The 10 Best Irons For Beginners & High Handicappers (2020 Update)

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

Last Update:

The Rundown:

Best Irons For High Handicappers: TaylorMade M6 Iron Set
“The M6 Iron is perfect for a high handicapper looking to grow into his next set of clubs. Not only does the M6 iron set produce high launch and piercing flight, but it also offers wonderful feel and response.”

Best Premium Iron Set: TaylorMade SIM MAX Iron Set
“The TaylorMade SIM MAX is a game changer for high handicappers – if you have the budget for it. One of the longest irons we tested, the SIM MAX set can absolutely muscle a golf ball toward your intended target with high launch and a soft landing.”

Best Budget Pick: TaylorMade M2 Iron Set
“If you want a high performing iron set, yet very affordable, then look at the TaylorMade M2 Irons – it has all the essentials of a great set at an unbeatable price.”

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Here’s the best iron sets reviewed in the article:

Sources researched
17
Sources researched
Customer reviews
18,439
Customer reviews
Hours spent testing
26
Hours spent testing
Products tested
10
Products tested

Best Irons In 2020

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Our Top Pick
TaylorMade Golf M6 Iron Set, 5-PW, AW, Right Hand, Regular Flex Shaft: KBS Max 85
Our Premium Pick
TaylorMade SIM MAX Irons, Graphite Shaft, Fujikura Ventus Blue, 5-PW, AW, Right Hand, Regular Flex
Our Budget Pick
TaylorMade Golf M2 Iron Set 4-PW Left Hand Graphite Regular Flex
Best For
Best irons for beginners
Best for ambitious beginners who want the best
Best for beginners on a budget
Pro 1
Speed Bridge produces stability with low vibration for better feel
Incredibly flexible face offers wonderful forgiveness with high launch
Thin, hot face gives the golfer maximizes ball speed at impact
Pro 2
Wider sole with speed pocket creates incredible swing speed
Ultra-thin face produces staggeringly high swing and ball speed after impact
Geocoustic engineering helps produce outstanding forgiveness with increased swing speed
Our Top Pick
Thumbnail
TaylorMade Golf M6 Iron Set, 5-PW, AW, Right Hand, Regular Flex Shaft: KBS Max 85
Product Name
Best For
Best irons for beginners
Pro 1
Speed Bridge produces stability with low vibration for better feel
Pro 2
Wider sole with speed pocket creates incredible swing speed
Our Premium Pick
Thumbnail
TaylorMade SIM MAX Irons, Graphite Shaft, Fujikura Ventus Blue, 5-PW, AW, Right Hand, Regular Flex
Best For
Best for ambitious beginners who want the best
Pro 1
Incredibly flexible face offers wonderful forgiveness with high launch
Pro 2
Ultra-thin face produces staggeringly high swing and ball speed after impact
Our Budget Pick
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TaylorMade Golf M2 Iron Set 4-PW Left Hand Graphite Regular Flex
Product Name
Best For
Best for beginners on a budget
Pro 1
Thin, hot face gives the golfer maximizes ball speed at impact
Pro 2
Geocoustic engineering helps produce outstanding forgiveness with increased swing speed

Last updated on 2020-10-29. The links are affiliate links. Product images are served from Amazon Product Advertising API.

Best Irons For Beginners & High Handicappers

TaylorMade M6 Iron Set

Best Irons For Beginners: High Launch, Long Distance Iron for High Handicappers

TaylorMade Golf M6 Iron Set, 5-PW, AW, Right Hand, Regular Flex Shaft: KBS Max 85
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KEY FEATURES

  • Speed Bridge produces stability with low vibration for better feel
  • Wider sole with speed pocket creates incredible swing speed
  • Lower center of gravity helps lift the ball with maximum speed

An explosively long iron, the TaylorMade M6 Iron Set is ready for primetime, great for a high handicapper looking to grow into their next set of clubs. Not only does the M6 iron set produce high launch and piercing flight, but the collection offers wonderful feel and response.

Featuring the new Speed Bridge structure along the back of the iron, the M6 set delivers fabulous swing speed to the golf ball. The Speed Bridge binds and stiffens the iron’s face, reducing vibration for better feel with higher swing speed. The M6 is our pick for the best irons for high handicappers & beginners.

