Golf has never been the easiest sport to learn – even at the best of times. That was especially so until the last decade or two, before technology and user-friendliness surged. Epitomising such difficulty was irons, which have tended to be a weakness for most beginners in years gone by.
That rule of thumb has changed immeasurably in recent times though, with options extending far beyond the old-fashioned blade, and the fierce level of competition pushing brands to combine all the important elements like precision, forgiveness and versatility into the more popular modern-day iron.
Below we have highlighted the five Best Irons in the business, particularly for those who have either just started the game of golf, or would class themselves as casual golfers.
If you are looking for a complete golf set then check out this article.
Best Game Improvement Irons
Here are our top five choices for the Best Irons:
- Editors Choice: TaylorMade Golf AeroBurner HL Irons Steel Regular Flex (4-PW/AW)
- Best Value: MAZEL Single Length Golf Irons
- Best Seller: TaylorMade Men’s M2 Golf Iron Set
- Worthy Competitor: Callaway Men’s X Series 416 Irons
- Worthy Competitor: Cobra KING F6 Iron Set
Editors Choice: TaylorMade Golf AeroBurner HL Irons Steel Regular Flex (4-PW/AW)
These clubs are all about forgiveness, and that’s epitomised by the wide sole, large clubheads and more-generous lofts. Added to that, these clubs really make the grade by virtue of a thin face and low CG, which augments both the higher launch and the superior distance you get – for good and poor strikes.
As the name suggests, it comes in 4-PW and/or 4-AW, and at $330, it’s competitively priced too. Balanced, easy to hit, forgiving and rewarding – all rolled into one. An easy Editor’s Choice, if ever there was one!Check Price on Amazon Compare Price on Global Golf
Best Value: MAZEL Single Length Golf Irons
And in terms of catering for newer golfers, MAZEL is taking the market by storm. Little wonder, given the incredible price of under $270 for these 37.5-inch gems. Looking past the stigma of single length irons, these clubs have plenty of merits too. The sweetspot is enormous from top to bottom. The set itself has cavity backs across the board, except for the 4 and 5-irons, which are muscle backs. These longer irons also have a hollower design, a wider sole, and a lower CG, thus boosting launch and forgiveness.
This set, which comes in 4-SW, genuinely covers every base, delivering excellent performance, and with a pleasing shiny and matte silver finish in the design. Get in while you still can – this set is surely one of the bargains of the year.Check Price on Amazon
Best Seller: TaylorMade Men’s M2 Golf Iron Set
The trademark face slots and the Speed Pocket (4-7 irons) play an important role in this respect, and in terms of forgiveness too. But what sets these apart from other TaylorMade irons is the unparalleled forgiveness on offer, and that’s down to a lower CG and the wider soles. You might point out that this is no different to other game improvement irons. And you’re correct. But there just aren’t any other sets on the market which can incorporate these benefits relating to distance and forgiveness, and still maintain such a stylish, streamlined design with an eye-catching top line.
These irons simply ooze class, and are designed to make the owner feel like a million bucks. Which, for the price of 600-700 bucks, isn’t such a bad deal! The range is from 4-AW, although GW, SW and LW are also available as add-ons. If budget allows, give these a go!Check Price on Amazon Compare Price on Global Golf
Best Seller: Callaway Men’s X Series 416 Irons
All the usual boxes for game improvement irons such as distance and forgiveness are ticked, but it is the consistency and accuracy in terms of performance which really sets them apart. The unique Callaway uniflex shaft, which comes stock standard, also makes for a nice midpoint between regular and flex, and will appeal to a broad sector of golfers both beginner and intermediate.
Sets for each gender are available in 4-AW, with swing weights of D2 for men (D1 for graphite) and C3 for women. It comes in at a very respectable price of just over $300, which, for irons that epitomise the classic Callaway look and feel, makes for excellent value indeed!Check Price on Amazon Compare Price on Global Golf
Best Seller: Cobra KING F6 Iron Set
The so-called TecFlo design is underpinned by a split into four different head types, and three further varieties of groove shape. We could wax lyrical for ages about how this breakdown works, but the bottom line is that this carefully thought out progression across the set delivers focused, optimal performance for long, medium and short irons (it comes standard at 4-PW, but with 3, GW and SW also available).
