An Expert Guide to Game Improvement IronsPublished on 03/14/2023 · 7 min readThe kind of irons in your golf bag can really influence your game! Here are a few tips from Golf Expert Eric Hall on how to choose the best irons for you.
Photo by Courtney Cook
“Now on the tee, a relatively unknown golfer, a Cinderella story the likes we have not seen since the sixties…You!” Every golfer has imagined what it would be like to have their name announced on the first tee of a tournament. For some, this opportunity came in high school or college golf. For others, it may have happened in a club championship. For the select few who play tournaments for (big) money, it may have happened with quite a few spectators around. The vast majority of golfers will not play the same clubs that the professionals play, but they can play clubs made by the companies that sponsor the big-name men and women on tour. Companies know they need to have options for golfers of all skill levels. Doing so helps make those playing the clubs want to keep coming out to the course to try and beat their buddies or beat their personal best score.
Before you run out and buy…
When you hit the store and walk down the aisles of clubs and see all the different styles of club heads from the various manufacturers, think about what makes the designs different. Some have a cavity back, some look like the blades that Tiger Woods has used for decades, and some fall somewhere in the middle, having thicker bodies, a medium topline, and may or may not have a cavity depending on which company manufactured the club.
Think back to your last round of golf and how you felt about your iron shots. Were they moving too much right or left? Could you not get them up in the air? Were you unable to create any kind of spin that would help you hold the green? These are all things to consider when buying your new set of irons.
If your answer was “yes” to most of the questions listed above, look for an iron set that:
- Is probably closer to a three-digit price than a four-digit price point.
- Has a cavity back or says something about a cap back/hollow head construction.
- Comes in a set composition of 5-AW (will be explained later).
- Might say that it is best for mid to high handicappers (8-25).
Identifying these four characteristics will allow you to make an informed purchase and play better golf in no time. Now, let’s dive deeply into why these characteristics make these irons the best for your game.
What is a game improvement iron anyway?
Game improvement irons are meant to do what the name suggests: improve your iron game. But how they do that is the real question. First, the purpose of these irons is to help golfers get the ball in the air, keep it straighter, and allow them to have similar distance stats to golfers of higher skill levels. They do this by creating a larger sweet spot by distributing material around the head of the club, allowing for more consistent distance regardless of where the golfer makes contact on the clubface.
Furthermore, by distributing the material around the perimeter of the clubface, it increases the Moment of Inertia (MOI), allowing the shots to stay straighter and forcing the club head to remain square to the target line as much as possible, providing the golfer with unparalleled forgiveness on every swing. Additionally, with the increased MOI, the clubs are equipped with extra weight at the bottom of the club head. This forces the center of gravity as low as possible at launch and allows the ball to be easily rocketed into the stratosphere (appropriately, of course). Increasing the MOI and lowering the center of gravity make them the club of choice for players seeking fun on the weekends or mid-high handicappers looking for a way to make their score plummet closer to red figures!
Who would benefit from these irons?
If you are wondering if you can benefit from these irons, you probably can! If you lose the ball to a slice, these clubs tend to have an offset to help encourage a small draw with the club on precise hits and a straight ball flight on the mishit, increasing accuracy. If you are looking for distance and can’t quite get it with the hand-me-down blades or irons from years gone by, the lofts on these irons tend to be a degree or three stronger than traditional lofting. These benefits, combined with the lower center of gravity, allow the golfer to hit these around the same distance as golfers with players' irons but have more forgiveness and MOI than their more-skilled counterparts.
Another benefit these irons can give you is an increase in ball speed. The way the weight is configured allows the player to have maximum impact on the ball and creates ideal striking conditions, leading to the ball being launched as if it was coming off a trampoline. Combine this with the correct shaft flex, and you will see your best proximity to the hole and iron performance in no time!
Who makes the best game improvement iron?
So let’s say you are back in the store and have found a few different sets from several companies. You have TaylorMade, Callaway, Cobra, and more, but who makes the best set? You take them over to the simulator or range, depending on where you are, and you hit the seven irons. You like that the sole on each club isn’t too chunky, but some have thick toplines that stick out more than others. As you hit with them, you notice that some do better than others on shots that hit the toe or heel of the club. So, let’s break down some of the best clubs on the market.
- Have a great cap back cavity that looks sleek and allows the player to feel confident in hitting every shot.
- Give the golfer the forgiveness and greater consistency they want with an appearance that still harkens to the look of a blade iron.
- The ball launches better and performs well for the mid-handicapper, with the swing speed that golfers need these irons to have.
- Same build as the TaylorMade SIM Max line and the Speed Pocket and Speed Bridge technologies introduced in 2020.
- Can be purchased in steel shafts or graphite shafts, making them an optimal choice for golfers with high handicaps or those looking to move from high to mid handicap levels!
- Available in 4-PW; 5-PW, AW; and more!
- These are a game improvement iron, almost turning into a super game improvement iron with their large heads and varying offsets.
- Look great in the bag, which is a big draw for players who do not want the flashy silver and black color schemes typically associated with game improvement irons.
- Offer low launching and low-spinning—great for those who currently hit high and super spinny shots.
- Can be combined with the Hot Metal Pro irons, giving you the choice of using these for the harder-to-hit long irons and moving into smaller head shapes for the short irons.
- Available in 4-GW and 5-GW stock options.
- Stability is at the forefront, allowing the golfer to feel confident in picking a spot and pulling the trigger.
- Maximizes perimeter weighting by using artificial intelligence.
- Much more forgiving than Callaway's forged iron lineup.
- Stronger lofts allow players to get what they want: maximum distance.
- Available in numerous stock options.
How can I learn more about which set will suit me best?
The best way to know which iron will be best for your game is to speak with an expert who can give you all the advice you need to make an informed purchase. Take the quick quiz here on Curated and match with a Golf Expert who will be able to walk you through every step of the buying process—from establishing whether you need a stiff, regular, or senior shaft flex to the varying degrees that the offset will move the hosel on the club. They can tell you the difference between the use of tungsten in cast model irons and their forged counterparts. Your Expert can explain the difference between a regular and OS (oversized) model and how that changes the width of the clubface. We are prepared to answer all questions and get you out the door with the best clubs for your game!