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The face on the M6 irons is one of the thinnest that the company has ever produced. The new design utilizes the TaylorMade’s Inverted Cone Technology for balanced ball speed across the entire face. Even if you hit the ball toward the toe, the M6 helps produce high speed with max forgiveness.

The sound and feel of the M6 Irons are first-rate. Mainly due to the HYBRAR compression damper in the face, you’ll notice a completely solid feel at impact.

The groove system on the M6 irons also help produce high spin with the low irons for shot stopping power on the greens. A wide sweet spot on the face also works well with the grooves to help produce quality contact on swing after swing.

During our testing, we noted that the M6 irons may be a little pricey when compared to other starter sets. But if you are interested in getting better at golf more quickly, it is hard to deny the craftsmanship and performance of the TaylorMade M6 Irons.

TaylorMade SIM MAX Iron Set

Premium Choice: Lightweight, High Speed Irons for High Handicappers

TaylorMade SIM MAX Irons, Graphite Shaft, Fujikura Ventus Blue, 5-PW, AW, Right Hand, Regular Flex
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KEY FEATURES

  • Incredibly flexible face offers wonderful forgiveness with high launch
  • Ultra-thin face produces staggeringly high swing and ball speed after impact
  • ECHO Dampening System helps produce better feel and response without vibration

The SIM MAX Irons from TaylorMade stand alone as one of the longest iron sets we’ve ever tested for high handicappers. With an integrated Speed Bridge and Speed Pocket, the SIM MAX set can absolutely muscle a golf ball toward your intended target with high launch and a soft landing.

One of the best iron sets on the market today for any level of golfer, the TaylorMade SIM MAX is a game changer for high handicappers.

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The center of gravity in the SIM MAX is also iron specific, giving you a tailored shot shape with each number of iron. For example, the center of gravity in the 9-iron is much lower than the 5-iron. Where the 9-iron will lift the ball with a high arc, the 5-iron will have a much more moderate flight to achieve maximum distance.

The ECHO Damping System is another standout feature with these irons. Built into the club head, the ECHO system works from the heel to the toe to give you a solid, forged-like feel with these cavity-backed irons.

Another characteristic with the SIM MAX Irons worth paying attention to, is the ultra-thin face. Over 17% thinner than the previous iron set from the company, this hot face can absolutely crush a golf ball. Over other TaylorMade iron models, you are going to find more ball speed with the SIM MAX edition.

TaylorMade M2 Iron Set

Best Value For Money: High Launch, Maximum Distance Irons for Beginning Golfers

TaylorMade Golf M2 Iron Set 4-PW Left Hand Graphite Regular Flex
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KEY FEATURES

  • Thin, hot face gives the golfer maximizes ball speed at impact
  • Geocoustic engineering helps produce outstanding forgiveness with increased swing speed
  • Deep, low center of gravity for high launch at impact

If you are looking for an older iron set that is a high performer and very affordable, then look at the TaylorMade M2 Irons.

Crafted with Geocoustic engineering that creates outrageously solid feel and response at impact, the M2 Irons are a real pleasure to hit on the course.

For the M2 set, it all centers around the low center of gravity buried deep inside the club head. A perfect set that is sure to shave those rough edges off your game, the TaylorMade M2 Irons delivers marvelous performance at a very reasonable price.

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Iron sets, like the M2, also provide perimeter weighting around the outside of the club head to provide clean, repeatable contact along with forgiveness. The balance provided by the weighting helps keep the club level through the impact zone. This benefit assists high handicappers in getting to the next level with their swing speed.

The M2 Irons feature the company’s innovative Speed Pocket behind the club face. Promoting high levels of flexibility, the Speed Pocket increases ball speed, even on off-center strikes.

During our testing, we found that the M2 Irons provided long distance with the room to shape shots. This set is a wonderful collection to grow into for experienced beginners who have some lessons and rounds under their belt.

The set is available with either graphite or steel shafts and comes with a 4-iron through a pitching wedge.

