Best Golf Irons

Published:

What are the best golf irons available in 2021?

The best golf irons for you will depend on the individual strengths and weaknesses in your golf game, the kind of feel and sound you prefer from your irons, and what you like to look down on at address.

RELATED: Golf World Top 100: The best golf courses in England

Golf irons test categories

To help simplify your selection process, we have split the best golf irons 2021 into five categories. Our forgiveness ratings are based on muscleback blades being 1 and hybrid irons being 5, with everything else fitting in-between. Click on the category to jump straight to it.

► Best Blades 2021 (Forgiveness category 1)

► Best Players Irons (Forgiveness category 2)

 Best Players Distance Irons (Forgiveness Category 2.5–3)

► Best Mid-Handicap Irons (Forgiveness Category 3–3.5)

► Best High-Handicap Irons (Forgiveness Category 3.5–5)

What irons are included in the 2021 test?

This is the ONLY place you’ll find all the latest irons compared against each other, with published launch monitor data and recommendations of the top performers. Despite all our efforts, there were two clubs (Callaway’s Apex TCB and Srixon’s ZX4 irons) that we didn’t quite get to test, but based on what we know about them and how models from their matching families performed, we’ve included them to ensure you have a full picture of the market.

RELATED: How to solve slow play

If you have a particular model already in mind, you can jump straight to its review in our full list of the best golf irons of 2021:

BEN HOGAN

Ben Hogan Icon | Ben Hogan PTx Pro

CALLAWAY

Callaway Apex 21 | Callaway Apex 21 Pro | Callaway Apex DCB

Callaway Apex MB | Callaway Apex TCB

CLEVELAND

Cleveland Launcher HB

COBRA

Cobra King Forged Tec | Cobra King RADSpeed

HONMA

Honma T//World GS | Honma T//World TR20 P | Honma T//World TR20 V

LYNX

Lynx Black Cat

MIZUNO

Mizuno JPX921 Forged | Mizuno JPX921 Hot Metal Pro

Mizuno JPX921 Tour | Mizuno MP-20 HMB

Mizuno MP-20 MB | Mizuno MP-20 MMC

PING

Ping G425 | Ping G710 | Ping i210

PXG

PXG 0211 | PXG 0311 P Gen 3

PXG 0311 XP Gen 3 | PXG 0311 XP T Gen 3

SRIXON

Srixon ZX4 | Srixon ZX5 | Srixon ZX7

TAYLORMADE

TaylorMade P7MB | TaylorMade P7MC

TaylorMade P770 | TaylorMade P790

TaylorMade SIM 2 Max | TaylorMade SIM 2 Max OS

TITLEIST

Titleist T100 S

WILSON

Wilson D9 | Wilson Staff Model | Wilson Staff Model CB

For 2021, the top performing models of each category receive a Best Golf Iron of 2021 Award. These are the cream of this year’s offerings; they highlight which clubs will perform for you, based on data from our launch monitor.

If you’re in the market for any new golf irons this year, use our recommendations to narrow your shortlist. Then get fitted, as that’s the only way to optimise new models for you.

Best-Golf-Irons

How we performed our Best Golf Irons 2021 test

We asked all the major equipment manufacturers to submit their entire 2021 ranges for testing.

We created a controlled test environment indoors at Keele Golf Centre and used Callaway Chrome Soft X premium golf balls. We selected this ball because not only is it played by some of the world’s best players (Jon Rahm and Xander Schauffele included) but our test pro (Neil Wain) was a big fan of it when we hit it against his usual Titleist Pro V1 last year (see the results here), and he’s looking at switching to it in 2021.

RELATED: Best Golf Clubs for Beginners

We collected a ton of data from every iron shot hit, using a Foresight Sports GC Quad launch monitor.

BUY NOW: Callaway Chrome Soft and Chrome Soft X balls

We use the Callaway Chrome Soft X Triple Track golf ball for our club testing.

How we analysed our Best Golf Irons data

Before we came to any conclusions, we analysed the data for each club tested; on distance, spin rates, forgiveness. The latter we refer to as drop offs; the differences in ball speed, spin and carry between our test pro’s on- and off-centre hits.

This insight gives a reliable indication of how forgiving each model will be on the course, as we’ve argued for years that dispersion can be very misleading as it’s based on how you swing on a particular day. We analysed all that data before choosing winners.

RELATED: Tested – Best Drivers 2021

BEST BLADES 2021

Callaway Apex MB irons

RRP: £1,099 (s), £1,399 (g) | callawaygolf.com

Availability: 3-PW, AW  

Stock shaft: Project X 10 (s)

7-iron loft: 34°  Forgiveness category: 1

Callaway Apex MB iron.

TG Verdict: Give 10 players the opportunity to design their dream muscleback iron and eight or nine of them will come up with the new Apex MB. And we say that because so many top-level golfers love straight and true top lines and leading edges.

Blades are utterly subjective as one man’s pleasure is another man’s poison, but for us the Callaway Apex MB is the blade of the year as it’s absolutely gorgeous.

RELATED: Callaway Apex MB irons

The satin finish takes away the shiny plating that some players raise issue with. And the idea to locate a hefty weight behind the impact zone, means the model can be swing weighted for different shafts without putting mass inside the hosel, which draws the centre of gravity towards the heel.

If you’re completely brand agnostic you will not find a better looking blade than the Apex MB in 2021.

BUY IT NOW: Get the Callaway Apex MB irons from Scottsdale Golf

RELATED: Which Callaway iron is right for you?

WATCH: Best 2021 Blade video

BLADED IRONS – BEST OF THE REST

TaylorMade P7MB iron

RRP: £1,299 | taylormadegolf.co.uk

Availability: 3-PW  

Stock shaft: KBS Tour

7-iron loft: 35°  Forgiveness rating: 1

TaylorMade P7MB iron.

TG verdict: If Callaway’s Apex is 2021 blade of the year, then the TaylorMade P7MB had to be blade of 2020. As soon as the model launched Rory McIlroy and Charley Hull put them in their bags, and there’s been some serious love amongst muscleback aficionados. 

We love the head shape and the CNC Milled face and grooves of the P7MB, and our test pro was impressed by the feel, we just wish we had the game to play a set.

FULL REVIEW: TaylorMade P7MB irons

WATCH: Which TaylorMade P-Series iron should I play?

In all fairness we reckon that thanks to TaylorMade’s new forged irons being available on a pick and mix basis, it’s highly likely lots of combo sets have been created with the P7MB PW, 9 and 8 irons teamed up with P7MC mid and long irons.

TaylorMade don’t launch musclebacks very often – since 2014 there’s only been the P730, Tour Preferred and Tiger Woods’ very bespoke P7TW – so don’t leave it too long if you have any desire to pair a set of P7MBs with your own game.

BUY IT NOW: Get the TaylorMade P7MB irons from Scottsdale Golf

RELATED: Which TaylorMade iron is right for you?

Ben Hogan Icon iron

RRP: From £700 | benhogangolf.eu

Availability: 4-PW  

Stock shaft: Choose from four premium options

7-iron loft: 34°  Forgiveness rating: 1

Ben Hogan Icon iron.

TG verdict: In a perfect world we’d all have a set of Ben Hogan Icon irons tucked away in the garage just for when we hit a purple ball striking patch. We grew up when Hogan Medallion irons were all the rage and we love how Hogan have given the Icon a lovely modern makeover today. 

