Showing posts with label blades vs cavity back. Show all posts
Showing posts with label blades vs cavity back. Show all posts

Friday, August 20, 2021

New Clubs!


Well, I went and did it! Back in  May of this year, I bought a new set of irons. The new irons were not bought out of need - they were bought more out of curiosity with a bit of desire for something new and different. I must say that I am pleasantly surprised with how much I truly like the new iron set, especially since they didn't set me back a ton of money. This fact kept me out of the dog house with the spousal unit as well!

So what did I buy? 

After reading a bunch of reviews and examining the cost of new irons, I discovered a little company called "Sub 70." Through my investigation of the company, they were reported to be building custom-fitted clubs that were selling at about half the cost of the name-brand companies, with great performance. Everything I watched and read stoked my curiosity... Since I had just sold my old muscle-back (MBs) irons, I thought this just might be a place to find a replacement set at a reasonable price. 

The model I selected was the 639 MB/CB Black combo set which allows you to select how far into the set you want to play MBs before transitioning into a more forgiving cavity-back (CB). I chose to go Pitching Wedge through 7 iron in the MBs and 6 through 4 iron in the CBs (more on what I'd do differently in just a bit). 

Since I am not exactly a spring chicken anymore, I decided to change a couple things in my specs. I chose to go with a regular shaft for stiffness with a different kick point as well. The shafts on my new clubs are the "KBS Tour V-90." I have got to tell you, I love these shafts for a couple different reasons: First off, they are produced up in Boulder, Colorado (a somewhat local company), and second, they are light and feel amazing. I actually picked up a couple of miles per hour in clubhead speed with this transition. Everything else stayed pretty much the same with my spec - plus 1/2 inch in shaft length and plus 2 degrees upright. I told you Sub 70 customizes to customer's wants, needs, and desires! They even have a demo program if you want to try them out before buying. I kind of wish I had demoed the set before buying them, but I just went with what I knew and trusted that I would like the results (more on this in a bit...). 

I ordered the clubs in black because they just look so great in black! I have never owned a set of black irons and this was a great opportunity to right the ship on that account. The MBs are absolutely stunning in black! The CBs look great as well, but they are not my favorite part of the set, and here comes what I wanted to discuss about what I would have done differently... but before I go there, let me tell you about the ordering process and customer service.

It could not have been any easier to order a set of golf clubs. If you know your fitting specs, just log into Sub 70s website, read through their list of clubs to find the type and style of club you like to play. Once you have made this decision select the shafts and grips that you want and place your order. Bam, you are done! Mine delivered in about 21 days! One more comment on the ordering process... If you think you need help with something, definitely call Sub 70's customer support, they are more than happy to put you in the right club for your game, with the right fit. 

Ok, here it comes... What I would have done differently and why? 

Let me start by saying this - This is a great set of irons! They actually feel as good and approach exceeding my old set of Mizuno irons. The 639s are forged irons and this should be expected of forged irons. What I really like about the set is the PW thru 7 iron MBs. They are workable, forgiving for an MB, and they are long. The MBs gap perfectly at 10 to 15 yards between clubs and I couldn't be happier with this portion of the set. The CBs are a bit different for me and my game... The gap between my 7 iron and 6 iron (the transition from MB to CB) turns out to be a bit different, more like 15 to 20+ yards with the occasional explosive - "Where did that come from shot?" The CBs are hot, to say the least!

Additionally, the CBs are a bit bigger than the MBs. If you are a CB player and you like a bit larger head in your irons, these will fit the bill. To me, they remind me of an oversized Taylormade 300 from the early 2000s. A club that I loved because of the scale of the clubhead size (smaller). In retrospect, I wish I had demoed the CBs before going with the combo set... I think I overthought where I was in my game, thinking that I was getting a bit older and could use the help of the CB. I really am an MB player and should probably stick with that style of iron. Yes, while the Sub 70 CB iron is a great club, if I had it to do all over again, I would have just ordered the 639 MB set through 4 iron. 