Cleveland Launcher HB Turbo Irons

Best Hybrid Irons for Beginning Golfers

Cleveland Golf Launcher Turbo HB Iron Set 4-P GR R LH
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KEY FEATURES

  • High strength face produces staggering swing speed with marvelous distance
  • Hollow body keeps clubs light for max distance and ball speed
  • Low, deep center of gravity weighting helps create additional carry for more length

Cleveland’s popular Launcher series of woods gets a slight makeover here with the company’s Launcher Turbo HB Iron Set. Each iron in this set has a hybrid shaped back to the iron for better stability, turf interaction, and launch angle.

These irons have been designed to produce straightforward results for high handicappers. You won’t be able to work these irons to create shot shape like with blades or forged irons. But that’s not the point with the Launcher set.

These irons get the ball into the air and down toward the target, and they do so with accuracy and precision.

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One of the best features of the iron set is the progressive hollow shaping of the club head. The lack of material keeps the irons lightweight for maximum swing speed. And when combined with the large, smooth sole of the Cleveland irons, you create crisp, clean contact that travels with depth and distance.

Another feature worth noting is the turbocharged face, created specifically for the Launcher Turbo HB set. The strong, thin face is hotter than other hybrid iron sets for more ball speed. High handicappers need more speed on their swings to maximize distance and these irons accomplish that feat with style.

The Launcher Turbo HB set starts with a 4-hybrid and comes with a pitching wedge. There’s another edition available that adds an A-wedge if you would like to fill out your set. 

A blast to play with on your favorite course, the Cleveland Launcher Turbo HB Irons produce jaw-dropping results.

Callaway Rogue X Irons

Runner-up: Outstanding Forgiveness, Long Distance Irons for High Handicappers

Callaway Golf 2020 Rogue X Irons and Combo Sets (Left Hand, Steel, Regular, Iron Set: 5-PW, AW)
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KEY FEATURES

  • 360 Face Cup and VFT technology amplifies the ball and swing speed for max distance
  • Lightweight feel with excellent response produces smooth swing
  • Low center of gravity boosts launch for high, long shots that are accurate and straight

Callaway’s Rogue X Irons are very popular for beginning golfers and high handicappers.

With several wonderful innovations, these irons play long and offer superb forgiveness. If you are having trouble getting the ball into the air with consistency, then the Rogue X Irons could be the answer for you.

Great for high handicappers looking to make a jump in the skill level, the Rogue X Irons deliver high performance for an affordable price.

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Another feature worth noting is the deep, low center of gravity that increases launch without sacrificing distance. For high handicappers and beginning golfers, extending distance and carry comes with hitting the ball higher. The Rogue X Irons produce jaw-dropping launch that certainly helps improve the distance of your shots.

The most popular combination for the Rogue X Irons is offered here. Starting with a 5-iron and including a pitching and A-wedge, the set is sure to complement your current woods and hybrids. 

You can also choose between steel and graphite shafts for the Rogue X set. For high handicappers, it might be wise to go with the graphite version to increase swing speed, although steel offers excellent stability.

Cobra T-Rail Hybrid Irons

Best Hybrid Irons for High Handicappers

Cobra Golf 2020 T-Rail Iron Combo Set (Men's, Right Hand, Graphite, Reg Flex, 4H,5-PW)
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KEY FEATURES

  • Hollow construction produces lightweight, hybrid feel with powerful impact on golf ball
  • Baffler rails on sole of clubs improve turf interaction and allow club to slide through impact zone
  • High launch with stunning forgiveness makes irons ideal for high handicapper

Cobra’s latest creation to help high handicappers is their T-Rail Irons.

These irons have the body and soul of a hybrid wood, but with the lofts of your favorite short irons. High handicappers will be floored at how high these irons launch the ball and with the muscle rarely seen from a set like the T-Rail edition.

With long distance and exceptional consistency, the Cobra T-Rail Hybrid Irons are a winner worth checking out.

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The set offers a four-hybrid wood to begin the set, but then offers more compact irons from 5-iron through pitching wedge. The main difference between the wood and the irons with this T-Rail combo set is the width of the sole. The wood is quite wide to help you power the ball down the fairway, while the iron is a bit shorter to give you that quality turf interaction with more bite into the soil.

