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.”
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.
Last updated on 2021-06-19. The links are affiliate links. Product images are served from Amazon Product Advertising API.
Table of Contents
- The Rundown:
- Featured Recommendations
- 13 Best Golf Irons in 2021
- Callaway Golf Men’s Rogue X Irons Set
- TaylorMade SIM MAX OS Irons
- LAZRUS Premium Forged Golf Wedge Set for Men
- TaylorMade SIM MAX Irons
- Callaway Mavrik Irons
- TaylorMade M4 Iron Set
- Mazel Single Length Golf Club Irons Set
- Japan WaZaki Hybrid Iron Golf Club Set
- TaylorMade Golf MCGB Men’s Iron Set
- TaylorMade SIM MAX 2 OS Irons
- Callaway Big Bertha B21 Irons
- TaylorMade M6 Irons
- Cleveland Launcher Turbo HB Irons
- Callaway Golf Men’s Rogue X Irons Set
- Things You Need to Consider When Buying the Best Golf Irons
- Best Irons for Low Handicappers
- Best Irons for Mid Handicappers
- Best Irons for High Handicappers
13 Best Golf Irons in 2021
Here are the best golf irons:
- Best Overall: Callaway Rogue X Iron Set
- Most Forgiving: TaylorMade SIM MAX OS Irons
- Best Budget Option: LAZARUS Premium Forged Set
- Upper-Tier Option for Mid Handicappers: TaylorMade SIM MAX Irons
- Best for Mid Handicappers: Callaway Mavrik Irons
- Best Club Designs: TaylorMade M4 Iron Set
- Best for Beginners: Mazel Single Length Golf Club Irons Set
- Best for Distance and Accuracy: Japan WaZaki Hybrid Iron Golf Club Set
- Best Swing Speed Enhancer: TaylorMade Golf MCGB Men’s Iron Set
- Best For High Handicappers: TaylorMade SIM MAX 2 OS Irons
- Best For Increasing Distance: Callaway Big Bertha B21 Irons
- Best for Low Handicappers: TaylorMade M6 Irons
- Best for Seniors: Cleveland Launcher Turbo HB Irons
Callaway Golf Men’s Rogue X Irons Set
Best Overall: All that Callaway has to Offer in a Single Set of Irons
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 irons 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.
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 ball 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.
The TaylorMade SIM MAX OS irons are ideal for high handicappers and beginning golfers who want to grow into their equipment.
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. The LAZARUS Premium Forged Set 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.
TaylorMade SIM MAX Irons
Upper-Tier Game Improvement Irons for Mid Handicappers
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.
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
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.
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
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 speed 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.
Mazel Single Length Golf Club Irons Set
Best for Beginners Looking for More Control
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.
Japan WaZaki Hybrid Iron Golf Club Set
Best for Distance and Accuracy
The Japan WaZaki Hybrid Iron Golf Club 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.
TaylorMade Golf MCGB Men’s Iron Set
Best Swing Speed Enhancer
Great for players looking for additional swing speed with irons. Taylormade consistently designs and engineers premium irons and clubs. The TaylorMade Golf MCGB Men’s Iron 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.
TaylorMade SIM MAX 2 OS Irons
Best Golf Irons For High Handicappers
For a premium oversized iron set, that is great for high handicappers, the latest iron set from TaylorMade, the SIM MAX 2 OS Irons, is a delightful option. Available in several different set combinations, the SIM MAX 2 OS offers wonderful distance, incredible forgiveness, and an improved damping system for better feel.
The oversized head shape offers a progressive face height with a wide sole that boosts distance. The face also is bolstered by the new Cap Back design to increase distance and stiffen the head.
For golfers that need smoother distance with increased feel, the SIM MAX 2 OS Irons are unmatched among its competitors. It’s also the perfect alternative to Callaway X Hot Irons.
Callaway Big Bertha B21 Irons
Best Golf Irons For Increasing Distance
If you are looking to increase distance with your equipment, Callaway has made the perfect iron set with their last, the Big Bertha B21 Irons. These irons were designed with distance in mind and the set is very successful in adding yards to each shot.
The clubs have been engineered to provide more confidence throughout the swing. From the moment you stand over the ball, the B21’s profile offers a clean look to the ball for perfect alignment.
The clubs also feature wide soles that provide exceptional turf interaction with incredibly easy launch, low spin, increased ball speed, and straighter shots into the green. A delightfully fun set that is worth consideration, the Big Bertha B21 is an absolute winner.
TaylorMade M6 Irons
Best Golf Irons for Low Handicappers
From TaylorMade comes a great iron set for experienced golfers, the M6 Irons. Available in a set configuration that includes two wedges, the M6 features the company’s patented Speed Bridge bar across the back of the head.
