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5 Years From Now, Will Cavity Back Irons Only Be For Better Players?


deejaid
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I think we'll start to see more "driving iron" style clubs replacing the 3/4/5/6 cavity back heads. 

 

And with a subsequent 15% bump in cost. 

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1 hour ago, tcb121 said:

Sure, a strong case could be made for blades in 8, 9, wedges, but why play anything above that in a blade?  It's why more and more pro's are playing mixed bag sets.  

And why more manufacturer's are offering combo sets with blade short irons and CB's in mid to long irons.

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I don’t want this to devolve into a blades vs cavity back debate.   I’m just curious if the new hollow head irons are as big an advancement in iron design that it rivals the early 1980’s introduction of the Ping Eye 2 which saw a majority of golfers switch from their old blades to a cavity back.

 

Will today’s new hollow/filled iron head designs be seen as such a huge improvement over cavity backs that 5-10 years from now will playing cavity backs be seen as giving up too much technology as opposed to playing a modern hollow design?

Edited by deejaid
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The trends are all pointing to more hollow filled iron heads, but everything is moving to thinner lighter more forgiving material in the iron market.  I think there was a lot of uproar about strong lofts on irons and folks would point out lower spin rates and such or state that 28 - 30 degree 7 irons were basically the equivalent of 6 or 5 irons of the past.  All true, but the huge difference was those 28 - 30 degree 7 irons have 49 degree decent angles and even with only 4500 spin will stop and hold greens just like a 6000 rpm 34 degree 7 iron with a 46 degree decent.  The game is changing.  Some tour players are taking on hitting driver further and with club head speeds getting to where I think they are going to go to, having a more forgiving iron head will probably be needed.  

 

I say yes, you will see in 5 - 10 years a lot more hollow body irons and graphite on tour.  I also think you will see a lot more bombers on tour as well.  It's no lie that clubhead speed and distance are money makers on tour.  You can't survive on todays PGA with driver speed of 110 mph.  You need to be north of 120 if you want to earn some money.  I don't think the hollow bodies will get to the point of more forgiveness then cavity backs, but that's just the engineer in me.  They will perhaps be on par with each other, but I don't think hollow bodies will overtake the category as being more forgiving.  

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No because no matter how much tech they claim there is there's but so much you can do to an iron. Additionally, no matter how "forgiving" supposedly an iron is, it's not helping scores.

 

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Don’t forget that the governing bodies could always introduce regulations to stymie the proliferation of anything.  Recent precedent is there with the grooves issue.  

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I truly hope at least one OEM continues to make blades/small CB irons.

 

Clearly they are not for everyone, but for some that look is just as important as any other feature. 
 

There are plenty of options for in the cavity back section. Most of the new stuff looks chunky and oversized. I hope there will continue to be an option for those who prefer the traditional look.

 


 

 

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I'm not sure about seeing a huge swing in hollow body irons, I still think there will be always be average-player cb irons (maybe not GI cb's though). As a material, metal is too inconsistent when it gets thin and no matter what marketing says I don't think thin, hollow body irons can compete with a fully forged cb in distance consistency. 

 

I am an average-ish player (16-20 hcp) but I'm athletic and can swing the club fast (~112 mph driver). I played hollow irons for a few months and was wildly inconsistent on distance. Switched to New Level 902's (forged cb's) and have noticed huge improvements since. That being said, other than the 902's, I don't think the golf market really offers much for players like me with high swing speed and high handicap. I've found that a forgiving, fully forged, cavity back iron is exactly what I need. I don't need distance, I need consistency.

 

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During this time of year in SoCal, many greens are alive, but nearly dormant, super firm and fast. In fact, they are so firm, it can be difficult for most to actually find their ball mark for fixin. More importantly, it's tougher for most to actually hold the hit green from yardages of about 125+. I play mostly courses with smaller greens. I mostly encounter players with CB/GI/SGI irons. My MB irons have...noticeably...more green holding capability during this time of year than the more forgiving styles. My minimal ball marks are different than theirs too(not deeper, but more oblong and with evidence of more spin). I swear, the initial green hit sound is different too. Because I play a lot at this time of year, on smaller greens, I prefer this higher spin style of iron. This advantage only lasts about 3-3.5 months, and that's alright with me.

As for the OP's posit; yes, the fixation and facination of the marketing before us, seems to be steering opinions toward classic CB's as...less forgiving and less distance...so they are for better players.

