Edited by: Jordan Fuller
Reviewed by: John Marshall
If you are a golfer, who has found that your game has plateaued, causing your dream of becoming a single-digit handicapper to stall, then upgrading your equipment to include forged irons is a choice that could set your game free.
Forged irons are the clubs you typically see on Sundays played by the top professionals on the PGA Tour. Molded from a single piece of metal, forged irons are for golfers that want more from their game. Whether it be to assist in shaping shots from the fairway or improving contact, forged irons can significantly enhance the game of an experienced golfer.
But not all forged irons are the same, and it is essential to understand, not only if these clubs are right for you, but what you need to be looking for to find that perfect set for your game.
In this comprehensive review, we’ll take you through ten of the best forged irons sets available on the market and give you our opinion after taking these irons through a rigorous series of testing.
Here’s our list of the ten best forged irons that could take your game to the next level.
Table Of Contents
- 1 Featured Recommendations
2 10 Best Forged Irons of 2019
- 2.1 Callaway Apex Iron Set
- 2.2 TaylorMade P790 Iron Set
- 2.3 Titleist 718 AP2 Irons
- 2.4 TaylorMade P760 Iron Set
- 2.5 Callaway X Forged Iron
- 2.6 Srixon Z 785 Iron Set
- 2.7 Cobra King Forged Single Length Iron Set
- 2.8 Cobra King Forged Tec Black Iron Set
- 2.9 Mizuno MP-18 Split Cavity Iron Set
- 2.10 Wilson Staff C300 Forged Irons
- 3 Testing Protocol & Criteria Used For Evaluation
4 Questions & Answers
- 4.1 When should I use an iron?
- 4.2 What is a forged iron and how does it differ from a regular iron?
- 4.3 What are the characteristics of a great forged iron set?
- 4.4 What are the different types of irons that exist?
- 4.5 What are golf iron shafts you can recommend for forged irons?
- 4.6 Do you hit an iron differently from any other golf club?
- 4.7 How do you clean golf irons?
- 4.8 Are forged irons scratch resistant?
10 Best Forged Irons of 2019
Callaway Apex Iron Set
Best Forged Iron Set Overall For Most Golfers
If you are looking for a forged iron set that pulls out all the stops, then the Callaway Apex irons are the showstopper you’ve been looking for on this list. With these irons Callaway wanted to break the mold of their previous models and create a new standard of forged iron and after hours of testing these clubs on the range and course, we can confidently say that they have succeeded.
The irons play with a softness that we didn’t expect, created distance that had us delirious with joy and kept our off-center strikes moving down toward the target instead of sailing off into the rough.
The Apex irons have been designed to take advantage of the company’s 360 Face Cup technology that assists with forgiveness by flexing at impact. The technology also creates a hot face that ramps up the ball speed off the face for exceptionally long distance with each iron.
Another aspect that drew raves from our testing group is the unique look and finish of the irons. The Apex set instills confidence at address that certainly kept us coming back to this collection when testing. Our admiration for this set grew with each round of testing because we loved the response and feel the Apex irons continually delivered at impact.
There are several combinations of the Apex iron set to choose from as the golfer can add or subtract any number of clubs whether they be the higher irons or wedges.
Wonderful to experience, the Apex irons top our list as the best available iron set on this list. We can’t imagine that you’ll find a better set to own for your jump into the forged iron category.
TaylorMade P790 Iron Set
Best For Low Handicappers
The first thing you’ll notice when handling any of the irons in the TaylorMade P790 set is how solid they feel at address. This forged iron set means business and once you hit that first shot with these clubs, you’ll see what we mean as each shot is fired from the club face with incredible distance.
The P790 set is like its brother, the P760 on this list, in that its profile is slim and efficient. There is no wasted space on the clubheads of this set as each club is specially designed to give the expert level golfer a smaller sweet spot with tons of shot control on each swing.
The irons take advantage of the company’s patented SpeedFoam technology to give the 3-through 7-irons a trampoline effect when the ball is compressed on the clubface. The hollow iron is given an advancement in the SpeedFoam filling that increases the speed of the clubhead.
Another advancement the company has made with the release of the P790 is a thinner and hotter face on the iron that maximizes the sweet spot area in this slighter club.
The last feature to highlight on the TaylorMade set is a low profile Tungsten weighted bar that is injected low inside the clubhead to lower the center of gravity in the iron and promote a higher launch angle that will dazzle your playing partners.
