by David Lake
I have been asked repeatedly how I designed our Blackstone irons and the special design features that make them the highest performance irons in the golf industry.
In 2015 I was playing a round of golf with my buddies on a particularly bright sunny day. On the 3rd hole I found myself faced with a 40 yard pitch shot to the green. As I looked down at the clubface and the ball I realized that it was extremely hard to accurately align the clubface to the target due to the glare coming off the face of my lob wedge. That same day I heard the same complaint from my friends on numerous shots. Well, anyone who knows me will tell you that I am always tinkering and trying to find any small adjustments that may improve ball striking performance. In this case I became obsessed with clubface alignment, not only because of any potential glare off of the clubface, but because clubface alignment is so important for an accurate shot. Bear in mind that a clubface that is open or closed by only 1º or 2º means a shot that is off target by up to 20 or 30 feet (depending on the distance), and it is extremely difficult to look down at the clubface and see this slight deviation from square clubface alignment.
My first temporary attempt was to spray paint my clubfaces flat black which worked to eliminate any potential glare; however, it was very hard to see the scoring lines on the clubface in order to "square up" the clubface towards the target. It might be of interest to note that a number of brands have since come out with black clubfaces with the exact same problem - that of not being able to see the scoring lines in order to align the clubface properly.
At the end we worked very closely with our foundry to produce and integrate a state of the art hardened black PVD finish to the clubheads that is very durable and cosmetically appealing.
My next step was to paint-fill the scoring lines bright white to make them "pop" when looking down at the clubface so that precise alignment became easy and this made all the difference in the world. I immediately started hitting shots much closer to the pin than I had ever done in the past. Ah, but that was not all. I added vertical lines framing the scoring lines to ensure proper lie alignment when looking down at the clubface since it is so easy to incorrectly judge this using only the horizontal scoring lines for alignment. Again, only a 1º or 2º upright or flat lie will result in an off-line shot either right or left of the target.
The finishing touch to our Blackstones was to shaft them with our black steel golf shaft. Not only was this final step taken in order to eliminate any potential glare, but also, because it just makes them look so damn good!
There are a number of "secret" design features that I incorporated into our Blackstones that are carried over from my design of our 1 Iron and Pro-line irons, design features that greatly enhance ball striking, performance, and overall playability:
Deep undercut rear cavity creating an extremely low and rearward center of gravity. This design feature not only gets the ball up quickly for maximum carry distance, but ensures consistent crisp ball striking as well.
Additional mass taken from the undercutting of the rear cavity is re-positioned directly behind the sweet spot of the clubface to maximize the "punch" at impact for increased distance and solid, consistent ball striking performance.
I also replaced the iron numbering system with the actual clubface loft angle for pro-tour level precise distance control. Refer to one of my earlier Newsletters that addresses this in complete detail: The Truth about Loft Angles
I am proud to say that our Blackstone irons are far beyond what is currently considered the cutting edge of golf club design and vastly exceeds the performance level of any irons available throughout the golf industry today.