A flushed iron shot out of the middle of the clubface is one of the best feelings in golf, but it is even better when that shot is hit with a brand-new iron. Golfers tend to buy new woods and putters on a regular basis, but the case is different with replacing a set of irons. A new set of irons can be a very pricey investment and most of us can’t afford to buy a new set on an annual basis.
New and improved technology is much more evident in driver releases than what it is with irons, with that being said there is nothing wrong with only changing out your irons every 3-5 years.
New irons are an investment and since you will likely be using them for a few years it is important to buy the perfect set for both your game and your budget. Below in our extensive buying guide we will look at all the factors that you need to consider when purchasing new irons. Some of these factors include: clubhead style, shaft, loft, lie angle, grips, length and set makeup.
Knowing what kind of clubs to buy is half the battle won, in addition we will also look at some of the best irons on the market for 2019 in a variety of different categories. These categories include:
- Best irons for 2019
- Best affordable irons for 2019
- Best irons for high handicap players in 2019
- Best irons for beginners in 2019
- One length irons
Top Irons in Golf Comparison Chart
|Name||Shaft Material||Flex||Price||Where to Buy?|
|Mizuno JPX919 Forged||Steel||Stiff||$$$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Wilson Staff D7 Irons||Graphite||Graphite||$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Callaway Rogue||Synergy, 60G||Senior||$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Cleveland Launcher HB Iron Set||Graphite||Senior||$$$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Cobra F9 Speedback One Length Irons||Fujikura Atmos (Graphite)||Regular||$$$$||Check Price on Amazon|
Irons in Golf Buying Guide
Buying a new set of irons is almost like having a must make 6-footer on the last to win the weekly money game against your friends, it is stressful. There are so many different manufacturers that all produce high quality irons and we don’t even want to begin thinking about all the other different variables that you can customize. Not to worry this buying guide will make the decision on which new set of irons to buy an easy one.
In an ideal situation a custom fitting with the help of a professional is advised in order to find out which set of irons is perfect for you and your game. A custom fitting isn’t always an option, don’t worry we have your back like any good caddie would. Let’s take a close look at 6 key iron construction characteristics that need to be taken into consideration when deciding on your next set of irons:
- Clubhead style options
- Loft and lie
- Set makeup
- Grips options
Different clubhead styles
Clubhead style is an important factor to consider when buying a new set of irons. Do you prefer the sleek look of a blade or the more forgiving look of a cavity back iron? Is your ball striking good enough to play with a blade, or do you need the help of a game improvement iron? Let’s take a look at the different clubhead styles and at which style will be best for your game.
Blade (Muscle back)
Blades feature very small clubheads that resemble the look of a butter knife. Professionals and low handicap amateurs that are exceptional ball strikers enjoy the feel and workability of a blade. One of the drawbacks of hitting a blade iron is its lack of forgiveness, it can go anywhere if the strike isn’t out of the middle of the clubface. A miss hit with a blade will result in both inconsistent distance and direction. Blades are aesthetically pleasing but only a small portion of the golfing population are able to hit them well on a consistent basis.
Cavity back irons are becoming more and more popular amongst professional players. Even the best ball strikers in the world prefer the forgiveness of a cavity back iron over the workability of a blade. Cavity back irons feature a slick design similar to that of a blade. But it’s slightly bigger clubhead and cavity back makes it is a lot easier to hit, it also offers more forgiveness on off center strikes.
Cavity back irons are very popular amongst amateur players with single figure handicaps. If you are a good ball striker then a cavity back set of irons might just be the best option for you.
Game improvement irons
Game improvement irons are great for players that are seeking added distance and consistency with their iron play. Yes these irons don’t feature the slick look of a blade or a cavity back iron but the results that they deliver makeup for their lack in aesthetic appeal.
Game improvement irons feature slightly bigger clubheads, these irons are also packed with technology that:
- Enhances distance
- Promotes a stronger, higher ball flight
- Ensures greater consistency on off center strikes
Super game improvement irons resemble the look of a hybrid. Super game improvement irons normally feature long irons with hybrid like designs and short irons with a traditional iron design. These irons might not look very appealing to the traditionalist, but beginners, ladies and senior players with slow clubhead speeds will all benefit greatly by using these irons. Super game improvement irons promote added distance, a high ball flight and exceptional forgiveness on off center hits.
The shafts that you choose to use in your irons are extremely important. The design of the shafts can influence distance, strike, ball flight and a host of other factors. Ideally a custom club fitting is recommended in order to find the perfect shaft for you. If that isn’t an option the below guidelines will help you make the best possible shaft choice.
