9 Best Golf Irons In 2021: Top Buyer’s Guide

Jordan FullerEdited by: Jordan Fuller
John MarshallReviewed by: John Marshall

Last Update:

The Rundown:

Best Overall: Callaway Rogue X Iron Set
“If you’re looking for maximum distance, look no further, the Rogue X is designed for you. A lower center of gravity and tungsten metal in the cup will give it extra bounce – perfect to go get these extra yards on the course.”

Most Forgiving: TaylorMade SIM MAX OS Irons
“A first-rate iron set that has exceptional distance with a high launch angle, tailored for beginners and high handicappers. It’s not cheap but you won’t find any set more forgiving than this one.”

Best Budget Option: LAZARUS Premium Forged Set
“If you want the true 80/20 of iron sets, you’ve found it. It’s easy to play & usable by golfers with fast or slow swing speeds. It’s basic, but at such a bargain price, it is perfect if game maintenance is what you’re looking for.”

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Irons are one of the most important clubs next to the putter. On almost every hole on the course, golfers will be required to pull an iron out of the bag. 

This means the iron set selection is incredibly important to lowering a golfer’s score. Material, ease of use, and club face design are critical to golfers’ growth and use of irons over the long term. 

After reading this guide, you will be able to select the perfect set of irons that fit your needs and make your game better. This guide walks through different iron sets and answers questions around the different designs and what each set can help you improve your game.

Sources researched
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Sources researched
Customer reviews
18,547
Customer reviews
Hours spent testing
14
Hours spent testing
Products tested
9
Products tested
Product Name
Best Overall Golf Iron
Most Forgiving Irons
Best Cheap Pick
Our Ranking
Ranked #1
Ranked #2
Ranked #3
Thumbnail
Callaway Golf 2018 Men's Rogue X Irons Set (Set of 8 Total Clubs: 4-PW, AW, Right Hand, Steel, Regular Flex)
TaylorMade SIM MAX OS Irons, Steel Shaft, KBS Max 85, 4-PW, Right Hand, Regular Flex , Titanium, Black, Blue
LAZRUS Premium Golf Irons Individual or Golf Irons Set for Men (4,5,6,7,8,9) Driving Irons (2&3) Right Hand Steel Shaft Regular Flex Golf Clubs - Best Golf Iron Set - Great Golf Gift (4 Iron)
Our Grade
Rating 90.5 / 100
Rating 88.8 / 100
Rating 86.3 / 100
Feature 1
Rogue technology to maximize distance and increase accuracy
Low CG in the head, coupled with wide sole, offers tall arcing shots that land softly on greens with high spin
Unbeatable price tag especially for a second set or vacation set
Feature 2
Sounds incredible with every swing, even mishits
Speed Bridge technology places bar along rear of the head for greater stability throughout the swing
Easy to play out of the bag without a lot of training
Best Overall Golf Iron
Our Ranking
Ranked #1
Thumbnail
Callaway Golf 2018 Men's Rogue X Irons Set (Set of 8 Total Clubs: 4-PW, AW, Right Hand, Steel, Regular Flex)
Our Grade
Rating 90.5 / 100
Feature 1
Rogue technology to maximize distance and increase accuracy
Feature 2
Sounds incredible with every swing, even mishits
Most Forgiving Irons
Our Ranking
Ranked #2
Thumbnail
TaylorMade SIM MAX OS Irons, Steel Shaft, KBS Max 85, 4-PW, Right Hand, Regular Flex , Titanium, Black, Blue
Our Grade
Rating 88.8 / 100
Feature 1
Low CG in the head, coupled with wide sole, offers tall arcing shots that land softly on greens with high spin
Feature 2
Speed Bridge technology places bar along rear of the head for greater stability throughout the swing
Best Cheap Pick
Our Ranking
Ranked #3
Thumbnail
LAZRUS Premium Golf Irons Individual or Golf Irons Set for Men (4,5,6,7,8,9) Driving Irons (2&3) Right Hand Steel Shaft Regular Flex Golf Clubs - Best Golf Iron Set - Great Golf Gift (4 Iron)
Our Grade
Rating 86.3 / 100
Feature 1
Unbeatable price tag especially for a second set or vacation set
Feature 2
Easy to play out of the bag without a lot of training

Last updated on 2021-02-26. The links are affiliate links. Product images are served from Amazon Product Advertising API.

