Best Game Improvement Irons (2022 Buying Guide)

Your golf experts: Jordan Fuller & John Marshall.
Updated March 3, 2022. 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 M6 Irons
“The TaylorMade M6 offers extraordinary distance. It also has good forgiveness on thin shots. Ideal for golfers looking for pure performance who don’t mind the price tag.”

Best Option for Mid Handicappers: Ping G425 Iron Set
“The Ping G425 delivers unmatched performance for mid-range iron sets. With high spin from the fairway, it creates awesome shot-stopping power on the putting surface.”

Runner-up Choice: TaylorMade M4 Iron Set
“Just upgraded for 2022, the M4 will increase distance, boost your launch angle, and provide max forgiveness for less sidespin.”

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What are the game-improvement irons? Will they be suitable for beginners? How do I choose the best iron set for me? Those are the typical questions I will answer in this article.

We tested and reviewed 15 of the best game improvement irons on the market today. You can skip the trial and error because we already did that for you!

Sources researched
22
Sources researched
Customer reviews
17,459
Customer reviews
Hours spent testing
22
Hours spent testing
Products tested
15
Products tested
Product Name
Editor's Choice
Best Value for Money
Thumbnail
Pro 1
Extraordinary distance
Includes 4-iron and sand wedge
Lively face provides great feel
Pro 2
Good forgiveness on thin shots
Solid option for beginners
Great forgiveness
Our Ranking
Our Rating: 93 / 100
Our Rating: 91.6 / 100
Our Rating: 92 / 100
Editor's Choice
Product Name
Thumbnail
Pro 1
Extraordinary distance
Pro 2
Good forgiveness on thin shots
Our Ranking
Our Rating: 93 / 100
Best Value for Money
Product Name
Thumbnail
Pro 1
Includes 4-iron and sand wedge
Pro 2
Solid option for beginners
Our Ranking
Our Rating: 91.6 / 100
Runner-up
Product Name
Thumbnail
Pro 1
Lively face provides great feel
Pro 2
Great forgiveness
Our Ranking
Our Rating: 92 / 100

Last updated on 2022-07-03. The links are affiliate links. Product images are served from Amazon Product Advertising API.

Best Game Improvement Irons

TaylorMade M6 Golf Iron

Best Game Improvement Irons Overall: Great feel and distance with a price tag to match

TaylorMade M6 #6 Single Iron/Steel KBS 85 Stiff Flex 38'
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Overall Score92.6%
Distance99%
Accuracy94%
Feel95%
Durability95%
Value80%

PROS

  • Extraordinary distance
  • Great sound and feel
  • Good forgiveness on thin shots

CONS

  • Expensive

TaylorMade’s newest offering in the game improvement category is the M6 iron set.

They’re a lovely set, reminiscent of recent Titleist irons, with a distinctive “Speed Bridge” that links the sole and topline to reinforce the clubface and allow for a deeper Speed Pocket. This results in a long, excellent feeling game improvement iron that any player would be happy to play.

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Speed Bridge

The “Speed Bridge” is a raised metal bar that runs from the sole to the topline, hovering over the area where the sweet spot is. This reinforces the topline so TaylorMade can cut their Speed Pocket deeper and thinner than ever before, and the resulting distance gain is noticeable. As a result, the M6 irons are a few yards longer than any others tested this year.

It does make the back of the club difficult to clean, as there’s a gap under the bridge that tends to collect dirt and grass clipping. I’d suggest carrying a small brush if you’re a fan of clean clubs, which you should be: clean clubs inspire confidence and perform better.

Low CG

The center of gravity is as low as you’ll find in a set of irons, thanks in large part to the continuation of the fluted hosel feature found in the M4s reviewed above. The stabilizing bar in the bridge lets them focus the weight very low without sacrificing structural integrity. Impacts low on the face might result in low bullets having better results with the M6, actually getting some height and backspin.

Fine-tuned

The Speed Bridge bar plays a role in optimizing the club’s sound. Along with HYBRAR compression dampers (that’s TaylorMade’s term, and I have no idea what exactly it means, but it sure sounds good), the Speed Bridge results in a loud and immensely satisfying “thwack” on any half-decent impact. It’s the type of sound that’ll make your playing partners turn their heads and say, “sounds like you flushed it!”

Conclusion

The TaylorMade M6 is one of the best game improvement irons being made today, with a price tag to match. If you’re looking for pure performance and money is no object, these will be right up your alley. However, there are other game improvement iron sets that cost half as much and still come through with performance close to the level of the M6. So if you’re willing to pay a premium for a few extra yards, the M6 is for you.

Ping G425 Iron Set

Best Game Improvement Iron for Mid Handicappers


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Overall Score91.6%
Distance89%
Accuracy95%
Feel92%
Durability92%
Value90%

PROS

  • Better trajectories than Orlimar
  • Includes 4-iron and sand wedge
  • Solid option for beginners

CONS

  • Very short distance-wise

Mazel Single-Length irons are another budget option for players interested in single-length irons. However, I’d recommend them to those just starting: the price is right, and the irons are easy to hit with excellent trajectories, making them one of the best game improvement irons on the market today.

The distance you get from them isn’t very good, but beginners won’t know that. Instead, they’ll be pleased with the ease of using one swing for all shots and hitting the ball straight every time.

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Lightweight

Mazel’s best game improvement irons come with lightweight graphite shafts, which you’d think would help with the swing speed. I think that we’ve just become used to irons with ultra-thin, cupped faces that have trampoline-like sweet spots. These, being a budget option, don’t have that type of tech built-in. But the lightweight makes it possible to swing the long irons fast enough to get a great, penetrating trajectory.

