Muscle back (also known as blades) and cavity back irons refer to the way the back of the iron is designed and shaped. The muscle back is thin and solid allowing for more flexibility in play whereas the cavity back iron is thick and hollow, hence the carved out cavity on the back of the iron. There used to be just one iron, the blade, but those solid chunks of metal have evolved into an upgraded muscle back iron and an easier to hit cavity back iron. Back in the day there was a huge difference between the muscle back and cavity back irons, but with the advanced technology today the difference is becoming subtle. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Muscle Back Iron
The original blade was thin and extremely hard to hit. The now muscle back irons evolved from these blades where the metal was incorporated lower in the club head right behind the hitting zone, which helped a great deal. The two big advantages of the muscle back iron are its workability and ability to show mistakes. It’s better for shaping shots by having more control over fades and draws as well as determining what you need to improve through mishits. One of the most important aspects of golf is consistency, and muscle back irons ability to be consistent is weak giving it a great disadvantage.
Cavity Back Iron
The cavity back iron was created due to what the original blade lacked, which was more forgiveness and an easier to hit feel. Its design shifts weight to a different position that allows for a more forgiving club. The bottom of the club is wider giving it more bounce. These features combined gives longer, higher, and straighter shots. What the cavity back iron lacks is its ability to shape shots as well as the muscle back iron, but as technology improves so does this.
Due to its versatility and easier to hit frame, the cavity back iron is a great investment for any golfer, especially beginner to intermediate golfers. Throughout history experts and pro golfers have been using muscle back irons for its flexible range of abilities and tough feel, but more recently some are realizing the benefit of cavity back irons and its advancement in technology. Cavity back irons have taken on some qualities of muscle back irons and vice-versa. They’re becoming similar with cavity back irons taking on more workability and muscle back irons acquiring more forgiveness. No matter what it all comes down to how you feel when playing the irons. These are merely recommendations, and if you as a beginner feel better playing muscle back irons or as an expert playing cavity back irons then by all means go for it. Golf is about having fun and enjoying yourself, and one of the best ways to do that is by ensuring you have the right feel on your clubs.