What are the Best Rated Golf Irons in 2017?
Irons make up the majority of clubs in your bag. As such, purchasing the best rated golf irons is in the best interest of improving your game. There is so much information that one ought to know before purchasing best game improvement irons, hence the reason for compiling this guide. We have also reviewed the best products on the market to help with your search.
Tips for choosing among the best rated golf irons
Types of golf ironsGolf irons are available in two main types including:
- Forged irons: These are made by sinking metal into a rough shape then hammering into the desired shape. The raw forged iron is finished by milling, grinding and polishing. The end result is a solid looking iron with a carbon steel clubhead. Forged irons are designed for good golfers who prefer something that provides ability to control trajectory and shape shots.
- Cast irons: These irons are made by pouring liquid metal into a mold, thus allowing manufacturers to produce clubs with more complex designs. Cast irons are, therefore, better suited to irons that are perimeter weighted, multi-material and intricate. These irons are cheaper than forged irons.
- Cavity back iron: This is an iron that positions a recess in the back while exerting more weight on the perimeter. Increased weight at the edges of the clubhead allows manufacturers to increase the forgiveness and moment of inertia. A large clubhead paired with a thin clubface means that the off-center shots fly straighter and longer. Cavity back irons are best suited for mid to high handicappers that would benefit from a larger sweet spot.
- Blade iron: This is designed for better golfers and features a thin face, a compact hitting area as well as a thin top line. All of the above work together to distribute the weight evenly, thus producing a small sweet spot on the head. This also provides players the ability to shape a shot more effectively compared to cavity back irons. This explains why blade irons are sometimes referred to as muscle backs.
Sets of ironsThe best steam irons are sometimes sold in sets of nine. Every iron in such sets is numbered to reflect the loft of the clubhead. The long irons are often numbered 2,3, and 4 while the mid irons are 5, 6 and 7. The short irons are usually 8, 9 and wedges including Gap or Attack Wedges, Pitching Wedge, and a Sand Wedge.
ShaftsThe most common shafts for irons are constructed using steel. The increased weight and strength compared to graphite means that steel shafts produce more flex, hence more accurate and consistent. Carbon steel or stainless steel is thick and provides flexibility as well as consistent torque. As such, you get more flex in your 4-iron as you get in the 9-iron. Graphite shafts are used for their flexibility and lightweight. This allows players to increase swing speed, hence more distance. The main disadvantages of graphite shafts have to do with their expensive process of production and reduced consistency. Some manufacturers have been known to combine both steel and graphite in their iron shafts. Such shafts are mostly made of steel with a graphite tip. The steel section allows for increased control of ball flight while the graphite section help increase distance.
Compared to the original API tweaked in 2013, the Titleist 716 AP1 has more significant changes. They all have to do with design of the sole, weighting as well as the cavity back. All of the above work together to provide one of the most forgiving and longest irons on the market.
The long, deep 360-degree undercut cavity at the back of the head helps move the CG lower and back, thus increasing forgiveness not to mention the launch. The supporting bar across the back that came with the previous 714 API is gone, thus reducing the weight by 15 grams. This move also allowed Titleist to create a face that is strong enough on its own and has a little more flex to increase the speed of the ball.
The head is constructed from 17-4 stainless steel, which is preferred by manufacturers for its strength. The steel is also treated for increased malleability, which comes handy when you need to adjust the lie. Another major change is the increased amount of high density tungsten in the sole. Titleist used 50% more tungsten as compared to the previous model. The tungsten toe weighs 42 grams and goes a long way towards increasing stability of the club.
Overall, the Titleist 716 AP1 irons are very playable and particularly helpful for those who are mid single figures upwards. The feel through the set is incredibly good for what a cast, oversized set of irons was designed for i.e. distance and forgiveness.
What we like
- Best in class playability, with the ability to be worked in all kinds of lies.
- Very consistent irons with top accuracy and control.
- Perfect feel typical of forged irons, smooth and soft, some claim to be the best in class.
- Classy good looks that ooze a premium, elite player appearance.
What we dislike
- Not enough forgiveness for most players above 13-14 handicap.
- Longer irons lack distance while the set overall has less launch.
The Wilson Staff D range of irons is designed to provide maximum forgiveness and this particular model was given quite the boost. This is probably because Wilson integrates the FLX Face Technology that was first seen in the C200 irons. This technology allows 76% of the face to be disconnected from the body. Power Holes filled with TE031 Urethane surround the thin face and help improve flex while providing a distinctive look. It also provides real zip at impact and feels very good. This 6-iron set has a surpringly big distance gain of six yards compared to the Wilson Staff D200 6-iron.
Another notable feature is that the Wilson Staff D300 comes with a KBS Tour 80 shaft, which makes it feel lighter than other irons in the Wilson Staff D range of irons. This also explains why the club head speed is 1mph faster than that of the D200. The swing speed is a little higher than what mid to high handicappers aim for. The Power Holes give these irons a dramatic look while bringing out the “I need to try this” feeling. The large head has three Power Holes while a pretty descent sized cavity sits behind the face. The cavity combined with the low center of gravity at the back help with the launch while the two weights in the heel and toe of the club provide increased forgiveness.
