Best Golf Irons Reviewed For 2021
***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 choices for 2021, here they are:
To get more in depth on how these golf irons faired against the competition for a particular category or any other golf irons review, just click on the articles below:
Putters are important and drivers are fun, but there is something about getting your first set of irons that makes you feel like a real golfer.
When you choose your irons, assuming that you get a full set including wedges, you are essentially choosing 60% of the clubs in your bag at once.
It is vital that you choose correctly. The rest of this review will take our favorite irons, which are some of the best on the market, and describe and review each set.
Our hope is that you are able to find the Best Golf Irons for your game and your swing.
Best Golf Irons in 2021 Reviewed
The oversized head, wide sole, and perimeter weighting all combine to make this one of the most forgiving irons out there which is why they are our choice for best irons for beginners.
These irons were created as a game improvement club, and that means forgiveness, added distance, low spin, and a low center of gravity. The forgiving shape and size of the club features a very low center of gravity that gets the ball off of the ground very quickly and at a great launch angle. These irons are also long. The speed bridge supports the topline of the iron for extra distance and extra forgiveness. The speed pocket maximizes face flexibility so that you get under the ball more easily and get increased distance on off center shots. These irons are easy to hit, very forgiving, and very long making them ideal for beginners and high handicappers.
- The oversized head and huge face surface area make this a very forgiving club. Even off-center hits go long and remain fairly accurate.
- The Speed Bridge adds to distance and forgiveness by supporting the topline of the club.
- The Speed Pocket maximized face flexibility so that you get under the ball every time and add distance and forgiveness to low-face strikes.
- A mid range price for a high level club.
- Built as a game improvement iron.
- The low center of gravity gives you a great launch angle and a very straight shot.
- The oversized head and wider sole interacts with the turf better than most cavity back irons.
- Slightly offset to fight the dreaded slice.
- Lacks the look at setup that some golfers look for because of the larger size.
- Does not have the same feel that you can find in a blade or forged iron.
As a general rule, we love Mizuno irons. If you have not been around the game of golf much or have never had the opportunity to make contact with the ball with a forged Mizuno iron, then it is hard to explain the feel and control these clubs give you.
The MP-20 irons are some of Mizuno’s best ever, and the MMC add a few forgiveness and playability features that make them more accessible to more golfers. They are designed to look and feel like the MP20 irons, but with the addition of a Titanium muscle plate and Tungsten sole weight. The titanium muscle plate increases MOI while providing solid feel and sound. The increased MOI makes the club more forgiving than most muscle backs. The tungsten sole weight gives you a really high launch while also adding to MOI and forgiveness. These irons are slightly larger and more highly lofted to make them easier to hit for a larger audience. The purpose of these irons was to keep as much of the look, feel, and performance of the MP 20 while adding forgiveness, a higher launch, and ease of play. To that end you find the same forging process and softness that you do in the MP 20 irons with increased forgiveness and distance capabilities including a larger sweet spot.
- There are 3 layers that work together to create the incredible feel of these irons:
- Grain Flow Forged HD from mild carbon steel.
- Copper plating.
- A soft chrome overlay.
- The feel of these irons is as soft as there is out there.
- Great shot shaping clubs.
- Accentuate high launch in the long irons and control in the short irons.
- The scoring irons give you incredible feel and spin around the green.
- More playable for more golfers than most Mizuno muscle backs.
- Additional forgiveness not always found in a forged muscle back.
- A new technology is used where titanium is forged into the back cavity producing greater inertia at impact without sacrificing feel.
- Great and consistent performance throughout the set from the 4 iron to the PW.
- Great look and feel at setup.
- The discreetly tapered top blade gives you some extra control and better performance on high or low face strikes.
- The refined topline on every iron looks great especially for players used to a muscle back iron.
- Higher handicappers will need a club with more forgiveness.
- The workability of these clubs is lacking compared to many muscle backs.
- On the expensive side.
The Cleveland Launcher HB Turbo Irons are built for increased ball speed and straight flights. The hollow construction of the head allows the weight to be distributed around the perimeter for optimal forgiveness and a very high MOI.
The turbocharged face along with the hollow construction provide explosive speed at impact no matter your swing speed. There is a senior flex option, and with a graphite shaft these clubs are extremely lightweight. The steel face is very thin to provide both distance and to keep the weight down in the club. These clubs have been classified as game improvement clubs, but their characteristics play very well to the senior game which is why they are our choice for best irons for senior golfers.
- These irons play as long or longer than any other on the market.
- The ultra thin club face produces some of the highest ball speeds Cleveland irons have ever seen.
- The progressive shaping means each club is designed for optimal performance.
- The senior flex graphite shaft is lightweight and provides a lot of extra whip at the bottom of the swing without losing control and this flex is one of the reasons we chose these as the best irons for seniors.
- There is a lot of weight at the bottom of the club to promote a higher ball flight.
- Extremely lightweight for increased distance and added control.
- You lose a little feel around the greens when you gain the extra distance.
- They do not look as appealing at setup as many other irons on this list.
