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The real difference between blade and cavity back irons

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It is one of the most commonly debated topics in golf: “What are the real advantages/disadvantages between a set of blade and cavity-back irons?” It goes even further when we start comparing traditionally lofted clubs to those with stronger lofts and faster club faces.

I sit in the crosshairs of this debate. As a fitter, I rarely fit any golfer into a full set of blades and instead opt for combo sets to offer better performance into the longer irons. On the other hand, as a lover of traditional equipment, I often play a full set of blades, but prefer to pick my battles on shorter courses that emphasize the ground game and shaping the ball. I fully acknowledge my contradictory approach.

Note: My go-to set is a smaller multi-material players cavity that offers the best of both worlds

Kevin Na even entered the debate when he made this statement on Golf.com‘s Fully Equipped Podcast,

“I can’t play a blade. It’s too difficult, and I’m a pro golfer. I think a blade goes shorter. Off-center hits aren’t going to perform as well as cavity-backs. I don’t see a reason why you’d want to play a blade. I really don’t. I played blades in my early 20s, maybe one year — when I was dumb. But I’m wiser now and play a cavity-back.

“In the longer irons, I even look for more — I don’t want to say a high-handicapper club — a more forgiving club.”

I’ve heard the same thing from other PGA Tour players, including Charles Howell III, who was quoted as saying “I really wish I was good enough to play these (Titleist 620MB’s)” when he was first shown them during prototype testing. Now Mr. Howell and Mr. Na are both tremendous players, but when a 200-plus yard shot over water in a stiff breeze can mean the difference between a top ten and tie for 20th, I can understand why some players would want something a bit more forgiving—you know, just in case.

It’s all about choices

When it comes to equipment, there is more than one way to choose what goes into your bag—you can rely fully on optimizing performance or choose the equipment you want to play based on other factors and do your best to maximize the available performance. I believe both ways of approaches have merit, since every golfer enjoys the game differently, although at the most competitive level, I would still choose total performance over other factors.

Unlike a driver fitting, where distance is almost always the main objective, finding a set of irons involves—as the name suggests, an ideal set of clubs designed to hit shots precise distances and land closer to the intended target. We covered one of the most important iron fitting parameters, descent angle here—Buying new irons? This is the most important fitting parameter

The proof is in the data

Trackman

If you are curious to see the real difference in performance between blades, cavity backs, and then faster-faced irons, check out the video below featuring Titleist Master Fitter Glenn Mahler going through the results of a fitting with Titleist 620MB, 620CB, T100, and T200 irons.

 

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Ryan Barath is a club-fitter & master club builder with more than 17 years of experience working with golfers of all skill levels, including PGA Tour players. He is the former Build Shop Manager & Social Media Coordinator for Modern Golf. He now works independently from his home shop and is a member of advisory panels to a select number of golf equipment manufacturers. You can find Ryan on Twitter and Instagram where he's always willing to chat golf, and share his passion for club building, course architecture and wedge grinding.

48 Comments

48 Comments

  1. B money 87

    Jul 30, 2020 at 6:23 pm

    After being a club fitter for 12 years, it never ceases to amaze how hack golfers try to justify playing blades. The only people that should play forged blades are the ones that HAVE to play forged blades. AKA great ball strikers that also hit the ball too high with anything else. If you arent a good ball striker, stay away from anything forged, blade or otherwise. If you are a good ball striker, forged is fine,but only play a blade if you cant control the flight on CB type irons.

  2. Joey joe joe

    Jul 18, 2020 at 12:44 pm

    When Davis Love iii wants to hit a long driver, he focuses on a dead center strike. Every amateur in world seems to swing harder. This is why we suffer 6 hour rounds. Play a blade. focus on strike and accuracy on every shot. Save literally a $1000 by opting for an older MP over a T200 and learn to strike the ball dead center while hitting down on it. You don’t need tungsten. Cavity backs are fine but don’t think they are going to save you strokes. They won’t. Playing a premium ball around the green and making solid strikes will. It’s that simple.

