8 Best Golf Irons for Mid Handicappers (2021 Reviews)

Your golf experts: Jordan Fuller & John Marshall.
Updated August 19, 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 Irons
“This Iron Set can change your game overnight – these are some of the longest, highest and most forgiving golf irons we’ve ever played for mid handicaps.”

Most Forgiving: TaylorMade M4 Iron Set
“With patented technology, the M4 will increase distance, boost your launch angle, soft entry shots, and provide max forgiveness for less side spin.”

Best for Accuracy: TaylorMade SIM2 MAX
“The SIM2 MAX is an exceptional set that increases distance and boosts launch to golfers with mid handicaps. If you are looking to continue your improvement as a golfer, the SIM2 MAX really delivers excellent shot-making ability.”

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One of the best areas that mid handicappers can attack to push their golf game to that next level is finding a new set of the best mid handicap irons that fit their game by improving accuracy and extending distance.

For golfers who have handicaps that sit between 10 and 18, the best mid handicap irons have several characteristics that will help boost ball height on shots as well as dramatically decrease the length of birdie putts.

Here are the best mid handicap irons that offer a variety of features that will delight and upgrade their golfing experience.

Sources researched
24
Sources researched
Customer reviews
11,481
Customer reviews
Hours spent testing
45
Hours spent testing
Products tested
8
Products tested
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Editor's Choice
TaylorMade SIM MAX OS Irons, Steel Shaft, KBS Max 85, 4-PW, Right Hand, Regular Flex , Titanium, Black, Blue
Best For Forgiveness
Taylormade M4 Iron Set 4-PW GW Fujikura Atmos 5 Red Graphite Senior Right Handed 39.25in
Most Accurate Irons
TaylorMade SIM 2 Max Iron Set Mens Right Hand Steel Stiff 5-PW, AW
Label 1
Oversized face provides larger sweet spot for better forgiveness and higher launch
Impossible to find more forgiving than these irons
Fast and highly forgiving face creates tighter shot dispersion
Label 2
Deep, low center of gravity offers higher launch with more carry for boosted distance
RIBCOR Technology to correct off-center strikes
Cap Back Design increases distance and boosts launch
Rating
Rating: 94 / 100
Rating: 93 / 100
Rating: 93 / 100
Editor's Choice
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TaylorMade SIM MAX OS Irons, Steel Shaft, KBS Max 85, 4-PW, Right Hand, Regular Flex , Titanium, Black, Blue
Label 1
Oversized face provides larger sweet spot for better forgiveness and higher launch
Label 2
Deep, low center of gravity offers higher launch with more carry for boosted distance
Rating
Rating: 94 / 100
Best For Forgiveness
Thumbnail
Taylormade M4 Iron Set 4-PW GW Fujikura Atmos 5 Red Graphite Senior Right Handed 39.25in
Label 1
Impossible to find more forgiving than these irons
Label 2
RIBCOR Technology to correct off-center strikes
Rating
Rating: 93 / 100
Most Accurate Irons
Thumbnail
TaylorMade SIM 2 Max Iron Set Mens Right Hand Steel Stiff 5-PW, AW
Label 1
Fast and highly forgiving face creates tighter shot dispersion
Label 2
Cap Back Design increases distance and boosts launch
Rating
Rating: 93 / 100

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

8 Best Golf Irons For Mid Handicappers

Here are the best golf irons for mid handicappers!

TaylorMade SIM MAX OS Irons

Best Overall

TaylorMade SIM MAX OS Irons, Steel Shaft, KBS Max 85, 4-PW, Right Hand, Regular Flex , Titanium, Black, Blue
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PROS

  • Oversized face provides larger sweet spot for better forgiveness and higher launch
  • Deep, low center of gravity offers higher launch with more carry for boosted distance
  • Elevated spin with high irons for outstanding shot-stopping from inside 150 yards
  • Speed Bridge bar stiffens the head for more power directly to the golf ball

CONS

  • May take an adjustment period for golfers who are used to irons from the fairway

For beginners, the TaylorMade SIM MAX OS Irons are a great entry set. Featuring several of TaylorMade’s patented innovations, the SIM MAX OS set is an absolute delight.

