Best Golf Irons For Beginners and High Handicappers: Cleveland Launcher HB Turbo
“The Launcher HB is perfect for a beginner and a high handicapper looking to grow into his next set of clubs. Not only does this set produce high launch and piercing flight, but it also offers a wonderful feel and response.”
Best Premium Iron Set: TaylorMade SIM MAX Iron Set
“The TaylorMade SIM MAX is a game-changer for high handicappers and beginners – 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 Value For Money: Lazrus Premium Irons
“If you want the best value for your money, Lazrus Premium Irons is a great choice. It offers golfers crisp turf interaction for clean contact, minimal twisting at impact, and outstanding control.”
Irons are one of the most important clubs to have when playing golf. However, to make the most out of it, it’s best to choose the one that fits your skills.
Whether you’re a beginner or a high handicapper, here are the best golf irons for beginners and high handicappers that you should add to your bag!
Last updated on 2023-01-15. The links are affiliate links. Product images are served from Amazon Product Advertising API.
Table of Contents
- The Rundown:
- Featured Recommendations
- 10 Best Irons For Beginners and High Handicappers
- Things to Consider When Buying the Best Irons for Beginners
- Questions & Answers
10 Best Irons For Beginners and High Handicappers
Here are the best golf irons for beginners and high handicappers reviewed in the article:
- Best Golf Irons For Beginners and High Handicappers: Cleveland Launcher HB Turbo Irons
- Premium Choice: TaylorMade SIM MAX Iron Set
- Best Value For Money: Lazrus Premium Irons
- Runner-up: Callaway Rogue X Irons
- Best Hybrid Irons for High Handicappers: Cobra T-Rail Hybrid Irons
- Best Premium: Taylor Made P790
- Best for Improving Your Game: TaylorMade M6 Iron Set
- Best Distance Irons for Beginners: Callaway Big Bertha Irons
- Best Complete Set Option: Callaway Men’s Strata Complete Set
- Best Value Complete Iron Set: Wilson Ultra Complete Set
Taylor Made P790
Best premium: if you’re serious about golf and want the very best
- Advanced tech and materials
- Good forgiveness for this set of irons
- Great distance
- Irons will be incredibly tough to hit for inexperienced golfers
- Blade irons are made for experienced golfers with advanced skill sets
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 (especially the TaylorMade P790 UDI as one of the best driving iron) 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 2023.
Callaway Big Bertha Irons
Best Golf Irons for Beginners for Distance
- 360 Face Cup delivers length and accuracy from fairway
- Suspended Energy Core boosts speed for tremendous carry
- Clean look with smoked black PVD finish
- These higher priced irons could dissuade golfers on a budget
- Can be tough to hit for true beginners, but will pay off with experience
Callaway’s Big Bertha Irons produce the distance that beginners and high handicappers crave for their game. With a wide hitting area and low CG, the Big Bertha sends shots on a tall arc that land softly on the green with plenty of spin.
The company has included their popular 360 Face Cup behind the hitting area. The feature increases flexibility that translates into more distance, better accuracy, and higher forgiveness.
From inside 150 yards, the Big Bertha clubs perform extremely well, producing the spin and high launch that high handicappers need to lower their scores.
Another strong benefit of the Big Bertha Irons is the smoked black PVD finish. These irons look striking in any golfer’s bag.
The Big Bertha Irons from Callaway is an absolute winner, a great starter set for inexperienced golfers.
Callaway Men’s Strata Complete Set
Best Complete Set Option
- Four golf irons and two wedges in the set
- Cavity-backed irons offer ideal launch with accuracy
- 16-piece set offers full collection of clubs
- Large heads on the irons improve consistency but limit length
- Will need to upgrade woods as your game improves due to lack of distance
For beginning golfers and high handicappers looking for a total solution to their problems on the course, the Callaway Strata Complete Set certainly fits the bill. The Strata set covers all the bases with four woods, four irons, two wedges, a putter, stand bag, and four head covers.
