Best Cavity Back Irons for 2021 (Buyer’s Guide)

Your golf experts: Jordan Fuller & John Marshall.
Updated September 4, 2021. This article was thoroughly audited by multiple golf experts and coaches for its accuracy. You can read more about our rigorous testing protocol here.

The Rundown:

Best Overall: TaylorMade SIM MAX OS
“Featuring the company’s patented Speed Bridge, ECHO Damping System, and forgiving head shape, the TaylorMade SIM MAX OS offers a solid feel, exceptional launch, and outstanding forgiveness perfect for beginners and high handicappers to achieve new levels in their game.”

Best Option for Low Handicappers: Callaway Mavrik Pro
“Offering premium performance, the Callaway Mavrik Pro has stunning features that increase distance, forgiveness, and swing speeds making it one of the best cavity-back irons for low handicappers on the market today.”

Best Option for Mid Handicappers: TaylorMade SIM2 MAX Irons
“TaylorMade SIM2 MAX Irons features a Cap-Back Design, and a Thru-Slot Speed Pocket for an exceptional ball speed, more power to the ball, and flexibility across the face for increased distance – perfect for mid handicappers.

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Cavity back irons are the most popular set of golf irons for amateur golfers. These irons offer a tool for players who need help increasing distance, ball speed, and accuracy.

Through their deep center of gravity, cavity back irons are great at getting underneath the golf ball at impact for high launch with tight shot dispersion due to the club’s maximum forgiveness.

On our list of the best cavity back irons, we take a look at iron sets that offer a low price with premium performance.

Each set on our list provides players with outstanding forgiveness and distance, making them a blast to play on the links.

Sources researched
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Sources researched
Customer reviews
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Customer reviews
Hours spent testing
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Hours spent testing
Products tested
9
Products tested
Product Name
Best Overall
Best Option for Low Handicappers
Best Option for Mid Handicappers
Our Ranking
Ranked #1
Ranked #2
Ranked #3
Thumbnail
TaylorMade SIM MAX OS Irons, Steel Shaft, KBS Max 85, 4-PW, Left Hand, Regular Flex
Callaway Golf 2020 Mavrik Pro Iron Set (Set of 8 Clubs: 3 Iron - PW, Left Hand, Graphite, Regular)
TaylorMade SIM 2 Max Iron Set Mens Right Hand Graphite Regular 5-PW , Steel
Our Grade
Our Rating: 98/100
Our Rating: 97/100
Our Rating: 95/100
Feature 1
Speed Bridge stiffens the club head for increased distance with solid feel
360 Face Cup Technology provides flexibility along the hitting area for faster ball speed
Cap-Back Design stiffens head for more power to golf ball
Feature 2
Low, deep CG offers exceptional launch for players struggling with carry and distance
Shorter blade length offers better workability with maximum distance and accuracy
Exceptional ball speed with wide, forgiving sweet spot
Best Overall
Product Name
Our Ranking
Ranked #1
Thumbnail
TaylorMade SIM MAX OS Irons, Steel Shaft, KBS Max 85, 4-PW, Left Hand, Regular Flex
Our Grade
Our Rating: 98/100
Feature 1
Speed Bridge stiffens the club head for increased distance with solid feel
Feature 2
Low, deep CG offers exceptional launch for players struggling with carry and distance
Best Option for Low Handicappers
Product Name
Our Ranking
Ranked #2
Thumbnail
Callaway Golf 2020 Mavrik Pro Iron Set (Set of 8 Clubs: 3 Iron - PW, Left Hand, Graphite, Regular)
Our Grade
Our Rating: 97/100
Feature 1
360 Face Cup Technology provides flexibility along the hitting area for faster ball speed
Feature 2
Shorter blade length offers better workability with maximum distance and accuracy
Best Option for Mid Handicappers
Our Ranking
Ranked #3
Thumbnail
TaylorMade SIM 2 Max Iron Set Mens Right Hand Graphite Regular 5-PW , Steel
Our Grade
Our Rating: 95/100
Feature 1
Cap-Back Design stiffens head for more power to golf ball
Feature 2
Exceptional ball speed with wide, forgiving sweet spot

Last updated on 2021-09-17. The links are affiliate links. Product images are served from Amazon Product Advertising API.

