Game Improvement Irons Vs Blades – What’s Better And For Who?

When I started playing golf, the only irons available at the courses in my rural hometown were blades. There were no mega golf warehouses or online sales at that time.

So, I became accustomed to playing with the compact heads and didn’t consider alternative options until 12 years into my golfing journey.

The first irons that I tested besides blades were the TaylorMade r540 XD’s. The game improvement irons provided me with more forgiveness than I had ever enjoyed.

I felt cheated that I had spent ten years hacking around while these were in existence.

In this article, we are assessing game improvement vs blades. Our aim is to identify what is better and for who.


Intro To Game Improvement Irons Vs Blades

Game improvement irons are designed using various innovative technologies to offer you consistent launch, distance, and forgiveness. It is for these reasons that game improvement irons offer more value to mid and high handicap golfers.

Conversely, blades represent a more simple time. The iron heads are typically forged and compact in design. They carry muscle backs and offer minimal forgiveness on off-center strikes.

As a result, blades are more common amongst Professionals and lower handicappers.


What Are Game Improvement Irons?

In a video on game improvement irons, golf coach Mark Crossfield states that they are suited to golfers looking for enhanced launch, distance, and forgiveness. That sums up what game improvement irons are built to achieve.

Game improvement irons are typically suited to mid and high handicappers. However, I know plenty of superior golfers who continue to use these irons simply because they refuse to sacrifice forgiveness.



What Are Blades?

Blade Irons

Blades are irons with compact heads that are typically forged from a single piece of steel.

The sweet spot is positioned directly behind the center of the face, leading to little forgiveness on off-center connections.

While blades provide superior feel and acoustics compared to other irons, they are not for the faint-hearted and require expert level ball striking.


Who Should Be Using Game Improvement Irons And Why?

Game improvement irons are generally best suited to high and mid-handicap players, looking for consistency with their launch, distance, and forgiveness.

Lower handicap golfers may not appreciate the offset on the irons, which would reduce their ability to shape their shots.


Who Should Be Using Blades And Why?

The unforgiving nature of blades and the level of precision they demand at impact means that these irons are best suited to the superior ball strikers among us.

Most professionals and low handicap golfers prefer blades as it offers them more control over their shots.


Pros And Cons Of Game Improvement Irons


  • They deliver consistent distance
  • Forgiving
  • Provide a straighter ball flight
  • Designed to help you get the ball consistently airborne
  • Wider sweet spot


  • A straighter flight path may frustrate superior golfers looking to shape their shots
  • Minimal side spin
  • The head design is larger than blades, which is often off-putting to superior players


Pros And Cons Of Blades


  • Crisp acoustics on strikes off the center of the clubface
  • Enhanced shot control
  • Attractive appearance


  • The smaller centered sweet spot
  • Reduced forgiveness
  • Not suitable to higher handicappers


Can High Handicappers Use Blades?

Can high handicappers use blades? Sure. Should high handicappers use blades? Based on my own struggles as a beginner, I would highly discourage using compact iron heads.

Blades require precise ball striking and offer no forgiveness on off-center hits. As a high handicapper, it is advisable to stick with game improvement irons that provide consistent distance and accuracy even when you don’t middle it.

That being said, there is no hard in testing out some blades, just to see how difficult they actually are to hit properly.


How To Know When To Switch From Game Improvement Irons To Blades?

As your ball striking improves and you begin to shape your shots, you may want to consider blades. However, if you are a low handicapper playing with game improvement irons, then carry on ahead.

It is unnecessary to switch to blades simply because your handicap or golf journey has reached a specific milestone. If you are willing to sacrifice forgiveness for crisp acoustics and better shot control, then you may be ready for blades.


Will Blades Make You Play Better?

Blades will in no way improve your golf game. They have a variety of benefits.

But, if you are not a solid ball striker and struggle with game improvement irons. I suggest staying clear of them.


Can Low Handicappers Use Game Improvement Irons?

