What are Game Improvement Irons? All You Need To Know

How often have you looked up from what seemed to be a perfect shot only to see it hooking into the rough or slicing into the pond? Could be the hand-me-down blades from your favorite uncle are the problem, and you need to look for some game improvement irons.

Game improvement irons were introduced in the 1960s and are designed to help the golfer to hit further, straighter and higher.

The clubhead is designed with a cavity at the back, the material from this cavity is spread around the perimeter of the clubhead. This has the effect of reducing the amount of twist and vibration in the club if you miss hitting the sweet spot.

Technically, this perimeter weighting raises the club’s MOI or moment of inertia. Additional weight is often also placed at the bottom of the club to lower the center of gravity.

The net effect of these changes is to give you a larger sweet spot which is more forgiving if the shot is not perfect resulting in better accuracy and improved distance. The added bottom-weight helps to launch the ball into the air.

Another common feature of game improvement irons is to offset the clubhead. The clubhead is set slightly behind the forward-most point of the hosel, giving the player an extra split second to square up the clubface. This further helps reduce the tendency to hook or slice.

So, What Are Game Improvement Irons?

The name itself gives you the hint that this is something you should be considering. If you are a beginner or you are having trouble breaking 100 consistently, then you want to take a closer look at these clubs. In the process.

You want a set of clubs that suit your game, your swing and your goals. With the right fit, these clubs can potentially not only lower your scores but greatly improve your confidence and enjoyment of the game.

When you pay a visit to your local golf shop don’t expect to find a section labeled “game improvement irons”. You will recognize them by the cavity in the back compared to the full blade used by pros and low handicappers. In fact, many very good golfer still play with cavity baked clubs and there is no shame in that.

As with any golfing equipment or clothing, there are a host of brands and options on the market, so take your time to find what suits you the best and be sure to buy at the right time. A new set of golf clubs is a significant investment and should last for some time so when making a decision keep in mind the objective, to improve your game.

Features of Game Improvement Iron

When considering a set of game improvement golf clubs there are certain very distinctive features to look out for.

Clubhead Size

Firstly check the size of the clubhead, it needs to be large compared to a “blade”. The extra size means there is more room for error, even if you miss the sweet spot the result might still be a fairly decent shot. Knowing that even if the swing and contact are not perfectly accurate, the shot need not be a disaster will be a source of great confidence.

Even a relatively experienced golfer will not always contact the ball dead center. The larger sweep spot on a game improvement iron will allow for more forgiveness and help immensely.

Head Weighting

Secondly, look for the perimeter weighting. Typically a game improvement iron will feature a cavity back, where the club is hollowed out behind the sweet spot and redistributed around the perimeter of the clubface.

This has a stabilizing effect on impact. Should you “heel” or “toe” the shot, this design will prevent or at least reduce the rotation of the clubface. This obviously results in a less drastic hook or slice.

Shaft Flex

Thirdly, softer flex shafts. The flex or bend of the shaft is dependent on the speed of the swing. Less experienced golfers, or those looking for improvement, might need a bit of technical assistance.

The softer flex will provide this by allowing you not to try to force it or hit too hard. Usually, game improvement irons come fitted with softer flex shafts. If necessary, the shafts cane always be changed at a later stage once you are more confident in your swing.

What Are The Advantages?


If you are a beginner or intermediate player or if you were to switch to game improvement irons there are significant advantages and gains to be seen.

The first thing that would be apparent will be the additional distance. The extra weight at the bottom of the club will get the ball into the air quickly. The offset clubhead and softer shaft combine to smooth the swing and add distance.

The biggest advantage though comes from the cavity design and the larger sweet spot. If you had previously played with blade clubs and their smaller club heads, you will immediately notice a greater feeling of confidence as you address the ball.

Doubt can be a killer but you can now have more certainty that the shot you are about to make is not going to fly away in the wrong direction. This applies especially in the longer irons’, they will be far easier to hit than blades.

You still have to swing the club yourself, but small errors won’t result in big punishments.

What Are The Disadvantages?

Whenever you find pros, you are bound to have cons on the other hand.

Should you drift off into the rough the larger club head of the game improvement model will find more resistance trying to cut through the grass. As great as they are off the fairway, they could present a real challenge, especially in the thick stuff.

Control is another factor. You may often see a pro shape a shot, say a draw or a fade, to play around an obstacle or for a better position on a dogleg. The bigger sweet spot on the game improvement irons will tend to want to play straighter.

Height could also be a negative if for instance you are playing in very windy conditions and are trying to stay out of the jet streams. Because of the weighted bottom of the club, you get better liftoff and softer landings. This is not what you are looking for if you are trying to run the ball onto the green for instance.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the saying goes that success breeds success, and you are always going to remember that one great hole or great shot that came straight out of the screws. You want to repeat this feeling more often, and the right clubs can go a long way toward achieving that goal.

As previously mentioned, there are lots of well-known brands on the market and so many options to consider. Be sure to check out our related articles below to help with your buying decision. When you switch you will see your scores come down as your confidence grows and your game improves.

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Nick is the founder of GolfSpan and an avid golfer. He's not quite a pro but has over 15 years of experience playing and coaching golfers worldwide. His mission is to bring the golfing community a better experience when it comes to choosing the right golf gear and finding the right setup for your game.

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