Starting with the front of the iron, the face on each SIM MAX OS Irons offers a huge sweet spot. Since the “OS” on the clubs means oversized, these game-improvement irons capture the ball on every swing. Even on off-center hits, these best mid handicap irons keep the ball along the golfer’s intended target line. 

Very forgiving, the SIM MAX OS set works very hard to reduce side spin to keep the punishment from a wayward shot, like a slice, to a minimum.

Each iron also features a Speed Bridge bar across the back of the head. The bar stiffens the face by connecting the sole and top edge of the iron. The feature creates staggering distance with increased ball speed.

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An ECHO Damping System reduces the vibration that plagues lesser iron sets. At impact, the SIM MAX OS offers smooth feel and sound from the heel to toe. Golfers have compared the feel of these mid handicap irons to what forged irons deliver to professional golfers.

Also powering the face is the Progressive Inverted Cone Technology that optimizes accuracy on shots that strike the center of the face. Resulting shots produce higher launch with longer carry and a tall arc that lands softly on the green.

An outstanding iron set, ideal for mid handicaps, the TaylorMade SIM MAX OS Irons are an absolute revelation.

TaylorMade M4 Iron Set

Most forgiving iron set: most forgiving set we’ve seen packed with latest technology

Taylormade M4 Iron Set 4-PW GW Fujikura Atmos 5 Red Graphite Senior Right Handed 39.25in
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PROS

  • Speed pocket at the bottom of the club keeps shots straight and long
  • Face slots behind the clubface aid in boosting ball speed
  • RIBCOR Technology help correct off-center strikes through flexible clubface

CONS

  • Beginning golfers may want to find a less expensive starting iron set

TaylorMade has created an impressive set with the M4 irons

Showcasing a host of features that help the golfer keep the ball long and straight, the M4 irons utilize patented TaylorMade technology to provide a golfing experience that will vastly improve the game of mid-level players.

With RIBCOR technology, the M4 iron set will increase distance, boost your launch angle for higher and softer entry shots into the green and provide maximum forgiveness for less side spin. All of these features result in one of the best upper-tier iron sets we’ve hit in a long time as the M4 irons delivers the goods.

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TaylorMade has created a dynamic new set of mid handicap irons that raise the stakes for mid-level golfers looking to improve their distance and launch angle.

The M4 Irons have been built to increase accuracy to help lower scores via closer entry shots into the green.

Dependable construction is at the heart of all TaylorMade products and this attention to detail is what sets the M4 apart from other game-improvement irons.

With the company’s strong research and development department, TaylorMade has produced a set with the M4 irons that is a terrific experience on the golf course.

For the M4 irons, every feature utilizes TaylorMade’s patented RIBCOR technology.

Starting with the clubface, the company has introduced a variety of details that increase the areas of the game that most mid handicaps are looking to improve. From longer distance, higher ball flight and increased accuracy, the M4 brings the muscle to any golfer’s game.

The first feature on the M4 irons is a Speed Pocket seen on the sole of the iron. Placed directly behind the clubface, the Speed Pocket primarily boosts ball speed. 

This feature helps on shots struck on the lower half of the clubface to propel forward without the punishment that lesser irons would place on the golf ball.

The second feature on the M4 that uses the RIBCOR technology is the face slots placed alongside the grooves on the clubface. 

The face slots are two vertical bars that run from the top of the clubhead to the sole of the club. The slots stiffen the clubhead but allow for flexibility at impact that help direct more energy to the golf ball.

And the final notable specification on the M4 irons is a lower center-of-gravity that improves launch angle. By increasing backspin, shots with these mid handicap irons fly high and land soft.

With outstanding features, the M4 irons are an excellent set for the golfer looking to make the leap to lower their handicap.

TaylorMade SIM2 MAX

Runner up choice: Well-crafted with exceptional playability

TaylorMade SIM 2 Max Iron Set Mens Right Hand Steel Stiff 5-PW, AW
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PROS

  • Fast and highly forgiving face creates tighter shot dispersion
  • Cap Back Design increases distance and boosts launch
  • Thru-Slot Speed Pocket maximizes flexibility with increased ball speed
  • Outstanding feel with minimal vibration for clean, crisp contact

CONS

  • Not for mid-handicaps that are inexperienced with shaping shots

TaylorMade’s SIM2 MAX Irons offer high levels of forgiveness, distance, and consistency. Ideal for mid handicappers, these game-improvement irons have a host of features familiar to TaylorMade fans that tighten shot dispersion into the green.