Low CG Long Irons

The 4 and 5 irons are hollow-bodied with a very low center of gravity, allowing them to launch the ball high enough to be useful. Many players are concerned that the short length won’t generate enough speed to lift the ball, but the Mazel clubs are hittable.

Wide Soles

The Mazels have a nice wide sole, which will help beginners who may have issues digging the club into the ground and hitting it fat. The thick sole is very forgiving and encourages good contact even on poor swings. It also helps chipping around the green, which beginners often have difficulty with.

Overall

Experienced golfers who try these out maybe soured on the single-length concept if they lose yardage with the Mazel irons. That’s why I recommend these for beginners: they’re easy to hit, and they do an excellent job of keeping the ball in play. That should be the primary concern for someone just starting.

Once they’ve been hooked and are willing to invest in their game, then it may come time to upgrade to a single-length set that provides better distance. A beginner golfer won’t have any problem making the transition, and they’ll be pleased to suddenly be hitting the ball a lot further.

TaylorMade M4 Iron Set

Runner-Up Choice: forged feel and elite technology

m4 irons

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Overall Score92.6%
Distance93%
Accuracy93%
Feel97%
Durability93%
Value87%

PROS

  • Lively face provides great feel
  • Good forgiveness
  • Shafts feel great

CONS

  • Very strong lofts
  • Not as long as some other clubs

The TaylorMade M4 iron set is an excellent choice for players who value great feel and may want to work the ball just a little bit. 

If you’re not quite ready for blades, but you may want to bridge the gap between game improvement irons and blades, the M4s are worth a look. They provide solid performance and an elite feel.

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Buttery

I don’t know how TaylorMade did it, but these M4 Irons are a cast set that feels awfully close to forged. They’re soft and buttery, with a large sweet spot that sends the ball. While overall distance and accuracy are good-but-not-great, they make up for it in feel. The sound, which is a major and underrated aspect of feel, is excellent: a good strike is rewarded with a click that sounds like it was produced in a studio.

RIBCOR

TaylorMade’s version of a springy, large sweet spot is called RIBCOR technology. It reinforces the club’s perimeter, making the hitting area large and lively. The weighting is spread out nicely to the heel and toe, giving the irons a high moment of inertia, which transfers forward motion to the ball and gets it started in the right direction. A high moment of inertia means good forgiveness and ball speed.

Strong lofts

But some of the distance found in the TaylorMade M4s is simply achieved by making the lofts exceptionally strong. What used to be a 5-iron is now called a 6-iron. A 43-degree loft, formerly known as a 9-iron, is called a Pitching Wedge. So some of this distance is a sort of ill-gotten gain. Long irons will be a bit harder to hit because of the stronger lofts, but with the proliferation of hybrids replacing long irons, that may not be an issue for many golfers.

The hosel

If you want confirmation about how much thought TaylorMade put into the M4, look no further than the fluted hosel. They’ve shaved a tiny bit of metal off of each hosel, giving them a few more grams to use to provide a better center of gravity. This minor detail shows how far the engineers have to go to maximize every bit of technology available to them. It’s a small but impressive detail.

Overall

The TaylorMade M4 irons are a great option for players who have started breaking 90 regularly and are looking for irons that’ll help them elevate their game. With an excellent feel and good all-around performance, they’ll stay in your bag a long time.

Cobra Radspeed Iron Set

Best Game Improvement Iron for Low Handicappers

Cobra Golf 2021 Radspeed Iron Set Satin Chrome-Black-Turbo Yellow (Men's Right Hand, KBS Tour 90, Reg Flex, 5-GW)
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Overall Score93.4%
Distance95%
Accuracy97%
Feel90%
Durability97%
Value88%

PROS

  • Extreme heel and toe weighting increases speed and stability
  • Low CG with 10-gram weight positioned deep in the sole
  • 3D printed medallion reduces head weight for increased speed

CONS

  • Overly firm feel

Cobra’s Radspeed Iron Set provides mid handicappers with an upgraded collection that focuses on increasing their distance with exceptional accuracy. Features for the Radspeed Irons include Radial Weighting, a forged PWRSHELL face, and a 3D printed medallion to produce one of the company’s best innovative club sets.

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Radial Weighting

Each iron in the set features extreme toe and heel weighting. With a 10-gram weight that rests in the sole and a 3-gram weight in the heel. Combining the two weights increases speed, lowers spin, and provides optimal stability.

A 10-gram weight sits low in the toe to center the club’s CG and help stabilize the quality of contact for longer distances with each swing.

Forged PWRSHELL Face

A forged PWRSHELL face insert represents the hitting area on each Radspeed iron. The insert is made from thin stainless steel and increases flexibility along the sweet spot for high launch and faster ball speed.

In addition to the insert, these irons also feature a carbon fiber topline that helps lower CG and increases the club’s MOI. At address, these irons dazzle with a clean look.

Oversized Head Shape

With exceptional forgiveness, the oversized head shape of the Radspeed irons is a great asset for mid and high handicappers. Along with the previously mentioned balanced weighting, the head shape also increases the shot quality with confidence.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a new, modern set of irons, the Radspeed set gives golfers more workability with exceedingly long distances. With several innovative features that reduce weight along the entire club head, including the 3D printed insert, the Radspeed offers cutting-edge technology that gives amateurs a serious advantage in obtaining the next level in their game.

Wilson D9 Iron Set

Best Distance Game Improvement Iron

WILSON D9 GRA R MRH 5-PW, GW
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Overall Score91%
Distance99%
Accuracy91%
Feel92%
Durability97%
Value95%

PROS

  • Power Holes behind the face increase speed and dampen vibration
  • Low center of gravity creates easy launch with consistent spin
  • Player’s iron design with the game-improvement performance

CONS

  • Great for higher launch but reduces the overall distance
  • More emphasis on power than delicate shot-making

Classified as game-improvement irons, the Wilson D9 Iron Set is designed to increase distance. With a low, deep center of gravity, the D9 utilizes the urethane-filled Power Holes to produce flex across the hitting area for better forgiveness and more spring at impact.

