The Most Recommended Irons for Mid-Handicap Golfers

Published on 10/09/2023 · 9 min readLooking to upgrade from those chunky game improvement irons? Golf Expert Lincoln P. details the top-recommended iron sets for mid-handicappers.
Lincoln P., Golf Expert
By Golf Expert Lincoln P.

Photo by Sydney Ray

As a mid-handicap golfer, the goal is to achieve consistency in every aspect of your game. From the fairways to the rough, you want to be able to rely on your irons to get you on the green, putting for birds. This article will look at components of irons that mid-handicap players should be looking for. The objective is to help mid-handicap golfers find a set of irons that will take their handicap down to the single digits. We’ll take a look at the five most recommended irons and discuss how the components of these irons make them compatible with mid-handicap players.

I've been golfing for about 20 years now—I started when I was really young but took it more seriously in college—and I've truly built a love/hate relationship with the game. I say that I’ve built a love/hate relationship because this game is one of the most incredible and incredibly frustrating games ever created! All in all, I love the game of golf, and I love it because it truly is a game where the athlete is only truly competing with themselves. Every season I find myself researching articles about the newest clubs and trying to figure out if it’s time for me to upgrade my clubs. In addition, I'm always searching for the best golf irons. Through this research, I have learned there are two important elements to improving one’s golf game.

The first should come as no surprise is practice. Get to the range, dial in the distances and control of the irons, work on consistency, and work on alignment because practice will indeed make perfect. Second, the type of clubs one plays with will influence how they play—older irons will be unable to keep up with the new tech of newer irons.

The progressing golfer—in this case, let’s say they went from a high handicap to now a mid-handicap—will find it very hard to continue their progress without a set of mid-handicap irons. They need irons that will bring more control and spin into their iron play. Now, it’s important to look at how the components of these mid-handicap irons differ from those found in a set of low-handicap irons. We’ll take a look at the cavity of the golf clubs, the heel and toe, the sole, the speed pocket (if they have one), and the top line of the clubs. We’ll also examine the difference between graphite and steel shafts and what both shafts bring to the table.

The Differences Between Graphite and Steel Shafts

Every golfer has a unique swing, and when looking for new irons, it’s important to pick the shaft that fits their swing. When looking at iron shafts, golfers look at two options: steel or graphite.

Graphite shafts tend to be lighter—typically weigh between 50 and 85 grams—and more flexible, which helps generate faster swing speeds and more power. On the other hand, steel shafts are heavier than graphite shafts—typically weighing between 90 and 120 grams—and offer more feel at impact. Graphite shafts offer more torque which helps generate more power but ultimately gives up some control. Steel shafts are known to give the golfer good control and consistency.

Ultimately, when deciding between the two, it’s best to get out on the range or the simulator, get some swings in with both, and talk to an expert to see which shaft fits your game the best.

What Type of Iron Should Mid-Handicap Golfers Be Looking For?

Progressing mid-handicappers will be upgrading from a thicker beginner’s iron to a more clean-looking thinner iron. These irons are still forgiving, but are thinner and more responsive. The goal is to find a club that looks like a player’s iron but still has the forgiveness necessary for consistent play. Finding a club like this can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. So, what differs between clubs for low-handicap players and mid-handicap players?

Differences Between Low and Mid-Handicap Clubs

Typically, low-handicap players are looking for a club that’s nice and clean at address, has a thin top line, a thin sole, and doesn’t have a cavity back—or if it does, it’s not much of a cavity back. Next, low-handicap players, often scratch players, will start to play with muscle back irons. Muscle back irons are thinner along the top line and a little thicker at the bottom of the club head and the back of the sole club to provide forgiveness and more distance. Muscle back irons require low-handicap players to spend more time at the range to dial in consistent and controlled shots.

Mid-handicap players tend to play with irons that have a thinner sole. In comparison to the thick sole of a beginner’s iron, these irons will have a thin top line, and they’ll have a cavity back as well. These irons will still resemble a player’s iron while still having the forgiveness and control they’re used to. They will challenge the golfer to rely more on their ability to strike the ball but still factor in a level of forgiveness that will help them steadily improve their game from double-digit handicaps to the single digits.