Beginning with the new Cap Back Design, the SIM2 MAX irons improve upon the standard cavity-back iron design with increased forgiveness, length, and outstanding feel. Along with the Cap Back Design, the company’s Thru-Slot Speed Pocket increases flexibility and the spring-like effect across the face for explosive ball speeds with deep, low CG.

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The shorter irons in this set also provide high launch with a tall arc that helps golf balls land softly on the putting surface with high spin. In contrast, the long irons provide a piercing ball flight that does not sacrifice distance for accuracy.

Another interesting feature is the neutral ball flight that the SIM2 MAX Irons produce for mid handicappers. Rather than carry a draw-bias, these irons offer a straight shot pattern, making them accessible for advanced golfers that prefer workability with their clubs.

Game-improvement irons can vary wildly in quality, but with the SIM2 MAX, mid handicappers will find a reliability and consistency that is rarely matched by its competitors. These irons deliver first-rate performance with higher accuracy and soft shot-stopping power from within 150 yards of the pin.

Everything about the design of these irons have been crafted to increase launch and extend length, and in that regard, the SIM2 MAX irons are marvelously successful.

Great for mid handicappers, the TaylorMade SIM2 MAX irons provide the feel and workability of forged irons with far easier accessibility for an affordable price.

Callaway X Hot Iron Set

Runner up choice: Best mid-handicapper iron set for feel and response

Callaway X HOT Iron Set, 4-9, PW, AW (8-piece), Graphite, Right-Handed, Regular Flex
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PROS

  • The undercut cavity backing creates one of Callaway’s longest irons ever
  • Feel Management Technology fine tunes the iron set for more feel and better response
  • Speed Frame Face increases ball speed for long and consistent distance

CONS

  • Great game-improvement iron, but don’t expect the clubs to help you shape shots

The Callaway X-Hot Iron Set is a terrific option for a mid handicapper as the collection provides excellent forgiveness, long distance, and a balanced feel throughout the swing.

The best feature of the X-Hot set is Speed Frame Face technology. Callaway borrowed the innovative advancements used in their drivers and transferred them to their irons.

The result is better forgiveness, longer and more consistent distance, plus better launch angle for higher and softer shots that stop dead on the green.

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Although these would be considered game-improvement irons, they perform beyond that moniker. Bottom line is, these mid handicap irons will improve your length on entry shots into the green. And if you are in the market for clubs to help your swing speed, these are an excellent option.

Perhaps our biggest complaint about the X-Hot Iron Set is the lack of ability to grow with them as your skills improve. If you are a lower-end mid handicapper, the X-Hot set will definitely help you find the consistency that is lacking in your iron play.

But once you feel comfortable and begin to see a difference, you’ll want to learn how to shape shots and that is something that the X-Hot cannot do with regularity.

That said, these mid handicap irons are an upgrade if you are playing with older clubs that give you middling results. Great for distance, even better for accuracy, the Callaway X-Hot set is a winner.

TaylorMade M2 Iron Set

Best for distance: low center of gravity with state-of-the-art technology

TaylorMade Men's Steel 5 PW M2 Iron(Left, Regular)
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PROS

  • The lower center-of-gravity on the M2 irons forces shots to soar higher for greater distance and softer landings
  • Face Slot technology is coupled with TaylorMade’s speed pocket for a thinner clubface that increases distance and forgiveness
  • One of the cleanest looking game-improvement irons on the market

CONS

  • There are a lot of options available on the M2 irons, and that could potentially overwhelm an inexperienced golfer.

The TaylorMade M2 iron set is ideal for players looking to dip their toe into the lake of shot shaping. Most entry-level clubs are sledgehammers in that they have one single function; to get the ball up into the air and with distance.

But the M2 irons have moved weight lower behind the clubface to provide incredible launch and dynamic control. TaylorMade’s Face Slot technology also corrals those errant tee shots that start on the toe or heel for exceptional forgiveness. Without a doubt, these M2 irons will boost your entry game into the green in considerable ways.

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The M2 iron set is one of the best mid handicap irons due to its innovative approach and enhanced technology.