The Speed Channel is a feature of all the irons, and creates greater flex at impact to deliver greater ball speeds. The premium chrome plating is also aesthetically-pleasing, and the overall balance between performance, forgiveness and a slick design is well and truly struck. It’s a premium set of clubs with a mid-range price ($500), but it will bring a lot of joy to golfers of all abilities.Check Price on Amazon Compare Price on Global Golf
How To Choose Your Irons
We’ve actually included a set of single-length clubs in our top five above, but factoring in your height is essential in determining how long your irons should be. The average range within a set will usually be 35-39 inches, with clubs getting shorter as you move toward the wedges. But don’t take that as gospel – try out a few different length clubs, and see what feels comfortable for your posture.
Swing weights are another criterion to consider, and they do vary depending on whether you go down the graphite or steel shaft route (see below) Standard weights for men are usually D1 and D2 respectively as per the above (C2 and C3 for women). Use these as a base yardstick, and then make comparisons from there. Remember, swing speed, strength and your size will all affect which weight is most suitable.
As alluded to above, you’ll have a choice to make between graphite and steel shafts for your irons. Graphite shafts tend to have more whip, and are ideal for those with slower swing speeds. Steel shafts are stiffer, and can be more difficult to hit. However, they tend to be synonymous with consistency, so if you can master them, it may well be a successful venture.
This has been the hardest nut to crack for iron manufacturers because they are arguably the most difficult clubs to hit. Things to look out for if this is your priority are a low CG, generous top line, enlarged sweet spot, draw bias and perimeter weighting. All of these should assist you with an easy launch, and better results when you mishit the ball – both of which make the game of golf far more enjoyable!
This is a double-edged sword with irons. It is important to get good distance when it comes to this part of the game, and things like higher ball speeds and thinner faces can really help in this respect – not to mention when there is a fair bit of meat behind the sweet spot. But distance control is crucial too, as you want to have a good feel of yardages relative to each iron. Thus, you should always be careful that the pursuit of extra distance when shopping for irons isn’t at the expense of precision.
There are a few ways you can categorise designs when it comes to irons, but the most common is cavity back vs muscleback irons. Cavity backs move weight away from the centre of the clubhead (behind the sweetspot), and redistribute it to the perimeter, and/or the heel and toe of the club. As such, they are far more forgiving. Musclebacks, on the other hand, do the opposite, and pack all their punch into the sweetspot – with little joy if you miss it. As such, they are more synonymous with blades, and the irons used by professionals. However, there are often sets which combine both styles – one design for longer irons, and the other for shorter ones.
When you start researching clubs, you’ll note the vast extremities of what you can pay when it comes to irons. Some of the price tags at the upper end of the market can take your breath away! But the clubs we’ve chosen above guarantee you a reliable range of benefits when measured against cost, and that’s the key when you’re a prospective buyer. It’s not about bargain hunting – it’s about ensuring that, for every inch that you push the boat out, there are going to be suitable rewards in return.
Factoring in hybrids
Don’t necessarily shun an entire set of irons if you’re struggling to hit the longer ones, like a 3, 4 or 5. These tend to be the most difficult cubs to hit, which is why hybrids have grown in popularity. If you’re hitting good approach shots with short irons, you can simply look to hybrids to plug these holes when you’re further away from the pin, and thus amalgamate a combination which optimises your game from 50 to 200 yards.
Irons are somewhat unusual in that they are categorised or broken down into long, medium and short irons. It is thus very possible that, within a particular set, you can take a liking to one category, but not the others. This, in addition to the above considerations we’ve highlighted, illustrates the level of thought which needs to go into the purchase of your next set. Hopefully though, with the above key thoughts in mind, and the basis for comparison of the five best irons we’ve chosen, you’ll be well placed to select the brand which delivers the best results for you.