Jump to content

The Real Reason Pros Play Blades


Hamachi Style
 Share

Recommended Posts

So... pretty much every 'justification or explanation' of the benefits of blade style irons I've seen/heard/read seems to refer back to the same old boiler plate: Workability.

 

No doubt workability is part of the equation, but I'm not convinced it's the whole story, or even the main reason.

In my personal experience with different styles of irons, the main difference I've noticed is this. Bigger, game improvement or super game improvement style irons do have a longer maximum distance. But to achieve that maximum distance, it must be hit properly (square, flush..) The 'forgiveness' people talk about is the distance on mishits. But those two numbers are always going to be different, depending on the nature and severity of the mishit. And I'd say that even minor mishits clearly do not go the maximum distance of those flush hits. This is a known fact for those of us who play game improvement irons.

 

This is true with all clubs of course, but during my testing of blades (I'm not good enough to game them, yet, but I have some old Nike VR's and Mizunos that are fun to practice with) blades have a more reliable total distance. In other words, when you catch one nice and square, it's not going to take off like a rocket.

 

 

So everyone says the reason pros play blades is workability, but I think it might be more distance control. When you factor in front to back as well as side to side in dispersion and accuracy assessments, it does seem like blades are more accurate. Otherwise, pros would play game improvement irons. Sure there would be a little bit of pride at stake, but if they were really better, and once someone was clearly using them to get a competitive advantage, the field would soon follow.

 

Thoughts?

  • Like 6

🥂

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think there's a few reasons.

1. I think you are on to something. That's something that makes sense to your thoughts on the smaller clubhead. The sweet spot is larger on a larger clubhead, but that can just increase misses. Pros aren't missing the sweet spot as often as a 18, or even 5 handicap. In a smaller clubhead the sweet spot is larger RELATIVE to the size of the club head.

2. Even blades today are not true forgings the way we think about a blade when we see dad or grandpa's MacGregor or Spalding set in the back of the garage. These new clubs are all multi peice, hollow body, polymer filled, etc. Pick your innovation. They are incredibly easy to hit compared to what we think of as traditional.

Take Dead Aim

  • Like 2

Take Dead Aim

Driver: Titleist 915 D3 10.5* 

Fairway: Titleist 917 F3 15*

Hybrid: Adams Idea Pro Boxer Gold 18*

Irons: Titleist 714CB 4-PW

Wedges: Vokey SM5 & SM6 50/54/58

Putter: Odyssey Versa #7 32"

Ball: Srixon Z-Star

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Arguably the biggest reason to play blades (and why so many pros play them) is because the mass properties better encourage a more piercing ball flight. Those guys typically don't need any help getting enough launch and already spin the ball plenty. There is a reason that the "game improvement" club on tour is a compact CB or a "Tech CB" with minimal Tungsten in the heal and toe. Last thing most of those guys need is tons on mass low in the head

  • Like 4

Driver:  :taylormade-small: Stealth Plus+ (7.25*) - Fujikura Ventus Black 6X Tipped 1" 

3 Wood: :taylormade-small: Stealth Plus+ (14.25*) - Fujikura Ventus Blue 7x Tipped 1"

Driving Iron: :taylormade-small: P790 UDI 2 iron - HZRDUS Smoke Black RDX 100 6.5

4 Iron: :taylormade-small: P790 - KBS C-Taper 130 X

Irons (5-7) :taylormade-small: P7MC - KBS C-Taper 130 X

Irons (8-P) :taylormade-small: P7MB - KBS C-Taper 130 X

Wedges: :taylormade-small: MG3 Black 50.09 / 55.11 - KBS TOUR FLT 130 X

60* Wedge: :taylormade-small: High Toe Raw - KBS Tour 130 X

Putter: 5WoCG8Y.jpgBlack ER2 (Finish Courtesy of NorCal Putters) 

Bag:  :taylormade-small: FlexTech Stand Bag

Glove:  Under Armour Strikeskin Tour

Ball: :taylormade-small: TP5X #11

RangeFinder: :918457628_PrecisionPro: R1 Smart Rangefinder

Instagram: @dpattgolf

Link to comment
Share on other sites

48 minutes ago, Tsmithjr9 said:

I think there's a few reasons.