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1 hour ago, FirstFlight said:

During this time of year in SoCal, many greens are alive, but nearly dormant, super firm and fast. In fact, they are so firm, it can be difficult for most to actually find their ball mark for fixin. More importantly, it's tougher for most to actually hold the hit green from yardages of about 125+. I play mostly courses with smaller greens. I mostly encounter players with CB/GI/SGI irons. My MB irons have...noticeably...more green holding capability during this time of year than the more forgiving styles. My minimal ball marks are different than theirs too(not deeper, but more oblong and with evidence of more spin). I swear, the initial green hit sound is different too. Because I play a lot at this time of year, on smaller greens, I prefer this higher spin style of iron. This advantage only lasts about 3-3.5 months, and that's alright with me.

As for the OP's posit; yes, the fixation and facination of the marketing before us, seems to be steering opinions toward classic CB's as...less forgiving and less distance...so they are for better players.

A lot courses around here are playing faster on the greens for sure.  Sounds like you're either in the SD or LA country area like I am.  I play blades as well and don't find them to hold the greens any better compared to cbs, but we're all different.  I would imagine that this is the case for you because the modern CB tends to be lower loft therefore spin less overall.  Perhaps it's also the ball you play as well.  As for the OP's question, hollow body irons will be more popular in the near future for ams, but I don't think this will be the case for the guys on tour.  As for graphite iron shafts, it can def be possible that the general golf population and pros gravitate towards them eventually because not only because they play just as stable as steel at the same or lighter weight, but they are easier on the hands and wrists as well. 

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You can have my MB's when you pry them from my cold, dead hands. 

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Are we making a generalization in all CB's being the same, or talking about 1 piece forged CB's? 

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7 hours ago, FirstFlight said:

During this time of year in SoCal, many greens are alive, but nearly dormant, super firm and fast. In fact, they are so firm, it can be difficult for most to actually find their ball mark for fixin. More importantly, it's tougher for most to actually hold the hit green from yardages of about 125+. I play mostly courses with smaller greens. I mostly encounter players with CB/GI/SGI irons. My MB irons have...noticeably...more green holding capability during this time of year than the more forgiving styles. My minimal ball marks are different than theirs too(not deeper, but more oblong and with evidence of more spin). I swear, the initial green hit sound is different too. Because I play a lot at this time of year, on smaller greens, I prefer this higher spin style of iron. This advantage only lasts about 3-3.5 months, and that's alright with me.

As for the OP's posit; yes, the fixation and facination of the marketing before us, seems to be steering opinions toward classic CB's as...less forgiving and less distance...so they are for better players.

 With a 21 handicap, how many greens are you actually hitting?

Either you can't putt, or you hit a lot of foul balls OB.

I play with a lot of different folks, a few very good ( scratch ) players, and a few who play blades. Most play CB.

This time of year here the greens are hard and fast, and I see no difference in holding power between a blade 8 or 9 iron and a players CB same clubs.

The Pros play a lot of firm - hard greens and plenty of them use players CBs. ZX7's, Mizzy 921 Forged, Cally TCB ETC.

Play what you  like and what works for you........

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I think the golf ball is a part of this discussion too. 
 

I grew up at the end of the wound/balata ball era. In those days, if you saw someone that could hit a driver well, you could assume they were a good player. 
 

NOW, I play with many players that hit driver well, but don’t have much skill other than that. 
 

The ball is engineered to go straight now.  Leading to different equipment needs/possibilities (than “back in the day”)

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2 hours ago, PEI_Golfer said:

Are we making a generalization in all CB's being the same, or talking about 1 piece forged CB's? 


I’m talking a one-piece forged cavity back iron.    Will we see people howling that it’s foolish to play such a club, “why not give yourself a better chance to succeed with newer technology”, etc.

 

You know, kind of like we see with current “Am I good enough to play blades” topics.   Will we be seeing responses like “Oh great, not another cavity back vs Hollow/Players Distance debate”?

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20 minutes ago, deejaid said:


I’m talking a one-piece forged cavity back iron.    Will we see people howling that it’s foolish to play such a club, “why not give yourself a better chance to succeed with newer technology”, etc.

 

You know, kind of like we see with current “Am I good enough to play blades” topics.   Will we be seeing responses like “Oh great, not another cavity back vs Hollow/Players Distance debate”?

