Find The Ideal Irons For Your Game
Choosing a new set of golf irons can be a complicated task. The variety of designs, materials, aesthetics and prices can be confusing to even the most knowledgeable golfer. Clubhead design, composition and shaft flex are all important in matching a set of golf irons to your game. Ping Irons
Types of Irons
Irons feature thin clubheads and grooved faces. The two main types of golf iron are cavity back (usually cast) and bladed-style (usually forged) irons - and now many sets are being sold with hybrid options. In these, the hard-to-hit 3 and 4 irons are replaced with hybrids, or golf iron-woods, which add the playability and power of a wood to the feel and control of iron construction. For more information on hybrids, please see our section on choosing the right golf hybrid
While a blade style features a full back on the rear of the clubhead, a cavity back is exactly that: the rear of the clubhead is, to a certain degree, hollowed out. This creates an effect known as "perimeter weighting", which is helpful to less accomplished players, distributing the weight away from the centre of the clubface and create a larger sweet spot, giving greater forgiveness on off-centre shots. Moving the weight towards the bottom of the clubhead creates a lower centre of gravity when striking the ball, allowing you to get it airborne more easily. This type of club is ideally suited to mid to high handicap golfers, who benefit most from the forgiveness and higher trajectory - they are also more likely to offer off-set options, to help square the face at impact and avoid a slice.
These are designed with a full back, as outlined above, and no special weight distribution. With a smaller sweet spot, ‘muscle-back’ golf irons are less forgiving on mis-hits. This type of club is ideally suited to a more skilled golfer looking for more control and a softer feel, and when the ball is struck square, they often offer more accuracy.
Cast versus Forged Golf Irons
Cavity backs tend to be cast - molten metal, usually stainless steel, is poured into a mould to create the clubhead. It is less expensive than forging, and cast clubs tend to offer less feel - so they are most appropriate for medium to high handicappers, who do not need as much subtlety in their golf irons.
Blades are usually forged, meaning that they are made from a solid metal block which is beaten into the desired club head shape. Forging uses more expensive materials, such as carbon steel, which lead to better feel, performance and quality - and the smaller sole makes blades easier to hit off tight lies, as well as offering more versatility around the green. These are ideal for better players, for whom the nuances of a shot can make all the difference.
Clubhead profile can range from standard to oversize. Standard cavity-backs and blades are similar in size to traditional muscle-back clubs, and offer better control for an advanced player. Meanwhile, oversized clubs, with larger cavities, are more forgiving on mis-hits, making them a good choice for mid to high handicap golfers.
The offset distance is the space between an imaginary line down the centre of the shaft and the leading edge of the blade. An offset club helps a player to align the clubface with the target, thus reducing slice and helping produce a higher ball flight. In progressively offset golf irons the offset will vary, with more in the longer irons to correct the tendency to slice with these clubs.
Choosing the right shaft is equally as important as getting the right clubhead design, as it plays a critical part in distance and control.
Golf irons are available with stainless steel shafts, which are strong, durable, cost-effective and provide better consistency for good golfers. Graphite shafts are lighter, allowing a golfer to gain more club head speed and better feel for the clubhead, generating more power and distance, and are quite often the choice of higher hadicappers, women and seniors.
Flex is the ability of the shaft to bend as you swing. Your local Foremost pro will be able to identify how much flex is right for you without compromising control. Beginners and players with a slower swing speed will generally benefit from a more flexible shaft.
When to use them
A typical set of irons will include a 3-iron through pitching wedge (advertised as "3-PW"), with 8 clubs in total. The clubs are identified by a number (or "PW") on the sole of each club. Irons are generally categorized as long irons, mid-irons and short irons. Long irons are the 1-, 2-, 3- and 4-irons; mid-irons, the 5-, 6- and 7-irons; short irons, the 8- and 9-irons and pitching wedge.
Each club has a little less loft and a little longer shaft length than the next, so each club goes a little farther than the next. In this way, the 3-iron has less loft and is also a little longer than a 4-iron, and will send the ball a little further, and so on through to the pitching wedge. As you move through the set to the shorter, more lofted clubs, the resulting shots will have a steeper trajectory; shots will rise at a steeper angle and fall at a steeper angle.
The yardage gap between irons is generally 10-15 yards, with the average recreational male player reaching around 150 yards with a mid-iron, where a female may use a longer iron or hybrid – though only through practice will you work out for yourself the distances you can achieve with each club, and to what degree of accuracy.
Two other irons, the 1-iron and 2-iron, are often offered for separate purchase. Beginners will generally want to steer clear of both of these, as with their thin clubheads, very little loft and longer shafts, they are difficult to master. (In fact, many experts will recommend that beginners and recreational players also stay away from 3-irons and 4-irons, replacing them with utility clubs or fairway woods.) In fact, each iron gets progressively easier to hit, the shorter it is, due in equal part to the shorter shaft (easier to control), and the added loft to get the ball airborne.
Much of the latest technology involves increasing the perimeter weighting to both aid forgiveness and lower the centre of gravity for higher launch and better feel; creating the ideal off-set and launch conditions in the head shape, and stabilising the clubhead by increasing the ‘moment of inertia’ (MOI), to resist twisting on impact, for added forgiveness on mis-hits. Most manufacturers are achieving the maximum COR (co-efficient of restitution) allowable, for maximum speed off the clubface and therefore distance.
