The 9 Best Mid-Handicap Golf Irons of 2021

Improve your game and launch longer, more accurate balls by upgrading your irons

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The Rundown

Best Overall: TaylorMade SIM2 Max at Dick's Sporting Goods

"The SIM2 Max boasts a lot of forgiveness the mid-handicap golfer needs."

Best Budget: Callaway Mavrik Max at Callaway

"The golf engineers crafted the Mavrik Max iron solely to add distance to every shot."

Best for Distance: TaylorMade P790 at Dick's Sporting Goods

"When it comes to the P790 irons, it’s all about improved ball speed—and thus, ball distance."

Best Hybrid: Cleveland Launcher Halo at Amazon

"The aptly named Launcher Halo from Cleveland are some of the best hybrids available."

Best for Forgiveness: Titleist T200 at The Golf Warehouse

"Max Impact technology delivers the optimal speed upon contact with any part of the club face."

Best for Women: Cobra Women’s T-Rail Custom at Amazon

"A hollow-body design fires the ball off the club face with serious speed."

Best for Improving Your Game: Ping G710 at The Golf Warehouse

"The Smart Grip pairs with an app to record all swing data and analyze every shot taken."

Best for Men: Wilson Staff D7 Forged at Amazon

"Designed to deliver Tour-level distances and feel with every shot."

Best for Feel: Mizuno MP-20 MMC at Mizuno

"Harmonic Impact Technology in the finely tuned head provides feel and feedback while dampening any undue vibrations."

The workhorses of your golf kit, irons can be used in pretty much any golf scenario for short and mid-range shots. And when it comes to irons specific for mid-handicap golfers, you want to invest in a set that provides shot versatility as well as the ability to launch the ball at speed. They should be forgiving, with generous sweet spots to help make contact in off-center strikes, and provide enough feel to help you dial up the perfect swing—and to improve on future swings. Iron sets typically include six to eight clubs along with a pitching wedge, and buying them all in a set can offer some cost savings.

These are the best mid-handicap golf irons.

Best Overall: TaylorMade SIM2 Max

TaylorMade SIM2 Max

Courtesy of Dick's Sporting Goods

The new SIM2 Max irons from TaylorMade employ several key elements to make them some of the best performers on the market. A sweet spot is positioned to map to the most common impact points and deliver consistent balls at explosive speeds. The entire top line and upper perimeter of the clubs’ faces are crafted with a lightweight polymer that improves stability for improved sound and feel, and a Cap Back Design—utilizing a full hollow-body construction—introduces TaylorMade’s new ECHO Dampening System. This technology uses a softer poly blend along with multiple contact points to channel away harsh vibrations, making these irons feel like forged clubs.

The SIM2 Max also boast a lot of forgiveness the mid-handicap golfer needs, with Inverted Cone Technology to minimize the common misses. And a patented Thru-Slot Speed Pocket maxes out the face flex for increased ball speed that works against the inherent right bias found in most mid-handicap irons to encourage loft, neutral ball flight, and accurate shots. The kit comes with a full array of irons, along with a TaylorMade’s stock Crossline 360 grip, but you can select from left- and right-handed irons, steel or graphite shafts, and a regular or stiffer flex.

Best Budget: Callaway Mavrik Max

Callaway MAVRIK MAX Irons

Courtesy of Golf Galaxy

The golf engineers at Callaway crafted the Mavrik Max iron solely to add distance to every shot. These clubs feature a larger overall club body and a deeper center of gravity to increase forgiveness and provide easy, consistent launches. Leaning into insights gleaned from artificial intelligence, designers also crafted the face of each iron to marry to every type of loft, which translates into faster ball speed and increased spin. This tech is buoyed by custom tungsten-infused weights to improve swing accuracy without dampening ball speed. They’ve also updated the urethane microspheres in the irons to suck away unwanted vibrations and improve overall feel without sacrificing power. The stock shafts come in both steel and graphite, with the brand’s Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360 Soft grip—but you can customize your shafts to suit your preferences.

Best for Distance: TaylorMade M6

TaylorMade P790

Courtesy of TaylorMade

When it comes to the P790 irons from TaylorMade, it’s all about improved ball speed—and thus, ball distance. Designed with mid-to-low handicappers in mind, this set isn't for higher handicappers but can help those on the verge of going low take the next step. “SpeedFoam Air” technology makes the clubface light (69% lighter than its predecessor, according to the company) and flexible, and TaylorMade has repositioned the sweet spot to capture more contact on errant swings.

