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Are Golf Irons Hollow?

Golf iron technology and understanding have come a long way, and of late, the introduction of hollow golf irons has been another step in this journey. Not all golf irons are hollow, as these clubs are designed more for the high handicap players looking to achieve greater consistency.

Game improvement irons are hollow as this helps the beginner and novice player with greater forgiveness on off-center and inconsistent hits. However, cavity back irons and blades are not hollow as these clubs are made for better-skilled players that don’t require as much forgiveness.

Over the past few years, interest in hollow-body irons has dramatically increased in the golf industry. They offer greater ball-striking consistency for the higher handicap players and lower – and even pro players.

So let’s take a better look at the hollow golf irons and see how they compare to other types and who should use them.

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The Types Of Golf Irons

Golf irons come in several varieties and head design options depending on the player’s skill level. Novices and beginners should look at the hollow game improvement irons, while experienced players lean towards cavity back irons, and lower handicap players and pros use blade irons.

The lower handicap and pro players typically use blade irons to achieve far more accurate and consistent ball striking from the sweet spot of the iron face.

These are typically forged or milled and provide excellent control for shaping shots required at that game level. You should note that blade irons nowadays are more similar to cavity backs with a little extra forgiveness and many pros use the cavity back irons for their longer clubs while using blades for the short irons.

Read more here: Is It Hard To Hit A Blade?

Cavity back irons were the first game improvement irons. As the name implies, material is removed from the back of the clubface to allow more flexibility in positioning the center of gravity (CG) on the clubface and the moment of inertia (MOI) for more forgiveness on the off-center strikes.

Cavity Back Irons
Cavity Back Irons

What Are Hollow Golf Irons?

However, we are looking specifically at hollow golf irons, so let’s look at how they are designed and why they work so well to improve consistency for the higher handicap players or even those beginners that don’t need a handicap.

Hollow golf irons are two-piece clubs with a hollow center and broader clubface, making the sweet spot much bigger to accommodate players with less accurate swings. The two pieces are welded together, similar to the cut cavity back irons.

Since they are hollow, the amount of twist the clubhead experiences on off-center hits is reduced, allowing the ball to be less ‘off course’ as a result, which means more fairways and less rough for players with less consistent swing techniques.

Getting the ball in the air and flying straight is one of the biggest attractions of these clubs, as with blades and cavity backs, off-center hits are punished, especially on blade irons. The hollow space behind the face is designed to improve face flex, which generates more speed getting the ball higher and further.

The popularity of TaylorMade’s P790 irons (see on Amazon) in the past two years proves that the hollow irons do indeed make a difference. You can also check out the TaylorMade P790s at Global Golf. I like this store as you have the option to save a few dollars if you opt for a used set.

TaylorMade P790 Hollow Irons
Instagram: @taylormadegolf (TaylorMade P790 hollow irons)

Positioning the weight further away from the face due to the two-piece design naturally increases the MOI and forgiveness on the clubface, making it easier to achieve more consistently solid ball striking.

Major brands such as TaylorMade and PXG offer hollow golf irons. Some even fill the cavity with material such as TaylorMade’s Speed Foam, as they claim this prevents the face from caving in and delivering more consistency in ball speed on off-center shots.

It’s no surprise then that the hollow golf irons are drawing more and more attention from both amateurs and pros alike, and some believe that many pros will have these irons in their bags over the next few years.

Are Hollow Golf Irons Only For Beginners?

While most game improvement irons are hollow, there are some hollow blade irons available as well, and in modern times, most irons called ‘blades’ are not the same actual blades as in the days of old.

Traditional blades were made from a single piece of forged steel and resembled a blade – hence the name. They were notoriously difficult to hit, and any off-center strikes sent the ball off at a tangent into the rough or worse.

No wonder only the pros used them, as they have the technical swing capability to produce highly accurate swings on each shot and make contact with the ball on the sweet spot more often than not.

Modern blade irons have adopted some cavity-back characteristics to allow that little bit of forgiveness that sometimes even the pros need, as in TaylorMade’s P770 irons (check price on Amazon). These are the irons my son uses and seem to suit him well.

You can also get yourself a good deal at Global Golf on the Taylormade P770 irons, especially if you choose a set of used ones.

Hollow blade irons do the same and use forged faces to create that same feeling of the blade iron but have the benefits of game improvement technology.

Blade Iron
Instagram: @american_golf (TaylorMade P770 blade iron)

The Downside To Hollow Golf Irons?

The first major drawback with these golf irons is the cost. Due to the two-piece design and manufacturing process, these clubs are typically 20%-30% more expensive, significantly influencing a purchasing decision.

Another initial concern was that spin and carry distance would be compromised and inconsistent with both aspects of ball performance off the clubface. As technology and production have improved, those concerns have faded away with growing research and development.

Who Should Use Hollow Golf Irons?

Since hollow golf irons are designed for high-handicap players, anyone in that category should look at them to achieve greater consistency and improve scoring. However, even lower handicap players between the 6 and 14 range should also consider these, as even though they cost more, the benefits for game improvement are undeniable.

Related: How Good Is 10 Handicap In Golf?

Final Thoughts

Some golf irons are hollow – these are game improvement irons and are more suited to the beginner or high-handicappers as they allow greater forgiveness. In contrast, cavity back irons and blades are not hollow as these are made for better-skilled players and offer little margin for error.

Since skilled players can effectively swing most clubs and with improvements in hollow iron face technology, it would make sense for most golfers to look seriously at using hollow iron golf clubs as technology advances.

After all, golf is challenging enough. But, if you have the option to improve your game using a new type of technology, much the same way as players did when the original game improvement irons were released in the 1960s, then perhaps putting a set in your bag isn’t a bad option at all!

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