With a [more forgiving] cast club you can get sloppy with your swing. That creeps into other clubs, like the driver. I think my mechanics have gotten better since I went to forged [blades]. If you look at the top of the money list, they're all playing forged [blades].I'm a self-taught golfer who learned the game using my grandfather's old Hogan Blades. When I had become a decent golfer (14-handicap) with solid ball-striking ability, I decided that I deserved a new set of irons. Through Callaway propaganda, I became brainwashed into thinking that the best irons were designed to maximize distance with the largest cavity-back and the greatest amount of offset. So, naturally, I bought a new set of Big Bertha irons.
I was crushing the ball at first and I thought that I owned the irons of my dreams. The sweet spot felt like it was all over the clubface. The only drawback of these clubs was a tendency to produce a drawing ball flight. I worked at the range to straighten this out and it seemed fine for a while. However, I soon became aware that I was starting to hit the ball with a slight push-fade. Eventually, that worsened into a severe push-slice. I also noticed that my ball-striking wasn't as "crisp" as before and my divots were inconsistent. I had no clue what was going on and I panicked that I was turning into Ian Baker-Finch. It was inconceivable to me that my problems could have stemmed from my irons since I had believed that they were the best that money could buy.
I now realize that those forgiving super "game-improvement" irons were ruining my golf swing. The wide soles and extremely low center of gravity of the Berthas allowed me to get away with a poor swing. As a result, my once consistently solid ball-striking evaporated. The Bertha's excessively thick top-line and drastic offset wreaked havoc on my setup and alignment. This in turn affected my take-away, backswing, etc. Because these irons are designed to straighten a slice swing (the most common swing flaw for amateurs), they tend to produce a hook for a perfectly sound swing. Therefore, to hit these irons straight, you need to have a slice swing. Unbeknownst to me at the time, these irons were teaching me how to slice!
Like a house of cards, my swing collapsed and my handicap ballooned. According to Ernie Vadersen, a former top designer for Spalding and MacGregor, "Oversize cavity-back clubs allow you to play lazily, and lazy habits promote poor play." Oh how I wish I knew that before I bought those friggin' Callaways!
It took me several years to realize the error of my ways, and now I'm back to playing forged blades. With blades, I instantly feel the difference between a good shot and a bad one. The good shots feel super sweet, while the bad ones punish. This feedback has allowed me to fix many of the swing flaws that I had developed under the Callaway years.
Most people don't like blades because they believe (primarily through marketing) that blades feel harsh. Well, they only feel harsh when you put a bad swing on them. Play with blades and they will force you into a good swing.
As Vadersen says:
...golfers want better feel when they hit the ball. When you hit a ball off the heel or toe of a classic forged [blade] iron, you know immediately, without even looking, that the shot is off. That's vital information. In that respect, no cavity-back club can compare with a forged blade iron. In simplest terms, the forged [blade] club gives you more information. The way I look at it, it's like having someone help you. By that I mean, if you find you are hitting the club on the toe, the computer in your brain will actually start adjusting until you start hitting it on the sweet spot. If you're striking it on the heel, you will eventually automatically make the adjustment to make a better shot. We've learned the best teachers tend to use forged [blade] clubs for this reason. They are teaching you how to make shots, and a good forged blade, because of the information it imparts, aids in that process — a game-improvement iron in the end.Remember, it's easy to hit a target with a shotgun, but it will never help you become a SWAT team sniper. Still, blades aren't for everybody. If you are having too much difficulty hitting them, traditional-styled cavity-back or "player's" irons will still allow you to develop and maintain proper swing mechanics. At the very least, you should have a blade or two to practice at the range to stay sharp. But I must emphasize, avoid the super "game-improvement" irons like the Callaway Big Berthas and the Nike Slingshots if you really want to improve your game.