Important Differences in Golf Iron Sets

By: MikCo

In order to understand the mystery of golf irons, which irons are of higher quality than others and which are more useful in certain situations on the course, it is important to discuss some key features and major differences of these clubs. The more informed a golfer is about the equipment they are using, the better they can use this equipment and improve their game.
Cavity or Muscle (Blade) Back

If a golfer says that his irons are a “muscle-back”, he means his irons were designed with more mass at the back of club head, as opposed to a cavity-back which has more weight along the edges of the club thus making the sweet spot larger. A blade (or muscle back) provides players with a softer feel if the swing is executed properly. The hitting surface is also a little smaller. Many golfers insist that the easiest irons to handle are those with a large cavity-back, thicker top line and a very large face.

Casting or Forging

Before the 1970’s a significant number of iron club heads (over 80% of them) were made with forged steel which meant that the club head was hammered down before it was shaped.

These days, irons are manufactured primarily by casting. The metal is placed inside of a mold, and this translates into lower costs and simplified shaping techniques for irons of cavity-back designs.

Is forging now obsolete? Many experts do not think so. They say a substantial number of golfers still prefer forged iron sets because they feel better and they give the ball a good workout. Aesthetically speaking, forged irons also have a much cleaner look; something that many traditional golfers highly value.


The hosel is the part of the club where the shaft meets the head and it is the farthest front section of the club’s face. The hosel is also important for its offset feature. A club that has an offset feature makes contact with the ball later than a club without one. This diminishes the slicing tendency (the golf ball veering towards the right after being hit by a right-handed golfers).

Groove Design

Do you see grooves in your irons? These grooves are intended to add more spin to the ball while in flight. A no-grooves iron club causes the ball slightly “burst” off the club face. The founder of Ping, Karsten Solheim, highlighted the importance of grooves for greater control, particularly when taking the ball out of the rough. Grooves, also called scoring lines, are regulated by the United States Golf Association in terms of their depth and distance to each other on the clubface. This is to ensure fair play on the course.


The lie is that part of the club where the bottom side of the club is at an angle to the shaft. When the lie is too flat, the heel of the club is in the air; a lie that is too upright causes the toe to be in the air while at address. Some manufacturers can customize the lie angle of your irons based upon your body.


The loft constitutes the angle of the face of the club vis-à-vis the shaft. The loft dictates the trajectory of your ball, and varies from 22 degrees in a 3-iron (trajectory is lower but longer) to 64 degrees (for wedges).


Just like the sole on your shoes, the sole of an iron lies at the bottom of the head. The sole can be recognized through its subtle curve from toe to heel, and it helps golfers to maintain consistency in their shots. The width of the sole is an important factor. A narrow sole is more effective from the fairway and in tight lie conditions. A wider sole, on the other hand, is easier to handle for plush lies.

When speaking about the major differences in golf iron sets, we must also consider the latest innovations in manufacturing:


Manufacturers claim that their irons now have a low center of gravity that helps the ball become airborne more easily at a higher trajectory.


For better hitting, irons have been designed to make room for thick inserts. Weight is added to the sole and other parts of the clubhead to make hitting more efficient without compromising the force and integrity of the club.

Robust Lofts

For purposes of covering longer distances, the standard lofts of irons have been reduced by manufacturers. For instance, what was previously a 6-iron is now a 7-iron. To strike a balance, they have increased shaft length so that greater speed can be accomplished. In spite of these changes, golfers can still maintain accuracy in their shots. It complements the lower center of gravity principle and enables players to cover greater distance.

Perimeter Weighting

It was Karsten Solheim who popularized the perimeter weighting concept, setting a new standard in golf. Perimeter weighting basically allows golfers to feel that their irons are more forgiving. The perimeter weighting is related to the cavity-back clubhead which gives beginning or less skillful players an aid in their play.

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Mike Cole is a freelance writer who writes about sports, often focusing on a particular product used in sports such as golf irons.

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