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Extended Distance

Along with the Power Holes, the design of the D9 promotes exceptionally long distances when finding the sweet spot.

One of the big reasons these irons offer extended length is the low CG. With more carry that translates into more yardage, the D9 Irons take full advantage of the deep center of gravity when lifting shots into the air.

Impressive Accuracy

The D9 Irons are assassins from the fairway with a keen eye for the pin. If you are in the market for irons that will tighten shot dispersion for a more predictable shot shape, the D9 delivers with gusto and swagger.

A game-improvement iron at its heart with the look of a player’s iron, the D9 provides moderate workability from mid-range distances to help customize the shot shape you are looking to achieve. 

Power Holes

Behind the face rests three Power Holes. Filled with urethane, these Power Holes are positioned to the center of the face to help create maximum flexibility across the hitting area. 

The Power Holes, a popular feature in recent Wilson irons, are utilized here to broaden the sweet spot with dynamic forgiveness on off-center strikes.

Results

The Wilson D9 irons promote extra distance with terrific accuracy on the course. For golfers that want tighter shot dispersion in a game-improvement package, the D9 irons meet this threshold with style and flair. 

Cleveland Launcher UHX Iron Set

Best Distance Game Improvement Iron from Slice Correcting Driver

Cleveland Launcher UHX Iron Set RH 5-PW Steel Stiff
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Overall Score95.4%
Distance97%
Accuracy93%
Feel97%
Durability97%
Value93%

PROS

  • Seamless integration with gradual transition in shape and forgiveness
  • Fast steel face produces the strength for more distance and power
  • Exceptional spin rates from inside 150-175 yards

CONS

  • Could be more forgiving
  • Thin topline may be intimidating for poor iron players

When shopping for game-improvement irons, the most essential feature that golfers need is their ability to easily hit the golf ball. Most golfers at this skill level need consistency, and iron sets like the Cleveland Launcher UHX Iron Set are more than capable of helping weekend warriors achieve this goal.

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Progressive Iron Transition

One of the features of a well-crafted set is progressive transition down through the iron set. Rather than every iron providing the same response, the Launcher UHX set progressively modifies the shape and weight of their irons to provide more lift, better distance, and higher spin as the golfer moves toward the pitching wedge.

The fast steel face on each Launcher iron offers high strength with extensive balance. For golfers struggling with a slice, the irons have additional weight in the heel to help get the face to a square position.

Forgiving Sweet Spot

Another feature that game-improvement irons must carry is a large sweet spot that offers forgiveness with the high consistent launch, something that the Launcher UHX irons provide with style.

Along with outstanding control, the UHX irons offer straight, accurate ball flight that improving golfers can depend upon. While they might not offer the workability of blade irons, the Launcher UHX set does give the gift of reliability resulting in more birdie putts. 

High Spin Inside 150 Yards

The Launcher UHX Irons dial up the spin from inside 175 yards. With a 7-iron, golfers will notice the high launch helps stick golf balls to the green with impressive shot-stopping power. 

The same holds true for the 9-iron and pitching wedge as both clubs are very accurate, easy-to-hit, and deliver excellent spin rates.

Conclusion

A wonderful set for high handicappers and beginners looking to launch the golf ball, the Cleveland Launcher UHX set delivers staggering yardage along with a very forgiving sweet spot.

Orlimar Intercept Single Length Iron Set

Best Budget Game Improvement Iron: for those curious about single-length irons

Orlimar Golf Intercept Single Length Iron Set
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Overall Score91.2%
Distance90%
Accuracy94%
Feel87%
Durability92%
Value93%

PROS

  • Lower cost option if you’re interested in trying out single-length irons

CONS

  • Overly high ball flight in short irons
  • Poor grips

If you’re interested in single-length irons but don’t want to spend the money to get a premium brand like Cobra, Orlimar has offered the Intercept Single-Length Irons at an affordable price.

They’re well-made best game improvement irons that serve as a decent introduction to the single-length concept. However, some technological limitations keep them from performing as well as the Cobras.

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Moonshots

Cobra’s clever center-of-gravity adjustments with the hosel and weighting help keep ball-flights low with short irons, but Orlimar doesn’t have that feature. The intercept irons have the same weight and center of gravity, so the short irons and wedges give you extremely high trajectories.

Some players may hear this and say, “I wish I could hit the ball higher, this sounds great!” but believe me, the trajectories are almost unmanageably high. If there’s even a breath of wind, the ball flies so high that the wind effects are magnified. A 9-iron that typically flies 140 will balloon into the wind and come up under 100 yards. When you try to choke down and flight the ball down, it still flies super high.

No 4-iron

One of the advantages of single-length irons is that long irons are easier to hit, but unfortunately, Orlimar doesn’t offer a 4-iron. I’m guessing that the reason behind this is that the center of gravity and short length made the 4-irons too hard to get up off the ground. Without the hosel adjustments of the Cobras, the 4-iron of the Orlimar would probably be unhittable. So you’ll need to carry a hybrid to replace the 4-iron, which starts to defeat the concept of single-length clubs and just one swing needed.

Get a grip

The grips included on the Orlimar Intercept are not very good. They feel slick out of the box and wear down quickly. I’d suggest re-gripping them soon after purchasing them, but that starts to mitigate the fact that they’re a low-cost option.

