Best Irons for Low Handicap

The skill ceiling for golf is pretty high, but we’re sure we don’t need to tell you that. Even the more skilled golfers, if they want to see further improvement, will need to have gear that performs on their level and helps them get even better. We’re here to help, and that’s why we’ve found five golfing irons that are great for those with a low handicap.

We’ve not only found them but we’ve also listed out their advantages and disadvantages so you can easily see them. Beneath our suggested products, we’ve included a buyers’ guide so you can brush up on your iron specs and make sure you get the best ones for you.

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Our Pick

If you’re in a hurry to lower your handicap even further, you’ll be glad to see that we’ve got our top choice right here. Check it out, so you can be on your way as soon as possible. We chose the Callaway Golf 2019 Apex Pro Smoke Iron Set, not only for the fact it’s a set from a reputable golf manufacturer but also because they boast a multi-material construction. See why we like them below:

  • The construction of these irons, as we mentioned above, is multi-material. They’re forged from 1025 mild carbon steel with urethane microspheres and 50g of tungsten infused into them, adding softness but optimizing shot-making too.

  • Features Callaway’s renowned 360 Face Cup allows spin control whilst guaranteeing extra distance. They also have a Tour-influenced design that experienced golfers are sure to find familiar.

  • Stylish black PVD finish looks great and adds an extra layer of wear-resistance to the irons.

Best Irons for Low Handicap - Reviews

The top irons we would recommend for skilled low handicappers are the Callaway Golf 2019 Apex Pro Smoke Iron Set. Not only are they a set of irons from a big name in the golfing market, but the Smoke version of these irons have a black finish that’s also our favorite in terms of looks.

The Apex Pro Smoke Irons are forged from 1025 mild carbon steel that’s treated with urethane microspheres that guarantee a soft feel despite being forged to a tour performance standard. It’s the first product that Callaway have put urethane microspheres into, but what isn’t new is their renowned 360 Face Cup ensures both distance and spin control through that distance.

There’s also about 50g of tungsten in each iron thanks to their multi-material construction. These increase the hardness and force with which your strikes impact the ball, optimizing your shot-making capabilities.

The overall construction of the irons is inspired by the classic Tour-influenced design that some skilled golfers will be familiar with, having a straighter leading edge, higher toe, a thin top line, and a smooth hostel transition.

Pros

  • Forged 1025 mild carbon steel body with urethane microspheres.
  • Callaway renowned 360 Face Cup ensures consistent distance and spin control.

  • Tungsten-infused, multi-material construction promotes optimal shot-making.

  • Classic Tour-influenced design with a straighter leading edge, higher toe, etc.

  • Stylish black PVD finish.

Cons

  • Loft angles aren’t as good as they could be.

Our second set of irons are the 2018 Cobra Golf King Forged Tec Black Irons. They’re a pack of stylish black golf irons that are forged from 4140 stainless steel that increases ball deflection during impact, resulting in faster speeds which translate into increased distance.

That distance can work against you if your game is off, so there are high-density tungsten weights at both the heel and the toe in order to add some forgiveness and precision to your strikes. Don’t be afraid to go hard with these irons, too, since they’re coated with Cobra’s durable satin Demonized Black Metal finish that adds wear-resistance and looks cool, to boot.

These irons are for golf clubs, not the other kind of clubs, so expect them to have sensitivity to match its strength. The main way these irons achieve this is via carbon fiber medallions that dampen vibrations that get sent through your club during impact. This has the effect of softening the feel of your strikes, but still feels solid.

You also get more literal feedback with these irons thanks to the Cobra Connect technology, where electronic sensors track your swinging statistics. This allows you to see your improvement in a quantified form, handy for more experienced handicappers whose improvement will be more subtle.

Pros

  • Forged from 4140 stainless steel that increases ball deflection.
  • High-density tungsten weights at the heel and toe add forgiveness and precision.

  • Cobra’s durable satin black DBM finish looks slick and is wear-resistant.

  • Carbon fiber medallions dampen vibrations during impact for a softer feel.

  • Cobra Connect tech tracks your improvement with stats.

Cons

  • Works best with higher strike rates.