Shaft flex and swing speed are directly correlated. Players with a slow swing speed need a softer shaft with added flex, strong powerful players are better off with a stiff shaft with less flex.
|Shaft flex||Average driver swing speed (mph)||Average ball speed (mph)|
|Ladies flex (L)||53-62||>100|
|Senior flex (A)||63-76||100-110|
|Extra stiff (X)||108+||160+|
Shafts are available in different materials. Two of the most common shaft materials are steel and graphite. Both of these materials can be used to manufacturer shafts with different flexes.
Graphite is traditionally used in the design and manufacturing of shafts with high amounts of flex (L and A flex), but graphite can also be used in X flex shafts. On the contrary steel shafts are stiffer and are normally used in the manufacturing of R-X flex shafts.
Graphite and steel shafts differ in terms of feedback, but the biggest difference between these two materials are weight. Graphite is a lot lighter than steel, with the help of graphite it is now possible to play with a lightweight X flex shaft. An advantage of less weight in the shaft is better club head awareness, increases in club head speed and added distance.
Graphite shafts are more expensive than steel shafts, keep this in mind if you have a strict budget.
The flex (kick) point of the shaft can help the golfer to either hit the ball higher or lower. Being able to control your ball flight won’t just make it easier when playing in tough windy conditions, it was also help you to maximize distance.
Shafts with a low kick point towards the tip of the shaft will promote a higher launch angle. Shafts with a high kick point towards the butt of the club will promote a lower launch angle.
If you are satisfied with your current ball flight don’t stress, shafts with mid kick points are also available.
Loft and lie angle
Loft and lie angle are two very important factors to consider when buying a new set of irons. Beginners won’t be affected by this as much but players that have fairly decent turf interaction at impact definitely will, these players need to ensure that they are playing with the correct loft and lie on their irons.
The loft of the club determines the distance that the golf ball will travel. If all of a sudden your 9 iron and your 8 iron fly roughly the same distance then it might be that the loft on one of them is out. Check your lofts on a regular basis to ensure that they are the same as when you bought your set. In addition, different manufacturers have different standard lofts, make sure to check the standard loft of your current irons as well as on your new irons. It could be that there is a 2-3 degree difference which could result in nearly a 10 yard difference.
It is common practice for game improvement irons to have slightly stronger standard lofts in comparison to either cavity back or blade irons. If you are planning on switching between these respective clubhead styles make sure to check the standard lofts for personal reference.
Lie angle affect the direction of the golf ball. The lie angle of the club refers to the angle between the ground and hosel of the club. Lie angle plays a role with turf interaction which in return affects direction. If a club is too upright the toe will dig into the ground first and vice versa with a club that is too flat.
A smashboard is a great tool that will assist you with checking your lie angles. Make sure to visit your local pro shop or golf retailer, they will be able to assist you with checking and adjusting your lie angles if needed. It is important to keep in mind that the lie angles of forged irons are easily adjusted, but with cast irons only small adjustments can be made. Cast irons can snap in the hosel if it is adjusted too much or on a regular basis.
A general rule of thumb is that taller than average golfers will need clubs that are slightly upright and shorter golfers such as kids will need irons with flatter lie angles. This is just a general rule of thumb, arm length, the golfers setup and a host of other factors can also influence lie angle.
The makeup of your current set is very important when buying a new set of irons. If you prefer long irons over hybrids then it is important to buy a set with forgiving long irons. A combo set with game improvement long irons and cavity back short irons is a great option. Jordan Spieth has a similar set makeup.
Another important factor to keep in mind is your wedges, do you prefer the look and feel of the wedges that comes standard with the set, or do you prefer to buy wedges separately.
A variety of different grips are currently available on the market. Grip material, grip size and grip weight are all factors to consider.
Corded grips offer a more rugged feel, players that struggle with sweaty hands will benefit more by playing with these grips.
Grips are available in different sizes, make sure to play with a grip size that matches the size of your hands. If you have big hands extra tape can be added underneath the grip to further enhance the size of the grip.
A new revelation in grip technology has been the use of counter weighted grips. Superstroke is the industry leader in terms of counterbalance putter grips, but Switchgrips has taken this concept to regular grips. Counterbalanced grips will change the swing weight of the club and it can drastically improve clubhead awareness.
Grips with visual aids
Grips with visual alignment aids are also available to those players that struggle with lining up the clubface at address. In addition, grips with a reminder (a rib that runs along the length of the grip) can be a great tool for golfers that struggle to grip the club in a consistent manner.