Realistically not too many people will buy a 4–PW set. But we love how Ben Hogan offer a great combo set which teams the Icon 8-PW with the more forgiving hollow body PTX Pro 5, 6 and 7 irons, and an option of either a 22-degree forgiving utility UiHi iron or hybrid.

If you’ve got the game, the Icon irons are a very cool set of irons for very sensible amounts of money. Our data has them down as 2nd only to the Ping Blueprint when it comes to any sort of ball speed and carry distance protection.

FULL REVIEW: Ben Hogan Icon Irons

RELATED: Can you buy decent forged irons for £600?

Wilson Staff Model iron

RRP: £899 | wilsongolf.com

Availability: 3-PW  

Stock shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold

7-iron loft: 34°  Forgiveness rating: 1

Wilson Staff Model iron.

TG verdict: The iron that’s reignited the imagination of Wilson golf fans and put the brand back on the forged iron map. The Wilson Staff Model launched in 2019 and Gary Woodland used them to win his US Open at Pebble Beach. 

The irons are just pure classic musclebacks and they’re obviously hitting the spot with golfers as there’s now a Staff Model CB (cavity back) iron and matching tour level golf ball.

If you’re thinking the Wilson blades are right for your game just remember our consistent striking test pro saw 15–18 yard drop-offs in carry distance on some slight mishits with the Staff Model, and that makes them much more of a challenge to live with on the golf course.

RELATED: Which Wilson iron is right for you?

Mizuno MP-20 MB iron

RRP: £150 per club | mizunogolf.com

Availability: 3-PW  

Stock shaft: Choose from 18 premium options 

7-iron loft: 34°  Forgiveness rating: 1

Mizuno MP-20 MB iron.

TG verdict: Mizuno muscleback irons are often put on a lofty pedestal by gear nuts. And it’s probably justified when you realise the likes of Brooks Koepka, Paul Casey, Justin Rose and Jason Day have all played their irons recently unpaid. In many elite golfers’ books Mizuno’s Japanese craftsmen are nothing short of forged iron gods.  

FULL REVIEW: Mizuno MP-20 MB irons

WATCH: Which Mizuno MP-20 iron should I play?

Thanks to being the brand's first blade in decades to have a micro-thin copper coating underneath the shiny plated finish, the Mizuno MP-20 MBs are the best feeling blades the brand have made for ages.

If you’re wondering why we haven’t mentioned which blade was fastest or longest in our test, well anybody who plays them is much more focused on how they shape and work shots around the golf course than what that ability costs them in terms of speed or distance on a launch monitor.

BUY IT NOW: Get the Mizuno MP-20 MB irons from Scottsdale Golf

RELATED: Which Mizuno iron is right for you?

BEST PLAYERS IRONS 2021

Who are players irons for?

Handicap range: 10 and under

Better player irons are a thing of beauty that should only really be entertained by accomplished ball-strikers. Why? Because better player irons tend to have a smaller head size, a smaller cavity, a heavier shaft and weaker loft – all leading to a club that is less forgiving to hit.

Even if you are good enough to use players' irons, there's nothing to say you have to. But, as your game improves and confidence grows, many golfers feel the need to announce their arrival with a set of irons worthy of a decent player. For those blessed with a good degree of ball-striking, these irons tend to feel softer, sound crisper and give more feedback than game-improvement and super-game-improvement irons.

Plus, because of the smaller head, weight positioned around the perimeter is closer to the centre of gravity, making players' irons easier to shape (but also less forgiving).

Srixon ZX7 iron

RRP: 5-PW £899 (s), £999 (g) or from £149.50 per club | srixon.co.uk 

Availability: 4-PW  

Stock shaft: Nippon NS Pro Modus3 Tour 120

7-iron loft: 32° Forgiveness category: 2

Srixon ZX7 iron.

TG verdict: Over the years Srixon have got nowhere near the credit they deserve when it comes to forged irons, but we think that’s starting to change since the brand have doubled down and repositioned themselves as a players’ equipment brand.

The ZX7, with its very Japanese high-toe shape, is a simple but classy beauty. And that’s usually what ‘players’ ask for.

There’s nothing to not like about this sleek but powerful model. Our pro really liked the feel and feedback from the ZX7 and the data it produced against its peers is really impressive. A 7-iron carry of 168 yards was our third longest, but more impressively was how the Srixon ZX7 combined that power with only dropping seven yards (4.2%) between on and off-centre hits (third best), which really helps consistency and scoring on the course.

Remember, this year you can buy the ZX7 iron individually and mix and match them with the more forgiving and more powerful Srixon ZX5 mid and long irons if you need to.

FULL REVIEW: Srixon ZX7 irons

BUY IT NOW: Get the Srixon ZX7 irons from Scottsdale Golf

RELATED: Is Srixon's Z-Star 2021's best ball? 

TaylorMade P7MC iron

RRP: £1,299 | taylormadegolf.co.uk

Availability: 3-PW

Stock shaft: KBS Tour 

7-iron loft: 34°  Forgiveness category: 2 

TaylorMade P7MC iron.

TG verdict: Judging by the level of interest on our social media and YouTube channels, the launch of TaylorMade’s new muscle cavity P7MC iron was a highlight of last year.

It’s really important to remember this is very much a tour-level iron though and it was designed in conjunction with TaylorMade’s tour staff so be very careful before deciding if it’s the perfect fit for your game.

FULL REVIEW: TaylorMade P7MC irons

WATCH: Which TaylorMade P-Series iron should I play?

As far as head shapes go, they just don’t come any better; the P7MC is an absolute cracker, with just the sort of simple styling that never looks old.

Because we were assessing players irons, where precision and consistency are key determining factors of making a purchase, we didn’t just analyse how the models in the category protected carry distance.

Instead, we looked at the differences in ball speed and backspin too and unbelievably the TaylorMade P7MC was the only iron to place among the top three for all three areas. That tells us if you’re a good ball striker you’ll see some very consistent results from the P7MC’s on the course. We just wish we were good enough to use a set.

BUY IT NOW: Get the TaylorMade P7MC irons from Scottsdale Golf

RELATED: Which TaylorMade iron is right for you?

Mizuno JPX921 Tour iron

RRP: £150 per iron | mizunogolf.com

Availability: 4-GW 

Stock shaft: KBS S-Taper 

7-iron loft: 34°  Forgiveness category: 2 

Mizuno JPX921 Tour iron.

TG verdict: The Mizuno JPX 921 Tour iron has a slightly longer blade length than Mizuno’s MP-20 MB which means it’s often better positioned in the hands of point and shoot golfers, or players who see shots in straighter lines rather than those who try to work shots into flag positions.

The Tours are a classically shaped, great looking Mizuno tour cavity iron, and the model has big shoes to fill after the previous two (JPX900 and JPX919 Tour’s) were so successful. It’s really difficult to say one ‘players’ iron is better than another as we’re well aware personal preference and brand affiliation comes into a buying decision in a big way with above average golfers.

FULL REVIEW: Mizuno JPX921 Tour irons

Watch: Which Mizuno JPX921 iron is right for me?

Like the Wilson CBs if you’re positive your game will benefit from a true ‘players’ iron you simply cannot afford to ignore Mizuno JPX921 Tour irons; they’re proven masters of the category and this is the best tour-level cavity back they make.

