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The best irons help you achieve your best golf performance. While putting and driving may see the lion’s share of focus by individual golfers and interest by manufacturers, your irons are arguably the most important clubs in your bag. From hitting off a short tee to cleanly getting through the fairway, a good iron will help you improve the majority of your shots every time you play 18.
There are a number of considerations to make when you’re selecting the right irons for yourself. First, you want to look at the flexibility of the shaft. An experienced golfer with a hard swing will want a stiffer shaft, while someone with a slow swing speed may want a regular or more flexible shaft. Shafts can also be made of steel or graphite, with graphite being lighter and more shock absorbent (often better for older golfers). Some irons are sold simply as game-improvement or super-game improvement irons, with more forgiveness, while experienced golfers will want player’s irons.
Keep these factors in mind when you search for your own irons and check out some of the best and most popular irons available today.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Mizuno JPX-900 Forged Iron Set
Mizuno is well-known for its high-quality irons and the JPX-900 are no different. These stiff irons are perfect for a wide range of golfers. The steel used in the iron is reinforced with boron for a stronger design and a “multi-thickness face” that delivers faster hits. The iron’s face uses its unique metal composition for a reshaped pocket cavity on the head to redistribute weight for optimized power. Similarly, the irons’ Coretech+ Powerframe allows for the best hit when you cleanly hit your ball in the center. The Mizuno JPX-900 are just plain great irons for a variety of golfers.
Best for Beginners: Callaway Golf Men’s Rogue X Individual Iron
The Callaway Rogue X is the perfect iron for beginners for one reason: forgiveness. This iron — available in seniors, regular and stiff — can let new golfers have a high-quality club that won’t punish them for an errant swing in the same way the top-of-the-line irons do. The Callaway Rogue lets beginners swing from the rough with maximum distance by pulling the center of gravity lower, making the shaft longer and the club lighter.
These Callaway clubs are No. 1 Amazon Best Sellers and available in either Synergy 60g or KBS Max 90 Steel shaft material. Each Callaway Rogue X iron is made with Tungsten weighting for better control with each stroke, as well as the 360 cup face and variable face thickness, which improve ball speed and distance. Beginners will always struggle to hit accurately and far, but the Callaway Rogue X may just make the process a little easier.
Best for Mid-Handicappers: Callaway Big Bertha OS Iron
Mid-handicappers will love the Callaway Big Bertha OS. This high-quality club with the distinctive “Big Bertha” insignia of the side is designed for control and distance, and may even help you move into a lower handicap. The Big Bertha is available in stiff or regular flex with a graphite or steel shaft.
This club also has the unique Callaway face factors. The 360 Face Cup leads to balls leaving your clubs that are moving faster and going farther than they would with other irons. Additionally, the tungsten-loaded standing wave and progressive center of gravity technology both help shift the center of gravity for better control and more variance among irons. For example, the higher irons will have better distance and the short irons will have more control.
Best Budget: Wilson Velocity HDX
The Wilson Velocity HDX golf club set is a great and inexpensive option for anyone who wants to play a few holes without breaking the bank. Cost is such an important consideration when playing golf, from the cost of balls to cart fees, that getting a good price on some manageable clubs is important. These stiff, steel clubs are best suited for people with some experience golfing. The Wilson HDX irons are characterized by their low center of gravity and a simple head that easily sweeps across the grass in the fairway.
Best for Distance: Wilson Staff C300 Forged Iron
There are a lot of reasons you’d want to hit for distance. Maybe you live near a Par-3 course and like to leave the 5-wood in the bag, maybe the strongest part of your game is the in the fairway or maybe you always end up in the rough. Regardless of the reason, finding the perfect iron for distance is a great option and the Wilson Staff C300 Forged Iron can deliver what you need. These irons feature a strong design and are available as stiff or regular with either a steel or graphite shaft. Wilson expanded this iron’s “sweet spot” for better ball speeds and the entire club is devoted to maximum power. With the greater ball speed across the head and power from the shaft, you’re guaranteed a father shot every time.
Best for Kids: Intech Lancer Junior Golf Club Set
Intech’s Lancer Junior Golf Club set gives kids 8 through 12 a great set of irons to play with and develop their game. With a hybrid 4/5 iron and wider-faced 7- and 9-irons, this set gives kids a range of forgiving clubs to play with. The shafts are made with the lighter and more manageable graphite material. Additionally, with this set, you get a convenient bag and headcovers and no iron longer than 34 inches. Once your junior golfer has a good set of clubs you can bring them to the range to hit a few balls and practice chipping in the backyard.
Best Complete Set: TaylorMade Men’s Speedblade Golf Complete Set
TaylorMade’s Speedblade Golf Set is an affordable way to get a complete set of good clubs. This package of stiff, graphite clubs is popular on Amazon and has a high user rating. The set includes irons 4 through 9 as well as pitching and approach wedges. These clubs have some of the lowest centers of gravity among all TaylorMade clubs and feature an advanced head structure with a multi-material badge. Users praise these clubs for how easy they are to use.
What to Look for in Golf Irons
Skill level Irons come in three different categories: player’s irons, made for skilled players; game-improvement irons, which are for golfers with a midrange skill level; and super-game-improvement irons, which are especially forgiving for beginners. Don’t “play up." Get the irons right for where you are in your game.
Shaft flex Flex refers to the amount of bend a club has, and stiffness tends to correlate with how fast you swing your club. If you go too fast without enough stiffness, your ball could veer off in any direction. Look for labels like “regular,” “stiff,” and “extra stiff,” then play around with them to figure out what fits your swing best.
Price Irons, like all golf clubs, have a huge range when it comes to price. While typically you get what you pay for in terms of quality, it is possible to find clubs that outperform their price tag at all sorts of points. Be sure to consider how much you’ll actually be using the clubs and how long you want to stick with whatever you choose, and let that guide you toward a budget that feels right for you.