  3. BigBoy

    Jul 6, 2020 at 3:38 am

    It’s what you grow up playing with.Golfers who take up the game in their late teens or later are better off playing CB. I got handed a blade when i was 12yrs old and that’s all i know. The only CB i have tried and would think of using would be the Ping i210s….and yet they still look like shovels to my eye.

  4. Rich

    Jun 26, 2020 at 5:19 pm

    I play blades.

    I also play baseball with a tennis racket, eat spaghetti with a spoon, surf the net with a Selectric, pet my electric eel, and argue with my wife.

  5. JohnBoy34

    Jun 22, 2020 at 12:45 am

    OK… The setup… I’m probably no where as good as the golfers posting here. Currently a 13.2 HC But feel I have been currently playing to a 20. My iron play is crap right now. My golf is limited from September to February and declines significantly due to the layoff. I also have health related physical limitations. I’ve been practicing much more the last two weeks.

    I have 3 sets of irons. Mizuno MP 68 3-PW, Mizuno MP-5 3-PW and Titleist 716 AP2 4-GW. I carry hybrids in place of the 3I, 4I & sometimes 5I. I put the 5 Iron back in the bag as my swing speed and contact improves. I have Ping G-410 Plus driver, Ping G-410 3 Wood and Callaway Epic Flash Heavenwood. The Heavenwood will never come out of my bag! If I got one club right, that is it.

    The MP-5 are my main carry set, my favorite. I bought the Titleist last year to have a little more forgiving cavity back February to Mid-May as my swing transitions back. Bad decision, I can’t hit the Titleist and the distances are shorter when I do. This year I decided to try “super game improvement” or “game improvement” (you pick what they are) irons to help with forgiveness and distance. Ping G-400 was selected. They tend to be a little more forgiving but I had issues squaring the club face, most shots were a 5 to 10 yard fade. I couldn’t turn the ball over. I also struggled with consist distances. I honestly thought I would have some issues with “feel” and “sound” but I didn’t. That really surprised me. Do the MP-5 feel and sound better? You bet. But with the G-400 it wasn’t even an issue, I was seeking help. I’m taking them back though.

    The MP-5 are back in the bag. Much more consistent shot dispersion. Much more confidence. Why? I honestly do not know. Other than I get better results with them. Why does a high handicap golfer such as myself get better results from blades/muscle backs than cavity backs? I don’t know.

    In the future I plan to have two sets of clubs, a game improvement and blades/muscle backs (as mentioned above/below). I’m unsure the degree of game improvement desired. Moving forward I will try the PING G-710, The Titleist TS 100 and might even upgrade the MP-5 to MP-20 MB.

    The Titleist TS 100 is very intriging and honestly look like a set that could be “The Set.” Maybe combo with T200, T300, T400 and/or U-500.

    Bottom line, I love my blades. I’m more consistent with my blades. But I’m willing to give other types a try.

    • Joachim

      Jun 30, 2020 at 9:16 am

      The reason why you fade your ping g-400, may be the weight of the club and the thicker sole that makes the toe of the club go more down. That will give you more fade.

      So for that reason, it may be the sole and better turf interaction that makes you play better with the MP-5.

      I had a miura cb501 set, but when i sold that set, and borrowed a “game improvement” set with thicker soles and in theory a more forgiving irion, i had a hard time controlling the dispersion and distance of the shots.

      So for me also, CB\MB all the way.

  6. TacklingDummy

    Jun 21, 2020 at 3:38 pm

    Personally, I’m not a fan of putting together combo sets (blades, cavity backs) because they have a lot of differences. Combo sets have different soles, offset, blade size, weighting (sometimes), feel, etc. So, they do perform quite differently. However, I do like sets that are made to be a progressive combo set because then the iron differences are slightly incremental through the set and not a distinct difference between the blades and the cavity back sets. I had some Hogan FTX Tour irons that was a great progressive set. Bladed wedges and differences (more cavity back, wider soles, more offset) progressed through to the 3 iron. Great set at the time.

  7. Mick

    Jun 21, 2020 at 9:54 am

    Keep in mind , today’s ” blades” are really much more bigger and forgiving than those if years ago. They really are musclebacks. Wilson Staff blades of the 70’s make today’s Mizuno MP 20’s look like cavity backs!

