step farther and the hybrid was born.The term hybrid came out after "rescue, " I am guessing because "rescue" was copyrighted to Taylormade.

Here is an article on hybrid clubs.... http://www.golflink.com/facts_8286_definition-hybrid-golf-club.html

As for your final question, "I have heard that more than 50% of pros are using cavity backs now? is this true? do any of them use hybrids?"

• Golf Digest says, "More than 75 percent of players on the PGA Tour use cavity-back irons, and only a handful of players on the LPGA Tour still carry blades."  (http://www.golfdigest.com/golf-equipment/2009-11/new_looks_irons#ixzz2Mog9Xi1P) By the way, the #1 and #2 players in the world, Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods, use Nike blade irons.

• Many pros now use hybrids for the reasons describes above. As for the irons, whether pros use blades or cavity back is a personal assessment.

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One aspect of irons involves the width of the heads.

A few years back, some irons came out with Oversized head versions. These include the Ping i3 O-size (2001), PowerBilt TPS 6.0 (1999), TaylorMade RAC.OS (2003), and Titleist DCI Os (1995) and 804 OS (2004).

Oversize heads were longer from toe to heel (a wider face) than standard irons of the time. The wider a clubface, the larger the C dimension (a measurement designed by Ralph Maltby of the "horizontal distance from the clubhead's center of gravity to the intersection point of the the hosel centerline with the groundline.")

A Comparison: Ping Rapture Iron in Blue, TaylorMade R7 Iron in Red

For details on the above drawing, see http://www.ralphmaltby.com/108

Since then, the term Oversize has fallen by the wayside, and the larger heads tend to be in the SGI irons (Golf Digest categories of Player's, GI, and SGI). Examples include the Callaway X20 and the Ping G10. GI clubs would include the X-family Tour models, and the i-family irons. These have narrower clubfaces.

It's all about tradeoffs. Larger clubfaces have more face surface to put onto the ball, whereas smaller clubfaces are less likely to hang up in the rough, and also have better feel (less metal to dull the tuning fork effect, so to speak).

The SGI irons also tend to have thicker toplines (when looking down at top of iron's head when addressing the ball) which certain golfers find irritating. This includes some of our ST posters.

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Very simply look at this range of Mizuno irons from left (game improvement) to right (blade)

When refer to a "hybrid" iron you are probably referring to something like the 3 irons on the right side of the first image.  These types of irons can have a solid muscle back to something like the H4, which actually has a notch behind that muscleback, combining features of a blade with that of a traditional heel/toe weighted game improvement iron.

Most pros use something akin to the 3 irons on the right, from a pure blade to a blade with more forgiveness.  What you have to be cautious of is when pros say things like they are playing those Rocketballz irons - they are not playing the same iron you see on the shelf and in most instances are playing a custom developed iron that looks like that iron, but really isn't the same thing.

One example is what Taylor Made did with the Tour Preferred irons a couple years ago.  The bottom is the stock club available to the public (note the notch in the back) versus what they gave to their tour players - no notch and actually a forged blade, though the look the very similar.

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Originally Posted by chriskzoo

What you have to be cautious of is when pros say things like they are playing those Rocketballz irons - they are not playing the same iron you see on the shelf and in most instances are playing a custom developed iron that looks like that iron, but really isn't the same thing.

I don't know about Rocketballz per se, but I wouldn't go so far as to make a blanket statement like this.  I believe that, in general, if Nick Watney says he's playing AP2's (back when he was with Titleist) then he's playing the same AP2's I could buy.  Obviously they are custom fit to the nth degree (loft, lie, length, weight, shaft, even grind) but they are still regular old AP2's.

On the other hand, based on Golf Digest "What's In The Bag" features, there are clearly a lot of "prototype" clubs out there.  In some cases, those probably are truly prototypes that will eventually come out to the public, but I have a hunch in a lot of cases, it's simply a PC way of saying that this guy is playing a custom made set of clubs that are nothing like anything else we ever make.