For many the attraction of Mizuno is sealed by how the brand take a one-price stance and incorporate a whole array of great shaft options at zero upcharge, which is well worth remembering at this end of the market.

BUY IT NOW: Get the Mizuno JPX921 Tour irons from Scottsdale Golf

RELATED: Which Mizuno iron is right for you?

Wilson Staff Model CB iron

RRP: £849 | wilsongolf.com 

Availability: 4-PW 

Stock shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold

7-iron loft: 34°  Forgiveness category: 2

Wilson Staff Model CB iron.

TG verdict: Wilson have a long history when it comes to forged irons, and the brand has had a real resurgence among ‘players’ over the last few.

If you truly are a very consistent ball striker who doesn’t need to keep an eye on distance, Wilson should be factored into your buying decision in 2021.

The CBs are a very traditional lofted, tour-level cavity back which thanks to the likes of TaylorMade’s P7MCs and Callaway’s Apex TCB are now the height of fashion. The glossy high polished plating will split opinion, but there simply isn’t a more traditional iron finish available, and it definitely doesn’t take anything away from the lovely head shape.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking ‘players’ irons launch, spin, peak out and descend shots onto the green at better angles, just because they have more loft. Our data shows it’s simply not the case.

The CB comes with a heavier, lower launching Dynamic Gold shaft, and less offset which means shots have a more penetrating, lower trajectory.

Compared to the competition the CB was great at protecting ball speed (third best) and carry (fifth), which makes them a very solid choice this year.

FULL REVIEW: Wilson Staff Model CB irons

PXG 0311 T Gen 3 iron

RRP: From £275 per iron | pxg.com

Availability: 4-GW 

Stock shaft: True Temper Elevate Tour or 95 (s) Mitsubishi MMT 70 or 80g (g) 

7-iron loft: 32°  Forgiveness category: 2

PXG 0311 T Gen 3 iron.

RELATED: Everything you need to know about the PXG 0311 T Gen4 iron

TG verdict: We usually see ‘players’ models as having no fast face or hollow body tech, but PXG are the one brand who break our rule, as almost all their irons have hollow heads.

This is the first year we’ve had PXG’s full iron line-up included in our ‘Best Irons’ section, and if you glance across the different iron categories their results are nothing short of remarkable. PXG know how to make brilliant irons.

The 0311 T Gen 3 is a really good-looking head with a lovely straight, but not confidence-shatteringly thin topline. Thanks to the extra forgiveness of the perimeter tungsten weighting and DualCor material inside, the T (Tour) are actually reasonably forgiving and very powerful for this category.

The head filling ensures sound and feel are fantastic, but if you are a proper ‘player’ who really wants to work shots, we’ve seen how PXG irons are very straight, which comes down to incredibly efficient perimeter weighting.

Of course, not everyone has £1,925 to splurge on a new set, but if you do the PXG 0311 T Gen 3 irons are seriously impressive.  

FULL REVIEW: PXG 0311 T Gen 3

BUY IT NOW: Get the PXG 0311T Gen 3 irons from Scottsdale Golf

RELATED: How a chance meeting led to PXG's creation

WATCH: Best 2021 Players' Iron video

PLAYERS IRONS 2021 - BEST OF THE REST

Callaway Apex TCB iron

RRP: £1,099 | callawaygolf.com

Availability: 4-AW  

Stock shaft: True Temper Project X 10 5.5 or X LS

7-iron loft: 34°  Forgiveness category: 2

Callaway Apex TCB iron.

To say we were devastated to hear we wouldn't have a Callaway Apex TCB sample in time for our Best Golf Irons 2021 test is a massive understatement.

FULL REVIEW: Callaway Apex TCB irons

Yes, we love testing all the latest equipment launches, but more importantly we pride ourselves on bringing golfers the most up to date and relevant buying information, and to miss this mammoth iron from our test sessions was a bitter pill to swallow.

But, let's face facts. Two of the top five players in the world, Jon Rahm and Xander Schauffele, are playing this new model – there’s no way it’s not going to be good. We can’t wait to find out how good when we finally get our hands on a set.

BUY IT NOW: Get the Callaway Apex TCB irons from Scottsdale Golf

RELATED: Which Callaway iron is right for you?

Mizuno MP-20 MMC iron

RRP: £165 per iron | mizunogolf.com

Availability: 4-PW  Stock shaft: KBS S-Taper 

7-iron loft: 32°  Forgiveness category: 2.5 

Mizuno MP-20 MMC iron.

The Mizuno MP-20 MMC is the ‘players’ iron for golfers who think with their head rather than their heart.

The MMC’s top line thickness is just 1mm wider than the MP-20 MB which means you give up very little in terms of looks, yet get extra help with forgiveness thanks to the MMC’s multi-material construction.

WATCH: Which Mizuno MP-20 iron should I play?

In terms of data the MP-20 MMC flat-out performs. In a category where there’s less talk of technology MMC bagged top spot for protecting ball speed (there was 1.5 mph / 1.2% between our test pro’s on and off-centre hits) and carry distance protection (four yards / 2.4%) which is seriously impressive for an iron that’s highly likely to be revamped by Mizuno later in 2021.

FULL REVIEW: Mizuno MP-20 MMC irons

RELATED: Which Mizuno iron is right for you?

Ping i210 iron

RRP: £126 (s) £136 (g) per iron | ping.com

Availability: 3-UW  

Stock shaft: Choose from 10 options

7-iron loft: 33°  Forgiveness category: 2.5

Ping i210 iron.

The Ping i210 irons will be three years old come July, but they’re still going strong and are an excellent choice.

FULL REVIEW: Ping i210 irons

They’re Ping’s most played tour iron, and while our data shows they didn’t out-gun the stronger lofted competition, they are a very solid option that Ping will happily custom fit to you.

Our pro switched out of the iBlade to the Ping i210 a couple of years ago and he still swears it is one of the best ‘player’ models available; Tyrrell Hatton certainly wouldn’t argue with that.

BUY IT NOW: Get the Ping i210 irons from Scottsdale Golf

RELATED: Which Ping iron is right for you?

Honma T//World TR20 V iron

RRP: £1,225 | honma.com

Availability: 4-10 (PW), 11 (GW) 

Stock shaft: Nippon Modus3 / Nippon NS950GH Neo / Honma Vizard IB-WF100

7-iron loft: 32°  Forgiveness category: 2

Honma T//World TR20 V iron.

Honma forged irons have turned our heads over the last few years. Not only have they always been really attractive and offered great feel, but there’s lots of options to choose from, as Honma never take a one-size-fits-all approach to forged irons.

We love how golfers can mix and match between the three TR20 sets (B;  Blade, V; Player iron and P; Players Distance iron). It means a decent fitter can create your own perfect combo set.

WATCH: How Honma T/World TR20 irons performed against forged rivals

The T//World TR20 V iron is a really simple and attractive head, there’s no fluffy tech story, just a great shaped Japanese forging. So if you’re one to put Japanese forgings on a higher pedestal than their Chinese counterparts, you really should check them out.

FULL REVIEW: Honma T//World TR20 V

BUY IT NOW: Get the Honma T//World TR20 V irons from Scottsdale Golf

Titleist T100S iron

RRP: £160 (s) £185 (g) per club | titleist.co.uk

Availability: 3-UW  Stock shaft: Choose from 10 options

7-iron loft: 32°  Forgiveness category: 2

Titleist T100 S iron.

