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Blade Irons Thread
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legitimatebeef

Joined: 09 May 2010
Posts: 933

PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 12:03 pm    Post subject: Blade Irons Thread

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If you have them, why do you use them? If you don't have them, then why not?

I have been playing Titleist 690.mb's for almost two years now and my affection for them only seems to grow with each round. Generally I am not a gear head, I don't usually get boners over hard goods but sometimes in life you discover a piece of gear that inspires you, that melds with you, that you feel like you practically become one with. I feel the same way about my Gibson SG guitar.

In particular I like the way the clubs look at address. I appreciate the minimal offset which makes it easier to set it up at address--whether square, open or closed. A lot of offset is confusing to the eye IMO. I also like the way they look in the bag, and let's face it, that matters. Also people see them in your bag and they are going to expect certain things about your game; I don't mind that.

See, blades are precision tools and that to me inspires confidence. I like the idea of a club designed for a proper strike rather than one designed for a mis-hit. Playing these clubs forces me to either be confident in my swing or else give up, no middle ground.

While it's true that off-center hits suffer a lot worse than they would on a cavity back, I take this as a benefit. I always found "game improvement" to be an odd term, an ironic misnomer. Wide-sole, giant cavity, multi-material, huge offset clubs might improve the feel of your mis-hits and might save a couple of strokes in the immediate short term, but in the long run they only serve to mask swing flaws and effectively coddle your bad tendencies.

Back when I played cavity backs, I had a tendency to hit thin and on the toe. I would play entire rounds, entire weeks and months thin and off the toe. I might've known it, but the clubs were forgiving enough that I could live with it.

That is fine for a weekend duffer who doesn't mind having a stagnant mediocre game. But if you are serious about your golf blades are the true game improvement clubs. They tell you what's going on with your swing and tell you in unmistakable terms. If you are in it for the long term and truly desire to strike the ball solidly the blade iron is a valuable tool. You can't fake it. You are forced to find the sweet spot or else go home.

As I said I'm not really prone to gear-oriented snobbery and frankly I'm surprised to find myself here writing this thread but lately I've been getting so much enjoyment from my irons, and also I've been checking out people's bags and been fascinated by the interplay between their game and their club choice. Anyone with an opinion on this topic feel free to chime in.
 
Matt F

Joined: 24 May 2008
Posts: 601

PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 7:21 am    Post subject:

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I wish we had a like button.

I play game improvement clubs, albeit minimal offset, pro version right now, as I feel I need some more time to develop my game. My next set of clubs however, will be blades. I do have Eidolon wedges which are blades and hit them well, but I still think I need more time for the longer clubs.

Matt
 
birdieXris

Joined: 23 Jul 2008
Posts: 1052

PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:04 am    Post subject:

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I'm not interested in blades as the primary choice for "better golfers". I'm interested in them as precision instruments. Doesn't matter who you are. If you hit them well, the ball goes where you're aiming. If you dont - well, it doesn't quite get there. I've found a happy medium with my AP2 irons. I love them. they're as accurate as a blade, but feel really nice and retain distance even on slightly off center hits. They really do play about the same. Thin topline, thin sole. You can still tell when you don't catch them right. They're as good as blades in my opinion, maybe even better. I haven't played a blade in probably 15 or so years. When these wear out, i may go back, but i like my current set too much to warrant changing.
 
mjaber

Joined: 17 Feb 2009
Posts: 1180

PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:49 am    Post subject:

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I don't play them. I just bought a new set of irons, and the biggest factor for me was price. I got a great deal on a set of Cobra S2s, and they are a definite upgrade from what I was playing.

I think I'm the "weekend duffer who doesn't mind having a stagnant mediocre game" you were talking about. I freely admit that I'm OK with shooting in the low/mid 90s when I go out. I don't have the time/money to put in to practicing right now. I'm not playing much, either. A 2 year old, and a house will do that to you. Smile
Dusty23
Joined: 06 Aug 2009
Posts: 364

PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:55 pm    Post subject:

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I don't play blades. I have been playing forged cavity back Mizunos for several years. Taking advantage of the precision of forging while having some forgiveness built in. I just ordered a new set of Titleist AP2's. From what I've read the sweet spot on a blade is about the size of a quarter and while I am serious about my game I know I will never develop that consistent a strike. And why wouldn't someone want to take advantage of the tech they can build into a club that make your mishits a little less punishing. I don't begrudge anybody who wants to play blades, but you see it everyday on the course where people don't have the game for what they're playing ( think of those Wilson Staff ads on tv)and would probably get more out of it and play better with the right gear. Beef, with your 7.5 hdcp you obviously have the option to play blades but most people need help. You get your first drivers license, you don't jump into a Formula 1 race car and expect to be good. The first thing that popped in my head yesterday when I read your post was the Dirty Harry quote, "A man has got to know his limitations"
 
legitimatebeef

Joined: 09 May 2010
Posts: 933

PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 2:02 pm    Post subject:

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mwfaith1971 wrote:
I wish we had a like button.