Low handicappers can absolutely use game improvement irons.

In fact, I know several low single-digit handicappers who still use game improvement irons because they are not ready to throw away forgiveness.

Low handicappers looking for more control over their shot shape may want to consider blades instead of game improvement irons.

When To Know When To Switch From Blades To Game Improvement Irons

If you are not striking the ball consistently out of the sweet spot of your blades.

You will lose distance, experience unwanted shockwaves through the club, and have a terrible time out on the course.

If this describes your situation, I recommend seeking the forgiveness and consistent distance provided by game improvement irons.


Do Game Improvement Irons Hit The Ball Further?

Game improvement irons do not necessarily hit the ball further. Superior ball strikers will likely achieve a similar distance with game improvement irons and blades. Simply because they will strike the ball in the sweet spot more often than not.

Mid and high handicap golfers will likely hit further with game improvement irons. Because even if they mishit the ball, it will still get airborne and achieve a satisfactory carry and distance.


Do Any Pros Use Game Improvement Irons?

Yes, some Pros use game improvement irons. However, according to’s Jonathan Wall, it is more common for Pros to use game improvement designs in their longer irons.

Longer game improvement irons help even the Pros to achieve a more powerful launch and higher. This is as a result of the CG positioned lower in the sole.


What Type Of Irons Are Most Pros Using?

In days gone by, blades were the order of the day on Tour, but fast forward to 2021, and we are seeing a variety of options in the bag.

In a Golf Weekly article in 2013, author M.L Rose mentions that Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson preferred blades over cavity backs. In fact, 35% of PGA Tour used skinny irons.

Fast forward to 2021, and it has become commonplace to find game improvement irons in the bags of Pros. However, very few have a whole set as the superior players of our game prefer mid and short-iron blades, which enable them to better work your shots.


Comparing Game Improvement Irons Vs Blade On Distance

In a test conducted by the team at TXG, they found the game improvement Ping G400’s delivered equal distance to the Miura MC-501.

However, the challenge with this test is that the player is a solid striker of the ball and often middles his strikes.

Mid to high handicappers will likely hit game improvement irons further. Because even on mishits, they will achieve a consistent distance.


On Feel And Control Around The Greens

There is little that can compete with the acoustics and feel of middling a blade. A higher (CG) promotes a lower launch and more spin. This setup is ideal for superior ball strikers looking to attack the flag.

The lower CG on game improvement irons, coupled with increased offset, provides a higher straighter launch with less spin. Thus, making it more difficult to achieve shot-stopping control around the greens.

Game improvement irons often contain polymer inserts between the face and the cavity-back that helps to reduce unwanted vibrations and provide a crisp sound at impact.


From The Rough Or Sand?

As average golfers game improvement irons or even hybrids may be easier to hit out of the rough than blades.

The reason has to do with the launch and forgiveness you receive with these irons.

Conversely, blades may not be forgiving, but the tight leading edge and narrow sole of a typical design promotes improved turf interaction.

When it comes to bunker shots, a blade wedge is my recommendation. The head is compact, which may scare some. But, you can identify where the face needs to connect with the ball, and it makes it easier to visualize.

Chunkier wedge heads enhance the difficulty of actually getting under the ball and achieving the desired result.


On Spin Rates

In the test conducted by Tour Golf Experience, it was found that the 30-degree Ping G400 game improvement iron delivered a slightly higher spin rate than the Miura blades.

This would likely apply to most of us, average golfers.


On Price

On the whole, game improvement irons are a more affordable option than the blades. This boils down to the fact that blades are usually forged, and cavity backs are crafted using a cast, where more can be produced at a faster rate.