Like it or loath it, golf has become a launch monitor game. Today, when golfers get fitted there’s always a launch monitor showing how each model compares to the next.

As good as the original T100 irons were, and they’re hugely successful on tour, Titleist realised golfers buy on numbers. And having weaker lofts than most, the T100 irons really struggled to compete in launch monitor wars. Titleist’s answer was the T100S. The new model have stronger lofts (2° stronger in the 7-iron), and according to our data they now position Titleist right at the sharp end of the ‘players’ iron category.

Our pro saw a gain of seven yards of carry distance switching from the T100 to the T100S. The S were also his second longest model (170 yards).

There were significant drops in backspin and descent angle to get the extra power, but we like a lot of good players still rate this model.

RELATED: What's new in the 2021 Titleist Pro V1

BUY IT NOW: Get the Titleist T100S irons from Scottsdale Golf

HOW THE 2021 PLAYERS IRONS COMPARED ON OUR LAUNCH MONITOR

2021 players golf irons test data from on our launch monitor.

BEST PLAYERS DISTANCE IRONS 2021

TaylorMade P790 iron

RRP: £1,299 – Hollow Body | taylormadegolf.co.uk

Availability: 3-PW, AW  Stock shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 (with VSS Pro) (s) UST Recoil (g)

7-iron loft: 30.5°  Forgiveness rating: 3

TaylorMade P790 iron.

TG verdict: The original P790 (launched in 2017) transformed TaylorMade’s iron business, it was the brand's biggest selling forged iron ever and its older brother the P790 (2019) is every bit as good.

Tons of golfers swooned over TaylorMade’s beautiful new P770s that launched in 2020 but if your game dictates needing to keep an eye on distance, our data spells out loud and clear how much is on the line by opting for the more compact model. 

FULL REVIEW: TaylorMade P790 irons

Where the P790 was our test pro’s longest players iron of the year (joint 1st with the Srixon ZX5 at 178 yards) the TaylorMade P770, which has a 7-iron loft that is 2.5-degrees weaker, was shortest at 163 yards. Which, unless you’re a low single figure handicapper who’s not worried about distance, is a heck of a lot to give up.

What’s really interesting is both the P770 and P790 irons produced very good drop off numbers. The P790 ranked 2nd and 4th for backspin and carry distance difference, while the TaylorMade P770 recorded the lowest ball speed and backspin difference and posted the 2nd smallest carry distance drop off, so both come with a degree of forgiveness.

The choice between the two models comes down to how much premium you put either on a smaller more compact head shape or maximising distance.

BUY IT NOW: Get the TaylorMade P790 irons from Scottsdale Golf

RELATED: Which TaylorMade iron is right for you?

Srixon ZX5 iron

RRP: 5–PW £899 (s) £999 (g) or from £149.50 per club | srixon.co.uk

Availability: 4-PW  

Stock shafts: Nippon NS Pro Modus3 Tour 105 (s) Diamana ZX (g)

7-iron loft: 31°  Forgiveness rating: 2.5

Srixon ZX5 iron.

TG verdict: We’ve known for years that Srixon make really good forged irons, and this year, thanks to thier strong performance in this test and the fact four-time major champ Brooks Koepka has put a set in play (he won the Phoenix Open with the ZX7) unpaid, more golfers than ever will sit up and take notice of them. 

The ZX5 irons are absolute beauties. We’re massive fans of the straight line look of the top and leading edges, both combine to give a really simple, clean, unfussy and powerful appearance. The forged springy SUP10 face and 1° less loft than the ZX7 gave our test pro 4mph more ball speed and 10 yards extra 7-iron carry distance, which showcases brilliantly how much fast face players irons bring to the party.

We love the idea that it’s now possible to buy Srixon’s ZX7, ZX5 and ZX4 irons as individual clubs, so if you want a little more control in the short irons and more pop in the long sticks it’s entirely possible to get it.

FULL REVIEW: Srixon ZX5 irons

BUY IT NOW: Get the Srixon ZX5 irons from Scottsdale Golf

RELATED: WITB Brooks Koepka

Honma T//World TR20 P iron

RRP: From £1,225 | honma.com

Availability: 5-10 (PW), 11 (AW)

Stock shaft: Nippon Modus 3 (s) Honma Vizard TR65 (g) 

7-iron loft: 30° Forgiveness rating: 2.5

Honma T//World TR20 P iron.

TG verdict: 2021 is the year forged iron fans are utterly spoilt for choice. The market is bubbling away like fine champagne, as high-profile launches appeared from all the major equipment brands since the end of summer 2020. It doesn’t matter if you want musclebacks, tour level cavity backs or forged distance irons, there’s not just solutions out here for everyone in 2021, this year there’s beautiful solutions too. Credit where credit’s due Honma have preached this sort of multi-pronged forged iron story for years. 

The Honma T//World TR20 P irons are the latest in a long line of lovely forged models from the brand. And if you’re the sort who swears blind fast face irons are inconsistent, then they will blow that sort of thinking out of the water.

WATCH: How Honma T/World TR20 irons performed against forged rivals

The TR20 P dropped just 3.9% of ball speed (4th best), 10.6% of backspin (3rd best) and 10 yards of carry distance (6th best) between on and off-centre hits. And it does all that whilst managing to be a really desirable shape that was also our 5th longest player’s distance iron. That sort of across-the-board performance is award winning.

If you find yourself dilly dallying between the Honma TR20 P and the weaker lofted (with no fast face tech) TR20 V, our test pro carried the P 7-iron 7 yards further.

FULL REVIEW: Honma T//World TR20 P irons

BUY IT NOW: Get the Honma T//World TR20 P irons from Scottsdale Golf

Mizuno JPX921 Forged iron

RRP: £150 per iron | mizunogolf.com

Availability: 4-GW

Stock shaft: Nippon Modus 120/105

7-iron loft: 31°  Forgiveness rating: 3

Mizuno JPX921 Forged iron.

TG verdict: When your whole business is built on the success of forged irons and your craftsmen have been forging clubs for 115 years, you challenge and push boundaries that others don’t dare touch. And that’s Mizuno’s thinking with the JPX921 Forged.

Taking chromoly steel which is well known for being springy and lively and stamping it into a top performing mass market Mizuno forged iron was a challenge Mizuno were happy to accept. And they’ve managed it because their experts reckon forged chromoly steel has a very bright future ahead. 

We’ve tested the JPX921 Forged before and they’re a brilliant blend of narrow top edges that lots of reasonable players like, along with a forgiving undercut cavity back. Mizuno reckon they suit 10–14 handicappers brilliantly.

FULL REVIEW: Mizuno JPX921 Forged

Watch: Which Mizuno JPX921 iron is right for me?

Lots of golfers have found themselves choosing between these and Mizuno’s hollow body MP-20 HMB. Our data has the one-degree stronger (7-iron) Forged adding 1mph of ball speed and two yards of carry distance over the HMB.

With such a small performance difference, decisions should be focused around how Mizuno reckon the HMB (Hot Metal Blade) are often a better fit for slightly lower handicappers (5–9), and whether you’re a hollow body fan.