Grips with artificial intelligence
Arccos golf has won numerous awards for the breakthrough technology that they are introducing to the game of golf. The Arccos system features small sensors that are fitted to the butt end of your grips. These sensors collect data as you hit a shot with that club and after the round you are able to evaluate your performance with every single club. The Arccos system is powered by a mobile app and it can be fitted onto any regular golf grip.
Cobra was the first manufacturer to integrate the Arccos system into the design of their golf clubs. Cobra Connect irons and woods come standard with the Arcoss system built into the grip of the club. Ping is the latest manufacturer that will now also feature irons with the Arccos system already built in.
The Arccos system uses the GPS tracking capabilities of your smartphone while playing a hole on the golf course. The Arccos system won’t be able to provide you with accurate data if you are simply just hitting golf balls on the driving range.
The Arccos system doesn’t come cheap, but if you are interested in it you might want to consider buying a set of irons from either Cobra or Ping that features the Arccos system in it.
Majority of players will use standard length irons. You don’t have to worry about changing the length of your irons unless you are abnormally tall or short.
Another thing to consider though is the potential of switching over to one length irons. Bryson DeChambeau has taken the golfing world by storm and his scientific approach has lead to the release of the Cobra one length set of irons. All of the irons are the same length as a 7 irons, the only differentiating factors between irons being the loft.
Best Golf Irons Reviews
1. Best irons for 2019
Mizuno JPX919 Forged
Mizuno is known for the design of their irons. Mizuno irons have been the industry leaders for many years and professional players without club contracts often turn to Mizuno. Brooks Koepka used Mizuno irons by choice after Nike left the equipment industry. Koepka won back to back US Opens’ with Mizuno irons in the bag.
Their latest release, the JPX 919 Forged irons, is the best set of irons for 2019. The JPX 919 forged irons are forged out of high-quality mild carbon Japanese steel, a single billet of steel is used in this precise forging process. The high-density forging process used by Mizuno delivers a tightly forged clubhead that delivers exceptional control and forgiveness. Boron is added to the clubhead, this addition of Boron ensures a very strong clubhead.
The top edge of the JPX 919 forged irons features a narrow slim look which resembles that of a blade iron. In addition, the clubhead features a stability frame with a open section at the heel. This enhanced stability structure reduces vibrations and improves launch.
The JPX 919 delivers more than just great feel, it also has design characteristics which maximizes distance. CNC milling is used from the sole up, this process delivers a club face with minimum face thickness which in return delivers increased ball speeds.
- High quality design
- Maximum distance
- Incredible feel and control
- Pearl brush finish that reduces glare from direct sunlight
- High handicappers with below average swing speeds will struggle to hit these cavity back irons
- Expensive price tag
2. Best value for money irons for 2019
Wilson Staff D7 Irons
Wilson is a renowned name in the sporting goods industry. In most recent years Wilson has invested substantially in their golf department. One of their latest iron releases, the D7 irons, are some of the best irons currently available on the market. What makes the D7 irons even better is their affordable price tag.
The design of the D7 irons features an ultra thin face, this face design is very responsive and ensures added distance and exceptional feel. Progressive power holes are another distance enhancing feature that can be found on the D7 irons. The shorter irons feature less power holes, these power holes are replaced with weights to ensure maximum control and feel. The D7 irons are game improvement irons, but aesthetically they look more like a sleek players iron.
If you are in the market for a new set of high-quality irons with an affordable price tag then look no further than the D7’s.
- The D7 irons feature an affordable price tag
- Aesthetically pleasing design
- Delivers exceptional distance and feel
- Wilson isn’t as renowned as some of the other industry leaders in the golf manufacturing business
- The design of the D7’s isn’t as advanced as some of the other game improvement irons available on the market
3. Best irons for high handicap players in 2019
Callaway design and manufacturer some of the best golf clubs in the industry. Their two most recent ranges, the Epic and the Rogue range have both been industry leaders in all categories. The Callaway Rogue irons are without a doubt the best game improvement irons currently available on the market. The Rogue irons deliver distance, accuracy and playability.
Callaway’s latest innovation, 360 Face cup technology with Variable Face Thickness (VFT), is featured in the design of the Rogue irons. 360 face Cup and VFT combine to deliver exceptional fast ball speeds off of the clubface. High ball speeds ensure maximum distance.
The Rogue game improvement irons are also renowned for their accuracy. Tungsten weighting is used to position the center of gravity with extreme precision, this promotes optimal flight and control.