During our testing, we were very impressed with the turf interaction produced by the T-Rail irons. Because of the Baffler Rails along the sole of the irons, these clubs smoothly cut through the impact zone with balance for better contact. The resulting shots are high, soft, and long, ideal for an inexperienced golfer looking to improve their game.

The feel and response of the T-Rail irons is also worth noting. The irons are hollow, giving them a lighter weight for faster swing speeds. For the beginner or high handicapper, improving swing speed is absolutely necessary to getting better and these irons help the golfer do just that for their game.

TaylorMade M4 Iron Set

Latest technology for high ball flight and fewer missed shots

TaylorMade M4 Iron Set 4-PW GW Fujikura Atmos 5 Red Graphite Senior Right Handed 39.25in
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Overall Score98%
Distance97%
Accuracy98%
Feel86%
Durability96%
Value95%

PROS

  • Great looks for this set of irons
  • Excellent forgiveness and feel
  • Max distance on mis-hits

CONS

  • May have too much offset if you tend to hook the ball

Offered with either Graphite or Steel shafts in a variety of flexes, the M4 is an iron versatile enough to benefit both rote beginners and more experienced players.

The ball flight produced is high and straight, with very good error correction on poorly struck shots.

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In a year when the market for irons is more glutted than it’s ever been, it takes a lot to stand out as the best.

TaylorMade’s engineers have been working overtime to wring every ounce of distance and forgiveness out of their iron designs, resulting in the TaylorMade M4 Iron Set.

Their new “RIBCOR” technology is designed to increase the springiness of the clubface (technically referred to as the “coefficient of restitution”) across the whole face instead of focusing the spring at the middle of the clubface.

TaylorMade M4 Iron Set

This results in incredibly precise distance control, especially on mis-hits. That translates into fewer missed greens and lost balls, and more birdie and par opportunities.

The thick topline and nice offset sit very nicely behind the ball, inspiring confidence that you’ll make a good swing on it. The offset is enough that it’ll help correct a bad slice but not so extreme that alignment is still fairly simple.

Even the small touch of removing a bit of metal from the hosel (where the shaft enters the club) has the effect of allowing them to provide a lower center of gravity, which will help beginners get the ball up in the air quickly.

Looks-wise, these clubs are gorgeous! They have a great look at address, sitting nicely behind the ball.

The back of the clubface has a cool carbon fiber pattern, and a distinct “speed slot”, which is a narrow channel right behind the clubface that helps maximize springiness of the clubface and enhance distance on thin shots.

Together with the thin face, the “RIBCOR” technology in the M4 irons provide top-notch distance no matter where on the clubface you strike the ball.

So what is RIBCOR? Well, COR stands for “Coefficient of Restitution”, which means how springy the clubface is. The USGA has set limits on COR, so most irons made today have the max allowable COR in the sweet spot.

What TaylorMade has done with RIBCOR is to include two “ribs” on the heel and toe of the club so that the COR is maximized across the whole clubface instead of just in the sweet spot.

This provides more distance on off-center hits, and also helps ensure a straighter ball flight.

There’s also a unique-looking “fluted” hosel, with a tiny bit of weight taken off the hosel and redistributed to the clubhead to enhance forgiveness. It’s these little design touches that really make these clubs next-level.

They feel as good as any irons I’ve hit, and I found it remarkable how straight the ball flew.

Toe shots that normally hook badly just drew back towards the target, and thin shots still flew far enough to reach the green.

There’s a lot of variety available in the set makeup, depending on how much you like hitting long irons.

The set is offered starting with a 4-iron or a 5-iron, and they also offer options that include an A-Wedge (often referred to as a gap wedge) and even a sand wedge.

These multiple wedge options are nice for beginners, as it can help inspire confidence to have the same look throughout your whole set of clubs.

In today’s game, wedges are very important and I recommend carrying a gap wedge, so the inclusion of an A-Wedge option is a nice touch.

You can order these with graphite or steel shafts in flexes ranging from Ladies to Stiff, as well as both right-hand and left-hand options.

We have also reviewed the driver version of the TaylorMade M4.

