A solid iron display is crucial to a good score ? get it wrong and you?ll need a short game Brad Faxon would be proud of to return a decent score. But buying a set is tricky business, thousands of models to choose from and hundreds of pounds to loose if it all goes west. So we?ve taken the liberty of putting together the ultimate buyers guide to get you safely off the fairway and on the green without any unwanted diversions.

Blades and Musclebacks

Everyone loves the look of blades ? sharp, thin, classic looking irons that are the envy of anyone who catches a glimpse. But there?s one small problem ? only the very best ball strikers can get away with bagging a set. They offer uniform weighting across the blade, small sweetspots and nothing in the way of perimeter-weighted forgiveness. So why do people use them? Professionals and low handicappers who can rely on consistent, sweet striking can use blades to work the ball through the air. A better feel off the face and the ability to shape shots to suit the hole can help good players score well.

Shallow Cavities

Shallow cavities fit somewhere between blades and modern cavities offering a bit of both. So what you?ve got when you look down is a very attractive iron that offers a hint of forgiveness but can still provide feel and workability. For those players who love the look of blades but need reassurance that miss-hits will go past the ladies tee, they?re the ideal choice. But remember you?ll still need to strike the ball well to avoid disappointment ? with this in mind we?d recommend them to low handicappers.

Mid to Deep Cavities

Around 80% of the irons on the market fall into this category as they have the performance benefits to help the average golfer. In a cavity-back iron a large proportion of the clubhead?s central mass is relocated to the perimeters, effectively creating a larger sweetspot by placing more weight behind the ball when you miss the middle. There are plenty of pro?s who use mid or deep cavity irons including Padraig Harrington and Lee Westwood. We?d recommend these to beginners and high handicappers after a more consistent strike and any low handicappers whose iron striking is not the reason for their handicap. Some better players find that mid or deep cavities lack feel and don?t provide the feedback they require.

Combination Sets

Combination sets offer up a little bit of everything – cavity back forgiveness in the long irons and blade feel and control in the short irons. As different shots require different skills, a combination set should offer the user the optimum technological benefits to deal with different situations. And combo sets are becoming quite popular with the pro?s ? Darren Clarke, Nick Faldo and Mike Weir all use them. But whilst combo sets appear to be the perfect solution, beware the short iron blades. You don?t need us to tell you how important a solid short iron game is and if you can?t strike the blades well, your score will suffer. Try before you buy.

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