Best Muscle Back Irons In 2021 – PGA Pro Review

Best Muscle Back Irons

The best muscle back golf irons are often referred to as players’ blades. With an iron like a muscle back, you will typically need a fast swing speed, lots of precision, and impressive accuracy with your iron set. In return, you will get some of the best feeling golf irons on the market. Muscle back irons are known for having a premium and pure feel at impact.

Truthfully with how great a muscle back iron feels at impact, all golfers would use them if they had the game to do so. Muscle back irons tend to lack a bit of forgiveness, but things are changing in the world of golf.

If 2021 is your near for a new set of muscle back irons, we have all the best options you need. For some people, even if a muscle back iron is not the best fit for all of your clubs, it will be a great choice in the short irons. Our top choice is the Titleist 620 MB irons, and you will soon see why.

No Time? Here’s Our Rundown!

Titleist 620MB
Best Overall
Titleist 620MB
9.8
  • Extreme precision in short irons
  • Impressive ball speed for blade irons
  • Work well as part of a combo set
Mizuno MP 20MB
Best For Feel
Mizuno MP 20MB
9.5
  • Great looking club head with thinner top line
  • Some forgiveness built in for strikes just above and below the center of the face
  • Tour-proven design
Cobra RF MB Copper
Best Looking
Cobra RF MB Copper
9.4
  • Cobra connect technology
  • Copper finish for a unique looking iron set
  • Tungsten toe weighting for purity and stability
Ping i59
Best Premium
Ping i59
9.4
  • Proven performance by professional golfers
  • Shorter blade length
  • Traditional muscle back shaping
Srixon Z Forged
Best For The Money
Srixon Z Forged
9.2
  • Great turf interaction
  • Exceptional feel in long iron and short iron shots
  • WIll appeal to low handicappers and lower mid handicappers

Best Overall Muscle Back Irons: Titleist 620MB Irons

Best Overall Muscle Back Irons: Titleist 620MB Irons

Key Features

  • Tour Proven ball flight and control
  • Beautifully constructed muscle back design
  • Clean looking blade irons with tremendous feel
  • Tour-proven design, capable of producing various ball flights

To truly know enough about muscle back irons to get the perfect set of clubs, it pays to understand what is meant by modern muscle back clubs. Modern muscle back irons will not have the same forgiveness as cavity back irons, but they are more capable than muscle back irons of the past.

The 620MB from Titleist is designed for shot making.

If you have the swing speed and know how to hit a golf ball straight, it’s important to be able to work the ball as well. This is not possible with game improvement irons, but with the 620MB, it won’t be a problem.

Typically Titleist clubs appeal to more of a golf purist. You will look down at a set of clubs and realize that they are better looking than almost any other option on the market. With reduced offset and a tour preferred sole, everything about the 620 MB screams low handicap.

Pros
  • Extreme precision in short irons
  • Impressive ball speed for blade irons
  • Work well as part of a combo set
Cons
  • Forgiveness is the long irons is minimal



Best Muscle Back Irons For Feel: Mizuno MP 20MB Irons

Best Muscle Back Irons For Feel: Mizuno MP 20MB Irons

Key Features

  • Tour style profile
  • Very stable feel at impact
  • Thinner topline than previous models

Most of the time, when you are looking for muscle back irons, the first two choices you will consider are the Mizuno or the Titleist. Therefore it should come as no surprise that these are the top two options on our list. For a forged iron with an impeccable feel, you can’t go wrong with the Mizuno MP20 irons.

The new design was made to be very vertically stable and have a refined topline. The top blade and camber sole help players to increase swing speed and ball speed, even when they may not need it. One of the things we really like about Mizuno MP 20 irons is that if you miss the center of the face just a bit, you will still see a relatively good shot.

Having just a bit of forgiveness built into a player’s blade iron is a great benefit and well worth considering. The finish on the MP20 MB Irons has a bit of chrome to it so that there is almost no glare when you look down at the club head.

Related: Best Mizuno Irons On The Market
Pros
  • Great looking club head with thinner top line
  • Some forgiveness built in for strikes just above and below the center of the face
  • Tour-proven design
  • Less glare in the golf clubs head
Cons
  • Mizuno clubs typically come at a premium price point



Best Looking Muscle Back Irons: Cobra RF MB Copper Iron Set

Best Looking Muscle Back Irons: Cobra RF MB Copper Iron Set

Key Features

  • Limited Edition set
  • RF logo for Rickie Fowler co-design
  • 5 Step forging

One of the best things about muscle back irons is that they are great-looking golf clubs. Finding the best muscle back irons also means you must find something that appeals to your eye. It’s going to be hard to find a golfer that doesn’t like the look of the new Cobra RF MB Copper Iron Set.

