Best Driving Irons For Most Golfers: TaylorMade GAPR MID Club
“The TaylorMade GAPR has an iron profile with a few of the benefits of a hybrid. With its LO, HIGH or MID versions, you’ll get a straight ball flight, trajectory control and Speedfoam tech for the head design. It’s the best we’ve tested.”
Best Driving Irons For Purists: TaylorMade P790 UDI
“The P790 UDI is a true driving iron with great workability, an elite distance that rewards good swings. There’s not much forgiveness, making it ideal for single-digit handicappers with speeds of 100+ mph.”
Best All-In-One Driving Iron: Cobra King Utility Iron
“More than just a driving iron, the Cobra King Utility brings adjustability options and increased hittability. It is our top choice for the best all-in-one driving iron.”
What if I told you there was a specific type of iron you could use to get more fairways hit and make more pars?
Enter the driving iron.
These are long-irons that are designed to be more forgiving and useful than the blades of the past while taking advantage of the more penetrating ball flight and workability that irons can provide.
On top of this, these irons are often considered more accurate and better wind performers than hybrids and fairway woods.
This article will explore the strengths of each and help you make an informed decision that will result in more fairways hit and more pars made.
Last updated on 2022-11-17. The links are affiliate links. Product images are served from Amazon Product Advertising API.
Driving irons are basically long-irons that are designed to be more forgiving and useful than the blades of the past, but take advantage of the more penetrating ball flight and workability that irons can provide. Jordan Fuller
Table of Contents
- The Rundown:
- Featured Recommendations
- Best Driving Irons in 2022
- Things to Consider When Choosing a Driving Iron
- Questions & Answers
Best Driving Irons in 2022
- Best for Most Golfers: TaylorMade GAPR MID
- Best for High Swing Speeds (100+ mph): TaylorMade P790
- Best All-In-One: Cobra King Utility Iron
- Most Accurate: Titleist U500 Hybrid
- Best for Low Handicappers: TaylorMade SIM DHY
- Best for High Handicappers: Titleist U510 Hybrid
- Most Forgiving: Srixon ZX Utility Iron
TaylorMade GAPR MID Golf Club
Best Driving Iron for Most Golfers: Halfway to a hybrid, this is our editor’s choice
- Very straight ball flight
- Surprising amount of trajectory control
- Confidence-inspiring look
- Built-in trajectory is too high
Why have we picked this as the best driving irons?
The theory behind the GAPR line is that there’s too big of a distance jump from a 3-wood to a 4-iron, so a GAPR can serve as both a driving iron and a club that helps bridge that distance gap.
The TaylorMade GAPR series of clubs is designed to have an iron profile with a few of the added benefits of a hybrid.
It comes in LO and HIGH versions (which I felt were too much of a hybrid to even consider calling a driving iron) in addition to this model, the GAPR MID.
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TaylorMade P790 UDI Driving Iron
Best Driving Iron For Purists: Speedfoam and tungsten and Tour-level performance
- A true driving iron
- Great distance
- Low trajectory
- One of the top driving irons of the year
- Very workable
- Not for beginners
- Not very forgiving
Why have we picked this as our best for purists?
The TaylorMade P790 UDI is one of my favorite clubs tested this year.
It’s a traditional-looking club with excellent workability and elite distance that really rewards good swings.
However, there’s not much forgiveness if you miss the sweet spot. Thin and toe hits suffer significant distance losses, so I’d recommend this only for single-digit handicappers with swing speeds of 100+ mph.
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Cobra King Utility Iron
Best All-In-One Driving Iron: Several strengths in a well-rounded iron
- Useful as more than a driving iron
- Longer than most hybrids
- Forged face feels great
- Lacks workability
- Focus on being “utility iron” takes away from strengths as a driving iron
The Cobra King Utility Iron is more than just a driving iron, making it an attractive option but slightly reducing its effectiveness off the tee.
I found that some of its other strengths might make up for the slight reduction of performance off the tee.
Even the 2/3 utility iron was remarkably easy to hit from the fairway, but the trajectory when I teed it up (even teed very low to the ground) was higher than I’d like from a true driving iron.
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Titleist U500 Hybrid
Most Accurate Driving Iron
- Compact shape delivers stunning accuracy
- Boosted launch with outstanding trajectory control
- High MOI reduces twisting for better balance
- Incredibly difficult to master for inexperienced golfers
- Plays like blade iron with little room for miss-hits
Shaped like a players’ iron, the Titleist U500 delivers a compact shape that provides a high degree of workability for shaping shots. Great for experienced golfers that can control a golf ball, the U500 provides another dependable weapon for crafting shots that find the fairway or reach greens on long par 5s.