9 Best Golf Irons

Callaway Golf Men’s Rogue X Irons Set

Best Golf Iron Overall: All that Callaway has to Offer in a Single Set of Irons

Callaway Golf 2018 Men's Rogue X Irons Set (Set of 8 Total Clubs: 4-PW, AW, Right Hand, Steel, Regular Flex)
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Overall Grade90.5%
Price83%
Game Improvement90%

Club Head Design97%
Club and Material Construction92%

PROS

  • Rogue technology to maximize distance and increase accuracy 
  • Sounds incredible with every swing, even mishits
  • Cup 360 design for better ball compression and energy transfer

CONS

  • For more experienced players, beginners may not need all the enhancements

Golfers looking for maximum distance should consider the Rogue X Iron set from Callaway. A total overhaul of previous year iron packages resulted in an explosion of power and distance in golfers hands. Part of the Rogue line of clubs, this iron set includes all the best technology Callaway has designed over the years.

A lower center of gravity and specialty tungsten metal used in the cup face gives this cirons extra bounce. Callaway goes the extra mile and adds urethane balls into the cup face to create TV worthy contact sounds. Callaway balances all the best technology with a playable set of irons.

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A Unique Face Design

Callaway’s patented Cup 360 technology works to transfer as much energy from club to ball. The face is designed to transfer energy from club face to ball. Unlike blades, the 360 Face Cup technology is employs a cushion to delivery fast ball speed and energy even on mishits.

The irons are also designed with a wider sole and balanced center of gravity for ultimate spin speed. Other versions of the Rogue iron set, the X is lighter and has proven distance differences than the other clubs in its class. The face is more balanced with tungsten to give a higher bounce factor and maximize iron distances. 

Balanced Distance from Design Excellence

Tungsten is a rare metal that gives golf clubs more pop. The increased COR yields explosive distances out of the fairway while maintaining control. Part of the enhanced control comes from the Cup 360 technology designed face translate control and distance to the ball.

A low center of gravity launches the ball and creates more back spin for approach and fairway shots. The Rogue X iron set was built to maximize distance. An emphasis on energy translation from club to ball makes this iron set best for any golfer looking to increase distance without sacrificing to much control.

TaylorMade SIM MAX OS Irons

Most Forgiving Irons for High Handicappers and Beginners

TaylorMade SIM MAX OS Irons, Steel Shaft, KBS Max 85, 4-PW, Right Hand, Regular Flex , Titanium, Black, Blue
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Overall Grade88.8%

Price87%
Game Improvement90%
Club Head Design88%
Club and Material Construction90%

PROS

  • Low CG in the head, coupled with wide sole, offers tall arcing shots that land softly on greens with high spin
  • Each iron features a face that gives golfers a broad sweet spot that amplifies forgiveness and creates high launch
  • Speed Bridge technology places bar along rear of the head for greater stability throughout the swing

A first-rate iron set that provides exceptional distance with high launch is the TaylorMade SIM MAX OS Irons. The set features such innovations as the Speed Bridge, Speed Pocket, and an ultra-thin face that is one of the company’s hottest ever.

For golfers that need more distance and accuracy from their irons, the SIM MAX OS set delivers top-tier performance. Each of the noted features work together to boost shot height, while keeping the speed at maximum level.

Powered by the Progressive Inverted Cone Technology, the deep, low center of gravity works to increase the accuracy of each shot, no matter the iron number you are using.

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Oversized Head Shape Provides Forgiveness

These game-improvement irons feature an oversized head. With the large face and broad sweet spot, the SIM MAX OS irons offer staggering distance with the ability to minimize side spin.

Great for mid handicappers, these irons offer boosted forgiveness to keep the golf ball heading toward the target. For golfers that need help with slicing the golf ball, the SIM MAX OS reduces the side spin that causes unpredictable shots.

The ultra-thin face also increases ball speed for more distance with a low-to-high piercing flight. 

Speed Bridge and Speed Pocket Deliver Distance

The Slot-Thru Speed Pocket resides behind the face of each iron. This empty area allows the face to free-float for additional flexibility that provides maximum ball speed on each strike.

Working with the Speed Bridge, a bar that binds the sole and top edge of the iron’s head, the Speed Pocket increases ball speed for maximum length on each swing.

The TaylorMade SIM MAX OS irons are ideal for high handicappers and beginning golfers who want to grow into their equipment.

