What are the best blade golf clubs?
The best blade golf clubs were historically seen as the best golf irons for very good players, but is that still the case? And which blade golf irons are the best? We tested all the leading models head-to-head on a launch monitor to see which blades offer the best performance.
It’s worth noting that blade golf clubs are typically used by very good golfers who have the swing speed and ball-striking prowess to cope with the weak lofts and lack of forgiveness you get from the thinnest and smallest head shapes of any golf iron.
Blade advocates insist they offer unrivaled feel and control, and there can be little argument that blades are the best-looking irons around. It’s worth noting, though, that even many of the world’s best golfers don’t play blades these days, instead preferring players’ irons or players’ distance irons as they offer a little more ‘help’ on less-than-perfect strikes. Blades are generally the least forgiving golf irons out there, so you need to hit the ball consistently well to get good results from them.
Best blade golf clubs – our top picks:
Best blades for adjustability: PXG 0317 ST Irons | VIEW OFFER
Best blades on a budget: Takomo 301 MB Irons | VIEW OFFER
If you think blades might be for you, let’s look at the best models you should be considering…
Best Blade Golf Irons
Best for players who insist on the looks and feel of a blade but still want distance, control and adjustability
The PXG 0317 ST irons have a delicious straight-line head shape throughout the set. Our pro loved the feel and feedback and it’s no exaggeration when we say he hit them incredibly accurately.
The PXG 0317 ST irons created a dispersion area of just 64.8 SQ YDS (2nd smallest) and saw carry distance drop-offs of just 6 yards between the longest and shortest shots struck with it, which constitutes fantastic distance control and consistency.
Distance should never come into the equation when buying within this category, but the PXG 0317 ST iron produced a carry distance of 173 yards, which was only 2 yards back from the stronger-lofted Sub 70 639 MB, the longest distance of any blade iron we tested.
The real deal-sealer for us though is PXG’s clever weighting system. Golfers can go for shafts that are lighter or heavier, longer or shorter, without moving the center of gravity location and thus altering feel. It’s genius.
Plus, if you buy five or more irons, the price of the PXG 0317 ST irons drops to £169 per club, which feels like decent value in the current climate.
Read our full PXG 0317 ST iron review. Check out the best PXG irons.
- Nice feel
- Decent distance for a blade
- Very consistent
- Offers for buying five or more
- Not everyone will love the back design
|Stock shaft||True Temper Elevate / KBS Tour Lite / Mitsubishi MMT / Project X Cypher / UST Recoil Dart|
Fantastic blade irons – for those good enough to use them...
The Cobra King MB irons are sleek, classic blades and, thanks to being forged five times, they offer feel to rival the very best. If you're a very good player, these could well be the best Cobra irons for you.
Those who want a blade but still fancy some forgiveness will be pleased to hear the Cobra King MB irons saw a carry distance drop-off of just 6 yards on mis-hit shots, which is markedly better than the 9.1-yard average across all the blades we tested.
Read our full Cobra King MB iron review. Check out the best Cobra irons.
- Fantastic looks
- Unbeatable feel
- Surprisingly forgiving
- Reasonably priced
- Only for very good players
- Weak lofts will mean shorter distances
|<strong>Stock shaft</strong>||KBS $-Taper 120 steel|
|<strong>7-iron loft</strong>||34<meta charset|
The best blades on a budget
From a 34° 7-iron loft, the Takomo 301 was a few yards down on our average, but all three accuracy metrics (carry drop-off, left-to-right dispersion and shot area) were better than our test averages.
If you want blades on a budget this year, search Takomo online.
- Fantastic value for money
- Wonderful looks
- Very accurate
- Limited custom fitting options
|<strong>Stock shaft</strong>||KBS Tour|
Best tour-proved blade iron
To ensure consistency and accuracy they have a CNC-milled face and grooves, a feature you don’t find on all blades.
Buying a set of musclebacks doesn’t usually come down to data, but our results have the traditional 7-iron loft carrying shots five yards shorter than our longest blade on test, but also hitting shots into the smallest shot area.
Read our full TaylorMade P7MB review.
- Most accurate blade on test
- Look great
- Nice feel
- Compact head shape
- Short distances
|<strong>Stock shaft</strong>||KBS $-Taper 120 steel|
Beautiful blades for connoisseurs who fancy something a bit different from the norm.
Our test pro couldn’t say he felt a difference to non-Japanese forged models, but it didn’t stop the Vega VMB hitting shots into a tiny 78.4 yds dispersion area (third smallest) and dropping just seven yards of carry on off-center hits.
Serious cash, but a lovely iron.
- Will draw attention
- Great looks
- Good feel
- Decent forgiveness
- Extremely accurate
- Limited availability and fitting options in some locations
|<strong>Stock shaft</strong>||KBS $-Taper 120 steel|
Best Blade Golf Clubs: The Test Data
How we tested the best blade golf irons of 2023
We invited major equipment manufacturers to submit their entire 2023 ranges for testing. Across seven weeks of testing, we created a controlled environment indoors at Keele Golf Centre and used a premium tour-level golf ball (the Srixon Z-Star). We collected a ton of data from every shot hit, using a Foresight GC Quad launch monitor.
Why did we use a Srixon Z-Star golf ball?
It would be easy to use just one test golf ball brand every year, but that inevitably leads to criticism for being too closely aligned to one manufacturer, especially if that brand’s equipment performs particularly well. To ensure fairness we like to switch manufacturers for the Top Gear test ball each year. For 2023 we’ve used the Srizon Z-Star.
The brand have just revealed their eighth-generation model, and Srixon General Manager Brian Schielke says “finding the right ball for your game is just as important as finding the right irons or driver, it’s the one piece of equipment you use on every single shot”.