Our Favorite Game Improvement Irons

Cobra Radspeed

Key Features

  • Enhanced heel and toe weighting for increased clubhead speed and low spin
  • 3-D printed Cobra medallion saves weight
  • Forged PWRSHELL Face increases the flex of the clubface
  • Carbon fiber topline lowers the CG and amplifies the MOI of the irons


  • Delivers faster clubhead speed
  • Reduces spin for increased distance
  • Provides a powerful launch
  • Optimized forgiveness
  • Enhanced MOI and clubhead speed


  • Lower spin reduces its ability to shape shots
  • The strong lofts of the clubs may reduce the average player’s ability to get the ball airborne and achieve consistent carry.

Overall Score: 93/100

Check Out More Reviews Here:



Callaway Mavrik Max

Callaway Mavrik Max

Key Features

  • Flash Face Cup technology helps to generate accelerated ball speed
  • First Callaway iron created using AI
  • CG optimized in each club
  • Urethane microspheres are inserted in the face to eradicate unwanted vibrations


  • Promotes increased ball speed
  • Delivers amplified levels of spin
  • Provides a powerful launch for consistent carry
  • Reduces unwanted vibrations on off-center strikes


  • A wide sole results in a chunky appearance at the address
  • The high level of launch is not suitable for players with faster swing tempos who may balloon their shots.

Overall Score: 95/100

Check Out More Reviews Here:



Ping G425 Irons

Key Features

  • Perimeter weighting enhances forgiveness across the clubface
  • Hydropearl chrome finish wicks moisture away to improve your connection in wet conditions
  • The speed-generating face delivers the fastest ball speeds of many irons in the G-series.
  • Cascading sole promoted a higher, powerful launch
  • Slick appearance


  • Optimal forgiveness
  • Faster ball speeds
  • Excellent turf interaction
  • High, powerful launch
  • Excellent shot-stopping abilities


  • The higher launch may reduce the distance of golfers with faster swing tempos
  • High, powerful launch
  • Excellent shot-stopping abilities

Overall Score: 94/100

Check Out More Reviews Here:



Our Favorite Blade Irons 

Titleist 620 MB Irons

Key Features

  • Limited offset
  • Has the appearance of a classic players iron
  • The sole is refined to deliver improved turf interaction
  • The set contains a 3-iron, which is rare today


  • Increases your ability to shape your shots
  • Improved turf interaction enables you to navigate wet and difficult lies
  • Attractive set of irons
  • Excellent acoustics and feel


  • Unforgiving
  • Not suitable for mid to high handicap players
  • Expensive

Overall Score: 94/100

Check Out More Reviews Here:



Callaway Apex MB Iron Set

Key Features

  • Compact clubhead
  • Adjustable screw weight for preferred launch
  • Weakened lofts
  • Refined sole for enhanced turf interaction


  • Provides increased control
  • Offers a consistent level of spin
  • Designed to reduce fliers out of the rough
  • Buttery feel


  • Compact head not suited to players with an average ball-striking ability
  • Weakened lofts may see you achieve less distance than with the same iron number from other sets.

Overall Score: 92/100

Check Out More Reviews Here:



TaylorMade P730 Iron Set

Key Features

  • Compact blade profile
  • Slick refined leading edge
  • Forged 1025 carbon steelhead
  • Precision-milled grooves


  • Slick traditional players irons appearance
  • Enhanced shot shaping ability
  • Excellent control
  • Exceptional turf interaction
  • Soft feel


  • The irons are not designed for the average golfer
  • Unforgiving
  • Reduced sweet spot compared to game improvement irons.

Overall Score: 95/100

Check Out More Reviews Here:




Throughout our review on game improvement irons vs blades, we have seen that there is no right or wrong.

The benefits that both iron types are designed to deliver can only be realized if the player uses them accordingly.

With that in mind, if you are a mid to high handicap player, I recommend sticking to game improvement irons, thanks to their consistency and forgiveness.

If this describes you, then the next time you are shopping for irons, consider a set of Callaway Mavrik Max irons.

On the other hand, only superior golfers should consider using blades. Should that be you that I am talking about? Check out the Callaway Apex MB Irons here.