The set is on the high end of the pricing scale for forged irons but for the performance you’ll receive, the P790 is a fabulous choice.
Titleist 718 AP2 Irons
Amazing Forged Iron for Overall Improvement
The irons that are quite the hit on the PGA Tour, the Titleist 718 AP2 irons are the ultimate iron for golfers who want premium control from their forged iron set. With the classic silver finish that sparkles, the AP2 are the most expensive set on our list but they deliver the production that you fully expect from equipment with the Titleist label.
What’s terrific about the AP2’s is how they feel throughout the swing. We loved their look and offset at address, then marveled at how engaging they were to draw back and then swing through the golf ball.
If you are a golfer that knows what you are doing on the course, then the 718 AP2’s will act like a magic wand because the control is unparalleled. Regardless of your demand, whether it be high or low, left or right, the AP2’s can handle the job without question.
Although they might not have the look of other forged irons that have pronounced perimeter-weighting, the AP2’s are very forgiving on off-center strikes, a must for forged irons at this price point.
For unbelievable distance and control, the AP2’s are very impressive and should be at the top of all elite golfers’ wishlists.
TaylorMade P760 Iron Set
Great Forged Iron for More Distance
The TaylorMade P760 is a pricey set of clubs, but for golfers entering the single-digit handicap club, this set is worth considering if in the market for an upgrade.
We were quite pleased after several rounds how much better the P760 performed that most of your typical forged sets. Make no mistake, this TaylorMade set packs a wallop that had us rolling with enjoyment.
The P760 utilizes the company’s SpeedFoam technology, so even though there are significant technological advancements in play with this set, you still get the forged look and feel that low-handicappers desire.
Made with a carbon steel body for strength and durability, the P760 excelled during our testing with every demand we placed on the set, regardless of club that we were using at the time.
Each set starts with a stellar 3-iron, with a loft of 19.5 degrees, through an A-wedge that plays at 51-degrees. The SpeedFoam technology is present in the 3-through 7-iron but is absent in the remainder of the set, although that minor quirk shouldn’t deter you from giving the set a closer look.
On the range, we noticed with great joy that the middle irons had a spring-like compression that vaulted the ball in the air with ease.
Distance aside, the main reason to make the leap to forged irons is because of the ability to better shape shots from anywhere on the course. The P760 set is one of the best we’ve ever tested at responding to what the golfer aims to do with each swing.
Callaway X Forged Iron
Alternative Option for More Distance
One of the most accurate forged irons that we’ve ever tested, the Callaway X Forged Irons are innovative and high-performing. Featuring a design that brings amazing control and unbelievable feel to each shot, the Callaway X Forged irons are ready to elevate the game from the moment you get to the course.
For our testers, the feature that really knocked their socks off was the high spin rate that the X Forged set could generate. The clubs have been crafted with precision grooves and a lower center of gravity that provide unreal spin on each shot for a high launch angle that lands softly on the green.
The company also went to great lengths to make sure that the X Forged performed well out of the rough. So we took a more than normal amount of swings, utilizing the set from the rough and we’re happy to report that the X Forged is as good as advertised.
We kept pop-ups and fliers to a minimum out of the heavy stuff and maintained a high-percentage of quality contact on our swings from trouble.
If we have a slight warning for these clubs it is to make sure that your game is ready for performance irons of such high caliber. These are precision tools that will give the low handicap golfer a huge advantage for shaping their shots and sticking them close to the pin.
Srixon Z 785 Iron Set
Wonderful Forged Iron for Improving Quality of Contact
The Srixon Z 785 irons have the distinction of being one of the few forged iron models that you can get on the current market that also take the shape and feel of cavity-backed irons. These Srixon irons have a larger sole on the bottom, making them easier to slide through turf creating better impact and more distance.
The company has taken older models that were similar in style to the Z 785 and updated them for the current version of the popular forged iron set. What the company did first is make sure to add a bit more heft in the center of the club face. By putting more steel there, the club has a lower center of gravity and more energy is directed onto the golf ball on pure strikes.
When testing the Z 785, we noticed that the irons were longer than the previous versions and had less spin. The company certainly succeeded in making this forged iron set longer and with more forgiveness.
A great set for the mid-range single digit handicappers, the Z 785 set is also perfect for the experienced golfer who has drifted away from the game but wants to restart their golf career with an easier forged iron to hit.
Offering a great value at the price, the Srixon Z 785 irons are a capable forged iron set that delivers great response and feel wherever you need them on the course.
