Best Irons for Beginners & High Handicappers (2024 Update)

Your golf experts: Jordan Fuller & John Marshall.
Updated January 6, 2024. This article was thoroughly audited by multiple golf experts and coaches for its accuracy. You can read more about our rigorous testing protocol here.

Woods can be very difficult to hit for beginners and high handicap golfers and that’s why finding a solid set of golf irons can help shorten that learning curve on the links.

From super game-improvement irons to hybrid iron sets, the latest collections offer a solid mixture of easy launch, length, and premium turf interaction to help you cleanly strike the golf ball.

With this list of the best irons for beginners and high handicappers, I’ll give you my honest thoughts as I take a deeper look into how each set can help your game by providing more distance, accuracy, and consistency.

Sources researched
17
Sources researched
Customer reviews
18,439
Customer reviews
Hours spent testing
26
Hours spent testing
Products tested
8
Products tested
Thumbnail
Best All Around Irons
TaylorMade Golf Stealth High Draw Iron Set 5-P,A/Left Hand Graphite Regular
Best High Launch Irons
Cleveland Golf Club Launcher XL Halo 4-PW Iron Set Regular Steel New
Best Distance Irons
Wilson Staff Launch Pad 2 Men's Steel Golf Irons - Left Hand, Regular, 5-PW, GW
Loft
Loft: 23.5°-44.5°
Loft: 20°-44°
Loft: 24°-44°
Lie Angle
Lie Angle: 62.5°-65°
Lie Angle: 61.5°-64.5°
Lie Angle: 62°-65°
Shaft Length
Shaft Length: 35.75”-38.5”
Shaft Length: 36”-39.125”
Shaft Length: 36”-38.5”
Weight
Weight: D1
Weight: D1
Weight: D1
Best All Around Irons
Thumbnail
TaylorMade Golf Stealth High Draw Iron Set 5-P,A/Left Hand Graphite Regular
Product Name
Loft
Loft: 23.5°-44.5°
Lie Angle
Lie Angle: 62.5°-65°
Shaft Length
Shaft Length: 35.75”-38.5”
Weight
Weight: D1
Custom Button
Best High Launch Irons
Thumbnail
Cleveland Golf Club Launcher XL Halo 4-PW Iron Set Regular Steel New
Loft
Loft: 20°-44°
Lie Angle
Lie Angle: 61.5°-64.5°
Shaft Length
Shaft Length: 36”-39.125”
Weight
Weight: D1
Custom Button
Best Distance Irons
Thumbnail
Wilson Staff Launch Pad 2 Men's Steel Golf Irons - Left Hand, Regular, 5-PW, GW
Product Name
Loft
Loft: 24°-44°
Lie Angle
Lie Angle: 62°-65°
Shaft Length
Shaft Length: 36”-38.5”
Weight
Weight: D1
Custom Button

Last updated on 2024-03-17. The links are affiliate links. Product images are served from Amazon Product Advertising API.

Best Irons for Beginners 2024

TaylorMade Stealth HD Irons

Best All Around Irons

TaylorMade Golf Stealth High Draw Iron Set 5-P,A/Left Hand Graphite Regular
Check Price on Amazon
Check Price on PGA Tour Superstore
Check Price on Global Golf

SPECIFICATIONS (5-PW)

  • Loft: 23.5°-44.5°
  • Lie Angle: 62.5°-65°
  • Shaft Length: 35.75”-38.5”
  • Weight: D1

PROS

  • Long, low profile help with launch
  • Outstanding slice correction
  • Dynamic feel and responsiveness

CONS

  • Golfers wanting neutral setup will find the Stealth HD set frustrating

Designed to provide high launch with a draw bias, the Stealth HD golf irons from TaylorMade are a dynamic starter set for beginners and high handicap golfers struggling with a slice. 

Shaped like a hybrid, the Stealth HD’s low, long profile helps get underneath the golf ball to lift the shot into the air, no matter the swing speed. The irons come equipped with serious slice correction, helping minimize side spin to hit straighter shots.

What I really enjoyed about the Stealth HD irons is how TaylorMade gave the iron a minimal design to promote launch and distance, allowing the anti-slice technology to correct the side spin.