  8. R

    Jun 20, 2020 at 6:06 pm

    So, here’s how I have the numbers from trackman, based on the screencap.

    620 MB–Backspin: 6187 rpm, Carry: 148.3, Peak: 82 ft, Desc. angle: 45.6
    620 CB–Backspin: 6800 rpm, Carry: 147.4, Peak: 89 ft, Desc. angle: 48.2
    T100–Backspin: 6928 rpm, Carry: 154.5, Peak: 83 ft, Desc. angle: 45.8
    T200–Backspin: 5766 rpm, Carry: 161.4 Peak: 87 ft, Desc. angle: 45.7

    Looking at these numbers, the outlier seems like the t200. I’d be afraid of what happens to spin on a mishit–where you might get a ball that just won’t stop. The MB would typically bleed ballspeed, so you’ll have a shorter shot by a club or two, but you won’t blow past a green.

    The CB seems to give the best stopping power here given the steep descent and high spin. The T100 also looks good–more backspin than the MB with a similar descent. The MB doesn’t look terrible, either.

    Long story short–the t200 just looks like a 6 iron in this relationship.

    All that being said, I’d be curious to know how much a foot of height is worth in stopping power. Everything here is basically within the same spectrum–similar descent angle and heights–the only one that stands out is the CB.

    Happy to hear your thoughts, Ryan–but it seems to me that every iron on that sheet is playable with slim margins of difference, with maybe the CB taking a lead based on the higher spin and steeper descent.

    • Mike

      Jul 4, 2020 at 12:39 am

      Long story shorter – blades suck. The traditional blade – the 620 MB – is atrocious and only made playable by turning it into the 620 CB. The T100 is decent and T200 is better but only because they threw some tungsten in it for height and forgiveness, and delofted it 3 degrees (as you said, turned it into a 6 iron). But blades look cool.

      • Chris

        Oct 1, 2020 at 4:47 pm

        Hmmm, my 71 yesterday with the 620MB seemed to counter your “blades suck” comment. Would I have shot a better score with the other irons mentioned?

        And, frankly, I think my current rifle shaft 6.0 is too soft for me.

    • Giordano

      Nov 16, 2020 at 5:54 am

      Il T200 ferro 7 è praticamente un ferro 6.
      Dovrebbero confrontare i ferri dalla loro lunghezza e loft invece di confrontarli guardando solo il numero stampato.
      Non sono un fitter ma mi sembra palese la cosa e non capisco perchè continuano a non considerare questo. Anzi lo sò.

  9. joro

    Jun 20, 2020 at 10:25 am

    It looks like the trend in Irons is now going to Hybrid looking clubs with wide soles and easy to hit. The Cleveland, Cobra, Wilson and even titles is doing toe dip along with Callaway. The point is to make is easier. Of course today it is all about looks, ego, I need what the Tour Guys Play, and more reasons not to use the latest in tech. I am sure it was that way back in 20s also. But so many think it is only for hackers and not for them. As a guy told me one day way back when I asked him why he played that butt ugly club called PING, He said he bought them because he got tired of losing to all the guys at his club played PING.

    If this is as good as they think we may even see sets on the Tour,,, way down the road of course. I have played old pure blades in my time, newer blades, then to CBs and after hitting the Wison will probably go there. At 81 I found hitting was easy as hitting a Hybrid, I think they are the futures.

  10. Uwe

    Jun 20, 2020 at 2:17 am

    I am PGA Pro and played with many different brands and models over the years, mostly blades, sometimes cavity backs. The article above is the opinion of many people I met, but is nonsense in my opinion, because there are blades that play buttery soft and forgiving and there are cavity backs that break your bones and dont forgive the slightest offcenter hit, also ones that provide the ball strike performance of blades. Also is it sometimes the opposite, it depends very much on the model. In many years, the MBs of Titleist been more foregiving than the CBs, Mizuno and Cleveland blades are mostly unforgiving, Miura Blades are sweet as hell, but we also shouldnt forget the shafts and grips who make big differences. The tour players who made that statements above, tell in that sentence why they never will be No. 1 in the world. Nr.1 players of the last 30 years played blade irons.

