If you’re in a hurry and just want to find the Best Player’s Distance Irons in 2023, then we recommend the Mizuno JPX921 Hot Metal Pro.
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.
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In this article we’re going to be reviewing the following irons:
- Mizuno JPX921 Hot Metal Pro
- TaylorMade P770
- Callaway Apex 21
- Mizuno JPX921 Forged
- Cobra King Forged TEC
- TaylorMade P790
- Mizuno MP20 HMB
- Titleist T200
- Honma TR21X
- Ping i500
- Wilson Staff D7 Forged
- Srixon ZX5
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 2022 Reviewed
If you are a solid ball striker looking for a some added distance, you should take a look at the JPX921 Hot Metal Pro set. Mizuno is most known for their forged clubs because of their feel and the forging process that they use.
Their cast irons, however, are some of the best on the market today. These irons may not have the feel and look that you find with the grain forged clubs, but they are really long, really powerful, and give you enough forgiveness if you strike the ball pretty well. The chromoloy steel sets these irons apart and allowed Mizuno to create a 2.2mm wide face, the thinnest in the company’s history. The variable thickness of the sole allows the thinnest area at the leading edge to act like a hinge and give you that much more torque at the bottom of your swing. All of that adds up to a very long iron with good feel.
- One of the longest irons on this list.
- The “Harmonic Impact” gives you a solid feel and great sound.
- You get a piercing and straight ball flight that is very consistent.
- The seamless cup face with the variable thickness sole gives you that hinge effect.
- The chromoloy allows for one of the thinnest and hottest faces of any iron.
- A “stability frame” gives you some forgiveness on off center shots as you get some perimeter weighting. This also allows for a better, more solid feel.
- The offset is reduced from previous models and it is a very compact head.
- Not a very forgiving iron.
- You do not get the same feel that you find in the forged Mizuno irons.
The first thing you notice about the P770 irons is that they look like a high level “Tour type” club. When you swing them however, you feel and see the extra distance and forgiveness that these clubs offer.
The speedfoam is injected to the face so that you get the benefits of distance from the hollow construction and the feel of a solid club. You will also find tungsten weighting throughout the set so that the clubs are a little easier to hit, have a higher MOI, and give you a higher launch. These irons also have a progressive variable thickness pattern so that the most common mishits on each iron are covered and given more distance and accuracy. With the P770 from TaylorMade you get a great looking iron that looks like a Tour model but has the distance and forgiveness features that make these clubs accessible to a lot of players.
- A compact players shape is desirable and gives confidence.
- The forged, hollow body construction gives you that extra bit of distance and forgiveness.
- The speedfoam found in the 790 irons are found here as well so that you get high end feel and forgiveness.
- You get increased workability and a great ball trajectory.
- Your scoring irons land softly on the green and give you good spin and feel.
- A thin 4140 steel face gives you hot ball speeds and extra distance.
- The Thru slot speed pocket gives you high end forgiveness while also adding some distance to the clubs.
- Not as long as most of the other clubs on the list.
- They perform differently than how they look and that can throw some golfers off.
The Callaway Apex irons have been at the top of a lot of “Best Players Irons” lists since they came out in 2014, and many people consider them the gold standard still today. They were made specifically for mid and lower handicappers with a great blend of game improvement and players features.
These are forged cavity back irons that give you terrific feel without sacrificing distance or forgiveness. These irons look great and perform just as well. This is the first Apex set that was made using AI technology, and the flash face architecture designed to optimize each loft is great. There is no detail overlooked and the speed and spin that comes from this construction makes these some of the best irons out there. They are very consistent in performance, very accurate, and some of the more forgiving irons on this list. While the Mizuno irons take our no. 1 spot, these Apex irons are probably better for those mid handicappers who are on the higher end of the scorecard. There is a tungsten core that improves the launch and forgiveness of the club which also add to the game improvement features.
- There are a lot of game improvement features that would help most golfers.
- You get great feel without losing forgiveness and distance.
- Some of the longest irons on this list.
- The AI technology sets these irons apart as each club face is built to optimize performance for that loft.
- These clubs are just as long as the Mavrik Max game improvement irons, but they are more forgiving and offer better feel.
- Some of the most consistent and accurate irons out there.
- They are a great combination of players iron features with game improvement features.
- One of the more expensive sets on the market.
- They do not produce enough spin for many mid handicappers.
- The weight in the head feels a little different than what many golfers are used to.
The JPX921 forged irons are similar in look to the Hot Metal clubs ranked first on this list, but with a couple of major differences. These clubs are forged so you get that incredible grain-forged feel that Mizuno is known for.
However, you lose out on some of the distance that you get with the Hot Metal clubs. They use the chromoloy that they have become known for in the face so you still get the hot ball speed and extra flex. It is also really thin so you have some weight savings that Mizuno uses to place the center of gravity further down in the club. This is a stable club with a higher than average launch and a straight and piercing ball flight. It finds its way down the list in players distance irons because it does not give you the same distance as the irons above it, however, the feel of this set is, if not the best, one of the best that you will find in this category.
