In the past, golfers with high handicaps had to use thin forged blades with a sweet spot the size of a dime. The introduction of cast irons with larger sweet spots and more forgiveness brought delight to many golfers. However, professionals continued to favor forged irons, which provided them with a better feel for the club. With the introduction of hybrid clubs, golfers can now enjoy the feel of a forged blade with the forgiveness of a cavity back.
Forged Versus Cast Irons
When identifying the best forged golf blade, it’s important to note the difference between forged and cast irons. For forged irons, manufacturers stamp out a clubhead shape from a metal block and then grind the head into its final shape, according to The A Position website. Cast iron manufacturers pour liquefied metal into a mold and then remove the mold to polish the clubhead. This process enables them to create intricate clubhead designs, such as perimeter-weighted rims and various cavity-backs. Cast irons have a larger sweet spot, allowing for a greater margin of error on hits, but may have an inconsistent clubhead surface.
More Spring, More Distance
Given their swing speed, seasoned golfers understand how far they can hit with a forged iron based on a measurement known as the Coefficient of Restitution, or COR. A percentage is derived by dividing the ball’s exit speed off a clubhead by the speed at which the ball is struck. If the clubhead is flexible, the ball is less compressed against the face and springs to a greater extent off the clubhead, according to Tom Wishon Golf Technology. The greater the spring, the more distance you gain on your hits. Because the United States Golf Association has set a Coefficient of Restitution limit of 0.83. The Coefficient of Restitution of the best forged iron blades nudge right up to that limit.
From Space to Earth
If it shields the Space Shuttle, titanium can work wonders for forged irons. It’s as strong as steel but only half the weight. Golf club manufacturers subject certain types of titanium alloys to heat treatment, allowing them to forge strong thin blades. Some titanium faces are framed with a heavier metal – tungsten -- which counteracts twisting movement on hits that are off center, according to Golfbidder. While you can boost your swing speed and achieve a faster ball velocity by using titanium irons, they tend to be expensive. Manufacturers also use a blend of carbon and steel, which is soft and solid. A less costly and popular alternative to titanium drivers, carbon-steel irons provide a consistent feel.
A Bigger Sweet Spot
Manufacturers can now forge irons with a milled pocket cavity -- a cavity back’s shape -- which had previously been the sole domain of the casting process. These hybrid clubs have weighted perimeters at the heel and toe, which lowers the center of gravity and enlarges the sweet spot. For high handicappers, these clubs are more forgiving. If you hit the ball toward the toe, the momentum of additional weight on the rim can prevent excessive twisting. While this hybrid iron tends to be larger than standard forged blades, they still provide golfers with the feel of the club, according to “The Everything Golf Book” by Rich Mintzer.
- The A Position: The Feel of Forged: Is It for Everyone
- Golfalot: Golf Irons Buying Guide
- Golfbidder: Buyer's Guide - Irons
- The Everything Golf Book: Essential Rules, Useful Tips, Amusing Anecdotes…; Rich Mintzer
- Golf Week: Forged Irons: Something For Everyone
- The PGA of America: Golf Club Glossary
- Golfreview.com: Forged is Better!
- Golf Today: R&A and USGA Rules on “Hot Drivers”
- Tom Wishon Golf Technology: How Does COR Affect Your Golf Game?