The Best Cavity Back Irons: Reviews and Comparisons

In this article, we’ll cover the best cavity back irons currently on the market. As a general rule, a larger cavity means that the iron will be more forgiving, however, feel and control can be compromised. In this guide, we’ll help you find the right blend for your golf game.

  1. TaylorMade SIM Max 2 (all-around performance)
  2. Cobra F-Max (best value)
  3. Mizuno JPX Hot Metal (best for feel)
  4. Callaway Mavrik (worth considering)
  5. Wilson D7 (worth considering)

TaylorMade SIM Max 2 Irons

TaylorMade SIM Max 7-iron in profile

TaylorMade SIM Max 2 irons follow on from the incredibly successful SIM Max irons. Incorporating the latest tech and design features, these are the best irons on the market for the everyday club golfer.

Looks

The big clubhead and chunky topline inspire confidence and while the new cap-back design gives the impression of a solid clubhead, but don’t be fooled, inside is a large cavity back design.

Forgiveness

These irons are super forgiving. The low centre of gravity helps to launch your iron shots high while the perimeter weighting and speed bar push the mass away from the clubface, minimising how much the clubhead twists on off-centre shots.

Power & distance

These irons have strong lofts which result in powerful, long iron shots. However, thanks to their low centre of gravity they still launch the ball high into the air.

Feel & control

The TaylorMade SIM Max 2 irons are exceptionally forgiving and powerful, but there is a trade-off in design. While these clubs feel great, they lack control and finesse compared to other cavity back irons in this review, such as the Mizuno JPX irons. This is not necessarily an issue, just something to consider when weighing up the balance between distance, forgiveness, and control.

Suggested buying options

The loft on the 5-iron TaylorMade SIM Max 2 is comparable to that of a 3-iron 20 years ago and, as such, you’ll only need a 5-iron to pitching wedge in your golf bag. From here, you can decide to add hybrids or fairway woods to fill in your armoury between irons and driver.

If you’re shopping on a budget, check out the original SIM Max irons here. Beginner and high handicap golfers will notice very little difference in actual performance and can save a fair chunk of cash if they opt for the original SIM Max irons.

Cobra F-Max Irons

Cobra F-Max 7 iron with blue and back cavity back design

The Cobra F-Max irons have been around for a few years. We still feature them heavily on our site because they offer great performance at an incredible price, making them ideal for any golfer on a budget.

Looks

The F-Max irons have a thick topline and big cavity back. This automatically boosts confidence as you place them behind the ball. They also feature a progressive design, which we’ll discuss the benefits of in more detail below.

Forgiveness

The large cavity back coupled with additional weight in the heel and toe minimises twist on off-centre strikes and gives your iron shots the best possible chance of finding the green.

These are not as oversized as the TaylorMade SIM Max 2 irons but still offer excellent forgiveness compared to the majority of clubs on the market.

Power & distance

The lofts on the F-Max irons are more normal compared to the strong TaylorMade SIM Max irons, consequently, the F-Max irons are slightly shorter but still offer great distance. The progressive design in the F-Max irons means the long irons have more offset and a lower centre of gravity which creates a strong, draw-bias shape.

As you move towards the shorter irons there is less offset and draw-bias, offering more control and a neutral ball flight. This design makes the F-Max irons ideal for golfers who want a blend of control and forgiveness, whilst offering above-average distance.

Feel & control

The F-Max irons offer a great blend of feel and control where it matters, in the mid, short irons and wedges. The short irons and wedges allow for good precision when hitting full shots into the greens and a nice array of options when chipping and pitching.

Suggested buying options

For most beginner and high handicap golfers, we’d suggest a 5-iron to sand wedge set-up. If you’re looking for more customisation in your golf set for chipping and pitching then opt for the 5-iron to pitching wedge set-up and buy a separate sand wedge and lob wedge.

Mizuno JPX Hot Metal Irons

Mizuno Hot Metal pro 7 iron

The JPX 921 Hot Metal irons are Mizuno’s most forgiving and powerful in the JPX line-up. The introduction of these irons marks a move away from Mizuno’s classical design and more towards utilisation of their tech in order to optimise performance and forgiveness.

Looks

If this review was based purely on aesthetics, the Mizuno JPX irons are hands down the best. As you place the golf club behind the golf ball, Mizuno has engineered a minimal offset design that creates maximum confidence and alignment to your target. The cavity back is large but not too deep – if you’re after a sleeker-looking cavity back, these irons are ideal.

Forgiveness

Whilst we’re keen to include these in our review of the best cavity back irons. It has to be noted that these irons are not as forgiving as other game improvement and super game improvement irons in this review. They feature a long club head (heel to toe) and a stability frame to push more mass to the heel and toe. The result is a very forgiving iron, given their overall head size, but they will not match the incredible forgiveness offered by the SIM Max irons.

Power & distance

The JPX 921 irons come with a COR-TECH face that is now 0.2mm thinner across the centre, delivering improved ball speed. The face thickness varies across the striking surface to maximise ball speed from all portions of the club face. This results in great distance whilst still maintaining control. Again, these irons aren’t as long as others in our review, but they do create a great blend of forgiveness and control.

