Muscle back irons are more commonly known amongst golfers as blades. Blades with their sleek profiles and exceptional workability are the irons of choice amongst the majority of professional golfers. Aesthetically blade irons are very pleasing to the eye, but when you are faced with an iron shot over the water looking down at a muscle back iron is very daunting.
- The 5 Best Muscle Back Irons:
- Muscle Back Irons Buying Guide
- Popular Muscle Back Iron FAQs:
- How To Hit a Muscle Back Iron
- Final Thoughts
The 5 Best Muscle Back Irons:
Below we review 5 of the best muscle back irons on the market and we will also look at how you can turn a muscle back iron into a valuable asset in your golf bag.
1. Mizuno MP-20 MB
|Dexterity||Right & Left Handed|
|Set Make-Up||3 – PW (LH 5 – PW)|
When it comes to muscle back iron designs the Japanese lead the way. Mizuno has and continues to be the leader when it comes to iron designs and in particular blade designs. Mizuno irons are the go-to iron of choice for professional players that aren’t bound by an equipment contract.
Mizuno’s latest muscle back release, the MP-20 MB continues Mizuno’s proud tradition of blade iron design. MP-20 MB iron heads are forged from a single biller of 1025E pure select mild carbon steel utilizing Mizuno’s signature Grain Flow Forged HD forging process. Once the clubhead is forged it is layered with a soft layer of copper plating, for protection and to give the clubhead that shiny silver finish it is covered with Nickel Chrome. This combination of materials ensures that legendary Mizuno feel and feedback on every shot.
The profile of the MP-20 MB has been honed by studying the feedback from professional players that play with Mizuno irons. Thanks to this fresh feedback every new Mizuno iron release is inspired by what the players want.
Muscle back irons are normally not renowned for their technological advances but the MP-20 MB’s are some of the most advanced blades on the market. The weight of the clubhead is spread out vertically to ensure exceptional forgiveness on both center and off-center strikes.
One look at the MP-20 MB’s and it is love at first sight. If you are serious about investing in a set of muscle back irons then look no further than these industry-leading blades from Mizuno.
2. Titleist 620 MB
|Dexterity||Right & Left Handed|
|Set Make-Up||3 – PW|
Titleist is one of the most renowned names when it comes to golf club manufacturers. Some manufacturers are better in some areas than in others, that isn’t the case with Titleist, from golf balls to irons, wedges, drivers, and putters they do it all and they do it better than most. This is no different from the design of their muscle-back irons.
The Titleist 620 MB irons feature a classic muscle back iron design that stays true to everything that players have trusted over the years when it comes to a Titleist blade iron. The 620 MB features reduced offset to which ensures maximum workability. The blade lengths are optimized throughout the set to ensure exceptional playability with both long and short irons.
The sole of the 620 MB’s has been refined to ensure improved turf interaction and forgiveness. The 620 MB’s feature everything and more than what would be expected from the design of a blade iron. These aesthetically pleasing blades will turn heads out on the practice tee.
3. Cobra King Forged MB/CB
|Dexterity||Right & Left Handed|
|Set Make-Up||4 – PW|
Cobra continues to go from strength to strength with every new release and the success of staff players Bryson Dechambeau, Ricky Fowler, and Lexi Thompson continues to boost the resurgence of this legendary brand.
Cobra’s King Forged MB/CB irons are a combo between cavity back long irons and muscle back short irons. The 4 – 6 irons are cavity back, and the 7 – PW are muscle-back irons. Combo sets such as this are common, the long cavity back irons offer slightly more forgiveness than a blade would and the short blade irons ensure maximum workability with scoring irons.
The King Forged MB/CB’s features a 6-gram tungsten weight positioned in the toe. The positioning of this weight increases MOI and lowers the center of gravity to directly behind the hitting zone. This position of the weight delivers exceptional feel, forgiveness, decreased spin, and maximum distance.
The clubface features CNC milled grooves, these precision-milled grooves ensure consistent performance and maximum spin and trajectory control. From an aesthetics perspective, the black finish of these irons gives them a unique eye-catching look.
When it comes to technology the King Forged MB/CB irons jam-packed with all of Cobra’s signature technologies. This combo set will ensure that your transition into a set of blades is a smooth and seamless one.
4. Taylormade P7TW
|Dexterity||Right Hand Only|
|Set Make-Up||3 – PW|
TaylorMade is one of the most renowned names in golf, they also have some of the biggest names in the game on their list of staff players. Taylormade joined forces with staff player and golfing legend, Tiger Woods, to design the P7TW muscle-back irons.
The P7TW’s were designed according to Tiger’s preferences. Each clubhead is shaped meticulously in terms of blade length, topline, and face height to fit Tiger’s eye.
The P7TW irons are the first irons to feature milled grind soles. The precisely CNC milled soles and leading edge of these blades ensure consistent, optimal turf interaction with every shot.
In the words of Woods himself: “When you look down at these irons, you are looking at the result of every range session, event, victory, and major championship from my 22+ years of professional golf.”
5. Callaway Apex MB
|Dexterity||Right & Left Handed|
|Set Make-Up||3 – GW|
Callaway is one of the best in the business when it comes to the design of golf clubs and this expertise is evident when looking at their Apex MB blade irons.
