This must be one of the most debated subjects on the golf-related internet and it seems by the number of times it is posted here and there, it just never gets old! what is best, blades or Super Game Improvement Irons?
I have been thinking about this a bit recently because I am (as always) having a look out for new irons. As you might remember, I was fitted by Mizuno before Christmas last year for some mp-64 irons. whilst not quite blades, they are towards the “players” end of the iron spectrum.
Not wanting to spend Christmas in the doghouse, I didn’t break out my cheque book and buy them on the spot, but I was quite tempted! I am a fair ball striker and off the mats at the fitting these things were flying!
But over the past few weeks while the golf season has been slow, I have been taking a few different clubs to the range for fun. Old pings, macgregor blades, cleveland niblicks and…..a wilson di11 6 iron. This is a standard spec, uniflex super game improvement. And you know what? I remember why I loved my di11s so much (so much, in fact, that I sold them, but that’s another story altogether…). I never really thought I was going to mishit anything. There was certainly none of the cold sweat that can break out standing over a butter-knife 5 iron when your ball-striking stayed at home.
I was then spending my usual hours on the internet seeing what other golfers think when I started watching a couple of Mark Crossfield’s videos. Now he is a pro, afar better ball-striker than me and has recently changed his mp-64s for Mizuno EZ irons! This is about as SGI as Mizuno gets and Mark said how much he was enjoying the forgiveness.
So the bottom line is this: what do I want? What do we all want? There are some great-looking SGI irons out there. Heck, even pros are leaving blades out of there bags, at least in the longer irons and some are playing with (and winning with) some of the biggest shovels imaginable. And here I am hoping to break 80 with something I could use to shave with????
Do Blades Really Make a Difference to Score?
There is no doubt that a set of nice, shiny blades look great in the bag. As i type this, I have a shiny set of Wilson fg 62 irons sitting next to me. Any way you turn it, they look great. Clean and classic. But when I look at the 4 iron, I start to break out in a cold sweat. I wouldn’t want to be knocking it over water from 200 yards.
So I’ll just leave the blades for Adam Scott, shall I? Well, interestingly enough, since writing the first part of this post last year and mentioning Mark Crossfield and his SGI irons, he has decided to carry out his own experiment and put mizuno mp5 blades in his bag. So far, the results show that his scores really don’t change a whole lot between these and a big, off-set cavity back iron.
Well fine, but most of us don’t have that level of ball striking. As I mentioned previously, I am a pretty fair ball striker. But as someone who currently hovers at the top of single figures or low double figures, my ball striking can’t really be that great, can it?
This might be the time to talk about the golf industry and marketing. As golfers we read on forums and in the press that today’s clubs have achieved levels of forgiveness that is light years beyond anything from even 5 years ago. and the latest sgi irons offer ridiculous levels of tolerance. I find that an interesting argument.
From my own experience, this isn’t the case. Sure, a slight off-centre hit with a iron that has a big cavity, lots of offset and weight down low will do better than with a butter knife. but as golfers, we have to stop believing that a modern blade is unhittable. It isn’t. I change irons more often that I change my underwear (well, not quite, but you get the point) and really, my results aren’t very different whatever is in my bag (at least in terms of irons)
And I’m not just talking about scores. My irons don’t really affect my scores greatly. This comes down to driving and short game/putting and this is true for most average golfers that I meet. No, I’m talking about the results of mishits. The result of a mishit with my blades is no worse than the result of a mishit with my game improvement irons. You might want to read that sentence again.
Popular opinion would have you believe that a mishit with a blade will go nowhere or go sideways whereas an iron like the wilson di11 mentioned above or a more recent model like the D200 or the mizuno EZ series will have no difference between centre and off-centre. Now i might be a unique and truly special individual (and if that is the case, mum-you were right), but my results don’t back this up. A slight mishit with my Wilson fg blades doesn’t result in anything terrible. Generally, it gives a little loss of distance but doesn’t disappear off sideways somewhere.
Once again, this makes no difference to my scores. None. The next time someone says that you scores will shoot up, with blades, I haven’t found this to be the case.
Now let me give you the whole picture. I only play blades from 6 iron and up (and sometimes even from 7 iron.) Because as much as I have talked about the results of mishits, the question of how often you ishit with different sorts of clubs is also important. I think a mid-handicapper won’t mishit short irons more with blades than SGI irons. I certainly don’t from 8 iron on down. I don’t think I do with my 6 nd 7 either, but I am honestly not sure about this.
However I certainly hit my hybrid 4 iron better than my blade!
So what is the right answer here? The most obvious one is also the most important:play what you want. Really, I have no problem with a beginner playing blades if it makes him happy. Or a scratch golfer playing all-hybrid.nobody cares. Unless it is putting food on your table, you shouldn’t either. But this is sitting on the fence.
So here is what I think. I think it is fun and certainly won’t harm your scores (and might help) if you are a reasonable ball striker and you play blades from 8 iron down and maybe a club or two more. Getting a modern blade like the mp 5 isn’t the same as playing your grandfather’s blade. They are hittable, not some 1970s thing with the sweet spot about a millimetre from the dreaded ‘shanking zone’
Give it a try and see. Give it a try and let me know how it works for you.