- Has some of the softest feel on the list.
- Looks great at address.
- Has the sound and feel that you expect from a Mizuno iron.
- One of the more accurate iron sets out there.
- Some of the heavy hitters on tour (ie. Brooks Koepka, Tiger, etc.) have used these clubs successfully…Without being sponsored.
- The first full-body forged chromoly steel iron means more speed, better feel, and high end energy transfer.
- These clubs are easy to work around the course.
- A higher than average launch, and is one of the easier forged clubs to hit.
- Not as much distance as you will find in some of the other irons on this list.
- Sacrifice some forgiveness for the great feel.
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 blade-like looks and forged features mask a hollow bodied construction and more generous sole width. Mizuno calls this a set of “hybrid” irons because of the combination of muscle back looks and feel with added distance and forgiveness.
The biggest difference with these “hot metal blades” is the wider sole, chromoly face, and hollow bodied construction. Each of these features are game improvement features that are meant to increase forgiveness and distance and they do just that. You still get the incredible feel that Mizuno is known for, but you get it in an iron with a lot of added distance. This is one of the most sought after distance irons out there and have been since they came out.
- Grain Flow Forged from 4135 Chromoly for high-strength performance with soft, solid, consistent feel.
- One of the most forgiving forged irons out there.
- You gain some ball speed from the Chromoly face.
- These are really forgiving irons especially for the blade like look.
- The game improvement aspects of this iron can genuinely improve your scores.
- Mishits can still travel long and straight.
- Look great at setup.
- A tungsten weight in the 3-8 irons create a higher MOI and steeper launch, and that weight is removed for your “scoring” clubs.
- Great feel for a distance iron.
- One of the best combinations of game improvement and players features out there.
- Produce a really high launch.
- One of the most expensive sets on this list.
- Not as much workability in these irons.
- The topline and sole are noticeably thicker and this can throw you off if you are looking for a true blade.
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.
Hollow body designs continue to trend upward in the players distance category, and the Honma TR21X irons are a great example of a hollow body with tungsten weighting. The tungsten, up to over 73g, is placed low, deep, and away from the face to give you high MOI, extra distance, a higher launch, and more flex.
Honma also uses a foam inside the head to dampen vibrations and create that solid feel that you do not always get with the hollow body. What you will probably notice first is the looks of these irons. They look like a classic muscle back, forged iron so they are the perfect club if you want a little extra forgiveness in your longer irons but you still want the muscle back look. They are fast, high launching irons with controlled spin for longer carry and better feel and control around the greens. Look out for the 10-iron and 11-iron as these are actually the PW and GW.
- The look of a muscle back with the distance and forgiveness of a hollow body iron.
- The foam injection gives you great feel and dampens vibrations.
- These may be the best looking clubs on this list, if not, they are close.
- Honma continues to impress as a brand and especially in the players distance category.
- The tungsten weighting really makes this club special with up to 73g of tungsten placed low and deep in the club.
- It is not an overly light iron, but the weight placement makes it fast and the L-face insert gives you plenty of heat and great energy transfer.
- They are some of the most expensive irons on the list.
- You do not get great workability with the irons.
- The launch can be a little high if you have a lot of clubhead speed.
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.
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.
If you want a set of blades, the Srixon ZX5 are some of the most forgiving on the market. Srixon designed a great looking blade iron with enough distance and forgiveness that they are accessible to most golfers.
The tungsten weight lowers the center of gravity while raising the MOI. The forged face is hot and gives you a lot of ball speed and distance. You get a really high launch compared to other irons as well. The wedges feature progressive grooves that really grab the ball and give you the spin and feel around the green that most golfers want.
- The feel of a muscle back with the forgiveness of a cavity back.
- Forged face enhances speed and distance.
- The deep tungsten weighting in the toe increases the MOI and lowers the center of gravity to make it a very hittable iron.
- Really good wedges.
- The Tour V.T. sole features the comeback of the sole notches that were popular in older models.
- If you want the look and feel of a blade, but you need the distance and forgiveness of a cavity back, this is a good iron set.
- The distance is not there compared to similarly priced irons.
- They are not very workable compared to other irons.
- A high price tag.
What Is a Player’s Distance Iron?
A player’s distance iron is a club that you can hit a long way 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, muscle back clubs, or 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 distance is still vital. If your current clubs are holding you back in terms of feel and spin, 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
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.
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.
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 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.
Final Thoughts On The Best Player’s Distance Irons In 2023
In general, Mizuno is best known for their grain-forged softness and feel, but their cast irons continue to rate as some of the best on the market as well.
The Hot Metal Pro is a great players distance iron, first of all because they are some of the longest clubs out there. But even with the distance you get, Mizuno has kept the feel both solid and soft at the same time. While you lose on forgiveness, you gain a lot in feel and distance with the JPX921 Hot Metal Pro.