Golf is a complex game – part physical, part tactical, part mathematical and part instinctive. If you’re new to the game, two things are important to understand. Firstly, you won’t yet be able to get to grips with its complexities. And secondly, you won’t yet need to.
When you’re starting out, you don’t need to spend an uncertain fortune on top of the range professional clubs, because those exist so more seasoned players can fine-tune their performance about which it would be counter-productive for you to know yet. It’s like getting your first car and being taught the names and functions of every valve and piston under the hood. Knowing too much too soon can be absolutely overwhelming, to no good purpose.
What you need when you start out in both car ownership and golf, is enough control to just drive.
In car ownership, you need four wheels, a decent engine, and a comfortable experience that will get you where you want to go.
The same is more or less true in golf – you need some good woods, some forgiving irons and a putter to help you get where you want to go – from tee to pin.
To cater to the needs of beginners, many clubmakers make club-sets that are specifically designed to help you get results quickly and move on.
So where do you find the best sets of irons for beginners?
Step right up to the tee. We’ve found the best sets on the market for you.
In A Hurry? Here’s our top pick.
In a hurry?
This is our Winner!
Best Set Of Irons For Beginners - Comparison Table
Best Set Of Irons For Beginners - Reviews
As a beginner to the game, you don’t need every club in the arsenal of the golfer’s bag. Yet our top pick for beginner iron sets is actually one of the more complete sets on the market.
The Callaway Strata 12-piece set gives you more than irons. It’s a driver, a 3 wood, a 4 and 5 hybrid, then irons from 6-9, a pitching wedge, a sand wedge, a putter, bag and headcovers. It’s everything you could possibly need to get from A-B in the game.
Yes, we know you’re looking for a set of irons, but the joy about the Callaway 12-piece set is that it’s available for the same price or less than many iron sets, and gives you that more complete system feel that also includes a forgiving set of the irons you need.
The Callaway irons in particular include what’s called progressive sole-width technology, which gives them a good level of forgiveness and a degree of ‘feedback’ when you use them, a transmittable knowledge of what you did right or wrong on every swing.
That’s a marker of the whole set – the driver and the 3 wood have larger sweet-spots to help overcome any initial errors you might make as a beginner in the game, and the putter has a T-style alignment which means it forgives the new golfer’s curved puts. The irons have lightweight shafts, which provide a combination of distance, forgiveness and control. That’s where the feedback comes from – you need to work extra hard or be extra prone to error to get the irons to do you wrong, and when they do, you’ll feel what you’ve done, so they can act as a corrective aid, guiding you gently towards the proper stroke with each iron.
For a beginner, the irons in the Callaway 12-piece set are friendly, forgiving and gentle guides towards improvement, which will help you towards better golf and lower handicaps before you move on to more refined, more exacting clubs.
The Cleveland Launcher HB set of irons gives you extra longevity for your golf club buck. While it’s effective in easing complete beginners into the game, you won’t necessarily stop using it once you know more about the intricacies of iron play – it’s a set that’s used by longstanding or experienced high handicappers too.
In technical terms, the Cleveland Launcher irons have a solid topline look on address that can give beginners a confidence in their choice and stroke, but more than that, the weighting of the clubs has been especially positioned low and back for an easy, forgiving launch when swung, and the cavity back on the heads of these irons delivers forgiveness of slice and top, and good control – you’re more likely to get where you think you’ve aimed with these clubs than you’d otherwise get. While they don’t actively correct your swing, they do deliver more on intent than on inherent error, which allows newcomers to the game to make progress and gain confidence from their iron play.
There’s a certain instinctive logic to the use of the Launchers too – while they live up to their name and allow new golfers to gain height and distance, the irons are designed to give you a gently changing action as you go from longer irons to shorter ones. That might well save you strokes on the round, because the performance feels instinctively right.
