The first time I swung a driving iron was in the early 2000s, and I could barely get it off the ground. My slower swing speed and inaccurate ball striking were no match for the tiny sweet spot.
Fast forward two decades, and I’ve improved my technique with driving irons a bit. And I’ve realized having the right iron for your game can help.
What are the best driving irons for high handicappers?
Truth be told, you may find more luck with forgiving, high-launching hybrids or fairway woods. However, if you find yourself ballooning shots with those clubs, and seek the lower lift of a driving iron, keep reading. I have compiled a list of forgiving driving irons that the average golfer can launch.
Top 3 Most Forgiving Driving Irons In 2023
|Best Overall||Best Budget||Most Forgiving|
|Ping G425 Crossover||MacGregor MacTec X||TaylorMade Stealth UDI|
|Rating||4.5 Stars||4.5 Stars||4.5 Stars|
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What To Consider When Purchasing Driving Irons For High Handicappers
The first factor to consider before shopping for driving irons is the purpose of your acquisition. Are you looking for a substitute for your driver or 3-wood off the tee? Or do you want a versatile club that you can launch freely from the fairway or rough on approach?
If you answered the former, then your options are broader. However, if you are searching for more flexibility, I suggest looking at a utility driving iron with a wider sole. The thicker sole will improve your turf interaction to help you glide over the fairway or rough and strike your ball cleanly.
Next, you must determine the loft of your driving iron. Most options range from 17 to 25 degrees, the equivalent of a weak 3-wood to 5 hybrid loft.
The higher lofted 17-degree driving iron suits those looking for an alternative to their driver or fairway wood off the tee. On the other hand, a 20-degree driving iron makes sense if you desire a high-launching club to use off the tee, and on approach, instead of a 4-iron.
Once the basics are fulfilled, you must determine your preferred shaft flex. High handicappers typically fall into the moderate and slow swing speed categories, best suited to a regular or senior shaft flex.
In my experience, most driving irons are fitted with steel shafts in a regular, stiff, or extra-stiff flex. If you feel these are too stiff for your swing, you should consider an alternative driving iron or fit a higher flex.
Perimeter weighting is vital for high handicappers in a driving iron as it helps expand the size of the sweet spot. This leaves more room for error as it maintains ball speed and contains spin on all strikes. As a result, you produce consistent distance and accuracy on all strikes.
Low Center Of Gravity (CG)
Another necessary factor for high handicappers is a low CG. When engineers position the CG deep in the club, it prompts a high launch, which helps you consistently get airborne and produce optimal carry distance on all strikes.
Slow swing speed high handicappers are advised to stick with this setup for a consistent launch, flight, distance, and accuracy.
Read More: The Most Forgiving Irons on the Market
The Best Driving Irons For High Handicappers
1. Ping G425 Crossover – Overall Best
- Classy black finish
- Glare resistant
- Generates consistent ball speed
- The enlarged sweet spot provides ample forgiveness
- Produces a soft landing to hold tight greens
- The soft landing can cost you roll and total distance
- The tungsten toe screw is an eyesore.
- 2-Crossover (18°)
- 3-Crossover (20°)
- 4-Crossover (22.5°)
The Ping G425 Crossover claimed our prize for the best driving iron for high handicappers in 2023 thanks to its forgiveness, ball speed, and accuracy. In addition, I felt the smoke-black finish provided an elegant touch and ensured glare resistance at address.
A thin, maraging, steel face combined with precise internal geometry increased the active zone of the face for rapid velocity on all shots. In my case, this caused a high-launching strike that led to optimal carry distance and a soft landing.
The soft landing is welcomed on long par 3 holes where holding the green is a challenge. However, you may rue the loss of roll, which impacts your total distance on par 4 and 5 layouts.
Finally, I appreciated the presence of tungsten in the extreme toe and the hosel to enhance my MOI for straighter tee shots. Although the toe screw is an eyesore, it had to fit somewhere, and I would rather have it than not.