1. I think you are on to something. That's something that makes sense to your thoughts on the smaller clubhead. The sweet spot is larger on a larger clubhead, but that can just increase misses. Pros aren't missing the sweet spot as often as a 18, or even 5 handicap. In a smaller clubhead the sweet spot is larger RELATIVE to the size of the club head.

2. Even blades today are not true forgings the way we think about a blade when we see dad or grandpa's MacGregor or Spalding set in the back of the garage. These new clubs are all multi peice, hollow body, polymer filled, etc. Pick your innovation. They are incredibly easy to hit compared to what we think of as traditional.

Take Dead Aim
 

There are still a bunch of solid one piece forgings being made.

  • Like 5

Ping G410, 10.5 5.5 Evenflow , Ping G425 5 wood/ Ping Anser 20 degree hybrid/ Srixon ZX5, 5-PW/ Ping Glide 50,54, & 58ES/ Bettinardi Queen B

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

23 hours ago, Tsmithjr9 said:


1. I think you are on to something. That's something that makes sense to your thoughts on the smaller clubhead. The sweet spot is larger on a larger clubhead, but that can just increase misses. Pros aren't missing the sweet spot as often as a 18, or even 5 handicap. In a smaller clubhead the sweet spot is larger RELATIVE to the size of the club head.

That's a good point. I also think it's just the tech factors of game improvement irons.. the thin, springy faces. They do launch farther but only when you get maximum springiness. If the face is not so thin and easily movable, you take that variable out of the equation.

 

Just my two cents..

🥂

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Pro’s definitely don’t need that hot rocket that happens when you flush a players distance iron. But with their ball striking, would they be surprised by that distance, or would it just be a stock yardage for them? And there are plenty of pro’s that don’t play blades. Look at Titleist, who plays muscle-backs? Just Adam Scott. Who plays Ap2’s? Jordan Speith. Everyone else is in cb’s or something close, but I believe Kevin Na was quoted as saying he would never game blades, because even pro’s benefit from technology advancing club design. I think it’s mid-low handicap mortals like us that suffer from players distance “jumpers” that make us consider blades in order to be able to trust a close to max effort swing not going 20 yards farther than we expected.


Sent from my iPhone using MyGolfSpy

  • Like 1

 

 

0CDA9F85-FD71-4495-9BD9-CF9DB38DF4E5.png

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Micah T said:

And there are plenty of pro’s that don’t play blades.

True, and I think the reason for that is a better balance of workability, forgiveness, and distance.  Viktor plays the i210 and Harris the Blueprints.  Absolutely no doubt either can competently play either iron but they see some slight advantage a particular design has with their specific game.  @DPattGolf's comment about more piercing ball flight I cannot confirm but it makes sense. 

  • Like 4

:ping-small: G410 Plus, 9 Degree Driver 

:ping-small: G400 SFT, 16 Degree 3w

:ping-small: G400 SFT, 19 Degree 5w

:srixon-small:  ZX5 Irons 4-AW 

:ping-small: Glide 2.0 56 Degree SW   (removed from double secret probation 😍)

:EVNROLL: ER5v Putter  (Evnroll ER5v Official Review)

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Pros play what works for what they want to achieve with flight window. The #1 iron on tour for years was the titleist AP2.