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TaylorMade SIM DHY
Best Driving Iron for Low Handicappers
- Hollow Body Construction increase launch for easy lift
- Thru-Slot Speed Pocket boosts ball speeds
- SpeedFoam injection reduces vibration and improves feel
- Better for mid handicappers, less for low handicappers
- Plays more like a hybrid than a driving iron
TaylorMade’s SIM DHY offers the simplicity of a hybrid with the shape and shot quality of a long iron. With four different loft options, golfers can find the perfect lie angle for their needs on the course.
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Titleist U510 Hybrid
Best Driving Iron for High Handicappers
- Impressive distance with wide sweet spot
- Low, deep CG offers high launch with extended carry
- Tungsten weighting offers better forgiveness and accuracy
- Low handicappers may want a more forged iron feel than U510
- Thick body helps with the launch but can cost workability for experienced golfers
Marketed as a powerful driving iron, the Titleist U510 gives high handicappers a distance-first weapon from the fairway or tee box. The driving iron offers sophistication with outstanding length.
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Srixon ZX Utility Iron
Most Forgiving Driving Iron
- Marvelous shot-shaping ability with premium control
- Hollow design increases swing speed
- Tungsten-weighting boosts ball speed and length
- Intimidating at address
- Lacks forgiveness
With the look of a forged iron, the Srixon ZX delivers versatility and total control over shotmaking from the tee box and fairway. It offers advanced golfers another tool to attack the golf course with an ideal length and high-grade accuracy.
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Things to Consider When Choosing a Driving Iron
Good driving irons need to have a hot face that sends the ball off the tee and gives you a chance to make par even when you’re not hitting the driver.
The ball should launch low, fly far, and roll out nicely.
They’re best used in windy, firm conditions when you need a penetrating trajectory to obtain a good distance.
What separates a driving iron from a traditional long iron is that it should be much easier to hit than regular long iron.
The sweet spot needs to be large, and mis-hits should still result in decent shots.
While a 3-iron might look intimidating to the average golfer, driving irons should inspire confidence and be a reliable source of fairways hit. So I’m condensing this feeling into a criterion I call hittability.
Driving irons should give you the option to hit a stinger: a low, hard shot that runs out significantly after landing.
Tiger Woods is famous for it, but one of my all-time favorite stingers is Ollie Schneiderjans’ 341-yard 1-iron from the 2017 Wyndham Championship.
The shot tracer shows that its trajectory peaks at a mere 39 feet, but it still traveled 341 yards!
If the center of gravity of a driving iron is too low, a stinger will be hard to hit as it’ll launch the ball too high. To me, good driving irons will let you smash it low and long.
One of the main reasons long irons have fallen out of favor with most amateurs and even many professionals is that they look intimidating and hard to hit.
Woods have less loft, but the increased body size gives you the impression that the club will help you get the ball off the ground.
Long irons with thin toplines look like they’re just sitting there, poised to blade the ball off into the woods and send shockwaves of vibration into your hands. If it’s cold out, they’re even more intimidating.
Good driving irons should overcome this: instead of being intimidating, it should paint a picture of tight dispersion, of a ball sailing straight and true down the fairway.
When you choose to hit a driving iron off the tee, you choose to sacrifice distance for accuracy.
A well-struck driver or 3-wood will always go farther than a driving iron, and the larger heads of the woods allow manufacturers to maximize the sweet spot to help forgive mis-hits.
This is tougher to accomplish with a driving iron, as there’s less surface area to manipulate weight and center of gravity.
But the distance potential of a driver means that if you don’t get it online, it can go deep into the woods.
So you take a driving iron, trying to ensure that your next shot will be from the fairway. But you still want forgiveness, as not every swing will find the sweet spot.
Forgiveness matters in this case since you’re already sacrificing some distance. The last thing you want is to hit it slightly out on the toe and suddenly not be able to reach the green with your next shot.
Questions & Answers
Should I use a driving iron or a hybrid?
Driving irons have traditionally been geared towards better players, as they require a high clubhead speed and good contact to even get the ball in the air in the first place.
Many slow-swinging amateurs have found it hard to hit anything but worm-burners with traditional driving irons.
However, recent technological advancements like hollow heads and tungsten toe weights have brought driving irons into the consciousness of mid-handicap amateurs who have trouble hitting woods and hybrids.
Driving irons are often seen as more accurate and better wind performers than hybrids and fairway woods. If you’re a decent player looking to find more fairways, this is certainly worth looking into. For beginners, I’d recommend sticking to hybrids and fairway woods.
Our choice for the best driving iron of 2022 is the TaylorMade GAPR MID ClubPR MID. It delivers staggering distance and jaw-dropping accuracy with a sleek black and teal finish.
For low handicappers that need a little help with launch from their driving iron, the GAPR MID works to assist with a low stationary weight that drops CG deep into the clubhead. It also features an adjustable hosel that increases or decreases face loft, helping golfers dial in the perfect shot height for maximizing distance.
Even if you are a golfer looking to move away from hybrids and enjoy the benefits of a driving iron, the TaylorMade GAPR MID delivers excellent performance that will have you hitting more fairway and reaching the green in two with far greater accuracy.