Golf irons make up most of your set, so you have to be smart about picking them and choosing which ones are the best. The best golf irons for you may be a terrible fit for another player. The key to finding the best golf iron is not trying them all or purchasing the most expensive; it comes down to knowing what you are doing. Here is the ultimate guide to choosing the perfect golf iron.
Best Iron Brand For The Average Golfer: Callaway
Best Iron Brand For Distance: TaylorMade
How To Choose The Perfect Golf Iron
When looking for the perfect golf iron, there are several decisions that you are going to have to make. When you can make concrete choices in each of these categories, you will slowly start to narrow down options and come up with the perfect choice for your game. The things to focus on when choosing the perfect golf iron include:
- Club Head Style (Workability, Forgiveness, Distance)
- Set Makeup
- Player Ability/Game Analysis
Let’s break each of these down a bit further so you can understand their impact on your search.
Club Head Style
When looking at a golf club head style, there are three big things to consider, workability, forgiveness, and distance. Each manufacturer will make several different club head styles each year to fit different playing styles. Not all golf irons are capable of the same things.
Workability is how the golf iron reacts when you attempt to control the ball’s flight. Better players that want to hit a draw or a fade or keep the ball flight low into the wind look for irons with lots of workabilities.
These clubs are typically blade-style irons and often have forged clubhead designs. Highly workable golf irons generally are more compact and less forgiving. Forgiveness and workability often work against each other.
One of the best things about a highly workable iron is that they are typically some of the best looking on the market. They have a thin top line and will make it incredibly easy to feel what you are doing in your swing. Keep workability in mind if you are a player ready to hit these shots.
A golf iron designed for forgiveness looks slightly different from a workable one. The most forgiving irons are typically cavity back or even hybrid irons. They have a wide sole, a large sweet spot, and a longer blade length.
When you look down at a more forgiving golf iron, expect it to have a thicker top-down look. The idea here is to give the golfer more confidence as they attempt to make their golf shot.
Forgiving irons are often referred to as game improvement or super game improvement golf clubs, and they make up the majority of the options on the market.
In addition to workable and forgiving irons, some club heads are built with pure distance. Distance golf irons help players hit the ball as far as possible. It’s essential to reach the yardages you need with your golf irons, but remember that other types of performance are also necessary.
Distance is often impacted by the loft of the golf iron set. When you purchase golf irons, it’s essential to look at the lofts of the clubs and compare one set to another. If a golf iron set has a pitching wedge with 43 degrees of loft, it will fly further than a set with 46 degrees of loft in the pitching wedge.
However, distance can sometimes work against those looking for higher ball flight, more control, and increased spin. With all the choices on the market, you can fine-tune the options that make the most sense for you—no need to settle for an iron that does not check all the boxes for your game.
The shaft of the club is a feature that many golfers overlook. Unfortunately, the golf shaft is just as crucial as the club head. We have tested the same golf club head with a different golf shaft and noticed tremendous differences in performance.
It can be a little harder to find the right shaft for your game, and it takes a bit more data about the type of player that you are. One of the best ways to determine which shaft will work for you is to use a launch monitor to gather data.
Players need to consider the weight of the golf shaft and the flex and the spin they are getting when that shaft is in place. For many average golfers, the stock shaft from the manufacturer is a great option, but others need to fine-tune the performance with a custom golf shaft.
We often see players between regular and stiff flex or stiff and extra stiff flex will need to go for a golf fitting to determine which makes sense in their golf irons. With the technology available to players, there are times when you may need a shaft that is slightly lighter in the long irons and something heavier in the short irons. These are all possibilities.
The two primary golf shaft materials are graphite and steel. Graphite golf shafts help players get tremendous distance. With a graphite shaft, you can swing faster because the shaft does not hold you back. This extra distance can also increase the ball’s flight and makes the graphite shaft the best choice for the slower swing speed player.
The steel shaft is best for control. Golfers with faster swing speeds that struggle to control the golf ball can use a steel shaft and try and maintain a bit of the direction and control they need in their game. Steel shafts do not cost golfers distance if they have average or above average golf swing speeds.
The grip on a golf iron is our only connection with the golf club. Therefore it makes sense to have a grip that you like. Although the grip preference on your club can be a bit of a personal decision, it is also essential to consider the grip’s feel, size, and performance.
Golfers with large hands need a midsize or supersize golf grip. Sometimes the larger grips are called jumbo grips. Golfers that have smaller hands can go with an undersized golf grip and have plenty of success.
Some grips are tacky and will grab your hands so that you can lighten your grip pressure. Other grips have a softer, more cushiony feel, and they will be an excellent choice for players that have arthritis.
One of our best tips for choosing the perfect golf iron is to get the exact grip on your golf irons and across your entire set of golf clubs. This consistency in the feel will help you make consistent swings with the same hand position.