  • Like 5

Driver: PXG 0811 X+ Proto w/UST Helium 5F4

Wood: TaylorMade M5 5W w/Accra TZ5 +1/2”, TaylorMade Sim 3W w/Aldila rogue white

Hybrid: PXG Gen2 22* w/AD hybrid

Irons: PXG Gen3 0311T w/Nippon modus 120

Wedges: TaylorMade MG2 50*, Tiger grind 56/60

Putter: Scotty Caemeron Super Rat1

Ball: Titleist Prov1

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Micah T said:

Pro’s definitely don’t need that hot rocket that happens when you flush a players distance iron. But with their ball striking, would they be surprised by that distance, or would it just be a stock yardage for them? And there are plenty of pro’s that don’t play blades. Look at Titleist, who plays muscle-backs? Just Adam Scott. Who plays Ap2’s? Jordan Speith. Everyone else is in cb’s or something close, but I believe Kevin Na was quoted as saying he would never game blades, because even pro’s benefit from technology advancing club design. I think it’s mid-low handicap mortals like us that suffer from players distance “jumpers” that make us consider blades in order to be able to trust a close to max effort swing not going 20 yards farther than we expected.


Sent from my iPhone using MyGolfSpy

I’m sure the majority of Titleist tour staff use either AP2 or T100, but there are many using MB’s. This is just from the first few rows of their listed players. A few do have something like a T-MB or T-100 in one or two long iron spots. 
 

Scott - 680 MBs (older model)

JT - 620 MBs

Webb - 620 MBs

Wiesberger - Combo w/620 MBs

Byeong-Hun - 620 MBs

Homa- 620 MBs

Rafa - 620 MBs

Hoge - 620 CB/MB Combo

Hubbard - 620 MBs

Charley Hoffman - 714 MBs

Werenski- 620 MBs

This isn’t secret info, and most of it is easy to find. What you posted is either disingenuous or you didn’t bother to look.   

 

  • Like 2

Sun Mountain 4.5 LS 14-way
PXG 0811X Gen4 7.5* MCA Diamana S+ 60 X
PXG 0211 15* @ 13.5* MCA Tensei AV Raw White 75 X
New Level NLU-01 18* PX HZRDUS Smoke Black RDX 100 6.5
New Level 902 Forged 4-PW TT DG TI X100
Vokey SM8 48,52,56 TT DG S200
Scotty Cameron Special Select Newport 2
Humble, TX / Right Handed / 10 Handicap / 37.5" 6i @ 61.5* Lie

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I’m sure the majority of Titleist tour staff use either AP2 or T100, but there are many using MB’s. This is just from the first few rows of their listed players. A few do have something like a T-MB or T-100 in one or two long iron spots. 
 
Scott - 680 MBs (older model)
JT - 620 MBs
Webb - 620 MBs
Wiesberger - Combo w/620 MBs
Byeong-Hun - 620 MBs
Homa- 620 MBs
Rafa - 620 MBs
Hoge - 620 CB/MB Combo
Hubbard - 620 MBs
Charley Hoffman - 714 MBs
Werenski- 620 MBs
This isn’t secret info, and most of it is easy to find. What you posted is either disingenuous or you didn’t bother to look.   
 

I didn’t bother to look, and me missing JT is a huge omission, but the point is still the same. All pro’s do not play blades.


Sent from my iPhone using MyGolfSpy
  • Like 2

 

 

0CDA9F85-FD71-4495-9BD9-CF9DB38DF4E5.png

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Also lots of mixed bag arrangements.  Looking at the PING staff bags, some are a potpourri of different club designs - though pretty much follow the common recipe. 

:ping-small: G410 Plus, 9 Degree Driver 

:ping-small: G400 SFT, 16 Degree 3w

:ping-small: G400 SFT, 19 Degree 5w

:srixon-small:  ZX5 Irons 4-AW 

:ping-small: Glide 2.0 56 Degree SW   (removed from double secret probation 😍)

:EVNROLL: ER5v Putter  (Evnroll ER5v Official Review)

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's not even close to the majority of pros that play blades.  In fact counting combo sets the majority of the top ball strikers do not play blades.  And whoever wrote it is correct, the irons that they play are not GI's or Player's Distance irons but they do go for some help.

 

Why wouldn't they?  If your livelihood depending upon it wouldn't you like that 6 iron that you caught a groove down to finish on the front of the green rather than in the trap?