9 Best Cavity Back Irons for 2021

Here are the best cavity back irons today:

TaylorMade SIM MAX OS

Best Overall Option

TaylorMade SIM MAX OS Irons, Steel Shaft, KBS Max 85, 4-PW, Left Hand, Regular Flex
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KEY FEATURES

  • Speed Bridge stiffens the club head for increased distance with solid feel
  • Low, deep CG offers exceptional launch for players struggling with carry and distance
  • Forgiving head shape offers outstanding forgiveness to keep shots along the target line
  • SIM MAX OS set comes with a variety of choices including three different wedges to add to the bag

The TaylorMade SIM MAX OS are our choice for the best cavity back irons on the market. Featuring the company’s patented Speed Bridge that stiffens and strengthens the club face, the SIM MAX OS Irons increase ball speed, improve launch angle, and boost carry for outstanding distance.

This set offers an oversized face that helps make sure players will find forgiveness with the boosted swing speeds. With these golf irons, the ball jumps off the face with high launch and additional distance.

Callaway Mavrik Pro

Best Option for Low Handicappers

Callaway Golf 2020 Mavrik Pro Iron Set (Set of 8 Clubs: 3 Iron - PW, Left Hand, Graphite, Regular)
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KEY FEATURES

  • 360 Face Cup Technology provides flexibility along the hitting area for faster ball speed
  • Shorter blade length offers better workability with maximum distance and accuracy
  • Tungsten weighting in the sole offers lower, deeper CG
  • Damped vibration with patented urethane microspheres for better feel and sound

From Callaway comes their latest iron set of the Mavrik line, the Mavrik Pro. These cavity back irons offer premium performance for low handicappers. Working like forged irons, but with all the benefits of cavity-back models, the Mavrik Pro offers stunning features that increase forgiveness, distance, and swing speeds.

The best features of the Mavrik Pro irons is the 360 Face Cup Technology. This innovation allows the face of each Mavrik Pro irons to flex at impact. The technology reduces side spin for better accuracy, but doesn’t remove one mph of ball speed in the process.

TaylorMade SIM2 MAX Irons

Best Option for Mid Handicappers

TaylorMade SIM 2 Max Iron Set Mens Right Hand Graphite Regular 5-PW , Steel
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KEY FEATURES

  • Cap-Back Design stiffens head for more power to golf ball
  • Exceptional ball speed with wide, forgiving sweet spot
  • Thru-Slot Speed Pocket provides flexibility across the face for increased distance
  • High launch, great for mid handicappers needing consistency

TaylorMade SIM2 MAX Irons offer exceptionally long distance, ideal for mid handicappers hoping to increase their swing speed. With several of the company’s popular features, such as the Thru-Slot Speed Pocket and Cap-Back Design, the SIM2 MAX irons provide terrific consistency at a low price for a first-rate set.

The set also boosts launch for far-reaching carry that translates into extra yards. Each iron boasts a wide sweet spot, encouraging forgiveness that keeps off-center strikes on target without losing speed.

A wonderfully capable set for mid handicappers, the SIM2 MAX collection provides a solid base for improving your game from the fairway.

Lazrus Golf Irons

Best Budget Option

LAZRUS Premium Golf Irons Set for Men (4,5,6,7,8,9) Right Hand Steel Shaft Regular Flex Golf Clubs - Best Golf Iron Set - Great Golf Gift for Beginner Or Intermediate (4-9)
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KEY FEATURES

  • Wide sole with outstanding turf interaction for fantastic, crisp contact
  • Deep grooves on face for exceptional spin control inside 150 yards
  • Low CG helps make sure golf ball gets high into the air with soft landing on green
  • Very affordable price point makes this iron set one of the best values on the market

While they might be well known among novice golfers, the design team at Lazrus has gained a devoted following with their low-price, high-performance cavity-back irons. The Lazrus Golf Irons delivers impressive distance with admirable forgiveness for a collection at this affordable price.

The short golf irons in the Lazrus set run through a pitching wedge. Although you may need to find alternate sand or lob wedge to add to this set, the foundational golf clubs found here offer strength and forgiveness.

Callaway Rogue X

Best Forgiveness Option

Callaway Golf 2020 Rogue X Irons and Combo Sets (Right Hand , Steel, Regular, Iron Set: 5-PW, AW)
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KEY FEATURES

  • Internal standing wave produces optimum ball flight and distance control
  • Lightweight feel offers incredible length from long irons
  • 360 Face Cup feature increases distance, shot speed, and accuracy
  • Rogue X irons feature clean leading edge for premium turf interaction

The Rogue X Irons from Callaway are the company’s latest edition to the popular line of woods and irons. Built with distance in mind, the Callaway Rogue X set runs from a 5-iron through an A-wedge, giving the golfer a terrific foundation of clubs to build around.

