Every golfer on the planet is looking to improve their game and drop their handicap. A big role that plays a part in that is your club. Moreover, how the club is made in terms of its manufacturing process. For irons, you get two types: forged and cast. What are the differences, and which is better?
Forged irons technically offer better ball control, launch angle, and feel. Fashioned from one solid piece of metal, forged irons can control the grain structure and offer longer durations of vibrations. Cast iron clubs start out as a molten liquid and are poured into a mould. With this method, air bubbles may occur, providing less consistency in the club.
If you have ever wanted to know what the precise differences between cast and forged iron clubs are and how they impact your game, then this article has you covered. Not only will we discuss the differences between cast and forged irons, but we will take a look at the manufacturing process, real-world comparisons, pros that use cast irons, and more.
Which is better, cast or forged irons?
If you are a golf player who likes to play with feel, control the ball’s flight and launch angle, then perhaps you would be better suited to play with forged irons. This is due to the process of how forged irons are made, giving you that more significant degree of control.
This does not necessarily mean that you should head out and buy yourself a whole set of forged irons if you are a beginner. On the contrary, cast irons help to improve your game when you are a beginner or intermediate player.
This is because they are a little more forgiving and much easier to launch when compared to forged irons. Hence, when you are still learning to hit the ball correctly, cast iron clubs will allow for fault in your technique. It will be much more difficult for a beginner to hit a forged iron club straight than they will with a cast iron club. Moreover, cast iron clubs are cheaper, which means in addition to helping you improve your technique, they won’t break the bank.
Forged and cast iron club pros and cons table
|Forged Iron Golf Clubs
|*A greater degree of control
*They have a great feel
|*More expensive than cast iron clubs
*You require a sufficient amount of experience (technique) in order to hit them nicely
|Cast Iron Golf Clubs
|*Great for beginners and intermediate players
*Much more forgiving than forged clubs
*Typically have a lower center of gravity
*They have a larger sweet spot
*Much cheaper than forged iron clubs
|*The feel is not as great as forged iron clubs
*When at a certain level of proficiency at golf, they may be inconsistent
In trying to understand why this is so, we will have to look at the differences between forged and cast irons and their manufacturing process.
Comparing cast vs. forged irons in a real environment
In this video Mark Crossfield (a professional golfing coach and YouTube golf influencer with almost half a million subscribers) compares and goes over the differences (which we will discuss in the following section) between a cast and forged iron golf club.
Mark proceeds to hit both a cast and iron forged club and explains what you should be looking to expect when you hit each.
The cast iron club offers a louder “pingy” type of sound when it strikes the ball compared to a duller sound that comes from the forged club.
Mark always goes back to the feel of the clubs stating that the cast iron club makes him feel that it is much harder because of the sound, while because the forged iron club is duller, he thinks that he has more control over the ball.
At the end of the video, he proclaims that no matter the one you decide to go with, you should opt for the one that makes you feel more comfortable because if you are more comfortable and relaxed, you will most likely hit better shots.
What is the difference between cast and forged irons
The main (and only) difference between these two types of golf clubs is in how they are made. Specifically, to do with the metal and how it is molded into the shape of the club. It is important to note that the process involved in creating both these types of clubs can produce variations in the club’s performance.
The process entails taking liquid molten metal and pouring it into a mould regarding cast iron golf clubs. A temperature change is then induced to cool down the club. Comparing that to forged iron golf clubs where the metal is always in a solid-state (it is never turned to liquid).
Forged iron clubs are a solid piece of metal that is actually pounded and beaten into the shape of the club.
Why is forging better than casting?
You may be wondering, well, why do they feel so different if the processes still involve heating the metal and one is heated to a degree where it turns to liquid and the other to a degree where it is malleable?
Well, when the cast iron liquid is poured into the mould, slight air gaps (bubbles) occur within the liquid. This can’t be helped. It is these air bubbles that give cast iron clubs less consistency than a forged club.
Moreover, with a forged iron golf club, you can control what is known as the grain structure, and due to the fact that you are forging the metal into the shape and moving the mass around, you do not have those pinholes as in cast iron golf clubs.
This means that in forged clubs, you got a longer duration of vibrations and a better feel. That is not to say that cast iron does not have some benefits.
Due to the fact that they are poured into a mould, and this can technically be any shape that you choose to design, the styles and variations that manufacturers can come up with can be somewhat beneficial and aggressive.
Meaning they can design moulds (thus clubs) that can have a specific shape (geometrical shapes), giving weight to a particular area or more so than another area that can impact your swing and hence, the way you hit the ball.
What about marketing? Surely cast irons are not that bad?
No matter what club a manufacturer makes, if they put enough money behind the marketing, they will almost surely be able to sell it. Forged irons have been the go-to club for professionals in the past, but cast iron clubs have closed the gap on forged irons due to better technology coming along in the past 10 to 20 years.
Even pro tour players will have a mix of cast and forged iron clubs in their bag nowadays, meaning, as with what Mark Crossfield explained, you should test out various irons and pick the one that you feel benefits you more, whether that be a forged iron or cast iron club
Which pro players use forged and cast iron clubs?
