***If you’re looking for the most recent reviews for 2021 gear, we will be updating this page in the summer after we’ve had a chance to review them!
If you’re in a hurry and just want to know our top choice, here it is:
I remember starting college at Georgia Tech in 1997, we were the first class that was required to have a computer to attend school. With that requirement also came high speed internet for all dorm rooms on campus. When I plugged the ethernet cable into my new Dell computer and had my first non-dial up internet connection, my mind was blown and my world was changed.
All of this information right at my fingertips and all I had to do was get online. No more AOL and no more IBM floppy disks.
When our game and skill level graduates to the point of using a player’s distance iron, some of the same things happen. You no longer have to sacrifice feel and spin for the sake of forgiveness. When you need to draw your ball around a tree or hit a towering flop shot that stops at the hole, you pull your irons out and know you can hit any shot.
You find that set of irons that gives you the distance, feel, shot-making ability, forgiveness, and look all in one package. The following is a list and review of the best player’s distance irons on the market. If your game is ready to make the upgrade, we suggest you read this list and find the set of irons that fits your game.
Best Player’s Distance Irons in 2020 Reviewed
Callaway’s Mavrik Pro uses innovative Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to create a unique cup face for each iron. The purpose is to get the most distance, forgiveness, and feel from each iron by creating the face specifically for the loft. That 360 Face Cup Technology gives these player’s irons some of the best distance in its category while maintaining great feel and forgiveness at the same time.
In fact, the Mavrik Pro uses the same face technology as their game improvement line because it is so long and forgiving. The tungsten weight is placed in the optimal position for a high ball flight and good distance without losing feel. These are not forged irons, but they have they feel and perform like they are without the price tag that comes with it. These are one of the most innovative performance irons out there.
- The urethane microspheres provide some of the best feel on the market.
- The shorter irons produce a lot of spin.
- You get plenty of distance.
- Some of the most forgiving irons on this list.
- The tungsten weight is placed to produce optimal ball flight without losing feel.
- A great price for what we consider the highest performing player’s distance iron.
- The AI technology has created one of the most innovative clubs on the market by building each club face and weighting system separately.
- A traditional head design looks great at setup.
- Plenty of ball speed and distance to go with the feel and shot making features.
- Some of the forged irons produce the more traditional feel that some player’s prefer.
- A pretty small sweet spot.
One of the things that sets these clubs apart is that they have all of the advantages and features of a player’s club with some game improvement aids as well. The hollow body construction gives some added distance and forgiveness while the traditional compact head and thin toplines make this an obvious player’s iron. The metal-injected tungsten toe weight makes the center of gravity in line with the center of the face for more distance and higher ball flights.
These clubs have great feel as well in part because of the foam microspheres infused to the hollow cavity. The club face is ultra thin for increased distance and face flex at impact, but you also have the flexibility and feel to shape your shots. The Cobra King Forged TEC are great because you get the playability and feel of a player’s club with the distance and some of the forgiveness of a game improvement iron.
- If not the best, at least one of the best when it comes to distance.
- Performs well overall because of its length combined with feel and playability.
- The feel is as good as any other set of irons out there.
- There is a “one length” option that is growing in popularity.
- The hollow cavity of the long and mid irons is infused with foam microspheres to fine-tune sound and soften feel at impact.
- Has some game-improvement qualities that will appeal to a wide audience.
- You get a lot of distance and decent forgiveness without losing feel.
- The tungsten weighting is perfect for a higher MOI, more distance, and a lower center of gravity.
- Blade look, feel, and performance but with a hollow design.
- Thicker top line is not appealing to the target audience.
- A lower spin rate than most on this list can make it more difficult to hit a draw or fade.
Probably the most forgiving clubs on this list, the P790 irons are a great club if you are just starting the move to player’s irons or if you are more of a mid handicapper that still needs some game improvement features. The hollow construction gives these irons the forgiveness and distance of a game improvement club, but the speed foam technology adds a lot of feel.
Speed foam technology is a very lightweight material that is injected into the club head to give it the feel of a forged club. The ultra thin face of these irons makes the ball jump off at contact and produces some really high ball speed and distance. The tungsten weight is no longer a disc, but a bar that runs from the heel to the toe and provides a high MOI and low center of gravity. There is also an L-shaped steel insert in the face for more face deflection and increased forgiveness.
- The ultra thin face produces a lot of ball speed.
- Launches the ball as high as any other club on the list.
- Ultra thin, hot face that gives you some really high ball speeds.
- The tungsten weight is an internal bar that goes from heel to toe and gives you high MOI, low center of gravity, and increased distance.
- Low spin rates makes for straighter ball flight and more accuracy.
- Probably the most forgiving club on the list.
- One of the more expensive options.
- Added forgiveness takes away some of the shot shaping capability.
- A “tweener” club that is not good for high handicappers, but is not the first choice of low handicappers either, more of a transitional club.
The Wilson D7 Forged irons are some of the best player’s irons Wilson has ever developed, and they have been around for a long time. The “Power Hole Technology” has a lot to do with the distance that these irons give you. It gives increased face deflection and contact time between the club and the ball for more efficient energy return. Basically, they give you a lot of ball speed and distance.
With that distance, you also get the look and feel of a forged iron so you get the best of both worlds. In addition, the entire chamber behind the face of the club is filled with urethane to give you the feel that a player’s iron should always have. In fact, the D7 Forged irons offer some of the best feel on this list even amongst the higher end manufacturers. The carbon steel cavity construction combined with the blade look and feel give you player’s irons performance with game improving distance.
