The Best Game Improvement Irons On The Market Today

Golf is not an easy game. Up until the 1960s, there was little technological advance and limited choices when it came to irons. What is known as “players” irons, or blades was all that was available.

These irons have a small clubface made of solid steel and required near-perfect stroke execution to be effective.  Then technology has come to the rescue and game improvement irons go a long way to helping beginners get into the groove, and regular players to perfect and improve their scores. What then do we have to look for in a game improvement iron?

The Difference Between Blades And Game Improvement Irons

Traditional blades are made from forged steel and then hammered into shape, and go through a milling and grinding process before being polished. They are known to be best for feel and control.

Game improvement irons often use a mixture of metals and in a molten state is poured {cast} into a mold. This allows for more intricate shapes, no grinding or milling, and is cheaper to manufacture.

Read our guide to game improvement irons here.

What to Look For in Game Improvement Irons

There are a few things to look out for before buying:

The Clubhead

The first thing we want to look at is the clubhead. You will notice that they are considerably larger. Also look for the hollow, or cavity back. The weight from the back is hollowed out and redistributed around the perimeter of the clubface.

This has the effect of making the sweet spot much bigger which in turn ensures straighter shots more often. This “forgiveness” is probably the main advantage of game improvement irons. Any slight miss-hit or not quite getting the sweet spot should not result in your ball flying off into the rough.

The Sole

Secondly, the sole of the club will generally be wider and have a low center of gravity (C of G). The wider sole will provide more bounce off the fairway and prevent the club from digging in.

The lower C of G, in turn, is a great help in getting the ball airborne. Getting the ball up and with a good trajectory is often a beginner or high handicapper’s problem.

The Offset

The next feature to consider is the offset, you do not want the clubhead in line with the hosel. The more exaggerated the offset the more forgiving the club should be.

The offset is of particular assistance for those players with a slower swing speed, as it allows the clubhead to square up before impact. On the other hand, the bigger offset results in a loss of control and makes shaping the ball for a draw or a fade very difficult.

This will give you some insight into the offset concept.

The Shaft

Shaft selection is equally important. Most game improvement irons come fitted with steel shafts. If you have the benefit of being able to visit a pro shop and have your swing speed measured, you could then have the appropriate shaft with the correct flex for your style fitted.

The general rule of thumb is the faster your swing the harder your shaft should be. Seniors and those with slow swing speeds might consider graphite shafts which provide more flex but are also a bit more expensive.

When do you need to consider getting some game-improvement irons? If you are a beginner or have a handicap of 25 plus, these irons are for you. If you are scoring between 80 and 100 and you feel frustrated and not improving as you want to, then these irons are for you. If your present set of irons is more than five or seven years old, or are beginning to look a bit shabby, now is probably a good time to upgrade.

As with any sports equipment these days, there is a wide range of options from all the major well-known brands. Some research is, therefore, necessary to ensure the right fit for your particular style, goals, and requirements.

The following are considered the best on the market and you should find what you are looking for from this selection.

Quick Overview: Our Top Picks for Best Game Improvement Irons

IMAGE PRODUCT DETAILS
OUR RATING: 4.8/5gstbl-table__imageWilson Staff C300 Forged Irons
  • Excellent for distance
  • Very forgiving
  • Good value for money
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OUR RATING: 4.6/5gstbl-table__imageCallaway Golf Men's Rouge Iron Set
  • Light graphite shaft option
  • Excellent forgiveness
  • Good lift for slow swing speeds
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OUR RATING: 4.6/5gstbl-table__imageThe Cleveland Launcher HB Iron Set
  • Hybrid-style easy to hit
  • Very forgiving
  • Good lift for slow swing speeds
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OUR RATING: 4.5/5gstbl-table__imageTaylorMade M6 Iron Set
  • Low center of gravity
  • Impressive distance
  • Great sound and feel
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OUR RATING: 4.3/5gstbl-table__imageCobra Men's Golf King F8 One Length Iron Set
  • Excellent feel and control
  • Variable groove technology
  • Single length-weight for each club
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OUR RATING: 4.3/5gstbl-table__imagePing G400 Irons
  • One of the sharpest looking irons
  • Extremely forgiving
  • Up to one extra club distance
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Reviews of The Best Game Improvement Irons

1. Wilson Staff C300 Forged Irons

Pros

  • Excellent for distance
  • Very forgiving
  • Good value for money

Cons

  • Unorthodox look from above
  • Might not suit high handicaps

If you are looking for added distance off the fairway, added forgiveness from the rough or added control on approach, then Wilson Staff C300 irons could be exactly what you need.