LAZRUS Premium Forged Golf Wedge Set for Men

Best Cheap Pick: Rock Bottom Price and Simple Iron Set

LAZRUS Premium Golf Irons Individual or Golf Irons Set for Men (4,5,6,7,8,9) Driving Irons (2&3) Right Hand Steel Shaft Regular Flex Golf Clubs - Best Golf Iron Set - Great Golf Gift (4 Iron)
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Overall Grade86.3%
Price100%
Game Improvement83%
Club Head Design80%
Club and Material Construction82%

PROS

  • Unbeatable price tag especially for a second set or vacation set
  • Basic set of golf clubs meaning any skill level of player can easily use
  • Easy to play out of the bag without a lot of training

CONS

  • Fewer available options in club and shaft stiffness
  • Outdated technology compared to other big name brands

For golfers not interested in the premium label or a second set to store a vacation house, these will fit the mold. Lazarus claims of manufacturing their clubs using the same manufacturers as the Callaway’s and Titlelist’s without the price tag. These irons don’t have all the over engineering and design dollars that larger brands spend and make their money on.

If game maintenance is your ultimate goal this set will work nicely. The shafts are made of stepped stainless steel and currently only offered in regular stiffness. A club head that is designed to maximize spin and control works for most golfers looking to maintain their game. 

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Unbeatable Cost

Because Lazarus is less known golf club manufacturer, they don’t have to compete with top name brands. By manufacturing clubs in the same location and using similar manufacturers, they are able to cut cost and compete solely on price.

These won’t ever have the top technology from premium brand manufacturers but for a second set at a vacation house, they perform well. A serviceable set with most of the previous years technology to maintain performance. The regular set goes from a 4-9 irons but for an extra hundred dollar or so Lazarus adds three of their manufactured wedges to complete the set. 

Basic Iron Set

Because these are the best budget clubs available, the design won’t make waves on new technology. A single regular stiffness shaft availability makes this set unusable by golfers with faster or slow swing speeds. A smaller selection of irons (4-9) on the base set may have some golfers looking to more complete sets that include wedges.

The customer golf grips are good for most golfers unless a larger diameter grip is needed. A point of focus from Lazarus in the design was the deeper grooves on the club head face to create more spin and control. The irons come in standard lengths and standard loft. 

TaylorMade SIM MAX Irons

Upper-Tier Game Improvement Irons for Mid Handicappers

TaylorMade SIM MAX Irons, Graphite Shaft, Fujikura Ventus Blue, 5-PW, AW, Right Hand, Regular Flex, Titanium, Black, Blue
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Overall Grade97%
Price94%
Game Improvement96%
Club Head Design98%
Club and Material Construction98%

PROS

  • Outstanding distance with consistent shot flight that impresses and dazzles
  • Incredibly thin face produces one of the fastest irons we’ve ever tested
  • Speed Bridge works well at stabilizing the iron’s head for increased response and feel

CONS

The TaylorMade SIM MAX irons hit the market recently with a significant bit of fanfare. These new cavity-backed irons from TaylorMade attempt to reinvent the game-improvement iron with innovations that increase distance, improve accuracy, and provide muscular confidence to your second shots. After testing these irons out for several rounds, we must admit that the company was wholly successful.

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There are several features worth noting with the SIM MAX Irons. One feature that we noticed right away was the ECHO Damping System. On every shot with these irons, we felt very little to no vibration. These are stable, solid irons that produce staggering distance with exceptional feel.

One of the more exciting features of the SIM MAX irons is the Speed Bridge bar that runs diagonally across the back of the club head. While the company touts the technology “revolutionary,” we found that the bar provides stability to the iron’s head for better feel at impact. TaylorMade also claims that the Speed Bridge boosts distance, something we also agree with as these irons are very long.

TaylorMade offers several combinations of clubs to help you find the right mix for your irons. If you need wedges, you may check out the set that begins with a 5-iron and includes three wedges; a pitching wedge, A-wedge, and sand wedge.

Looking at the complete experience with the TaylorMade SIM MAX irons, we must say we were very impressed with the stability, response, and overall distance gained with these irons. For mid handicappers, these irons will provide a noticeable gain if your irons are more than a few years old.

If you are looking for an upper-tier game improvement iron, then TaylorMade has made the SIM MAX irons for you.