Check below for a selection from a range of the best irons on the market!
|Model||What the manufacturer says||Our verdict||Most suited to |
Available in Steel or Graphite
|The perimeter weighting of the Callaway X-22 has been maximized for a moment of inertia (MOI) that’s 10% higher than their predecessors, meaning more forgiveness on off-centre strikes. The ideal CG position has been preserved, generating optimal ball-flight trajectories. We’ve also incorporated the Modified Tru-Bore design, dampening vibration for enhanced feel. The tour-inspired head shape has a slightly thinner topline and sole with a large sweet spot for improved aesthetics and forgiveness to boost your confidence||This 6th incarnation of the X series is as remarkably easy to use and forgiving as its predecessors – even the long irons are manageable. The perimeter weighting really does reduce twisting and the low CG enhances ball flight.||Excellent game improvement clubs whose sleek looks and high performance should not deter the better player.|
Slingshot 4D, 4-SW Steel
|Nike Slingshot 4D irons add progressive change to four critical areas of performance to create irons that play how you need them to, when you need them to.|
1. Slingback: Positioned strategically on each club head to achieve desired ball flight needed.
2. Variable Sole Width: Progressive Centre of Gravity (CG) for higher, softer landing golf shots
3. Progressive Offset: Greater offset in long irons for high, straight shots. Decreased offset in short irons for precision.
4. Head Shape Change: Extremely forgiving, while enhancing control and accuracy when you need it most.
|The slingback feature leads to excellent ball flight, while the progressive offset and CG offer real shot-shaping possibilities. Great consistency, too, even for higher handicappers.||Fantastic game improvement irons, giving higher handicap golfers the control and confidence they need, for a great price.|
Nike SQ MachSpeed,
|A radical new construction method combined with a hot, thin alloy face creates the fastest Nike iron ever. Faster ball speeds off the dace means more distance.||Designed to be the longest that Nike has ever made, while still producing a high launch, and they do live up to this promise. We found them extremely long, but without losing any forgiveness and still producing a high ball flight throughout the set. Some might find the busy design on the cavity section off-putting, though, and golfers will need to adjust to the extra distance!||With their high ball-flight, stability and forgiveness, these irons are ideal for the mid-handicap golfer.|
3/SW or 5/SW
3/SW or 5/SW
|The technology of the Ping|
Weight savings from a thinner face is re-positioned to the toe for added forgiveness on mis-hits and its wider sole produces a higher launch angle. Stronger lofts combine with a centre of gravity located low and farther from the face to produce longer shots without sacrificing the higher trajectory required in a maximum forgiveness iron
G15 Irons provides the high launching, maximum forgiveness attributes that brings consistency to your iron play. The stainless steel iron's cavity design features a new Custom Tuning Port (CTP) which expands the perimeter weighting and increases the moment of inertia.
|The wide soles and large heads give a real air of authority behind the ball. Meanwhile the feel is solid and the clubs power through the turf. They gain great distance, without sacrificing a high ball-flight, and are unbelievably forgiving to boot, aimed at ‘G-man’ – the average player who is looking for distance but needs more consistency||Tremendous irons for the aspiring high-handicapper. They make the game easier.|
3/PW or 4/PW
3/PW or 4/PW
|Ping i15 steel Irons provides the high launching, maximum forgiveness attributes that bring consistency to your iron play. Stronger lofts combine with a centre of gravity position that produces longer shots without sacrificing the higher trajectories required in a maximum forgiveness iron.|
New Custom Tuning Ports (CTP)
A reshaped and repositioned CTP saves seven grams which is allocated to the perimeter to increase the moment of inertia. The new design also provides the proper structure and support behind a thinner face to ensure consistent distance control and a solid feel.
A wide sole positions the centre of gravity lower and farther back to increase the launch angle for higher flying, longer carrying shots. The sole geometry is designed to ensure a smooth transition thorough the turf.
|Designed with the better - if not always consistent - player in mind, the mid and short iron heads are neat and compact, but by making it a progressive set, the 3-, 4- and even 5-irons are a bit bigger and a bit more forgiving. The mid and short irons are much more compact, and the ball flight is a bit lower, more penetrating and controllable.||Ideal for the better club golfer.|
TaylorMade Burner 09
4-SW or 3-PW,
4-PW or 5-SW
4-PW or 5-SW,
4-SW or 3-PW
|TaylorMade’s improved SuperFast Technology incorporates progressive COR, MOI and shaft length, plus ultra-light shafts and grips reduce overall club weight and increase speed, to generate meaningful distance. A multi-functional sole with beveled edges reduces turf resistance to deliver maximum force to the ball at impact, while inverted cone technology expands the area on the clubface that delivers higher ball speed, resulting in more consistent distance from shot to shot. Finally, progressive face thickness and head shape and size make every Burner iron uniquely powerful. COR and MOI have been optimized in every iron.||Designed to be ultra-long and extremely forgiving, the irons have won rave reviews from the golfing public. |
The long irons are easier to hit than ever before, while the shorter irons genuinely offer excellent control.
|With such great workability, these irons would appeal to any player in search of maximum distance|