    • Adam

      Jun 24, 2020 at 7:12 am

      Jordan Spieth wasn’t playing blades when he got to world number one.

      • Derek

        Jul 6, 2020 at 9:24 am

        Maybe ask yourself why his stay was so short? He was #1 briefly against an extremely weak field. Lots of injuries and time off for other good players.

        Spieth would kick my butt any day of the week. But there’s a reason he’ll never be #1 again. And why the other top players all play blades from 6 or 7 down. Mild cavity up from there. Very few hybrids. Lots of driving irons and strong lifted drivers.

        These players are a different animal. For sure. But someone seeking to be the best should emulate the best. It’s always been that way. It’s why Adam Scott has built a major winning career being a carbon copy of tigers old swing.

        Should the average golfer hit blades? No. But a 10 handicaper isn’t the average golfer. The average golfer is a 110 plus golfer. Anyone with good middle contact and striking angle would benefit from the spin and descent angle of MBs and CBs. The monitor shows it. The best numbers in terms of trajectory were the mbs and cbs. 7 yards don’t mean anything if you can’t hit or hold the green. Period.

      • Craig

        Jul 13, 2020 at 8:47 pm

        Or Jason Day, Brooke Koepka….

    • Gunter Eisenberg

      Jun 29, 2020 at 12:06 pm

      Duval was playing 962s when he became world #1. Silly man.

    • gwelfgulfer

      Jul 29, 2020 at 11:44 am

      Lee Westwood and Luke Donald didn’t have blades in the bag when they hit #1. But much of what you said isn’t based in reality anyway, just flawed and easily debunked opinion…

      Also, your run on sentences and grammar suck…

  11. Brandon

    Jun 19, 2020 at 6:30 pm

    I’ve played everything from super game improvement irons to blades. My scores never change based on what irons are in the bag. Seems to me what effect my scores are if I keep my tee shots in play, avoid chunking or skulling chips, and make a few putts. I’m just as likely to shoot 90 with sgi’s as I am to shoot 78 with blades. Just depends on how the cookie crumbles that particular day.

  12. Parker

    Jun 19, 2020 at 12:47 pm

    Great article thank you.
    I’ve been on the search for the highest ball flight possible with all clubs except driver for years. Refer to it as a playable trajectory. Also been working swing mechanics too.
    One take away is “softer tips” do not always equate to better results which leads me to the question of during this head comparison, were the same shafts/flex used in the mb through the T200?
    Another question that I imagine that the answer is likely swing mechanics; I find it easier to get the club on the back of the ball for crisper contact than with a Mb instead of a head profile size of the t200. I would play a full set of hybrids but I don’t think my ball striking would improve at all

    • dill

      Jun 19, 2020 at 6:49 pm

      We can do some head comparison.

    • geohogan

      Jul 6, 2020 at 9:12 pm

      Remove the shaft from your 5 iron and replace it with your 6 iron shaft….
      now how much higher do you hit your 5 iron.
      That is in effect what the snake oil guys do.

      Its the shaft not the clubhead.
      and most of us play with too much SW.

  13. Delbert

    Jun 19, 2020 at 11:49 am

    Hitting a MP-18 seven iron pure is like self-gratification without the guilt.

  14. Mike Arnold

    Jun 19, 2020 at 11:40 am

    Funny thing the picture of the Haig Ultra is the clubs I purchased back in 1972. I still have them and play on occasion. After 59+ years they are in excellent condition.

    • Brian

      Jun 20, 2020 at 12:03 pm

      You scared me. I was born in 1972, but I’m (checks with wife) 48.

  15. chisag

    Jun 19, 2020 at 10:36 am

    Here we have a well written article, science based with no bias and it gets 52 shanks? LOL I am never surprised by the WRX MB fanboys, that could shoot lower scores, have a higher smash factor, generate more ball speed at a higher peak and still claim anything other than a MB is hype from OEMs. Like you Ryan, I have a set of Srixon Z Forged MB’s I play every now and then for fun. But I play T100-S irons because they give me all the advantages of a MB with the added forgiveness of a CB. Like a blade, high and low struck shots really suffer but a little on the toe and heel turn out much better than my Srixon’s. I am playing to a +1.2 but will take all the forgiveness I can get. Nice article!