Just remember the face material in both irons is chromoly steel, and if you’re stuck between the Forged and the JPX921 Tour, our data suggests you’ll give up 8 yards of 7-iron carry distance by not opting for the Forged.

BUY IT NOW: Get the Mizuno JPX921 Forged irons from Scottsdale Golf

RELATED: Which Mizuno iron is right for you?

PXG 0311 P Gen3 iron

RRP: From £275 per iron – Hollow body | pxg.com

Availability: 3-PW, GW

Stock shaft: True Temper Elevate Tour or 95 (s) Mitsubishi MMT 70 or 80g (g) 

7-iron loft: 31°  Forgiveness rating: 3

PXG 0311 P Gen3 iron.

RELATED: Everything you need to know about the PXG 0311 P Gen4 iron

TG verdict: PXG often get a rough ride in online forums. As critics love hurling the ‘way to expensive’ grenade at whatever equipment they produce. One hardcore naysayer even recently suggested there’s zero evidence the brands perimeter weighting story actually does anything more than a traditional cavity back iron.

Well, thanks to looking at drop offs between our test pro’s on and off centre shots we can say PXG irons flat out perform. 

The 0311 P gave our test pro his smallest carry distance drop-off (six yards/3.4%), which of course increases consistency and predictability on the golf course.

The Ps were amongst our top three irons for protecting ball speed and four for protecting backspin difference too, which largely comes down to the hollow body, DualCor filling and how the brands expensive tungsten weights all work in tandem.

We love the P head shapes through the set, they’re very attractive to a wide audience of players and PXG say their MOI is 13% higher than the T (Players’ iron).

In terms of data the P gave our test pro 3 yards extra carry distance (7-iron) to the T, but 11 yards less than the 3deg stronger PXG 0311 XP (Mid Handicap iron) whilst also posting 174 yards in carry distance, which was joint fifth in our test,  which was against some stronger lofted models.

FULL REVIEW: PXG 0311 P Gen3 Irons

BUY IT NOW: Get the PXG 0311 P Gen3 irons from Scottsdale Golf

WATCH: Best 2021 Players' Distance Iron video

PLAYER DISTANCE IRONS 2021 – BEST OF THE REST

Cobra King Forged Tec iron

RRP: £899 (s) £999 (g) – Hollow Body | cobragolf.co.uk

Availabilty: 3-GW

Stock shaft: KBS $ Taper Lite (s) Project X Catalyst (g)

7-iron loft: 29.5°  Forgiveness rating: 2.5

Cobra King Forged Tec irons.

The Cobra Forged Tec were one of our best performing players distance irons in 2020 and they’re still very good this year.

The strongest 7-iron loft (29.5deg) of the category ensures they’re fast and powerful, and if you’re going all guns blazing for distance the Forged Tec have to be on your shortlist in 2021.

Compared to the competition the Cobra King heads are a fraction chunkier, with a wider top line and a little more hosel offset, which helps flight shots from the strong lofts.

FULL REVIEW: Cobra King Forged Tec irons 

BUY IT NOW: Get the Cobra King Forged Tec irons from Scottsdale Golf

Ben Hogan PTx Pro iron

RRP: £720 (5-PW) – Hollow Body | benhogangolf.eu

Availability: 4-PW  

Stock shaft: Choose from four premium options

7-iron loft: 34°  Forgiveness rating: 2.5 

Ben Hogan PTx Pro iron.

In the launch monitor era Ben Hogan are one brand who staunchly defend traditional iron lofts. They say they want to ensure golfers have no issues launching, spinning or stopping approaches onto any green.

That sort of stance means Hogan irons are massive underdogs for golfers who insist on slug feasting it out on pure speed and distance alone.

For golfers who aren’t obsessed by every last yard though, the Ben Hogan PTx Pro irons are an extremely good blend of modern hollow body technology with a very attractive head shape and look. We’re big fans and not only because they’re the best value for money forged iron on the market this year.

FULL REVIEW: Ben Hogan PTx Pro irons

TaylorMade P770 iron

RRP: £1,299 – Hollow Body | taylormadegolf.co.uk

Availability: 3-PW, AW

Stock shaft: KBS Tour

7-iron loft: 33°  Forgiveness rating: 2.5

TaylorMade P770 iron.

The hollow body P770 caused a massive stir when they launched last summer. We heard from so many golfers hoping their game was just good enough to slide them into the model, without putting too much playability on the line.

The truth is the TaylorMade P770 golf irons are adorable, we’ve tested them a few times now and they look, feel and sound brilliant, but there’s no escaping they’ve cost our test pro 12–15 yards of 7-iron carry distance on each occasion he’s hit them.

FULL REVIEW: TaylorMade P770 irons

WATCH: Which TaylorMade P-Series iron should I play?

And if most club golfers think with their heads and not their hearts that’s way too much of a trade-off for a more compact head shape.

If you are looking however at the weaker lofted models within this category (32-degree – 34-degree 7-iron lofts) the P770 was brilliant at protecting ball speed (3.9mph difference - 1st), backspin (412 RPM – 1st) and carry distance (8 yards difference – 2nd), which means it’s a great iron that’s likely to be most at home in the hands of low–to-mid single-figure handicappers.

BUY IT NOW: Get the TaylorMade P770 irons from Scottsdale Golf

RELATED: Which TaylorMade iron is right for you?

Callaway Apex 21 Pro iron

RRP: £1,099 (s), £1,399 (g) – Hollow Body | callawaygolf.com

Availability: 3- PW, AW

Stock shaft: True Temper Elevate ETS 115g (s) Mitsubishi MMT (g)

7-iron loft: 33°  Forgiveness rating: 2.5

Callaway Apex 21 Pro iron.

Hollow-body irons haven’t really been Callaway’s bag before, but in 2021 the new Apex 21 Pro is an absolute delight.

The muscleback appearance gives the impression of being a blade, whilst inside there’s up to 90g of low and deep tungsten weighting to maximise forgiveness from what is very much a players’ iron head shape and size.

FULL REVIEW: Callaway Apex 21 Pro irons

Callaway reckon the model suits scratch to high single figure handicappers, so we can see lots of players struggling to choosing between them and the TaylorMade P770’s. Realistically the decision is likely to come down to price, and the Pro’s edge that battle by £200.

Our data shows the standard Apex 21 iron being seven yards longer if distance is more of a priority.

BUY IT NOW: Get the Callaway Apex 21 Pro irons from Scottsdale Golf

RELATED: Which Callaway iron is right for you?

Mizuno MP-20 HMB iron

RRP: £180 per club – Hollow Body | mizunogolf.com

Availability: 2-PW

Stock shaft: Nippon Modus

7-iron loft: 32°  Forgiveness rating: 2.5

Mizuno MP-20 HMB iron.

The HMB iron will be two years' old this summer so they’re highly likely to be replaced at some point in 2021, but that hasn’t stopped Jason Day being spotted with some in his bag recently.

As long as you’re a reasonable ball striker and your handicap falls somewhere close to the brand's 5–9 guide, you just can’t not like the Mizuno MP-20 HMB iron.

FULL REVIEW: Mizuno MP-20 HMB irons

WATCH: Which Mizuno MP-20 iron should I play?

Purists will say the face is springy chromoly steel, but if that doesn’t float your boat Mizuno also have the MP-20 MMC and JPX921 Tour that will. Our data suggests the HMB’s give up 9 yards to the brands JPX921 Hot Metal Pro irons, which will be a factor to some.