Feel & control

Here is where these irons shine! Mizuno’s grain-flow, forged irons have an amazing buttery-soft feel that just can’t be matched by cast golf clubs. Mizuno will also claim this results in better distance control, which may or may not be correct, but there is no doubting that they feel great.

Unlike many other cavity back irons in this review, the lofts on these irons are ‘standard’ by modern-day standards, resulting in more control and spin with your mid-irons and a better set-up for chipping and pitching around the greens.

Suggested buying options

With the more sensible lofts, you could opt for a 5-iron to pitching wedge, or grab a 4-iron if you prefer long irons over hybrids and fairway woods.

These are a great option if you’re looking for cavity back irons with exceptional feel and control. Yes, there are longer irons and other cavity backs in this review that offer a little more forgiveness, but the Mizuno JPX Hot Metal irons offer good forgiveness, good distance and an unparalleled feel.

Wilson Staff D7 Irons

Wilson D7 Forged 7-iron cavity back

Wilson’s newest version of the D-series is the Wilson Staff D7, which provides mid-handicappers with a variety of game-improving advantages. They also come at a fantastic price.

Looks

Wilson has incorporated a progressive design into these clubs. The longer irons are built for maximum forgiveness and distance, but the shorter ones and wedge have more of a focus on control and feel.

Forgiveness

Wilson D7 irons have a large, undercut cavity that limits the amount the clubhead will turn on off-centre shots, and they look excellent when setting up to the golf ball. As a consequence of this, they offer excellent forgiveness.

Power & distance

The Wilson D7 irons are known for their powerful lofts (28 degrees for a 7-iron), which will give longer iron shots if you’re switching clubs from several years ago. The Wilson D7 irons include power holes that increase face flexibility, allowing for more efficient energy return, increased ball speed, and greater distance.

Feel & control

The Wilson D-series irons forged design has a firm, responsive feel to it. The forged construction of these irons will deliver a more forgiving and softer feel than cast iron alternatives like the TaylorMade SIM Max irons.

Suggested buying options

For most golfers, a 5-iron to pitching wedge set-up will serve you very well. This allows you to add in extra fairway woods or hybrids between your irons and driver and to add a custom sand wedge or lob wedge too.

The D7 is an excellent value game improvement iron for a golfer looking for longer clubs that provide distance and forgiveness, as well as control on the green.

Callaway Mavrik Irons

The Callaway Mavrik irons have been around for a few years, but they still offer excellent forgiveness coupled with great distance – making them a worthy contender in this review.

Looks

There are three styles in the Mavrik range, here we’ll focus on the two that are true cavity backs – the standard Mavrik and Mavrik Max. The Mavrik offers a moderate-sized head for 8 – 20 handicappers, whereas the Max option has an oversized clubhead and thinker topline for golfers playing 15 – 36 handicaps.

Forgiveness

The Mavrik irons are packed full of tech aimed at making them forgiving and long. What’s more, control remains uncompromised. The Mavrik irons have a deep undercut cavity that increases the moment of inertia for greater forgiveness on off-centre shots. This is combined with a Tungsten weight (energy core) that is positioned to further increase the stability of the clubhead through impact. The standard Mavrik irons are very forgiving and the added clubhead size in the Max range makes them incredibly forgiving. For this reason, they are considered by many as a ‘super game improvement’ club.

Power & distance

The Mavrik irons fly! The ‘Flash Face’ technology that Callaway market is a fancy way for saying the face thickness varies across the club in order to maximise ball speed. This technology contributes to the Mavrik’s length, however, the main reason these irons are so long is their strong loft.

Similar to the TaylorMade SIM Max irons, the centre of gravity is very low in these irons meaning the lofts on the Mavrik can be reduced whilst still producing a high launch. This results in very high ball speed off the face and long iron shots.

The standard Mavrik is the longest in the range, whereas the Max clubhead is geared towards a higher launch which in turn, sacrifices a little distance.

Feel & control

The flip side of the incredible distance offered by the Mavrik irons is that control is compromised. These irons feel incredibly powerful but even when hitting a 3/4 iron shot the ball flies off the clubface.

For many golfers valuing distance and forgiveness over control, this won’t be a major concern. However, for those wanting better levels of control, check out the Mizuno JPX and Wilson D7 irons.

Suggested buying options

Due to the strong lofts on these irons, we’d advise opting for a 5-iron to pitching wedge set-up. We’d also suggest considering the approach/gap wedge option offered too, as the pitching wedge loft is only 41º.

These irons are a great buy if you are in the market for a cavity back iron that offers exceptional distance and great forgiveness.

Frequently asked questions when buying cavity back irons

Below we’ll answer some of the most common questions that arise when buying cavity back irons from a golf shop or online.

What are ‘cavity back’ golf irons?

Cavity back irons are designed with a cavity in the back of the iron head which allows for more mass to be distributed around the perimeter of the club. This creates greater stability on off-centre hits – providing more forgiveness.