    • Chris

      Jun 21, 2020 at 8:33 am

      Plus one to this. I play T100 which look and feel like a blade but my thin miss still carries. These irons also have a thin enough sole to flight the ball if needed. I really don’t see why I would play a straight up blade except that they look awesome!

  16. jeff

    Jun 18, 2020 at 10:43 pm

    Worms! Worms everywhere!
    Who opened that can?!

  17. sandtrap

    Jun 18, 2020 at 7:06 pm

    “We’re so excited about our t200 line”… so excited that for this test we put a 30deg club up against a 35deg club to see if it goes further. That is more that a full club in loft. Pure propaganda. They could have put the 8iron from the T200 into the test and it would have been stronger lofter than the MB’s andCB’s 7 iron.

    The number on the club is irrelevant. The club that feels best, travels in the air the best and suits your game the best is the most important thing. If you are so self conscious that you want to hit a 7 iron longer than everyone else, the get a custom set and stamp your 24deg iron as a 7.

    The really interesting thing about this test was the fact that the the blades outperformed the CB’s.

    • Ryan Barath

      Jun 18, 2020 at 10:10 pm

      Hi,
      The test shows how much vertical CG and faster-faced irons create more launch and even with stronger lofts achieve higher descent angles which is exactly what most golfers need – myself included.

      • sandtrap

        Jun 19, 2020 at 3:45 am

        No doubt, but in the spirit of a true test, you should have tested the 620MB 6 iron at 31deg in comparison to the T200 7 iron at 30deg (like lofted clubs). It would most certainly have proved your point on vertical CG even more as the gap in height and descent angles would be larger again (and the distance gain would not be so misleading).
        When you go out looking to buy a fairway wood, you don’t go out and test a 15deg 3W to a 21deg 7W expecting to get a true indication of performance.

        • Ryan Barath

          Jun 19, 2020 at 12:45 pm

          Hi,

          Testing X iron to X iron is the best way in my opinion because its the way 99% of fittings are conducted and is also how most golfers get fit and compare clubs. Our goal is always to educate the greatest number of golfers while also going in-depth to allow people who are already knowledgeable extra insights.

          • Tommy

            Jun 21, 2020 at 1:18 am

            Not sure if you saw this video from some people you also coop with:
            https://youtu.be/dfKbkytvpmM

            Based on that blade and CB are very similar distance wise if you make the same lofts.

          • Bill Elliott

            Jun 22, 2020 at 7:58 pm

            ryan,
            now you’re reaching, as sandtrap said, it should have been comparable lofts. We all know why lofts have been jacked–I will spare you that debate…

            • sandtrap

              Jun 24, 2020 at 6:52 am

              Listened to the podcast. You say let’s call it an ‘A wood’, a ‘B wood’ a ‘C wood’. Why not just call them an ‘Elephant Wood’, a ‘Pineapple Wood’ or a ‘Cloud Wood’?…
              … OR just label them by loft? The actual scientific standard for that particular club.

              Like I said originally, this is pure manufacturer propaganda, which you are obviously happy to promote. I guess it is all good as long as the fitter explains that the buyer may need to buy 1-2 extra wedges between their 43deg PW and their 56deg SW.

              • sandtrap

                Jun 24, 2020 at 7:08 am

                …I should also add that a slower swing speed golfer who is looking for a higher descent angle and more spin would actually be more impressed if they compared the numbers of a 34deg t200 to a 34deg CB (if they are not concerned with the fact that it doesn’t go 14yds further as the manufacturers would want you to believe by their ridiculous lofting on GI clubs).

          • Test Better

            Jul 1, 2020 at 1:16 am

            https://youtu.be/dfKbkytvpmM?t=894

            If anything, the cavity is slightly better for players who don’t dime it.

            For those of us that can, the blade is far more predictable.

            If you sacrifice predictability for distance in irons, you’re not a good golfer.

  18. Tommy

    Jun 18, 2020 at 3:52 pm

    Blades are the easiest to square at impact and have the best turf interaction. This is one of key reasons some people play them. Combo is not ideal blend, this is why clubs like ping blueprints are so good but still a lot of folks don’t get it.This article is one of many that should just me removed, sorry.

