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We love forged irons. In the greater scheme of things, there are only a few variables to take into account when you're considering designs in iron heads. This discussion goes beyond the name you might find on the back of the club. If it's a "signature" model, the company has made the choice regarding design and playability for you. We take the opposite approach. We receive our iron heads in blank form. The only markings are the number and a small "Forged USA" on the American-made blanks. We get them very heavy and then custom grind to finished weight and shape allowing a lot of leeway in matching heads to shafts. If anyone asks, you can just say, "I'm playing prototypes". That will get you out on top.
The two classes of forged irons are "muscle back" and "cavity back". Muscle backs come in low center of gravity (COG) models and higher center of gravity models. Most muscle backs have very little offset. Little offset is usually preferred by better players who tend to think offset is for "sissies". The main difference in cavity backs is size and degree of offset. The only other significant variable is overall head size. In the sixties, very small compact heads were in style. We like heads that are a touch oversize.
You also get to choose how you want your heads finished. If you're looking for a true "raw tour grind" (RTG), that is an option. We're kind of partial to "gun blue" with a few of the grind marks left in. It's kind of an "Oakland Raiders" look and makes your opponents think you hammered out your own clubs in your garage. If you like perfection, you can have bright chrome or satin chrome. Of course, all chrome plated heads come with a thick copper wash.
Muscle Back Blades
If you want to hit the ball like Ben Hogan, you will choose a high center of gravity, muscle back iron model. The Hogan 40th Anniversary are highly sought after and usually bring over $600 on the used market. The high center of gravity makes the club a little more difficult to hit, but produces a lower, more boring trajectory. The low center of gravity muscle backs get the ball up a little quicker, still feel solid but don't have the "shotmaker's style of the higher COG models.
Over the years, muscle backs have been the "players' blade". In our own subjective testing under tournament conditions, we have come to favor the low center of gravity model.
Cavity Back Blades
Cavity back designs redistribute some of the head weight toward the perimeter of the club which is the classic game improvement feature to "enlarge the sweet spot". So how large is that sweetspot, you might ask? We figure that it might increase from the size of a pea to the size of a dime.
The concept of a "large sweet spot" in any forged iron head is strictly a relative concept. If you are looking for true game improvement features, you should go with Callaway.
Offset irons have a slight bend in the hosel to move your hands ahead of the ball. Our preference in any irons is for a "progressive offset" which means that the long irons have enough offset to help you hit the ball with your hands ahead. Under tournament conditions, we like the confidence of looking down on a three iron knowing that the offset takes the danger of a "getaway right" out of the picture.
We like progressive offset, which means the short irons are going to look traditional. This is very important when you're trying to hit a knock down shot into the wind. Too much offset in the short irons promotes a "getaway left" which is the main reason our Ping Eye Two BECU's are in the display cabinet instead of in the bag.
Game Improvement Irons
We do not sell game improvement irons. We don't play them ourselves. We think that true game improvement irons can't help but look clunky. We're not too crazy about the big, "bouncy" soles. We have found that in true game improvement irons such as the various models of Callaways, what you give up in feedback isn't worth the improvement. On the other hand, we respect technology for improving results of average shots.
However, we have nothing against you playing them, if that's what you want. We would love to put them through our SST PURE ® process to make sure that they play as consistently as they possibly can.
We have a favorite. It's our "Made in America" forged cavity back with progressive offset. We've tried them all, including all of the classics from the past and feel like you just can't do any better than our "USA Forged" model, ground and finished to fit your game. It's "in our bag".