The irons feature the company’s celebrated 360-degree Face Cup feature. This innovation allows golfers to obtain more shot speed across the entire face. With an expanded hitting area, the irons deliver staggering length with maximum forgiveness.

Callaway Mavrik

Best Upgrade Option for High Handicappers

Callaway Golf 2020 Mavrik Iron Set (Set of 8 Clubs: 4 Iron - PW, AW, Right Hand, Graphite, Regular)
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KEY FEATURES

  • A.I.-aided design increases speed across the face with help from Flash Face Technology
  • Tungsten-weighting in sole allows for deeper CG for high launch with max exit velocity
  • Internal urethane spheres dampens vibration for exceptional feel throughout the impact zone
  • High spin on shots under 150 yards with soft landing that works ball back toward cup

Callaway Mavrik Irons are a true winner with exceptional distance and incredible accuracy. The irons come in roughly a dozen different combinations, great for any golfer who likes to mix and match the clubs in their bag.

The Mavrik irons are among the best cavity back options on this list. Shaped like forged irons but with the help provided by the shape of cavity back irons, the Mavrik set is incredibly versatile.

Callaway Big Bertha

Best Distance Option

Callaway Golf 2019 Big Bertha Iron Set, 5IR - PW, AW, Right Hand, Steel, Regular
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KEY FEATURES

  • Touts easy launch and length powered by the Suspended Energy Core that delivers power directly to ball
  • Floating Tungsten weights in the sole of the Big Bertha irons deepens CG for high launch
  • Outstanding feel with long irons for dazzling length with tall arc for soft landing
  • Short irons produce high spin rates for accurate shots that shorten birdie putts

The Callaway Big Bertha Irons offer the same length of the popular wood series from the company. With numerous options, the Big Bertha Irons offer plenty of long and short iron combinations with several choices for wedges.

The company claims that the irons offer easy yardage and once you get them on the course, you’ll quickly see they’re right. The Suspended Energy Core boosts feel with impressive sound and increases length for extra reach with every iron in the set.

TaylorMade SIM MAX

Best Distance Option for Mid Handicappers

TaylorMade SIM MAX Irons, Steel Shaft, KBS Max 85, 5-PW, AW, Right Hand, Regular Flex
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KEY FEATURES

  • Ultra thin face powered by Progressive Inverted Cone Technology increases hitting area
  • Speed Pocket behind the face provides flexibility with each impact for impressive forgiveness
  • ECHO Dampening System channels energy to reduce vibration while keeping exit velocity at high speed
  • Great distance club for mid handicappers looking for stellar cavity-back iron with power to burn

From TaylorMade, the SIM MAX Irons are a great set for mid handicappers looking to stabilize their game and increase their distance. The irons feature several worthwhile benefits that offer additional launch angle over comparable advanced irons at this price point.

The SIM MAX irons offer the Speed Bridge, a bar that connects the cavity-back on the iron to stiffen the face for directed energy at impact. An ultra-thin face delivers high rates of speed with an enhanced hitting area that offers straight flight.

Cleveland Launcher UHX Irons

Best Upgrade Option for Mid Handicappers

Cleveland Golf Launcher UHX Iron Set 4-P GR R LH
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KEY FEATURES

  • Hollow cavity back construction offer low CG with maximum forgiveness
  • V-shaped sole offers incredibly turf interaction for better contact
  • Tour Zip Grooves with laser milling offers incredibly spin rates

Cleveland’s latest addition to the cavity-back market is the attractive Cleveland Launcher UHX Irons. Featuring a high strength steel composition, the UHX offers a hollow body that increases swing speed and boost distance.

The top feature of the UHX set is the Tour Zip Grooves along the face. Rather than the hitting area having deep grooves, the faces of these irons have tiny laser milled trenches inside the face that help create a whole lot of spin.


Things to Consider When Buying the Right Cavity Back Iron

Design

The design of cavity back irons, like the Mizuno JPX Hot Metal and Mizuno MP 20 editions, must be inviting to the golfer. No player wants an ugly set of irons, and while that might seem shallow, having confidence in the irons is as important as the club’s overall performance.

When evaluating an iron’s design, golfers need to look at all areas of the club’s head.