The FLX Face Power Hole technology has taken Wilson Golf to the next level. The Wilson Staff C300 features a double row of power holes in the sole of the new range of irons. This provides greater distance, more workability, and forgiveness, and is geared for the mid to low handicap golfer.

Power holes are a feature around the entire head of the C300 and are designed to reduce contact between the body of the club and the face. This has the effect of enlarging the sweet spot and increasing the flex thus generating greater ball speeds.

The FLX face is larger and the topline thinner, with 76 percent of the face free from the body. The body is filled with Urethane material making it easier to get perfect contact with feel and distance.

The Power Hole technology features five holes on the sole in a double row, two on the toe, and three on the leading edge. On impact the power holes compress, increasing face deflection by as much as 58 percent and adding seven yards in distance.

The large FLX face has the added advantage of being very forgiving, even when missing the sweet spot there should be little loss of direction or distance.

2. Callaway Golf Men’s Rouge Iron Set

Pros:

  • Excellent forgiveness
  • Very good distance
  • Light graphite shaft option

Cons:

  • Overly firm feel
  • Somewhat challenging on long irons

From one of the industry’s top manufacturers come a very attractive looking set of clubs packed with technology.

The back of the club sports a semi-hexagonal “Rouge” badge, hiding the patented 360 Face Cup and Variable Face Technology (VFT). The face cup is a 360 degree lining around the sweet spot, which maximizes the area of spring, or trampoline effect, for effective distance. The VFT thins out the mid-face and thickens the edges enlarging the sweet spot and optimizing the forgiveness.

Strategically placed Tungsten weights are added to correctly position the C of G for each club, but Tungsten has the negative effect of stiffening or firming the feel of the club, as it is much heavier than steel.

A shot off the toe, especially on the long irons, can cause quite a noticeable sting. To compensate for this Urethane microspheres are incorporated around the perimeter to reduce the vibration in all the clubs.

Despite the lack of feel, the resultant shot is usually better than expected thanks to the very large sweet spot. To soften the stiffness a 60gram Synergy graphite shaft is an option. Being softer than steel these shafts offer good forgiveness for higher swing speeds.

3. The Cleveland Launcher HB Iron Set

Pros:

  • Hybrid-style easy to hit
  • Very forgiving
  • Good lift for slow swing speeds

Cons:

  • Below average distance
  • Won’t suit all players

This is rated by many as the best set of irons for beginners. The Cleveland Launcher HB set consists entirely of hybrid clubs that look like irons but feel like hitting woods. Hybrids are an attempt to marry the best features of woods and irons into one club.

With the Cleveland Launcher HB clubs, even high lofted irons give the feeling of hitting a wood. There is however a trade-off in that there is some loss of distance and some loss of control. Trying to work the ball by shaping the flight of the shot is very limited. Get the clubface square at address, and the ball will fly in that direction.

The face of the Cleveland Launcher looks like a normal iron, but instead of a cavity back, the clubhead is hollowed out. Weight is transferred to the bottom of the club giving it a lower C of G making it easier to get the ball up and into the air. The weight distribution also results in a high level of forgiveness, all the way from heel to toe.

An interesting result of the low C of G and the launch ability of these clubs is that players with high swing speeds might find less distance. A slower swing speed producing less height will travel further.

The high-speed face insert in the hollow club head flexes at impact to speed up the ball, and internal strengthening ribs improve the sound closer to that of a normal iron.

It is not usual for irons to need covers, but with this painted set they would be recommended. Bag “chatter” would soon leave them scarred if unprotected.

The Cleveland Launcher HB is a great set of irons, especially for beginners, but they might soon outgrow them as confidence and ability improves.

4. TaylorMade M6 Iron Set

Pros:

  • Low center of gravity
  • Impressive distance
  • Accuracy and forgiveness
  • Great sound and feel

Cons:

  • Can be a bit difficult to clean
  • Rather Expensive

A very attractive club that looks like it has been built to do the business. The M6 features a “Speed Bridge” linking the sole of the club to the topline, and has a reputation for being a “long” club.

The Speed Bridge is a raised metal bar and serves to reinforce the topline, allowing for a deeper speed pocket. The bridge comes over the area of the sweet spot which means that the sweet spot can be cut deeper and thinner providing more flex and resulting in a great gain in distance.

The stabilizing effect of the Speed Bridge gives the club a great feel, reduces vibrations, and helps to enhance confidence in the shot.

Along with Hybrar Compression dampers, the stabilizing bridge also assists in producing a distinctive “thwack” sound which is most impressive.