The good

Having gotten all the nitpicking aside, these are decent-feeling irons that provide very good distance and decent forgiveness on mis-hits. I can see why golfers would be hesitant to pay a steep price for what’s essentially an experimental set of clubs, so these are a good option that provides decent performance at a great price. Curious golfers may well find enough to like here to stick with them and become single-length devotees.

Cleveland Launcher HB Iron Set

Best Game Improvement Iron: ideal for most golfers

Cleveland Golf Launcher Turbo HB Iron Set
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Overall Score94%
Distance91%
Accuracy97%
Feel91%
Durability96%
Value92%

PROS

  • Hybrid-style is very easy to hit
  • Very forgiving
  • Good lift for slow swing speeds

CONS

  • Subpar distance
  • Not workable at all

This Iron Set can change your game overnight – these are some of the longest, highest, and most forgiving best game improvement irons we’ve ever played.

The Cleveland Launcher HB is a set of all-hybrid clubs that give the feeling of hitting a wood, even with the high-lofted short irons. It’s very forgiving.

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Hollow construction

The Launcher HB has faces like standard irons, with hollow bodies resembling woods or hybrids. You can tell by looking at them that they’re designed with a low center of gravity, and they’ll have no trouble popping the ball up into the air. Like most drivers and fairway woods, the hollow bodies offer a good amount of forgiveness. Heel and toe shots fly straight and nearly as far as a contact on the middle of the clubface.

However, the hollow bodies also mean the ball won’t curve. If you’re used to playing a bit of a slice or a draw, you’ll need to adjust to these. The ball flies straight with a very little curve, so make sure you’re getting that clubface square at impact. Wherever it’s facing, that’s where the shot will go.

High launch sacrifices distance at mid-to-high swing speeds

For higher swing speed players, the high launch of the Launcher HB will tend to mean less overall distance. They start out high and tend to float before deflating towards their target.

Slower swingers, however, may actually find that these increase the yardage they’re able to achieve. They’re great for beginners as the forgiveness level is very high. As you start to get better, though, you’ll likely want to find more workable irons.

Bag chatter

Since these are painted, hybrid-like clubs, you’ll probably want to use headcovers for all of these, or they’ll get seriously scratched up. Headcovers aren’t necessary with most iron sets, but with these hybrid irons, they’re essential.

Honma T/World GS Iron Set

Best Luxury Game Improvement Iron Set

Honma Golf Tour World GS Iron Set - Men's 5-11 (7 Clubs) Graphite Regular
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Overall Score93.2%
Distance90%
Accuracy95%
Feel96%
Durability95%
Value90%

PROS

  • Variable iron construction increases speed and spin based on iron number
  • Flip Slot technology along the sole enhances turf interaction and adds forgiveness
  • Deep cavity body increases CG with high MOI for less twisting

CONS

  • Feels thin and less forgiving on off-center strikes
  • Very high price point does not correspond with performance

While Honma has long stood as one of the best luxury golf club manufacturers on the market, the company has recently begun to create moderately priced club sets for amateurs. 

Their latest creation, the T/World GS Iron Set offers terrific playability with a stylish design that will impress your playing partners.

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Variable Iron Construction

One of the more impressive features of the GS Iron Set is the variable iron design that modifies each iron-based upon its number. For long irons, think 4-iron through 7-iron. Honma utilizes its L-Cup Face to maximize ball speed across the sweet spot, increasing forgiveness.

On short irons from 8-iron to the wedge, the variability helps increase the face flexibility and dramatically increase the sweet spot’s size.

Flip Slot Technology

Along the sole of each iron in this set, you’ll find a speed-inducing feature known as the Flip Slot. 

This technology helps increase ball speed, even on off-center strikes. The GS iron delivers solid forgiveness that does not minimize exit velocity when the ball is impacted away from the sweet spot.

Deep Cavity Body

The unique head shape helps players increase stability through the impact zone, due mainly to the wide, deep cavity body. 

The irons also boast high MOI for reduced twisting as the head comes in contact with the turf. With clean divots, the crisp contact produced by these irons certainly makes these irons a worthwhile investment.

Results

Available in either stainless steel or graphite shafts, the T/World GS Iron Set offers plenty of variety to help create the shot shape and distance you want from your game.

Cobra King Speedzone Iron Set

Best Game Improvement Iron for High Handicappers

Cobra Golf 2020 Men's Speedzone Iron Set
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Overall Score93.2%
Distance90%
Accuracy95%
Feel96%
Durability95%
Value90%

PROS

  • Progressive head shape increases launch with high-grade spin rates
  • PWRSHELL Technology provides golfers with a thin pocket from toe to heel for boosted ball speed
  • Carbon topline provides lightweight feel with low CG and fast ball speed

CONS

  • High launch reduces workability and shot-shape control
  • Blocky head shape looks strange at the address

One of the biggest obstacles inexperienced golfers face when starting their golfing journey is getting the ball into the air. More shot height translates to the extended carry that equals distance.

The Speedzone irons offer premium shot speed across the entire hitting area along with a high arcing shot shape that lands softly on the green with moderate spin, great for distance control.

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PWRSHELL Technology

One of Cobra’s newest features is PWRSHELL Technology. This innovation creates a larger sweet spot area, up to 35% larger than previous Cobra models. The expansive hitting area provides more forgiveness on off-center strikes while maintaining exit velocity for impressive distance.

The technology also expands the undercut to increase ball speed and launch angle after impact.

Carbon Fiber Topline

Cobra also included a carbon fiber topline, reducing the overall weight of the clubhead for more speed that translates into the staggering distance. The lighter topline also lowers the CG for higher shots with plenty of backspin for total control inside 150 yards.