    • Mower

      Jun 18, 2020 at 5:05 pm

      Definitely can’t beat the turf interaction with blades, especially out of fairway bunkers and trouble lies.

    • Rootaford

      Jun 18, 2020 at 5:24 pm

      Not to mention that it looks like Ryan’s warmed up proper with the T200 vs his initial shots with the MB/CB’s (I know my numbers get better and better at the range for about 40 balls before they plateau and then eventually drop off). The only test worth looking at for this is with a robot and an unbiased operator of the robot IMO. The drop in spin rate vs the peak height is going to affect how much grab that ball has also and it’s not being mentioned anywhere : / (especially with 1200 RPM).

      I bag two sets of clubs, I have my tech bag for when I want to play my best (Odyssey mallet, 5-gw 716AP2’s, two hybrids, mid/high bounce CBX wedges), I avg an 8.6hc with this bag.

      I also have my wannabe pro bag for when I don’t care what I score (Titleist 917D2, 917F2, TMB 3-4iron, 714MB 5-9i, 47-60º Vokeys and Scotty blade). I avg an 9.8hc with this bag.

    • Ryan Barath

      Jun 18, 2020 at 10:17 pm

      Hi Tommy,
      You are correct. For better players a golf club with a center of gravity closer to the axis of rotation ( the shaft ) is easier to square at impact, this includes all clubs with shorter blade lengths in general. But it can also be more difficult to create a consistent closure rate for less skilled players because the club is also easier to move around that same axis.

      Its why an iron like the T100 is so popular because it has a very high MOI for a club with a shorter blade length. This gives more stability on off-center hits to help maintain ball speed but gives better players the ability to control face angle.

      As much as you suggest we remove the article I believe it offers a lof of golfers insight between different clubs – thanks for reading it.

  19. JR THOMAS

    Jun 18, 2020 at 3:27 pm

    … that pick brought back memories played a set of Haigs back in the 70’s… you had a nickel-sized area to strike or your forearms would soon reverberate…beautiful looking clubs, I had them refinished & rechromed and they hang on the wall in my family room…????

  20. Lowell Madanes

    Jun 18, 2020 at 3:00 pm

    For me it comes down to personal preference. I still play blades now but have more cavity towards my longer irons. I played Mizuno for the longest time. Switched over to Cleveland CG1’s and fell in love with having to strike the middle of the club face. Yes you will lose in results if you don’t hit the face consistently enough. I love the feel of a well hit blade and I tend to make adjustments based on how I am hitting my irons. That’s me an my preference. Kevin Na is staying his case and what he likes. At the end of the day, go with what feels good and gets you the results you want.

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Whats in the Bag

Bubba Watson WITB 2021 (June)

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Driver: Ping G425 LST (9 degrees @7.5, 14g CG shifter in neutral, D3+)
Shaft: Grafalloy Bi-Matrix X AKA Project X Bubba Watson Prototype (tipped 1/2″, 44.5 inches)

 

5-wood: Ping G425 Max (14.5 degrees @14, neutral hosel setting, D2+)
Shaft: Fujikura Tour Spec Speeder 8.2 X (tipped 1.5 inch, 42 inches)

Irons: Ping S55 (3-PW; custom lie and lofts, 10 degrees open, D4 swingweight)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 (.5″ standard length)

Wedges: Ping Glide 2.0 (52-SS @51, 56-SS @55, 60-TS)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 (+1/2 inch)

Putter: Ping PLD Anser Prototype (blast finish, 34.25 inches, 21.5-degree lie, 4.5-degree loft, 350 grams)
Grip: Ping PP58 Midsize

Grips: Ping 703 Gold (between 11 and 15 wraps of tape under left hand, between 11 and 13 wraps under right across set)

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

 

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Equipment

Miller Lite X Bettinardi unveil patriotic Fourth of July collection

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Miller Lite and Bettinardi Golf have teamed up to create a limited-edition collection dropping ahead of the Fourth of July, with the collection integrating iconic looks for each brand and featuring a patriotic red, white, and blue color palette.