The golf club set makeup is a huge determining factor in setting up the perfect golf iron for your game. Many years ago, when you purchased golf irons, you got a 4-PW or a 3-PW. These were the only options available on the market, and people just assumed these were the clubs they had to play with.
Today, golfers realize that long irons are not for everyone! Some golf manufacturers do not make 3 irons anymore because they don’t sell. The set makeup is essential as it helps you build out the tools you need for the golf course.
Here are some of the more popular golf set makeup options we see today; the 4-PW standard is a thing of the past.
- 5-PW, AW
- 6-PW, AW, SW
- 4-PW, AW
- 7PW, AW, SW
Hybrids and additional wedges will then complement the iron set to build out the rest of the golf bag. Don’t purchase a golf iron that you don’t like the feel of or don’t plan to use; there is no reason to do that anymore.
The brand of golf iron you play with is an important decision. Although being brand loyal in golf can make you miss out on some of the best choices on the market, each golf brand is known for different types of performance.
Big names like Callaway and TaylorMade will have several different golf clubs for all levels of players. Then there are smaller brands like Miura, which is all about feel, and PXG, which make equipment that is high performing yet expensive.
After many years in the game of golf, you will start to develop preferences about the brand and realize which companies suit your needs. Below is some information about each of the top golf brands and what they are known for.
Golf iron pricing is all over the map! It’s best to look at the total cost per iron instead of the cost per set, as it will help you figure out if you’re getting a great deal on your golf clubs. Most of these irons start around $100 per club, although some value brands will be slightly less.
The pricing, however, increases to more than $300 per club when you get into the more advanced player-type golf irons. If you are budget conscious, here are a few tips to help you understand golf iron pricing.
- Graphite shafts are always more expensive than steel shafts because of the cost to produce
- Players’ blade style irons are often forged, and this creates a different manufacturing process that is more expensive.
- Purchasing last year’s golf iron model will save you quite a bit of money, but it probably won’t be customized directly by the manufacturer.
- On a new golf release to the market, customization of stock shafts and grips, as well as the length of the club, will likely not cost you anything extra.
- Only purchase the irons that you know you will need and use; if you can’t hit a 4 iron well, don’t include it in the set as it won’t be worth the money
- Take care of your golf irons and sell them in a few years while they are still worth good money
Player Ability/Game Analysis
When choosing the perfect golf irons, one final and more important aspect is your playing ability. Not all golfers can do the same things on the course, and you must keep this in mind. Be honest with yourself about the type of player that you are.
Low Handicap Golfer
Low handicappers typically look for a blade style or players’ golf iron. With these golf clubs, the ability to work the ball and hit different high and low shots is greatly improved. Low-handicap golfers spend a lot on a new golf iron set to help fine-tune the feel and performance they like.
Mid Handicap Golfer
Mid-handicapped golfers have so many golf irons choices. They can decide between something a bit more about feel or something that has forgiveness and distance in mind. Most of the game improvement golf irons or player’s distance irons on the market are built for the mid-handicap player. Try to think about where your game stands. If you are continually getting better, choose a golf iron that will help you perform once you get there.
Beginner and High Handicapper
The beginner and high handicapper golf irons are often in the same category. These golf irons have high lofts, impressive distance, and quite a bit of forgiveness. These are best for the golfers that have a tough time with consistency in their games. High handicappers that have been playing the game a long time may want to look for a golf iron that provides a tremendous feel and forgiveness.
Best Iron Brands In Golf (And What They Are Known For)
When shopping for golf irons on Amazon, we know plenty of options that look hundreds or even thousands less than the top competitors. Although this can be tempting, certain golf manufacturers are known for certain things, and it’s wise to know that before purchasing.
Best Iron Brand For The Average Golfer: Callaway
Ever since Callaway came out with the Big Bertha golf clubs, they have been known for the golf clubs they produce for the average player. Many senior and women golfers also like Callaway golf clubs because they have a substantial selection of products for players in this grouping.
The new Rogue ST series from Callaway has pro and oversized versions to cater to all players. One of our favorite things about the Callaway brand is the customer service.
This product has a strong warranty and a company to stand behind it. In the last few years, Callaway has stepped ahead of some other brands because of the introduction of artificial intelligence into their golf club design.
Callaway Iron To Try: Callaway Rogue ST Max
- The longest iron the brand ever created
- Improved feel with urethane microspheres
- Increased tungsten in the club head
- Designed with AI to improve overall launch and forgiveness
Best Iron Brand For Distance: TaylorMade
Each iron brand has things they like to focus on, and TaylorMade is all about speed. If you want to hit the ball a long way, TaylorMade will have a solution for you. The products are very widely used on the PGA Tour.
Although we are talking about irons in this guide to choosing the perfect golf iron, there are some impressive wood and hybrid options to pair with your TaylorMade irons. The TaylorMade name also has excellent choices for players working to improve their game.