The iron also features extreme toe and heel weighting to balance the entire hitting area with high MOI to keep the clubface stable throughout the impact zone.

Overall

If you are a beginner, high or mid handicapper, the Cobra King Speedzone Irons offer premium game-improvement iron performance. With exceptional distance and very solid forgiveness, the Speedzone irons offer a solid set of clubs that help lower your scores.

TaylorMade SIM2 Max OS

Best Oversized Game Improvement Iron

TaylorMade SiM 2 Max OS Iron Set Mens
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Overall Score93.2%
Distance90%
Accuracy95%
Feel96%
Durability95%
Value90%

PROS

  • Oversized hitting area offers exceptional distance and shot height
  • Cap Back Design provides impressive power to the golf ball for more length
  • High-grade forgiveness on off-center contact keeping the ball toward the target

CONS

  • Heavier clubhead reduces distance for slow swing speeds
  • Oversized head shape delivers high and straight shot with no workability

TaylorMade’s latest iron set, the SIM2 Max OS, offers a broad hitting area that boosts forgiveness, length, and shot quality. It provides high handicappers the ultimate tool for lifting their shots for more distance and increased accuracy with a host of exciting features.

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Cap Back Design

Rather than stick the old cavity-back design on the Max2 OS, TaylorMade has created the Cap Back Design, solidifying the entire sweet spot for more power directed straight to the golf ball. Running a bar through the back of the club head that attaches from the topline to the sole, the Cap Back improves feel and response.

Thru-Slot Speed Pocket

Just behind the face, TaylorMade has included their patented Thru-Slot Speed Pocket. The pocket provides golfers with more face flexibility that helps with forgiveness while increasing distance.

The Speed Pocket also reduces the overall weight of the club head, increasing swing speed for more energy directed straight to the golf ball. The feature boosts length, for higher, straighter shots that find the green with more regularity.

ECHO Damping System

When it comes to vibration absorption, the ECHO Damping System on the Max2 OS irons remains the best on the market. When a ball strikes off-center, the ECHO system stiffens the club head and dramatically reduces the vibration, so your shotmaking always feels clean and pure.

Overall

One of the best game-improvement sets on the market, the SIM2 Max OS Irons offer exciting performance. Rather than other game-improvement irons that feel thin and hollow in your hands, the SIM2 Max OS offers a muscular feel and solid sensation.

Mizuno JPX921 Hot Metal

Most Accurate Game Improvement Iron

Mizuno Golf JPX921 Hot Metal Iron Set
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Overall Score93.2%
Distance90%
Accuracy95%
Feel96%
Durability95%
Value90%

PROS

  • Incredibly fast ball speeds off the inviting sweet spot
  • Seamless Cup Face provides impressive forgiveness and flexibility
  • Dazzling feel with the smooth response that golfers crave

CONS

  • Higher price point could force casual golfers away from the set
  • Built more for advanced golfers

One of the most underrated golf equipment companies, Mizuno, has created another winner with their JPX921 Hot Metal Irons. With piercing ball flight, the JPX921 offers dazzling game-improvement performance that guarantees to add more distance and accuracy to your golf bag.

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Stability Frame

Behind the company’s innovative Stability Frame, the JPX921 irons offer perimeter weighting that keeps your shots on target. Rather than imparting distance-killing sidespin, these Mizuno irons offer more toe bias, keeping your face square through impact. The resulting shots are high and soft with stunning distance.

Faster Ball Speed

All golfers seeking game-improvement irons want faster-shot speed and these Mizuno irons are happy to oblige. On shot after shot, the ball cannons off the club face producing that sweet sound that turns heads on the range.

Mizuno has worked hard to reduce the thickness of the club face, all in an effort to boost ball speed. After one swing you’ll notice they were successful, producing those high arcing shots that land softly on the putting surface.

Seamless Cup Face

Along with the other features, Mizuno has given these irons a Seamless Cup Face. Although the JPX921 irons do not qualify as forged, the spirit of that style of craftsmanship lives on with these clubs.

Contained in one complete metal piece, the cup face works like a hinge, helping to increase overall face flex for impressive ball speeds that translate into better forgiveness and more length on every swing.

Overall

If you are looking for a premium game-improvement set that will grow with your progress, the Mizuno JPX921 offers tour-level craftsmanship that will carry your game for many years to come.

Ping G410

Best Distance Game Improvement Iron for Mid Handicappers


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Overall Score93.2%
Distance90%
Accuracy95%
Feel96%
Durability95%
Value90%

PROS

  • Reshaped head design provides golfers with higher MOI for better accuracy
  • High launch angle increases distance with greater carry
  • Improved sound and feel with damped vibration

CONS

  • Strange futuristic, unappealing appearance
  • Higher launch may turn away golfers wanting more length

From Ping, one of the top golf equipment manufacturers globally, comes the G410, a delightful game-improvement set that delivers the goods in all aspects of the game.

Anything you want for your game, you’ll find it with the G410 irons. From increased distance to better feel and forgiveness, these Ping irons offer an exciting way to shave the rough edges from your game.

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Greater Face Flexibility

More flexibility across the face translates to better forgiveness and shot accuracy. With the G410 irons, Ping has dramatically increased the flexibility of the face helping to ramp up ball speeds without losing precision in your shotmaking.

The increase in the distance also allows you to club down on most holes, offering better accuracy with every shot, something most game-improvement irons cannot do for your game.

High MOI, Terrific Accuracy

The G410 irons provide golfers with a more refined club head shape with a more compact blade length and greater offset. Along with its visual appeal, the smaller head shape provides excellent forgiveness that keeps shots along the target line without a reduction in shot speed.

