Irons are the priciest buy a golfer makes, and the most used clubs in the bag. So choosing the best for your game is crucial.
There’s a bewildering array of styles available, all promising to help you hit straighter and further, so it can be tricky to whittle down a shortlist of sets to buy. To help, we’ve done our biggest test of the year – 42 sets of irons, hit by four golfers of different abilities, during three days at The Belfry. Every new model you care about is here, including 2014’s big new launches.
There are speed pockets, velocity slots, hybrid sets and double-undercut cavities... but the hundreds of launch-monitored shots we hit have allowed us to cut through the jargon to reveal which clubs will help you play better, whatever your handicap. Don’t buy a set without reading this first.
Start discovering the winners of our three categories here:
HOW WE DID THE TEST
We’ve split the irons in the test into three categories – Better Player (0-8 handicap), Game Improver (9-17) and Super Game Improver (18 and over). Ball striking is of course not the only factor in determining your handicap, so those figures are a guide only. We also appreciate there is plenty of crossover between models, which is why some testers hit models in more than one category.
WHO DID THE TEST
We selected two TG readers to join resident pro James Ridyard and Equipment Editor Joel Tadman to provide the final rankings for every iron. The knowledge and equipment insight of James meant he hit irons in all three categories, basing his comments on what the clubs could do for the type of player they’re aimed at. Joel (3 h’cap) hit the Better Player and Game Improver irons; Gee Gioia (10) hit the Game Improver irons while Adam Holdgate (18) hit the Game Improver and Super Game Improver models.
HOW WE RATED THEM
Our overall ratings are based on consistency, rather than outright distance or accuracy. With irons, consistent distance control is everything. We’ve published the average distance and dispersion for each tester and each club to help your buying decision, but distance alone hasn’t been included in the overall mark. Each club gets a mark out of 10 for their combined consistency of distance and dispersion, which was then added to the subjective feedback on looks, feel, forgiveness and workability. Each tester was given as much time as they wanted to warm up before testing. Performance data was collected with a 7-iron, but manufacturers also submitted 9 and 5-irons (or hybrid replacements where applicable). This gave testers an idea as to how sets progress from long to short irons, and let them comment on forgiveness and workability.
We awarded Gold, Silver and Bronze awards to the top performers in each category. Some award and non-award winners may share equal overall rank when rounded to half a decimal place.
Gold Award: Total ranking of 9.5
Silver Award: Total ranking of 9
Bronze Award: Total ranking of 8.5
MEET THE TESTERS
Uses: Ping S55
Swing speed: 89mph
Uses: Mizuno MX-23
Swing speed: 85mph
The irons we tested were:
Super Game Improvers