Taylor Made P790 Mens Iron Set

Best premium iron set: if you’re serious about golf and want the very best

P790 4-P/Rh S (Set of 7 total clubs: 4-PW, Right Hand, Stiff Flex)
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Overall Score98%
Distance97%
Accuracy98%
Feel86%
Durability96%
Value95%

PROS

  • Advanced tech and materials
  • Good forgiveness for this set of irons
  • Great distance

CONS

  • Thin topline could be intimidating for beginners
  • Less offset to help correct slices

Intermediate and advanced players will likely prefer the looks of these TaylorMade P790, and should find the forgiveness and feel of the SpeedFoam along with the workability of the irons to be worth the high price.

They’re elite irons for players who aren’t just starting out, but who are looking to upgrade from their beginner set as their game improves, which makes these our Upgrade Pick for 2020.

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TaylorMade’s other offering is also an exceptional performer, with an exceptionally high price tag to match.This is their first time offering a hollow iron that’s filled in with an elastomer polymer foam, which they claim will accentuate the spring effect of the clubface to create a large sweet spot and maximum distance.

However, the design of these irons is a little intimidating for true beginners. They’ve got a very thin topline and less offset than the TaylorMade M4 irons, and they just look a little bit harder to hit.

If you’d like to hit draws or fades but still have good distance forgiveness across the face, the P790 will let you shape shots and still provide excellent distance on mis-hits.

There’s also a tungsten weight placed to provide better height and forgiveness on thin shots.

The addition of tungsten and elastomer foam pushes the price so this iron set is tabbed as our upgrade pick, for better players looking to take their game to the next level.

If you’ve gotten good enough to want to start hitting controlled draws or fades, you may find that Game Improvement irons don’t work very well for that because they’re designed to hit the ball dead straight and nothing else.

Game Enhancement clubs are intended to give the best of both worlds: forgiveness on off-center hits but also workability when the ball is struck well.

And TaylorMade’s P790 irons utilize several different technological advancements to achieve this level of performance.

The design aspects under contention are a club with a hollow cavity that’s then filled with an elastomer polymer, and tungsten screws to provide great weight distribution.

The P790 irons bear some similarities to the TaylorMade M4 irons reviewed above. Most notably, they have a “cut-through speed pocket” to enhance forgiveness on thin shots.

However, the P790s add in a tungsten channel for perimeter weight distribution, and the elastomer polymer “SpeedFoam” that fills the interior cavity of the club is a pricey addition that TaylorMade says produces soft feel and groundbreaking distance.

The SpeedFoam does seem to work well on mis-hits across the face, as the feel is consistent on impacts everywhere on the clubface.

I found it difficult to tell if I’d hit it purely or missed the sweet spot, as the foam made all contact feel smooth and buttery. The results were hard to complain about, as most of the balls flew the expected distance and wound up near the target.

However, the looks and the price of these irons are what make me hesitate to recommend these to pure beginners. The topline is very thin, which can be intimidating.

While professionals usually prefer a thin topline, beginners often think they’ll be hard to hit. There’s also a slight “progressive offset”, but overall not much offset at all in the shorter irons.

You’ll only want Extra Stiff shafts if you’re swinging the club well over 100 mph and your 5 iron travels about 195 yards. Most golfers need either regular or stiff shafts, depending on clubhead speed and tempo.

The smoother your tempo, the more flex your shafts should have. If you have a quick tempo with a fast transition, you’ll want to go with a stiff flex to hold up to the quickness.

The sets are offered with either 3-iron through pitching wedge, or 4-iron through A-Wedge. Unless you’re nearly a scratch golfer, I’d suggest going with the 4-iron through A-Wedge set and using either a hybrid or 5-wood instead of a 3-iron.

Cleveland Golf Mens Launcher CBX Iron Set

Best for beginners on a budget: take advantage of current technology at an affordable price

Cleveland Golf 2018 Men's Launcher CBX Iron Set (Set of 7 total clubs: 4-PW, Right Hand, Regular, Graphite)
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Overall Score96%
Distance94%
Accuracy92%
Feel86%
Durability93%
Value93%

PROS

  • Low center of gravity equals high ball flight
  • Great out of the rough
  • Affordable

CONS

  • Not as forgiving as some other irons
  • Inconsistent distance

The Cleveland Launcher CBX is an attractive option for those looking to take advantage of current technology without spending an arm and a leg. That makes these our Budget Pick for 2020.