COR-Eye Technology

Ping also included their innovative COR-Eye Technology that expands the sweet spot, lowers CG, and improves the overall balance of the club head for smoother impact. The COR-Eye increases power on every swing, improving distance without sacrificing accuracy.

Overall

Always incredibly hard to beat, the Ping G410 irons provide a performance level that remains unmatched in most club-making circles. If you are looking for an entry-level game-improvement iron that will dazzle you on the range and course, the G410 is well-equipped for the challenge.

Ping G710

Best Distance Game Improvement Iron for Low Handicappers


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Overall Score93.2%
Distance90%
Accuracy95%
Feel96%
Durability95%
Value90%

PROS

  • Stunning hydropearl chrome finish offers stylish look in your golf bag
  • Arccos Caddie Smart Grips records and analyzes every shot
  • Boosted MOI provides better accuracy and more forgiveness

CONS

  • Higher price point due to the Ping name
  • Better for serious golfers that play often

Ping’s most sophisticated game-improvement irons are the G710. With advanced features that stiffen the club head and boost power to the golf ball, the G710 irons remain one of the best premium options for golfers looking to improve their shotmaking into the green.

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Faster Maraging Steel Face

Ping provides golfers with one of the strongest club heads they’ve ever created using aerospace-grade alloys. Although the steel offers strength properties, it does not skimp on the flexibility, providing mid handicappers with the ability to craft shots from the fairway and green.

The G710’s club head features help easily lift the ball into the air for more distance with staggering reliability for high handicappers and beginners.

Higher MOI, Exceptional Forgiveness

The high-density tungsten toe and heel weights lift the MOI, reducing the twist that causes slices and hooks. The G710 irons provide more muscle for golfers with slower swing speeds and are exceptionally forgiving.

When you are evaluating game-improvement irons, the ability to swing harder without worrying that the ball will dramatically go off-course is a considerable benefit. 

Arccos Caddie Smart Grips

The Arccos Caddie Smart Grips are included here with the G710 irons. Working with the Arccos Caddie app, the sensors in the grips automatically record a bevy of important statistics that help you gauge where your game is growing and, alternatively, where it needs improvement.

Overall

If you compare the G710 to any other iron on this list, you’ll find that although their performance might be comparable, it remains tough to beat the craftsmanship of these Ping irons. Delivering impressive results from the fairway and tee box, the G710 will continually delight you on the links.

Callaway Mavrik Irons

Best All-Around Game Improvement Iron for High Handicappers

Callaway Golf 2020 Mavrik Iron Set
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Overall Score93.2%
Distance90%
Accuracy95%
Feel96%
Durability95%
Value90%

PROS

  • A.I-aided design provides golfers with distance, accuracy, and piercing ball flight
  • Wide sweet spot increases forgiveness while boosting power to the golf ball
  • Marvelous feel throughout the swing with minimal vibration

CONS

  • Not as muscular as more defined cavity-backed irons
  • Offers a more moderate launch when compared to other game-improvement sets

With Callaway’s Mavrik irons, golfers seeking high-quality game-improvement irons will find that the clubs continually raise their confidence after every swing. 

With the assistance of Artificial Intelligence, Callaway has crafted these irons to provide more ball speed and forgiveness. Whether you are on the tee box or sitting in the fairway, you’ll quickly discover that the company was very successful in its pursuit of creating clubs that produce better shotmaking.  

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Flash Face Cup Technology

Behind the innovative Flash Face Cup Technology, the company has specifically targeted the hitting area to raise the level of the golfer’s shotmaking. When looking at the performance of the longer irons, the technology helps golfers maintain distance without losing accuracy.

The Flash Face Cup Technology boosts spin rates with shorter irons to help you hold the green with more precision and accuracy.

Tungsten Energy Core

With the addition of Tungsten Energy Core weighting, golfers will receive more launch with impressive precision, especially on shots within 150 yards to the pin. The weighting, located toward the sole of the club head, optimizes launch and ball flight for extended carry and improved ball speed.

The trajectory from the Mavrik irons is another plus feature here as the ball penetrates the air with authority. For mid and high handicappers, the ball flight translates to better accuracy and tighter shot dispersion.

Urethane Microspheres

The irons also utilize Urethane Microspheres that absorb vibration creating the pure feel that golfers want from their clubs. The microspheres also solidify and boost ball speed for more distance.

Overall

When it comes to game-improvement irons that are accessible by every golfer, no matter their skill level or age, the Callaway Mavrik offers a fun and exciting option that provides a perfect marriage of playability and performance.


Things to Consider When Choosing the Best Game Improvement Iron

Many factors can determine an iron’s strengths or weaknesses, even more than other club types.

However, for a general rule of thumb, here are several essential qualities you should focus on before making your purchase:

Forged VS Cast, and The Materials

Which one is better, forged irons or cast irons? What materials should I look for?

These two questions are often treated as two separate ones, but the truth is, they should be asked together. Forged is a better method with certain materials, as do cast irons.

To answer the question, we should first understand the basic principle behind the two:

Forged Irons

In forged irons, the roughly-shaped metal material is hammered into shape, just like we often see from medieval blacksmiths in the movies. The hammered, commonly carbon steel clubhead is then finished by grinding, milling, and polishing.

Thus, the forged method is better for an iron with a singular, one-piece material. Purists will claim that forged irons have a better feel, and to some extent, it’s true.

Cast Irons

In this method, the liquid metal is poured into a mold. This method allows for a more complex shape and uses multiple materials at once. Not to mention, cast irons are also cheaper to make.

Thus, cast irons are typically better if your club is multi-material in nature.

However, as with many technologies today, casting technology has rapid development, allowing cast irons to close the gap in feel to forged irons.

The basic principle, however, still stands. If you are looking for a solid, one-piece iron, forged is the way to go.