Callaway Mavrik Irons

Best Game Improvement Irons for Mid Handicappers

Callaway Golf 2020 Mavrik Iron Set (Right Hand, Graphite, Regular, 4 Iron - PW, AW)
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Overall Grade90.8%
Price85%
Game Improvement93%
Club Head Design93%
Club and Material Construction92%

PROS

  • Optimum launch and shot height with incredibly solid feel and response
  • Tungsten-infused weighting in the sole of the irons promote balance and consistent contact
  • Face architecture of each iron is uniquely designed to lower center of gravity and adjust shot height

CONS

The Callaway Mavrik Irons is the company’s latest addition to its very popular line of equipment. The irons, slotted for the game-improvement crowd, offer various exciting features that boost swing speed and distance.

What makes the Mavrik irons exceptional is the company’s attention to detail. Not only are the irons well-crafted, but each iron features unique characteristics to help you create shots that produce maximum distance and your preferred shot shape.

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Each iron in the Mavrik set adjusts the center of gravity lower in the club’s bottom half. When you use a 7-iron, you’ll see the shots get a higher launch angle like a wedge. The shots land softer with spin and better stopping power.

The face on each iron of the Mavrik set is thin, light, and fast. Since these are game-improvement irons, they are made with multiple pieces, unlike forged irons. Callaway created a face piece that improves ball speed and increases the spin rate.

There are numerous options available to purchase for the Mavrik irons. For example, you can start with a set that runs from 4-iron with up to three wedges. If you prefer starting your irons with hybrids, you can begin a little later in the set with a 6-iron alongside four wedges.

The set does vary in price depending solely upon how many irons you choose to purchase.

An exceptionally well-made set that is perfect for the improving mid handicapper, the Callaway Mavrik Irons provide high-quality craftsmanship with outstanding performance.

TaylorMade M4 Iron Set

Best Club Designs: Well balanced and Complete

Taylormade M4 Iron Set 4-PW GW Fujikura Atmos 5 Red Graphite Senior Right Handed 39.25in
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Overall Grade92%
Price83%
Game Improvement95%
Club Head Design96%
Club and Material Construction94%

PROS

  • Unique club face flexing for higher COR and more distance
  • Well balanced club head weight for minimizing mishits
  • Overall top to bottom well balanced iron set

CONS

  • On the pricier side in comparison to similar manufacturer

Looking to upgrade your current set, the M4 irons are some of the most balanced clubs available on the market. Designed by legendary TaylorMade master craftsmen, the M4 balances performance with feel. The M4 employs TaylorMade’s RIBCOR technology that maximizes the transfer of energy from club face to ball generating higher ball speeds than other sets.

This set has one of the most complete and simplistic club face designs. Taking extra care on the grooves helps golfers control spin even on mishits. With multiple shaft stiffnesses and material types available, the M4 can be tailored to fit a golfers game with a few minor tweaks. 

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Design to Maximize Face Flex

Club face flexing is when the club head is moving at speeds to bend the material. A more rigid club does not benefit from the whipping effect of a flexible face. TaylorMade employs its RIBCOR and face flex technology to maximize the COR value and gives golfers and extra boost in distance.

Additional face slots emphasize more club face flexure providing more whipping of the club head translating to measurable distance. TaylorMade went to the next level and made sure mishits have a fair amount of energy transfer from, face flexing. Considering the emphasis on the club face, the M4 is usable by golfers of all skill levels to increase their distance.

Balanced Club Head

In the previous section, the emphasis was on face flexure to increase the COR and add yards to iron shots. Many readers may be asking if the face is whipping it could translate to more exaggerated mishits when missing the sweet spot. TaylorMade accounted for this concern with a weight balanced club head.

To avoid club whipping throwing shots all over the fairway, the irons center of gravity is lowered and balanced to expand the sweet spot. In an effort to corral errant shots, the balanced club weight makes the M4 irons some of the most hittable on the market. The low center of gravity translates to a higher launch angle and better backspin control.

Mazel Single Length Golf Club Irons Set

Best for Beginners looking for More Control

MAZEL Single Length Golf Club Irons Set 4-SW(9 Pieces) (Right, Graphite, Middle(SR))
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Overall Grade87.8%
Price87%
Game Improvement88%
Club Head Design90%
Club and Material Construction86%

PROS

  • Easy to use for beginners with height and control alterations
  • Single length helps beginners focus on one swing plane
  • High launch angle for better control and spin results

CONS

  • Awkward sound made upon contact
  • Single length clubs may have adjustment period

Best for new golfers looking to manage control and have a single swing to work on. Single length clubs popularized recently by Bryson DeChambeau make it easy for golfers to learn one swing with one length of club. Mazel emphasizes making golf fun for beginners.

