Choosing the Best Irons for Your Game

With so many types of irons out there, it can be hard to know which one is the right one for you. Golf expert Tyler Monroe has some advice.

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What a great game, chasing down par with every chance we get. Whether playing for scratch, realizing that perfect shot, or out for a fun day, golf is mesmerizing. Name another game where people keep garages full of old equipment, on the off chance they will get the job done again. I know you are out there! Perhaps you can hit that ancient club well occasionally, or those blade irons when you need more forgiveness, but golf is about percentages, course management, and that one chance to get it right. The right clubs matter!

Golf clubs with a box of papers in the background

Photo by Mali Maeder

If your goal is to increase distance, shape ball flight, get better feel in the clubhead, or just get the ball down the center, there is a set of irons built to make your life easier. Using various materials, molding processes, shaping, weighting, and even artificial intelligence technology, club designs are advancing their typical definitions and redefining themselves as they do. With all of these improvements and to maximize their benefits to the player, the imperative becomes determining the best golf irons that fit your swing. Matching the appropriate steel or graphite shaft with the right model clubhead and set composition of longer irons, hybrids, pitching wedge, and, if need be, a gap wedge, all define the perfect set for you.

Fortunately, the golf world has established general categories in concepts and designs to better educate the consumer as to the different models that would fit best. Leave your preconceived ideas at the door and explore the options.

Types of Golf Clubs

Player’s Irons

A Titleist 620 MB iron against a white background

Titleist 620 MB

An ominous definition for some, this clean, compact iron shape, to be wielded by professional golfers and better players, is a tool of the ages. With design objectives that include the smallest of club heads, forward and high center of gravity (CG), and higher gear effect, these shot-shaping irons allow the most control of trajectory to tuck it close to any pin. Typically forged or molded from one piece of metal for a superior feel of the clubs, also termed blade irons or muscle back, player’s irons are a mainstay for the accomplished player and come in iron sets from 3-iron to 9-iron. Exceedingly small soles enable you to cut through any turf, attack steeper to trap any golf ball, and spin it from more lies.

Player’s Distance Irons

A Callaway Mavrik Pro iron against a white background

Callaway Mavrik Pro

Who doesn’t want more distance? Even better players who demand high performance and the ability to shape the ball flight as they like can still use added power. While remaining relatively compact, these long-hitting irons incorporate good feel into shapes that still appeal to the better golfer. Through weight movement to increase ball speeds across the face, distance begins to get easier while launch angles create favorable descent angles to hold the fastest of greens. Whether backing off a player’s design or seeking the combination of performance and forgiveness, this category of irons will be an exceptional iron for you to play.

Game Improvement Irons

The TaylorMade Max OS iron against a white background

TaylorMade Max OS

An ambiguous definition as most players can use an iron that improves their game, this category of irons helps the largest array of golfers from low to high handicappers. A technical golfer’s paradise, these irons use shaping and movable weight behind the ball, and manipulate iron faces to produce as much distance from hits on any point on the face. From forged for improved feel, to cast with multiple metals, hollow backed or larger cavities, the conceptual goals and technical achievements in irons in this category are profound and continuously push the limits of allowed iron technology. Features such as increased bounce, minimal offset, and stronger loft angles, specifically target improving whichever aspect of your iron game has room to advance.

Super Game Improvement Irons

The Callaway Big Bertha iron against a white background

Callaway Big Bertha

Built for the high handicap player, beginner golfer, and to get the most out of every swing, super game improvement irons are a popular choice for moderate swing speeds players. Using greater offset to square the ball at address and delay impact slowing slice spin, and lighter weight iron designs, these are the easiest iron designs to hit. Larger sized with wider soles also get more weight low on the ball improving launch and preventing the club from digging too deep into the turf.

Hybrids, Utility Irons, Other Iron Set Types

A Cleveland Launcher HB Turbo iron against a white background

Cleveland Launcher HB Turbo

As distances stretch to 200 yards or more, the level of difficulty to get both distance and accuracy increases. Brands realize this and have built hybrids, utility irons, and even hollow iron designs within the iron sets themselves to give more forgiveness and easier launch for these tougher shots. Iron woods, or hybrid iron designs that progress through the set to the wedges, have also been built for players seeking maximum distance with slower swing speeds from every shot to the green.

Picking the Right Irons

Advancements across the spectrum of iron designs are blurring the lines of these categories and definitions. Player’s distance irons look like player’s irons, game improvement irons can feel as smooth as forged irons, hollow backed irons can act like a hybrid, and many sets can be made custom as combo sets to fit each irons need from longer to shorter. Depending on many aspects of your game, if you struggle with long irons but tuck pins with your short irons, like to shape trajectories or need increased height from every iron, there is a club set designed for you.

Understanding your swing, strengths and weaknesses in your iron game, golfing goals, impact tendencies, and your ball flight preferences are all important criteria to find the right club match. Avoid the frustration in playing the wrong clubs! I or one of my fellow Golf experts here at Curated are happy to help you find the right iron set to advance your game faster, so you can start enjoying the game now.

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Written By
PGA Professional with a 16-year career instructing, club fitting, and merchandising. ​ As a golf instructor and certified club fitter, I’ve worked in golf shops and seen countless golf swings, tempos, preferences, and club selections. ​ I fell in love with the incredible sport as a child during my f...

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