An Expert Guide to the 5 Best Cavity Back Irons

Published on 09/13/2023 · 7 min readWhat's the difference between blade irons and cavity back irons? Golf Expert Jorge Arteta answers this and lists the 5 top Expert recommended cavity back irons!
Jorge Arteta, Golf Expert
By Golf Expert Jorge Arteta

Photo by Erik Brolin

I've attended the annual PGA Show Demo Day in Orlando, FL, every year in January since 2013. It is the first day of the PGA Show week. Every year, I have the same youthful enthusiasm to see the new equipment and inventions. What will Callaway, Cobra, Mizuno, Taylormade, or Titleist offer this year? On Demo Day, you're allowed to try the new equipment on the range. It might be the biggest show of its type in the land, and it's outstanding to be there. Most of the attendees there gravitate toward the big brand-name booths and stand in line to hit the new irons.

Looking for the latest new iron set—be they blade irons, muscle-back irons, forged irons, game improvement irons, super game improvement irons, hybrids, wedges, or fairway woods? They're all here.

How about some technical terms such as perimeter weighting, the center of gravity, workability, speed pocket, wider sole, slot, turf interaction, hot metal, tungsten weighting, offset, sweet spot, and the biggest of all, forgiveness? You'll hear all the buzzwords at the show and in all the magazines and all the review videos. They all mean something that can help your golf game get better.

When looking at irons for most of my students, I tend to look at cavity back irons. At the show, I lean toward the cavity back irons first, because they are made for the greater masses. Most mid- to higher-handicap golfers should look for irons with some forgiveness because they are easier to hit. A beginner or older golfer will want irons with a higher launch angle to get the ball up with less effort. High handicaps with slower swing speeds will benefit greatly from the forgiveness in cavity back irons.

Lots of things will determine what kinds of cavity back irons will work best with each golfer. What type of ball flight, ball speed, spin, shots, and swing speed, does the player want? Should you use steel shafts or graphite shafts? Do you know the difference between blades vs. cavity back irons? High handicappers should stay away from blades. The mid to high handicap player also is less likely to avoid heel or toe hits, and the right cavity back irons will help lessen the damage of those miss-hits.

Iron Categories

Robert Ruggiero

To understand where cavity back irons fit in the golf club spectrum, the following are the different types of irons available:

Cavity Back Irons

  • They are designed with a small to large cavity in the back of the clubhead. The cavity can be very thick or narrow and can be very forgiving or not.
  • They can be made with a forged process or cast metal.
  • The clubs can be workable thanks to the cavity design, or they can be thicker to help hit the ball straighter.
  • The majority of golfers play with cavity back irons.

Blade Irons

  • These are aimed at the low handicap and Tour pro, who doesn't need much forgiveness but wants to work the ball. These are not forgiving clubs and have a small sweet spot. For more, check out Are Muscle-Back Irons a Good Fit for Your Game?

Combination Set of Irons

  • The best of both worlds, these are designed for players looking for the benefits from both forgiving long irons and controlled short irons. Typically, the iron set will have 7 iron, 8 iron, 9 iron, pitching wedge, and gap wedge be the short, more blade-like irons. The 6, 5, 4, and above will be more forgiving irons, which are the irons that golfers need the most help with.

Top Recommendations for the Best Cavity Back Irons

1. TaylorMade Stealth Irons

This Taylormade iron is an option that should have your consideration. For the mid to high-handicap player, it's quite a forgiving club. The capback design offers increased forgiveness and distance.

  • Low center of gravity allows the ball to increase launch and provide a penetrating high trajectory
  • ECHO dampening system technology was designed to increase the speed of the ball off the face. It also dampens the vibration to help develop sound with a forged-like feel
  • Bigger sweet spot. Miss-hits can still stay straight with the advantage of more clubface area to hit the ball

2. Wilson D9 Men's Irons

Wilson has a long-standing reputation in the golf world. They have been around for many years. While they've been under the radar in the last few years, they are making quality golf clubs right under our nose. These irons bring a forged feel, tungsten-weighted design, and a classic cavity back design.

  • Designed for mid to high handicappers who want a classic look and feel in their irons
  • The clubface has a low center of gravity for improved launch and distance
  • Wilson has Power Hole technology (urethane-filled pockets on the bottom of the sole) to transfer more energy for off-center hits

3. Mizuno JPX 923 Hot Metal Irons

This is an excellent set of irons. There are three versions—the JPX923 Hot Metal aimed mostly at players with a mid to high handicap, the JPX 923 Hot Metal Pro with a more compact clubhead for low to mid handicaps, and the JPX923 HL for those with slower swing speeds. The JPX923 Hot Metal combines steel with Chromoly to achieve faster face speeds and stronger, lighter steel. Off-center hits are stabilized, and Mizuno included a wider sole design to the benefit of more average players.

  • Extra distance for players of all skill levels
  • Confident sound and feel through impact
  • A stability clubhead frame with toe bias helps shots stay consistent and straighter

4. Callaway Paradym X Irons

Callaway irons are well-made industry leaders and are not strangers to being included in these types of “best of” lists. The Paradym X irons, made for mid- to high-handicappers, do not deviate from this trend. If anything, these cavity back irons go a long way to further bolster Callaway’s credentials. With stronger lofts, these irons provide a very forgiving and fantastic all-around performance. Notably, Callaway uses a forged 455 face and an all-new Speed Frame technology for improved launch, faster speeds, and a softer feel across the clubface.

  • Maximum feel that comes from a forged face and patented urethane microspheres.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) Optimization technology creates consistent ball flight and high launch
  • Dual Tungsten weighting is placed on both the outside and inside of the club to increase forgiveness and increase ball speeds.
  • Available in multiple sets, including 4 thru pitching wedge, gap wedge, and a sand wedge

5. Srixon ZX5 MKII Irons

Srixon historically built irons for the more advanced player but changed that script with the release of the ZX4 irons. These irons—which are geared toward mid-handicappers—are the predecessor to Srixon’s ZX5, and these MKII Irons. Among the ZX5 MKII’s standout features is a wider sole on the clubhead allowing for easier swings through the turf. Also notable are the varying laser-milled grooves (wide in some irons, and deeper in others) which optimize flexibility upon impact ensuring optimal performance in any conditions.

  • Made with a V.T. Sole to ease through the turf on swings
  • Progressive grooves sharpen in the shorter clubs to maximize spin and stopping power.
  • Mainframe technology lowers CG (center of gravity) and improves consistency.
  • Forged 1020 steel body and forged SUP10 face absorbs vibrations for improved off-center hits

In conclusion, there are many good options for cavity back irons, for all skill levels. Next time you're at the golf store give some of these a try, or chat with me or one of my fellow Golf Experts here on Curated for free, personalized recommendations on the best irons for your game. Enjoy the round. Above all, have fun!

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