A low center of gravity and evenly distributed club face weight help inexperienced golfers stay on or near the fairway from the first round to the last. The single length clubs help new golfers repeat a swing over and over without having to adjust stance or compensate for club length. Mazel makes it easy to play these irons right out of the box or bag.

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Beginners Best Friend Iron Set

The combination of the single length irons and face design are great for beginners. Allowing golfers to focus on enhancing a single swing plane and type makes the game more enjoyable for those will little or no experience or training. Mazel made these for some of the most inexperienced golfers to hit straight and avoid astray mishits.

Instead of putting a lot of bells and whistles into the design of the iron face, Mazel instead balanced the weight on the clubs to make it easy to swing. An emphasis putting the center of gravity low in the club face gives a higher launch angle without requiring adjustments to the swing. 

Simple Design with a Sound Flaw

Single length clubs and a simply designed club face mean golfers have the ability to get a good set of clubs without breaking the bank. With available graphite and stainless steel shafts, golfers are able to have some customization based on their swing speed.

The one major drawback is an odd sound the clubs make on contact. This doesn’t have much to do with the performance of the clubs but somewhat disheartening when you hit a great iron shot and the sounds doesn’t give that perfect ping. An emphasis on ease of use makes the Mazel very important for new golfers.

Japan WaZaki Hybrid Iron Golf Club Set

Best Golf Iron Set for Distance and Accuracy

Japan WaZaki 4-SW USGA R A Rules Hybrid Irons Golf Club Set,14K Gold Finish,Mens Regular Flex,65g Graphite Tit Shaft,Standard Length,Limited Edition,with Covers,Pack of 16
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Overall Score94.3%
Price92%
Game Improvement93%
Club Head Design94%
Club and Material Construction98%

PROS

  • Hybrid design for all clubs means more control 
  • Bushikadna shaft is unique in design and incredibly durable
  • Finish and color scheme is the most visually appealing set

CONS

  • All hybrid set may be difficult to hit for some golfers

This hybrid iron set brings Japanese design and precision to the golf course. Hybrids naturally make hitting irons out of the fairway cleaner. The design of this all hybrid set is top in the class of irons available. A unique shaft material design makes these clubs incredibly durable with a long life.

A unique hybrid shape only made by this club manufacturer delivery both distance and accuracy rivaled only by few. On top of world class performance, the irons are incredibly easy to look at with a unique color scheme. The major drawback is the all hybrid set can be unappealing to some. If you struggle with hitting hybrids, this is not a set for you.

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Unrivaled Shaft Performance and Design

These irons are designed with one of the best performing shafts available on the market, the Bushikadna shaft. A unique blend of titanium and carbon generates incredible power and durability. Titanium is a nearly indestructible material and the interweaving of carbon yields appropriate flexibility.

The shaft comes in three different stiffnesses to meet the needs of each golfer depending on swing speed. A black oil finish makes these clubs look almost like a black samurai sword as they come out of your bag glinting in the sun. The hosel is specifically designed to translate energy from the high performing shaft into the hybrid club heads. 

Hybrid Performance and Control

A major benefit of hybrid club heads is the size. The Wazaki iron heads are designed to be larger than the average cavity backed irons on the market. A hybrid club head helps control shots by keeping the weight evenly distributed throughout the club.

Wazaki used superior manufacturing knowledge and capabilities to create a razor thin club face to move the center of gravity forward and lower on the face of the club. This works to lower spin and create a higher launch angle. One of the major drawbacks for these irons is the amount of spin generated by a hybrid design. Golfers looking to generate more spin should consider a traditional iron design

TaylorMade Golf MCGB Men’s Iron Set

Best Swing Speed Enhancer

TaylorMade Golf MCGB Men's Iron Set (Set of 8 total clubs: Graphite Senior Flex 4-PW SW Iron Set, Right Hand)
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Overall Grade90%
Price86%
Game Improvement94%
Club Head Design91%
Club and Material Construction89%

PROS

  • Unique weighting design to balance distance and control 
  • Club head design for all range of skill levels
  • Durable shaft that doubles as a trajectory enhancing element

CONS

  • Weighting may throw of golf swing without adjusting

Great for players looking for additional swing speed with irons. Taylormade consistently designs and engineers premium irons and clubs. This set is specially designed for golfers that want faster swing speeds with their irons. These irons focus on speed by changing the center of gravity towards the bottom of the iron face.