Maybe, but there has been virtually no change in 1 piece forged CB's other than some OEM's throwing some tungsten weights in the heel and toe for stability purposes in more recent years.  So no real 'advancement' other than it being shiny and new in the playability department compared to older clubs.

 

A set of Titleist 690 CB's are as relevant in this regards today as they were 20 years ago given that they are also conforming to the groove rule.  The better part is that you can find them for virtually nothing (a set is for sale by me for $150 cdn even though I have a set of .CB's already) compared to the grotesque pricing of today's offerings, even in VG condition.

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12 minutes ago, deejaid said:


I’m talking a one-piece forged cavity back iron.    Will we see people howling that it’s foolish to play such a club, “why not give yourself a better chance to succeed with newer technology”, etc.

 

You know, kind of like we see with current “Am I good enough to play blades” topics.   Will we be seeing responses like “Oh great, not another cavity back vs Hollow/Players Distance debate”?

 

From what distance would a blade no longer be the best choice?  Unless you are at a really high level I'm guessing yardages outside of 160 would benefit from forgiveness and technology.  Even club level pro's that do youtube reviews for clubs don't hit 10 shots with blades with a tighter dispersion than they do with GI's that I see them hit at that distance.  Thomas from 2ndswinggolf is basically a machine and his grouping with GI's is on par with what I've seen him demo with blades.  Would be a good test for highly skilled guy to compare a GI 8 iron vs blade 7 iron with properly fit shafts to see distance control and grouping.  Inside 160 my guess is the highly skilled guys could do more / shape more shots to attack flags with blades vs GI's, but my cutoff yardage is right around that 160 yard mark.  I think outside of that even really good golfers are not getting any benefit from a blade.

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8 minutes ago, tcb121 said:

 

From what distance would a blade no longer be the best choice?  Unless you are at a really high level I'm guessing yardages outside of 160 would benefit from forgiveness and technology.  Even club level pro's that do youtube reviews for clubs don't hit 10 shots with blades with a tighter dispersion than they do with GI's that I see them hit at that distance.  Thomas from 2ndswinggolf is basically a machine and his grouping with GI's is on par with what I've seen him demo with blades.  Would be a good test for highly skilled guy to compare a GI 8 iron vs blade 7 iron with properly fit shafts to see distance control and grouping.  Inside 160 my guess is the highly skilled guys could do more / shape more shots to attack flags with blades vs GI's, but my cutoff yardage is right around that 160 yard mark.  I think outside of that even really good golfers are not getting any benefit from a blade.

Wishon said lofts above 35 degrees, iron design (blade, cavity, etc) doesnt matter because the loft is the overwhelming variable in what your ball does.

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22 hours ago, tcb121 said:

If you read the forms here enough you see a lot of talk about blades vs CB vs MB..   Or to put it another way GI vs non GI and then the loft jacking Karens come out for ya..  There's a good scene in "Days of Thunder" where the crew chief challenges Cole to a test.  Drive 50 laps your way and drive 50 laps the way I tell you to.  I kinda feel like doing that test with some of my golf buddies.  Sure go get those P770's or those Apex Pro's and go play 36 holes your way with those custom fit blades.  Then let me custom fit you into some GI's and go play 36.  My bet is most golfers would perform better with the GI's.  The very best players I know play GI's or CB irons.  There are some guys at the club who have blades that play daily and can handle them, but I'd still bet they would play better with GI's over the course of 36 holes with the GI's.  

 

I'm an engineer and can't figure out why any player would want to play a less forgiving iron.  With CB technology and shafts the way the are today dispersion and distance control is on par with blades anyway.  Sure, a strong case could be made for blades in 8, 9, wedges, but why play anything above that in a blade?  It's why more and more pro's are playing mixed bag sets.  

 

My guess is we will see more graphite irons on tour in the next few years.  We will see a trend going to lighter weight graphite shafts in irons that will be just as stiff as X130's but weigh 90 grams.  The same trends happened in graphite driver shafts.  Used to be 80 - 90 gram graphite driver shafts and then slowly but surely it went to 75 then to 65 and now sub 60 is super popular.  So you have 60 gram shafts in driver that can handle 120mph club head speed and still keep spin and dispersion down..  It's coming in irons as well.  DG S300's will be replaced by MMT 125's or lighter and just like the loft jacking that we see with 28 degree 7 irons, they drop and stop with 49 degree decent angles..   Golf is a tech game these days.  Some up and coming tour guys will play it like Bryson and just tinker in the lab with shafts and lofts and GI heads and will sort out gapping and spin rates and then it will be game on.  

