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Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Irons Review

Best Irons for High Handicappers 2024

The best of the best! We roundup the best game improvement irons that have been released for the 2024 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.

Each of these sets of irons is designed with unique features to help high handicappers achieve greater forgiveness, accuracy, and distance on the course. All of these factors could help you lower your scores and handicap this season.

Best Irons for High Handicappers 2024

Titleist T350 Irons

4.5 star review
Titleist T350 Irons Review

Reviewed by Jack Backhouse

The T350s are the biggest of the new range, with a thicker top line and wider sole than the T100, T150 and T200 irons. They look and feel powerful behind the ball, with the lofts being pretty strong. I think they’ve done a great job disguising the offset so that they still have a player’s feel, even if they are big game improvement irons. You do feel like the ball is going to cannon from the face when you stand to the ball.

My first shot with the T350 iron was an absolute rocket. Not the low rocket that I fear, a rocket that launched high, spun enough and flew for miles in the air. I couldn’t believe I managed a shot with 130mph ball speed and with a peak height of over 100ft. The Titleist T350 irons certainly had my interest now.

The technology Titleist have put in these irons is worth knowing. This head is inspired by the T200 iron that is used on tour and just builds on everything that iron does so well. It has a hollow construction that gives it some of its immense power and forgiveness as it allows them to have more room to move weight around into optimal positions for the golfer.

It has a new, stronger forged face and improved ‘Max Impact Technology’ (a power spot directly behind the sweet spot) which allows ball speeds to remain high from all contact locations, and a new tungsten brazing process which allows engineers to be more precise with locating CoG to give you that extra forgiveness.


  • Great distance
  • Incredibly powerful trajectory
  • Feels like a forged iron


  • The Spin was a bit too low for me to game.

RRP: £178.50 per steel club or £1,249.50 for a set of 7
£192.50 per graphite club or £1,347.50 for a set of 7

Shafts: 8 Featured shafts

More information: Titleist website

Callaway Paradym AI Smoke Irons

5 star review
Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke: Everything you need to know!

Reviewed by Ian Backhouse

These are great-looking irons with a sleek, sophisticated design that immediately catches your attention. They feature a refined blue/grey smoke finish that exudes elegance. When you look down at the clubhead at the address, it has quite a thin top line, which will appeal to some.

On closer inspection, the sole is not chunky too; perhaps the combined chrome base and dull grey insert play a trick on your eyes as this is a slimmer sole than you may come to expect from a club that sits perhaps more in the player’s distance category rather than the game improvement category, despite the hollow body construction.

I tried the 5 and 9 irons across all 3 models, and the results were very similar – higher ball speed, lower launch angle, lots less spin than is optimum for the club but longer carry and, given the lower ball flight, significantly longer total distance. I didn’t see big differences from normal strike shots when I looked at the dispersion numbers and factored in my normal shape/proximity to the target. However, anything slightly off-centre still flew well and didn’t stray too far from the target, which was interesting.

These great-looking irons are definitely worth considering if you are looking for distance and forgiveness, especially from off-centre strikes. The ball leaves the clubface at some speed, and the potential extra distance will, in turn, lead to different club choices. You should definitely be custom-fitted to ensure you have the right head shape (and weight)  and shaft combination for your swing speed and shot shape; I feel I would definitely have had a higher ball flight and potential carry with a different shaft – this might not have changed overall distance but would make it easier to stop the ball sooner in the summer.  As you would expect from Callaway, these clubs come with a full range of shaft and grip options and are another step forward in using technology to optimise the performance of a wide range of golfers.


  • Thin top line
  • Great ball speeds
  • Forgiving


  • Need a custom fit

RRP: £1049 4-PW

7 iron loft: (Degrees) 28

Shafts: Dozens of custom options available

More information: Callaway Website

Wilson Dynapower Forged Irons

4.5 star review
Wilson DynaPower Forged irons review

Reviewed by Matt Coles

Wilson has always been underappreciated, in my opinion, when it comes to golf clubs, as they continue to try and stand up to the might of some bigger brands. The Dynapower Forged should keep that fight going, with power and forgiveness both in abundance.

Distance is always a part of iron play, though, and Wilson has certainly thought about that in their Dynapower Forged irons. 8620 carbon steel has been used to construct each club carefully, while the variable face thickness – which changes up and down the set – has been added to ensure faster ball speeds.

This can be felt from the off when hitting the longer irons. You can tell there is a bit of extra weight at the bottom of each club, and once you get used to it, that can be used to great effect, helping launch the ball higher and further.

The only reason that the Wilson DynaPower Forged irons do not receive a 5 out of 5 from me is the wide sole. It just doesn’t suit my eye visually, but that is just a personal preference. There will be plenty of people out there who do like the look of it, and when you look at the data, there’s not much else you can argue against, really!

As I said in the summary, if you are a mid to high-handicapper who is looking to bring those scores down in 2024, don’t look any further. The Wilson DynaPower Forged irons are certainly the right ones for you!


