Types of Irons

There are essentially two types of irons with regard to materials used in their manufacture and a few design options that are available to you. Firstly let’s briefly discuss materials.

The making of forged irons can be compared to blade or sword making that the blacksmiths used to do. The basic design is forged and then hand (or in some cases machine) finished, by grinding and milling to the exact shape and design required. This results in a solid looking soft metal iron that is preferred by your lower handicap player or someone looking for more feedback than that offered in a cast iron. It also creates a club with weighting more toward the centre of the club head thereby allowing more workability and a more controlled trajectory. Of course with more weighting toward the centre of the head there is less margin for error resulting in (in my opinion) a better swing by the player.

Cast irons are generally a cheaper alternative to forged irons and also allow the manufacturer to place more weight to the bottom and sides of the club head. This is done by creating a mould into which molten steel is poured. These are so called perimeter weighted clubs. Cast irons are also generally recommended to beginners but I am not entirely in favour of this practice as I believe the best way to learn to play this wonderful game properly is by feeling when you make mistakes!

Let’s now have a brief look at the different designs available to you.

There are blades, cavity back or perimeter weighted clubs, and then the so called hybrid clubs.

Blades are small in size and therefore offer a smaller hitting area or so called sweet spot. They are also thinner than cavity back clubs and have most of their weight distributed throughout the entire club head. There is also more weight behind the sweet spot which allows for a more consistent feel at impact. If used properly the ball flight and trajectory is more consistent in a blade (also known as a muscle back) than in a cavity back.

Cavity back or perimeter weighted clubs offer a far larger sweet spot as the weight is distributed toward the perimeter of the club thereby allowing shots hit off-centre a greater chance of staying on target. They are generally made of stainless steel and their feel at impact is harder than that of a blade. Reducing the feel of the shot is compromised by the forgivingness of the club so these are often referred to as ‘game improvement clubs’.

Hybrid clubs are essentially a new dimension to the ‘game improvement’ school of thought and are particularly good for players that have difficulty getting their long irons shots off the ground. These sets have all the advantages of ‘game improvement’ in them in that the weighting and shape from the long iron to the short iron differs considerably. Some sets are so extreme that the short irons are practically blades whilst the long irons are similar to hybrid ‘rescue’ clubs. These sets are really great for your more senior player as well as a mid handicap player not looking to improve too much.

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