Do PGA players use cavity back irons?

Historically, PGA players have favoured blade irons over cavity back. However, these days there are more players opting to play with a muscle back and cavity back iron.

What is the most forgiving cavity back iron?

The greater the perimeter weighting and the larger the clubhead, the more forgiving the iron will be for off-centre strikes. The TaylorMade SIM Max 2 and Callaway Mavrik Max are two great contenders when it comes to these features, resulting in an incredible level of forgiveness.

Are cavity back golf clubs better?

For 95% of golfers, a cavity back iron will result in better performance. There is a small argument for more bladed irons if a player is looking for more shot-shaping ability and better control over their ball flight. However, these days there is a wide range of options between large cavity back design and pure bladed irons.

What effect do cavity back irons have on ball flight?

The cavity back design allows for more mass to be distributed around the perimeter of the club and shifts the centre of gravity lower in the club. This results in a higher launch and for most golfers, longer distance and a straighter ball flight.

Which is better – cavity back or blade irons?

Think of golf irons on a continuum from a pure blade – muscle back – cavity back – large cavity back. The more you shift towards a bladed iron, the less forgiveness you will have but you gain a small amount of control.

Most golfers will be best served with a standard or large cavity back iron. Single-figure golfers and aspiring pros will also play with cavity back irons but may also opt for muscle-back irons.

What’s the difference between Cast and Forged cavity back irons?

Cast irons are made from pouring molten metal into a mould and setting it into shape. Forged irons are made by hammering a very hot, solid piece of metal into shape. The metals and manufacturing processes used to create forged irons are more costly, meaning that these irons are more expensive. However, forged irons offer a better feel and control compared to cast irons.

Will a cavity back iron help me hit longer irons?

Many golfers struggle to strike their long irons. As the length of the golf shafts increases, hitting the sweet spot becomes more challenging. Cavity back irons won’t guarantee that you hit the sweet spot, but they do result in straighter and longer iron shots. Golfers will likely see an improvement in both their mid and long irons if they are transferring from more bladed clubs.

What are the best forged cavity back irons?

This comes down to your performance preference. We were very impressed with the Mizuno JPX Hot Metal irons during testing – a great feel, excellent distance and great forgiveness.

How do I know what shaft flex I need?

There are many online tools, and tips but the only true way is to go for a fitting with a golf professional. The main factor in choosing shaft flex is your clubhead speed. However, shaft flex can also affect your trajectory, spin rate, and how much your shots draw/fade. If you are serious about findings some great irons, we’d strongly urge you to go for an in-person fitting.

Do I need steel or graphite shafts?

Again, the only way to know for sure is to go for a fitting. Graphite shafts tend to be lighter, making the overall club weight lower. This means you can swing faster with the same amount of force – resulting in longer shots. Slower swing speeds tend to benefit from graphite shafts, however, you may also wish to consider lightweight steel shafts options too.

What are game improvement and super game improvement irons?

Game improvement irons are irons that offer a large amount of forgiveness and result in straighter shots. Super game improvement irons are the most forgiving golf clubs, designed for those players with very high handicaps, or beginner golfers. These will likely feature additional perimeter weighting to increase forgiveness. All irons in game improvement and super game improvement categories will have some form of cavity back design.

Should mid handicap golfers play with cavity back irons?

Yes, cavity back irons are a great option for high and mid handicappers. A mid-handicap golfer may also want to check out some hollow headed irons and muscle back irons. We have a full round-up for mid handicappers here.

I have a high ball speed, should I use cavity back irons?

Yes. If you are looking for forgiving irons, cavity backs are a great choice. As swing speed and ball speed increase, you’ll find your iron shots reach a higher peak flight. For this reason, you may want to choose irons with a slightly higher centre of gravity to create a more penetrating ball flight. The Mizuno JPX and Callaway Mavrik irons are two good choices for players with higher swing speed who want to maintain a mid-low ball flight.

Summary

That concludes our look at the best cavity back irons currently on the market. The best cavity back irons will depend on your needs as a golfer. Are you looking for all-out forgiveness? Are you willing to sacrifice a little control? Or do you want more control and a better feel in your next set of irons?

Here we’ve laid out some top picks to fulfil each of these needs. If you have any further questions feel free to leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you. Or for more iron review check out these guides on the most forgiving irons and the best irons for high handicap and mid handicap golfers.

Happy golfing – Will Golf Insider UK

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A PGA golf professional, with a PhD in Biomedical Science and MSc in Sports Biomechanics & Psychology. I currently spend my time lecturing part-time at Leeds Beckett University and working with elite athletes. In my spare time I build Golf Insider UK.

1 thought on “The Best Cavity Back Irons: Reviews and Comparisons”

  1. Hi Will,
    Great info in this post. You make it easy to understand and options for what to look for.
    Totally agree that a good fitter is essential, but at least we can now go into a fitting with some knowledge!
    What about graduated irons? I used to have Wilson irons which were more forgiving on the longer clubs and more adaptable in the scoring ones.
    Perhaps players should
    consider ‘combo’ sets?

    Reply

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