Our third set of irons are the Mizuno MP-20 Golf Iron Set, which have chassis made with pure 1025E mild carbon steel with copper and nickel chrome plating to make them easier on the eyes. The layer of soft copper also produces a nice impact sensation, allowing you feedback to improve your swinging. The head geometry of these irons is fine tuned with harmonic impact tech that also improves the feel and feedback that these irons give you with each strike.

The shaft of these irons is a premium KBS s-taper stiff shaft which controls the ball spin at tee-off, allowing you more freedom to execute most shots you should want to do. The backs of these irons also have a titanium muscle which distributes weight across the head to add some follow-through to your swings.

The muscle is also supposed to add some forgiveness, but we found the irons to be lacking in that area. They usually require a center strike in order to get the best swings from them. A slightly off-center hit can drastically change the trajectory that the ball takes, but hopefully you’re a skilled enough golfer to make this a non-issue.

Aside from titanium, there’s also some 12g tungsten toe weights that make launch much easier and more natural.

Pros

  • Made with pure 1025E mild carbon steel chassis that’s plated in copper and nickel chrome.
  • Harmonic impact technology fine-tunes golf head geometry.

  • Titanium muscle spreads weight for forgiveness and follow-through.

  • 12g tungsten toe weight provides an ease of launch.

  • Premium KBS s-taper stiff shaft controls ball spin.

Cons

  • Not a very forgiving iron set.

The next iron set we have for you is another option by Mizuno, the JPX919 Forged Golf Iron Set. They’re a set of CNC back-milled irons, meaning they have minimum face thickness so that they can slice through the air faster, and so increase your golf balls' speeds upon impact.

The name of these irons, JPX919 Forged, allude to the fact that these irons were enhanced by a grain flow forging process that increases grain density, providing a soft but solid feel with every strike. During the forging process, these stainless-steel irons were also infused with boron to make it 30% stronger.

They also have premium vibration and sound when swinging, enough to make your club feel Tournament-grade. This is provided by an opened heel portion in the irons which also has the more practical effect of stabilizing the club. It also looks great thanks to the chrome plating and pearl finish, particularly when the sunlight catches it.

Pros

  • CNC back-milled iron faces are minimum thickness for faster ball speeds.
  • Dense impact area thanks to enhanced grain flow forging process.

  • Heel portion is open for enhanced stability.

  • Boron infused into the steel makes it 30% stronger.

  • Pearl brush finish makes it look great in the sunlight.

Cons

  • Not much innovation compared to the previous JPX900 models.

Our last irons for low handicappers are the TaylorMade P760 Iron Set, a pack of irons that, like many of the rest, come with options for flex and hand orientation. It’s from the P7 series, the only products TaylorMade have manufactured for better players to use. That means these are precision-engineered for serious performance play, perfect for low handicappers whose high skill ceiling demands an accurate club with great shot-making ability.

The irons are forged from 1025 carbon steel and are made in one piece so that they don’t sacrifice any of their structural integrity to connectors and joints. This construction feels soft to play with and doesn’t get in the way of the more pleasant aspects of swinging it. It also feels lightweight since the iron faces are made from SUS630 stainless steel that creates more speed on impact without losing accuracy.

Every iron body has a hollow cavity construction into which SpeedFoam is injected, stabilizing the club and allowing for the iron faces to be made thinner to generate faster speeds and more power, and so further distances.

These aren’t the irons you want if you need some altitude to your game since they generate distance by maintaining a low altitude combined with a high spin rate. Some have also expressed dissatisfaction with how these irons look, specifically in comparison to some of the other TaylorMade irons out there, but this is largely subjective, and we think it’s the performance that ultimately matters.

Pros

  • Engineered for precision and performance.
  • One-piece forged 1025 carbon steel construction feels soft but playable.

  • Light SUS630 iron face creates more speed whilst maintaining accuracy.

  • SpeedFoam tech is injected into every iron.

Cons

  • Not the irons you want if you require altitude.
  • Some have also called them ugly in comparison to other TaylorMade products.

Best Irons for Low Handicap - Buyers Guide

How to choose the best irons for a lower handicap

Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or some kind of golf prodigy, it’s wise to brush up on your knowledge of golfing irons so you know what to look for. We’ve separated the irons into the types you’ll find on the market, the type of head back they have, whether that head is forged or cast, and how flexible the shaft is.

