Best Overall: Cleveland Launcher HB Iron Set
“This Iron Set can change your game overnight – these are some of the longest, highest and most forgiving irons we’ve ever played for mid handicappers.”
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 M6 Iron Set
“The M6 is an exceptional set that brings a needed boost in distance and accuracy to golfers with low-to-mid handicaps. If you are looking to continue your improvement as a golfer, the M6 really delivers excellent shot-making ability.”
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 irons that fit their game by improving accuracy and extending distance.
For golfers who have handicaps that sit between 10 and 18, the best irons have several characteristics that will help boost ball height on shots as well as dramatically decrease the length of birdie putts.
Here are nine of the best iron sets for mid-handicappers that offer a variety of features that will delight and upgrade their golfing experience.
Last updated on 2020-09-24. The links are affiliate links. Product images are served from Amazon Product Advertising API.
Table of Contents
- The Rundown:
- Featured Recommendations
- Best Irons For Mid Handicappers
- Questions & Answers
- What players are considered as mid-handicappers?
- Which part of the game can irons for mid-handicappers help me with the most?
- When should I consider buying an iron set for mid handicappers?
- Should I pick an offset hosel?
- How wide should the sole be on my irons?
- Which head design should a mid-handicapper go for between cavity-back irons and muscle black/blade irons?
- Should I pick steel or graphite shafts for my irons?
- As a mid-handicapper, which irons should I avoid?
- What’s the difference between irons for mid handicappers and low handicappers?
- What are the different types of irons available?
- What are the designs available for irons?
- What players are considered as mid-handicappers?
Best Irons For Mid Handicappers
Cleveland Golf Men’s Launcher HB Iron Set
Best Irons For Mid Handicappers: forgiving & very long high-quality construction irons
The Cleveland Launcher HB Iron Set can change your game overnight.
These are some of the longest, highest and most forgiving irons we’ve ever played for the intermediate golfers.
More sophisticated than your typical game-improvement iron, the Launcher HB iron set is a terrific option for golfers breaking into the mid-handicap level.
What makes the Launcher HB such a fantastic iron set for the mid-handicapper is due to the high-quality construction.
Cleveland has hollowed out the center of the clubhead to move more weight around the perimeter, so off-center strikes stay straight and with the same punch that a normal hit would make. These are great irons that all mid-level players should consider for their next set.
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TaylorMade M4 Iron Set
Most forgiving iron set: most forgiving set we’ve seen packed with latest technology
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 M6 Iron Set
Runner up choice: Well-crafted with exceptional playability
The M6 irons from TaylorMade are an exceptional set that brings a needed boost in distance and accuracy to golfers with low-to-mid handicaps.
The secret of the M6 lies behind the company’s patented Speed Bridge technology. The Speed Bridge is a bar that binds the upper portion of the clubface while allowing the lower half of the face to twist with freedom and provide more energy to the golf ball.
If you are looking to continue your improvement as a golfer, then the M6 really does deliver fantastic gameplay and excellent shot-making ability. We recommend it for serious golfers.
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Callaway X Hot Iron Set
Runner up choice: Best mid-handicapper iron set for feel and response
The Callaway X-Hot Iron Set is a terrific option for mid handicappers 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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TaylorMade M2 Iron Set
Best for distance: low center of gravity with state-of-the-art technology
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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Callaway Apex CF16 Iron Set
Forged Feel and Consistency
In the world of golf clubs, the brand Apex can be considered a legend, known 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.
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Callaway 2018 Rogue Iron Set
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 irons, causing the sound to be louder.
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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TaylorMade Golf 2018 P790 Men’s Iron Set
Forged-Cast Hybrid Head
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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Titleist 718 AP3 Iron Set
Mid-Sized Head for Maximum Forgiveness and Playability
Titleist AP1 and AP2 iron sets are some of the most famous iron sets for better players and mid-handicappers.
The AP1 series have more forgiveness with bigger heads, while the AP2 clubs offer more rewarding playability on well-struck shots.
Yet, a lot of golfers felt that the gap between the two set was really big, especially with their 716 AP1 and AP2.
Titleist answer for this issue? The AP3, which is their newest entry in their 718 AP series.
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Questions & Answers
What players are considered as mid-handicappers?
To answer this question, let us first briefly discuss the USGA handicap index. The handicap index is a rather complicated system to balance out a golf game between players of different skill levels.
The result is a simple one or two digit number. So, for example, if you have a handicap of 12, and you are playing against a friend with a 10 handicap, he must give you three strokes during your match.
Now, back to our topic.