The TaylorMade P790 UDI is a driving iron that bridges the distance gap between a 3-wood and a 4 iron. It was created to be used off of the tee and from the ground with equal effectiveness and it does very well at both.
It has the sleek look of an iron at setup, but it is also easy to hit like a fairway wood and offers a very straight ball flight and good forgiveness. It is one of the most forgiving driving irons out there with a great launch angle that is unusual for this type of club.
- Very straight ball flight.
- Great trajectory for a utility iron.
- The look inspires confidence at setup.
- A forgiving club for a long iron.
- Foam injected head that increases both distance and feel even with a hollow body.
- Trajectory is too high for a driving iron.
- It is an in-between club, so if you are looking only for a driving iron, there may be better options.
The Mizuno JPX 921 Hot Metal is our choice for best game improvement iron. One of the few game improvement irons with no offset, there is a lot to like about the look and feel of these irons.
The JPX 921 are very long and very forgiving but they have the look of a performance set. These clubs are very easy to hit and they are some of the longest clubs on the market. Game improvement irons are meant to be long and straight and very forgiving and the JPX 921 Hot Metal checks all of those boxes. They do not have the same feel of a Mizuno forged club because these are cast from a very hard metal. That casting process, however, allowed Mizuno to make an ultra-thin face that produces incredible ball speed. To add forgiveness, they use the cup face design which gives it the perimeter weighting to extend the sweet and also to add distance and forgiveness to even the worst of off center strikes. We put these clubs at the top of the list because they are very long, very forgiving, and one of the easiest clubs on the market to hit.
- One of the best combinations of distance and forgiveness out there.
- Chromoly metal face is strong and hard enough to be one of the thinnest faces on the market which provides very high end ball speed.
- The cup face provides the forgiveness and perimeter weighting.
- The leading edge acts as a hinge for that extra face flex and even more distance.
- Off center shots still go long and straight.
- The low center of gravity gives you a really high ball flight.
- One of the straightest and most accurate clubs out there.
- A ton of perimeter weighting with a toe bias gives you more stability on off-center strikes.
- Differentiates itself from other game improvement irons by removing any offset from its design.
- These irons are long and they are forgiving.
- More difficult to shape shots either way.
- Lack of an offset may turn some higher handicappers off.
- The traditional forged feel of Mizuno is not present in these irons.
Callaway’s Mavrik Pro irons are another in the line of clubs built by Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology. With AI, Callaway is able to create a unique cup face for each iron designed for the loft and lie of that club.
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.
These clubs are made to be easy to hit and to launch at a higher trajectory than most iron sets. Cleveland states that they put “hybrid technology” into all of the irons in this set for enhanced forgiveness, distance, and launch.
This is a great player improvement iron and will allow players to get the most out of their swing.
- A great price for the features offered.
- The turbocharged steel face is thinner and hotter for high ball speeds and increased distance.
- The fully hollow construction makes it one of the most forgiving irons out there.
- The HiBore Crown features deep and low weighting for a center of gravity that makes it an easy hitting club with an exceptionally high ball flight.
- The progressive shaping moves from “hybrid-like” long irons to “iron-like” short irons.
- The Cleveland wedge is still one of the best clubs on the market.
- A slight offset helps players with a slice tendency.
- Lower ball speeds are not as good around the greens but are much easier to control.
- Wedges and high irons in the set have a progressively higher spin rate and great feel around the greens.
- Made specifically as a game improvement iron.
- Will not play as well for elite players.
- Does not provide the same feel and feedback as the more expensive irons.
As far as game improvement irons go, the Mavrik Max are some of the best. The technology and features found in these irons are as good as you will find anywhere, and the Artificial Intelligence really sets these irons apart.
Callaway uses the same AI technology that they use in creating their driver and fairway woods to create this set of irons. AI allows Callaway to make repeated subtle changes in each club and then test it in a matter of seconds. Rather than creating hundreds of clubs with small changes in them and testing them, the Mavrik Max was created by electronically testing a seemingly infinite number of design possibilities in a matter of days until the optimal design was reached. The result is a very long and very forgiving set of irons. Each iron has its own face architecture so that the technology of each is aligned with its length and loft. Callaway’s Flash Face technology has created industry leading ball speeds with a ton of forgiveness and feel.
- Contains a face architecture that is designed specifically for each loft.
- First irons to be created with Callaway’s AI technology.
- Flash Face technology gives you a ton of ball speed and distance.
- The high MOI construction, large head, and huge sweet spot makes this one of the most forgiving irons out there.
- Diamond-shaped urethane microspheres are placed throughout the face to absorb unwanted vibrations to create some of the most pure feel of any iron.
- The tungsten energy core gives you a high launch and penetrating ball flight.
- Progressive center of gravity placement means that each iron will launch at the optimal angle.
- Developed for lower handicapped golfers.
- There is increased feel, but it still does not touch what you can find in a high end blade.
- While the features are geared toward lower handicap golfers, the design is not.
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.
- 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.
- Very little offset, it is almost not visible.
- Long irons are idea replacements in a combo set.
