Game Improvement Irons vs. Super Game Improvement Irons

In this article, Golf expert Reid Graber goes over game improvement irons to explain which type of forgiving irons best fit your game and your swing.

Callaway Big Bertha irons. Photo by Callaway

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Approach Play

Golf is a game that is easy to pick up, remarkably addicting, but incredibly hard to master. Every facet of the game can be challenging, including making shots. Some of the hardest shots to execute are from the fairway or rough and approaching the green. Even when the ball is teed up on a par 3, hitting a high, accurate approach shot can be a daunting task. Anyone who has ever picked up a set of clubs or played 18 holes can attest to this. Striking the ball is hard, and it’s a skill that can take years of practice and thousands of shots to be comfortable with.

Even at the highest level of play — the PGA and LPGA Tour — professional players won’t always hit the center of the club. They’ve been playing golf for most (if not all) of their lives, practice religiously, and are some of the best players on the planet. Knowing that, what are amateur golfers to do?

Modern Iron Technology

In recent years, technology has advanced to help the weekend warrior with a high handicap hit the ball straighter, higher, and farther with the help of new irons. These players are more worried about straight flight, higher MOI (Moment of Inertia or, in other words, resistance to twisting), and distance, as opposed to workability. These irons are a far cry from the thin blades of yesteryear and are often referred to as “game improvement” clubs. Thicker toplines, more exotic materials like tungsten weights, graphite shafts, cavity-back constructions, strong lofts, and perimeter weighting in these club heads all contribute to making approach play easier.

There has been another development in the last few years — the creation of the “super game improvement” iron. These irons are about as helpful as possible, packing technology into each head and emphasizing high launch, distance, and forgiveness. They often include a shaft with more flex to help with launch and loading the shaft. They can look like oversized irons, and some manufacturers have even looked to create sets that incorporate hybrid iron technology, hollowed-out head shapes, and a hotter club face. So, how can the average golfer know which kind of iron is right for them (besides reaching out to a Curated golf expert like me, of course)?

As with most things in golf, there is no one option that will work best for every player. Even if there was, what fun would that be? For most players, the look of the club — both in the bag and behind the ball — is vital. The thought of looking down at a club that is thicker and more forgiving could fill a newer player with confidence but be off-putting to someone who prefers the look of a thinner iron. The turf conditions and courses you typically play are also a factor, and how you take divots and interact with the ground are all part of the equation for your approach game. Understanding the launch conditions, lofts, and offset of a set of irons is essential in order to play better golf.

Naturally, this seems like a lot of information and could be overwhelming to someone looking to make an equipment upgrade. However, I’m here to help! As a Curated expert, I have plenty of experience in determining how different types of clubs can help different types of players. In this article, I’m going to explain the difference between game improvement and super game improvement irons and describe how they can help make games easier and more enjoyable! Golf is meant to be fun, and modern technology should be as helpful for your game as possible.

Super Game Improvement Irons

A Callaway Big Bertha iron hovers next to a golf ball.

Callaway Big Bertha iron. Photo by Callaway

Super game improvement clubs are built with a large amount of topline thickness and look like they will launch the ball into the air without much effort. They will likely have plenty of offset to help avoid the dreaded slice and will look inviting and forgiving to hit. If you miss toward the toe or heel, the ball won't lose as much distance as it would with a thinner iron. For the longer irons, you will likely be able to see a lot of weight and structure out of the back of the club, which is meant to help the ball get in the air quickly and with speed, even with less loft.

Super game improvement clubs are perfect for new players or for players who struggle with their approach play into the greens. Another huge market for super game improvement irons are senior golfers who have lost some of their swing speed. These irons would be a phenomenal option to help regain some of the height and distance that may be fading from your play as you get older.