The ball just jumps off the face of these golf irons and provides exceptional distance with the aforementioned slice correction, a win-win for beginners and handicappers.

The Stealth HD set offers exceptional all-around performance for beginners and high handicappers, making it a delightful starter set for the ambitious golfer.

Read my full TaylorMade Stealth HD Irons Review


Cleveland Launcher XL Halo Irons

Best High Launch Irons

Cleveland Golf Club Launcher XL Halo 4-PW Iron Set Regular Steel New
Check Price on Amazon
Check Price on PGA Tour Superstore
Check Price on Global Golf

SPECIFICATIONS (4-PW)

  • Loft: 20°-44°
  • Lie Angle: 61.5°-64.5°
  • Shaft Length: 36”-39.125”
  • Weight: D1

PROS

  • Hollow head delivers maximum swing speed
  • Wide sole provides smooth turf interaction
  • Progressive head size and groove depth

CONS

  • Best as starter set, not collection to grow with

If I was giving out an award for the easiest iron set to hit, the Cleveland Launcher XL Halo set would win. Shaped like hybrids, the entire set offers all the same lofts you’d find with a regular game-improvement set along with a large sole and hybrid-like shape.

My favorite feature of the XL Halo set is how the golf clubs progressively get smaller as they move toward the wedges.

Rather than hitting a large, bulky hybrid-like pitching wedge, Cleveland provides you with the larger sole to help with turf interaction but with the blade you’d find in a regular club set, so it looks relatively normal at address.

Another cool feature with this set is how the depth and width of the grooves vary as the set works from the 4-iron to the pitching wedge. 

The XL Halo set offers high handicap golfers an entertaining collection guaranteed to give them a great time on the links.


Wilson Launch Pad 2 Iron

Best Distance Irons

Wilson Staff Launch Pad 2 Men's Steel Golf Irons - Left Hand, Regular, 5-PW, GW
Check Price on Amazon
Check Price on PGA Tour Superstore
Check Price on Global Golf

SPECIFICATIONS (5-PW)

  • Loft: 24°-44°
  • Lie Angle: 62°-65°
  • Shaft Length: 36”-38.5”
  • Weight: D1

PROS

  • Crisp turf interaction improves launch
  • Low CG offers extended carry
  • Anti-scratch finish provides long-lasting durability

CONS

  • Bulkier head can dampen swing speed

The Wilson Launch Pad 2 irons offer another fun set to hit on our list for high handicappers and beginners. Designed as easy-to-hit irons, the Launch Pad 2 set offers a wide sole with a hollow body that maximizes swing speed and increases launch.

The golf irons feature a low, deep CG that provides easy launch along with perimeter weighting that makes the face very forgiving on off-center strikes. The Launch Pad’s grooves on the face push away water, helping you create spin regardless of the climate or weather. 

I enjoyed the iron set’s scratch-resistant finish that keeps the golf clubs durable for a long stretch of time.

Also, I was impressed by the set’s clean turf interaction that helps the face make contact with the ball first before entering the grass.

The set provides a complete starter set for beginners and high handicap golfers that can improve their contact quality and increase their distance with effortless power.


Callaway Rogue ST Max OS Lite Iron

Most Forgiving Irons

Callaway Golf Rogue ST Max OS Lite Iron Set
Check Price on Amazon
Check Price on PGA Tour Superstore
Check Price on Global Golf

SPECIFICATIONS (4-PW)

  • Loft: 22°-43°
  • Lie Angle: 60.5°-64°
  • Shaft Length: 35.75”-38.875”
  • Weight: D0

PROS

  • Fast ball speed provides far-reaching distance
  • Clean feel at impact with top-tier responsiveness
  • Oversized head delivers premium forgiveness

CONS

  • Harder set to grow with in golfing journey

The Rogue ST Max OS irons from Callaway offer a well rounded set for golfers beginning their journey on the links. Each club in the set has been optimized for speed, spin, and launch.

From inside 150 yards, these golf irons throw darts at the pin with a steep landing angle that holds the green.

The oversized head on each iron provides great forgiveness with high MOI. The irons also provide first-rate feel and responsiveness with clean, crisp sound.

I loved how the irons lifted the ball into the air with power and precision. The wider soles and offset at address helped craft the shot I wanted with ease. On the Trackman, the irons delivered staggering swing speed numbers that translated into far-reaching distance.