2. MacGregor MacTec X – Best Budget Driving Irons
- Rock bottom price
- Forgiving driving iron
- High launching
- Prompts increased clubhead speed
- Encourages straighter golf shots
- The high launch may cause some golfers to balloon shots
- Faster swingers may generate excess spin and lose distance
As costs continue to rise, we could all use some value for money. The MacGregor MacTec X earns our pick as the best budget-forgiving driving iron thanks to its price tag, forgiveness, accuracy, and launch.
Added to its attractive price is an exceptionally forgiving clubhead with perimeter weighting for higher MOI and an expanded sweet spot. The enhanced MOI and a wide sweet spot lead to less face twisting during your swing, increased stability, and rampant ball zip on all shots.
I noticed the weight placement produced a low CG in these irons, which launched my shots high and long. An ultra-thin clubface aided my launch to provoke lightning-ball speed across the clubface.
Lastly, the lightweight shaft design made this driving iron easy to swing and supplied increased clubhead speed. Slower swing speed and high handicappers will welcome this feature as it helps deliver greater consistency and distance on tee shots.
3. TaylorMade Stealth UDI – Most Forgiving Driving Irons
- Preserves ball speed on all shots
- Produces penetrating ball flight
- Encourages longer roll for an increased total distance
- Maximum Forgiveness
- Delivers a solid feel
- Expensive for an individual golf club
- Limited shaft options
- 2 (18°)
- 3 (20°)
- 4 (23°)
The TaylorMade Stealth UDI is the new release from the equipment juggernauts and stood out as the most forgiving driving iron during testing. Its expansive sweet spot, with a flexible clubface, preserved ball velocity on all strikes for a consistent launch and distance.
At first glance, it strikes you as a player’s iron, and although the design resembles it, the inner workings are more aligned with game improvement clubs. However, the CG position produces penetrating ball flight for increased roll and distance, opposite to the standard high ball flight.
Next, an ultra-thin forged 4140 stainless steel face pairs with inverted cone technology (ICT) to boost ball speed. The thin design catapults the ball off the face, while the ICT increases the sweet spot for optimal ball speed on heel and toe mishits.
In addition, a Thru-Slot Speed Pocket is added to improve the flexibility of your clubface and preserve ball speed on strikes low off the clubface. This suits inaccurate high handicappers that tend to miss the sweet spot more often than not.
4. Tour Edge Exotics EXS 220 – Easiest Driving Iron To Hit For High Handicappers
- High-launching driving iron
- Exceptional turf interaction for use from the fairway or rough
- Generates superb ball speed
- 4 loft options
- The high launch causes you to lose roll and total distance
- Not the best-sounding driving iron off the face
- 2 (17°)
- 3 (19°)
- 4 (22°)
- 5 (25°)
Tour Edge is well versed in the craft of easy-to-hit driving irons that benefit slower swing speeds. I am happy to report they maintained the status quo with the Exotics EXS 220 utility iron, which provided ample ball speed, increased forgiveness, and crisp turf interaction.
The hollow body design created a deep CG, encouraging high-launching shots for consistent carry distance and a soft landing. Although you may lose length on the ground, the stable flight and control make up for it.
I admired the Beta Titanium L-Cup Face, which increased the active area of the face for consistent speed and spin. Plus, I tip my hat to the Tour Edge engineers who fused titanium to steel to boost the coefficient of restitution on all hits for a rapid pace.
The engineers continued to rightfully show off with the rounded hybrid style sole and beveled edge combination. This assisted the glide through the turf with limited interaction for a clean strike from the fairway and rough.
5. Srixon ZX Utility – Best Looking Utility Iron For High Handicappers
- Compact, clean design
- Produces a high launch
- Encourages crisp turf interaction
- Dampens vibrations on off-center strikes
- Limited shaft options
- Some golfers may find the compact head size daunting to swing.
- 2 (18°)
- 3 (20°)
- 4 (23°)
There are few prettier sights in golf than a compact clubface addressing the ball. This is the feeling I had when setting up with the Srixon ZX Utility, our best-looking utility iron for high handicappers.