As we stated, a few pro tour players use a mix of forged and cast iron clubs, and in fact, out of the top 100 pro PGA tour players, 64 of them use cast iron clubs. This number increases to 80 if you take into consideration they a player who only has one cast-iron club in their bag still counts.
This further solidifies the fact that cast iron clubs have come a long way and should be considered not only to improve your game but give you an edge.
Which players would benefit from forged or cast iron golf clubs?
As we touched on, beginners and intermediate players would look to use cast iron clubs due to them being more forgiving. We can also include other players who could benefit from cast iron clubs, such as seniors, women who are new to the game, and individuals who often don’t play. Take into consideration that, for the most part, most groups will typically tie into individuals that have a high to mid handicap.
Forged iron clubs would best be suited to players who like a lot of feel when hitting the ball, and with this comes the ability to purposely hit fades and draws. Moreover, this could be tied to individuals with a mid handicap looking to improve or individuals with a lower handicap.
Take into consideration that this is a general rule of thumb for cast iron and forged iron clubs. It is merely an outline that can be used and suggested and is not set in stone.
Which are the best cast iron clubs?
There can’t necessarily be one set of cast iron clubs that are the best because everybody has a different play style and will “feel” the club differently. However, most individuals look at cast iron clubs to improve their game, and we have found ones that overall are just quite phenomenal.
Boasting to be the longest Mavrik iron with the fastest ball speeds, Callaway’s AI-designed Flash Face Cup offers more long and consistent distances. The range includes the Mavrik, the Mavrik MAX, and the Mavrik PRO.
They all feature Flash Face Cup Technology with a Tungsten Energy Core and Urethane Microspheres. The Mavrik and Mavrik MAX are geared towards game improvement and for individuals who have a handicap of between 8 – 36 depending. Their head shapes are moderate and oversized, respectively, and offer a long hit and easy launch.
The Mavrik PRO is geared towards players with a handicap of between 3 and 10, and these clubs offer more along the way of player performance because they feature a more controlled distance.
The last thing to mention before you should run out and try these clubs is they all offer custom shafts and grips.
Check out the Mavrik line of clubs, all available on Amazon here
Which are the best forged iron clubs?
As with the cast iron clubs, we can’t really outright say that one set is the best, but we can give you our opinion on which ones we found best overall compared to others.
Callaway Apex 21 Irons Set
You may notice that we chose to put another set of Callaway clubs in this bracket, and this is because Callaway has dominated the market for high-end pro golf clubs since they were founded in 1982.
This range of 100% forged Callaway irons come in three variants. You get the Apex, the Apex PRO, and the Apex DCB. As with the Mavrik clubs, these feature AI-designed Flash Face Cup, Tungsten energy core, and Urethane Microspheres.
They are catering to the more proficient golfer with these clubs, preferably suited to players with a handicap ranging from between 5 to 10+. The Apex and Apex Pro are geared towards distance and player performance, while the Apex DCB is more suited for player improvement.
Forged irons are known to be less forgiving than cast iron clubs, but due to these irons using Callaway’s tungsten core (5 times more tungsten than that of the Apex 19), they can precisely position the center of gravity which promotes outstanding launch and offer a lot more forgiveness.
Forged irons are synonymous with feel, and these fully forged irons from 1025 mild carbon steel, along with their patented urethane microsphere, delivers exceptional sound and feel.
Check out the range of Callaway forged irons on Amazon here
This article touched on which irons are better: cast or forged. With that, we found out a few interesting factors.
The only difference between forged and cast iron clubs is in the manufacturing process. Cast iron clubs essentially being a liquid metal that is poured into a mould and cooled, while forged iron comes from one solid piece of metal that is milled, beaten, and hammered into the shape of the club.
Due to this manufacturing process, there are differences when it comes to the performance and, moreover, the feel of the club. A cast iron club offers more of a stiffer feel and louder sound when the ball is struck, while a forged club offers a duller sound giving the sense of more control as the club is thought of as softer.
In reality, there is some truth to this, but cast iron clubs have come a long way, and because of today’s technology, they are just as good as forged clubs in some regards.
Additionally, Mark Crossfield, a professional golf coach of over 20 years and a YouTube influencer, states that you should not really listen to what people say about which club is better than the other, and you should opt to play with the club that feels better for you. This will most likely improve your game.
Not to mention if you take into consideration the 64 of the top 100 PGA pro tour players use the cast iron club, and the number rises to 80 out of 100 if you consider that only one club in their bag is a cast iron club.
However, the one thing to note is that if you are a beginner or intermediate player, you will probably be better off with a cast iron club because they are a lot more forgiving than forged irons. These clubs will help you to improve your game and drop your handicap and will also be much lighter on your wallet (which might cause less stress allowing you to play better).
The last thing to note is that many manufacturers make many variations of cast and forged iron clubs and besides reading and watching reviews, you should head out to your local dealer and try out the ones you fancy. Reading that a club hits great doesn’t necessarily mean that it will suit your play style.