A utility iron, or a driving iron as some golfers call them, offer an alternative club for the tee box and fairways.
With an ability to launch the ball with authority and low spin, the utility iron is easier to hit for better players, but that doesn’t mean that mid and high handicappers should dismiss the alternative option immediately.
For golfers looking to upgrade their game, a utility iron provides forgiveness, high ball speed, and low launch angle for extra distance.
We’ve assembled a list of nine of the best utility irons in 2023 so you can pick the right one for you. Each offers forgiving impact, penetrating ball flight, and marvelous club speed.
Last updated on 2023-09-28. The links are affiliate links. Product images are served from Amazon Product Advertising API.
Table of Contents
- Featured Recommendations
- Things You Need to Consider Before Buying the Best Utility Irons
- 7 Best Utility Irons of 2023
- Questions & Answers
Things You Need to Consider Before Buying the Best Utility Irons
While adjustability is common in most modern drivers, for utility irons, very few offer customization. For the best utility irons that do offer customization, you will typically first see a loft sleeve.
Another possible feature you can find on an adjustable utility is a removable weight. Since most modern irons like this have a hollow interior, the weight can provide balance and power at impact.
Golfers like Tiger Woods play driving irons like the GAPR that offers the full suite of adjustable features. The GAPR has a sleeve that can add or subtract launch from the face as well as a low sole weight that keeps the club grounded through the impact zone.
For serious golfers, the adjustability option can help shape shots off the tee box and from fairways with authority.
The launch angle of utility irons is typically low, around the equivalent of a 3-iron or 4-iron. You will also find a similar lie angle on clubs, such as a 3-wood. These clubs offer premium distance with a compact hitting area. While it isn’t as easy to hit as a hybrid, these clubs offer a smooth hit quality that accents forgiveness and swing speed with the lower launch angle that experienced golfers prefer.
Since these clubs have the launch of long irons, the lie angle is shallow. That detail can be problematic for inexperienced golfers who don’t quite understand how their swing and its attack angle matter when it comes time to hit the golf ball.
For utility irons, the shaft of the club can be either stainless steel or graphite.
The benefit of using a stainless steel shaft includes reproducing the similar feel and response of the remainder of the set that the golfer uses regularly. The steel shaft is heavier, which may cost the golfer a bit of distance and forgiveness with their swing, but it does provide reliability and a firmer feel at impact.
Graphite shafts are lighter than steel, making them better for golfers that need more swing velocity to increase distance. Clubs with graphite shaft are ideal for players that are struggling with losing club speed. So while these players might prefer using a hybrid here, a well-made utility with the launch angle of a 2-iron or even a 4-iron, can provide a new method for playing golf.
Long Irons vs Utility Irons
Traditional long irons will usually parrot the style of the set it belongs to, while the utility is its own beast entirely. Since a typical set has many irons, each with a specific purpose, they have different face angles for a variety of launch degrees and spin.
There is little distance gap between the two styles of clubs and dependent upon the number of the long irons, you can expect similar yardage from either of these clubs.
Utility irons made by companies like Tour Edge and specific ones, like the Titleist U500, offer the similar shape and style of an utility iron.
For high-quality shots, the launch angle of a utility can provide the length and shot shaping that most traditional irons carry so the golfer can attack the hole.
Hybrids vs Utility Irons
When looking at hybrid clubs versus utility irons, the difference revolves around turf interaction. When we talk about how clubs interact with the turf, we are referring to how crisp the contact is as the iron enters the turf.
Hybrids have a wide sole that is usually rounded so it can glide across the turf and into the golf ball. Because the swing path is rounded and the profile of the face is shallow, the hybrid moves directly into the lower half of the ball. These shots come out high and fast off the face with a smooth impact that is great for inexperienced golfers.
Utility irons have the look and feel of long irons, so they must be used differently than hybrids. Since they take a divot, the attack angle is sharper and the swing is not as rounded as a hybrid.
Fairway Woods vs Utility Irons
While they may share the same lie angle on the face, there are several noticeable differences between secondary woods and utility irons. The alternate wood offers a low profile with a wide face that helps with forgiveness when hitting the ball off-center. Irons, such as the ones made by Tour Edge with a 2-iron profile, offer smaller margins of error, so the swing must be more precise.
A fairway wood provide the benefit of generating incredible ball speeds to create the distance necessary to reach the green on long par 5s. While the same is true of utility irons, the wood use a rounded sole that slides easily along the turf to create clean contact with the golf ball.
Either is a great option to use if distance is needed with high ball flight, but the difficulty of hitting the utility must be considered before playing the club.