I play game improvement clubs, albeit minimal offset, pro version right now, as I feel I need some more time to develop my game. My next set of clubs however, will be blades. I do have Eidolon wedges which are blades and hit them well, but I still think I need more time for the longer clubs.

Matt


Thanx Matt. Its ok, "like" buttons are for robots and automatons anyways. Who wants to live in a binary world where everything is either a thumbs up or thumbs down? People are getting dumber all the time and this whole like/dislike value system is not helping things.

I think you are just the kind of person I'm speaking to. If you are at all interested in the blade iron and you're in it for the long haul, even without knowing you personally I'd say its a good move. How can it be wrong? Making a proper iron strike is within nearly everyone's reach. One does not have to be a super elite golfer to employ a muscleback. Like you say, most people are playing wedges with a very old-school blade design anyways. But yeah the long clubs are tough, and I struggle with them at times.
 
Bryan K

Joined: 14 May 2009
Posts: 2523

PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 2:11 pm    Post subject:

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I play blades. When I hit a blade flush, I know it. It goes exactly where I want it to go. When I hate a blade perfectly on the sweet spot, and it doesn't go where I want it to go, I need to take a look at my alignment.

It's a wonderful feeling, though, when you swing that blade, hit the sweet spot, look up, and the ball is on the perfect line at the target. That never happened when I played cavity backs.
 
legitimatebeef

Joined: 09 May 2010
Posts: 933

PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 2:16 pm    Post subject:

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birdieXris wrote:
I'm not interested in blades as the primary choice for "better golfers". I'm interested in them as precision instruments. Doesn't matter who you are. If you hit them well, the ball goes where you're aiming. If you dont - well, it doesn't quite get there. I've found a happy medium with my AP2 irons. I love them. they're as accurate as a blade, but feel really nice and retain distance even on slightly off center hits. They really do play about the same. Thin topline, thin sole. You can still tell when you don't catch them right. They're as good as blades in my opinion, maybe even better. I haven't played a blade in probably 15 or so years. When these wear out, i may go back, but i like my current set too much to warrant changing.


Dusty23 wrote:
I don't play blades. I have been playing forged cavity back Mizunos for several years. Taking advantage of the precision of forging while having some forgiveness built in. I just ordered a new set of Titleist AP2's. From what I've read the sweet spot on a blade is about the size of a quarter and while I am serious about my game I know I will never develop that consistent a strike. And why wouldn't someone want to take advantage of the tech they can build into a club that make your mishits a little less punishing. I don't begrudge anybody who wants to play blades, but you see it everyday on the course where people don't have the game for what they're playing ( think of those Wilson Staff ads on tv)and would probably get more out of it and play better with the right gear. Beef, with your 7.5 hdcp you obviously have the option to play blades but most people need help. You get your first drivers license, you don't jump into a Formula 1 race car and expect to be good. The first thing that popped in my head yesterday when I read your post was the Dirty Harry quote, "A man has got to know his limitations"


You guys make great points. The Ap2 and mp-59 are very cool modern irons with a fairly traditional look at address. I would consider something along these lines for my next set, whenever that is.

Dusty, the thing is I was a 10 or 11 handicap when I made the switch. The irons played a big part in my improvement. Absolutely. They make me acutely aware of the mis-hits and where on the face they are occurring. Don't get me wrong though, I enjoyed them from the start, there was no painful adjustment period and I did not have to learn to love them.

Besides a modern blade like the one I'm playing (circa 2005) is not as devilish as people make it out to be. Thin hits travel just fine and are quite playable. Toe hits aren't that bad. It's the chunky shots hit high on the face that go nowhere and really make you look bad. And really its just the 3-4-5 irons that will challenge you. The mid and short irons are just plain sweet, I cannot see how anyone cannot appreciate these.
 
legitimatebeef

Joined: 09 May 2010
Posts: 933

PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 2:23 pm    Post subject:

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Bryan K wrote:
I play blades. When I hit a blade flush, I know it. It goes exactly where I want it to go. When I hate a blade perfectly on the sweet spot, and it doesn't go where I want it to go, I need to take a look at my alignment.

It's a wonderful feeling, though, when you swing that blade, hit the sweet spot, look up, and the ball is on the perfect line at the target. That never happened when I played cavity backs.


Absolutely, that is something I wanted to get across. There is a feeling of precision with these clubs that is damn near visceral. All clubs will give you a sweet feeling when you hit it right on the button but none do it better than a clean slab of forged metal. I get a feeling of ball-control just by looking at my irons.
Dusty23
Joined: 06 Aug 2009
Posts: 364

PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 3:55 pm    Post subject:

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Beef you're right about the set make up, alot of pro's play combo sets, 7 or 8 iron thru wedges are MB's and then 2/3, 4, 5, 6 are some thing else. You are also on about most people having blade like wedges, my Mizuno's 8-PW have a much less pronunced cavity back and my GW/SW are blade like Vokey's. On the flip side though and I'm sure Birdiexris can attest, when I hit the Mizuno, or now as I am moving into the AP2, on the screws, the feeling is almost like not hitting the ball at all, absolutely sweet and I think that stems from from the forging process that these clubs share with your blades, so I can relate to that feel.
 