  • Sharp and clean
  • Forgiving
  • Low dispersion rates
  • Ideal for high-handicappers


  • Slightly head heavy due to wider base

RRP: £900 for a set of 7 clubs (steel shafts 4-PW)
£834 for a set of 6 clubs (graphite shafts 5-PW)

Shafts: KBS Tour Lite steel shafts / Mamiya UST Recoil DART 75 graphite shafts

More information: Wilson website

Ping G430 Irons

4.5 star review

Reviewed by Hannah Holden

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
  • Controllable


  • Not as long as other models on the market

RRP: £150 (steel) £160 (graphite)

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

RRP: £150 (steel) £160 (graphite)

TaylorMade Qi Irons

5 star review
TaylorMade Qi irons review

Reviewed by Hannah Holden

As someone gaming an iron on the smaller end of the spectrum, Hannah thinks that these irons look really good from the back, they would sit nicely in the bag, and you can’t really tell they are a game improvement iron. TaylorMade have put chrome plating on these game improvement heads for the first time, so the clubs should wear much less and keep a premium look for a much longer period of time.

These irons are so packed with new technology it’s going to be hard to cover it all. So let’s start with Hannah’s performance with the clubs. Hannah’s current P7MC 7 iron flies around 153 yards, and P770 5 iron carries 175, which are numbers that work for the gapping into fairway woods and wedges. With the Qi irons, Hannah averaged in the 170s carry with a 7 iron and then over 190 yards with the 5 iron, a 20-yard gain per iron.

What was very interesting is that despite distinctly stronger lofts in the Qi irons than in Hannah’s current gamers, the Qi irons achieved a higher peak height, so they would still have plenty of control hitting into greens. This is a misconceptions golfers have with game improvement clubs, they think the ball comes out like a low rocket and the increase in yardage comes at a cost to control.

These are brilliant distance irons, and with a ‘straight distance’ design to stop the long irons going right, they should absolutely feature at your next iron fitting and be considered for your bag in 2024.


  • The back of the club looks great in the bag.
  • Long distance
  • Performed really well on the course in real-world golf


  • Thicker soles may not suit the feel of all players.

RRP: £143 per iron (steel) £157 per iron (graphite)

Shafts: KBS Max MT 85 steel shafts (S, R), Fujikura’s Ventus Blue graphite shafts (7S, 6R & 5A

Lofts: 7i – 28.0°

More information: TaylorMade Website

Srixon ZX4 MKII Irons

4.5 star review
Srixon ZX MK II irons

Reviewed by Jack Backhouse

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

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

4.5 star review
Callaway Paradym irons

Reviewed by Hannah Holden

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

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 Darkspeed irons

5 star review
Cobra DarkSpeed irons review

Reviewed by Matt Coles

From the outset, these clubs look fantastic. The dark stainless steel finish differentiates the Cobra DarkSpeed irons from most other brands, and it’s a gorgeous look. That drew me in straight away, and immediately, I wanted to hit these clubs. When the club is set behind the ball, you can see there is plenty of space for the ball to hit the middle of the clubface, which promises much.

Cobra has used a hollow body construction on the DarkSpeed irons, which gives an enhanced feel while also giving players substantially more distance with every club. The DarkSpeed irons feature a Pwrshell Hot Face. Hot stands for Highly Optimised Technology. The face insert takes ball speed even further to allow for greater distance.

With my current irons, my average carry with a 7-iron is around 165 yards. With the Cobra DarkSpeed irons during this test, that pushed up towards 180 yards.

Cobra DarkSpeed irons did give me much more confidence with that extra bit of distance. It would mean taking a club less for those approaches, which should make it somewhat easier to not only hit the green but to hold it as well. The descent angles with shorter irons were all north of 40 degrees, which would give the ball more of a chance to stop and spin when required.


  • Incredible distance
  • Strong lofts
  • Look sublime


  • None

RRP (Variable): £849 for a steel shaft set (4-PW / 5-GW)
£949 for a graphite shaft set (5-GW)

RRP (One Length): £849 for a steel shaft set (5-GW)
£949 for a graphite shaft set (5-GW)

Shafts: 6 Featured shafts

More information: Cobra Website

Mizuno JPX 923 Pro Irons

4.5 star review
mizuno golf clubs

Reviewed by Jack Backhouse

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.


  • LONG
  • 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

RRP: £175 per iron

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

Best Irons for High Handicappers 2024

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 2024, 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. 

If you’re looking to upgrade your golf bag why not check out our other guides for high handicappers…

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 2024: 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.

National Club Golfer and National Club Golfer magazine

What brand produces the best irons for high handicappers?

All of the products in this best irons for high handicappers 2024 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.

Nicola Slater

Nicola Slater

Nicola recently graduated from Stirling University where she studied Sports Studies, she wrote her dissertation on barriers to participation for women in golf.
Nicola plays her golf at Hickleton Golf Club and has recently started her professional career on the LET Access Tour. Having played for Yorkshire Ladies and has represented England at junior and senior level.

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