Even the hosel, which connects the shaft to the club head, is fluted to maximize aerodynamics. The design goes far add milled titanium coins near the bottom of the club to increase the trajectory height and balance power and control. Designed for speed and power, this Taylormade iron set pushes the limits of club head speed and distance. 

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Forgiveness without Sacrificing Distance

Many iron sets that focus on control by balancing the weight throughout the bottom of the club typically see losses in distance and ball spin. TaylorMade goes the extra mile on this iron set with the titanium coins at the bottom of the iron heads. Titanium have a higher bounce factor than regular stainless steel.

Even though the weight is distributed across the bottom of the club head, the extra bounce of the titanium coins benefits golfers distance off the tee. The location of the coins pushes the center of gravity lower giving a better trajectory and more control without sacrificing distance. 

Created for Higher Club Head and Ball Speed

In addition to a low center of gravity to maximize launch angle and trajectory, TaylorMade designed every aspect of these irons to increase energy transfer at the point of attack. The hosel is fluted for more aerodynamics and faster club head speed. Additionally, TaylorMade designed the material combination to increase the coefficient of restitution which translates to more ball compression and more ball speed.

Although the cushion typically means a heavier club head and slower club head speeds, TaylorMade has made a more slim design to increase speed through the swing zone. The more balanced weight means golfers will experience balance of distance and control.


About Golf Irons

You will use your Irons the most, covering everything from short, mid and long-range shots, excepting when you are less than 200 yards away from the green.

Thus, you will need more than one Iron, and generally, Irons come in sets that include six to eight individual irons. The typical iron set consists of, but not limited to the 3-,4-,5-,6-,7-,8-, and 9-irons.

Golf Irons

A Gap/Approach Wedge (AW), and/or a Pitching Wedge (PW), is 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, and the number upfront indicates 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 will include a Pitching Wedge. 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.

Here’s how to choose your golf irons:


Putter

Modern iron sets nowadays also come with steel or graphite shafts, and as with drivers, the flexibility of your shafts will greatly affect your performance.

Technological developments surrounding the iron sets are focused on getting the clubhead to travel quicker at impact without requiring more swing speed. Thus, modern iron sets have reduced shaft weights while the clubhead weights are increased.

Some manufacturers have also developed hollow body irons to further reduce the weights of the shaft, while the heads are made in a couple of pieces.

Forgiveness is also a major issue for an iron set, and thus many new technologies are developed to adjust the center of gravity of the iron to improve stability.


Choosing Your Irons

There are three major types of iron sets. They are designed to fit a particular skill level, so you might consider choosing one that suits your current level:

  • 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.

Many beginners replaced the long irons, such as the 3- and 4- with hybrids, which are easier to hit with better forgiveness on off-center hits. Using fairway woods such as 7- and 9- woods will also produce similar effects. You might consider modifying your iron set with woods or hybrids for easier playability.


Choosing The Right Shafts For Your Irons

Here are the general guidelines in choosing the right shafts for your iron set. Use the 6-iron as your baseline.

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

Things You Need to Consider When Buying the Best Golf Irons

Price

Most of us don’t have thousands of dollars to spend on custom fitting sessions and custom built clubs. For most casual to semi-serious golfers off the shelf or out of the box clubs are perfect and will fit most needs. Golfers can get a high quality series of irons without breaking the bank or spending hours in simulators getting fitted for clubs.

An important consideration and factor into the price of iron sets is the number of irons in the set.  Some iron sets go from 4 – PW or 4 – SW. Material is another consideration. Any iron set with titanium will normally carry a higher price tag because of the value of the metal. Many other premium brands have invested millions in the technology and the more they add the higher the price tag

Game Improvement

Golfers don’t typically buy things unless they will help improve their game. Especially on a major purchase like an iron set. Many premium brands have been able to manipulate some of their top performing tour irons into a cavity back designed clubs to be more forgiving. The recent spike in golf technology means manufacturers are able to make minor improvements that go a long way for improvement.

