What are the Most Forgiving Golf Clubs in 2018?
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Today we are going to show you exactly how to find and select the most forgiving golf club for your game.
In fact, we'll compare and review among the best overall clubs to find the most forgiving ones.
And we should point something out:
This is a non-technical comparison.
So if you're not super inclined to loft angle and friction calculations (like me), you'll love love the simple nature of this guide.
Let's get started.
Our Roundup Selection
Editors Choice: Most Forgiving Drivers: Callaway Big Bertha V
Any discussion about the most forgiving driver has to include the famous Big Bertha Series from Callaway.
This was the original monster club that forever altered the way we looked at drivers in golf. The latest edition is a re-imagining of the original Big Bertha, with the V series focused on the max-game improvement market.
Garnished with a cartoon of Sir Issac Newton at the sole, this driver boasts of a host of tweaks that improve the overall physics and energy output on shots. The composite crown is large yet lightweight for extra forgiveness and higher swing speeds, and MoI has been increased by improved weight distribution across the clubhead.
- Excellent speed and distance on shots, thanks to velocity optimized design.
- The large clubhead and increased MoI makes it one of the most forgiving drivers.
- Adjustable hosel enables changing of loft angles.
- Shiny black head and aerodynamic shape make this a striking looking driver.
- Excellent feedback and feel, with the high MoI leaving the head stable even when you mishit shots.
- Impact sound is a bit too dull for some golfers.
- The club is extremely lightweight, to the dislike of some players.
Best Value: Most Forgiving Fairway Wood: Mizuno JPX EZ
The JPX series of drivers and woods from Mizuno follow a common blueprint of larger heads and improved perimeter weighting. The focus is on creating a friendly and confidence inspiring club that can be wielded by beginners and higher handicappers.
There is “Shockwave Sole” technology improves ball speeds and launch angles, while the ridges along the sole improve the MoI. The clubs, available with adjustable lofts in the 3 and 5-wood range,
- The large clubhead size and ridged soles make the EZ series one of the most forgiving fairway woods with high MoI.
- Gets good distance on shots, even when they are mishit.
- Matte finish with blue detailing looks very attractive.
- The adjustable hosel allows the club loft to be changed quickly according to the situation.
- Overall, easy to swing clubs that follow a “ready, aim, fire” philosophy.
- Some golfers find the clubface closing in on impact.
- Not as good as some other drivers in the distance game.
Best Seller: Most Forgiving Iron: Adams Golf Blue Irons
These extremely forgiving irons are defined by the massive, undercut cavities on the sole of the clubs.
The bottom is also quite wide, helping it perform well in all kinds of tough lies. As a max-game improvement category iron set, the Adams Blue irons also include a couple of wedges and optional hybrids.
The addition of the most forgiving hybrids (3 and 4-H) and one of the most forgiving wedges (PW) make this a proper super game improvement irons set. The irons are available in both steel and graphite sets with a variety of shaft flex options.
- A complete super-game improvement irons set with best in class forgiveness.
- Playable from all kinds of lies, thanks to the addition of two hybrids.
- A very pleasant looking blue and chrome design.
- Excellent control on distance shots and high-quality steel shafts also make this one of the best golf irons for mid handicapper golfers.
- The generous cavity back design covers all mistakes, making it incredibly hard to miss with these irons.
- All that forgiveness comes at the cost of some feedback.
- Can feel a bit short and chunky for some players.
Worthy Competitor: Most Forgiving Putter: Cleveland Odyssey White Hot RX V-Line Fang Putter
Putters are quite unlike other golf clubs, and it can be quite hard to recommend one of these to a large number of golfers.
But then again, the most forgiving golf sets usually sport a mallet putter, so it is easy to recommend this design to the high handicapper golfer.
The V-Line Fang version of the RX series of putters from Cleveland Golf ticks all the boxes when it comes to forgiveness. It includes a soft insert face and a mallet clubhead design that makes it one of the most forgiving putters around.
- The impact feel and feedback is soft, with minimal vibrations thanks to the insert face technology.
- Extreme forgiveness across the face means that you do not have to aim for any particular spot on the clubface.
- The fang shape is perfect for a visual aid when making alignment for the shot.
- The soft blue and metal finish looks elegant.
- Too lightweight for some users.
- Some people are put off by the futuristic V-Line Fang design.
Worthy Competitor: Most Forgiving Golf Set: Callaway Men's Strata Complete Golf Club Set
A complete golf set for high handicappers will include a choice selection of all the above clubs reviewed above.
The Strata set from Callaway is one of the most highly recommended game improvement sets for beginner golfers.
It has a well-designed series of game improvement clubs, from drivers and fairway woods with high MoI, easy to hit hybrids, cavity back irons and wedges, as well as a mallet putter. A useful stand bag and covers for the long clubs tie together the whole package.
- A complete set of forgiving clubs at a very affordable price.
- Drivers, Woods, and Hybrids have a high MoI design.
- Cavity back irons are the highlight of the set.
- Hybrids improve the overall playability of the set.
- The mallet putter is forgiving and easy to hit.
- Minor durability concerns.
- A large number of clubs may overwhelm some beginners.
What Is “Forgiveness”?
Simply put, when a club covers up/papers over your mistakes during shots on a golf course, that club is said to be a “forgiving club,” or that it has “high forgiveness.”
