Best Irons For Beginners

And high handicappers

Last updated: October 17, 2019

Did you know that there are about 2.6 million people who start playing golf every year? I mean, that's that's almost the entire population of Qatar! And golf manufacturers are well aware of this. The more people that get into golf, the more clubs are available on the market. But among this sea of equipment, what are the best irons for beginners and high handicappers?

This is precisely what this article is about.

If you are in a rush, here is a list of the best irons.

The best irons for beginners and high handicappers are:

If you walk on the entire 18 holes, you will walk around 4 miles. That's 3 hours and a half for fast golfers, and 5 hours for beginners.

Needless to say, you need an iron set that you like playing, because you will be playing it for at least 3 hours and a half.

Pro players and beginners use very different irons. 

This is why you first need to understand the things you need to consider when purchasing an iron set as a beginner. I will also show you some of the best iron sets.

Note that I have used the term iron set. This is because irons come in sets (duh). You do not need to buy the clubs one by one. In fact, you will get a bit of a discount by buying them in sets. You also get a consistant feel with all your irons.

How to choose irons for beginners?

Beginners should choose game improvement irons. Good game improvement irons are special clubs that are made to make up for some of the difficulties that you face as a beginner. 

Specifically, game improvement irons may help you:

  • Diminish your slice
  • Give you more distance
  • Get the ball in the air
  • Get less mishits
  • Give you more confidence due to the larger heads

How to choose irons for high handicappers?

If your handicap is above 20, then you are what most people would call a "high handicapper". You can be a high handicapper without being a beginner. So you need to look for irons that are a little bit more advanced than those for complete noobies.

High handicappers should not go for player's irons (irons used by more advanced players). My advice would be to go for game improvement irons that provide a certain level of accuracy.

If you have been practicing for a few months or a few years, what you need is more accuracy. Don't choose iron sets with extra large heads (mostly aimed at beginners). These heads give beginners more distance but are not as accurate.

Should I get long irons or hybrids?

Hybrids are special golf clubs which are a combination of irons and woods. They are easier to hit than long irons (3, 4 and 5 irons) because they have more loft.

The loft of a club is the inclination of the head relative to the shaft. Here is an illustration I made myself (I'm actually pretty proud of it):

illustration of golf club loft

The point is, hybrids are easier for beginners and high handicappers when compared to 3, 4 and 5 irons. Even mid-handicappers use hybrids. They are a safe bet.

I have been playing golf for a few years now, and I still use hybrids instead of long irons.

Should I also get a Gap Wedge and a Sand Wedge?

You don't necessarily need a gap wedge, but it's something that's nice to have. The whole point of the gap wedge is to fill the "gap" between the pitch wedge and the sand wedge.

If you see a shot that looks too short for your pitch wedge but too long for your sand wedge, that's when your gap wedge comes into play. But my guess is that 99% of beginners will not even be able to tell when a gap wedge is needed. 

The sand wedge is mandatory in my opinion. It is the club you will be using in bunkers and even on the fairway. It is also a really easy wedge to play, due to the high loft.

Steel shaft or graphite shaft?

The shaft of golf clubs can be made out of different materials.


There are multiple advantages to steel shafts:

  • Great for more advanced players to get a response from the ball upon hitting.
  • The shaft is stiffer, giving more control.
  • Steel shafts are heavier. Players that are too fast will have a more consistent swing.


Graphite shafts are lighter. As a consequence, your swing will be faster and you will gain some distance. You may also mind that the club tends to flex more (because the shaft isn't as rigid). This also adds a few yards.

This is fine if you already have a fairly good swing. But if you don't hit the ball accurately, this will just enhance your mistakes, due to the whip-like effect of the shaft.

Graphite shafts are usually more expensive than steel shafts by about 10 to 20%.

How to choose the club flex?

There are 2 methods you can use to choose the golf club shaft flex.

  1. 1
    Measure your swing speed and your ball speed and buy clubs that are adapted.
  2. 2
    If you are a beginner, just go with an A Flex (amateur flex).

The first method is the most accurate. However, if you are a beginner, you are safe if you go with A flex (amateur flex). This should give you more distance and a more pleasant feel.

If you choose the first method, here is a table to make your choice easier:

X Flex (Very stiff)

S Flex (Stiff)

R Flex (Regular)

A or M Flex (Amateur or Senior)

L Flex (Ladies)

Swing speed

108 mph+

93-107 mph

77-92 mph

63-76 mph

53-62 mph

Ball speed

160 mph

140-160 mph

110-139 mph

100-110 mph

< 100 mph

Now that we have got the generalities out of the way, let me show you the 5 best irons for beginners and handicappers. 