Rickie Fowler last season is a good example of that.  His first Cobra bag appeared to basically be a set 712MB's with orange paintfill and a cobra stamp instead of a Titleist stamp.  And the last time I checked (I'm looking right now ;)) it does not appear that Cobra makes anything remotely close to a blade iron.

But I believe that there are a lot less "prototypes" than there are "stock" clubs out there on tour.

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Originally Posted by Golfingdad

I don't know about Rocketballz per se, but I wouldn't go so far as to make a blanket statement like this.  I believe that, in general, if Nick Watney says he's playing AP2's (back when he was with Titleist) then he's playing the same AP2's I could buy.  Obviously they are custom fit to the nth degree (loft, lie, length, weight, shaft, even grind) but they are still regular old AP2's.

I was referring to the super game improvement irons, not something like the AP2 or MP59s - those are clearly clubs for guys with a better game.  I'm referring to something like Camillo Villegas advertising Burner 2.0 irons, which are these:

When he's actually playing a custom set that looks like this:

http://www.golfwrx.com/forums/topic/467588-camilo-villegas-pics-of-his-belly-putter-and-burner-20-proto-irons/

They have the same look, but what he is playing is probably a set of which only 3 or 4 were ever actually made.

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Originally Posted by chriskzoo

They have the same look, but what he is playing is probably a set of which only 3 or 4 were ever actually made.

Those photos go against your argument though ... his irons look exactly like the stock picture.  What evidence do you have that they are one of only 3 or 4 sets ever made?

I do notice, however, that they call them "protos," so who knows?  I also agree that can be deceptive in their advertising because they show commercials that make it seem like Camilo and Jason Day both play SGI Rocketballz irons from Dicks Sporting Goods.  (But that would be pretty hilarious if you went there and one of them was getting "fitted" by a guy with a name tag and green polo shirt)

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And the last time I checked (I'm looking right now ;)) it does not appear that Cobra makes anything remotely close to a blade iron.

They have the AMP Cell Pro irons that are coming out sometime soon. I know Mike had some pictures of them from the PGA Show in that thread.

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Originally Posted by jamo

They have the AMP Cell Pro irons that are coming out sometime soon. I know Mike had some pictures of them from the PGA Show in that thread.

Ah, you're right ... http://thesandtrap.com/t/64426/cobra-golf-2013-pga-show-in-orlando/0_30 Those are pretty slick, and they are pretty "blade-like."

However, here are the ones Rickie started last season with ... http://thesandtrap.com/t/55355/rickie-fowlers-new-cobra-blades/0_30

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Originally Posted by Golfingdad

Those photos go against your argument though ... his irons look exactly like the stock picture.  What evidence do you have that they are one of only 3 or 4 sets ever made?

I do notice, however, that they call them "protos," so who knows?  I also agree that can be deceptive in their advertising because they show commercials that make it seem like Camilo and Jason Day both play SGI Rocketballz irons from Dicks Sporting Goods.  (But that would be pretty hilarious if you went there and one of them was getting "fitted" by a guy with a name tag and green polo shirt)

Sorry, here are some better pics:

http://www.golfwrx.com/forums/topic/499057-taylormade-burner-20-iron-proto-pics/

Including this one head on, which shows how thin the blade is compared to the stock version:

Stock:

You think Camillo is plaything this offset?

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Originally Posted by chriskzoo

Sorry, here are some better pics:

http://www.golfwrx.com/forums/topic/499057-taylormade-burner-20-iron-proto-pics/

Including this one head on, which shows how thin the blade is compared to the stock version:

Stock:

You think Camillo is plaything this offset?

Ah yes.  That makes it clear.  Clearly why they threw that "proto" on there.  The toplines are thinner, the soles are narrower, and you are also right to point out the offset.  One club in the photo is facing us dead on and by the length of it compared to the whole set, it's probably a 6 iron ... with virtually no offset.

And to be clear, I wasn't insiting that Camilo was playing the stock irons, just saying that you were making statement without backing evidence.

You win this round Chriskzoo, but I'll be back!!!  (In some sort of superhero movie villian voice, take your pick)

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