Cobra King Forged Single Length Iron Set
Best Forged Iron for Value-Seeking Golfer
The Cobra King Forged Single Length Iron Set is an admittedly interesting choice for this list because most golfers are probably naive to recent popularity in some circles of the single length club.
A favorite of tour professional Bryson DeChambeau, a single length forged iron forces the golfer to adjust their approach to the golf ball, allowing for a more upright stance that allows for a one-plane swing.
The thinking behind an iron set with these features is that the golfer reduces the opportunity for unnecessary movement in their backswing. Golfers like DeChambeau use single length irons to make a consistent swing every time they strike a golf ball.
The set itself runs from a 4-iron through pitching wedge and the company has taken their time to make sure that this set checks all the boxes for golfers looking for a quality forged iron collection.
The irons are highlighted by a static tungsten weighting system that evenly distributes the steel around the club head for better forgiveness and balance at impact. As a result of the perimeter-weighting on the Cobra Single Length set, our testers felt that each strike gave the golfer a solid response that allowed them to easily judge what was working or not working with their swing.
Another aspect of these irons that we enjoyed is that when you are looking down at these irons at impact, there is a slight offset that makes your vision to the golf ball easier, instilling you with more confidence.
Great for the budget-seeking golfer who wants to make the leap to forged irons without dropping over a $1,000, the Cobra King Forged Single Length Iron Set may be just the answer to your search.
Cobra King Forged Tec Black Iron Set
Best Looking Forged Iron for Low Handicappers
So sleek and sharp, the Cobra King Forged Tec Black Iron Set is one of the most impressive forged iron sets to take to the course. Not only are they stunning to look at but these irons are high performers across the board.
Not only are the irons wonderful to gaze upon, but they are a blast to play. The heads are made from carbon steel making them incredibly lightweight and vibration-resistant. We loved how solid the irons feel with each strike of the golf ball.
If we have a complaint about the set offered here, it is that it starts with the 5-iron, but does go through the A-wedge. So you will get a pitching and A-wedge that both play well on the course, offering plenty of backspin off the milled face of the club. We do wish there was a 3-or 4-iron offered in the package, so for us that hurts the value of the set a bit with a final look.
But complaints aside, we were very taken with how the Cobra Forged Tec irons handled themselves during our testing. With the Cobra Connect technology to assist us from an analytical standpoint, these irons do offer the golfer an entire package to consider. In our estimation, it is a set worth your time.
Mizuno MP-18 Split Cavity Iron Set
Great Forged Iron for Better Control
If you are looking for power from your forged iron set, then the Mizuno MP-18 Split Cavity Iron Set should be at the top of your shopping list. This forged iron set has muscle to spare with a split-level look that gives the golfer a more cavity backed look with a lower chamber that moves weight lower on the club and behind the golf ball.
Used on the tour by PGA pros, the MP-18 has a wider sole that moves easily through the grass to give you more stability and a more even swing through impact. The set runs from 3-iron to pitching wedge and each iron maintains the split cavity look.
When we tested the MP-18, one of the features that we really enjoyed is the slight perimeter weighting around the fringes of the club head. On shots that seems slightly off center, we were floored by how they maintained considerable distance and didn’t veer off course as much as we expected.
Even with the unusual design, the MP-18 maintains that compact look that most advanced golfers love from their forged irons. That said, these irons are always inviting to hit and don’t give the golfer a worry that their strike won’t feel solid at impact.
Scratch golfers might want a little more firepower than the MP-18 Split Cavity is ready to offer, but if you are sitting on a 10-handicap and are ready to give your golf game the push it needs into the single-digits, then this could be the set for you.
Wilson Staff C300 Forged Irons
Great Entry-Level Forged Set for Mid-Level Expert Golfer
The Wilson Staff C300 Forged Iron set is a dependable, sharp looking club set that is a great entry-level iron set for the golfer looking to dip their toe in the waters of forged irons.
The main feature of the C300 Forged set is the inclusion of the company’s patented Power Holes distance system. The club heads in this set have five Power Holes grooved just behind the face and along the toe are meant to increase distance and in our testing, we discovered that they did provide a few yards over our typical averages.
Advanced players who want a forged look at address will be happy with the style of the C300 set. Each iron has a subtle offset that matches well with the thinner club head. In this set, golfers will get a 4-iron through gap wedge, providing plenty of coverage for the irons you’ll need most on the course.