A drawback of the M6 is the gap caused by the linking bar, which tends to collect dirt. Especially in wet conditions, or coming out of the rough, it may be a good idea to check for any debris that may have been picked up.

The face slot of previous models has been replaced with a thru-slot, which enhances the performance of the club and lightens the weight.

The stabilizing bridge, along with TaylorMade’s 360-degree fluted hosels allows the center of gravity to be set quite low. Impacts low on the face of the club will still produce good height and backspin.

TaylorMade, in developing the M6, has presented a club built for high ball speed, extra distance, and accuracy to satisfy the needs of most golfers. This club has taken the market by storm.

5. Cobra Men’s Golf King F8 One Length Iron Set

Pros:

  • Single length-weight for each club
  • Excellent feel and control
  • Variable groove technology
  • Reasonably priced

Cons:

  • Single length not for everyone
  • Longer wedges could be difficult to control

For many golfers this might sound a bit strange, having all the same length irons seems un-natural. However there are distinct advantages to this concept, and Cobra’s King F8 is often rated as the best in this category.

The same length club allows you to make the same swing for each loft. This helps to develop consistency and better results. The shaft length on all the irons and wedges is the 7-iron length. This means that your set up and swing will be the same throughout the range which eliminates the errors that may come from the need to adjust for each situation.

A common problem with one-length irons would be that long irons travel too low and lack distance. Short irons, by contrast, would have a trajectory that is too high and the ball will travel too far.

To correct this tendency Cobra has manipulated the C of G for each club by moving the weight from the hosel to the sole. Long irons will have a short hosel resulting in a very low C of G. Longer hosels on the short irons will produce a higher C of G and reduce the flight.

Distance gapping is further aided by the variation in grooves. The shorter irons have a deeper cut groove that produces more spin, while long irons employ V-grooves that reduce spin, increase height and distance, and allow for “roll-out”.

Having a 7-iron length n all clubs might need a bit of adjustment getting used to the 9-iron or wedge. Hitting the 5 or 4-iron will be so much easier resulting in much-improved outcomes.

Bryson Dechambeau is probably the master of single length irons as he played with them as a youngster. When he turned pro and signed with Cobra he collaborated with their development team and King F8 is the superb result.

Cobra King F8 is an iron worth trying, and it may be something more golfers turn to in the future.

6. Ping G400

ping-g400

Pros:

  • One of the sharpest looking irons
  • Extremely forgiving
  • Up to one extra club distance

Cons:

  • Not highly workable
  • Might not suit high handicappers

Ping manufacturing has long had a reputation for top quality products, and the new G400 is no exception. With the COR-eye technology, top rail undercut and Ascending Weight technology shafts, the Ping G400 has so much to offer golfers of any standard.

The top rail undercut has hollowed out the top of the club and transferred the weight to the bottom to lower the C of G. By using Hyper 17-4 stainless steel, Ping has made the face 40 percent thinner giving a greater flex on impact.

The new badge sits around the Core-Eye and covers the entire space available in the back of the club. An outstanding feature is the black circle over the Core-Eye, it feels like rubber and has the effect of dampening any vibrations, and enhancing the sound, as expected a solid “ping”.

Also found in the trailing edge of the cavity of the club head is the Custom Tuning Port. The CTP modifies the swing weight through impact to give the correct balance for the club, the weight increasing for shorter irons.

The Ping G400 is finished in Hydropearl Chome, a very durable shiny, and aesthetically pleasing look. This finish reduces friction when playing out of the rough or from wet grass further adding to forgiveness.

In addition to the club number on the sole, Ping now also displays the number on the clubface. Not sure what effect this may have on your opponent!

The Ascending Weight Technology of the shafts allows for feel, control, and optimal trajectory of the irons. The longer irons having lower weight to help square the clubface, and the short irons with increased weight for the control factor.

All this game improvement technology is designed to provide height, distance, control, and forgiveness, yet this club can be used even by low handicap players which makes it an ideal all-round option.

Final Thoughts

The average golfer wants first of all to enjoy the game. Secondly to try to improve his or her performance and lower the total on the scorecard. Game improvement irons are designed to achieve these goals, and the options can be confusing.

Your need as a new player might be very basic, just to keep the ball in play, forgiveness would be a priority. As your skills improve you will want to get greater distance, without the loss of direction and forgiveness. You will also become more aware of trajectory and spin, as well as how the club behaves out of the rough or in wet conditions.

The technology in the irons that you choose will now be of far greater importance, and the clubs reviewed above are amongst the leaders in the market to assist with that decision. For an overall solid feel, good forgiveness, excellent distance, and pure good looks, the TaylorMade M6 seems to be the leader of the pack.

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