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Looking at the clubs straight on tells you why they’re called “Launcher”: they’ve positioned a big chunk of metal along the sole of the club to position the center of gravity as low as possible.

The low center of gravity is great for beginners who often have trouble getting iron shots high enough in the air.

Cleveland has also integrated some of the technology that makes their wedges so popular into the Launcher CBX irons, most notably the “Zip Grooves” that help provide exceptional backspin.

This backspin further assists in getting the ball into the air, but also helps in forgiveness and stopping power on the green.

The price of the Cleveland Launcher CBX is quite accessible, especially for a full iron set from one of golf’s top manufacturers.

The Cleveland Launcher CBX irons also use some of the technology that’s made Cleveland wedges so popular over the years. The “zip grooves” take advantage of Cleveland’s unique face-milling pattern to provide more backspin for better forgiveness and height. 

Their “feel balancing” technology locates the sweet spot right in the middle of the clubface and the low center of gravity provides a nice assist for players who have a hard time getting the ball up high in the air.

The Launcher CBX irons are offered with steel shafts or a slightly more expensive graphite option.

However, even the graphite shafted set of irons costs less than the steel-shafted TaylorMade M4 iron set. The sweet spot of the Cleveland Launcher CBX irons is smaller, and while the forgiveness is pretty good, you won’t see as much distance from mis-hits as you will with the huge sweet spot on the TaylorMade iron sets.

However, if you’re a slower swinger who might want to try out graphite shafts but you don’t want to break the bank, the Launcher CBX set of irons is a great option.

And if you’re a decent ball-striker but have trouble getting the ball up high in the air, the Launcher is an iron set that should fit nicely in your budget.

The Cleveland Launcher CBX irons are available in two configurations: 4-iron through pitching wedge or 4-iron through gap wedge.

It’s a nod to the fact that these are irons made for beginners that they don’t even offer a 3-iron option. The steel shafts are available in regular or stiff flex, and the graphite shafts offer those plus a senior flex option.

The irons also performed remarkably well out of the rough, really digging into the grass and popping the ball out even on wet mornings in deep rough.

However, mis-hits did experience a significant distance loss compared to the TaylorMade irons and overall, I felt like distance control was a bit inconsistent. One well-struck shot tended to fly longer than another, and I couldn’t figure out why.

But if you’re looking for an affordable set of irons with graphite shafts, the Cleveland Launcher CBX are excellent performers. This makes them our budget pick for 2020.

WaZaki Mx Steel Hybrid Irons Golf Set

Best for ultra beginners: perfect to try out golf without costing an arm and a leg

Japan WaZaki 14K Gold Finish Cyclone 4-SW Mx Steel Hybrid Irons Golf Club Set+Headcover (Regular Flex,Gold Graphite Shaft,Right Handed,Pack of 16)
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Overall Score91%
Distance89%
Accuracy91%
Feel86%
Durability87%
Value90%

PROS

  • Hybrids are often easier to hit than irons
  • High ball flight
  • Good for slow swingers

CONS

  • Hybrid short irons and wedges tough to control
  • Not very good distance-wise
  • Not useful for mid and high swing speeds

The WaZaki WL-IIs are offered in a Light Gold Graphite (Regular flex) or a Pro Gold Graphite (slightly stiffer), and are the lowest price iron set I reviewed. The price point is friendly enough that if you’re intrigued, it’s worth giving them a try!

They’re my out-of-left-field pick for golfers who just can’t hit a traditional iron.

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This is a unique entry in offerings, because the WaZaki WL-IIs MX Steel Hybrid Iron Set isn’t even a set of irons at all. It’s entirely made up of hybrids, from the 4-iron all the way through to the sand wedge.

However, I know some golfers have been looking for exactly this solution to their iron woes, as they have trouble hitting any decent iron shots at all during a round of golf.

If you’re a golfer who has a slow swing speed or just can’t get an iron shot off the ground for whatever reason, the all-hybrid set is worth exploring.