7 Best Utility Irons of 2023
TaylorMade Stealth DHY Utility Iron
Best All-Around Utility Iron
- Loft: 17°-25°
- Lie: 59.5°-61°
- Length: 38.75”-40.25”
- Weight: D2
- Hollow body construction offers lightweight feel
- Exceptional workability for advanced players
- Thru-slot Speed Pocket delivers premium ball speed
- Tougher for inexperienced players to find consistency
TaylorMade’s impressive Stealth DHY, an easy choice for the best all-around utility iron on the market, produces stunning distance with workability. Featuring a wide sole, the iron also provides superb turf interaction to help you cleanly make contact with the ball first before the ground.
What I loved the most about playing with the Stealth DHY is how powerful the club feels at impact. Although it does maintain the bulky shape of previous DHY utility irons, that size comes with benefits such as penetrating flight that extends the far reaches of your distance limits.
From the tee box or fairway, this iron delivers a 1-2 punch of power and accuracy, helping you place another premium-grade weapon in your golf bag that can attack the course with precision.
Read the Full TaylorMade Stealth DHY Utility Iron Review
Lazrus Utility Iron
Best Value Utility Irons Option
- Loft: 13°-29°
- Lie: 59.5°-60.5°
- Length: 39”-40”
- Weight: D1
- Impressive spin helps stop shots entering the green
- Perimeter weighted head helps with forgiveness
- Cavity-back design boosts lift from tee or fairway
- Heavier feel than most utility irons
From Lazrus comes the best value option, Lazrus Driving Iron, as their driving irons offer premium distance with solid contact. The golf club, shaped like a game-improvement, cavity-back utility iron is great from the fairway.
The Lazrus is a solid buy for inexperienced players that would like to get their toes wet with playing with a utility iron.
Offering a forgiving face, the Lazrus also provides clean contact with a wide hit zone along the face.
A great addition to the golf bag, the driving club from Lazrus is a forgiving, game-improvement iron for mid-range handicaps.
Read the Full Lazrus Golf Irons Review
TaylorMade P790 UDI Utility Iron
Best Forged Option For Experienced Players
- Loft: 18°-24°
- Lie: 60°-61°
- Length: 38.5”-39.5”
- Weight: D2
- Built for distance and accuracy
- Lightweight feel improves swing speed
- Tungsten toe weight improves stability
- Better for low handicappers than amateurs
For a forged utility iron, the team at TaylorMade has created a real winner with the P790 UDI. With a low profile tungsten weighting powering each hit, this club utilizes a hollow body that offers forgiveness.
The craftsmanship of this UDI is unmatched. The Speed Pocket technology located behind the face powers the golf ball with unreal flexibility. The utility iron is a bit on the expensive side, but with its ball speed and its hit quality, the product is first-rate.
Great for the bag of any experienced golfer, the P790 UDI utility iron is a charmer worth your attention deserving of its spot as one of the best utility irons.
Wilson Staff Model Utility Iron
Best Utility Iron for High Handicappers
- Loft: 18°-24°
- Lie: 59°-60°
- Length: 39”-40”
- Weight: D2
- Impressive distance and accuracy
- Powerful face produces high ball speed
- Low, deeper CG improves launch
- Feels more like hybrid than utility iron at times
A great entry utility iron for high handicappers, the Staff Model iron from Wilson, offers an inviting hitting area that delivers premium forgiveness with high launch. The iron comes equipped with a weight along the sole that anchors the CG to produce high ball flight with power.
During my time with the Staff Model iron I loved how easy it was to hit from any lie or situation. Even from the rough, I could produce height with spin to help me control distance and shot shape. While it doesn’t offer the workability of forged utility irons, the Staff Model does create the type of shots I want on the course to help me lower my scores.
Solidly built, the Wilson Staff Model produces the results amateurs need (and want) in their utility iron.
Callaway X Forged UT Utility Iron
Best Utility Iron for Mid Handicappers
- Loft: 18°-24°
- Lie: 60°-61°
- Length: 38.5”-39.5”
- Weight: D2
- Premium performance with exceptional distance
- Soft feel with superb responsiveness
- Delivers premium workability
- High handicappers will struggle to hit this iron consistently
Callaway’s X Forged utility iron offers a powerful package to advanced golfers that want workability and distance. Offering a compact blade with low profile, the X Forged offers premium performance for low and mid handicappers that love low, penetrating flight and spin control.
I adored how the X Forged produced the shots I wanted at any time. From the fairway, I found little trouble hitting cut fades or sweeping hooks depending on the situation. The ball starts low and climbs to produce that steep landing angle that helps me hold greens on longer par 4s and par 5s.
With its forged design, this iron has been made for workability, something not all golfers can achieve. So for that reason, I can only recommend the club to advanced golfers who treasure workability from their utility iron.
