Monday, February 15, 2021

Do Muscle-back Irons Have Relevance Today?


Although my gamer irons have the name Mizuno affixed to them, they are not bladed muscle-back irons. While still a forged iron, my Mizuno's are packed with distance, forgiveness, and technology.  While not the longest irons they are a modern golfer's iron.

Flashback, imagine that your only options in golf equipment are a huge cavity back offset iron or a hunk of metal at the end of a stick - referred to as the blade or muscle-back,. Which way would you go in selecting a club? For me, it's the muscle-back blade that holds all the beauty and memories of rounds past. 


My old Golfsmith IR 600b Muscle-back Irons / Circa 2005

With all the advancements in technology in golf, why would anyone want to play a bladed iron? I still own a set of blades from about 15 years ago. They are a complete set of 3-GW irons with very traditional lofts. The six iron is 32 degrees with little to no offset to give you a proper example. I've seen modern clubs where the 8 iron had as much loft. When I compare my blades with my Mizuno JPX 900 Forged irons, the blades seem tiny! The sweet spot on the blades is somewhat of a mystery to me when I'm not on my game. But still...

There is something special about blades, almost romantic. If you've ever played blades and you managed to find them out of the middle, you know there is no greater feeling. And the clubs themselves are so damn sexy. Nothing compares to a new shiny bladed iron, nothing! 

So, my question at the onset is, "Do bladed muscle-back irons have relevance in today's golfing world?". Perhaps I can make a case for blades in the world of farther, faster, crazy distance and technology. 

The simple bladed iron is the Purest's answer to a world gone mad. It requires mastery at a pace that today's modern golfer may not have time for. But there's hope... The bladed iron when played well offers the ability to work the ball with a bit more ease than the modern high-tech iron. While it may be a bit intimidating to play a blade, what it offers above all else is consistency, both in distance and dispersion. It may not go as far as today's powerful clubs, but what you don't get is the surprising jump in the distance that modern clubs sometimes give you. And who cares if you can hit a strong lofted 8 iron 180 yards if goes out of bounds or flying over the green. I know for a fact that the distance between each of my bladed irons carries about 10 yards of distance give or take a couple of yards. With my modern cavity back clubs, the ball can jump as far as 20 yards or more at times. I consider the loft and presumed weakness of my blades a consistent friend... When playing with my modern irons, I still have bladed wedges in the bottom end of my bag for this very reason! 

So, do blades have a place in the modern game of golf? I advocate they do! I think a lot of golfers would benefit from using them, at least in the bottom end of the bag, say GW thru at least 8 iron where they are easier to manage. I'm sure the consistency of the blade would bring down some handicaps. Another place that blades could offer some game improvement is on the practice range. Learning to find the center of a blade would improve many a swing. 

Once again, I'll drag out my old and trusted blades for another golf season. They'll probably see a good portion of my play this year. I'm trying to embrace the modern club, but my heart still pulls me to the blade. In preparation for a new season on the links, new grips are going on the worn blades. Still beautiful even with the scars of battle throughout the years. 





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