Welcome to another edition of the Fully Equipped mailbag, an interactive GOLF.com series in which our resident dimplehead (a.k.a., GOLF’s managing editor of equipment, Jonathan Wall) fields your hard-hitting gear questions.
I’ve noticed an increase of [cavity-back] type long irons even for blade players. Is this due to needing different launch conditions or more forgiveness or both? — Anthony Chapman
Good on you for picking up on a trend that’s certainly taken the PGA Tour by storm — especially in the last 5-7 years. Earlier this week, I strolled past 10 different staff bags sitting next to the practice putting green at Riviera and found cavity-back long irons in every single one. This wasn’t pure blind luck.
More than ever before, the PGA Tour’s elite are embracing long irons packed with forgiveness. Some of them just happen to pack extra ball speed and a slightly higher launch as well. In other words, players who opt for something other than a blade at the top of the set are looking for an iron that produces the best of both worlds, in terms of workability and forgiveness.
With the center of gravity positioned lower in most game-improvement long irons, it’s much easier to generate a higher peak height and capture the drop-and-stop launch many elite players need to hold the green with an approach shot. Ball speed is also something you’ll find in many of these irons, but you have to remember that not all Tour players are looking for more distance.