- 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 performance 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.
- Sacrifice feel to get forgiveness.
These irons are, quite unapologetically, all about distance. The hollow construction and Launch Pad technology combine to give you really high end ball speed and effortless distance.
The Launch Pad technology gives you a trampolining effect while the hollow construction adds to both the flexibility of the face and the forgiveness of the club. The cup face design creates huge face flexibility and a ton of forgiveness as well. Add to all of that the spider VFT technology that acts as a web across the entire face of the club thus enhancing the sweet spot across the hitting area, and you have a very long and very forgiving set of irons. The “ramped sole” creates better turf interaction so that you can make sure solid contact occurs even if you hit the turf first. You can really feel the weight of these clubs as they make impact with a high MOI, great distance, and high end forgiveness.
- The combination of forgiveness and distance is almost that of the clubs landing higher on this list.
- A great price point for the quality provided.
- The Ramped Sole design gives you great turf interaction.
- The Forged Cup Face produces enhanced forgiveness and good ball speed.
- The Launchpad Tech gives you a trampolining effect while also absorbing shock and providing good feel.
- The Spiderweb VFT Tech makes almost the entire face of the club a sweet spot. These clubs perform very well on off center and “mis” hits.
- Extreme weighting gives you really high MOI.
- Feel and shot-shaping are all but forgotten with this design.
- Does not look as good at setup as some of the other clubs.
- Not as consistent as you would think.
Features To Look For In The Best Golf Irons
Long irons are considerably more difficult to hit than wedges and higher lofted irons so deciding the clubs that you actually need is really the first step. If you are a beginner, we would suggest starting at a 6-iron and then filling the rest of the lofts with hybrids. If you have been playing for a while, then you know your game well enough to choose which iron your set will start.
Choosing a shaft for your irons is a little more difficult than choosing one for your driver and woods. There are a lot of different shafts from which to choose and different reasons to choose a specific shaft. For slower swing speeds, you want to look for more flexibility in the shaft and for higher swing speeds you want less. Choosing the right shaft will give you more control, higher ball speeds, and correct club weighting. Many golfers will actually benefit more from steel shafts because of the added control rather than graphite shafts which are more expensive.
The size of the club head makes a huge difference in forgiveness. Generally more surface area gives you a larger sweet spot, and larger heads cut through the turf a little easier for more solid contact. Smaller heads are generally for better golfers, help with shot shaping, and look better at setup.
A lot of game improvement clubs include face technology that help to add distance or make the sweet spot larger on the club while most players irons are smaller and focus more on spin and shaping.
MOI is the moment of inertia and basically is the measure of how much your club moves or twists at impact. Even a slight twist of the club head can send your ball at the wrong trajectory and put extra side spin to keep it going farther and farther from the fairway. A high MOI means that twisting is less likely and that your club head will stay square at impact.
Forged or Cast Irons?
The words “forged” and “cast” actually describe the way that an iron is made. Many golfers assume that forged irons are blades and cast irons are cavity-back, but that is not the case. A forged iron is one that is created from one single piece of steel and is heated until it is malleable enough to “forge” it into a club. The casting process, on the other hand, is when metal is melted and poured into a “cast” or mold of a golf club. Once the mold has set, the head can be removed and finished.
Forged irons, in general, give you the best feel, are made with softer steel, and made with more carbon. They are frequently blade style irons with sleek lines and a compact size that look almost like works of art. Cast irons, on the other hand, are more scientific, specific, and exact. They are oftentimes created for distance, forgiveness, and low spin rates and can have very exact specs met each time.
Blade or Cavity Back?
There are 2 basic styles of golf irons: blade and cavity. By defining each, you will see how these clubs are different and why, in general, the lower you handicap the more likely you are to carry a blade and vice versa.
A cavity style iron is a club with a cavity in the back. This cavity is a literal and visual crevice behind the face of the club.
This design allows club designers to get more weight around the perimeter of the clubhead rather than one specific spot in the middle. Placing the weight around the perimeter makes for a larger sweet spot and far fewer mishits. Cavity-style irons became popular in the past couple of decades because of the number of “weekend warrior” golfers who did not have time to hone their game. The equal distribution of weight is more forgiving for off-center ball strikes, however, this design makes it tougher to control spin and trajectory, as you can with blade irons.
A blade style iron features a thin club head with a small sweet spot in the middle of the clubface. This design allows for more weight behind the sweet spot which provides more ball speed and distance on properly struck balls along with increased spin and shot shaping when needed.
Blade style irons also give good and immediate feedback on the quality of the ball strike. If you make solid and consistent contact with your irons, then a blade style iron is the way to go. Most low handicap players get the most benefit from blade irons and there are many “transitional type” clubs that give you many of the benefits of both.
Final Thoughts On The Best Golf Irons in 2021
Finding the right set of irons for your game is one of the biggest and most important golf decisions you will make. Finding the features that you need the most in the look and feel that you like can be a daunting task, but getting out on the course or in the Pro Shop and taking a few swings can go a long way in helping you decide which clubs work best for you.