Golf Pride Z Grip 360 grips come standard on the set, giving buyers on of the most reliable names in their hands, and golfers can choose from graphite or steel shafts. For more speed and distance, fast swingers should opt for steel.

Best Hybrid: Cleveland Launcher Halo

Hybrids blend the best of both irons and woods, combining the accuracy of an iron with the distance achieved with fairway woods. And the aptly named Launcher Halo from Cleveland are some of the best hybrids available. Three rails—dubbed the Gliderail—line the bottom of each club to improve turf interaction and increase the head speed through impact, even in the rough. HiBore Crown technology provides a lower center of gravity to cut down on ball spin and improve loft. The face itself is constructed of high-strength steel, with a variable face insert to amp the point of impact over a larger surface of the club to help correct off shots, max out energy transfer, and increase ball speed and distance on impact.

Best for Forgiveness: Titleist T200

Titleist T200

Courtesy of Golf Galaxy

Forgiving clubs benefit the mid-handicap golfer by allowing even off-target swings to fire the ball with speed, precision, and height. The T200s from Titleist achieve this with the integration of Max Impact technology, delivering the optimal speed upon contact with any part of the club face. A polymer core also provides a precise sound and dampening qualities to reduce chatter and help you understand how well each swing resonates with the irons’ sweet spots. A full 90 grams of tungsten nestled into the mid and long irons along the heel and toe further improve the moment of impact, and the forged face wraps around the sole. Choose from two shafts with weights that range from 74 to 116 grams. And, for a limited time, you can also go with black club colors, paired with a True Temper ATM Black Onyx shaft and a Tour Velvet Blackout grip—basically the all-black colorway Batman might choose if he ever hit the links.

Best for Women: Cobra Women’s T-Rail Custom

Off-the-shelf women-specific clubs makes it easier for female golfers to excel at the sport. But Cobra’s Women’s T-Rail Custom adds another factor—choosing clubs that fit your particular needs and overall physique—that stock iron sets simply cannot match. You also benefit from Cobra’s array of technological club advances in this hybrid set, including a hollow-body design that fires the ball off the club face with serious speed and Baffler Rails to improve turf interaction and club speed. Constructed of high-strength steel, the face has been designed with a variable-thickness pattern to widen the sweet spot and align off-center hits. The kit can also be purchased without a 4 iron, should that club not be in your regular rotations.

Best for Improving Your Game: Ping G710

Ping G710

 Courtesy of Ping

Ping’s G710 irons come stock with the Arccos Caddie Smart Grips and a 90-day free trial of the Arccos Caddie smart device app, which will automatically record every shot taken during a round. The detailed data analysis and advice help you improve your game and make this iron set one of the best on the market. But even without the smart feature, mid-handicap golfers will still love the G710s as they’re the most forgiving clubs that Ping has produced. A steel face combined with a stainless steel body provides metal/wood-like flexing to generate faster ball speeds, higher shots, and added distance. Compared to the G700 series, the G710s increase the moment of impact by 5 percent thanks to high-density tungsten toe and heel weights to further improve that forgiveness, especially for slower swing speeds. The irons also look good, with a hydropearl chrome finish and back PVD coatings to repel water and amp performance in wet conditions. And unlike some other irons, the G710 comes with a graphite shaft, which cuts the weight and adds a bit of welcome softness without impacting performance.

Best for Men: Wilson Staff D7 Forged

Designed to deliver Tour-level distances and feel with every shot of every club, the Wilson Staff D7 Forged set includes irons four through nine, along with a pitching wedge. Power Hole tech has been tweaked from earlier versions for optimized face deflection and contact time for more power transfer, greater ball speed, and further distance. Proprietary Power Chamber Technology fills both the poles as well as the entire chamber behind the club face to reduce vibrations, providing solid sound. Each club is constructed with a durable, performant forged 8620 cavity to reinforce the traditional look and feel of a forged iron, with a compact head shape and a thinner top line. Choose from Wilson’s KBS tapered light steel shaft with a Golf Pride Tour Velvet grip, or upgrade to True Temper Catalyst 80 shafts made of high-quality graphite that increase the swing rate from D2 to D3.

