Last updated: September 9, 2019
Buying a new set of irons is a significant investment. Unfortunately, manufacturers are producing more and more clubs, making it difficult for us to make the right choice. This guide will show you the best golf irons for this year.
I have chosen these irons based on their price and specific features. No matter what your your playing style is, you will find irons that fit your game.
I tried to avoid general recommendations, since irons for beginners differ significantly from mid to low handicap irons. Therefore, this article focuses more on intermediate to advanced players. If you are a beginner, check out my article on the best irons for beginners and high handicappers.
Here are the best golf irons:
New golf irons don't get released very often. As a consequence, you don't need to renew your iron set very often.
If you really insist on getting the latest stuff out there, you can consider a new set about every 2 years.
But what kind of thing should you be looking for? Here are 4 criteria that I take into consideration:
Notice I put design last. That's because I don't care too much about how stylish I look on the course.
Let's take a deeper dive inside of these criteria.
Performance means different things depending on your handicap level.
Amateurs like us want more forgiveness. This basically means that you and I should look for irons that are tolerant of our mishits.
Lower handicap players generally go for "blades". Blades have special heads which provide more feedback during mishits, providing more control overtime.
But why not have both? Why not have forgiveness and enhanced feedback at the same time?
Unfortunately, one comes at the expense of the other.
Recently, certain manufacturers have started bridging the gap. More recent irons provide a high level of forgiveness while still providing some feedback.
That's exactly what I looked for when selecting irons for this article.
Let's be clear, no iron set will give you perfect forgiveness and feedback at the same time. However, the irons I have reviewed in this article have managed to combine the best of both worlds to a certain degree.
An iron set contains 8 clubs or more. As a consequence, the prices tend to vary a lot.
It's not like buying a single club, like a putter for example, where the price tag may differ by 50 bucks or so. With iron sets, we are talking 100s of dollars.
Surprisingly, the price of an iron set does not depend on your level. There are beginner sets that cost just as much as blades.
Why is this?
That's because beginner irons and advanced irons are in a different category!
Beginners can buy top notch irons made specifically for game-improvement, just like advanced players can buy cheap blades.
When it comes to comparing the price of golf irons, you need to compare apples to apples.
I have selected the irons in this article for their great value. This means that they will provide you with a great bang for your buck, while being reasonably priced.
Did you know that golf clubs used to be made out of wood? And I'm not only talking about the shaft, the whole thing was made out of wood!
Fortunately, recent technological advances have provide us with more durable clubs.
What what exactly is a high quality / durable iron?
In reality, your irons can last you a lifetime, in that the shaft or the head is very unlikely to break. You may get some scratches on the head, but that's not something you should be worried about in terms of performance.
However, I know that a lot of you guys care about the appearance of your golf clubs (I don't, mostly because I'm cheap). As a consequence, I looked at customer reviews for multiple iron sets. I did not include iron sets which tended to degrade fast overtime.
I personally don't care too much about design.
But I realized that some golfers care about appearance because it provides them with more confidence during their swing.
For this review, I was careful to select irons that I thought look great.
How are forged irons manufactured? Simply put, a piece of metal gets hammered by machines in order to get the shape of the club. Multiple other processes are applied in order to refine the head.
Forged irons have a smaller sweet spot. This means that shots can more easily be controlled and the feedback is better. This is for advanced players who don't care too much about forgiveness.
Cast irons usually have more complex head designs. However, they are cheaper to manufacture so you can get them for less.
It doesn't matter so much whether the irons you buy are forged or cast. What you should be looking at is the type of head the irons have.
Blades have thin faces and thin top lines. As a consequence, the sweet spot is smaller and the weight is distributed evenly in the head.
For this reason, it is easier to shape shots with these types of irons. The smaller sweet spot also means that the feedback is more accurate. Advanced players are the target audience for blades.
Cavity back irons have a cavity at the back of the head. As a consequence, there is more weight on the edges of the head. This in turn increases in the forgiveness, allowing for more mishits.
In addition, the heads tend to be bigger when compared to blades. This is a good feature for beginners and intermediate players who may hit the ball slightly off-centre.
The 718 AP2s are advanced irons for players who are still looking for some forgiveness.
Therefore, these irons are more playable than true player's irons (meant for competitive golfers) while still providing a great feel.
The ball speed is really good do to the center of gravity and the thin club faces.
Although I don't usually care too much about the look of my clubs, I have to admit that the AP2s are very elegant.
The price tag is a little bit on the high side, but it may be worth investing some money if you are an advanced player looking to step up your game.
In 2017, TaylorMade came up with the M2 irons, which had a lot of success among golfers. The M4 irons have some extra features.
The name of the game the M4 irons are distance and forgiveness. The M4 still give you great distance when you mishit.
TaylorMade have added the RIBCOR technology to the face of the club. As a consequence, you will get a better feedback on your swing (which is important to gain control overtime).
Finally, these irons have a very long shaft. How is this useful? The length of these irons allow you to get some extra yards due to the lever effect. The feel that you get when hitting the ball is similar to that of a driver.
The price is fairly reasonable considering how popular these irons are.
This one was hard to choose, mainly because there are so many brands with great priced irons.
But when it comes to the King F8, you are not compromising on performance even with a low price tag.
The long irons are really impressive in terms of distance. This is maybe because Cobra made sure that the CG (center of gravity) was lower.
The King F8 also have variable face thickness. This feature boosts ball speed.
The feel is very pleasant and really gives the impression that you are punching the ball (probably due to the lower CG).
The sound at impact is not the most pleasant I've heard. That may be an issue if you are big on having great sounding clubs. But otherwise, the King F8 offer a great bang for your buck.
Callaway has another set of irons named the X-14. The Steelhead XR irons the next generation.
The improvements bring some additional distance. But more importantly, the level of forgiveness has been greatly increased, which will be appreciated by a lot of high to mid handicap players.
This is probably not for advanced players. However, if you play above 80, then these irons could be a great choice at a reasonable price.
The M1 have been manufactured by TaylorMade with mid handicappers in mind.
The heads have a face slot and a speed pocket. Combined with a low center of gravity (CG), these irons provide great forgiveness. In addition, these irons feel great when hitting a ball.
The M1 are game-improvement irons, but they provide enough control and feedback for mid handicappers, at an attractive price.
The C300 forged may not be the greatest irons in terms of distance, but the feel and control are truly great.
The C300 forged are only for advanced players who are looking for accurate feedback on all their shots. These irons will provide low handicappers with the control they want, for a reasonable price.
Blades are meant to be used by advanced players. However, Ping tried to bring some forgiveness to the iBlade.
Note that these irons are still pretty hard to hit. Your mishits will not be forgiven as much as game-improvement irons.
The huge upside of the little forgiveness these blades have to offer is the accurate feedback.
The big downside here is the price tag. I have not seen enough good feedback to really justify the price of these irons.