What TaylorMade set out to do with the M2 golf irons is help mid-handicaps with the accuracy of their shots. They attacked this common problem with the invention of Face Slot technology. 

What Face Slots do on an M2 iron is very important because it assists in keeping the ball headed toward the target. More specifically, these redesigned Face Slots maintain ball speed on off-center shots so that your shot doesn’t fall victim to elements such as wind or that dreaded sidespin that causes slices or hooks.

Another alteration the company made with the M2 is relocating the center-of-gravity by moving weight lower behind the clubface. Simply put, a lower center-of-gravity forces the ball higher into the air. For mid-handicaps, by moving the weight lower, the M2 guarantees that golfers will get the maximum distance, height, and backspin when using the golf irons.

TaylorMade has also given more attention to how the M2 irons react when they interact with the turf behind the golf ball. Golf irons react differently when then cut into the grass on the downswing, but what the M2 irons do is smoothly glide through the divot to enable clean contact with the golf ball. 

This clean contact is created through a unique design along the sole of all M2 irons. As a result, the M2 irons smoothly move through the turf and focus maximum clubhead speed onto the golf ball, where it belongs.

By utilizing cutting edge technology, the M2 irons are a terrific option for mid-handicaps. With increased clubhead speed and maximum forgiveness, the M2 irons will help bridge the gap until your handicap reaches single digits.

Callaway Apex CF16 Iron Set

Forged Feel and Consistency

Callaway Golf Men's Apex CF16 Irons Set
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PROS

  • Beautiful design, one of the best available in the market
  • Great, loud sound
  • Excellent and consistent feel throughout the set
  • Very responsive with excellent feedback

CONS

  • Not very forgiving with compact head and no cavity back design

In the world of golf clubs, the brand Apex can be considered a legendknown for its high-end quality and beautiful design. 

The brand Apex was recently re-launched under the Callaway brand, and Callaway has combined their touch of technology with the premium looks and overall quality, giving birth to a beautiful iron set that is not only good-looking, but also excellent in performance.

The Callaway Apex CF16 Iron Set features a multi-material forged head made of six different pieces, mainly a 17-4 stainless steel face, a 1025E forged carbon steel body, and other supporting parts to improve sound and feel.

The CF16 adopts Callaway’s Cup Face technology in the 3- to 7- irons, which was first introduced in their 2015 fairway woods.

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The center of gravity (CG) placement is moved further backwards than your usual golf irons, which is achieved with a rounder rear edge on the sole. 

This CG placement allows an easier time to lift the ball and offers more forgiveness. This rounded edge is a little noticeable from 4-iron and above, but shouldn’t be a major compromise to the design.

While the Cup Face is missing in the 8-iron all the way to the included wedgesit is replaced by an especially engineered face plate that feels just as good, giving you a consistent feel throughout the set.

All clubs in the set have beautiful chrome and matte satin finish that is very beautiful and expensive-looking, as you can expect from a Callaway club set. 

Regarding looks, the Callaway Apex CF16 Iron Set is simply one of the most beautiful club sets available.

The Apex clubs are always famous for their sound and feel, and they are retained in the Apex CF16

All the clubs in the set are very responsive with sharp, pleasing sounds. Even among forged irons, the Apex CF16 clubs are some of the best in this category.

Regarding forgiveness, the Apex CF16 is more forgiving than out-and-out blade irons. The club faces are relatively small, especially with the shorter golf irons. 

Therefore, the Apex CF16 set is more suited for better mid-handicaps that are more consistent with their shots. The set will reward consistent players in feel, distance, and shot-shaping ability.

The standard shaft for the set is the lightweight True Temper XP95 steel shafts. It feels very solid with excellent feedback, and is well-suited with the forged club heads.

The Callaway Apex CF16 Iron Set is a very high quality iron set, as expected from both the Callaway and Apex brands.

It is excellent in feel, sound, looks, and performance both in distance and shot-shaping ability. The multi-material forged heads are rewarding, especially for mid-handicap players that can produce consistent well-struck shots.

It is not the most affordable set available, but the price is justified with the excellent quality. The relative lack of forgiveness can be a downside, making the Apex CF16 Set more suited for better mid-handicaps with a handicap of 15 and below.

The Callaway Apex CF16 Iron Set is a very high quality iron set, as expected from both the Callaway and Apex brands.