You should also consider that multi-material technology today allow new ways to improve forgiveness and distance. I bet in the near future, cast irons will reach their perfection and will be better, as well as more affordable.

Sole and Offset Size

The general rule of thumb is the wider the sole, the lower the center of gravity. This is because a lower center of gravity will translate to a higher natural trajectory of your shots and bounce more than dig at impact.

On the other hand, a narrow sole translates to a better feel and control.

The offset is the face behind the hosel, and the larger the offset, the more forgiving the club will be. The smaller the offset, however, will give you more shot-shaping ability.

It’s crucial to find the right balance between both sizes to suit your overall playstyle and needs.

Shaft Flexibility

Choosing a proper shaft suitable for your current ability will benefit your overall game. However, if you’d like to go deeper, we’ve written an in-depth guide on picking the best golf shafts.

Here are some pointers:

  1. If your 6-iron swing speed is 90mph or higher and carry distance 175 yards or more, go with X flex.
  2. If your speed is 80-90mph and carry 155 to 175 yards, go with S flex.
  3. For 70-80mph and 130 to 155 yards, go with R flex.
  4. For 60-70mph and 100 to 130 yards, go with A flex.
  5. And for speeds under 60mph and carries less than 100 yards, go with L flex.

Cost

When choosing a suitable game improvement iron, it is crucial to understand the difference between cost and value. Many game improvement iron sets, including those on our list, offer incredible performance and terrific value. By finding the right set for your game while saving money, you accomplish two goals that allow you to reallocate funds onto other aspects of your equipment.

Although the cost of an iron set is high, it should not be the final reason to discard a set of clubs. At times, spending a bit more on the ideal set of game improvement irons will save you money in the long run because the clubs last longer and perform better.

Distance vs. Forgiveness

There are game improvement irons that offer either more distance or forgiveness for golfers. In the perfect world, players would find sets that ultimately improve both of these aspects of their game, but since equipment manufacturers vary in their design, it is up to the golfer to find the set that works best for their game.

Irons that offer more forgiveness may have wider soles along the bottom of the club and perimeter weighting that balances the club head. Irons that focus on distance usually have a lower and deeper center of gravity to increase the launch angle for better carry.

Set-make-up

The set make-up is another essential factor to consider when choosing your clubs. Specifically, the iron set’s make-up will affect how many hybrids or wedges the golfer carries in their bag.

Many amateurs love to use hybrids in place of their long irons because they are easier to hit. These clubs also offer a distance and shot shape advantage over long irons.

For the short game, golfers need to determine how many wedges they plan to carry in their bag and how that corresponds with their iron set.


Questions & Answers

What are golf irons?

The name iron originated from the material golf irons used to be made with.

Back then, drivers and fairway woods were made from, as you may guess, wood materials, and thus they were (and are) called woods, with the driver also often deemed as 1-wood.

Thus, we can guess that irons were made with steel materials.

They are typically smaller, clubhead size-wise, and shorter in shaft lengths than the woods and are designed to propel the ball towards the hole, anywhere after your tee shots and before roughly 200-yards to the hole, where you will switch to your putter.

While wood clubs, especially the driver, are designed with the emphasis on distance, irons are designed to be more well-rounded, with accuracy and control on the green being the emphasis.

What Is The Number In An Iron’s Naming?

The number in front of the iron indicates the relative angle of its loft, with 1 being the steepest and 9 being the highest.

The higher number represents a higher loft angle, and the higher the loft angle, the ball will fly in a shorter distance but higher launch trajectory.

Generally, Irons come in sets that include six to eight individual irons.

The typical iron set consists of, but is not limited to, the 3-,4-,5-,6-,7-,8-, and 9-irons. A Gap/Approach Wedge (AW) and/or a Pitching Wedge (PW) are also included in the set.

Thus, when shopping for an iron set, you will see them listed as something like 3-PW, 5-PW, AW, or 4-PW.

PW or AW indicates whether a Pitching Wedge (PW), Approach Wedge (AW), or both is included. The number upfront means the smaller iron included in the set and will always include every number until the 9-irons. For example, a 3-PW would include all irons from 3- to 9- and have a Pitching Wedge.

What Is The Game Improvement Iron Category?

To answer this question correctly, we should first discuss the three different categories for irons available on the market:

  • Cavity Back: Also often known as the Max Game-Improvement Irons, and is characterized by a large hollow cavity in the back of the clubhead. The sole and toplines are significantly larger, to allow easier and more forgiving hits. Designated for beginner and those with higher (25+) handicaps.
  • Game Improvement Irons: The most popular type of the bunch can fit a wide range of players from 5 to 25 handicap. The cavity is smaller, and the sole and toplines are more compact and thinner.
  • Blades: Also called Player’s Irons, Cavity Muscle Back (CMB) or simply Muscle Back (MB), blades are designated, and used, by professionals and single-digit handicap players (below 5). Blades have a flat back with no cavity, making them less forgiving, yet producing better feeling and control when hit properly.

Today, our focus is the game-improvement irons, suitable for players with a handicap ranging from 5 to 25.

Are There Prerequisites To Using A Game Improvement Iron?

The best game-improvement irons will truly be beneficial for players with 25 handicap or below.

If you currently have a handicap above 25, you are better off with cavity-back irons, as the higher forgiveness will help you improve your game.

On the other hand, many players with the handicap of 5 and below chose to stay with the best game-improvement irons rather than upgrading to blade irons.

The reason is simple, in the past, blades tend to have a better overall feel, control, and shot-shaping abilities. However, newer technologies, especially in the past few years, allow game-improvement irons to close that gap.

