Last updated: August 29, 2019
Do you break 90 or 80 fairly consistently? In this case, you are in the 43% of golfers who qualify as mid handicappers according to USGA statistics. In my experience, a lot of mid handicappers struggle with reaching greens especially on a par 5 or on a long par 4. Personally, I could use a little more distance and accuracy with my irons to get those pars or even birdies. So I have gone ahead and researched the best irons for mid handicappers. So this article is very much self-interested! But I think you can benefit from the info I have gathered.
If you are in a rush, here is a list of the best products I found.
The best irons for mid handicappers are:
You probably already have a set of irons that you are currently playing with.
But should you really invest in new clubs?
If you bought your irons a few years ago, or if you are playing with beginner irons, you may benefit from the new irons that have been introduced to the market.
Just like with iPhones, golf manufacturers are coming out with new technologies too improve their clubs.
Most of the so-called "new features" in iPhones are just marketing tactics to relieve people from their fat wallets. However, some features have actually improved, like the camera, processor speed, and storage.
The same goes with golf clubs.
In addition, most of the iron set I present in this article can be returned if you are not satisfied. I would say it's worth getting a shot.
Mid handicappers should not go for pro golf clubs. They also should not have 3 and 4 irons, which are way to hard to hit. A 5 iron is still ok for some people.
Instead, mid handicappers should go for hybrids. I have already talked about hybrids in my article on the best irons for beginners, but let me reiterate: hybrids are more forgiving and versatile. They are a safe bet even for intermediate players.
Now, here is a list of characteristics you should be looking for in a mid handicap iron set:
Intermediate players can play fairly consistently, but you know as well as I do that we sometimes hit the club slightly towards the heel or the toes. As a result, we end up NOT hitting the ball perfectly in the center of the face. This is why you need some degree of forgiveness.
Mid handicap irons will typically have the weight distributed lower. This will make it easier for your to get the ball in the air.
Beginner iron sets typically provide greater distance. This is natural, since beginners are not able to cover much distance. But you should aim for more accuracy. After all, irons are scoring clubs. If you want more distance, use your hybrids or your woods.
The material used in the shaft is either going to be graphite, or steel. Graphite is slightly more expensive (10 to 20%), but it is also lighter. Steel is heavier but it can make you play more consistently.
As I said earlier, mid handicap irons should have most of the weight centered in the lower portion of the shaft.
For the most part, there are 2 types of club heads when it comes to irons:
For mid handicappers (and beginners as well), you should probably consider the cavity back type.
But what in the world is a cavity back head?
Glad you asked.
In essence, it's all about weight distribution.
Cavity back heads have some sort of hole in the back. As a consequence, the weight is distributed around the perimeter of the head. This provides greater forgiveness.
Cavity back irons give are more forgiving for 3 reasons.
This cavity extends the sweet spot of the head. So, even if you hit the ball slightly off-center, your shot should be fine.
2. The sole is wider
Cavity back irons generally have wider soles. However, the soles aren't as wide as beginner clubs, which tend to compromise accuracy, lift and distance for the sake of forgiveness.
What in the world in a "hosel"? Take a look at this custom illustration I made:
Typically, cavity back irons will have this hosel at the front of the head. This changes the center of gravity, which in turn provides more forgiveness without sacrificing distance and accuracy.
I'm sure you've run into this iron set before.
These are one of the most popular irons with cavity back heads (which are ideal for mid handicappers).
Customers have reported a great level of forgiveness with these irons. Mishits still travel well.
Forgiveness often comes at the expense of distance in some clubs. However, customers have reported an increase in their distance after using this iron set.
Some people have reported that these clubs lack "feel". This may be a problem if you are one of these golfers that are all about that "sensation" when hitting the ball.
In terms of price, this iron set is somewhere in the middle. Not cheapest irons, but also not the most expensive. Click the link below to check the latest price.
The TaylorMade M4 irons are less expensive than the other products on this list. At first, I was a bit skeptical with the price.
But so many people left good reviews that I had to include this product on my list.
Like most game improvement irons, these clubs are designed to help you hit the ball longer, higher and better even during mishits. Don't get me wrong, those are not miracle irons, but I think they are attractive for mid handicappers.
The increased loft on these irons means more distance. The issue comes with long irons (4 and 5), where you will see little difference. This may be an issue if you like to play long irons. I personally prefer hybrids.
One of the reasons for the forgiveness of the irons has to do with the face flex. Customers reported that the impact and the sound creates a trampoline-like sensation.
Unlike the Titleist 718 presented above, the TaylorMade M4 provide a lot of feedback on mishits. Nevertheless, the feedback seems to lack precision. Indeed, all mishits feel very similar
These irons have an elegant, player's irons look. They surely don't look like your traditional game improvement clubs.
However, Titleist wanted to bring the forgiveness of game improvement irons while preserving the good looks of more advanced clubs.
"AP3 truly represents the best of both worlds" said the VP of Marketing at Titleist.
Honestly, I don't care too much about how good looking my equipment is. All this time practicing meditation has eroded my ego I guess... But I know some of you guys really care about looks.
But what about performance?
It seems like customers report game improvement like features. Increased distance, and higher balls. However, these irons are less forgiving than the AP1s (first on our list)
The Cobra F9 irons have been manufactured with a low center of gravity. Irons with a low center of gravity typically get the ball flying higher and farther.
These irons have a high moment of inertia (MOI). This basically means that these clubs don't get twisted during the swing, making it easier for you to hit the sweet spot. The result is more forgiving irons.
These clubs are pretty long so they won't be everyone's cup of tea. But they do provide extra stability.
Shorter hosel lengths in the long irons position the CG lower to promote higher launch, while progressively taller hosel lengths in the short irons and wedges raise the CG to promote a lower, more controlled ball flight.
The long irons in this set have shorter hosels, which makes the center of gravity lower. This is great because this allows you to hit the ball higher, which is typically hard with 3, 4 and 5 irons. However, mid handicappers should probably abstain from playing long irons and go for hybrids instead.
This iron set is for upper intermediate players who want a premium option.
To be clear, I think that mid handicappers should go for game improvement irons (because they still mishit fairly often). And the AP2 irons are actually player's irons.
However, there are other people who think that intermediate players should go for player's irons right away.
The Titleist AP2 are player's irons, but they do provide some forgiveness according to customers.
As a consequence, the AP2 irons are used by tour players but also by good amateurs.
The head of these clubs are officially blades according to Titleist. However, if you look closely, you will notice that the heads actually look like a blend of a blade and a cavity back.
Maybe this is why these irons are so forgiving in spite of being blades.
At the end of the day, there are many brands to choose from.
They all come up with similar technology and try to market their product in unique ways.
But as an intermediate player, you should be able to sift through the noise and make a decision based on your own style.
In a nutshell, you should look for irons that will give you increased forgiveness, accuracy, and a little but of extra distance.
Look for cavity back irons, as they are more forgiving.
If you don't know what to go for, my personal pick is the Titleist 718 AP1 Iron Set.
Hi, my name is Mark Howard. I am a freelance writer and golf enthusiast!