It is excellent in feel, sound, looks, and performance both in distance and shot-shaping ability. The multi-material forged heads are rewarding, especially for mid-handicap players that can produce consistent well-struck shots.

It is not the most affordable set available, but the price is justified with the excellent quality. The relative lack of forgiveness can be a downside, making the Apex CF16 Set more suited for better mid-handicaps with a handicap of 15 and below.

Callaway Rogue Iron Set

High-Tech Forgiveness

Callaway Golf 2018 Men's Rogue Irons Set (Set of 5 Total Clubs: 6-PW, Right Hand, Steel, Regular Flex)
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PROS

  • Excellent forgiveness with the updated Cup Face and cavity back design
  • Great looks with chrome silver finish and classic Callaway design
  • Great sound
  • Excellent feel with a lot of feedback

CONS

  • Relatively modest on shot-shaping ability

Being a newer club, the Rogue features an updated, thinner 360 Face Cup technology, allowing the face to flex even more during impact compared to the Apex CF16. 

It also features a cavity back design, moving the weight distribution of the face along its perimeter, which will give you more forgiveness.

The thing about cavity back clubs is that the sound and feel are often compromised due to the specific design

Callaway tackled the sound issue by utilizing Urethane Microspheres in the cavity back, and as a result, the Rouge irons sound very similar to forged blade irons. 

A minor downside, however, is that as the cavity goes bigger in the longer golf irons, causing the sound to be louder.

The Rogue is Callaway’s current flagship model for high and mid-handicappers.

It is worth noting that the main difference between the standard Rogue and Rogue Pro is the weaker loft on the Pro due to the more compact, deeper head. 

It is still reasonably easy to launch the ball with the Rogue Pro clubs, however, especially when compared to the even weaker Epic Pro. 

So, the Rogue Iron set is an ideal match for high-handicappers with around 12 to 20 handicaps, while those with slightly lower handicaps will benefit more from the Rogue Pro set with its better shot-shaping playablity.

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The Rogue offers a great feel throughout the set, and paired with its decent forgiveness, you get a very beautiful iron set with excellent performance. 

Another plus point is its versatility, as you can easily control various height trajectory with the irons. The golf irons are also relatively light, thanks to the True Temper XP 95 ST 15 shaft which is very light while being stable enough to maintain consistency.

Regarding head size, it is a little bigger than the Apex CF16, while being a little smaller compared to the Callaway Steelhead XR Pro, its spiritual predecessor. In our opinion, the head size is perfect when it comes to the best mid handicap irons who want more forgiveness without sacrificing looks with bulky clubheads.

Although the head is relatively compact compared to most super game-improvement ironsit is surprising to find how the clubs felt powerful during impact, giving a lot of feedback without the annoying vibrations, again thanks to the very stable shaft.

The design of the clubs, and especially on the cavity back part, is relatively simple, as you may expect from the classic Callaway. 

The Rogue comes in Callaway’s classic chrome silver finish, which is the favorite of many players and especially mid to low-handicappers. 

Newer Callaway clubs often feature colorful design on the back of the heads, but that’s not the case with the Rouge, which features simple black patterns and logo, giving it a classier look.

In many aspects, the Callaway Golf 2018 Men’s Rogue Iron Set offers a very rare balance of performance, looks, and forgiveness which is sought after by many mid-handicap golfers, especially those that are capable of producing well-struck shots but still deal with consistency issues.

It features a cavity back design for more forgiveness but still sports a relatively compact head prefered by better players. It produces great sound and feel, and is very versatile on the course, giving you excellent control of trajectory.

A minor downside is that it doesn’t have the shot-shaping ability of better-player iron sets, including the Apex CF16 discussed above. Yet, pretty decent for best mid handicap irons offering well-rounded package.

TaylorMade Golf 2018 P790 Men’s Iron Set

Forged-Cast Hybrid Head

TaylorMade Golf P790 Men's Iron Set (Set of 8 total clubs: Graphite Senior Flex 4-PW AW Iron Set, Right Hand)
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PROS

  • Excellent ball speed with low spin, producing excellent performance in carry distance
  • Very beautiful clubs, if not some of the best available today
  • Excellent forgiveness for mid-handicaps
  • Forged face with hollow head combining the feel of the forged iron with the lightness of cast irons

CONS

  • Muted sound and feel
  • Lack of consistency due to the less responsive feel

While the TaylorMade P790 is marketed as a forged iron set, it is technically not forged, at least not all of it. 

