Gear 101: What's a blade?
Unlike cavity-back irons, a blade has little or no perimeter weighting. That makes blades less forgiving but easier to draw or fade, which is why expert players use them.
Blades account for just 5 percent of irons sold in the U.S., but Mizuno loves the better-player market. Its latest blade has a wider sole and modified muscleback — "cut muscle" in company lingo — that shift weight down and back for added stability. If the MP-32 isn't your number, try the MP-37, a traditional muscleback; the MP-33, with a slightly lower center of gravity; or the MP-30, a half-cavity muscleback with an even lower center of gravity. $1,099 (steel); 800-966-1211 or mizunousa.com
Solus RD Series 4.1
A new Nashville clubmaker has built a wedge that provides bounce when you lay it open for bunker explosions and lobs, but no bounce on square-face shots from tight lies and downhill lies. The key: a unique crescent-shaped sole design. The Solus shaft is also lighter and more flexible than most wedge shafts, with a lower kickpoint for touch. RDs come in 51º, 56º and 61º lofts, with milled faces and grooves for extra spin. $119; 800-899-6513 or solusgolf.com
Cobra King Cobra Baffler Utility Metal
Thirty years ago, the rail-soled Baffler revolutionized fairway woods. This seventh-generation Baffler has traded rails for a contoured soleplate sculpted to fit more players and more conditions. Weight moved lower and farther back helps shots get up fast. A maraging steel face insert boosts distance, as do shafts that are an inch longer than on similar long irons. Bafflers come in 18º, 20º, 23º and 26º, to replace 2- through 5-irons. $160 (steel), $180 (graphite); 800-624-5510 or cobragolf.com