If we have a major gripe with the Wilson C300 Forged Iron Set it is that it just didn’t wow us consistently like most of the irons did on this list. Make no mistake, at the price point, there is some value if you are bent on getting a forged iron set, but this one left a little to be desired over the length of our testing.
Testing Protocol & Criteria Used For Evaluation
Criteria 1 – Distance
When judging the quality of an iron it is crucial to understand how it affects the golfer’s baseline distance with each club. Now, this takes a little math and previous work, but every golfer should have an understanding of how far they hit their 7-iron, for example.
When testing, we want to judge the distance of the new club against the baseline average of the golfer’s usual 7-iron strikes. Questions to ask during testing include if the club goes further with less launch angle or does it lift the ball higher shortening the distance but perhaps improving accuracy
Knowing how the distance of your shots will be affected by the new clubs goes a long way in determining the set’s worth to the golfer.
Criteria 2 – Accuracy
For an iron set, in particular for a forged iron set, accuracy is everything. The point of using an iron is to shape a shot of a particular distance to either get the ball close to the hole on the green or place it perfectly in a spot for an upcoming shot.
How the club responds from an accuracy standpoint is vital in knowing if the club set will improve your overall game, because this is the point of buying new equipment.
By running the irons through testing, we are able to detect how accurate the iron is to players of all skill levels.
Criteria 3 – Feel
Although the term “feel” might be a little vague for some golfers, the way the club feels in the hands of the golfer at impact with the golf ball is a very important feature for a forged iron. Golfers love irons that respond well to their most accurate hits on the center of the clubface.
When the feel is right on an iron set, the golfer gains a better sense of confidence with their shotmaking.
On the range, we test for feel by hitting shots without using markers. By that we mean we simply hit the iron for the sake of understanding its response to being used. This is the best way to push away the noise of other testing elements and just see how the club feels when it comes into contact with the golf ball.
Criteria 4 – Durability
Durability is very important in an iron set because the clubs must be able to last throughout the years after the golfer makes the purchase. When judging durability of the club, it is wise to look at three different areas; the clubhead, the shaft and the grip.
For an iron set to get high marks from the durability category, the clubs must maintain their performance over the lifespan of the club. During testing, it is essential to notice if the repeated use of the iron shows deterioration in the physical makeup of the club or via the performance.
Criteria 5 – Value
Value can be found in multiple ways when purchasing a set of golf irons. Golfers can look for either a lower price providing savings for their wallet, or they can find clubs that will last longer providing more value via the lifespan of the set.
Another area that iron sets can provide value to the buyer is by providing more in the way of extra clubs in the set or through higher quality construction or materials in the creation of the clubs.
Questions & Answers
When should I use an iron?
An iron can be used on the tee box, in the fairway or adjoining rough, and just off the green when pitching or chipping onto the putting surface.
Golfers will use an iron on the tee box for more control. For example, say the hole ahead has fairway bunkers or an extreme dogleg. By using an iron, the golfer stays out of trouble but also provides an accurate position for their next shot.
In the fairway, irons perform the best as the low grass promotes clean contact between the clubface and the ball. The grooves on the iron then provide friction which turns into backspin, giving the golf ball a high arc that allows it to land softly on the green.
If the golfer finds themselves in the fairway rough, the shape of the iron helps push through the tall grass without twisting so the golfer can still direct the ball where they wish.
From off the green, golfers use their irons to shape shots with either a high and soft arc for pinpoint accuracy, or by using an iron with less loft to promote forward roll toward the hole.
What is a forged iron and how does it differ from a regular iron?
A forged iron differs from your typical cavity-backed iron because it is made from one piece of steel. In comparison, cavity-backed irons are usually made from a mixture of composite materials with the steel that makes the clubhead lighter for improved clubhead speed.
Forged irons are thinner with smaller sweet spots on the face because they are used primarily by advanced golfers who don’t need the help of a game-improvement iron like most mid-level handicappers.
By playing with a forged iron, the golfer is given far greater control on their iron shots. This feature allows them to shape their shots with more input, rather than having irons that simply get the ball into the air and down the fairway.
Forged irons are played by some of the best golfers in the world, but they are not for everyone. Amateurs with single-digit handicaps and years of golfing experience find that forged irons give them a benefit that larger irons cannot replicate.
What are the characteristics of a great forged iron set?
A great forged set gives the low handicap golfer better control and more accuracy for their shots from the fairway. The forged iron must be created with more weight in the center of the club to get this result.
Game-improvement irons place more weight around the perimeter of the club to reduce side spin and create a larger sweet spot.