Cobra works with Rickie Fowler on many of their iron set designs to ensure they put together a profile that appeals to the best players in the game. The Cobra RF MB copper iron set went through a five step forging process.

Most companies that forge an iron will have a two or three step process. The soft feel and impressive results you can get with the Cobra RF MB can be attributed to this five step forging process.

Tungsten toe weighting also helps to add some stability to these muscle back irons. With the lack of forgiveness in a Muscle Back golf club, stability at impact becomes essential.

Clearly, the copper finish stands out on the irons. The overall look is unique, and this is a set of irons you will treasure.

Pros
  • Impressive feel
  • Cobra connect technology
  • Copper finish for a unique looking iron set
  • Tungsten toe weighting for purity and stability
Cons
  • Not as much forgiveness as cavity back irons from Cobra



Best Premium Muscle Back Irons: Ping i59

Best Premium Muscle Back Irons: Ping i59

Key Features

  • The newest release to the market
  • Result of five years of impressive updates and benefits
  • Aerospace grade aluminum

The Ping i59 muscle back irons are a brand new release to the market. The Ping iBlade was such a success that Ping waited until they had something really different before entering the market with a new release.

This is actually one of the best features of the Ping golf clubs; there is never any market pressure to put a new golf club on the market; when Ping is ready, they put out the best technology out there.

The new i59 forged irons are completely different than anything you have seen from Ping in the past. Although this may look a bit different than other muscle back irons on the market, it can certainly fit in this category.

For those that like the ability to work the ball without giving up ball speed, the Ping i59 is a great option to consider. The Ping is made with an aerospace-grade aluminum insert that helps to save 30g of weighting. The idea here is that you can get a classic muscle look with added forgiveness.

In addition, Ping used the Hydropearl 2.0 finish to help ensure that the clubs are water repellent and never leave any spin out on the course. If you want to zero in your short irons and start getting shots that are really close to the pin, this is a set to work with.

We know that Ping is always one of the best choices out there for feel, and that has not changed with the release of the i59. This club has pretty much everything you need, and it will work for golfers with about a ten handicap and below.

Related: Best Ping Irons Ever
Pros
  • Proven performance by professional golfers
  • Shorter blade length
  • Traditional muscle back shaping
  • Can help with more consistent ball striking
Cons
  • Brand new set with premium pricing



Best Muscle Back Irons For The Money: Srixon Z Forged

Best Muscle Back Irons For The Money: Srixon Z Forged

Key Features

  • Great pricing
  • Slightly large sweet spot than a blade iron
  • Great distance control

Srixon is a company that generally flies under the radar. They certainly don’t get as much recognition as Mizuno or Titleist, but they put out some golf club iron set options that golfers should be paying attention to.

The Srixon Z Forged are not the newest release from Srizon, but they are the perfect muscle back irons if you are looking for an affordable option.

Typically speaking, the muscle back is for a good ball striker. Therefore these are golfers that demand extreme precision and only the best materials. This only further increases the price of a Srixon iron.

One of the things that will stand out right away on the Z Forged is that it has a thin top line that will appeal to elite golfers. For a lower handicap golfer, the club shaping and iron design are exactly what you will want to see.

In addition, the new Tour V.T. Sole is an upgrade that helps to provide better turf interaction. Ball strikers know that muscle backs are not always the best irons for getting out of the rough or playing from a tough life. The new sole on the Srixon helps to make this a bit easier.

If your golf game is ready for muscle back players irons, but you are not ready for the high pricing, the Srixon Z Forged are a great option to consider.

Pros
  • Great turf interaction
  • Exceptional feel in long iron and short iron shots
  • WIll appeal to low handicappers and lower mid handicappers
  • Very fair pricing for these iron sets
Cons
  • Not as commonly reviewed or available, may be hard to demo



Buyers Guide: What To Look For When Buying Muscle Back Golf Clubs?

Now that we have given you some of the best muscle back irons on the market to choose from, it’s time to start narrowing down which could be the best for your game. There are some key features that you must consider when purchasing muscle back irons.

Since this is not known for being the most forgiving golf iron type on the market, you must make sure your golf game is ready to handle a muscle back.

Handicap

Typically muscle back irons are meant for tour players and lower handicap golfers. Of course, this does not mean that high handicappers have to give up their dream of playing with muscle backs; it simply means it may not be the right fit.