Types of Irons

The types of irons are generally separated into skill groups and the training intent of those skill groups, from super game-improvement and standard game-improvement for beginners to train quickly, intermediate irons for mid handicappers, and players’ irons for experienced golfers with a high skill ceiling.

Game-improvement irons obviously have a lot of forgiveness and are easy to use, with super game-improvement variants also being larger to guarantee that even the greenest golfers can make a half-decent shot. Intermediate irons introduce steeper angles and more performance to the equation, but the above irons are players’ irons.

Players’ irons are the recommended iron models for experienced golfers who need ideal, high-performance instruments with a lower center of gravity to guarantee further improvement. They give the player more control, taking the proverbial training wheels off so that the golfer can shape shots and get in tune with their feel.

Head Back

Another type of iron characterization is the golf club head, mainly whether it’s cavity back, muscle back, or a blade. These also slightly coincide with performance, with cavity backs being very forgiving and even coming in oversized versions for starting golfers.

Muscle backs and blade golf heads are more relevant when discussing low handicap irons. Muscle back irons don’t have a cavity in them, instead presenting the full club back that adds to the feedback the clubs give you, allowing golfers-in-training to get a feel for the correct striking and develop their form. They require the hits to be more on-center, however, and they have a lower trajectory thanks to a higher center of gravity.

Blade irons are preferred by many golfers since they allow for a lot of workability. They provide a softer impact whilst requiring a steeper learning curve, making them another great option for low handicappers. Once a golfer has mastered a blade iron, it’s almost a guarantee that they’re well on their way to a low handicap.

Cast V Forged Head

A vast majority of golfers use cast heads, where molten metal is molded into the desired shape. They’re cheaper than the forged variants but can be softer, which is better for feel but reduces ball speed and distance upon impact, so that’s a tradeoff any golfer needs to consider when deciding between these two head manufacturing methods.

Forged heads are fashioned from working softer metal into the desired shape, often having higher amounts of carbon content that provide a soft feel on impact. They allow for great control but are the more expensive of the two, often only worth justifying the price tag if you’re a low handicapper who needs a club made with the same effort that went into their training.

Shaft Flex

First you need to make the distinction between steel and graphite shafts to decide which ones you want. Steel ones are heavier, though you can probably guess that yourself, and the added weight adds to swing speed and so the distance that you can get. If you have problems with distance, then steel shafts can be a great aid.

Lighter graphite shafts are better for female or older golfers who may find steel clubs harder to control. That’s the main distinction, since capable golfers also get an increased swing speed out of these.

The flex of a shaft is the more important consideration when it comes to this part of the club. Flex is the bending action that the golf goes through during a swing. Golf swings are different between each person, so flex comes in a variety of ratings to try and have every swinging type covered. The swinging types go from extra stiff and stiff to regular and more flexible ones like senior and ladies. 

Since the head must impact the ball in a very specific way to get the best shot, especially when using clubs that require more skill to use, the wrong flex can put the head out of alignment and ruin your shot if you don’t factor it into your swing. Know your swinging type, which we’re assuming you do if you’re on the hunt for low handicap irons and get the right flex level that works for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you clean golf irons?

Good iron cleaning practices are essential for making sure that your swing impacts have the cleanest impacts that generate the best backspin. First off, never submerge your club heads in water. Dipping them quickly into the water is okay since this doesn’t weaken the clubhead. 

Instead you should clean your irons with some warm water and your favorite dishwashing liquid. Clean the grooves out using a non-abrasive brush until any visible dirt or debris stuck to the club heads are gone. Towel-dry them with some care. During play you can use a half-wet towel to clean, brush, and dry your clubs between uses.

Are forged irons scratch resistant?

We’ve mentioned and recommended forged irons quite a lot in the article above, so this is a fair question. Forged irons aren’t scratch resistant by virtue of the fact they were made by a forging process. 

Any scratch resistance will come about from other features like a wear-resistant coating like our two products above have, but even this doesn’t make your iron guaranteed scratch-resistant. If you’re concerned about scratching you’ll have to look at the materials used to determine the general durability of the club.

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