Now, for the final thing I would have done differently... I would not have ordered the clubs in black! The black is not wearing well. My go-to iron, the 7 iron is beginning to look a bit tattered after five months of play. While the black finish is awesome at first, you'll find that scuffs and face marks become noticeable fairly quickly. While the finish deterioration is a fact of life, the clubs still perform fantastically!  You could do a lot worse than buy a set of Sub 70 irons! And pay a lot more for them as well! I'm keeping mine! However, I probably will be putting in an order for the 6 thru 4 iron in the MB soon to replace the CBs. 

To sum up my experience... I would highly recommend that you give Sub 70 a look if you are in the market for a great set of clubs that won't set you back a ton of money! Use their demo program to get things correct, and have no buyer's remorse - You will be getting a great playable set of irons! Ciao!

Friday, March 12, 2021

Ability To Play MB Blades - Who Can Play Them?

 Ok, since all the craziness in the world has happened, i.e., Covid 19 and the fact that we've all been spending more time at home, I've been spending a bit of time watching YouTube videos. As evident by this blog page, I am consumed with golf - any and everything golf. With this being the case, I have been watching a lot of reviews on golf clubs as I may be in the market for a fresh set of custom clubs soon. I'm am particularly interested in a fresh set of bladed/muscle-back irons and to my dismay, I've come across many videos discussing how only pros or top ams can/should play them. After watching all those videos discussing  "should/can mid-handicapper play blades," my conclusion is - there is a lot of opinions on the topic that I just don't agree with. 

Up until the mid to late 70s when Ping/Kristen introduced the cavity-back iron, no one knew of any golf club other than a blade/muscle-back (MB) iron. We all had to learn how to hit a golf ball using a bladed iron. Did that keep anyone with a mind to play golf from learning how to hit them? No! Many weekend warrior golfers have played golf with blades to great success and enjoyment. I think there is a lot of emphasis on farther, faster and higher going on in the golf industry today, catering to an audience that has bought into it, hook, line, and sinker. It's no longer about course management and short-game improvement. "Let's all just bomb it down there and see what happens" is the new game. 

I have tried to get on the bandwagon of easier clubs to hit but I just can't make the shift to game improvement irons, even player forged distance irons, which I own a set of, feel unwieldy to me with their hotter face, larger sole, and cranked lofts.  Personally, I find the new generation of golf clubs unappealing. They mask imperfections in my swing and make mishits an even bigger issue than they are with my MBs. 

Everyone seems to fear blades/MB irons -why? On one of the coldest days of the year that I've played golf in a while, I decided to take my 20-year-old set of MBs to the course. All I heard from the guys in the clubhouse was how miserable I was going to be playing the MBs in the weather. I hear all the time how unforgiving the MBs are and how there just isn't any distance in them compared to modern designed clubs. All I have to say in response is - "you've never tried to play them, have you?" Oh, I almost forgot to tell you, I had my best round in months. 

So, getting to the topic of this post... Who should/can play blades? I think anyone can play them regardless of handicap. If you have a developed swing that allows you to hit the ball fairly consistently you should give them consideration. If you are looking for more consistency in dispersion from front to back carry of your ball, you should absolutely give them a go. If you are looking to improve your swing, you can find no better place than MB blades to find what you are looking for... If you are a beginner, I say this, if you can learn the game on blades and hit them consistently, there is not a club in the world you will not be able to hit! Blades are sweet little chunks of metal at the end of a stick that send the ball where you aim it. 

As you can tell, I'm in love with the shinny MB bladed iron. I have no problem stepping up to any tee box with my buddies, most with their strong lofted clubs and pulling the numbered club in my bag that matches the loft of theirs and hitting with ease. The number on the bottom of the club is not important to me. I do not need an 8 iron that travels 180 yards. I rely on the consistency of the clubs that I play, not the loft to stroke my ego, fooling me into thinking I can hit the ball like Tiger. With blades, if you need more distance, pull a higher numbered club. If you gap them in properly, I think you will find that each club is about 10 to 15 yards further down the fairway than the next lower club. That is called consistency. 

Well, it's all out of my system now... All the things I wanted to say to the guys in the video have been said. The biggest thing about golf is to enjoy the game no matter what clubs you are playing. But please, don't buy into all the rhetoric that the average golfer can't or should not play Blades/MBs. Most of the people espousing this opinion are addressing their own fears. Play the clubs you want and I'll see you on the course, the average guy playing his most forgiving MBs. Until the next time... Play well. 

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.