Naturally, the reduced clubface results in a smaller sweet spot to strike the ball, which may prove uncomfortable for some golfers. However, despite its petite stature, the hollow body construction ensures stability for improved MOI during your swing, encouraging straighter shots.
Next, the milled backside of the face improved the COR of my shots as it expanded the active zone that maintains ball speed on all strikes.
Finally, tungsten weights feature at the base of each Srixon ZX Utility iron to deepen the CG and encourage a high launch. Plus, it promotes clean turf interaction for a clear path to your ball on the fairway or in the rough.
6. Mizuno Pro Fli-Hi – Best Sounding Forgiving Driving Iron
- Amplified acoustics
- Encourages a high-launching shot
- Produces rampant ball speed
- Slick finish
- Glare resistant
- Minimal shaft options
- 2 (16.5°)
- 3 (19°)
- 4 (21.5°)
The feel and acoustics seldom disappoint on golf clubs from masters out of Hiroshima, and the Pro Fli-Hi was no different. My pick for the best-sounding driving iron also provides a pure feel, a high launch, and reliable ball flight.
Harmonic Impact Technology amplified my acoustics on each strike for a pleasing sound off the clubface. Plus, the combination of a MAS1C face and 431 stainless steel body ensured a pure feel on off-center shots.
Mizuno added a 21-gram tungsten weight to help the bendable body and rapid clubface send your ball high and long. As well as a powerful launch was the fairway wood style clubface, which produced blistering ball speed off the clubface.
Finally, I find the fully blacked-out ION plating provides a classy finish and is efficient, and prevents glare while you address the ball.
7. Titleist U•505 Utility Iron – Fastest Ball Speed
- Lightning fast clubface
- Pure feel
- Generates high ball flight
- Crisp turf interaction
- Produces a consistent launch
- Premium price tag
- I did have some challenges with glare resistance
- 1U (16°)
- 2U (18°)
- 4U (22°)
Lightning ball speed is essential to produce a powerful launch and maximum distance in your long game. During testing, I found the Titleist U•505 excelled in this area and provided consistent flight and a pure feel and sound at contact.
The pairing of a thin L-Face and Max Impact Technology caused me to create a rampant pace across the clubface for a consistent lift-off. Credit must also go to the D18 tungsten weights, which enabled the CG to sit lower to deliver a high launch off the tee and the fairway.
I felt the blade was slightly short for the average high handicapper, but the stability offered was a fair compromise. In addition, the broader sole design was a good idea as it prevented turf interaction when swinging off the deck.
Lastly, Titleist fitted the U•505 with an Engineered Muscle Plate that eradicated vibrations on mishits and improved the acoustics.
8. Wilson Staff Utility Iron – Best Turf Interaction
- Exceptional turf interaction
- High forgiveness
- Explosive ball velocity
- Increased MOI for straighter shots
- Encourages a soft landing
- Limited shaft options
- 3 (18°)
- 4 (21°)
- 5 (24°)
A utility iron allows you the flexibility to employ it off the tee or from the deck when turf interaction becomes a factor. If you desire a flexible utility iron, you may appreciate the hollow body and long iron solution of the Wilson Staff Model.
Besides its crafty turf maneuvering, the Wilson utility iron produces elevated ball speeds thanks to its high-strength C300 Face. The durable face maximizes stability at contact to maintain velocity on all hits for a consistent distance.
I am fond of the Hollow Body-Long Iron solution the engineers have concocted because it offers the correct balance of distance and forgiveness. Plus, the expert craftsmanship led to optimal launch angles for increased carry distance and a soft landing.
Finally, the 7 grams of weight stashed low in the clubhead sent my golf ball flying high off the face for an easy launch.