They play what they play including the lofts to hit certain windows and carry distances that fit their particularly gapping concerns.  We would do well to learn from their equipment choices, not that we should do the same thing but rather that we should pick what fits those same criterea for us.

  • Like 4

Taylor Made Stealth 10.5  Aldila Ascent Red R flex

Ping G410 5, 7, 9 wood  Alta 65 R flex

Wilson D7 forged 5-GW -  Mamiya recoil 460 R flex

Edison Wedges 54 and 59 KBS Tour Graphite 80's

EVNRoll ER 5

Titleist Pro VIx optic yellow with revkev stamped on them

Still on that elusive hunt for a 3 wood that I'm able to hit - I don't know why, I crush the 5 wood and it's really a 4 wood anyway. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/9/2021 at 1:37 PM, DPattGolf said:

Arguably the biggest reason to play blades (and why so many pros play them) is because the mass properties better encourage a more piercing ball flight. Those guys typically don't need any help getting enough launch and already spin the ball plenty. There is a reason that the "game improvement" club on tour is a compact CB or a "Tech CB" with minimal Tungsten in the heal and toe. Last thing most of those guys need is tons on mass low in the head

+1 on this. In my Titleist virtual ball fitting, he was getting frustrated trying to fit me and finally just said, "what irons do you play?" When I told him Ping i210s were my main gamers, he said, "OH! THAT HELPS SO MUCH. You're playing the wrong irons." Now, I am not going to put a lot of stock in the opinion of someone who's never actually seen my swing, but his rationale was pretty solid: Pings are "heavy" irons that do a great job getting the ball up and I should have been fit into something more like a Srixon or even a blade to get that 'piercing' flight. (I told him Mizunos were the fitters' runner-up suggestion and he said I would have been so much happier with them...)

Live and learn, I suppose. In any case, There are enough players who do play "players' cavity" irons and they're all guys that need some help getting the ball higher. Tiger, Rory, JT all have naturally high flights and don't need the help 🙂

  • Like 2

Driver: :cobra-small: RADspeed 9* with Motore X F1 60S
Fun driver: :srixon-small: ZX5 9.5* with 47" Tensei CK White 60S
3-wood: :taylormade-small: SIM 15* with Diamana Limited 75S
5-wood: :cobra-small: RADspeed 18.5* with Motore X F3 60S
2i: :srixon-small: ZX with SteelFiber i95 Stiff

4i-7i :srixon-small: ZX7, 8i-PW Z-Forged, Modus3 Tour 120 S
50*, 54* :cleveland-small: RTX ZipCore Modus3 Tour 115
60* :cleveland-small: RTX Full Face ZipCore DG Spinner S400
Putter: :cleveland-small: HB Soft Premier 11s, :callaway-small: Toulon Chicago

Ball: Maxfli Tour, ProV1, or TP5x
Bag: :ping-small: Hoofer (2018) in black/white/copper

Using :ShotScope: to keep track of my shots
:SuperSpeed: and Fit for Golf 

Tested:
:wilson_staff_small: D7 Forged 3i-PW, KBS Tour-V 110S - Official Review
:titelist-small: Blind Ball Test (Ball #3 vs Ball #4) - Unofficial Review
:ShotScope:
 V3 GPS Watch + Tags - Official Review

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/9/2021 at 12:57 PM, Hamachi Style said:

So... pretty much every 'justification or explanation' of the benefits of blade style irons I've seen/heard/read seems to refer back to the same old boiler plate: Workability.

 

No doubt workability is part of the equation, but I'm not convinced it's the whole story, or even the main reason.

In my personal experience with different styles of irons, the main difference I've noticed is this. Bigger, game improvement or super game improvement style irons do have a longer maximum distance. But to achieve that maximum distance, it must be hit properly (square, flush..) The 'forgiveness' people talk about is the distance on mishits. But those two numbers are always going to be different, depending on the nature and severity of the mishit. And I'd say that even minor mishits clearly do not go the maximum distance of those flush hits. This is a known fact for those of us who play game improvement irons.