Callaway utilises an elastic-urethane microsphere to ensure great sound and feel at impact. Urethane can compromise ball speeds but the composition of the urethane used in the design of the Rogue irons doesn’t compromise anything.
- Delivers exceptional distance
- Features technology that promotes both an optimal ball flight and accuracy
- Ensures exceptional feel off of the clubface
- Players that prefer a forged clubhead might not want to make the switch over to a cast iron club
4. Best irons for beginners in 2019
Cleveland Launcher HB Iron Set
Golf isn’t an easy sport to pick up, but we all have to start somewhere. Easy to hit clubs are a great choice if you are new to the game or if you struggle with getting any distance or height on your iron shots. The easiest clubs to hit currently available on the market are without a doubt the Cleveland Launcher HB irons, these irons are designed to get the golf ball airborne with maximum distance and minimum effort.
The Launcher HB irons feature a hollow construction, this hollow construction ensures maximum stability and feel. This added stability ensures that toe and heel strikes fly further and straighter than with any other iron. Height ensures added distance and a soft landing on the green, the HiBore Crown featured in the design of the Launcher HB irons does just that. The HiBore Crown moves the center of gravity low and deep, this combination allows the player to get the golf ball airborne with ease.
In addition, a high strength ultra thin HT1770 steel insert is used in the face of the Launcher HB irons to ensure maximum distance. The irons follow a progressive shaping model, long irons resemble the look of a hybrid and short irons look more like a traditional irons. Both short and long irons contain the technology and advantages of the Launcher HB design.
- Design promotes height and added distance
- Exceptional forgiveness
- Easy to hit design for beginners
- Progressive clubhead shaping that blends in with the rest of your woods and wedges
- Players that prefer a traditional look won’t enjoy the look of these super game improvement irons
- Expensive price tag that might deter beginners
5. One length irons
Cobra F9 Speedback One Length Irons
Bryson DeChambeau created quite the stir when he turned professional. Never before has the PGA Tour had a player that plays with clubs that are all the length of a 7 iron. Never before has a player calculated the effect of air density, never before has any player floated their golf balls in Epsom salt to see if they are balanced. DeChambeau does all of this and more, and with a couple of wins under his belt the world is taking notice.
Cobra signed Bryson when he turned professional and they have been reaping the benefits ever since with the release of their one length irons. The F9 Speedback irons are their latest one length irons.
The design of the F9 Speedback irons utilises 33 grams of Tungsten in the toe and heel to ensure a higher moi (moment of inertia) which leads to added stability and distance. In addition, the center of gravity (CG) is positioned low and towards the back of the clubface. This positioning of the CG increases ball speeds and improves launch, the result is maximum distance.
The F9 Speedback one length irons also feature Cobra’s signature E9 face technology as well as CNC milled grooves. The long irons (4-7 iron) features a 3-piece co-molded medallion design, the use of these 3 different materials deliver exceptional feel.
- High quality, advanced design
- Maximum distance
- Exceptional feel
- Game improvement one length irons
- Not all players are willing to try out the one length concept
- All Cobra’s one length irons are game improvement irons, it could be time for them to expand their offering in order to cater to a wider audience
Conclusion And Final Golf Irons Recommendations
Buying your next set of irons should be a breeze now that you know what to look out for in terms of clubhead design, shaft options, loft and lie angle, set makeup, grip options and length. Don’t hesitate if you have the opportunity to go for a club fitting before purchasing a new set of irons, but if that’s not an option stick to our buying guide.
Choosing which clubhead style you prefer is easy, making a choice out of all of the available options on the market isn’t. Not to worry, our product review section covers all of the best irons for 2019. The JPX 919 forged irons are the best irons currently available on the market. They are a player’s iron, good ball strikers will gain most by playing with these irons.
The Callaway Rogue irons are the best in the business in terms of game improvement irons, a set of these will definitely add distance and accuracy to your game. If you are shopping on a budget then look no further than the Wilson D7 irons, these irons will definitely help you to shave a couple of shots off of your next round.
The Cleveland Launcher HB irons are ideal for the golfer that needs a little bit of extra assistance to get the golf ball in the air. Some of us have tried them all and nothing seems to work, if that is you then it might be time to give the Cobra F9 Speedback one length irons a go.
Buying a new set of irons doesn’t have to be a daunting task, our product review and buying guide should cover all or at least most of your questions. If something is still missing before making your final decision have a look at our FAQs below, that elusive answer might be hiding in there.