When you are looking to hit the green, easy launch and height are vital to playing better golf. Options like the TaylorMade SIM Max OS irons, Wilson Launch Pad, and Callaway Big Bertha B21 fall into the super game improvement category. These irons aren’t built for everyone, though! They often have stronger lofts and can be detrimental to players who deloft their irons or naturally hit high balls. The offset and construction of these clubs can also worsen a hook for a player who has a tendency for left misses. As Lee Trevino famously said, “You can talk to a fade, but a hook won’t listen.”

Game Improvement Irons

An image of the Callaway Mavrik Max irons held up against a golf course background.

Callaway Mavrik Max irons. Photo by Callaway

Game improvement irons come in all shapes and sizes. In the last few years, this type of iron has exploded in popularity and become a cornerstone of all golf equipment sales. After all, most players are likely to hit at least one iron shot on every hole during a round. If you’re like me, that number can definitely grow, and I hit a lot of iron shots per round already. That’s why I play with a set of forgiving game improvement irons!

I love them, and I completely understand what they do for my game. I am nowhere near a consistent-enough ball striker to play the thin blades and cavity-back irons that are seen on the professional tours. I love looking down at a set of medium-sized irons that I know will help save my shot if I miss the middle of the face. The irons have a wide sole to help avoid digging and they bounce through the turf.

These types of game improvement irons are still packed with technology and forgiveness, but they are in a more compact package as compared to a super game improvement set. I love the pop and ball speed that I get from the thin face, and I'm able to hit plenty of greens without swinging like a tour pro playing a muscle-back blade. These irons go high and far, look great, and fit my launch conditions in order for me to play better golf.

There are also plenty of options for you or me to find the perfect set, so we can enjoy a better approach game. There are cast options with great looks and a little offset, such as the TaylorMade SIM2 Max, Callaway Mavrik, and Callaway Mavrik Max irons. There are also forged options for a softer feel, such as the Callaway Apex 21 DCB and Srixon ZX4. The amount of options for most amateurs is endless and is only continuing to improve.

Which one is best for me?

So, which one is right for you? It comes down to personal preference and being honest with yourself about the state of your game. The vast majority of amateurs could use more forgiveness and launch, so I recommend game improvement sets to a lot of my customers here on Curated. Many are upgrading older clubs that don’t have nearly as much technology as current products on the market, and they can immediately feel a difference when they hit their new clubs for the first time. The ball looks faster coming off the face, and many people are able to hit shorter clubs into greens. Going from hitting a 6-iron into a green to hitting an 8-iron from the same distance is a great feeling!

A group of irons sits in someone's bag.

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Game improvement sets fit the vast majority of golfers, and I think most players would be very happy with an upgrade to modern game improvement irons. However, there are certainly players who would be better suited for a super game improvement set. The profile of this golfer is a little less common, but there is still a market for them. I find that these types of players are always happy with the super game improvement sets I recommend! Some people will ask for the most forgiveness possible in a set of irons. They aren’t worried about the looks, they likely don’t get to play as much as they like, and they just want to hit the ball as far and straight as possible. Super game improvement irons are the perfect solution for these players! No one has ever said, “Golf is too easy.” You can quote me on that.

As for other groups of golfers who would benefit from a set of super game improvement irons, women and seniors are prime candidates! They generally have slower swing speeds, which means that they could struggle with ball speed and launch. The technology in super game improvement clubs will help these players hit the ball higher and farther, making their approach play simpler and ideally improving their golf experience. After all, it is a game, and we are looking to have more fun!

I hope this article has given you a little more knowledge and has helped you distinguish the different kinds of forgiving iron sets that are on the market today, and also helped you understand what kind of player these sets typically suit. For more information about what kind of iron set would be best for your game, reach out to me or any other Curated Golf expert! We would be happy to help you find the right gear, have more fun, and hit more greens. We would love to find you a great new set of irons.

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Written By
I picked up the game of golf later than I would have liked to, but I am doing my absolute best to make up for lost time. I started playing while attending college in Texas, and was immediately hooked. I make an effort to play at least once a week, and love the challenge of playing in the variety of...

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