In our book anyone who already owns the MP-20 HMB have a set of Mizuno irons that will stand the test of time.

BUY IT NOW: Get the Mizuno MP-20 HMB irons from Scottsdale Golf

RELATED: Which Mizuno iron is right for you?

HOW 2021 PLAYERS DISTANCE IRONS COMPARED ON OUR LAUNCH MONITOR

How the 2021 players distance irons compared in data on our launch monitor.

BEST MID-HANDICAP IRONS 2021

Who are mid-handicap irons for?

Handicap range: 10+

A mid-handicap iron (or game-improvement iron as it is often called) is designed to deliver if your game needs a little bit of help – and let's face it, that’s most of us. With a slighter larger profile, a lighter shaft, stronger lofts and a slightly thinner face, game-improvement irons are a more forgiving club that is designed to improve ball speeds and carry distance - even when shots aren't hit in the centre of the face.

Mid-handicap irons typically make up 80% of a brand’s sales and with the average UK handicap around 14, the market for them is huge. So it’s important for manufacturers to do game-improvement irons really well, with a design that blends good looks, excellent off-centre hit forgiveness and strong carry distance.

Typically they have a larger head with more offset (distance from the hosel to the leading edge), which positions the centre of gravity further back. The extra offset and wider sole positions more weight beneath and further back from the ball’s equator to help shots get airborne. A cavity or hollow head positions more mass around the perimeter to improve forgiveness.

PXG 0311 XP Gen 3 iron

RRP: From £275 per iron | pxg.com

Availability: 3-PW, GW

Stock shaft: True Temper Elevate Tour or 95 (s) Mitsubishi MMT 70 or 80g (g) 

7-iron loft: 28°  Forgiveness rating: 3.5 

PXG 0311 XP Gen 3 iron.

RELATED: Everything you need to know about the PXG 0311 XP Gen4 iron

TG verdict: The XP (Xtreme Performance) isn’t one of PXG’s new lower price models (though the price has come down from last year) but, leaving cost aside and just looking at the numbers, the 0311 XP Gen 3 is stunning. Yes, the lofts are strong (the 7-iron is 28°), but so is the competition.

The PXG was our longest mid-handicap iron (by three yards), but amazingly the XP also produced our smallest carry distance drop off (eight yards or 4.3%) of the whole category. That means great consistency on the course which is just what most club golfers need.

Our test pro was really impressed with the sound and feel, which are outstanding for the mid handicap iron category. What PXG have done for forged irons is incredible – game improver models just weren’t this good looking a decade ago.

We understand at £275 a club they’re not for everyone and that’s why we’ve also selected the new 0211 iron (£130 a club) among our Best Golf Irons 2021, too.

FULL REVIEW: PXG 0311 XP Gen 3 irons

BUY IT NOW: Get the PXG 0311 XP Gen 3 irons from Scottsdale Golf

TaylorMade SIM2 Max iron

RRP: £899, £1,049 (g) | taylormadegolf.co.uk

Availability: 4-PW, AW, SW, LW

Stock shaft: KBS MAX MT (s) Fujikura Ventus 5/6/7 (g) 

7-iron loft: 28.5°  Forgiveness rating: 3.5 

TaylorMade SIM2 Max iron.

TG verdict: “Cap Back” isn’t a term used for irons before, but that’s how the TaylorMade SIM 2 iron's construction is described by the brand.

Essentially the SIM2 Max is a hollow head design, but rather than the head being entirely made from steel, like a traditional hollow body iron, there’s a lightweight polymer “cap” covering the back of the iron. TaylorMade say the idea helps secure the topline and increases rigidity for maximum ball speed.

This is a really attractive iron for the category. The head shape looks great sat behind the ball, and while our test pro didn’t feel they sounded or felt quite as good as the very best forged irons, they were really impressive.

FULL REVIEW: TaylorMade SIM2 Max irons

Watch: The tech behind TaylorMade's SIM2 Max irons

We particularly like the lightweight feel and flighting of the KBS Max shafts. They’re a key ingredient of how TaylorMade get strong lofted irons to launch, fly, spin and descend onto the green at manageable levels, which hasn’t always been the case in the past.

TaylorMade’s beautiful P-Series (player) irons garner lots of attention, but if you’re anywhere close to approaching a mid-handicap level and looking for a new set of irons in 2021, we struggle to see past the SIM2 Max’s value for a whole host of club golfers.

BUY IT NOW: Get the TaylorMade SIM2 Max irons from Scottsdale Golf

RELATED: Which TaylorMade iron is right for you?

Ping G425 iron

RRP: £129 (s), £139 (g) per iron | ping.com

Availability: 4-LW

Stock shaft: Ping AWT 2.0 (s) Ping Alta CB (g) with 7 after-market no charge upgrades 

7-iron loft: 30°  Forgiveness rating: 3.5

Ping G425 iron.

TG verdict: The G425 wasn’t our longest or fastest mid-handicap iron, which shouldn’t really be too surprising as the 7-iron loft is a couple of degrees weaker than the competition, but it is among the best mid-handicap golf irons for 2021.

Our data does show how Ping’s new mid-handicap iron is brilliant at protecting carry distance when shots don’t hit the centre of the face. Our pro saw a drop off of just eight yards (4.6%), which was a very close second to the PXG XP (4.3%). It means slight mishits with the Ping G425 iron will find their way over a bunker or water hazard on to the putting surface.

And our data completely ties in with how the brand say the G425 squeezes long and left and short and right misses much closer together.

FULL REVIEW: Ping G425 irons

WATCH: Everything you need to know about Ping G425 irons

We’re really big fans of the progressive nature of the irons. They’re much more compact and less offset in the short irons which is just the look a lot of golfers like. The longer irons have more offset and a slightly longer blade length to aid playability and offer more help where it’s needed in the longer clubs.

Ping G irons have been stalwarts of the mid-handicap iron category since the original back in 2004. Thanks to the G425’s clever tweaks, and because they now come with Arccos shot trackers in the grips (along with a free 90-day trial) we reckon there’s a decent chance they can shave a couple of shots a round from your scores.

BUY IT NOW: Get the Ping G425 irons from Scottsdale Golf

RELATED: Which Ping iron is right for you?

Callaway Apex DCB iron

RRP: £1,099 (s), £1,399 (g) | callawaygolf.com

Availability: 3-PW, AW

Stock shaft: True Temper Elevate ETS 85g (s) UST Recoil Dart 75g (g) 

7-iron loft: 30°  Forgiveness rating: 3.5

Callaway Apex DCB iron.

TG verdict: We had a real headache choosing between the Callaway Apex 21 and Apex 21 DCB within this category as both are very worthy winners.

We’ve come down just on the side of the DCB and our thinking goes something like this. Callaway say Apex irons are now the best they make, and very rarely are the best iron range from any brand squarely aimed at mid-higher handicap golfers.

FULL REVIEW: Callaway Apex DCB irons

The Apex 21 DCB (Deep Cavity Back) just gets our nod because we love the way they open up forged irons to mid/higher handicaps, and thanks to a lighter 85g True Temper Elevate shaft more average speed players, too.