Eh.  For good players. I’d argue that the opposite result would  happen in that test . You can’t believe how many times I’ve handed an Mb to another guy who asked to hit it. They hit a couple and hand it back going “ dang , that’s really not hard to hit and feels so good “.     If you could talk to half the college players away from coaches , you could convert 50 % with just 9 holes.  

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1 hour ago, Ivyguy said:

I think the golf ball is a part of this discussion too. 
 

I grew up at the end of the wound/balata ball era. In those days, if you saw someone that could hit a driver well, you could assume they were a good player. 
 

NOW, I play with many players that hit driver well, but don’t have much skill other than that. 
 

The ball is engineered to go straight now.  Leading to different equipment needs/possibilities (than “back in the day”)

Underrated comment.  ^.  The current ball also doesn’t spin enough for long irons . Not really.  Find a ball that spins , and suddenly , 3/4 iron is no issue to hit at a good gap from each other.  But it’s all about low spin driver.  

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21 hours ago, deejaid said:

I don’t want this to devolve into a blades vs cavity back debate.   I’m just curious if the new hollow head irons are as big an advancement in iron design that it rivals the early 1980’s introduction of the Ping Eye 2 which saw a majority of golfers switch from their old blades to a cavity back.

 

Will today’s new hollow/filled iron head designs be seen as such a huge improvement over cavity backs that 5-10 years from now will playing cavity backs be seen as giving up too much technology as opposed to playing a modern hollow design?

I’m pretty sure it will. Same in shafts. Steel won’t last much longer.  
 

you’ll see more hybrids down past the 5 iron too as they’ll be hitting the 6 iron 215.  
 

I also predict that 5 and 6 specialty wedges becomes a normal thing.  43 degrees to 64 

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35 minutes ago, bladehunter said:

I’m pretty sure it will. Same in shafts. Steel won’t last much longer.  
 

you’ll see more hybrids down past the 5 iron too as they’ll be hitting the 6 iron 215.  
 

I also predict that 5 and 6 specialty wedges becomes a normal thing.  43 degrees to 64 


 

I’m also wondering in 5-10 years instead of buying a set of irons we’ll actually be buying a set of wedges and then be buying single irons to fill in the gaps, sort of like how we buy wedges now.

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Seriously doubt we will ever see a bagful of "hollow body" wedges in tour players' WITB!

 

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I'd agree that clubs made out of a chunk of steel will slowly become niche products and then likely fade away given enough time. As hollow iron tech evolves they'll be able to create essentially any size iron with whatever feel/play characteristic you want and be able to more precisely control the exact performance, all for less than the cost of forging. Steel shafts will be gone even sooner. I'm sure there will be some who will cling to nostalgia and insist they can tell a difference (dagnabbit!) but some day people will probably look back on them they same way we look at persimmon driver heads and hickory shafts.

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1 hour ago, deejaid said:


 

I’m also wondering in 5-10 years instead of buying a set of irons we’ll actually be buying a set of wedges and then be buying single irons to fill in the gaps, sort of like how we buy wedges now.

Yep. If hybrids or hollow driving irons keep creeping down. I believe wedegs will creep up.  And in the middle you’ll have a few “ mid irons “.       It’s what a teacher once described  to me as “ small ball vs big ball “.  
 

small ball you play for fairways and greens.  Keep the ball low and in control.  Rarely swing “hard “.  The aim here is to make a lot of pars , and birdie the par 5s.  Maybe roll in a putt here or there.  
 

big ball.  You play it as high as possible.  You hit driver as hard as possible and then you use one of the many gouging wedges to advance it toward to the green.  The aim here is to make more birdies than bogeys.  While making fewer pars. 

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10 hours ago, Red4282 said:

Wishon said lofts above 35 degrees, iron design (blade, cavity, etc) doesnt matter because the loft is the overwhelming variable in what your ball does.

And his next forged offering is designed as such.