Starting with the sole of the club, a golfer needs to take notice if the head offer a wide sole that interacts well with the turf to provide clean, crisp contact.

Another aspect of the iron that golfers need to note is the shape of the blade. Is it rounded or angular? A rounded face helps with forgiveness on shots that strike the toe. An iron that offers a wide hitting area with maximum forgiveness is the best of both worlds.

Flex

A golfer should know why they need the right flex with their graphite or steel shaft in their iron before making the final decision.

The flex of the shaft on a cavity back iron corresponds with the swing speed of a golfer. Matching the flex of the iron with the player’s swing speed is an absolute must for the golfer to achieve maximum production.

There are three common types of flex for golf clubs; senior, regular, and stiff. These categories typically fit with a swing speed. For example, a stiff flex is needed for golfers who swing their driver over 95 mph.

Golfers can greatly affect their results by choosing the wrong flex or not understanding how a type of shaft can affect their shotmaking.

Materials

When evaluating the iron’s materials, golfers need to look at all areas of the club’s head to see how designers constructed the head, shaft, and grip.

Most heads are a combination of carbon steel, composite materials, and weighting that anchors the iron and deepens the center of gravity. Since the head is the most important element of a cavity back iron, players should also look at how the carbon steel sole, leading edge, and top line profile the face’s overall look.

The best cavity back irons offer first-rate performance alongside exceptional design and construction, but that all falls apart if the iron’s materials are subpar.

Low price irons will use lower quality materials, so that could affect performance, while higher-end irons utilize premium materials for a lighter, yet stronger experience.

Price

The price of a quality set of cavity back irons begin around $500 and top out at $1500 for luxury models.

Most golf equipment manufacturers create iron sets that offer premium performance with value to their wallet.

Value sets may skimp in a few areas concerning design, these lower-end club sets offer a lower price coupled with heel and toe balance, minimal offset, lower center of gravity, while elevating swing speeds.

Features that golfers can expect to find in high-end cavity back irons is a wide, inviting hitting area, innovative technology that boosts distance and provides a higher launch that offers extended carry.

While price is always a consideration for players, they must weigh the benefits of the new set against its cost before making their final decision.

Shafts

Golfers can either choose a graphite shaft or stainless steel shaft for their cavity back iron. Both shafts offer benefits, although players typically make a fatal mistake when choosing between the two choices.

Graphite shafts are lighter, making them the perfect choice for senior golfers that need more swing speed. Some experienced players don’t like the flexible nature of a graphite shaft, instead preferring the sturdiness of a stainless steel shaft. But those weekend warriors might not need the swing speed benefit that graphite provides players with slower swings.

Steel shafts offer a heavier feel, but that is also a comfort to players who want less flex during their swings with their irons.


Questions & Answers

What’s the difference between cast and forged cavity back irons?

Cast cavity back irons are typically found in game-improvement irons that most amateurs golfers play. These irons offer better balance, perimeter weighting, and forgiveness to give inexperienced players better consistency with each shot. The purpose of cast cavity back irons is to help the golfer get the ball into the air with ease for extended carry and maximum distance.

Forged irons, like the Mizuno MP 20, are crafted from one piece of metal and made specially for advanced golfers who want clubs that offer premium workability. Forged cavity back irons, like the TaylorMade p790 irons, are designed to offer a compact hitting area that provides control for low handicappers that can hit shots with shape and differing heights.

How long do golf irons usually last?

Golf irons can last for several years with routine maintenance. Periodic cleaning of the face and grooves can provide optimum spin and clean contact.

The number one area that players can improve on a set of irons is by replacing the grips on the clubs every 40 rounds or two years. Grips can harden and become slick, causing the golfer to lose their ability to hold the club with confidence.

Golf irons, made from carbon steel, can become brittle and rusted if the golfer soaks the head and hosel in water for hours at a time. The glue that binds the shaft and hosel can weaken, causing the iron to fall apart.

How do you hit a cavity back iron?

You hit a cavity back iron just as you would all golf clubs. Shaped with an oversized head, a cavity back iron is made to provide cleaner contact at impact. The clubs also help mid and high handicappers find better consistency with all aspects of their game.

From offering more forgiveness on off-center strikes to increasing the launch angle, cavity back irons offer a deeper, lower center of gravity to help boost shot height while increasing carry and distance.

Cavity back irons are also built to increase swing speeds through lighter heads and the option of substituting graphite shafts for heavier stainless steel shafts.