Matt F

Joined: 24 May 2008
Posts: 601

PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 7:15 am    Post subject:

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The new irons I just got 4 weeks ago are 6, 7, 8 and 9 irons...right where I should try blades. I may, later in the year, buy a 6 iron and test drive that for a bit. You never know, I may end up with the rest of the set in the off season.

Matt
DougE

Joined: 18 Oct 2009
Posts: 1070

PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 6:02 pm    Post subject:

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Titleist AP2 712. Newest version of the AP2. Just released in Nov. Forged, blade-style. Miss it and you know it, and by how much. However, there is some forgiveness which is why so many Titleist pros play this iron instead of a pure MB. All the benefits of a blade, but with a little more forgiveness. Small head just like the MB. Very workable. Very accurate. Very sweet when hit pure. My iron game is definitely better since I started playing these. Carry Vokey SM wedges (blade style) then PW-5i in the AP2s, but have recently started playing an Adams a12 24*/5H in place of the 5i. Once I hit my 6i dead nuts every time, I'll put the 5i back in the back.

A few years back I switched to Titleist 755 forged irons after playing Game Improvement irons for a time. Hated the bulky top-line on most GI irons. The Titleist 755s were not clunky at all and had a very workable-sized head with very little offset. Once I knew I had the 755s under control, it made me confident that I could handle the new AP2s, which are actually full-out players irons. I am a much better ball striker than I was with a GI iron.

As a side note, Titleist presently manufactures only 4 models of irons: The MB 712, the CB 712, the AP2 712 and the AP1 712. The first three of the four models are players clubs. And, even the AP1--a more GI style--has been seen out on the PGA Tour. A couple guys were using them for their whole set, and a few others were playing them as their long irons while using the AP2s for 5-PW. If the topline of the AP1 wasn't so bulky, I might have considered them for my 5 and 6, but I just can't stand a thick top line.
jfurr

Joined: 25 Dec 2009
Posts: 1002

PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 8:18 pm    Post subject:

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I don't have much to add, because I've never played blades, but I would agree based on some experience I had. I consider a blade to have no cavity at all. I've hit them a few times trying some friends clubs out, and they feel good but I wouldn't enjoy having them in particular in the longer irons 6 iron up.

Back in Dec 2010 I got a set of Mizuno MP-53's (which are not blades but compact forged type with pocket cavity on 4-7 and perimeter weighted semi cavity on the 8-PW). It definitely helped me improve technique and strike at impact. But I struggled too. I decide to give them a full year to learn with, as a game improvement tool so to speak.

A few weeks ago put them away and switched to more forgiving PINGs and couldn't be happier. I was glad I worked with the Mizunos for a while to get that feedback, but the extra forgiveness on off center hits, especially with the longer new irons is great for me. Truth is, I can still feel a sweet hit and a mis hit, just not penalized as bad on the off hits. Scores are dropping. GIR's going up.

In my case, I think a lot of the improvement isn't so much the club head as it is having the correct shaft and lie angle now. Compared to the Mizuno's my current irons have lighter and slightly less stiff shafts which are also standard, not 1/2" over length, and with a 3 degree more upright lie angle. This alone has put me in a much more comfortable address position, feeling through the swing, club head control and better interaction with the turf. If I had the Mizunos in a similar setup might still be using them. But additionally the increased sole bounce plus the bigger cavity and stuff helps me in other ways too.

Currently using the i20 irons (which look sweet I think) in the 7-UW and to save some money got some used G15's for the 4-6. I like the compact look of the short irons, but honestly the larger, clunky offset look of the G's doesn't really bother me either.

Only down side I'm starting to notice on the i20's is if I really hit one super solid, it jumps out further than normal, whereas the Mizunos were very consistent distance on solid hits. It doesn't happen all the time, but a few times I've soared one over a green. Gotta work on that...

A good idea for someone curious might be to go to the lost club barrel at the golf course and try to pick up a blade 7 iron or something for cheap and test out on the range.
bkuehn1952

Joined: 25 Apr 2010
Posts: 1404

PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 8:40 pm    Post subject:

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jfurr wrote:
A good idea for someone curious might be to go to the lost club barrel at the golf course and try to pick up a blade 7 iron or something for cheap and test out on the range.


Good suggestion. I may look around to see what is available.
jfurr

Joined: 25 Dec 2009
Posts: 1002

PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 8:54 pm    Post subject:

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bkuehn1952 wrote:
jfurr wrote:
A good idea for someone curious might be to go to the lost club barrel at the golf course and try to pick up a blade 7 iron or something for cheap and test out on the range.


Good suggestion. I may look around to see what is available.


I got a old MacGregor M675 (i think that is the model) 6 iron former demo club from a golf shop for 10 bucks just for this purpose. It is kinda hard to hit, heh heh. But when on the money it feels soft.
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