Most of the body is made from cast carbon steel, except for the face and the perimeter which uses forged carbon steel. 

So, the part that hit the ball is forged, and you will feel it during impact, especially on well-struck shots. But that’s not the only special thing about the P790 head.

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The space behind the forged part is hollow, filled with 4 grams of foam, dubbed the SpeedFoam, and is screwed in the toe. 

The SpeedFoam expands to four times its normal size inside the space, supporting the very thin forged face that is only 1.75 mm thick. 

The key highlights of the TaylorMade P790 Iron Set are speed and distance, which is typical of TaylorMade. They offer more forgiveness and distance over the P770 collection.

It does offer proper forgiveness level for players around 12 to 20 handicaps, and they are really good looking clubs. In short, the P790 set is one of the best choices available on the market for mid-handicappers.

With the hollow design, there is the compromise on sound and feel. With the ‘muted’ feel, the P790 set does lack consistency sometimes due to lack of response. Still, an excellent iron set especially if distance is your priority.


What Should I Look For When Buying the Best Golf Irons For Mid Handicappers?

Clubhead Size & Design

Forged Irons

The term ‘forged’ refers to how the metal material is shaped into the clubhead: a single piece of metal is heated into a rough shape, and then is hammered, ‘forged’ into the desired club-head shape.

A forged iron is generally better suited for low-handicappers looking for shot-shaping feature and trajectory control.

Cast Irons

With ‘cast’ irons, the material that was heated into liquid shape is poured into a mould, allowing more complex head designs and the combination of different materials.

Casting a club head is far more affordable and easier than forging, and allow a bigger club head with intricate, more forgiving design. 

Offset Hosel

Using a club with an offset hosel is all about correcting a slice.

By limiting the opportunity of leaving an open face at impact, the offset hosel gives the club head a fraction more time to return the face to strike the golf ball squarely. It may not seem like much of an advantage, but most slices hit by golfers are usually created because the club needs a split second more to return to square.

Shaft

For mid-handicappers, there is an advantage to playing graphite shafts. Players with higher averages typically have slower swing speeds. The math is simple on this one as slower ball speed off the tee box means longer second shots into the green.

Graphite shafts help mid-level players because they are lighter than steel shafts. Lighter clubs translates to increase swing speed. This is why you’ll always see graphite shafts in woods and hybrids.

Sole Design

For mid-handicappers, a good rule of thumb is to find a club sole that is wider than your largest finger. Larger soles on golf clubs promote forgiveness but sacrifice control. But this is a sacrifice worth making for golfers who need more time to work on their swing.

Wider soled clubs are considered to be game-improvement irons. The best mid handicap irons are specially made by equipment manufacturers to help higher handicap players obtain maximum height on their shots as well as increasing ball speed.

Tungsten infused

Tungsten Infused weighting places a weight into the sole of the iron to lower the center of gravity in the club. By lowering the CG, the club can produce higher launch for better carry and more distance. The weighting also decreases vibration and improves feel for a more pleasing  overall experience. 

Extra sweet spot

An extra wide sweet spot provides better contact quality, forgiveness, and distance to help mid handicaps improve their overall performance. A sweet spot on the face of the iron designates an area where the golfer will see the best production on each shot. Shots that go off-center of the sweet spot will fall shorter with less accuracy.

Set composition

Mid handicaps should consider how set composition affects their overall score. Since golfers can only carry 14 clubs during a round, each one must help to enhance their game. By crafting a set that maximizes distance and helps improve control, the golfer covers every situation they’ll face on the course.

Leading edge

The leading edge of an iron is the point on the club where it first enters the ground. Shots where the golfer hits the ball with the leading edge first are thin, low, and rather weak. Instead, golfers want the best mid handicap irons with a leading edge that moves into the soil easily, so the ball can meet the sweet spot.

Weighting

The iron has several areas where weighting plays an important factor for a mid handicapper. Perimeter weighting around the edge of the iron’s head helps balance the club with enhanced forgiveness. Weighting in the sole of the iron produces launch, carry, and distance with improved turf interaction.