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If you are a mid-handicap golfer then two things are certain: You want to take a few more strokes off your golf game and you definitely don’t want to add any more strokes and get into high handicap territory. The key to maintaining your mid-handicap status or getting yourself down into a low, single-digit handicap where you score below 80 consistently is which irons you use.
If you’re a mid-handicapper, don’t look for pro-level 3-irons or blade clubs to get your score down — you want clubs that work for you. Look for irons sets starting at 5, with wider club faces and perimeter weighting to improve contact and increase forgiveness. Additionally, you’ll want a cavity in the back of the club head to move force to the front for a larger sweet spot. These features will let you make better contact and hit more accurately from tee box to green.
The USGA puts about half of all male golfers in the mid-handicap range, with handicaps between 9 and 20. If you are one of the many golfers who fall into this category, consider one of these irons geared specifically toward mid-handicap golfers to improve your score even more.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Callaway Rogue Irons
The Callaway Rogue irons are perfect for mid-handicap golfers. These stylish black and metal clubs have slightly larger faces than the competition for faster ball speeds. The 360 Face Cup designs allow for more room to make quality contact while the variable face thickness makes for a unique flex on the edge of the club to propel the ball at higher speeds.
Callaway Rogue irons are also made with tungsten, which is heavier than steel, and placed in the optimal location in long irons to manipulate the center of gravity for added precision. One of the stranger aspects of the club is one your wrists will thank you for. The club head features an elastic-urethane component to reduce the vibration and sound commonly found in other thin club heads. This set of irons is available in both hand orientations, two shafts materials, three flex options and a range of club selections. Mid-handicappers may want to consider the 5-9 iron with a PW and SW option.
Best Ultra-Thin: TaylorMade Golf 2018 P790 Irons
Most great mid-handicap irons have thin faces, but at 1.75 millimeters, the TaylorMade Golf 2018 P790 irons are truly ultra-thin. Made with high-strength 4140 carbon steel, the P790 irons’ club heads may look like blades but they aren’t. The hollow irons are bolstered by the unique TaylorMade SpeedFoam that fills the back cavity. This SpeedFoam allows for the benefits of a hollow cavity but gives a gentler feel that is more responsive to the golfer’s swing.
In addition to the SpeedFoam, these ultra-thin irons include several mid-handicap favorites such as tungsten perimeter weighting, upgraded flexibility and “inverted cone technology” for higher speeds from every spot on the face. Available in a 4-PW and AW set that is perfect for mid-handicappers, the TaylorMade P790 irons are available with graphite or steel shafts and a regular, stiff or extra stiff flex.
Best for New Golfers: Callaway Men’s XR OS Irons
The Callaway Men’s XR OS Irons are perfect for those lucky few new golfers who have a mid-level handicap. These irons can be purchased with a regular or stiff flex and graphite or steel shafts for either hand and in a variety of configurations. All XR OS irons have centers of gravity that are particularly far back and lower, giving every newbie golfer the pop and the distance they need from the fairway. Additionally, these irons have wide soles and 360 Face Cup technology for added forgiveness and better ball speed. The entire set has progressive iron lengths and lofts. Simply put, these clubs are easy to use and lead to great results with each swing.
Best for Spin: Cobra F9 Men's Speedback Iron Set
Mid-handicap golfers are plenty skilled to know when they need to put some spin on the ball. If you’re upgrading from beginner clubs to a set made for your handicap, try the Cobra F9 irons. These set of clubs features two distinct sets of grooves as part of the progressive spin technology. The 4-, 5- and 6-iron have V-shaped grooves on the face for reduced spin, so that you can keep that forward momentum going across the fairway. Irons 7 through pitching wedge have a U-grooves for added spin. The gap and sand wedges have separate Wedge grooves for an even greater spin.
In addition to the grooved face, the Cobra F9 irons are hollow with dual cavities in the head to create a lighter club with a lower center of gravity and a better launch capability. The cap on the irons is made of aluminum rather than steel and clubs are coated in nickel chrome for a sporty look. The long, mid and scoring irons, as well as the wedges, each have slightly different constructions for optimized results with each swing. The set runs 4-iron through gap wedge and comes with a regular flex.
Best Women's: Cobra Women’s Max Irons
The same attributes that make men’s clubs good for mid-handicappers apply to women’s clubs and the Cobra Max irons check all the boxes. Made with hollow steel dual cavities, these irons reduce weight and move power under the ball for added forgiveness and launch.
The Cobra long irons have heel weighting for more forgiveness while short irons feature central weight extra control. The trench behind the clubs’ faces adds even less thickness to the club head while the hybrid clubs in this set are completely hollow. The irons are offset for better contact and straighter shots. This Cobra club set has 4-6 in hybrid clubs, 7-9 irons, a pitching wedge and a sand wedge — all great for mid-handicappers. These irons sport a women’s flex and graphite shafts.
Most Stylish: Callaway Men’s Apex CF 16 Black Irons
There’s no need to pretend that style doesn’t matter on the golf course. The key is to not sacrifice any quality to get the right look. Luckily, Callaway offers the sleek Men’s Apex CF 16 Black Irons for the perfect balance of both.
Each club in this set of irons has a black satin finish on the head and shiny premium black shaft. Although the all-black look is what is eye-catching, it’s the club head that should attract mid-handicappers. The 360 Face Cup technology helps your ball pop off your irons with extra speed from the hollow back and convex face. The short irons are compact and the long irons offset, but all mix playability with forgiveness — optimal for a golfer who is poised to break 80 but sometimes hits a triple bogey. The right-hand clubs are available with graphite or steel shafts, regular or stiff flexes and three configurations: 4-iron - PW; 4-PW, AW; and 5-P, AW.
Best Wedge: Cleveland CBX Wedge
The Cleveland CBX wedge is a cavity-backed wedge that comes in a range of loft angles and gives just about any golfer the tools they need to get out of a bunker or over the hump. The cavity design, as opposed to a low handicap blade wedge, allowed Cleveland to move the 70 grams of club head weight to the perimeter of the face. This, in combination with the v-shaped sole of the club, adds significantly more forgiveness to this iron for much easier shots.
You can get the CBX wedge in any two-degree increment from 48 to 60 for pitching, gap, sand or lob wedge options. This wedge also has Cleveland’s free balancing technology, which strips weight from areas like the hosel and optimizes power to the center of the club face. This club looks like a professional blade but is perfect for mid-handicap golfers.
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.