Frequently Asked Questions About Golf Irons
Q. I want a specific set of irons but my budget doesn’t allow for it, is it a bad idea to buy a used set of irons?
a. Buying a used set of irons can be risky, but if you have the patience to do a little searching you could very well stumble across a great bargain. The best will be to have the opportunity of looking at the irons before buying them. Purchasing them from a recognized website such as Callaway’s pre-owned website is also a good option.
With irons it is easy to spot wear and tear on the grooves. Luckily most golfers are too lazy to practice thus most irons are still in great condition after a few months. If you do buy a used set make sure to take it to your local golf shop in order to check the lies and lofts of your new irons.
Q. I am a single figure female player with an average driver swing speed of 90 mph, do I have to play with ladies’ clubs?
a. There is no rule that says female players have to play with ladies’ clubs. When it comes to buying new clubs, skill level, swing speed and a host of other factors determine what type of clubs would be best for you.
Being a single figure handicap is no easy task and skill is required. With that being said either a players or game improvement iron is recommended, it will depend on personal preference. In terms of shaft options, a R shaft flex should be ideal, if you prefer the feel of a heavier club opt for a steel shaft, if you prefer a lighter club instead then go with a graphite shaft option.
Ladies normally have smaller hands, it might be a good idea to play around with different grip sizes. Depending on your height the length of the clubs and their lie angles might have to be adjusted as well.
Q. Should I replace my long irons with hybrids?
a. If you are asking this question then it might be time to think about it. Players that enjoy hitting their long irons normally don’t wonder about the possibility of adding hybrids to their bag.
With that being said most players are opting to swop out their long irons for hybrids but there is no rule that says you have to. Hybrids are without a doubt easier to hit, they are easier to control and off-center strikes have much better results. Francesco Molinari was seen hitting a hybrid on numerous times around Augusta National this year, if one of the worlds best players is opting to use one then it’s definitely not a bad idea.
Q. I’ve been playing with forged irons for 10+ years, will it be difficult to get use to the look and feel of a game improvement iron?
a. Game improvement irons do have bigger bulkier profiles, but there is no reason why you won’t be able to switch over from a forged players iron to a game improvement iron. Golf club technology is amazing and the look and feel of game improvement irons have improved dramatically over the last decade.
Technology is here to help, don’t be the guy that refuses to make the change to a game improvement iron, all your buddies in the skins match are doing it, it might just be the only way that you can beat them.
Q. Will I lose distance if I switch to a graphite shaft?
a. The answer to this question is a resounding no. Instead of losing distance you might actually gain a few yards by doing this switch. Graphite is notoriously lighter than steel. With a graphite shaft the overall weight of the club will be slightly lighter and this could promote added clubhead speed which in return will lead to more distance.
Graphite shafts in irons are used by some of the best players in the world. The days where graphite shafts were only used in woods and by ladies and senior players are a thing of the past.
Q. Is it advisable to buy a full set of irons for a junior?
a. Kids grow, buying a new set of irons every year to keep up with their growth can be a very expensive exercise. If your child is serious about golf then it is advisable to buy a full set for them, but if they are just starting out it might be better to buy only a few clubs that are cut down to the correct length.
Another good idea might be to look for a used set instead, used sets are much more affordable and this way your little one will still be able to have a full set of clubs.
Q. I like the look of a blade, is it really a club that should only be used by professionals?
a. If you are asking this question then you probably shouldn’t be playing with blades. There is no rule that says blades should only be used by professionals, but there is a good reason why they are mostly only spotted in the bags of pros or really good amateur players. Blade irons are difficult to hit, yes, they offer exceptional workability but they don’t have any forgiveness when it comes to off center strikes.
Rather stick to a game improvement or cavity back irons If you want to shoot lower scores and lower your handicap the easy way.
Q. How often should I check the lie and loft of my clubs?
a. There is no rule of thumb as to how often you should get the lie and lofts checked on your irons. Cast irons are very difficult to bend and it is very unlikely for their lie angles to change. If you notice that a specific iron is going either a lot longer or shorter than your standard yardage with that club then it might be worth it to check the lie of the club to ensure that it didn’t bend.
Forged irons are a lot softer than cast irons. Forged irons bend with relative ease and it is recommended to check the lie and lofts of your clubs at least once every 3-6 months. If you travel a lot or if you bash a lot of golf balls on the driving range then it is recommended to check them on a more regular basis.
A change in lie angle can affect the direction of your shots, fixing your lie angles is a lot easier than fixing your golf swing.