Sat alongside the Apex 21 at address the DCB is very closely matched. The untrained eye will struggle to see much difference in head size, shape and hosel offset. The DCB does have a wider and more friendly cambered sole which will help less consistent strikers. Our test data somewhat masks how desirable the Apex and Apex DCB iron really are, as we’re all prone at times to just look at the longest and fastest models.

We have the DCB 12 yards back from our longest, and nine yards back from last year’s Callaway Mavrik iron (which was also 2.1% more forgiving), but without a doubt we’d prefer the DCB in our bag in 2021. We don’t get to say it often enough, but these are a great looking set of mid-handicap irons.

BUY IT NOW: Get the Callaway Apex DCB irons from Scottsdale Golf

RELATED: Which Callaway iron is right for you?

WATCH: Best 2021 Mid-Handicap Iron video

MID-HANDICAP IRONS 2021 – BEST OF THE REST

Cobra King RADSPEED iron

RRP: £749 (s), £849 (g) | cobragolf.co.uk

Availability: 4-SW

Stock shaft: KBS Tour (s) UST Recoil (g)

7-iron loft: 27.5°  Forgiveness rating: 3.5 

Cobra King RADSPEED iron.

If your game needs the forgiveness and power of a mid-handicap iron, but your fancy isn’t tickled by going forged, the Cobra King RADSPEED irons are a very solid choice.

The lofts are strong (27.5°), but our data has the model down as being capable of launching, peaking out and dropping them on to the green at very sensible levels. The carbon-fibre topline insert is a different look, and it will divide opinion.

We love how Cobra’s engineers have built in an MOI-enhancing toe screw which draws the sweetspot towards the centre of the RADSPEED's face, which also improves feel in this cracking mid-handicap iron.

FULL REVIEW: Cobra King RADSPEED irons

BUY IT NOW: Get the Cobra King RADSPEED irons from Scottsdale Golf

Srixon ZX4 iron

RRP: £899 (s) £999 (g) | srixon.co.uk

7-iron loft: 28.5°  Forgiveness rating: 3

Srixon ZX4 iron.

Sadly Srixon weren’t able to get us a sample of the ZX4 iron in time for our test deadline, but we wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t highlight how they’re scheduled to make an appearance very soon.

Based on the excellent performance of both Srixon’s lovely ZX7 and ZX5 irons we’re confident the ZX4s will be top performers, too. They combine a hollow-body construction with tungsten sole weighting in the mid and long irons, and a forged springy face along with powerful lofts. And that sounds like a potent Japanese iron combination to us.

FULL REVIEW: Srixon ZX4 irons

BUY IT NOW: Get the Srixon ZX4 irons from Scottsdale Golf

PXG 0211 iron

RRP: £130 per iron | pxg.com

Availability: 4-LW

Shafts: Choose from four premium options

7-iron loft: 28°  Forgiveness rating: 3.5

PXG 0211 iron.

No, the price isn’t a typo, you really can buy a 5-SW set of PXG irons this year for £910, and if PXG’s premium forged XP model hadn’t topped our distance and forgiveness charts the 0211 iron would definitely have been among our favourites.

Like the G425 the 0211 are a really good progressive set. There are smaller, more compact heads and less offset where golfers can handle them and longer blade lengths and extra offset to help flight the longer sticks. PXG have built their name on forged irons, but the 0211 have a cast construction.

Thanks to not having the brand’s familiar perimeter weighting set-up they can now hit these sorts of prices. PXG say thanks to forgoing the perimeter weighting you give up 9-10% MOI, but that’s the price you pay for PXG’s premium models.

The 0211 will attract the eyes of a wide audience of golfers. We see them as a cracking 2021 model which for many will find tough to resist at less than a £1k a set.

FULL REVIEW: PXG 0211 irons review

BUY IT NOW: Get the PXG 0211 irons from Scottsdale Golf

Callaway Apex 21 iron

RRP: £1,099 (s), £1,399 (g) | callawaygolf.com

7-iron loft: 30.5°  Forgiveness rating: 3

Callaway Apex 21 iron.

We wouldn’t put up much of a fight against anyone arguing that the Callaway Apex 21 iron should be among our top performers, rather than the Apex DCB. Both bring very solid benefits to their intended target audience. But in our view the DCB serves the mid-handicap category particularly well.

Just like its siblings the Apex is a great looking forged iron. Unlike some it’s also really good at protecting carry distance, as it gave up just eight yards between on and off-centre hits (ranking second, just 0.3% behind the PXG XPs).

FULL REVIEW: Callaway Apex 21

Compared to the previous Apex 19 the topline is a little narrower, which potentially makes them more attractive to reasonably solid ball strikers who don’t want to give up 2.5° of 7-iron loft to play the hollow-body Apex Pro.

Our data shows that sort of decision is likely to cost seven yards of carry, which if we’re honest most club golfers will struggle to justify.

BUY IT NOW: Get the Callaway Apex 21 irons from Scottsdale Golf

RELATED: Which Callaway iron is right for you?

Lynx Black Cat iron

RRP: £499 | lynxgolf.co.uk

Availability: 3-PW

Stock shaft: KBS Tour 90 (s), UST Mamiya Recoil (g)

7-iron loft: 33°  Forgiveness rating: 3.5 

Lynx Black Cat iron.

With golf booming we’re well aware there’s plenty of players either returning to the game or taking it up for the first time and Lynx are an ideal brand to start with.

Taking the plunge on a new set of irons is expensive, and that’s where Lynx come in. If you have £500 to spend on a new set of mid-handicap irons, the Black Cats will serve you really well.

The heads are hollow, the shafts are KBS Tour, and our pro was really impressed with how they felt.

A more traditional 33° 7-iron loft does mean that if you try them on a launch monitor they won’t be faster or longer than a lot of the competition but, thanks to that hollow head, our data has them among our five most forgiving models within the category. That’s great performance for half the price of many of the other irons we tested.

RELATED: How good is the Mid-Handicap Ben Hogan Edge EX iron?

Mizuno JPX921 Hot Metal Pro iron

RRP: £135 per iron | mizunogolf.com

7-iron loft: 29° Forgiveness rating: 3

Availability: 4-GW

Stock shaft: Project X LZ Black 5.5

Mizuno JPX921 Hot Metal Pro Iron.

The JPX921 Hot Metal Pro iron is a really good option for golfers who struggle to live with big offset hosels within the mid-handicap iron category.

It could easily pass for a more players’ style iron, due to the lack of offset, but unlike Mizuno’s player models the heads are cast not forged.

FULL REVIEW: Mizuno JPX921 Hot Metal Pro irons

Watch: Which Mizuno JPX921 iron is right for me?

We love the head shape of the Hot Metal Pro iron and think they’re a really good fit for reasonable ball strikers. Thanks to good sized and efficient cavity back design they also protect carry distance on off centre hits too.

From a 7-iron loft that’s two-degrees weaker than the strongest (in this category) the Mizuno gave up just six yards of carry against the very longest, and by posting a drop-off of just 10 yards (5.6%) of carry distance the Pro was comfortably among our top five for forgiveness this year.

BUY IT NOW: Get the Mizuno JPX921 Hot Metal Pro irons from Scottsdale Golf

RELATED: Which Mizuno iron is right for you?

HOW THE 2021 MID-HANDICAP IRONS COMPARED ON OUR LAUNCH MONITOR

2021 mid-handicap golf irons test data from our launch monitor.