The best irons for beginners and high handicappers

2017 P790 irons

First of all, I have to say, these clubs are really stylish (even though they were created in 2017).

The head of these irons have foam inside of them. TaylorMade call this "SpeedFoam" because it is supposed to generate more ball speed as well as provide a more pleasant sound.

Some customers report increasing their distance after purchasing these clubs. Unlike some TaylorMade irons, these have been reported to be durable.

The heads actually look a lot like those you can find on players irons (irons used by more advanced golfers). Despite this, most customers say these clubs are very forgiving.

However, these are definitely not players irons, so the precision is not as great. This is fine if you care more about ball distance.


  • Great distance
  • Versatile
  • Stylish
  • Durable


  • Not players irons

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ben hogan edge iron

Have you ever head of "game improvement" irons?  Simply put, these irons are meant to hit the ball farther, higher and straighter than regular clubs.

The Edge irons manufactured by Ben Hogan are a good example of game improvement irons. The clubs have a larger head, which means that the sweet spot is larger.

There have been some complaints from customers saying that the sweet spot was not as large as other game improvement irons.

Overall, customers have reported an improved distance as well as good trajectory. Overall, these clubs are very forgiving.

Finally, I have to admit that these irons look pretty sleek. They don't look like traditional beginner irons. That's not something I personally consider when making a purchase, but it may be important to some.


  • Good distance
  • Good trajectory
  • Forgiving clubs
  • Great look


  • Sweet spot may not be as large as other brands

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taylormade m6 irons

TaylorMade is a well-known brand in the world of golf. The M6 irons have additional stiffness in the head. This means that there is less energy that gets lost when your club touches the ball. This may be advantageous if you are looking for more ball speed.

Customers seem to be satisfied with the degree of forgiveness offered by these clubs. One customer reported being able to play decently even after a 2 decade layoff.

You can actually customize these irons when ordering them online. I really like this option because some clubs just don't have the right grip size, or the shaft is sometimes too short.

Some customers have reported that these irons tend to scratch easily. Even with reasonable use, the clubs will look scratched fairly quickly.


  • Very forgiving clubs
  • Lightweight
  • Stylish


  • Scratch easily

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rogue irons

The head of these irons have what Callaway call "variable face thickness". This is pretty self-explanatory, but is it really useful? Well, Callaway says proclame that variable face thickness allows for faster ball speed and distance.

It seems like the Rogue irons do in fact provide greater distance according to most customers. However, some customers report not liking the feel of these clubs. Specifically, it seems like the impact feels a bit "heavy".

I personally value feel a lot because I want to look forward to hit the ball. But then, you may not really see the difference. If you enjoy the extra distance anyway, this may be a match.

It is worth pointing out that some customers have reported feeling greater distance and accuracy specifically when using mid-irons.

The short irons in this club set don't have a lot of spin. As a beginner, trying to spin the ball is probably not on your checklist anyway. But this is something to keep in mind if you're big on backspin.


  • More distance especially with mid irons
  • Increased accuracy


  • The impact feels "heavy"
  • Not a lot of spin on the short irons

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ping irons set

With the G410 irons, Ping has focused on creating irons that look just like normal clubs while still being forgiving.

These irons are made from Aluminium and Santoprene. Customers have reported that this modifies the vibrations, making the clubs more pleasant to play. This is a factor to take into account when you play often. I have definitely had some clubs which vibrated in some unpleasant way, and I didn't look forward to play them.

The sole is extra wide which increases the MOI. MOI stands for "Moment Of Inertia". This measures how much the club resists to acceleration. In a nutshell, a high MOI means a more forgiving club, which is certainly the case with the Ping G410

The heads are not as large as other game improvement irons. This may not be so great if you are a total beginner.


  • Less vibrations due to materials used
  • Extra wide heads
  • Don't look like beginner clubs


  • Heads are not super large

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The best irons for beginners and high handicappers are the TaylorMade 2017 P790 irons. Most beginners and high handicappers will benefit from the increased distance, versatility and durability of this club set. 

The only issue is that you will have to buy other irons when you get to an advanced level. But let me tell you, it's going to take you at least 5 years until you can call yourself advanced... Well, that's my case at least!

lois talagrand

Lois Talagrand

Founder and editor