Cobra King Utility Iron
Best Contact Quality Option
- Loft: 17°-22°
- Lie: 59.75°-60.75°
- Length: 39”-40”
- Weight: D2
- Wider sole offers dynamic turf interaction
- Impressive combination of distance and accuracy
- Forgiving face helps on off-center strikes
- Doesn’t offer the workability of advanced utility irons
The Cobra King Utility Iron is a dynamic option for advanced players that need more power on the golf ball. The Cobra King offers a crispness seen with high irons, despite the difference in lie angle.
Another one that has a bigger cavity along the sole, the Cobra product delivers higher flight than other best utility irons. Having a taller arc makes this utility among the best for increasing carry and adding length to your golf game.
The Cobra King Utility Iron is a solid buy with a price point that does stay around the top of the market. But the price is well worth it due to the club’s overall performance and production.
Srixon ZX Utility Iron
Most Balanced Utility Iron
- Loft: 18°-23°
- Lie: 60°-60.5°
- Length: 39”-40”
- Weight: D3
- Compact blade-like appearance
- Impressive workability with premium shot-shaping
- Exceptional responsiveness and feel
- Made only for advanced players who want workability
Alongside Srixon’s outstanding ZX iron set comes a utility iron with a similar profile and comparable performance. Anchored with a tungsten toe weight, the ZX Utility Iron provides exceptional balance across the entire hitting area.
Helping increase distance is a hollow design that reduces weight and elevates club speed. With the compact face, the hollow cavity in the clubhead also offers outstanding forgiveness.
Another benefit provided by the design of the iron is minimal twisting as the club’s high MOI helps enhance ball speed with an even touch.
The utility iron works great on the tee box or from the fairway, offering piercing flight that provides marvelous accuracy for advanced players.
A sturdy, well-made utility iron for low handicappers, the Srixon ZX Utility Iron provides terrific performance in a sleek package.
Questions & Answers
What is the best driving iron?
Our choice for the best driving iron is the TaylorMade Stealth DHY Utility Iron. Featuring a wide sole, the iron also provides superb turf interaction to help you cleanly make contact with the ball first before the ground.
Can high handicappers use utility irons?
Yes, high handicappers can use utility irons, but they first need to understand how difficult the iron will be to hit initially. The primary reason why utility irons remain one of the most difficult clubs to hit is due to the shape of the blade and the loft of the face.
High handicappers will find the best avenue for success with a utility iron if they get the highest lofted model possible. Most utility irons come with a comparable loft to a 2-iron through a 4-iron. For these golfers, the 4-iron option, running at 24-degrees of loft offers the best combination.
Advanced golfers use utility irons in a variety of ways from the tee box to the fairway on longer par 5s, the unique club allows low handicappers to get the distance of a wood with the accuracy of a mid-range iron.
Some adventurous golfers use utility irons just off the green as a chipping iron, something that high handicappers could employ on the course with success. By using the utility iron like a putter, amateurs can find better consistency with their bump and run chip shots.
Another factor that helps high handicappers considering the use of utility irons is an adjustable loft sleeve. Much like the sleeves you would find on drivers, today’s top club manufacturers have incorporated a loft sleeve in their utility irons to adjust lie and loft angle.
Having the ability to customize the face of utility irons and test the club on the course and range can dramatically increase the chances that a high handicapper can discover an iron that works incredibly well for their game.
Great for using on the tee box when needing to hit the fairway on a tight par 4 or from the light rough on a par 5, well-made utility irons can help high handicappers looking to take their game to the next level.
What is the utility of a utility iron?
Golfers use their utility irons in a variety of ways on the links. From the tee box to the fairway, and even on the green, professionals and amateurs alike utilize this special club to increase accuracy, boost distance, and create better consistency in their short game.
When facing a tough par 4 with a tight fairway, utility irons provide golfers with a capable combination of distance and accuracy. Especially when using a utility iron with more loft, the club can offer more flexibility with crisper contact over traditional long irons.
The utility iron’s wider sole and forgiving nature also helps redirect shots that leak toward the toe at impact. Rather than hitting a high slice with a fairway wood, the iron keeps the ball lower creating more forward roll after the ball lands on the short grass.
On moderate par 5s, utility irons provide a dependable option for reaching the green in two shots. For golfers that feel secure in using the 2-iron lofted utility iron, the distance provided is an excellent weapon for obtaining a lower score.
The utility iron’s shape and sole increase turf interaction similarly when compared to a hybrid, but the iron adds workability that a hybrid lacks, allowing golfers to create their desired shot shape into the green.
While utility irons typically have the reputation of being a club for the fairway and tee box, some golfers love the versatility of the club around the putting surface. Shaped similarly to a blade putter, golfers use utility irons with a putting-style stroke to chip the ball onto the green.
For golfers that regularly work on their short game, utility irons provide another tool that offers more run, great when facing a chip shot with a long area of putting surface that leads to the cup.