Golfers with a single-digit handicap will enjoy the exceptional feel that they get from these golf clubs. The problem, of course, is that to hit a muscle back iron consistently, the club must approach from the same angle each time.

This means that if you are in any way inconsistent with the types of golf shots that you hit, you will struggle to be a great player with muscle back golf clubs. For anyone over a ten handicap, a cavity back or more forgiving forged design could be a better choice.

Related: How To Calculate Your Handicap

Shaft

Swing Speed vs Carry Distance vs Shaft Flex

Most of the time, muscle back golf clubs are only offered standard in steel shafts. It is assumed that golfers that play with muscle backs will have high swing speed and ball speed. However, some low handicappers on the market will need graphite shafts in their muscle back irons.

With the high price of graphite shafts combined with the expensive muscle back design, be prepared for a bit of sticker shock when you put graphite in a muscle back club head.

One option is to put graphite in the longer irons and keep steel in the shorter irons; this is a common change that some slower swinging low handicappers are making.

Distance/Forgiveness

The distance that muscle back irons can provide is continuing to increase. Manufacturers are learning how to incorporate distance into a club head without sacrificing feel. However, most muscle back irons will have more traditional lofting; pay attention to this as you want to ensure that you are not going to lose distance when you make the switch.

Forgiveness is a muscle back is not nearly as much as it would be in a cavity back. The modern muscle back features a bit more weight in the toe, and that leads to some new center of gravity locations. Something like the new Ping i59 would be a good fit for golfers even up to a 10 handicap.

The bottom line is, be prepared to have to work for those straight golf shots.

Forging and Finish

As you likely noticed when reading our reviews of the best muscle back irons on the market, the classic shape will vary a bit from one manufacturer to another. There is really no perfect muscle back design on the market. You will have to find one that works well for your game.

The new Cobra RF MB stands out because of the Copper Underlay and Ping feature their premium Hydroperal finish. Essentially each of the finishes on these clubs will be slightly different. They will help ensure that you have less glare and a better view of the golf ball and clubface.

The most important thing when choosing a blade iron is that you get consistent and repeatable turf interaction. If a clubhead that is copper, or silver, or tour chrome helps that happen for you, by all means, go with that club.

You may or may not notice much of a difference in feel or overall launch monitor statistics just from the finish on the club.




Frequently Asked Questions

Choosing muscle back irons is difficult.

The irons are expensive, you know they won’t be all that forgiving, and shaft selection and configuration can be a lot to handle. Yet when a muscle back is hit well, there is nothing quite like it.

It’s ok to take a bit of time to look at several iron sets on the market and truly ensure you are making the right choice in your next set of players’ irons. Here are a few of the questions that we are asked most often about muscle back golf clubs.

Are Muscle Back Irons Hard To Hit?

Typically speaking, muscle back irons are harder to hit than cavity back irons. However, if your golf swing is consistent and you have good clubhead speed, muscle back irons should not be all that difficult to hit.

When choosing a set of irons, it is not always about picking the club that is easiest to hit. Cavity back irons are easy to hit but don’t offer the same feel and workability as the muscle backs.

If you enjoy the golf game and want to take your game to the next level, a muscle back iron can be a great choice, even if it forces you to hit the ball closer to the center.

Is My Golf Game Ready For Muscle Backs?

If you are a single-digit handicap, chances are you can handle almost any muscle back iron on the market. There are, however, some clubs (like the Ping i59) that can also work for golfers in the 10-12 handicap range.

The general idea is that if your handicap is lower, you probably make fairly consistent content with the center of the clubface. To hit muscle back irons well, this is something that you must do.

Are Combo Iron Sets A Good Idea?

Combo golf iron sets will allow you to mix cavity back irons and muscle back irons in the same set of clubs. For many players, this means that the short irons are muscle backs and the long irons are cavity backs.

We love this option and highly recommend it for anyone that is not sure the muscle back is the perfect solution for the game. Essentially you will get a great feel, impressive shot-making ability, and forgiveness when you need it the most.

Almost any golf manufacturer will help you put together a combo set that will give you this kind of flexibility and variability in your iron set.

Conclusion

Hopefully, you now feel a bit better more prepared to make a choice about the best muscle back irons in the game. Although many of the options on our list could be a good fit, the Titleist 620 MB irons stand out as the best overall choice.

Titleist has been a leader in blade irons and muscle back irons since they started in the business. Over time the technology has only improved and made the golf clubs feel better and perform better year after year.

If you spend a lot of time on the golf course, and you want a club that rewards you for great shots, the Titleist 620 MB is the golf club to choose.

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