Along with that distance-boosting feature, the M6 also has a Speed Pocket behind the face that dampens vibration and increases flexibility. The irons also feature high MOI, tall launch, and a large, inviting sweet spot for extended length.
For advanced golfers, the M6 offers sophistication rarely seen from a cavity-back iron. While most low handicappers might want a forged iron, those that don’t will really enjoy the complexity and performance of the M6.
Cleveland Launcher Turbo HB Irons
Best Golf Irons for Seniors
For senior golfers looking to boost their distance, shot height, and overall improvement of their game, should consider the Cleveland Launcher Turbo HB Irons. The set features hollow construction with the shape of hybrids that run throughout the collection.
While the lower golf irons aren’t true hybrids, they do feature a wide sole, large sweet spot, and crisp contact. The low center of gravity deep inside the club head boosts launch for greater carry.
Each Turbo HB iron takes advantage of the progressive hollow shaping for seamless transition from club to club, so the hybrids feel the same as the low irons.
The Cleveland Launcher set is a well-crafted collection that will increase the game’s enjoyment for any senior golfer.
Things You Need to Consider When Buying the Best Golf Irons
Cavity Back vs Blade
Cavity Back is 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 beginners and those with higher (25+) handicaps.
On the other hand, blades are 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
The newest iron sets offer the best and latest technologies in iron sets. The reason that golfers need to update their iron sets every few years is to take advantage of the technology. Manufacturers create new irons that offer more distance, better accuracy, and higher levels of forgiveness.
By adjusting the center of gravity, stiffening the back of the iron, and increasing the launch from the face, golfers can utilize the newest technologies to their advantage. Since most amateurs need to lengthen the distance of their shots, a new iron featuring the latest innovations can certainly help achieve this goal.
Unlike the latest drivers, irons can’t really be adjusted straight from the manufacturer. While that might seem like a deterrent of buying off the shelf, that should not stop you from buying a set that catches your eye.
The reason you should still consider buying a set is that customization and adjustability can come after purchase. With the help of a club fitter, you can adjust loft and face angle to meet your optimal specifications.
It is important to remember that your irons can be adjusted after a few rounds, so you can first get a sense of what you want more of from your iron set.
Skill is incredibly important when determining the type of iron set you purchase. If you are an advanced golfer, a forged set, otherwise known as blades, might be ideal for your game. These professional irons offer incredible shot shaping and impact quality.
For amateurs, a game-improvement iron, usually in the shape of a cavity-backed iron, is important to consider. These cavity-backed irons offer higher launch, more forgiveness, and better distance.
Between the two iron sets, advanced golfers can certainly play with cavity-backed irons, but inexperienced golfers cannot play with bladed-irons. So, when considering what irons work best for your game, first consider your skill set.
Forged vs Cast Irons
When looking at forged versus cast irons, skill set is an important factor to consider. Forged irons are thinner and offer more shot-shaping ability, but that control comes at a cost because these irons are incredibly difficult to find consistency without an elite skill set.
Cast irons are made for golfers that need help with a specific aspect of their game. Whether it be distance or forgiveness, these irons are made to increase launch, extend distance, and dampen vibration.
For experienced golfers looking to take their game to the next level, forged irons could be the ticket to success. The same is true for beginning and inexperienced players as cast irons could offer the help needed to dramatically improve their game.
Best Irons for Low Handicappers
When it comes to finding the right irons for low handicappers, there are a lot of choices. Golfers at this skill level can play blade or forged irons, or stay with an advanced game-improvement iron.
These golfers typically want control from their irons, something that game-improvement irons don’t provide enough of for these advanced players. That said, blade and forged irons offer a smaller, more compact hitting area and do allow for more precision and customization over their game.
The best irons for low handicappers offer exceptional distance, fabulous accuracy, and the ability to shape shots with ease.
Best Irons for Mid Handicappers
For mid handicap, the best set of irons offer distance, accuracy, and reliability. After a golfer makes the jump from being a high handicapper to scoring in the 80s, the next step is finding irons that help refine and advance their game.
While these irons don’t offer the control and shotmaking ability of forged irons, these cavity-back irons do allow the golfer to lift the ball into the air and gently push the ball from side to side.
These dynamically capable irons offer lower center of gravity, a wider sweet spot, sharp grooves, and a wide sole for smooth turf interaction.
Best Irons for High Handicappers
For high handicappers, the goal of each round is to find consistency with their shotmaking. The best irons for high handicappers offer forgiveness, easy lift of the golf ball, and marvelous carry and distance with each swing.
Commonly referred to as super game-improvement irons, the clubs have one job in mind; to get the ball into the air and to fly straight toward the intended target. Since most golfers in the skill range struggle with sidespin, these irons are built to reduce the penalty of slices and hooks for more consistent height.
All of these irons for high handicappers offer an oversized hitting area, fantastic distance, outstanding forgiveness, and impressive consistency.