Between blades and cavity back irons, which is more forgiving?

Cavity back irons are far more forgiving than blades. While each type of irons offer terrific sound and feel, cavity back irons are built to help the amateur golfer achieve better contact with longer distance. These irons achieve better forgiveness through their perimeter weighting, wide sole, and tungsten weighting in the lower half of the club.

Blades are made to work the ball by advanced players. While they do offer forgiveness, tour players prefer playing with blade irons because they can control the height and the shape of the shot with authority.

Where is the sweet spot on irons?

The sweet spot on irons is an oval area around the center of the club face. When a ball is struck with the sweet spot, players can expect that these shots will reach maximum velocity, shot height, and ideal shot shape.

A wider sweet spot also offers premium forgiveness by redirecting off-center strikes through a reduction in side spin. Rather than experiencing a slice or hook, a forgiving iron will keep a ball along the target line. A sizable sweet spot can routinely provide extended distance and forgiveness to the golfer, no matter their skill level.

How do you clean golf irons?

To clean golf irons you need several items such as a bowl of warm water, dishwashing liquid, a soft wire brush, and a towel.

After mixing the water and dishwashing liquid, golfers can take the towel, dip it in the soapy water, then use the towel to remove dirt and grime from the grooves of the iron’s head. The soft wire brush can help remove impacted dirt.

Once the iron is clean, golfers should use a dry towel to remove all the moisture to prevent rusting.

One rule that all golfers should follow is to never submerge the iron’s head or keep it in a bucket of water as it can weaken the glue that holds the shaft inside the head.

Are blades used by pro golfers?

Yes, pro golfers use blades because of the club’s ability to work shots from high to low and side to side. Since pro golfers want total control over their shotmaking, from the height of the shot to its ability to go left or right, the blade’s compact face helps them achieve that goal.

Blades have a higher center of gravity that creates a mid-range height, and while most pros want their long irons to have this type of arc, amateurs typically prefer a higher, more rounded arc to their shots.

What are game improvement irons?

Game-improvement irons are designed to help golfers with mid and high handicaps to find better shot quality. These irons add distance, boost flight, and tighten shot dispersion for amateur golfers.

The characteristics shared by game-improvement irons include forgiving face, wide sweet spot, and a balanced heel to toe relationship.

The blade length of game-improvement irons is also longer than blade irons, for example, because it helps golfers find better consistency with the flight of their shots.

Game improvement irons are one of the best purchases a golfer can make if they are struggling to find repeatability with their game or are looking to improve the quality of their shotmaking.

When should you use an iron?

Golfers should use an iron when facing several situations on the course, as the use of this particular club provides the result needed for maintaining low scores.

The first option is off the tee box. The best time to use an iron off the tee is when facing a short par 3, or when the hole demands strategy over distance. Most professional golfers will use irons off the tee when the fairway is tight and narrow, and amateurs should consider using irons more on their first shot to assure accuracy.

From the fairway is the next situation where golfers will commonly use an iron. On longer par 5s, amateurs should use a hybrid or fairway wood, but inside 200 yards, an iron is the best play for attacking the cup.

Just off the fairway lies the rough, another area where golfers will need to use an iron. The best way to rescue a ball from trouble is to use an iron due to its shape and ability to easily lift the shot. Irons also work well from sand, regardless of where the bunker lies on the course.

The final place to use an iron is when chipping just off the green to help you roll the ball to the cup with maximum control.

What are cavity-back irons?

Cavity-back irons have a distinct shape and appearance in contrast to forged irons, also commonly referred to as blade, irons. 

When looking at the iron head, the back of the head looks like the material has been scooped out, creating a “cavity” behind the face. The reasoning for creating an iron with this style benefits the beginning golfer as the iron becomes lighter through the loss of material.

Another reason that the cavity-back works well for inexperienced golfers is that designers take the outer rim of the iron and balance it, helping keep the face square through the impact zone. 

The cavity-back design also allows designers to create a large, wide sole that boosts launch. By adding additional material along the sole of the club, golfers get a deeper center-of-gravity to smoothly lift the ball at impact.

Not all cavity-back irons are built the same as some of these irons from lesser manufacturers can be quite heavier than other brands. Golfers should understand how weight affects swing speed which in turn manipulates the distance of shots.

That said, if you are a high handicapper or beginning golfer, the best choice for starting or improving the quality of your golf shots from the fairway and intermediate rough is with cavity-back irons.