Best Irons for a Mid Handicap

As you improve your golfing ability, the gear you use also needs to change to accommodate your growing skill whilst also enabling it to grow even further. The mid handicap range is a very broad one and, in that range, you must strike a balance between performance and forgiveness.

We’ve found five of these balanced irons and have listed out their pros and cons, along with a small writeup detailing the iron features. There’s also a buyers’ guide and an FAQ below them so you can see which specs and properties you should look for in your mid handicap irons.

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Our Pick

Whether you’re new to a mid-handicap or eager to improve even further, we can make the buying process as quick as possible by showing you our favorite club right here. We chose the TaylorMade M4 Iron Set since they’re designed for performance from top to bottom whilst maintaining some forgiveness in their head. See these design features in some more detail below:

  • The head face is flexible in order to transfer more energy to the ball, adding some distance and accuracy, but the rigid head perimeter tightens ball dispersion to keep them flying in the direction you want.

  • These irons have an ultra-thin leading edge and a speed pocket that makes low face shots an option if you want speedy shots. Fluted hostels and a 360 undercut redistribute head mass for every other shot, furthering launch distance.

  • The shafts are KBS max 85 and Fujikura atmos red shafts that deliver a high launch and ball speed, whilst remaining durable. KBS max 85 and Fujikura atmos red shafts deliver high launch and ball speed, with a choice of stiffness level.

Best Irons for a Mid Handicap - Reviews

Our chosen irons are a set that boast a lot of brand-exclusive tech, being the TaylorMade M4 Iron Set. The main standout is TaylorMade’s RIBCOR new iron technology that adds several great features to the performance of these clubs. Face flexibility is the main advantage of RIBCOR, allowing more energy to be transferred to the ball where it translates into further distance and improved accuracy.

RIBCOR tech also makes the perimeter of the head rigid which, whilst enhancing the sound these clubs make when you connect a swing, also tightens ball dispersion so that the balls won’t deflect too far into the rough if you botch your swing.

The irons have ultra-thin leading edges and sped pockets that help ball speed, especially on low face shots. The added speed is great for distance, but their 360 undercut and fluted hostels make impressive launch distances a consistent reality.

Where the shaft is concerned, they’ll either be KBS max 85s or Fujikura atmos reds, both being reputable shafts for delivering high launches that help improving golfers build more distance.

Pros

  • Face flexibility transfers more energy to the ball, adding to distance and accuracy.
  • Perimeter of the head is rigid, enhancing sound and tightening dispersion.

  • Ultra-thin leading edge works with a speed pocket for more speed on low face shots.

  • Fluted hostel and 360 undercut redistribute head mass for consistent launch distance.

  • KBS max 85 and Fujikura atmos red shafts deliver high launch and ball speed.

Cons

  • The bounce with these clubs can get difficult.

Our next irons are from a brand familiar to any golfer who’s bought golfing equipment before, Callaway, so you can be assured of their quality. It’s the Callaway Golf 2020 Mavrik Pro Individual Iron, meaning yes, the product listing we’ve linked to is for one iron only. We’ve chosen a fairly standard right handed, steel-shafted, and stiff flex four iron since it was relatively inexpensive, though all the options you can want are on the page.

The quality of these irons is backed up by artificial intelligence that was used to design the irons with maximum playability in mind. This development resulted in features such as the 360 Face Cup that flexes and releases during swing impact to smack that ball further and faster. Tungsten-infused weights make it easier to locate the club’s center of gravity so that you can swing with great precision, and without sacrificing ball speed thanks to that Face Cup.

Inside the club heads are patented urethane microspheres that absorb unwanted vibrations during impact for a softer and more comfortable feel to these powerful irons. For how performance-oriented they are though, they’re great forgiving irons that will help any mid-handicapper lower their handicap.

Pros

  • Mavrik used AI when designing these for maximum playability.
  • 360 Face Cup flexes and releases on impact to enhance ball speed.

  • Tungsten-infused weights allow golfers to identify the center of gravity.

  • Patented urethane microspheres absorb unwanted impact vibrations.