- Wilson’s best player’s irons in a long time.
- Great feel.
- A good all-around club that does well in terms of distance, feel, and shot shaping ability.
- A really good price for the features and quality.
- The Power Hole Technology adds a lot of distance to this club.
- Urethane filled power holes give great feel to every shot.
- They look great at setup.
- The look and feel of a blade with the game improvement distance and forgiveness of a cavity back.
- Very accurate and very consistent.
- Not as long as the clubs ahead of it.
- Does everything well but does not do anything better than every other club.
The T200 by Titleist is probably the most similar to a cavity back look of any club on this list. You still get the feel and shot shaping capability of a player’s iron, but with the look and forgiveness of a cavity back. The forged, L-shaped face is very forgiving and produces some really high ball speeds. The best part of this club, the thing that gives it the feel of a player’s iron, is the “max impact” technology.
A very lightweight silicon polymer is spread behind the entire face of the club. This does 2 things very well. First, it makes this club the most forgiving iron set on this list and makes the T200 playable for a wide skill set. It also adds a feel to the club that is usually only available to solid, forged clubs. These irons are almost a hybrid between player’s clubs and game improvement clubs, and for most player’s this is a good thing.
- Max Impact technology makes it one of the most forgiving player’s irons out there.
- That same Max Impact technology gives these clubs the feel that a lot of lower and mid handicappers need.
- The L-shaped face and combination of a forged face with a cast body make mishits low on the club better (a common mistake) and also gives this club a great launch.
- This club is weighted to help you get under the ball easily and to give you a strong and penetrating ball flight.
- A great transition club away from game improvement irons to player’s irons that will take your golf game to the next level.
- A more expensive option.
- Lacks some of the “performance features” you want in a player’s club.
- Has a bigger head and more cavity back look to it.
The Ping i500 irons are a terrific balance of precision and power. With a hollow body design, there is enough ball speed to produce the distance that you need. Add to that the high-strength and ultra-thin maraging steel face, and you get a ton of face flex at impact as well. This causes the ball to launch off the face with a lot of speed but the flex also gives it the launch that all player’s are looking for in their swing.
This allows Ping to design clubs with slightly less loft for added distance but that still reach similar ball heights. The distance that you get from these clubs are as good as any on the market and the clubs look great at setup. The compact head design gives you the look of a forged iron while the features give you that same type of performance but without the price. In particular, the longer irons in this set play very well. The distance and control you get out of the lower lofts are as good as any other club on the market.
- The long irons play as well or better than any other on the list.
- A classic and clean look.
- Very accurate short irons that land softly on the green.
- The thinner face allows weight to be moved to give these clubs a lot of MOI.
- The flex in the face of these clubs allow you to use less loft for more distance without losing much ball height.
- Great turf interaction.
- The feel is not the same as many of the other options here.
- You gain distance but give up a little forgiveness and precision.
- The higher irons do not perform as well as some of the other sets.
- One of the more expensive options.
What Is a Player’s Distance Iron?
Player’s distance irons are clubs that have much stronger lofts than standard irons but still gives you a lot of feel and helps you shape the shots you need to.
By nature, a club that is focused on distance has to have some aspects of forgiveness as well, but it is a fine line between the forgiveness offered by game improvement irons and the type of forgiveness that lower handicap player’s need.
In the past, forged irons or muscle back blades, were the only player’s clubs out there. With technology continuing to improve, you can find player’s clubs in all forms with different levels of feel and forgiveness.
In general, however, the more feel a club has the less forgiveness and the more forgiveness the less feel. A player’s distance iron exists for more advanced player’s who need both but can handle clubs with smaller sweet spots and less forgiveness.
Who Needs Player’s Distance Irons?
A set of player’s distance irons are for golfers who have played enough and developed their skill to the point that feel and shot shaping is more important than forgiveness, but still want a little bit more distance. If your current clubs are holding you back in terms of distance, but you are still making good contact with the ball, then you should consider a new set of player’s distance irons.
Features To Look For in Player’s Distance Irons
Feel. The feel of a club is a combination of the sound and vibration you get when the club makes contact with the ball. In our mind, feel is more than that too. It is how the club feels in your hand, what a solid shot feels like when you strike it, and the way you can draw or fade your shots by making small changes in grip or stance. “Feel” is probably the most important thing you are looking for when you make the change from game improvement to player’s distance irons.
Shot Shaping. Player’s irons, because of how they are weighted and where the sweet spot sits, are easier to draw and fade. While most game improvement irons go for the lowest spin rate possible, player’s irons add some spin so that you can shape your shots.
Distance. The word “distance” is actually in the phrase “player’s distance irons” so you know it is important. You want to find an iron with feel and that helps you shape your shots, but distance is still one of the most important features of your golf game and you do not want to lose even a yard if you do not need to.
Forgiveness. Forgiveness is the least important aspect of a player’s iron, but it is still an important feature in an iron set. Some of the sets above have maximum forgiveness while still giving you feel and distance, and depending on your game, you may gravitate to those clubs. In general, remember, the more forgiveness you get, the less feel you will have.
If you are looking for the best combination of feel and distance, then our choice is the Callaway Mavrik Pro. These clubs are very easy to hit and are still very forgiving, but that is not the focus. The feel and shot shaping capability of these clubs are as good as any on the market, they look great at setup, and they are very long. All of these things add up to make the Callaway Mavrik Pro irons our choice for best player’s distance irons.