My choice for the most forgiving irons for beginning golfers, the ST Max OS set delivers high launch with premium feel and responsiveness.

Read my full Callaway Rogue ST Max OS Lite Iron Review


Lazrus Premium Golf Irons

Best Value Irons for Beginners

LAZRUS Premium Golf Irons Individual or Golf Irons Set for Men (4,5,6,7,8,9,PW) or Driving Irons (2&3) Right or Left Hand Steel Shaft Regular Flex Golf Clubs (RH, 4-P Set 7 pcs)
Check Price on Amazon

SPECIFICATIONS (4-PW)

  • Loft: 22°-45°
  • Lie Angle: 59.5°-64°
  • Shaft Length: 35.5”-38.5”
  • Weight: D1

PROS

  • Wide sole gives golfers crisp turf interaction for clean contact
  • Cavity-back design provides balance and minimal twisting at impact
  • High spin grooves offer outstanding control inside 150 yards

CONS

  • For golfers with slower swing speeds, the Lazrus will inhibit shot length
  • Heavy construction limits the swing speed you can produce with these irons

Our top choice for a set that offers the best value for the money is the Lazrus Premium Irons. These cavity-back irons provide a wide-sole that easily moves through the turf to create crisp contact with the golf ball

Each shot with the Lazrus set gives players a high launch with plenty of spins for ultimate control.

Read my honest Lazrus Golf Irons Review


Taylor Made P790 Irons

Best Advanced Irons for Beginners

TaylorMade Golf P790 Irons 4-PW Lefthanded Steel Stiff
Check Price on Amazon
Check Price on PGA Tour Superstore
Check Price on Global Golf

SPECIFICATIONS (4-PW)

  • Loft: 21°-45°
  • Lie Angle: 60.5°-64°
  • Shaft Length: 35.75”-39”
  • Weight: D2

PROS

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

CONS

  • 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 golf 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.

Read my full TaylorMade P790 2023 Irons Review


Callaway Strata Golf Club Set

Best Golf Club Set for Beginners

Callaway Golf Men's Strata Ultimate Complete Golf Set (16-Piece, Right Hand, Steel)
Check Price on Amazon
Check Price on PGA Tour Superstore
Check Price on Global Golf

SPECIFICATIONS (6-PW)

  • Loft: 28°-44°
  • Lie Angle: 61.5°-64°
  • Shaft Length: 35”-37”
  • Weight: D1

PROS

  • 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

CONS

  • 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 golf 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 golf 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 golf irons for beginners.

Read my full Callaway Strata Golf Club Set Review


Wilson Ultra Complete Golf Club Set

Dynamic Distance and Highly Accurate Complete Set

WILSON Golf Ultra Plus Package Set, Men's Right Handed, Regular Carry
Check Price on Amazon

SPECIFICATIONS (6-PW)

  • Loft: 30°-46°
  • Lie Angle: 60.5°-64.°
  • Shaft Length: 35.5”-38”
  • Weight: D3

PROS

  • 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

CONS

  • 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 Golf Clubs 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 golf 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.


Buying Guide: How to Choose the Best Golf Irons for Beginners

Here are the factors you must consider when choosing the best irons for new golfers:

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 a game improvement iron — these irons 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.

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 golf 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 golf 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. 

Flex

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.

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 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.


Frequently Asked Questions

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 golf 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 golf 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.

Golf irons can also feature other amenities, including 3-D printed brackets that significantly allow the club designer to shift weight for better balance.

Recommended: How to Get Rust Off Golf Clubs

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 golf irons can be added to the set to help a golfer achieve the distance needed for their game.


Conclusion

Our choice for the best beginner irons, the TaylorMade Stealth HD set, delivers a sleek, low profile collection that offers draw-bias with fast ball speed and high launch.

Few golf irons offer the innovation and premium shotmaking of the Stealth HD. Even for golfers that don’t suffer from a huge slice, the correction available on the TaylorMade set produces a nice, high draw that impressed me with all shots inside 150 yards.

While this set might set you back more than a typical starter collection, the Stealth HD provides a bevy of wonderful features that can increase the number of greens you hit per round plus improve your short game when it comes to hitting consistent short game shots.