As expected the Apex MB irons feature a classic style and shape with a thin topline, refined sole, compact blade length, and an aesthetically pleasing clean chrome finish. But there is more to these irons than what meets the eye. The Apex MB features precision grooves that are designed to promote exceptional control and consistency regardless of your lie.
A weight has been engineered into the back of the clubhead. The addition of this interchangeable weight allows for swing weights to be dialed in precisely without having to move the center of gravity around which ensures exceptional feel and stability at impact.
The Apex MB’s is a high-quality set of blade irons that can hold its own against the best of the best.
Muscle Back Irons Buying Guide
Muscle back irons are available in a variety of different shapes and sizes. Muscle back irons are the irons of choice for professional and low handicap players with above-average ball-striking capabilities. With that in mind, various important factors need to be taken into consideration before buying a set of these irons.
Muscle Back Irons vs. Cavity Back Irons
Cavity back irons and muscle back irons are similar in a variety of different ways. Both feature a sleek profile and both iron types offer exceptional forgiveness and feel at impact. Historically muscle-back irons are more forgiving than cavity back irons but this has changed in recent years thanks to continuous design improvements.
Exceptional accuracy and consistency is a must when playing with blade irons, even the slightest miss-hit will be evident when playing with a blade iron. Cavity back irons with their slightly bigger club heads are considerably easier to hit.
Muscle back irons continue to be popular amongst professional players but more and more pros are opting for cavity back irons especially with their long irons.
To learn more about the best cavity back irons currently available on the market click here.
From a design perspective blade irons are forged out of a single piece of metal, this design process ensures exceptional stability and feel at impact that is second to none in comparison to other iron types. Additionally, muscle back irons feature a sleek profile that is aesthetically very pleasing at address. The sleek profiles of blades do get intimidating though especially with the longer irons if your ball striking isn’t up to standard.
This point can’t be labored enough, your clubs are only as good as the shafts that you are playing with. Shaft material, flex, weight, torque, and kick-point all influence distance, strike, and accuracy. Shaft designs are very technical and the best way to determine which shaft to play with is to go for a fitting with a professional club fitter. If a professional fitting isn’t an option, make sure to play with the correct shaft flex based on your swing speed. The below table is a good indication as to which shaft flex you should play with based on your swing speed.
Shaft flex and swing speed are directly correlated. As a rule of thumb slower swing speeds require more flex and vice versa for players with fast swing speeds. The below table serves as a guide to which shaft flex you should play with depending on your swing and ball speeds. When it comes to blade irons players with average driver swing speeds below 100 mph should definity steer away and rather look at cavity back or game improvement irons.
|Shaft flex||Average driver swing speed (mph)||Average ball speed (mph)|
|Ladies flex (L)||53-62||>100|
|Senior flex (A)||63-76||100-110|
|Extra stiff (X)||108+||160+|
Popular Muscle Back Iron FAQs:
Are blades and muscle back irons the same?
Yes, blades and muscle back irons are indeed the same type of irons. Muscle back iron is the technically correct name for these irons but they have been known as blades for many many years thanks to their sleek small clubheads that look like a blade at address.
Are muscle back irons difficult to hit?
If your name is Tiger Woods or Rory McIlroy then the answer is no, but if you are a mid handicapper with an average driver swing speed of 95 mph then the answer is yes.
Muscle back irons feature sleek profiles that require precision and speed to maximize performance. Professionals are able to maximize the performance of muscle-back irons, the same can’t be said for amateurs. The long and short is that anyone can hit a muscle back iron, but not everyone should.
What if I am stuck between muscle back and cavity back irons?
This question won’t be a common one amongst amateur golfers, but there are plenty of amateur golfers out there that possess the ball striking abilities required to play with muscle back irons.
If you are one of these players and if you are stuck between which iron-type to use the answer might in fact be both. Combo sets continue to rise in popularity, especially amongst professionals. With a combo set of cavity back long irons and muscle back short irons, you will be able to enjoy the best of both of these irons. With the long irons, you will get the added forgiveness of the slightly bigger cavity back irons and the exceptional workability and feel with the muscle back short irons.
How To Hit a Muscle Back Iron
Muscle back irons are designed for the better ball-strikers amongst us. Good rhythm is equally as important for the regular golfer as it is for the best players in the world to ensure cleanly hit, accurate iron shots.
A good rhythmic swing is a must to allow the golf club to do its job. Rhythmic swings combined with the feel and workability of muscle back irons will ensure optimal performance on every shot in terms of distance, ball flight, and accuracy.
Compression and Speed
Muscle back irons with their sleek profiles and thin soles are designed to interact with the turf optimally. However, when compared to other iron types, angle of attack and adequate swing speed is very important to ensure that the clubhead moves through the turf without getting caught up.
A downward angle of attack is vital to ensure that the golf ball isn’t exposed to the leading edge of the club as it moves through impact which will result in a bladed shot. Additionally, adequate club head speed is also required to compress the golf ball to ensure maximum distance.
To learn more about how to compress the golf ball with your iron shots watch this video.
Muscle back irons continue to be the irons of choice for many professional golfers around the world. These workable, forgiving irons are ideal for players with above-average swing speeds that are looking to shape their shot shape with their irons. To learn more about other iron types read our the 4 most popular types of golf irons article.
If you are a good ball striker interested in a set of muscle back irons make sure to purchase a set with the correct shafts for your needs and golf swing. More often than not golfers underestimate the difference that a good shaft can make.
This article was last updated on November 23, 2020 .