Every golf club has a sweet spot, a small zone usually somewhere near the center of the clubface, where any impact with the ball will give the best results regarding shot accuracy, energy transfer, and resulting ball speeds.
When you hit a golf ball with the sweet spot on your club (or any ball with a racquet, bat or club), you can clearly feel the effortlessness of in the impact as the ball sails away. In clubs with high forgiveness, the sweet spots are enlarged using specific design elements.
The Different Categories Of Forgiveness
Golf club manufacturers design and market specific clubs to golfers of various handicaps/skill levels.
- Better Player or Tour category of clubs are clubs that sacrifice forgiveness for control and workability and are targeted towards scratch golfers and players with single digit handicaps.
- The Game Improvement category includes a broad range of clubs with improved forgiveness that could be suitable for players having their handicaps anywhere between 10 to 20.
- The Max-Game Improvement or Super-Game Improvement category includes clubs that are designed to have very high forgiveness, keeping in mind the requirements of high handicappers and recreational golfers with handicaps above 20.
But do bear in mind that these are just broad classifications, and that handicaps are just an indirect signifier of individual skill levels. These days, even Pro golfers on the Tour can be found using Game Improvement clubs, especially the best game improvement irons. Keegan Bradley and Graeme McDowell are just two examples of this trend. And the same way, some mid handicappers might find that their game is improved by a Pro level driver or a Better Player set of irons.
Here is an insightful YouTube video that highlights the benefits of these club choices:
The takeaway here is that you should never arbitrarily tie down a club to the handicap indicated by the manufacturers. Those are just loose guidelines, not hard and fast rules. They work by the law of averages: the high handicappers tend to have poor accuracy and swings, so they benefit from having clubs with greater forgiveness. Just try out a few clubs from different categories and choose one that feels right for you.
A Brief History Of Forgiveness In Golf Clubs
Back in the day, at least until the 1970s, most golf clubs had the mass of the club head directly behind the clubface. And these clubs used to have tiny clubfaces. To get a good shot, you needed to get shots to hit dead center. There was little room for error, and you could feel the jolt on mishits and off-center shots. The concept of forgiveness was introduced by Karsten Solheim, the founder of Ping Golf. He was the first one who realized that one could make golf clubs easier to hit by using the right design choices.
The first clubs to feature increased forgiveness were irons designed by Karsten Solheim. Traditional irons had a muscle back design, with all the mass placed dead center, behind the club face. When Solheim moved some of this mass away from the center and towards the sides of the clubface, the irons became easier to hit. This new design, called perimeter weighted design, enlarged the sweet spots on the best game improvement irons by increasing what is known as the Moment of Inertia (MoI) of the club.
The Importance of Moment of Inertia
Higher MoI makes a club more forgiving and easy to hit. In physics, MoI denotes the ability of an object to resist being twisted. When you hit an off-center shot with a golf club, the part of the clubhead absorbing the impact is forced to twist away. This reduces the transfer of energy from the swing to the golf ball. When the MoI is increased, the clubface resists twisting and imparts more energy to the ball, improving the chances of better shots.
Features That Increase MoI (And Forgiveness) In Golf Clubs
MoI of a club can be increased in several ways. They include:
Cavity Back Design:
- Cavity Back Design: When Solheim created perimeter weighted irons, it looked as if they had a cavity or hollow space behind the clubface. This design has been popularized as the Cavity back design and is found these days on everything from drivers to woods and irons.
- Moveable Weights: By putting small pieces of a heavier metal (usually Tungsten) on specific parts of the club head, the MoI of a club can be increased. This technology was initially pioneered on drivers made with lighter and larger clubheads. But since then, the feature has been implemented on woods, hybrids, and even some irons. Some models have fixed weights while others are removable pieces.
- Lighter Materials: Titanium and Carbon Fiber are much lighter than hardwood and steel, and when these materials are used in clubheads, you can create larger club heads without increasing the weight of the club. Larger clubheads will naturally have larger sweet spots. And it is also easier to improve the MoI on these clubs since you have a larger surface area to tweak.
Peripheral Weighting, Insert Faces and Mallet Heads:
- Peripheral Weighting, Insert Faces and Mallet Heads: these are unique features found mostly on putters to improve their overall forgiveness. The most forgiving putter will have a combination of some or all of these features.
These features are available these days across families of golf clubs, from drivers to fairway woods and irons. You can even find game improvement versions of specialized clubs like wedges, with the most forgiving wedges incorporating some form of cavity back designs. The newer hybrid family also gets the “game improvement treatment,” with several manufacturers having the most forgiving hybrids as part of their super game improvement irons.
The first forgiving clubs were developed at least half a century ago. Golf club technology has advanced in leaps and bounds since then.
Game-improvement technology now dominates the entire golfing landscape, even percolating down to the Pro level.
High handicappers constitute the single largest demographic of buyers, closely followed by mid handicap players. The vast majority of clubs manufactured these days are aimed at these two categories of players. Almost all the clubs in our shortlist here is aimed at the high handicapper category.
Though they all belong to different club types, making any sort of comparison largely redundant, we particularly like the Adams Golf Blue Drivers, because of their best in class MoI, forgiveness and accuracy. The nice balance between performance and forgiveness on the club set ensure that they are also one of the best golf irons for mid handicapper golfers, and not just beginners and high handicappers.