  • Forgiving irons that are great for improvement.

Cons

  • The loft is on the smaller side of whichever size iron you have.

The third set of irons we have are the Cobra Golf 2020 King Forged Tec Irons. They have a classic, muscle back design but with a twist, that being the hollow core controls the distance these irons can launch golf balls. It does this by lowering the center of gravity. The hollow cavity is also infused with foam microspheres that not only make these irons sound great when you deliver a swing, but also feel softer when you’re doing it.

As for the head surface, it’s made with a PowerShell forged face insert that helps launch the ball higher and at faster speeds, a winning combination when trying to get as much distance out of a swing as possible. Even if you do botch a hit and strike the ball off-center, which will happen as a mid-handicapper, then the tungsten toe weights work to give those strikes more force to get more yardage out of them.

Not an advantage of the irons themselves, but these can also be used with the Arccos Caddie app via Cobra Connect, allowing you to track your progress in metrics such as accuracy and distance. It’s compatible with most smartphones, too.

Pros

  • Classic but concealed hollow core carries a low center of gravity for distance control.
  • Foam infused core creates a softer feel and sounds better when striking.

  • PowerShell face is great for sending balls flying at high launch and speed.

  • Tungsten toe weights get the most from off-center hits.

  • Cobra Connect Arccos Caddie app lets you track your progress on most smartphones.

Cons

  • Is ideal when used with a high striking rate.

Next up is another set of irons from Callaway. We’ve chosen their X-Series Iron Set in particular, named after the decorated sweet spot at the center of the irons where you should be making contact with the ball. They’re forgiving and reduce side spin to get more distance out of each strike.

These irons also benefit from Callaway’s Variable Face Thickness (VFT) tech that establishes an effective perimeter weighting around the club head. This weighting and the offset face thickness also help ball speed following a strike, which is the main factor in achieving some impressive distance. The weighting also makes the irons more forgiving, perfect for an improving mid handicapper.

The X-Series clubs are chemically milled in order to achieve a more precise center of gravity that can support smoother, softer swinging action without sacrificing impact power. The head is supported by the strong factory steel shafts that these irons come with, but it should be said that they’re only uniflex, being available in no other preferences.

Pros

  • Named for the X sweet spot on the irons which reduces side spin.
  • VFT tech in the head for faster ball speeds.

  • Perimeter-weighted club heads ensure forgiveness.

  • Chemically milled for a more precise center of gravity.

  • Incredibly strong factory steel shafts.

Cons

  • Only comes in a uniflex golf shaft.

Our last set of irons are the Titleist 718 AP3 Irons, which uses an innovative hollow-blade design and high-speed face technology to deliver a forgiving but capable distance iron.

The hollow-bladed head is mid-sized, a perfect average iron size for those in training to get some hands-on experience with an iron that still has some forgiveness to it. These work with L-Face inserts that are great for launching the balls higher and longer than other Titleist clubs, and all whilst minimizing sidespin that can disturb your shot.

There’s a progressive undercut that runs across both the head and the shaft, making the overall club lighter and more playable. This is also a good club for beginners since off-center strikes still have a lot of forward momentum behind them. This is thanks to the tungsten weighting that hits harder and so stops wayward shots from flying too far into the weeds.

Pros

  • Mid-sized, hollow-blade head has decent forgiveness.
  • L-Face insert launches shots long and high, and with minimal spin.

  • Consistent undercut runs the length of the head and shaft.

  • Tungsten weighting increases ball speed and off-center performance.

Cons

  • Not as versatile as previous AP models.

Best Irons for a Mid Handicap - Buyers Guide

How to choose the best mid handicap irons

As your golf game improves, you’ll be introduced to a wide variety of new gear that you’ll need to maintain and improve your skill level. Whether you’re new to all of this or need to get a recap on what iron features you need to pay attention to, our guide should have you covered. We’ve identified the main features that irons have, as well as explaining the different types of irons where appropriate.

Types of Irons

Iron types are usually split into groups, those usually being game-improvement, intermediate, and players’ irons for a high, mid, and low handicap skill level respectively. These aren’t concrete groups, especially when talking about the right clubs for mid handicappers, since mid-handicap is the broadest skill category.