Photo of Taylor Smellie by Abigail Field

Okay, it’s FINALLY time to get to the actual clubs! I've made it easy and listed the irons here, while the details and specs of each iron are below. In no particular order, the most recommended irons for mid-handicap golfers include:

1. Srixon ZX5 MKII

The Srixon ZX5 MKII looks clean, bringing an angular nature to the cavity of the clubs while also bringing that traditional look. This iron is perfect for mid-handicap players and will definitely turn heads. The blade is a little longer, the sole a little larger, but at address, it doesn’t look bulky in the slightest.

The Srixon ZX5 MKII is made with Srixon’s mainframe construction. The thickest part of the club is behind the sweet spot. Where it’s thinner, there is still padding to add forgiveness and minimize mishits. This design helps produce higher ball speeds even for golfers with average swing speeds. The ZX5 MKII is constructed with a progressive groove system to help with launch angles and distance. The long irons have more shallow, spaced-out grooves, whereas the short irons have more, deeper tight grooves. All around, this is an incredible iron to add to your bag. Some would say the ZX5 MKII is the best iron for mid-handicappers.

2. Callaway Paradym

The new Callaway Paradym irons offer incredible ball speed in a player's preferred clubhead design. The head is AI-designed and forged with 455 steel. Callaway included great technologies like the speed frame to increase ball speed, tungsten weights to increase launch and consistency, and urethane microspheres to promote amazing feel. For players looking for a slightly easier transition into a more controllable iron with better feel, the Paradym is a great option!

3. Mizuno JPX923 Forged Irons

If a golfer is looking for an iron that will bring consistency and feel to their game, they will find that Mizuno has quite the reputation in those departments. The JPX 923 Forged irons bring confidence to the golfer’s game by looking and performing well. In addition, these long irons were forged with Mizuno’s 3rd generation of grain flow forging process, allowing them to place weight where needed to increase distance and maintain forgiveness.

They also made the irons thinner, which with their tech, allows an increase of ball speed for a shot coming off anywhere off the face. This tech also helps counteract mishits off the heel and toe of the club. The Mizuno JPX 923 forged irons are the real deal. They bring beautiful looks and great performance to any golfer’s game, and have set themselves apart from any other iron in this category. This is a truly forged masterpiece, not a hollow body iron for mid-handicap golfers.

4. TaylorMade P790

The TaylorMade P790 irons are designed to help players get distance and forgiveness while maintaining a good feel. The P790s feel like a player’s iron while having the forgiveness of a game improvement iron. The P790 irons look incredible at address. They’re thin along the top line and look like a player’s iron. TaylorMade took the tech used in player’s blades and infused it into the P790s. These irons are made for the golfer who wants to perform well and improve.

The P790 irons have a hollow space behind the forged part of the club, and TaylorMade filled that with their SpeedFoam, which helps increase ball speed and distance. Also notable in these all new P790s is the unique design of each clubhead which helps optimize ball forgiveness, distance, and control throughout the entire set.

5. Titleist T200

Another good-looking iron to add to your bag is the Titleist T200. The newly redesigned T200s are designed for extra distance, feel, and looks. If a mid-handicapper is looking for irons to get them into the single-digit handicaps, these are the irons they want in their bag.

Looking down at the club, the T200s have a slightly thinner top line than their previous version, and the sole is thinner as well, which results in a better feel at impact. One of the key components of the T200 is the Max Impact system, which is covered with a firm polymer back piece. This allowed Titleist to save weight at the back of the club and redistribute it to the club’s heel and toe, increasing the forgiveness of the clubs.

With all new D18 Tungsten weighting, every club is optimized for launch, forgiveness, and control where it’s needed. The tech gives golfers a better launch angle, faster ball speed for the long irons, and control for the short irons. They do have a smaller blade length than other irons, which helps them look like the part of a mid to low-handicap iron. These irons will look amazing in any bag and help any golfer take their game to the next level.

In Conclusion

While each golf club shares some similarities, each iron will help the mid-handicap golfer improve their game and lower their handicap range. It is important to remember that every golfer should swing any and every iron possible to find what works best for them. I’m a firm believer in feeling good when you look good and playing good when you feel good. While golfers want to have a good-looking bag, they also need to have an iron set that will help them improve their scores each round. When looking to upgrade your irons, it is important to work with a Golf Expert. Contact a Golf Expert here on Curated to help you find the club that will fit your game perfectly and help you improve as well.

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