With an average or high clubhead speed, the ball trajectory was too high to really be useful. However, at a slower swing speed, the ball still got up into the air nicely and flew a good distance.

Roll-out was more than you’d find on a traditional iron, but golfers using all-hybrid sets will most likely be happy to make this compromise.

Fortunately, the set includes leather headcovers for all the hybrids, which is a feature you won’t find (or need) in most set of irons but is definitely useful here.

It also includes lightweight graphite shafts, a nice touch for beginners or seniors with very low swing speeds. The light weight and flexibility of the shaft will help increase swing speed and maximize distance.

While I’d recommend that most golfers use hybrids only to replace their long irons, if you’re truly in love with your hybrids and just can’t hit your short irons with any consistency, the WaZaki WL-II are worth your consideration.

This is a set for a narrow subset of golfers who either can’t generate enough swing speed to launch the ball into the air with an iron, or whose confidence just won’t allow them to produce a good enough swing to hit an iron well.

The hybrid design has become common as a replacement for long irons, and some major manufacturers like Cleveland even offer progressive hybrid sets that resemble hybrids all the way through the 8-iron.

This has been a saving grace for some golfers who love the forgiveness and ease of hitting high shots with hybrids. And now WaZaki has taken this to its extreme, logical conclusion by making a set of hybrids all the way through the sand wedge.

The WaZaki WL-IIs Mx Steel hybrid set is a good, budget-friendly way to see if this hybrid-only lifestyle is the right way for you to go. They’re well-made clubs and come with a 5-year warranty and a high quality graphite shaft, surprising at this price point. They do provide a nice high launch, though all but the slowest swingers will probably find that it’s too high.

I had a hard time getting a good, penetrating trajectory. All the shots went straight up into the air, ballooning and landing softly but always short of the target.

On windy days it became very difficult to control as the ball went so high that it was simply at the mercy of the wind.

However, I have a fairly high swing speed and I’m not the target market. When I made slower half-swings, these clubs started to make sense.

They’d pop the ball up nicely and roll out a good distance. For seniors and slow-swinging beginners, this could be the right set of irons to make golf enjoyable for you.

Another place these come in very handy is on par 3s over water. Many amateurs run to their bag for an old, beaten up ball because they know they’re going to blade or fat an iron shot right into the pond.

As a nice added touch, WaZaki has included headcovers for all of the clubs. This will help prevent the paint from scratching, which isn’t usually a problem with irons for beginners (as they’re usually unpainted metal) but could be an issue here. I’d suggest using the headcovers every time to keep them looking great.


Questions & Answers

What characteristics should I look for when buying irons for beginners? ​

Irons Options

There are so many different options out there! However, there are generally three categories of irons: Game Improvement Irons, Game Enhancement Irons, and Better-Player irons. Beginners generally benefit from Game Improvement irons — these have extreme perimeter weighting to help correct off-center hits and provide a large sweet spot. They also have a low center of gravity to help get the ball up in the air quickly.

Graphite or Steel Shafts?

Another confusing decision can be whether to go with graphite or steel shafts. Graphite shafts are lighter than steel shafts and tend to be softer and more flexible. They tend to have less “feel” than steel shafts, muting the vibrations of off-center hits. This can be a good thing (your hands and forearms won’t get fatigued, cold-weather mis-hits won’t sting), but better players often want that feedback so they can know more about the nature of the miss. They’ll want to know if it was hit thin, out on the toe, or off the heel.

Graphite shafts are also usually more expensive than steel shafts, simply due to the cost of materials and the time they take to manufacture. So the high price might make them cost-prohibitive. However, slower swinging players will often find the higher price to be well worth the performance upgrade from graphite shafts. The lighter weight allows for higher swing speeds, and the kick point of the shaft can be tweaked to be low in the shaft to help launch the ball high.

Steel shafts have been the industry standard in irons ever since hickory shafts fell out of favor in the 1920s. Steel is a stiff, heavy material and gives great feedback on mis-hits. Even “Regular” flex steel shafts might be too stiff for beginners with slow swings. Steel shafts come in stepped and rifled varieties. Stepped shafts have visible “notches” where you can see the shafts taper in thickness from the grip to the clubhead. Rifled varieties taper smoothly down with no visible steps. Rifled shafts tend to play a little bit stiffer than stepped shafts, but they also have more options to fine-tune their stiffness.

