Whether you’re looking for more distance or a more forgiving set of irons to impress your golf buddies, our roundup has something for you
Buying a new set of golf irons is likely to be the biggest financial investment you make in your golf journey, so it is vital that you choose the best irons for your ability and budget.
With the sheer volume of technical information out there, choosing the right set can feel intimidating, but that needn’t be the case. Our guide takes you through the latest golf irons for mid handicappers, explaining the pros and cons of each set. Read on to find the best game-improvement irons for you.
How to choose the best mid-handicap irons for you
What are the best game-improvement irons?
The goal of game-improvement (mid-handicap) irons is pretty simple: to make a difficult sport much easier to play. Golf irons for mid handicappers tend to have larger sized club heads, which in turn means a larger sweet spot.
This makes it much easier to launch the ball high in the air, and they are more forgiving, even when you don’t strike the ball as well as you might. Oversized club heads also inspire confidence when setting the club behind the ball and can help you to achieve maximum distance and stopping power.
How much should I spend?
This depends on a variety of factors including your handicap, how often you play and, ultimately, your budget. Iron shots make up a huge percentage of all your shots played in a round of golf so if you play regularly, investing in a set that costs anywhere from £500 to £1,000 makes complete sense.
On the flip side, if you’re on a tight budget or you don’t play that often, there are affordable iron sets that cost under £500. These can help you to play better golf without sacrificing too much in terms of build quality and features.
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How many irons do I need to buy in a set?
Traditionally, iron sets are sold as a set of seven clubs, from 4-iron to pitching wedge. In recent years golf club manufacturers have lowered the lofts of golf irons to ensure the ball travels further, so a typical iron set now is from 5-iron through to sand wedge rather than 4-iron through to pitching wedge as it was in the past.
If you struggle to get enough height with your iron set, some retailers sell six-club sets (5-PW). Because these are usually cheaper, you can put money you save towards a 4-hybrid, which is typically much more forgiving and easier to launch. Beyond this advice, it’s simply how many irons you feel comfortable carrying in your golf trolley.
What features do I need?
In terms of features, most game-improvement irons have very similar feature sets. However, there are a couple of things to keep an eye out for when making your decision:
Shaft flex: the flex of the shaft can have an impact on the direction and height of the ball. Generally speaking, the faster your swing speed is, the stiffer your shaft will need to be. Mid handicappers will usually need a regular or stiff shaft.
Cavity backs: A cavity back iron is a golf term which means an iron has been designed with perimeter weighting, where the bulk of the club is at the back of the clubface. This makes the clubs much more forgiving when you miss-hit the ball.
Be honest with yourself: are you a consistently good ball striker? If not, then don’t be afraid to buy irons with large club heads. If you can leave your ego at the door, then better results on the course will be on the cards as your new, chunky, golf clubs help you hit the ball higher and more consistently.
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The best mid-handicap irons to buy in 2023
1. Taylormade Stealth Irons: The best all-round irons for mid handicappers
Price when reviewed: From £699 | Check price at American Golf
With the Stealth line, Taylormade has recognised the need for an iron that has a more compact shape than its competitors, but that still offers similar levels of distance and forgiveness.
These irons are among the longest in the game-improvement category, but that doesn’t mean they are any less accurate. Due to their relatively low loft, it can be difficult to stop the ball on the greens, but this is made up for by their distance and forgiving design.
They are a single piece, forged iron which helps provide a fantastic feel on contact. If you are looking for sleek-looking irons which still have all of the performance benefits of a game-improvement irons, then these are the ones for you. They’re also available in ladies’ and custom sizes.
Key specs – Launched: April 1 2022; Club design: Cavity backs; Availability: 4-iron-SW; Left-handed option? Yes; Graphite shaft option? Yes
2. Inesis 500 Irons: The best value irons for mid handicappers
Price when reviewed: £349 | Check price at Decathlon
Don’t be put off by the lack of a big name golf brand here. Decathlon’s own-brand golf clubs have been designed with the beginner golfer in mind and have features comparable with much more expensive sets.
The Inesis 500 irons have perimeter weighting, which means even on off-centre hits the ball still flies a similar distance to a shot that came from the middle of the clubface. There are six different setups to choose from, with an interactive, online fitting service to help you choose the iron setup that will suit your height and swing speed.
The angular look of these clubs is quite unusual, but if you combine the forgiving design with their excellent build quality, we believe they’re a great value buy.
Key specs – Launched: August 21 2021; Club design: Cavity backs; Availability 4-iron – SW; Left-handed option? No; Graphite shaft option? No
3. Cleveland Launcher XL Irons : The most forgiving mid-handicapper irons
Price when reviewed: From £359 | Check price at Clubhouse Golf
Everything about the Launcher XL irons is oversized, hence the name. While the cavity backs are larger than the other irons on this roundup, they’re not off-putting when addressing the ball. The entire set is progressive, meaning that there is less cavity back visible on the higher number irons.
The Launcher XL’s design inspires confidence and the ‘V’ shaped soles allow them to glide through turf and maintain speed and power on heavy strikes. Aimed primarily at mid-to-high handicappers, their forgiving design and impressive performance means they can be used by golfers of all abilities. They’re also available for ladies and in custom sizes.
Priced at just under £500 for a six club set, we don’t think there is a better value set of golf irons right now.
Key specs – Launched: March 25 2022; Club design: Cavity backs; Availability: 4-iron-SW; Left-handed option? Yes; Graphite shaft option? Yes
4. Ping G425 Irons: The best custom fit irons for mid handicappers
Price when reviewed: From £699 | Check price at American Golf
Ping is one of the most reliable manufacturers in the golf industry. The brand consistently produces high-quality irons with great features and excellent custom-fit options. The G245 Irons are no different and we were very impressed with their distance and accuracy.
Ping isn’t known for its beautiful club design, but this is perhaps the best-looking iron they have ever made. Like the Cleveland XL, the G425 irons progressively increase the size of the cavity back for lower numbered irons. e.g The 5-iron has a larger cavity than the 9-iron. This means extra assistance when hitting your longer irons, which are usually regarded as being the most difficult shots in golf.
This is an excellent offering if you’re looking for a well-designed game-improvement iron that doesn’t sacrifice accuracy for distance. They’re also available in regular men’s sizes.
Key specs – Launched: January 21 2021; Club Design: Cavity backs; Availability 4-iron – SW; Left-handed option? Yes; Graphite shaft option? Yes