 

This is true with all clubs of course, but during my testing of blades (I'm not good enough to game them, yet, but I have some old Nike VR's and Mizunos that are fun to practice with) blades have a more reliable total distance. In other words, when you catch one nice and square, it's not going to take off like a rocket.

 

 

So everyone says the reason pros play blades is workability, but I think it might be more distance control. When you factor in front to back as well as side to side in dispersion and accuracy assessments, it does seem like blades are more accurate. Otherwise, pros would play game improvement irons. Sure there would be a little bit of pride at stake, but if they were really better, and once someone was clearly using them to get a competitive advantage, the field would soon follow.

 

Thoughts?

My opinion would boil down to two different reason. 

1.  With a bladed iron you have total control over the ball.  Meaning, you have control over the fade, draw, high, low and to a certain extent distance.  Overall, they provide your better ball strikers the reliability and consistency that MOST CB irons do not. 

2. If you have the ball striking ability, Blades provide you with consistency.  Much as the same in statement one, the main point to this category is reliability and consistency.  With almost all CB's the probability to hit fliers or "hot shots" exists a far greater clip than it does with any form of a blade. (The hollow back iron's don't count for blade imo)

While I can get on with a set of blades, I'm not the ball striker to be able to sport them full time.  Frankly, I don't practice enough to constitute going that route.  Your swing really needs to be dialed in so that you perform at your best when swinging those butter knives and frankly I'm not on enough to justify it.  However, I will say that there are a number of players irons out there (forged and cast alike) that will give you almost the same abilities to work the ball and get almost what you would out of a blade.  

Golf's hard... I guess I'd say I'm not a fan of making it harder!

🤣

Play well all!  

  • Like 1

BNewt51

Driver: TSi3 9* :titelist-small:

3 Wood:  TS2 14* :titelist-small:

Hybrid:  Ping 425 17* and Ping 410 22* (interchangeable with 4 iron depending on conditions)  :ping-small:

Irons:  JPX 921 Tour 4-GW :mizuno-small:

Wedges:  Jaws 54 Wedge, Jaws 58 Hi-Toe :callaway-small:

Putter:  Scotty Cameron Newport 2 :scotty-cameron-1:

Ball:  Pro-V1 and Pro-V1x :titelist-small:

:ping-small: Hoofer - St. Judes Special Edition Bag 

Bushnell Range Finder (Patriot Pack) V-5 w/ Slope

*King of taking (borrowing) all my club ***** friends clubs after they've discarded them after a couple months! 🤣

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/10/2021 at 6:35 PM, Hamachi Style said:

All good points, but I'm not trying to draw distinction between very similar clubs, ie 'pure' blades vs 'modern blades vs 'tour' cavity backs.

 

More a blade style vs game improvement style.

One point that does strike me in that discussion is that a LOT of pro's carry a GI or SUPER GI in their long iron.  Typically like a 3 iron or even a 4.  I believe Ricky F went with a 3 iron that was a GI and I believe Phil went with a 3 and a 4 in some cases I think I read.  So while the bulk of their sets are true players irons (some blades some just a forged players cb) they even see the benefit of the help you can get in those things.  If not, for the distance alone. 

BNewt51

Driver: TSi3 9* :titelist-small:

3 Wood:  TS2 14* :titelist-small:

Hybrid:  Ping 425 17* and Ping 410 22* (interchangeable with 4 iron depending on conditions)  :ping-small:

Irons:  JPX 921 Tour 4-GW :mizuno-small:

Wedges:  Jaws 54 Wedge, Jaws 58 Hi-Toe :callaway-small:

Putter:  Scotty Cameron Newport 2 :scotty-cameron-1:

Ball:  Pro-V1 and Pro-V1x :titelist-small:

:ping-small: Hoofer - St. Judes Special Edition Bag 

Bushnell Range Finder (Patriot Pack) V-5 w/ Slope

*King of taking (borrowing) all my club ***** friends clubs after they've discarded them after a couple months! 🤣

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, BNewton51 said:

One point that does strike me in that discussion is that a LOT of pro's carry a GI or SUPER GI in their long iron.  Typically like a 3 iron or even a 4.  I believe Ricky F went with a 3 iron that was a GI and I believe Phil went with a 3 and a 4 in some cases I think I read.  So while the bulk of their sets are true players irons (some blades some just a forged players cb) they even see the benefit of the help you can get in those things.  If not, for the distance alone. 

Yes, almost like a mini hybrid, or a crossover as Ping calls it.

 

I feel like this goes back to my original hypothesis however, that they are not afraid to play whatever works. All those game improvement technologies in the beefier three irons outweigh having more distance control. Just as people want the longest driver, not the driver that's going to have the most distance control. But once you get into the mid and short irons (scoring), distance control becomes increasingly important. Maybe 'The Real Reason Pros Play Blades' wasn't the most accurate title.. something more like 'The Real Reason Skilled Golfers With a Consistent Swing Play More Stable/ Less Springy Irons' (Not the catchiest thread title 🙃). But the crux of my argument is that distance control is the number one reason. Other reasons like turf interaction, workability, form factor are probably not far behind.

 

Again, just one man's opinion. But interesting discussion!

  • Like 7

🥂

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the real reason Pros play blades is because they can.😁

  • Like 1
  • Haha 2

Ping G410, 10.5 5.5 Evenflow , Ping G425 5 wood/ Ping Anser 20 degree hybrid/ Srixon ZX5, 5-PW/ Ping Glide 50,54, & 58ES/ Bettinardi Queen B

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

DJ had a 7w in the bag this past week. Pros play what fits their needs. 
 

Last year at the event he had a high lofted hybrid because the 19* hybrid went to far.

Driver: PXG 0811 X+ Proto w/UST Helium 5F4

Wood: TaylorMade M5 5W w/Accra TZ5 +1/2”, TaylorMade Sim 3W w/Aldila rogue white

Hybrid: PXG Gen2 22* w/AD hybrid

Irons: PXG Gen3 0311T w/Nippon modus 120

Wedges: TaylorMade MG2 50*, Tiger grind 56/60

Putter: Scotty Caemeron Super Rat1

Ball: Titleist Prov1

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think sa big piece as to why some pros play true blades/muscle backs...

Most of these guys grew up (teen years) in the early 90s through early 2000s. What was around during that time? Either chunky CBs like 845s or Mizuno/Titleist butter knives. These guys matured their game with small footprint irons that featured thin top lines. Aside from a few exceptions, most of these guys need a thin top line, a thinner sole and workability because that's what they're accustomed to in their day. I think you see more blended sets these days than ever before because they're shrinking the size of some of these more forgiving cavity backs but you'll see the majority of guys with a muscle back 7/8i-PW. 

What's crazy is how different this is on the LPGA tour where the most popular iron is...a cavity back...Ping i210. 

  • Like 1

Cobra Connect 5 Competitor - Team Chad

  • :cobra-small: King Radspeed 10.5* w/ Hzrdus RDX Blue 60 6.5 tipped 1/2" - Peacoat/Red
  • :cobra-small: King Radspeed Big Tour 3 Wood w/ Hzrdus RDX Blue 70 6.5 Tipped 1/2"
  • :cobra-small: King Radspeed Tour 5 Wood w/ Motore X F1 70 X Flex 
  • :cobra-small: King Utility 4 21* w/ Tensei Pro White 100 X Flex
  • :cobra-small: King Tour MIM Copper Irons 5-G w/ AMT White X100 Onyx
  • :cobra-small: King MIM Black Wedges 55* & 60* w/ AMT White X100 Onyx
  • :taylormade-small: Spider SR
  • :titelist-small: Pro V1x Left Dash
  • Lefty
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...