Game-improvement irons are very generous ones intended to coach beginners into lowering that handicap, some also being larger for those who have trouble actually hitting the golf ball in the first place. Player’s irons are the other end of the skill spectrum, being relatively unforgiving ones intended for low handicappers, and so don’t feature on the above list.

The more pertinent irons for mid handicappers will be the intermediate grade ones, which have steeper angles and other performance enhancing features to hone your golf game further. These individual features will be fleshed out below, but when searching for products you should look for those that are described as intermediate or for mid handicappers.

Shaft Flex

Shafts will come in either steel or graphite, which dictate the overall weight of your clubs and their behavior during a swing. Steel shafts are the heavier of the two, naturally, and that added weight increases the club’s capacity for distance and swing speeds.

Graphite shafts have a similar end goal, being easier and lighter to swing to promote faster swinging speeds. These are usually best for those who have trouble controlling steel clubs, which tends to be elderly golfers or females.

What’s more important is the shaft flex, the bending action that golf clubs have when they’re swung. A swing can vary between most golfers, even where they may be identical on paper, and so you really need to find the right one for you. To accommodate for this, shaft flex comes in many different ratings from stiff to flexible, with those more flexible ones again being the better option for older golfers.

Flex displaces the position of the club head mid-swing, so you need to find the right flex level for you. That way you can get used to it and even anticipate it, which will get you to a low handicap in no time.

Head Back

The next feature you need to consider is the golf club head which will have either a cavity or a muscle back. As a general rule, cavity backs are more prevalent in high to mid handicap clubs since they offer more forgiveness and tend to be larger and so easier to hit.

Muscle back cavities, on the other hand, present a full club back that adds weight and follow-through to your strikes, and with it more feedback that promotes form development in training golfers. They generally are less forgiving than cavity-backed club heads, but there are other features like weighted and rigid head perimeters that shift spare metal into the right places for them to make the most from off-center strikes.

There are also thinner blade irons that many golfers like for how workable they are, but shot workability is more of a buying factor when you’re a lower side mid-handicapper, if not a low handicapper. They have a steeper learning curve, hence why a lot of players’ irons are bladed, and so we wouldn’t recommend them for mid-handicap golfing.

If you’re on the higher end of a mid-handicap, you may need to look for even more forgiveness than is usual in an intermediate iron. Otherwise you should instead try and get a muscle back that shares a lot of its features with players’ irons so you can grow into a higher skill level.

Cast V Forged Head

Our last consideration is one that largely exists outside of yours and your irons’ skill levels. Golf heads are most often made using a casting method where they’re shaped from a mold. They’re common because they’re cheap, but that doesn’t mean they’re not functional too, being generally softer. That has the all-important effect of lowering ball speed and distance, making any choice of head manufacturing methods a tactical one.

Forged heads are made with some care, being manually shaped in a metalworking process. This means they have a higher carbon content that makes them softer and much better to control, but the tradeoff is that they’re expensive and so not worth the price unless you’re serious about your golfing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a mid-handicapper use forged irons?

If you’re a mid-handicapper who has their heart set on forged irons, you would probably be best accommodated by irons with cavity-backed heads. This is because most forged irons are expensive performance irons that gear themselves more towards lower handicap players’ irons, and so a cavity back will add the forgiveness that you’ll need.

How do you clean your golf irons?

It’s always a good idea to clean your tools and your golf club is no exception. Chunks of dirt and detritus caught on the golf club change the face of the club head, and so affect the way that head impacts the golf ball. The clumps of dirt may be small but the variation in ball distance, speed, and direction often isn’t.

To clean your irons, don’t submerge them in water. Instead dip them into water for a few seconds so that the club head construction isn’t weakened. Use lukewarm water and some dishwashing liquid, the more sensitive the better but don’t your usual should do. Clear any visible debris off of the club heads with a non-abrasive brush before towel drying. You can even do this during play by keeping a towel half dry and half wet for cleaning and drying.

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