Although there is no official definition of handicap levels between low, mid, and high handicappers, the golf community generally agrees that you are a mid-handicapper if you have a handicap index between 11 to 20. According to USGA handicap statistics, there are over 40% of male golfers that belong to this category, so you are definitely not alone.
A mid-handicapper is capable of hitting good shots with decent or even excellent distance. The issue here is consistency, as mid-handicappers often make plenty of mishits in between their decent hits.
So, a mid-handicap golfer will benefit from clubs with more forgiveness to improve their consistency, but will also require a club that can reward good shots. An ideal mid-handicapper club should provide balance between forgiveness and playability.
Which part of the game can irons for mid-handicappers help me with the most?
There are two areas that new irons can help the mid-handicapper lower their scores. The first is with the lower irons, such as the 8 or 9-iron, where accuracy is vital from shots from inside 150 yards. Mid-handicappers need to have confidence in these lower irons because shots closer to the hole result in more birdie chances and increase the ability to save par on wild shots.
The other areas that irons can improve the mid-level player’s game are with mid-range irons such as the 5 or 6-iron. These irons, especially when found in game-improvement sets, have larger soles and perimeter weighting for better forgiveness and control. Amateurs typically find that these middle irons are incredibly difficult to hit, so manufacturers have placed emphasis on creating mid-irons that boost distance and shot height.
By buying new irons that are well suited for your skill level, you find that your golf game will change in exciting and different ways. New irons will dramatically reshape your shot making ability to assist in lowering scores. For the mid-handicapper, increasing accuracy, as well as distance, are areas that will significantly help shave strokes from the handicap.
When should I consider buying an iron set for mid handicappers?
High-handicappers, or beginner golfers will require irons with maximum forgiveness. Low, single-digit handicappers will look for more control and playability. Mid-handicappers, on the other hand, will look for a balance between both worlds.
When should you look for that balance in your clubs?
We have mentioned that we generally define ‘mid-handicappers’ as golfers with a handicap index between 11 and 20, so you can look for a mid-handicap iron set as soon as you pass that 20-handicap barrier.
Should I pick an offset hosel?
Using a club with an offset hosel is all about correcting a slice. Clubs that utilize an offset hosel allow the golfer to get their hands in front of the club head. By putting the golfer in this position, the club head will come down and through the golf ball offering a much better angle of attack for hitting the ball squarely.
Since offset clubs are made to help golfers who slice hit the ball straight, manufacturers emphasize moving the center of gravity farther away from the shaft of the club. This placement helps the golfer’s chances of returning the clubface to square when coming into contact with the golf ball.
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.
There is a downside to using an offset hosel. Instead of correcting your swing flaw, you are instead relying on the equipment to make the correction. The golfer can develop lazy habits expecting the golf club to fix the issue later.
How wide should the sole be on my irons?
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.
Positive feedback is crucial in developing a golf game. Golfers need to be rewarded on their best strikes, and larger soled clubs do just that. This is especially true for longer irons. If the golfer has not made the transition to hybrids with their long irons, then the irons must have a wide sole to help keep the ball on target as well as assist in getting the ball into the air.
Wider soled clubs are considered to be game-improvement irons. These irons are specially made by equipment manufacturers to help higher handicap players obtain maximum height on their shots as well as increasing ball speed.
Another benefit of wide soled clubs is that these clubs help the club bounce off the ground instead of slicing through the grass and dirt creating a large divot. This helps players who tend to sweep their swing rather than hitting down on the golf ball.
Which head design should a mid-handicapper go for between cavity-back irons and muscle black/blade irons?
A mid-handicapper should try to find the best cavity-backed irons that match their swing. The primary reason is that cavity-back irons are very easy to hit. For mid-to-high handicap golfers, cavity-back irons with wide soles usually fit under the game-improvement umbrella of clubs.
With the weight redistributed around the perimeter of the club head, cavity-back clubs bring more stability and forgiveness to the golf ball. As a result, golfers who are not consistent with each swing can bring a level of consistency to each shot because of the advantages of the equipment.
Blade irons are strictly for low-handicap golfers looking for control in their iron game. Golfers who play at this advanced level, love playing blades because it enhances their above-average skill set. Professionals prefer bladed irons because of the feedback they feel through the impact zone as well as the ability to shape shots on demand.
Mid-handicappers should not even attempt to play bladed irons until their handicap falls into the lower range of average scores. Without the skill set of an advanced golfer, mid-handicap players will find bladed irons challenging to hit and should avoid until they are ready.
Should I pick steel or graphite shafts for my irons?
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. The farther the golfer is away from the green, the less accurate the shot has the chance to be. Bad accuracy means fewer birdie chances and tougher to save par on wayward shots.