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      New Taylor-Made putters - 2023 Farmers Insurance Open
       
       
       
       
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      • 5 replies
    • 2023 The American Express - Discussion and Links
      Please put any questions or comment here
       
       
       
      General Albums
       
      2023 The American Express - Monday #1
      2023 The American Express - Monday #2
       
       
       
      WITB Albums
       
      Justin Lower - WITB - 2023 The American Express
      Doug Ghim - WITB - 2023 The American Express
      Sam Burns - WITB - 2023 The American Express
      Caleb Surratt - WITB - 2023 The American Express
      Aaron Wise - WITB - 2023 The American Express
       
       
       
       
       
      Pullout Albums
       
       
      New Cameron putter - 2023 The American Express
      Cameron putters - - 2023 The American Express
      New Bettinardi prototype putters - 2023 The American Express
      New L.A.B. Golf LINK.1 putter - 2023 The American Express
      New Evnroll putters - 2023 The American Express
      Jimmy Walker testing the Axis prototype putter - 2023 The American Express
      Cameron CT Baller Boy covers - 2023 The American Express
      Richy Werenski's Cameron Timeless putter - 2023 The American Express
      Graphite Design - CQ 6 & CQ 7 shafts - 2023 The American Express
      Titleist TRS hybrids - 2023 The American Express
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
      • 11 replies
    • In-hand photos of 2023 TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus, Stealth 2, Stealth 2 HD drivers + fairways woods
      Check out our front page launch stories here and here. 
       
      What you need to know: For the first time, carbon is the most prevalent material by volume in a TaylorMade driver, and more carbon equals better performance, says the company. Last year, TaylorMade debuted a 60X Carbon Twist Face. With TaylorMade Stealth 2, engineers are bringing carbon to more of the golf club — and unveiling a new-and-improved Carbon Twist Face in the process. Stealth 2 Plus (low spin, most workable) Stealth 2, and Stealth 2 HD (draw bias, high launch, most forgiving) drivers make up the Stealth 2 family.
       
      Stealth 2 


       
      Stealth 2 Plus


       
      Stealth 2 HD



       
      What you need to know: Breakthrough movable weight technologies and versatile designs are the hallmarks of the 2023 TaylorMade Stealth 2 fairway woods. Stealth 2 Plus is branded as “three fairway woods in one” owing to the unique performance characteristics afforded by the 50-gram sole weight. Stealth 2 features a slightly lower profile 3D carbon crown than Stealth. This moves CG down and away from the toe with more weight in the rear of the club for higher launch and MOI. Ultra-high MOI Stealth 2 HD features an oversized 200cc head and low-profile sole, creating an easy-to-hit, draw-biased club.
       
      Stealth 2 fairway


       
      Stealth 2 Plus fairway


       
       


       
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      • 47 replies
    • 2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions - Discussion
      Please put any equipment questions or comments here
       
      More albums will be added tomorrow
       
       
       
      General Albums
       
      2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions at Kapalua – Tues. Pt. 1
       
       
      WITB Albums
       
      Jon Rahm mini WITB (w/ new Callaway Paradym Triple Diamond driver and fairway woods) – 2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions
      Ryan Brehm WITB – 2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions
       
       
      Pullout Albums
       
      SuperStroke Limited Edition Hawaii Collection covers and grips – 2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions
      Collin Morikawa's new TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus driver and 3 wood – 2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions
      Xander Schauffele's new Callaway Paradym Triple Diamond driver – 2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions
      Xander Schauffele's Odyssey Toulon "XS Proto" mallet putter – 2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions
      New Odyssey White Hot Versa and Tri-Hot 5K putters – 2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions
      Sungjae Im's Scotty Cameron Tourtype F-5 proto putter (with new SuperStroke Zenergy 1.0 PT grip) – 2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions
      Scottie Scheffler's new TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus driver and Stealth 2 fairway wood – 2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions
       
       
       
       
       
       
       

       
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      • 82 replies
    • 2022 PNC Championship - Discussion and Links
      Please put any questions or comments here
       
       
       
      General Albums
       
      2022 PNC Championship - Thursday
      2022 PNC Championship - Friday #1
      2022 PNC Championship - Friday #2
       
       
       
      WITB Albums 
       
      Nelly Korda - WITB - 2022 PNC Championship
      John Daly, II - WITB - 2022 PNC Championship
      Tiger Woods - WITB - 2022 PNC Championship
      Qass Singh - WITB - 2022 PNC Championship
      VJ Singh - WITB - 2022 PNC Championship
       
       
       
       
       
      Pullout Albums
       
      Tiger & Charlie - 2022 PNC Championship - #1
      Tiger & Charlie - 2022 PNC Championship #2
       
       
       
       
       
      • 28 replies

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