Experienced golfers don’t need this feature. Instead, they need more energy concentrated to the center of the clubface so that they can shape their shots and improve the feel of the response of the club at impact.
When shopping for a great forged iron set, it is wise to study the shape of the iron. You’ll undoubtedly find it thinner than cavity-backed irons, but the forged iron will still have a few slight features that promote a muscular look behind the face.
Ultimately, golfers looking to make the jump to forged irons must get them to the course and find if the set is right for their game. By doing your research and finding a set of forged irons from a reputable company, you’ll certainly put yourself ahead in the game of finding the perfect set of clubs for your swing.
What are the different types of irons that exist?
There are a couple of types of irons that golfers can choose from to play the great game. First, is the forged iron made for expert-level golfers. This type of iron is thin and made to help experienced golfers create shots that they could not usually accomplish with other irons.
The next type is a cavity-backed iron that is typically referred to as game-improvement irons. The purpose of these irons is to help the amateur golfer get the ball into the air with a larger clubhead that has a broad sweet spot to reduce side spin and promote launch angle after impact.
Game-improvement irons are not built to help shape shots or allow the golfer to input spin upon the swing. They are blunter instruments that are made solely to promote better contact with the golf ball for better results than high-handicappers are used to seeing from their game.
What are golf iron shafts you can recommend for forged irons?
There are two types of shafts that are used in forged irons. A golfer can choose from either a stainless steel option or a shaft made from composite materials such as graphite.
Both shafts have their own positive characteristics, but choosing the right one for a golfer, usually comes down to personal preference.
Steel shafts are typically slightly heavier than graphite. Professionals prefer steel shafts in their irons because they feel they are getting better control with the club and therefore, better accuracy from their iron shots.
Graphite shafts are lighter, so they promote better swing speed. This lighter weight option is popular among senior golfers who don’t have high-velocity swings like the pros on the PGA Tour.
Another factor that persuades amateur golfers is that graphite-shafted irons are typically more expensive than steel models.
Do you hit an iron differently from any other golf club?
Yes, you do hit an iron differently from other clubs. An iron is made specifically so that it can slide through taller grass and also easily enter the soil to impact the golf ball on the upper area of the clubface and into the sweet spot area.
Woods are meant to be used in a sweeping motion that promotes lift and accents the features of the clubhead for maximum ball speed. Irons are used with a swing path that is more upright in the hope of contacting the golf ball on a downward trajectory to promote compression and lift.
If you look at an iron, you’ll notice that the bottom of the club, otherwise referred to as the sole, is wide and smooth. The sole is created in such a fashion so that it can move through the grass without catching, so the iron does not twist or alter before impact. The same is true when the club moves through sand or any other impediment.
How do you clean golf irons?
Cleaning your golf irons is very important to maintain clean contact with the golf ball at impact. Golfers want pure impact because the grooves of the irons impart backspin on the golf ball to promote stopping on the green for better accuracy.
The best rule to remember when cleaning your golf clubs is that you never want to rest or submerge the heads of your irons in standing water, whether that be in a bucket or sink.
Dipping your clubs to get them wet is completely acceptable, but leaving them in the water can cause the adhesives in the clubhead to weaken.
What you want to do when cleaning your irons is to make a lukewarm pool of water with a small amount of dishwashing liquid. After you dip the club into the mixture, take a non-abrasive brush, and clean the grooves of the clubs. Make sure to remove any impacted dirt from the grooves as this causes problems at impact if left untouched.
After you completely clean the iron, make sure to take a dry towel and wipe away any excess moisture from the clubhead.
During play on the course, always take a towel and wet the bottom half before you start. Then, after you use an iron, take the wet half and wipe away the dirt from the grooves, using a brush if necessary to lift the grime from the grooves. Then dry the clubhead and replace in your bag for its next use.
Are forged irons scratch resistant?
The heads of forged irons are not scratch resistant. As you play multiple rounds with the clubs, you may notice that they there are dings or slight scratches that have accumulated on the metal of the iron head.
This type of wear and tear is typical for a golfer who is playing a new set of clubs. These types of small scratches are usually insignificant to the overall playability of the forged iron.
If you somehow find that the iron has been significantly damaged, perhaps through dropping from the cart or through the club experiencing an impact to concrete or other solid material, then the iron may need to be replaced as it is no longer playable.
Stepping back and looking at the complete iron, there are shafts available made from materials that are scratch-resistant and will maintain their strength and flexibility over the life of the iron.