Best for Feel: Mizuno MP-20 MMC

Mizuno MP-20 MMC

Courtesy of Mizuno

Mizuno uses a multi-material approach to the MP-20 MMC iron set to deliver an arsenal of clubs that excel at letting the golfer feel the impact of each swing. Each club includes a titanium muscle plate, a tungsten sole weight, a grain-flow-forged element crafted from 1025E pure select carbon steel (which has 6x tighter tolerance than industry standards), and layers of soft copper plating and protective nickel chrome. A thinner top line helps streamline the club itself, with Harmonic Impact Technology in the finely tuned head providing feel and feedback while dampening any undue vibrations. By forging the titanium directly into the carbon steel body, Mizuno was able to redistribute the clubs’ weight and increase forgiveness. The MP-20 MMC doesn’t lean too hard on customizable options, with only a KSB S-Taper stiff steel shaft, but if you play golf by feel, this iron set’s intuitive feedback is designed to help you understand what worked and what didn't with each swing. Irons four through nine are included, as is a pitching wedge.

Final Verdict

With a sweet spot that’s mapped to the most common impact points, the new TaylorMade SIM2 Max Iron set (view at Dick's Sporting Goods) will give you a serious edge on the course. A softer ploy blend material dampens vibrations, while an Inverted Cone Technology integrates the forgiveness a mid-handicap golfer needs. But if you’re looking to achieve Tour-level distance shots, consider the Wilson Staff D7 Forged Irons (view at Amazon). The new head design increases the clubs’ face deflection and contact time for optimal power transfer, greater ball speed, and further distance.

What to Look for in Golf Irons for Mid-Handicappers

Clubface

The size of an iron’s clubface can vary from brand to brand, and it plays a big role in how the club functions on the course. Wider club faces tend to be a little more forgiving, so keep an eye out for those if you want something corrective. 

Added tech

Think about your individual skill level and what features will most improve your game. Lots of clubs incorporate special technology to increase forgiveness and playability or help with ball speed.

Weighting

Clubs that are designed to be a little more corrective for golfers are often built with weighting, which incorporates tungsten—heavier than steel—into the club at specific places to tailor the balance of the iron. In turn, that helps to correct a shot after a slight mishit.

FAQs

Which type of iron set is best suited for mid-handicap golfers?

Look for ones designated as game-improvement irons. These clubs include features that let you hit the ball further, faster, and more accurately, along with enough forgiveness to help you make accurate contact with off-center shots. They also have a bit more feel to help you intuitively understand what worked and what didn’t, helping to focus on areas of improvement.

What about shaft flex?

Referencing the amount of bend in a club, shaft flexes include regular, stiff, extra-stiff, and flex designed for women and senior golfers (the latter two are generally the ones with the most flex). When selecting your shaft, consider how quickly you swing your clubs. In general golfers with faster swings want a stiff or extra-stiff flex, while those with slower swings should go with a regular flex.

What size should I get?

The right iron club size aligns with your height. Those who are over 6 feet should consider clubs that range from 37 to 38.5 inches, typically the longest club. Standard club size (34 to 37 inches) work with golfers around 5 feet, 7 inches up to 5 feet, 11 inches, and the club lengths drop from there. It’s also a good idea to measure the distance between your hands and the ground so that the club grip aligns with your hands. If you’re unsure, start by taking a practice swing with a standard-sized iron and adjust up or down based on how natural it feels.

How should I clean my irons?

Turf debris and normal wear and tear on the irons are a necessary consequence of the game. To improve performance and lengthen the life of your irons, use a club-cleaning brush to remove any dirt or grass (something you can do mid-play), and then dunk the clubs in water, wipe off any dirt with a wet towel, and then use another towel or a microfiber cloth to dry the irons.

Why Trust TripSavvy

TripSavvy expert Nathan Borchelt put extensive online and real-time research into this round-up, focusing specifically on iron sets that have characteristics that cater to a mid-handicap golfer’s needs: flex, strength, durability, feel, forgiveness, and the ability to hit the ball accurately and at great distance. We also consulted retail experts as well as product reviews of verified customers in making these selections.

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