As your game improves, TaylorMade offers players several different golf club choices. Some are pure blades, and others combine blade and cavity back.
TaylorMade Iron To Try: TaylorMade Stealth
- Forgiving and fast
- New multi-material construction
- Cleaner, more streamlined look
- Perfectly positioned sweet spot
Best Iron Brand For High Handicappers: Cobra
We love Cobra’s products because they know how to mix performance and feel. You cannot often find a forgiving golf club that also feels great when you strike the ball perfectly.
Although we chose Cobra as the best brand for high handicappers, there are plenty of golf club choices for mid handicappers, and Cobra usually puts out one set of blades.
Cobra incorporates technology into their golf clubs using the Cobra Connect grips. These grips will tell you how your irons are performing and whether you’re hitting them the way you should be. It’s a great extra feature for a player that is tech-focused.
Cobra Iron To Try: Cobra LTDx
- Powercore technology for more distance
- CNC Milled face
- High MOI design
- Maximum face flex at impact
Best Iron Brand For Low Handicappers: Titleist
Titleist has always been known as the player’s brand. When you look at the PGA Tour and see how many golfers are using Titleist products, it’s easy to see how it got this reputation.
Titleist does a great job with feel and precision. If you want to hit a high fade or a low draw, this iron gives you the best chance of feeling what you need to do. Through the years, Titleist has expanded its offering to get golfers more forgiving golf clubs that will work for mid to high-handicap players.
When choosing a Titleist iron, carefully check the performance and ensure it’s a good fit for your playing style.
Titleist Golf Iron To Try: Titleist T200
- Great feel and performance
- Workability built in but still forgiving
- Long distance iron
- Tungsten material in the club head
Best Iron Brand For The Money: Cleveland
Cleveland will often release a set of golf irons at a lower price than other manufacturers and then be one of the first companies to drop the price again on the set. The Cleveland golf clubs have tremendous feel and forgiveness and can work well for mid to high-handicap players.
Years ago, Cleveland had some impressive player-type golf irons, but they have since learned that their technology is best suited for the golfers looking for iron/hybrid combo sets and those looking for a spin and feel around the greens.
Cleveland is one of the best choices for a beginner player that wants quality but can’t afford something from TaylorMade or Callaway.
Cleveland Iron To Try: Cleveland Launcher XL
- Hollow irons for more distance
- AI Designed club head
- Progressive design
- Maximum spin on short irons
Best Premium Iron Brand: Ping
Ping has some of the best feel in the game and is therefore known as being a more premium golf irons choice. The Ping brand has a strong history in amateur and professional golf.
One of the best things about a Ping golf iron is that it will hold its value better than other golf brands. If you purchase a Ping and take care of it, expect to be able to sell it for a good amount of money.
The Ping brand makes clubs for the lowest handicap players looking for thin blades to the beginner that needs a forgiving cavity back iron.
Ping Iron To Try: Ping G425 Irons
- A great mix of forgiveness, distance, and feel
- Impressive launch
- Water-repellent hydro chrome finish
Frequently Asked Questions
It’s good to ask questions before deciding on the perfect golf iron. With so many choices, these questions can help you narrow down the best choice for your game.
How do I choose the right golf iron?
When choosing the right golf iron, you must consider the club head style, shaft, and overall performance attributes. It is sometimes necessary to go for a golf club fitting, or you can go to a center where they allow you to take a few swings with each iron type. This is one of the best ways to see which performance is the best for you.
What makes a good golf iron?
A great golf iron has solid distance capability, forgiveness, and feel. With an excellent golf iron, you can hit consistent shots that you can feel confident about.
Does a 7 or 9 iron go further?
A 7-iron will go further than a 9-iron as long as they are part of the same golf set. When comparing one set to another, the 7 iron should still go further, but it may not have as much different depending on the individual clubs’ lofts.
Do I need a 5 or 6 iron?
Most golfers find that they need a 6 iron to keep the loft lower and get out of trouble when necessary. However, slower swing speed players often struggle with hitting a 5 iron. Take it out of the bag if you can’t hit the 5 iron much further than the 6 iron.
What irons should a 20-handicap play?
A 20 handicapper should play with a game improvement style iron with a large sweet spot, plenty of forgiveness, and reasonable distance technology. The majority of these irons will be cavity-back golf clubs.
What irons should I have in my bag?
Most players need at least a 6-PW. Faster swing speed golfers can also consider adding the 4 and 5 iron. When it comes to the AW, SW, and even LW, you can choose to have them match your golf irons or be individual blade or cavity back style wedges. The wedges that don’t match the set will often have a slightly better feel and precision.
Hopefully, you now feel you can choose one of the best golf irons in the game without too much trouble. There are a lot of golf irons out there to choose from, but if you start narrowing things down by the different parameters we talked about, you should be able to find something perfect for you. There may be some trial and error involved in this decision, but you will want to choose something that will last you the next 5-10 years.