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. In irons, professionals prefer steel shafts because they feel that there is less twisting at impact but amateurs don’t have to worry about that as much because their swing speed is nowhere near the typical pro.
Some amateurs like having steel shafts despite the weight difference to the club because they prefer the feel of steel at impact. Steel is more affordable when compared to graphite shafts, but for high-handicappers, the loss of up to 10 yards per shot may not be worth the extra change in their pocket.
As a mid-handicapper, which irons should I avoid?
Mid-handicappers should avoid irons that are built for either golfer needing super-game improvement help or bladed irons that low-handicap players use to shape shots.
Super-game improvement irons such as the Wilson’s Ultra Set, are blunt instruments designed solely to lessen the learning curve of beginning golfers who have trouble getting the ball into the air and down the fairway. They have super-wide soles and perimeter weighting that redistributes the weight to the outer area of the clubface to promote forgiveness.
Irons that are cavity-backed are typically super-game improvement irons. The hollowed out irons have a lower center of gravity allowing the beginning golfer to get the ball airborne quickly and easily.
Bladed irons, such as the Mizuno MP 18 irons, are ideal for lower handicap players who can shape their shots with simplicity due to their elite skill set. That said, they have very little room for error. Super-game improvement irons do a great job at minimizing mistakes such as off-center hits, but blades don’t share the same benefits.
Blade irons have a higher center of gravity, so shots fly at a lower angle with more spin. As a result, shots from a bladed iron must be hit in the sweet spot to reach maximum distance and height. Otherwise, the golfer is in store for a wild ride.
What’s the difference between irons for mid handicappers and low handicappers?
Mid-handicappers need to look for golf clubs that help improve the quality of their shot making. Most amateurs suffer from the same faults: slow swing speed, poor or ill-fitting equipment, and bad fundamentals. New irons won’t solve all of these golfer problems, but they can improve ball speed as well as give the player the opportunity to reach their current potential.
Mid-level players should be seeking game-improvement irons that will help them get the ball into the air. By assisting the golf ball to get higher, amateurs will find that their shots will carry farther resulting in the longest distances of their golfing life.
A low-handicapper has less work to do on their game and instead are looking for the ability to shape their shots with precision. With an average score that is continually resting in the mid-70s, low-handicappers can benefit from bladed irons that have thin soles allowing the golfer more feel and control through contact.
These upper-tier irons are usually expensive, but for the amateur looking to reach scratch golfer status, they are essential for lowering their scores. Single-digit handicap players are looking for better equipment over wholesale fundamental swing changes.
What are the different types of irons available?
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.
Nowadays, most forged irons are made of carbon steel, which are grinded, milled, and polished into the final shape. A forged iron is known for its solidity for being one-piece, with better feel and sound.
Yet, they are also known for having a smaller sweet spot. A forged iron is generally better suited for low-handicappers looking for shot-shaping feature and trajectory control.
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. Cast irons are known for producing worse sound and feel compared to forged ones, but thanks to advancements in technology, they are much closer than ever before.
What are the designs available for irons?
The name ‘blade’ comes from the thin face and top line of these irons, with relatively small sweet spot. The advantage of a blade iron is the very balanced weight distribution throughout the entire head, and more weight is placed behind the compact sweet spot.
Because the center of gravity is just behind the sweet spot, the blade irons offer more feel and shot-shaping ability, making it an ideal iron for better players with consistent shots. Also often called ‘muscle back’ irons.
Cavity Back Irons
As the name might suggest, in a cavity back iron, the back of the head has a recess or ‘cavity’, and so the weight of the head is concentrated on the edges instead of the center. As a result of this weight distribution, the cavity back irons have increased forgiveness and moment of inertia (MOI),
Also, generally a cavity back iron will have a relatively large clubhead and a thin clubface, allowing mishits to fly straighter than longer than a blade iron, making this type more suited for mid and high-handicap golfers.
A hybrid club combine characteristics from irons with woods, and is designed to replace the long irons which are often very difficult to use, especially for high and mid handicap players.
A hybrid features a hollow, rounded face of a fairway wood, but have the lie angle of irons with a flatter sole. As a result of this combination, a hybrid typically offers the distance and forgiveness of a fairway wood in combination with the accuracy and control of a long iron. A hybrid is generally an ideal pick for high to mid-handicap players.
The key quality we should look for in a mid-handicapper iron set is the balance between forgiveness and playability: it has to be forgiving enough to allow more consistent performance, while it has to be rewarding enough on well-struck shots. Finding that balance can be really tough, and the four products we have reviewed above are some of the best in the market.