When looking at the irons, you’ll notice that each cavity-backed iron offers superior performance through its wide sweet spot and solid feel. On shot after shot, the Strata irons produce mid-range flight with a tight shot dispersion, great for beginners needing more consistency from their game.
The two wedges also give golfers short game weapons for knocking it close when off the green.
With high-quality clubs and outstanding accessories, the Callaway Strata Complete Set offers a fast and easy way to work on improving your game – deserving of being one of the best irons for beginners.
Wilson Ultra Complete Set
Best Value Complete Iron Set
- Four cavity-backed irons and a pitching wedge produce distance and carry
- Oversized sweet spot creates tall shot arc with spin
- Graphite shafts help increase the speed of the swing for more length
- Need to buy more wedges to fill outset for more creativity around greens
- Heavier club build limits distance and can cause fat, chunked shots
The Ultra Complete Set, a fun starter collection from Wilson, provides beginners and high handicappers with nine total clubs including three woods, four irons, a pitching wedge, putter, and stand bag.
The cavity-backed irons offer a low, deep CG that helps easily lift the golf ball for a tall arc that lands softly on the green with spin. The large sweet spot on each iron helps provide a more forgiving nature for impact locations that leak toward the toe.
Wilson has made the longer irons in the Ultra set easier to hit through a unique design that provides more launch, similar to a short iron or wedge.
The Wilson Ultra collection offers high performance with first-rate craftsmanship, a superior small set that gives you room to grow.
Things to Consider When Buying the Best Irons for Beginners
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 well worth the graphite shafts’ performance upgrade. 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. For example, 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 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.
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 (COG) 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 COG. 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 COG to produce this shot shape.
For advanced golfers and low handicappers, players’ irons, like blades and forged irons, typically have a higher COG 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.
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 like Ping offer their iron sets a wide range of combinations. 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.
The flex rating of an iron pertains to the shaft of the club. The rating of the shaft is based solely on swing speed. Routinely, professional golfers use an extra-stiff shaft to accommodate their extremely high swing speed. Other flex ratings include stiff, regular, senior, and ladies.
Questions & Answers
What should beginners look for in a set of irons?
Beginners should look for a set of game-improvement irons that offer high launch, deep forgiveness, and a cavity-back design. Since beginners have trouble getting the ball consistently in the air, the architecture of cavity-backed irons will help produce the carry and length that these golfers need to lower their scores.
What should high handicappers look for in a set of irons?
High handicappers should look for irons that will encourage consistency in their game. Since these golfers have experience, most of them face hitting crisp shots with regularity. A new set of irons that offer premium turf interaction with wide soles that move easily through the turf to provide clean contact with the golf ball remains one of the best ways to improve their game.
Are the three, four, and 5 irons, or the hybrids worth buying?
Yes, all of those clubs provide options when facing long distances on the course. On long par 4s and par 5s, hybrids and long irons help the golfer increase the length of their shots to reach the green with accuracy. Amateurs like using hybrids from the fairway and tee box because of their shape and easy-to-hit design.
What are irons made of?
Irons are made primarily from steel with other additions to help reduce weight. Professional irons typically mix in a composite such as carbon steel to increase strength and keep the club feeling lightweight in the golfer’s hands. Irons can also feature other amenities, including 3-D printed brackets that significantly allow the club designer to shift weight for better balance.
In a set of clubs, how many irons are there?
Typically, golfers will carry anywhere from five irons, not counting the wedges. Most sets do include a pitching wedge and possibly additional wedges. Most complete sets begin with a 5-iron and run through a pitching wedge. Additional irons can be added to the set to help a golfer achieve the distance needed for their game.
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 TaylorMade M6 Iron Set. A design that maximizes technological innovations to provide extreme distance combined with the highest level of forgiveness, the M6 irons stand out above the crowd as the best irons for beginners and high handicappers of 2023.
Bonus content: Taylormade Stealth Irons Review