Thanks to the previous Z-Star mopping up 31 wins across all tour global tours last year (that’s 15.5% of the wins available) we know the model is trusted by the world’s very best.
Why do we use a pro tester?
Speak to any golf club engineer about product testing and they all talk about needing a repeatable, reliable strike to offer any sort of valuable comparison. So, whilst we accept not all of the equipment included within our tests was designed for our test pro, what our data shows is a great comparison of how clubs in each particular category differ, which is hugely valuable in helping you narrow your choice as a consumer.
We tested 83 different 7-irons, during which our test pro missed a target green at 170 to 200 yards no more than a dozen times. He got a hole-in-one, lipped out, and hit the flag several times, he also loves hitting golf balls all day long. In short, Neil Wain is the perfect club tester due to his consistency in delivering accurate and reliable comparative data.
We would of course always recommend attending a proper fitting session, to ensure any purchase is tailored to your game.
See more about how TG tests golf clubs and other equipment.
Best Blade Golf Clubs: Buying guide and FAQs
We answer some of the biggest questions around blade golf clubs.
Are blade golf clubs better?
Some golfers swear that blades are the best of the best golf irons, while others think that blades are outdated and don’t make any sense in the modern game. Blades tend to be the best-looking golf irons and have an aspirational allure as they are typically seen as a status symbol of very good golfers.
Why do pros use blade golf clubs?
Pros that use blades do so for the level of control, precision and consistency they can offer. There’s a perception that blades, with their lack of “fast faces”, “speed slots” and the like, mean you get out exactly what you put in. The world’s best golfers don’t struggle for distance, so they’d rather have a less technology-packed design that does exactly what they want it to.
Blades typically have higher spin rates than other irons, which can make it easier to control shots and hold greens. Blades also tend to be more “workable” than other irons, which means pros are more easily able to create different shot shapes and ball flights with blades than they would be with more forgiving irons.
Many pros also grew up playing blades and want to keep using a head shape they’re used to, as blade designs don’t tend to change much over the years.
Do any pros not use blade irons?
There are plenty of pros that don’t use blades these days. Jon Rahm, Patrick Cantlay, Cameron Smith, Xander Schauffele, Will Zalatoris, Justin Thomas, and Collin Morikawa are just some of the top-tier pros who don’t use blades. There’s a clear trend of blade use on tour diminishing as time goes on, in the same way that mallet putters are replacing blade putters over time.
Do blade golf clubs go further?
In general, blades don’t go as far as other types of irons. They have weaker lofts and don’t feature the distance-boosting technology present in other types of irons.
What handicap golfer should use blades?
There are no hard-and-fast rules, but blades are typically only used by very low handicappers.
That’s not to say that an average golfer or even a high handicap golfer should never play blades; every golfer is different and some mid-handicappers may excel at ball-striking with their irons and lack in other areas, which means they could use blades effectively.
If a golfer prioritises looks and feel above all else, they may choose to use blades even though they know they are giving up some distance and forgiveness.
Which blade irons are the most forgiving?
Golfers wanting forgiveness from their irons will generally be best looking at another category other than blades, but those wanting a blade with as much forgiveness as possible will be encouraged to know that the best modern blades are more forgiving than the classic blades of yesteryear.
Our data showed the PXG 0211 ST, PXG 0317 ST, Callaway Apex MB, Takomo 301 MB, and Cobra King MB as the best at protecting ball speed and carry distance on mis-hits, making them the most forgiving blade irons available.
READ NEXT: Best Golf Irons
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Today’s Golfer Equipment Editor
Simon Daddow is the Equipment Editor for Today’s Golfer. Having tested and played more than 10,000 clubs in his life, what he doesn’t know about golf clubs isn’t worth knowing.
He’s a specialist in all things metal having spent a large part of his career as a golf club maker and product development manager, and has worked in the golf industry for more than 30 years. Starting out as trainee professional at Downes Crediton GC where he learned the art of golf club making, he went onto work for Clubhaus Plc and Tony Charles Ltd as a golf club maker, and running Product Development at Benross Golf.
Simon also spent time working as a Sales Executive in Harrods’ golf department, even helping supply Sir Nick Faldo with personalized shirts in a last-minute emergency ahead of a flight to a tournament.
He joined EMAP Active (now Bauer Media) as Equipment Editor in 2006 and has worked for both Today’s Golfer and Golf World. Working alongside our test pro Neil Wain, Simon has made todays-golfer.com the most reliable source for golf club testing.
Despite his youthful looks, Simon has played golf for more than 40 years and plays to a handicap of 10. A lack of club speed means he’s short off the tee, but very handy from 125 yards and in.
He enjoys excellent relationships with the biggest names in the golf equipment industry, including PXG boss Bob Parsons and TaylorMade’s Tomo Bystedt and Adrian Rietveld.
Away from the course, Simon is a season-ticket holder at Peterborough United Football Club, attending games with his young son. He’s also a keen cyclist and enjoys working (and relaxing) at his allotment.
His favorite ever piece of golf equipment is the Callaway Warbird fairway wood and he considers the biggest technological advancement in the game to have been titanium driver heads.
Simon’s job means he plays regularly around the world, and rates Kingsbarns as his favorite course. He uses a PXG 0311 GEN6 XF driver, TaylorMade Stealth 2 HL (15º), Ping G400 (20.5º), PXG 0317 X Gen2 hybrid, PXG 0311 GEN6 P irons (6–PW), Cleveland CBX2 wedges (52°, 58°), Ping 21 Fetch putter and a TaylorMade Tour Response golf ball.