9. Tour Edge Exotics C722 Ti – Best Driving Iron For Slow Swing Speed
- Produces accelerated clubhead speed
- Enhances energy transfer from the clubface to the ball
- Easy to to hit driving iron
- Preserves ball pace on strikes
- Faster swingers may balloon shots
- The high launch leads to a loss of roll and total distance
- 2 (17°)
- 3 (19°)
- 4 (22°)
- 5 (25°)
I mentioned earlier that Tour Edge are experts in producing golf equipment for slow-swinging high handicappers, and the Exotics C722 Ti is a prime example. The speed-tested shafts, with a flexible clubface and deep CG, help slower swingers deliver a consistently long shot.
A Beta Titanium L-Cup Face applied to a 431 stainless steel body created a flexible clubface to preserve ball speed. I noticed I maintained velocity even on strikes low off the face, resulting in optimal distance.
In addition, Tour Edge engineers used a combo-brazen technique to fuse the titanium face to the back of the club head without welding them. This saved weight and allowed them to achieve an optimal CG and enhance energy transfer from the clubface to the golf ball.
Lastly, the hollow body design packed a punch and provided perimeter weighting to increase the sweet spot for greater forgiveness.
10. Callaway X-Forged Utility Iron – Most Forgiving Driving Iron With A Soft Feel
- Sheds vibrations on mishits for a soft feel
- Generates rapid ball speed
- Produces ample distance
- The added roll suits firm turf or windy conditions
- Maximum Forgiveness
- Expensive utility iron
- The roll makes it challenging to hold tight greens on the approach shot
- 2 (18°)
- 3 (21°)
- 4 (24°)
The Callaway X-Forged Utility iron closes our list of the best driving irons for high handicappers in 2023. It earns the title of the softest feeling driving iron due to its proprietary urethane microspheres that drown out vibrations to protect your palms.
Besides the delicate touch offered at contact, the X-Forged delivered sensational ball speed, length, and width of the clubface. I owe this boost to the A.I.-designed Flash Face Cup, which creates superb speed and spins on all swings.
Next, I felt the effects of the MIM’d tungsten weighting, which generated a controlled flight for optimal forward momentum and roll. This generated extra yards on the ground to increase my total distance on par 4 and 5 holes. However, the added roll makes it challenging to hold greens on approach.
Lastly, I enjoyed improved leniency on heel and toe mishits for accurate flight and adequate yardage.
Read More: The Best 2-Irons on the Market
Why You Should Trust Us
Golfspan is independent and not pressured by manufacturers to recommend products. We were not paid for the reviews in this article. These driving irons were selected by our team, who have over 100 years of experience playing golf and thousands of hours reviewing products. We may earn an affiliate commission when you purchase something through our retail links.
Are Driving Irons For High Handicappers?
In my experience driving, irons were not suited for high handicappers because of their mid to low launch. However, innovative technology has enabled golf club manufacturers to position weight lower and deeper in the club to deliver a higher launch.
While I still do not recommend using a driving iron, some faster-swinging high handicappers may enjoy the lower flight.
What Club Would A Driving Iron Replace?
A driving iron replaces a long game club you use off the tee or on long approach shots. In my case, a 2-driving iron replaces my 5 wood, as I prefer the lower launch, controlled ball flight, and accuracy. However, some golfers may favor the driving iron over a 3 or 4 hybrid.
After taking these driving irons through their paces, I am amazed at how far they have come since I first swung them. The tungsten weight in the depths of the club head renders these clubs easier to launch. However, I still feel slower swinging high handicappers receive the best assistance from hybrids.
Despite my views, there are faster swinging high handicap golfers who despise the high lift of hybrids and prefer a low-flying option. In this case, I suggest considering one of our most forgiving driving irons for 2023.
The overall winner of the best driving irons for high handicappers is the Ping G425 Crossover, which is highly forgiving, glare resistant, and features a classy finish.
Alternatively, golfers looking to keep their equipment expenses to a minimum should test the MacGregor MacTec X.
Finally, if you seek a premium, forgiving driving iron to keep you straight and long, the TaylorMade Stealth UDI is waiting to be swung.