Rather than use a denser material, Wilson uses a 60 grams of 17-4 Stainless Steel on the head. And while this plays more of a cosmetic role, you can still feel the effect when swinging. The face is generously sized and has a fairly rounded look that makes the toe noticeable at address. The soles have a slightly raised polished chrome center section that provides a little toe and heel relief. The distance combined with a highly competitive price makes the D300 one of the best golf irons for mid handicapper.
What we like
- With Reactive Face Technology, the D300 offers excellent accuracy and forgiveness.
- Easy to swing thanks to its lightweight and flexible shaft.
- Adjustable loft angles can be changed to 9, 10.5 and 13 degrees.
- Excellent value for money at a very affordable price point.
What we dislike
- Some golfers might find the lightweight nature of the club bothersome.
- The matte black and chrome design isn’t too bad but doesn’t look premium.
- Not a great distance club.
The 2016 version of the Apex iron range comes with a pro model whose features make it one of the best golf clubs for the money. The Apex Pro 16 Iron is a smaller version of the Apex CF 16 iron. It is also a redesign of the Apex Pro designed for low handicap players who have a preference for all-forged irons. The head is constructed from 1025 Carbon Steel that is Net Forged trough processes, thus a more refined shape and greater consistency. In layman’s language, the forged feel provides enhanced performance and forgiveness.
Behind the forged panel is a hidden pocket, which in the 3 to 5 irons is filled with tungsten. This helps lower the center of gravity while increasing the launch angle. The pocket in the 6 to 8 irons is filled with steel to provide a mid center of gravity. It is empty in the 9-iron and below to raise the center of gravity while removing weight from the sole. Modifying the center of gravity in the Callaway Apex Pro 16 Irons provides a long iron/high flight blended with short iron/lower flight, an excellent combination that every tour player looks for in their irons.
The glint combined with a gloss chrome finish makes this set stand out and gives it an enhanced look. The cavity at the back is a little too small and as such, produces a sharper and closer sound and feel that what one would expect from a fully forged iron. Thanks to Callaway Custom Fitting, you have a wide choice of shaft offerings. The Project X has a low torque that really suits the head.
What we like
- The glossy chrome finish looks classy and stands out in the sun.
- Forged irons with pockets and weighted heads for improved CG and launch.
- Excellent workability on all kinds of lies.
- Razor sharp accuracy, much like a scalpel.
What we dislike
- Very low forgiveness, the irons will punish mishits severely.
- The Glossy finish doesn’t last for too long.
One thing that golfers can trust is that when it comes to great performance and beautiful looks, Mizuno always delivers. The Mizuno MP5 is a Channel Back iron, meaning that it has a slight channel between the muscle back at the rear of the club and thicker top line. And while it does look great, it is designed for the better player. The shape is based on the MP-64 and so is the head. The main difference is that unlike the meatier feel of the MP-64, the MP5 head has a blade style. This allows for a sharper feel that intermediate players will certainly appreciate.
This iron has pretty good forgiveness for its style and as such, low handicappers and amateurs benefit from more margin of error as well as high degree shot making. Another notable feature is the 1025 Grain Flow Forged Pure Select Mild Carbon Steel. It feels fantastic and the 46-degree wedge is a welcome addition for excellent shots around the green. Each club in this iron set complemented each other while providing the same level of performance, forgiveness, as well as feel.
It is important to note that the MP5 is one of the best golf club sets designed for low handicappers who like to play the ball on demand. That said, nothing feels as good on the course as nailing a blade. The irons also have a premium look and feel to them.
What we like
- The blade design with a shiny metal finish is pure class, simply the best golf irons in the looks department.
- Exquisite playability and workability in all kinds of lies, truly one of the best irons for mid handicappers looking for finesse.
- Adequate forgiveness on offer makes it a great iron for mid-handicappers.
- Excellent distance on shots.
- Top class feel and feedback, no other irons come close.
What we dislike
- Not suitable for those looking for the best game improvement irons for forgiveness.
- Not the best irons for mid handicappers with slow swing speeds.
The TaylorMade Players Slotted irons is a replacement for the RSi 2 and RSi TP models. They are designed for optimum performance. Like previous models, the PSi features straight face slots. They are found in the head construction, which TaylorMade made big changes to. The Speed Pocket in the PSi connects with the undercut cavity, thus maintaining ball speed as well as increasing flex. Also featured is a Dynamic Feel System that cushions vibration at impact. This technology achieves this by combining dampening compounds with multi-material badge.
The amount of dampening as well as shape of the cut-through cavity varies throughout the set depending on the loft. The mid-sized head is a welcome feature that looks good, feels good and certainly has a nice solid sound. The top line at the address is also mid-sized, something that single figure golfers will appreciate. TaylorMade does a fine job of fine tuning the lofts and the result is that all of the clubs have a loft ending in 0.5 degrees, except for the SW and 3-iron.
What we like
- Great Distance
- Very forgiving
- Very stylish looks and nice feel
What we dislike
- Focused for above-average players with a single digit handicap, so you may not benefit as much as a higher handicapper.
It is important that you consider having your irons custom fitted before using them. It is one of the best decisions you can make if you wish to optimize your irons for your game technique.
The Titleist 716 AP1 is a personal favorite of mine due to the forgiveness, flex, distance and low CG it offers. It is an excellent option for a player who places more importance on distance and forgiveness than anything else.