Hybrids or Irons?

Long irons (3 through 5 irons) are often considered very difficult to hit. When I was growing up, you’d even see 1- and 2-irons show up frequently in iron sets, but those have long since fallen out of favor due to the difficulty of hitting good shots with them. Lee Trevino weighed in that “even God can’t hit a 1-iron.”

Fortunately for beginners, hybrids have come along to make long irons less intimidating. They’re called hybrids because they feature characteristics of both woods and irons. Beginners find that smooth swings produce high-flying shots that are nearly impossible to achieve using long irons, since long irons require high swing speeds to launch the ball in the air.

If you find yourself with a 4-iron that you just can’t hit, consider swapping it out for a 4-hybrid. You’ll hit better shots and enjoy the game more. Many players use hybrids all the way up to a 6- or 7-iron. Hybrids actually comprise the entirety of one of the sets I reviewed in this article.

Muscle Back or Cavity Irons?

Muscle back irons are forged irons that are designed for elite players who want to be able to hit curving shots, intentionally drawing the ball from right to left or fading shots from left to right.

Most beginners, however, are just trying to hit the ball straight. Cavity back irons are designed for these golfers, offering larger sweet spots and perimeter weighting to help stop the ball from flying way offline even when it’s hit poorly.

Until you get your handicap down to single digits, I wouldn’t even look at muscle-back (or “blade”) irons. Some of the best golfers I know, players who are better than scratch, still use cavity back irons. Heck, over 50% of tour pros use cavity back irons, and they’re the best ball-strikers in the world! Cavity back irons have such good error correction compared to muscle backs that it can often be the difference between a mis-hit finding the green or dropping into a pond.

Club Head

There are several types of club heads to choose from for your irons. There are blade irons that professionals typically play on the PGA Tour. Then there are cavity-backed irons that are for amateurs and weekend warriors. These irons have a scooped-out look in the back and have better perimeter weighting to help with launch and forgiveness. And finally, there are hybrid irons that are shaped like hybrid woods but with iron lofts.

Each club head has a different weight, look, and creates a unique shot shape. Blade irons allowed for the most workability, while the other two choices produce more help for the inexperienced golfer.

Center of Gravity

Center of gravity has become a highlighted feature for equipment manufacturers as it focuses on the launch angle of an iron. Most golfers can benefit from higher launch and longer carry because the two characteristics translate into more distance.

For high handicappers and beginners, it is vital to find irons with a deeper and lower center of gravity. Instead of struggling to hit the ball high, irons with this feature help propel the ball upward and forward with the help of technology.

Game and Super-Game Improvement irons typically utilize wide soles with a deeper center of gravity to produce this shot shape.

For advanced golfers and low handicappers, players’ irons, like blades and forged irons, typically have a higher center of gravity because these types of golfers want a lower height to their shots with more workability.

These experienced players typically want clubs that offer the best workability and depend far less on the clubs’ ability to launch the ball high. 

Budget

Finding irons that fit your budget is another crucial step to finding the right set for your game and financial health. Golf can be an expensive game and maximizing value helps provide enough funds for the remainder of your set.

Most manufacturers offer a wide range of combinations to their iron sets. If you like hybrids, then you should be able to find a lower priced set that begins with a 5-iron, for example. 

More experienced players may need more expensive equipment to take full advantage of their skill set. So they should plan to spend more money on their clubs to reach their full potential.


Conclusion: Best Irons For High Handicappers

Picking the best iron set is often the most fun but also the most confusing equipment decision a golfer can make. Should you go with a set of gorgeous forged musclebacks or spring for a more affordable cast cavity back iron and spend a little more on your driver?

With so many different brands and designs out there, it’s hard to even narrow it down to several different options, much less the single best one.

This year TaylorMade really outdid themselves with an incredible offering, the M4 iron set. A design that maximizes technological innovations to provide extreme distance combined with the highest level of forgiveness, the M4 irons stand out above the crowd as the best beginner’s irons of 2020.