There’s extra launch with the Cleveland irons too, thanks to their ‘V’ sole. That means when you’re in a poor lie, there’s less likelihood of whacking away, adding to your stroke-count. The face-cup technology, already famous in Cleveland woods, has been extended to their irons in this set, combining distance with forgiveness.
The Cleveland Launcher iron set comes with two options in terms of their shafts – you can get them in steel or graphite. Given that the Clevelands have that potential longevity beyond your newness to the game, the question is whether you want to pay the extra to get the graphite shafts, or go the cheaper route with steel shafts in case you decide in spite of everything that golf’s not really the game for you.
The Cleveland Launcher iron set pours a lot of thought and technological tooling into helping out beginners on the course, from extra lift in bad lies to the logic of changing ‘tone’ as you go down the iron-numbers, from forgiveness and distance to precision and control. That means they could well be your ideal set of irons for your first experiences on the golf course, and last you beyond many other sets in your handicap-dropping journey.
Another complete set, rather than an extracted set of irons, the Wilson SGI is the ‘Burger King’ option on the list – it makes a lot of having a variety of options to choose from so you can get it ‘your way.’ You can choose various lengths, lofts, flexes and grip-sizes.
The set includes a driver, a 5 wood, a 5 hybrid, irons from 6-9, a pitching wedge, sand wedge and putter, along with the appropriate headcovers and bag.
If you’re asking yourself why two out of our top three iron sets for beginners are actually more complete club sets, the answer is a combination of several factors. Firstly, complete sets are frequently cheaper than isolated iron sets, which is a factor most beginners will consider when making their choice. But more than that, more complete sets including woods and hybrids not only address more of the golfing beginner’s needs on the course, but also frequently bring a particular philosophy of aid to the new golfer – bigger sweet spots on woods and hybrids, more forgiving weight-placements on irons and so on. So, odd though it sounds, beginners looking for a set of useful irons are often better served by the more complete club-sets than they are by isolated irons or iron-sets.
While it features much of the same thinking, if less by way of proprietary or named technology as several other sets in terms of helping beginners use their irons to achieve distance, loft, height and above all, confidence to choose and use the right iron for the right shot as part of their golf game, it’s true that part of the allure of the Wilson set – despite being listed here as the men’s set – is that its ’31 flavors’ approach means the same essential set of clubs comes in standard men’s, tall men’s, standard, tall and petite women’s, standard seniors and standard teens versions, making it perfect for the family who all decide to take up golf together!
Taller golfers in particular have rated this set, because they deliver a forgiving swing and genuinely help the new golfer to complete their rounds with dignity. While some had issues with the driver and others with the putter, the irons in this set have won more or less universal acclaim for being more forgiving than a priest with a hangover, and increasing both distance and performance consistently.
While it’s worth keeping the issues with the driver and the putter in mind, if you’re just looking for a set of irons, this is actually an inexpensive option that will give you years of reliable iron play, should you need beginner clubs that long.
We’re back in Callaway territory for the Big Bertha irons set, which also makes a virtue of variety.
Most club-sets are available in right or left-handed versions. But the Big Bertha irons allow you to change the longer irons for adjustable hybrids if you want to. You can choose the level of flex you want too – regular, senior or stiff. You can choose your shaft material to suit your own play-style. You can even change the range of irons you want in the set – you can go with the 6 iron down to the pitching wedge, or add a few more options to your bag with the 4 iron-pitching wedge set, or even the 4 iron-pitching wedge with an extra approach wedge should you need it.
So options? We got ’em all week long and twice on Sundays.
But no-one needs options if the club set doesn’t actively improve your game and give you more confidence in your choices as a new golfer.
The Big Berthas have you covered there too. First of all, Callaway has adapted the 360-degree face-cup technology that has given its beginner woods their sweet spot advantage and allowed beginners to get longer distances, and put it into these irons.
