The best of the best! We roundup the best game improvement irons that have been released for the 2023 season
Golf can be a challenging sport, especially for high handicappers who are still developing their skills. One way to improve your game is by investing in the right set of golf irons.
In this article, we’ll be taking a closer look at some of the best golf irons for high handicappers in 2023 from top brands in the industry. These include the Mizuno JPX 923 Pro irons, Ping G430 irons, TaylorMade Stealth HD irons, Srixon ZX4 MKII irons, Callaway Paradym irons, and Cobra Aerojet irons.
Each set of irons is designed with unique features to help high handicappers achieve greater forgiveness, accuracy, and distance on the course.
Best Irons for High Handicappers 2023
Mizuno JPX 923 Pro Irons
These irons sit beautifully in your bag. The matte chrome finish is subtle but there’s just enough shine for these to really catch your eye. For a cavity backed club the 923 Hot Metal Pro has a relatively compact foot print that will suit the eye of a lot of different standard of players.
These irons are long. I don’t just mean occasionally long. I mean really long all of the time. Straight away from my first shots with the 9-iron, the balls were rocketing from the face at speeds I couldn’t really believe. Embarrassingly I even reset my Flightscope just to make sure what I was seeing was real.
Mizuno have used a different 4335 Nickel Chromoly metal to make the heads of the JPX 923 Hot Metal Pro irons, which is 35% stronger than on the previous models. This has allowed them to make the faces even thinner than before, which of course means ‘springier’ and hotter ball speeds.
- Brilliant sound
- Small performance drop off on miss hits
- increased distance might cause a gapping problem at the bottom end of the bag
- Read the full Mizuno JPX 923 Hot Metal Pro Review HERE
Lofts: 4i 19, 5i 22, 6i 25, 7i 28.5, 8i 33, 9i 37.5, PW 42.5
Shaft: KBS Tour $ Taper light – R, S
Custom shafts: 21 Custom shaft options available
More information: Mizuno website
Ping G430 Irons
This club almost looks unrecognisable. Although it has that typical high square-toe Ping shaping, the back of the club head is really different. I love how they have designed the Pwrflex in the back of the club head to give this product a completely new more modern feel.
The most important thing about game improvement clubs is that they are easy to hit. These definitely tick all the boxes in this area. They are high launching, easy to strike and consistently go in the right direction.
I really like the fact these are fairly neutral down the target line and balance forgiveness with a decently high spin rate and launch so you can still control the golf ball.
Overall these are some of the most consistent game-improvement irons I have tested this year. Ping has done it again and produced an exceptional game improvement iron that will only aid performance.
- Extremely consistent irons
- Easy to launch
- Not as long as other models on the market
- RELATED: Read our full Ping G430 irons review
Right-handed lofts: 8°, 9°, 10°, 11°
Ping stock shafts: Hzrdus Red CB, Tensei AV Blue with XLink Tech, Hzrdus Black, Tensei 1K Black
Fitted shafts (no upcharge) Graphite Design Tour AD UB, Tour AD DI, Tour AD IZ
More information: Ping Website
TaylorMade Stealth HD Irons
These look as much like a hybrid as an iron, but I think that oversized design is really comforting and confidence-inspiring for a higher handicap golfer. I really like the design continuity from the original Stealth irons to these.
Straight away, once I started hitting these, it was easy to see how effortless it was to get high-launching shots across the set. They also felt a lot better than I expected. Yet off-centre strikes feel slightly harsh but the tech in the head to dampen vibrations certainly made those centre strikes feel nice and soft.
My longest shot carried up at 184.7 yards which is pretty impressive for me with a 5-iron. I think the longer you used these and the more you got used to the size and shot shape the more distance you would get out of these
The whole point of this club is to have something easy to launch and just really easy to hit, this was clear throughout the range. These have to be some of the easiest-to-hit products on the market.
- Super forgiving on off-centre strikes
- Very hard to hit heavy
- Improve consistency
- Draw Bias
- Big-looking club head
- RELATED: Read our full TaylorMade Stealth HD irons review
Stock shafts: KBS Max 85 MT (steel) & Fujikura NX Red/Silver (graphite
Grip: Lamkin Crossline 360 Black/Red 47g 0.600 Ribbed
More information: Taylormade Website
Srixon ZX4 MKII Irons
The first strike of the ZX4 MKII blew me away. I was expecting the fairly common feeling of an explosive, low-spinning strike but I was surprised by a feeling of a forged player’s iron in my hands that left me wondering whether I’d picked up the right clubs or not.
These irons were bonkers long but I do wonder how well I or another player who naturally hits the ball low would find the long irons.
I do think that these irons have a great potential to help short hitters gain some much-needed distance, or for a mid to low handicapper to play in a split set. They look so similar to the ZX5 MKII and ZX7 MKII irons that you could seamlessly blend them into a split set for more control with the short irons and more forgiveness with the longer clubs.
- Forged face feels so soft
- Crazy long ball speeds
- Forgiving on off-centre strikes
- Super strong lofts produced a pretty low flight for me which may not suit everyone
- RELATED: Read our full Srixon ZX4 MKII irons review
Lofts: PW 43°, 9i 39°, 8i 33°, 7i 28.5°, 6i 25.5°, 5i 23°, 4i 21°
Shafts: KBS Tour Lite (steel) Diamana ZX Graphite (graphite)
More information: Srixon Website
Callaway Paradym irons
These irons are so attractive. Callaway have done such a great job with the styling. When you look at them on a shelf they really stand out. I love the navy and gold colourway and think the whole club looks premium and smart.