BEST HIGH-HANDICAP IRONS 2021

Who are high handicap-irons for?

Handicap range: 15+ 

The high-handicap iron (or super game-improvement iron as it’s often known) might not be the prettiest of clubs, but these brutes are meant to make the game easier for all of us. With the largest profiles, strong lofts and a huge amount of face-tech, these irons are for those who need plenty of forgiveness.

A high-handicap iron will mean you hit fewer bad shots and shorter clubs into greens - a win-win in our book. If you are looking for the best irons for beginners or high handicappers, this is the place to start. 

Related: Best Drivers for Beginners and High Handicappers

High-handicap irons are often seen as the ugly ducklings, as their designs are never quite as sleek and appealing as other options. But they boast tonnes of tech to help anyone hit better shots. In a nutshell, these irons are aimed at the golfer looking for ultimate distance and forgiveness, without worrying too much about looks or control.

Wilson Staff D9 iron

RRP: £499 (s), £599 (g) | Wilson.com

Availability: 4-PW, GW, SW

Stock shafts: KBS Max Ultralite (s), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Silver (g)

7-iron loft: 27°  Forgiveness rating: 3.5

Wilson Staff D9 iron.

TG verdict The D9’s predecessors (D7) were a huge hit for Wilson. They combined strong lofts with oversized heads, plenty of hosel offset and lightweight, higher-launching shafts.

The combination worked really well in the hands of ordinary club golfers as they delivered strong, powerful ball flights, but they were also very playable, too. And, from what we can see, the Wilson Staff D9 iron has inherited all those superb traits.

Yes, the heads are big and the soles are wide, but that’s where the forgiveness comes from that the users of these clubs will enjoy so much. We’re big fans of the easy-to-launch KBS Max shafts and how Wilson manage to bring a set of D9s in for less than £500.

If you’re new to golf in 2021, or you just want to make the game as easy as it can be without employing a set of hybrid irons, the D9s are an outstanding place to start your search and one of 2021's best high-handicap irons.

FULL REVIEW: Wilson Staff D9 irons

Honma T//World GS iron

RRP £1,155 | honmagolf.com

Availability: 4-PW, GW, SW

Stock shafts: Nippon N.S. Pro 950GH Neo (s), Honma Speed Tuned 55 (g)

7-iron loft: 29º  Forgiveness rating: 4

Honma T//World GS iron.

TG verdict: The GS in Homan's new-for-2021 T//World iron stands for ‘Gain Speed’, which spells out loud and clear how this new model targets low and moderate swing speed players.

This year the GS family has come up trumps across the board in our Best Golf Clubs testing sessions, and the iron is no exception. Our data has the Honma down as our test pro’s second longest high-handicap iron, just two yards (193 yards) behind TaylorMade’s SIM 2 Max OS (which has a 7-iron 2.5° stronger in loft), and it was among our top five for protecting carry distance on off-centre hits, too.

But what’s really attractive about the T//World GS iron is Honma’s shaft choice. The Neo (steel shaft) by Nippon is lightweight, high launching and high spinning, and it means the brand get a strong lofted iron to launch, flight, spin and stop shots even at slower speeds. For club golfers, that means getting the best of both worlds – maximum distance and stopping power.

FULL REVIEW: Honma T//World GS irons

WATCH: Best 2021 High-Handicap Iron video

TaylorMade SIM 2 Max OS iron

RRP £899 (s), £1,049 (g) | taylormade.co.uk

Availability: 4-PW, GW, SW, LW

Stock shafts: KBS Max MT 85 (s), Fujikura Ventus Blue (g)

7-iron loft: 26.5°  Forgiveness rating: 4

TaylorMade SIM2 Max OS Iron.

TG verdict: The game’s biggest brands understand how the majority of golfers who get fitted on launch monitors find it almost impossible to turn down extra carry distance. Well, if you’re looking for the longest iron in 2021, the TaylorMade SIM 2 Max OS is as good as it gets.

Yes, the OS is the strongest 7-iron (26.5°) on the market and yes that’s just 0.5° more than TaylorMade’s P7MC 5-iron. But the Cap Back design means that loft is still very playable – the data shows our test pro peaked shots out higher and got them descending towards the green at a steeper angle with the SIM2 OS than the P7MC 7-iron.

FULL REVIEW: TaylorMade SIM2 Max OS irons

Watch: The tech behind TaylorMade's SIM2 Max OS irons

So, if you’ve heard strong lofts hit low spin bullets that don’t stop on a green, think again. Yet for all that power and forgiveness, the OS has a really nice-looking head in the category. Our data has the TaylorMade SIM2 Max OS picking up 15 yards (7-iron) over the 2° weaker SIM 2 Max iron. Food for thought...

BUY IT NOW: Get the TaylorMade SIM2 Max OS irons from Scottsdale Golf

RELATED: Which TaylorMade iron is right for you?

Ping G710 iron

RRP £169 (s), £179 (g) per iron | ping.com

Availability: 4-PW, GW, SW 

Stock shafts: Ping AWT 2.0 (s), Ping Alta CB (g)

7-iron loft: 29.5°  Forgiveness rating: 4

Ping G710 iron.

TG Verdict: High-handicap irons never used to look this good, and the Ping G710s are testament to how far the category has come.

We love the hollow body and fast face construction, a design method that isn’t widely available within this category. It’s not too surprising it was the second-best iron for protecting carry distance drop-off.

FULL REVIEW: Ping G710 irons

We also like how the head covertly inspires confidence behind the ball, as the dark finish very cleverly hides the size. From a weaker loft than many, it’s unfair to expect the G710 iron to produce the very longest carry distances for our pro. However, from experience we know at more average speeds, any distance edge is likely to be tiny.

It’s also worth mentioning the Arccos shot trackers that come as standard in the G710 irons grips. As well as valuable data about your own game, Ping will use the stats to influence future club designs. Very clever stuff.

BUY IT NOW: Get the Ping G710 irons from Scottsdale Golf

RELATED: Which Ping iron is right for you?

Cleveland Launcher HB Turbo hybrid iron

RRP: £599 (s), £649 (g) | clevelandgolf.co.uk

Availability: 4-PW. GW, SW 

Stock shafts: Dynamic Gold DST 98 (s), Miyazaki C. Kua 60 (g)

7-iron loft: 30°  Forgiveness rating: 5

Cleveland Launcher HB iron.

TG verdict: If, like us, you reckon golf should be fun, then more of us should be taking the extra forgiveness hybrid irons deliver.

We’ve tested the Cleveland Launcher a number of times over the last few years and every session puts a big smile on our pro’s face, and leaves us trying to fathom why more of us don’t put hybrid irons into play (we think it’s ego).

Our forgiveness ratings are based on muscleback blades being 1 and hybrid irons being 5, with everything else fitting in-between. And it goes without saying you won’t find anything more forgiving in the iron arena than the Launcher HB Turbo.

By not having the strongest lofts and incorporating a lightweight shaft, the Launcher are very easy to flight, particularly at mid and slower speeds. It’s worth remembering 2021 is the Launcher’s two-year anniversary, so there could be a new model at some point – and that may mean there’s a bargain to be had.

FULL REVIEW: Cleveland Launcher HB hybrid irons

How the 2021 high-handicap irons compared in data on our launch monitor.

READ NEXT: Best Wedges 2021