One of the biggest game improvement aspects is control. The review looks at each of the control aspects and assigns a better rating for more control features. Conversely, if the control elements go too far, then the distance is sacrificed which brings the overall game improvement score down. Another important aspect of game improvement is how the manufacturers are able to have options available to golfers of all skill levels.

Club Head Design

This is where the swing transfers all the energy of a swing into the ball. Manufacturers that focus on increasing the Coefficient of Restitution (COR) which is essentially how fast the ball can bounce off the club face. Many different factors go into the COR calculation including material type, cavity depth, and balance of weight in the club head.

For example, a softer metal translates to a lower COR factor and translates to less distance. Another factor important to a high-quality club head is how the weight is distributed in the face. Different center of gravity locations translates to higher or lower launch angles which move the distance of each club. Also, the grooving and face design is a factor in how it translates to on-course performance.

Club and Material Construction

Many of the premium manufacturers have perfected their club construction. The weak points are the hosel which connects the iron head to the shaft. Any manufacturers that have a weakness at this junction point will see club heads fly off down range. A critical characteristic is in the manufacturing process of the materials.

Many clubs use standard stainless steel which is a high-quality material but not as good or usable for golf clubs, there are many other metals usable in golf club design. A harder metal is more advantageous to distance and pushing the higher COR value.  Manufacturers that use more durable materials in their club head and shaft design are more desirable for golfers that don’t have thousands to spend each year on a new set of clubs. 


Questions & Answers

What characteristics should I look for in great golf irons?

Great golf irons are only as good as the comfort golfers have when swinging with them. You will want to visit a local pro shop or free professional demo center to see if the clubs you are swinging are comfortable. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to purchase custom length or shaft stiffness irons, golf stores with demo areas can give golfers multiple options.

You will want to look for clubs made of good materials like stainless steel, carbon fiber, or titanium. Great irons will also suit your skill level and style of play. Iron club heads need to be similar material to the shafts. Avoid club heads that have iron in them as they tend to be more brittle. 

Don’t worry too much about the grips, most golf shops can easily replace the grips with something that fits your hands for a small fee. 

What are the different types of irons available?

There are three different types of golf irons typically made by golf manufacturers like Ping. Tour, forged, and cast. Tour irons are made for the pros and are the least forgiving irons since they are able to hit a smaller sweet spot consistently there isn’t a need for weight distribution or cavities. 

Forged irons are great for advanced skill players because they are made from a single piece of steel and typically have stronger properties born from the forging process. 

Cast irons are poured into a mold. They are best for add-ons like perimeter weighting or screw ins to move the weight around in the club. Most clubs in the non-professional market are going to be cast. It is easier to adjust the weight and make a club more forgiving. 

What is the difference between blade and cavity design?

The nickname of blades comes from the thickness of the iron near the bottom of the club. Several years ago, club designers figured out they could more weight near the bottom center of the club. This gives golfers more control and better feedback of shots when they hit them well. On the converse, inexperienced or lower-skill golfers will have trouble hitting blades. The focused center of gravity means mishits are more likely to go further of the current path. Less experienced golfers should avoid buying blades because their game will suffer.

Cavity-backed designed clubs work almost the opposite. They are more forgiving for lower-skilled players. The cavity spreads out the weight more evenly throughout the head of the irons. This translates into less sporadically fired shots but reduces the feedback and ability to shape shots like the pros. For golfers that don’t have the luxury of hitting a thousand golf balls every day or professional trainers perfecting their swing, opt for a cavity-backed designed club. 

What shaft should I pick for my iron set?

The shaft will depend on your club head speed. A stiffer shaft will lend to give stronger players more club speed and whip through the contact zone of their golf swing. A stronger golfer wouldn’t benefit from a less stiff shaft because the over rotation and speed of the swing would work against them as the club head will always lag behind the hands causing the club head to remain open through contact.

Consider making a trip to your local golf pro or store and ask the local shop pro to measure your club head speed. They will be able to point you in the right direction of club shaft stiffness. The stiffness is measured as the flex and ranges from Extra Stiff (XS) to Ladies (L). To give a better idea of what each of these means, a golfer that can hit a 6 iron 175+ yards would need an extra stiff. A golfer that hits with a 6 iron between 130 and 155 yards requires a stiff shaft. 

Weight is also a factor in an iron set, especially if you are getting custom clubs. The biggest effect weight will have is on swing tempo. Too light, club head speed increase but accuracy decreases greatly. Too heavy, club head speed decreases, and ball shape changes greatly.