These irons are extremely hot from the centre of the club face and I had long carry distances throughout the bag. The 162-yard carry distance with a 7-iron is over 7 yards longer than with my current irons.
The average spin rate with the 7-iron was 5434. This is clearly lower than the 7000 rpm that you might expect from a blade or smaller players 7-iron. But the height was high enough to get the ball to stop on the green with a good level of control.
Overall these are a really impressive set of irons. They are exceptionally long, so they are perfect for players who have lost distance or who want to hit the golf ball further. But the big thing that impressed me is just how well Callaway has balanced having more ball speed and distance without losing control. I think Callaway have nailed it with the Callaway Paradym irons
- Long carry distances
- Fast ball speeds across the face
- Forgiving on off centre strikes
- Not as workable as other models
- RELATED: Read our full Callaway Paradym irons review
Lofts: 4 20°, 5 23°, 6 26°, 7 29°, 8 33°, 9 37°, PW 42°, AW 47°, 52 52°
Stock shafts: MCA Aldila Ascent PL Blue, Project X Hzrdus Silver, True Temper Elevate MPH 95
Grip: Callaway Universal
More information: Callaway website
Cobra Aerojet irons
These are some of the longest irons on the market, perfect for players who are looking to pick up extra yardage.
What was pleasing was I didn’t give up any dispersion in return for that distance. In fact, my 5-iron had the tightest dispersion of the test, with under 10 yards front-to-back dispersion and just over 5 yards left-to-right dispersion. All the data with this 5-iron is absolutely ridiculous.
Overall, I really enjoyed testing these irons. The stand-out factor is definitely the distance, but I think these are a real all-rounders and are contenders to be the best game-improvement irons this season.
- Exceptionally long
- Relatively compact shaping
- Forgiving on off centre strikes
- Not as workable as other models
- RELATED: Read our full Cobra Aerojet irons review
Lofts: 18.5° 4, 20.5° 5, 23.5 ° 6, 26.5° 7, 31° 8, 36° 9, 41.5° PW, 47.5° GW, 54° SW
Stock shafts: KBS PGI 85, KBS PGI 75, KBS PGI 65, KBS Tour Lite
Grip: Lamkin Crossline
More information: Cobra website
Best Irons for High Handicappers 2023
Finding the right set of golf irons can make all the difference for high handicappers looking to improve their game. With top brands like Mizuno, Ping, TaylorMade, Srixon, Callaway, and Cobra offering specialised golf irons for high handicappers in 2023, there are plenty of options to consider.
With features like improved forgiveness, larger sweet spots, and more loft, these golf irons can help high handicappers achieve greater accuracy and distance on the course.
Consider your own skill level and preferences to determine which set of irons is the right fit for you, and get ready to enjoy improved performance and greater confidence on the course.
How do we test irons?
At National Club Golfer we are passionate about producing accurate and thorough reviews and make sure our testing process is rigorous so we get a good understanding of how each club performs.
Each iron is hit with Pro V1 golf balls to allow us to collect launch monitor data with our in-house TrackMan and Flightscope. After this it is time to head out onto the golf course and test the clubs in practice and competition play. We do this across a variety of golf clubs in our base of Yorkshire.
What is important when buying a new iron?
When buying a new set of irons it is important to know what you want from that club to help you improve.
Most people are looking for more distance, each iron model is optimised for different things. Depending on your swing and your impact conditions, you may not actually hit the model that is advertised as the longest, the furthest. So if you want more distance it is always worth giving different models a hit before you make a decision.
For most golfers, especially high handicappers, something that is more forgiving is going to yield the best performance. Most forgiving golf irons have a slightly bigger club head with perimeter weighting for high MOI. They also have a center of gravity that is further back to help players get more height on their shots.
Do you want something that is draw bias? There are so many models out there to help with slice correction, it would be silly not to take a look if you see your ball disappearing into the right trees too often. A closed face and draw bias weighting can get you hitting straighter shots in no time at all.
Don’t forget about the shaft either. Getting the correct shaft can help dial in your spin, launch angle and can also give you some extra distance. Having a club fitting or trying different options with your local pro can really improve the performance of your new driver.
Best Irons for High Handicappers 2023: FAQ’s
What irons are best suited for high handicappers?
High handicappers will often be best suited to game improvement irons as they are designed to help players hit the ball straighter, higher and further. They’re also the most forgiving of any type of irons available, whilst even including some of the longest irons you can get your hands on. This is generally achieved with a lower centre of gravity and stronger lofts. Distance AND forgiveness? Yes, please.
What handicap are game improvement irons best suited for?
These type of irons are ideal if you’re a high handicap golfer. Typically, if you’re shooting above 85 or only occasionally hitting a shot in the sweet spot then they’re also the go-to. Handicap-wise, mid-to low handicappers will also benefit from these clubs. And as we know, the average handicap is between 14 and 20, hence why they’re so popular on the shelves!
They are also great for players with slower swing speeds as they can help with higher launch, which these golfers can struggle with, especially in longer irons.
What brand produces the best irons for high handicappers?
All of the products in this best irons for high handicappers 2023 article are picked from the brands that offer the best-performing game improvement irons.
Do any pros use game improvement irons on tour?
Unsurprisingly, most PGA Tour pros don’t opt for game-improvement irons. As we covered earlier, the sort of irons are best suited for mid-handicap golfers looking to – quite literally – improve their game.
The most elite golfers in the world tend to game players’ irons or blades. These forged irons are thinner, have a smaller sweet spot and therefore are much harder to hit consistently than game improvement irons. From time to time some pros do add game improvement clubs in as driving irons for a more forgiving option off the tee.
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