The collaboration features two bespoke putters, along with putter headcovers, golf bags, wood headcovers, ball markers, divot tool, golf towel, golf polo shirt, hats, t-shirt, cooler, LED neon and koozies, with prices ranging from $35-$2,300.

“Miller Lite believes in authentic connections, and the golf course is an amazing place to bond with close friends for a few hours. With roots in the Midwest, we sought a golf partner who shared similar values and delivered a high-quality, dependable product. The partnership between Bettinardi Golf and Miller Lite is the perfect combination of fun, pride and mission to bring superior quality products when it comes to trusting what you drink and what you play with on the golf course.” – Jeff Schulman, marketing manager for Miller Lite.

The Fourth of July collection will be available from June 29 at 10 am CDT, at shop.MillerLite.com and Bettinardi.com in The Hive.

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Addressing club fitting’s biggest myth: It’s only for good players

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By far, one of the biggest misconceptions among golfers is that club fitting is only helpful to the most skilled who can really “tell the difference.” This couldn’t be further from the truth. Getting fit for a set of clubs is no different than getting fit for a suit or a dress — everybody can benefit from having something tailored just for them, whether it be simple adjustments or a full-blown bespoke experience.

To break down one of the club fitting world’s greatest myths, we have teamed up with Club Champion to help you better understand how the process can help you have more fun and play better golf.

What are the benefits of a club fitting for any level of golfer?

  • For higher handicap and more beginner golfers, a club fitting helps to eliminate unnecessary variables that work against you on the course and while practicing. Especially for beginners or people taking lessons, it’s imperative to have equipment that works with your body, not against it. The right clubs prevent you from having to compensate for things like lengths that are too short or grips that are the wrong size.
  • By working with a fitter, a golfer will get a better understanding of how his/her body and natural swing motion relate to their equipment.
  • A fitting will help any golfer find out exactly what they need to achieve their specific performance or scoring goals.
  • Fittings lead to lower scores, more distance, better dispersion, and a lot of other benefits whether you’re a high handicapper or a scratch golfer. The reason pros tinker with their clubs all the time is because details matter.
  • It’s not just about making your best shots better, it’s about making your worst shots more playable. This applies across all skill levels, and the more a fitter can help keep the ball closer to the intended target, the quicker you are going to see results on the course and on your scorecard.

How does a less skilled golfer specifically benefit from a club fitting?

  • The interesting thing is higher handicaps actually benefit more since there tends to be more low-hanging fruit that fitters can adjust that help them see instant results. In a way, it’s like making sure you have the right size bike, if you try to ride a poorly fit bike you will always struggle, but as soon as you have the right fit — you’re flying.
  • As mentioned above, a fitting helps beginners by removing obstacles that work against their natural swing motion.
  • We fit a lot of golfers and generally, there’s an education gap with higher handicaps in terms of what technology is out there to help their game. We’ve had people come in with 20-year-old clubs who don’t know what sort of clubs are available in the market now and how much easier newer clubs can be to hit. If we use players on the lower end of the speed spectrum as an example – in the last 5 years have we seen a huge improvement in lighter weight shaft technology.
  • We see some of the biggest gains with putters, a club many golfers really don’t think that much about when it comes to fitting. Most golfers just buy the style that suits their eye, not their stroke, so there are massive improvements to be had on the green. It could be a whole new putter or just a grip and length change but when you consider how many shots you take make on the greens, a 15-20 percent improvement can be a game-changer.

How does something on the level of a “basic” fitting help golfers over using off the rack?

  • Small details like shaft flex, length, and swing weight play a huge factor in success, and when you buy off the rack you’re just guessing on how those and many other factors will work for you.
  • Even just having your existing set adjusted will lead to better golf. Even if it’s not absolutely optimized, small tweaks are a lot more benficial than off the rack clubs built for the masses.
  • No golfer is truly “average” in the sense that everyone’s body is so different. Height, swing motion, strength/speed, attack angle, etc. all of these things change from person-to-person, even if everyone in the test group is the same handicap. Lastly, stock clubs are mass-produced, which can lead to inconsistencies throughout the set and those variables can be addressed and eliminated even with a basic fitting.
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