As a result, many professional players opt to have the better consistency and forgiveness of the game-improvement irons today, with fewer sacrifices over feel and shot-shaping compared to, say, a decade ago.

With that being said, your game-improvement iron set could be a sustainable investment, even after you went below 5 handicaps.

What Are The Qualities Of A Great Game-Improvement Iron?

To answer this question, let us take a look at how the three different categories of irons are classified:

  • Cavity Back: or often known as Super Game-Improvement Irons are designed for maximum forgiveness. We can often see an overly large club head designed for big sweet spot and MOI.
  • On the other end of the spectrum, the Blade irons, or Player’s Irons are designed for maximum responsiveness, control, and shot shaping
  • Then, we can understand that the Game-Improvement Irons are designed to sit in the middle and to have the balance between both worlds, and that is the exact quality you should look for.

The ideal best Game-Improvement Irons should have maximum forgiveness and maximum control. We also recommend checking out Ping’s irons. They have some great game-improvement irons.

What Type Of Player Should Use Game Improvement Irons?

The game-improvement irons will be suitable for many players with handicap ranging from 5 to 25.

That is a very broad range, and we can imagine a wide array of different types of players within the range.

Players striving for a well-rounded, balanced game will definitely benefit from game-improvement irons.

Do any PGA tour players use the Game-Improvement Irons? Yes! Based on PGA Tours’ official report, there is an increasing trend of using game-improvement irons on tour, especially the long irons.

Keegan Bradley, Graeme McDowell, Brian Harman, and Sean O’Hair are notable examples of such players using Game-Improvement Irons.

Let us see Keegan Bradley’s statistics during 2016, for example. Bradley is exceptionally strong on the Tee-to-Green game, ranked 17th overall for Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green.

Using a game-improvement iron for his 3-iron helped him achieve such a feat, boosting his overall flight height and reducing mistakes.

To summarize, if you are looking for a balanced and well-rounded game, especially between the tee and the greens, the game-improvement irons might improve your game further.

Should A Game Improvement Iron Replace The Golf Irons Currently In My Bag?

In this modern era of golf, with seemingly you will get new technologies and new trends in club developments every few months, it’s true that the clubs in your bag can be outdated faster than half a decade ago.

It’s hard to judge whether it is time for an upgrade, but as a consideration, here are some questions you should ask yourself.

Are Your Golf Irons At Least 3-years old?

Three years of a club age has been deemed the average benchmark for obsoleteness. If your irons are at least 3-years old from when it was released, you will feel the upgrade in buying new ones.

Has Your Game Changed?

Do you have a significant increase in your swing speed or accuracy in hitting the sweet spot? (Hey, congrats!)

If you feel you are hitting a wall to improve more as a player, then it’s time for a change.

On the other hand, you might be hitting your ‘senior’ year, and your swing speed is simply not what it used to be. It’s maybe time to switch from that blade to game-improvement irons with more flexible shafts.

Are Your Irons Still in Good Conditions?

It may be obvious, but if you see too much wear and tear, then it’s time to buy new ones.

You might want to check Golf Digest’s obsolete list and see whether your current iron set already deserved the upgrade.

Can I Use Game Improvement Irons With Any Golf Balls? If Not, What Are The Best Golf Balls For Game Improvement Irons?

Yes, If you are using high-quality game-improvement irons, you will benefit from using any golf balls.

Golf balls have different qualities and will suit different types of players. As mentioned, game-improvement irons can cater to those with 5 to 25 handicap, a very broad range.

Golf Balls

And within that range, we can expect all sorts of different types of players. For example, some might have a problem with straightness and will need the ball to help them with that issue. Others might need more distance to improve their overall game.

Check out our previous guide on the best golf balls for high handicappers. Although the article mainly focuses on high-handicap players, any player can get some insights on choosing their golf balls.

Should I go for graphite or steel shafts on my game improvement club?

Both graphite and steel shafts are viable options in game improvement irons. Traditional knowledge dictates that faster swing speeds and better players will prefer the accuracy of stiff or extra stiff steel shafts. Indeed, you see most professionals using steel iron shafts. Graphite is typically for slower swingers looking for lighter, more flexible shafts.

However, current graphite shafts such as the UST Recoil combine the best of both worlds, with steel-like weight and accuracy but the soft feel and vibration absorption of graphite shafts.

If you typically hit your 5-iron longer than 175 yards, I’d go with steel or a steel-like graphite shaft. If you’re hitting 5-iron less than 175, I’d suggest graphite shafts get more distance.

Do all clubs come with a headcover?

Most of the best game improvement irons neither include a headcover nor do they need them. Perfectionists may purchase headcovers to keep their clubs looking brand new, or people just trying out clubs who might want to re-sell them might as well. But most players don’t use head covers on their irons. The minor marks, known as “bag chatter”, don’t affect performance and add a bit of character to the clubs’ look. And even if you do use head covers, they’ll still get marked up from regular use. So it’s mostly just an unnecessary expenditure that slows play down.

The exception will be if you use hybrids or hybrid-style irons such as the Cleveland Launcher HB reviewed above. These have black paint that will get scratched up and look bad if you don’t use headcovers. But for 99% of iron sets, they’re unnecessary.


Conclusion

Our choice for the best game-improvement irons for 2022, the TaylorMade M6 Irons, produces an exceptional feel with unbeatable distance. For golfers looking to improve their accuracy and consistency, the M6 delivers on all fronts.

We were blown away by the M6’s ability to easily launch the golf ball and keep along your target line during our evaluations. For high and mid handicappers, the M6 irons produce high arcing shots that land softly on the green with plenty of spin.

With a generous sweet spot that encourages forgiveness, the M6 irons come at an affordable price if you want to stay within a budget.