Distance equals progress in beginner golf. So by bringing the face-cup technology to their Big Bertha irons, Callaway is handing beginners not only the sense of making rapid progress, but the reality of getting greater distances than other clubs will give them. Which means a great chance of claiming the hole against competitors with a similar skill level.
What’s at least as useful is the fact that the Big Berthas have an internal standing wave in all their heads.
We knew you’d be impressed.
For anyone else who needs to get up to speed, the internal standing wave is not something you’d find on the Death Star, it’s a method of weighting the head of a golf club to promote optimum launch and spin by adding a flat, asymmetrical piece of metal to the inside of the head. No, we’d never have guessed from the name either, but it works to give beginners that extra ‘holy cow, did you see that?’ factor that their iron play usually needs.
The Big Bertha irons also come with hollow bodies, which means the weight can be distributed to the right places, for more launch and straighter shots, which makes hollow bodies the new golfer’s friend. All in all, there’s a lot to love about the Big Bertha set if you’re stepping onto a golf course for the first time – not least the feeling that the clubs have been designed and engineered specifically with your needs in mind.
Finally, let it never be said that all beginners are equal. Some need heaping handfuls of help just to gain the confidence to swing an accomplished club. Others know one end of a driver from the other and are keen to up their game. The Cobra F7 sounds like a stealth jet and more or less performs like one too, giving those golfers who’ve walked a course a few times and are looking to trade up their ‘beginner’ status a bridge to mid-handicapper status.
It’s an iron set that goes from the 5 iron to the pitching wedge and includes an approach wedge too, and the Cobra irons have thinner, stronger faces than is usual, meaning a larger sweet spot, which translates to more speed, more distance, and less sweat to deliver the power.
As if that’s not enough, you actually get even more forgiveness with these irons from the way their perimeter weighting is distributed and their spin is controlled – on the 3-6 irons, you get spin reduction. From the 7 iron down, more spin is available for a chirpy, chippier performance as you get near the pin.
The Cobra irons are at the bottom of our list of best iron sets for beginners, but only because we’re focusing more on newer players here. As a set of irons that can take you from relative golf-youth and lead you into the adolescence of your mid-handicap years, they’re absolutely superb.
Best Set Of Irons For Beginners - Buyers Guide
When you’re new to anything, from ballroom dancing to bluegrass, you’re not necessarily going to know how much you don’t know. With golf, and with irons particularly, there are one or two key things to keep in mind.
Distance Is Good
Anything that says it will make your ball go further, faster or straighter is your friend. Golf is many things, but ultimately it’s a geographical race to get your ball to the end in the fewest strokes. Always investigate distance aids.
To Swing Is Human, To Forgive Is Engineered
We’ve talked a lot about the forgiveness of beginner clubs. That’s because beginners at everything will mostly suck, because they won’t understand the finesse of what they’re about. Golf is a geographical race, yes, but it’s also part chess and part ballet. When you start, you will slice, you will top, you will hit a ball with all your might and find it goes 8 feet. The forgiveness factor is how well a club translates what you obviously meant to do to the ball, rather than telegraphing the colossal magnitude of your beginner error. The more forgiveness you can find in a set of irons, the more they will become your constant companions until you’ve played enough golf that you don’t have quite so many sins that need absolving.
Frequently Asked Questions
Aren’t hybrids better than irons for beginners?
Better is a complicated concept in golf. Hybrids are great, absolutely, but part of the challenge of golf is mastering club selection, stroke selection and all the notes available to you in your golf bag. You certainly can fill a golf bag with hybrids. But come to that, you can play golfing simulators too and stay in the warm. Part of the reason you’re committing to golf is to learn the skill of using all kinds of clubs. Grab an iron and see what you can do with it.
Why use beginner clubs at all?
Beginner clubs are confidence-builders as much as they are an introduction to the business of swinging a club and getting results. With practice comes confidence and knowledge. Beginners will probably suck, because they lack understanding and muscle memory. Beginner clubs are how they get those golfing essentials and move on.