Frustrated with your iron game?
If you face the fairway game with a bag full of unsympathetic, unhelpful ironware, you can quite easily lose the will to play. It can too easily become a chore, having to make the most precise of choices and body movements, only for your irons to send the ball screaming almost anywhere but where you intended it to go.
Relax. It doesn’t have to be this way. There’s a better world out there.
There are a whole host of irons that understand your predicament, your habits. Irons that understand what you need to be the kind of golfer you want to be.
Helpful irons. Forgiving irons. Irons that can drop your stroke game and your handicap.
Step this way, O dreamer of frustrated iron dreams. We have the irons that can help you.
In a hurry?
This is our Winner!
Most Forgiving Irons - Reviews
Wait, what? Have we just conned you through the portals of our Mystic Ironware Shop Of Dreams only to sell you a generic full set of clubs?
You might think so, but there’s method in our chicanery, we promise.
The point about the Strata packaged sets is that they’re designed to give you everything you need to get round any course you care to name. They’re designed to be sets you can pick up and hit the links with, even if you’re brand spanking new to the game.
You can’t sell a proposition like that if you have a set full of cantankerous, tantrum-throwing irons. The single most distinctive selling point of the Strata packaged sets is that they make things as easy as is humanly possible. That includes a sweet, helpful, forgiving set of irons.
Irons with a cheat mode or two. In this set, the 4 and 5 irons are actually 4 and 5 hybrids, giving you better loft, better play from the rough, more distance per shot and better accuracy. Added into a set of standard 6-9 irons, plus a pitching wedge, sand wedge and putter (as well as the necessary driver and 3 wood), the hybrids are a particular bonus.
What’s at least as much, you get two forgiveness-boosts in this set from the fact that the Strata sets are designed for absolute beginners. Firstly, they’re in no sense overthought or overdesigned – they’re built for and reward a certain style of instinctive, uncomplicated play, such as most newcomers bring to the game. They come with a lightweight iron shaft with regular flex, that will give you good swing speed whatever your level. And they all bring ‘high flight’ technology to your game, which means they’ll give you loft, they’ll give you distance, and they’ll forgive as much of your tendency to slice as physics will allow them to.
Result? Uncomplicated, highly swingable, reliable irons that are very likely to get your ball where you want it.
Extra result? The more you use these irons, the more accustomed you’ll become to getting your ball down the fairway. That becomes a virtuous circle. The more confident you are of good iron play, the more regularly you’ll achieve good iron play. And if your Strata irons are doing the job, you’ll have to have a fairly convincing reason to ditch them and move on.
The second forgiveness-boost you get from this set is that they’re priced for absolute beginners too.
They’re basic, they’re unpretentious, and they’re priced to allow newcomers to take a chance on the game without feeling like they blew the mortgage payments for three months.
Highly competent grab-and-go irons with extra swing speed and slice forgiveness built in for newcomers, at a significantly lower price than many more complicated iron sets. What’s going to be wrong with that?
Not a whole heck of a lot, which is why the Strata sets are our top pick for most forgiving irons.
Yes, it’s another full set. Yes, it’s another full set meant for absolute beginners to the game. But yes, equally with the Strata sets, both of those things play in its favor in terms of having gloriously forgiving irons on board.
The Wilson complete sets actually make a virtue of initial complexity, being available in up to thirteen configurations of size, flex, grip and the like, among them both a teen length and a senior flex. When you get down to the business of playing golf with them though, many of the same advantages that pushed the Strata sets to the top of our list apply.
Here you get only one iron hybrid, the 5-hybrid, with both 3 and 5 woods acting as compensation.
The irons here are designed for uncomplicated golfing, with distance and forgiveness baked into their construction. There’s very little overthinking required. They’re competent, lightweight irons designed to get you swinging and enjoying your fairway play, rather than agonizing about it, pressurizing yourself, and slicing from nerves alone.
One advantage the Wilson has over the Strata is that the sand wedge in this set has ‘Easy Launch’ technology in its construction. That’s self-explanatory. If you need to use a sand wedge, lift and launch are going to be all-important. With the Wilson, you’ll be on the green in no time.
Again, as with the Strata sets, the price on the Wilson complete set is aimed at encouraging complete newcomers in and instilling a pocket-friendly love of the game. Effective, easily swingable irons that get you from fairway to pin with a minimum of fuss but quite a lot of fun? Check out the Wilson SGI complete set.
TaylorMade has lots of skin, not to mention lots of money in the game of making forgiving irons. The likes of Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy swear by TaylorMade clubs, and it’s easy to argue that if it’s good enough for them, it’s more than good enough for any golfer on the links.
The M6 irons start to take us into high-tech design territory and away from the ‘Just hit it!’ school of ironmaking. In particular there are two elements which elevate the M6 irons onto our list.
Firstly, there’s the ‘speed bridge.’ The speed bridge is a clever bit of technology that gets you more speed – and crucially, more distance – every time you swing an M6 iron. You still get a smooth, clean contact, but there’s extra kapow in your stroke. More speed and more distance makes for shorter rounds and more slightly forced applause from your opponents. It’s good to be alive with an M6 in your hand.
And secondly, the M6 irons each come with a fluted hosel and a 360 degree undercut.
You’re impressed already, aren’t you?
You probably should be – the combination of the fluting and the undercut lowers the center of gravity of the M6, meaning more loft and a stronger, straighter shot. It’s essentially both a distance-maker and a forgiveness engine all in one.
All this high-tech design means the M6 is in a different league from our two list-leading sets. It’s a set of irons you buy to gain advantage, rather than to burn through the course in simple, effective shots. That means it’s probably of most use for those on the borderline between high handicap and mid-handicap play.
The M6 irons come in two options – you can either get a set that runs from the 5-iron to the pitching wedge, or you can add an approach wedge to the set for those tricky shots onto uphill greens. It’s not so much a grab-and-go set as a precision forgiveness and distance tool for when those elements of your play need either improving or a handy boost.
Cleveland is acknowledged in the golfing world as a master of wedges.
It would be an error for which you’d hit yourself in the ankles with irons forever though if you didn’t at least take a look at the Launcher CBX iron set.
It comes in a commendable number of options – left or right-handed, regular, stiff or senior flex, and with or without an additional dual wedge for troublesome approach shots, on top of the standard 4-iron-pitching wedge set. That means right from the word go, this is a set that wants you to succeed as much as possible, with as much customization as you can possibly have.
When you start looking at the irons themselves, you can’t help but notice the uber-sole they have. Why have an uber-sole? Easy – it’s all about putting weight at the bottom of the club because that shifts the center of gravity downward. A lower center of gravity means more loft when you strike the ball. A higher flight gives you more likelihood of longer distances, but also improves backspin and forgiveness. As a general rule of iron-buying thumb, you’re going to love clubs with lower centers of gravity.
Cleveland makes much of the ‘cup face’ technology in the Launcher CBX irons. What does that do? It adds a spring effect when you hit the ball, which gives you remarkable ball speed when struck. Importantly though, it’s about more than speed. It also helps to stabilize imperfect shots, taking them further and helping them fly almost as straight as if you’d hit them with the club’s sweet spot.
The Launcher CBX irons also feature another Cleveland trademark imported from its quality wedge business. Zip grooves and laser milling are here, maximizing backspin to keep even some mis-hits on the fairway.
Bottom line, the Launcher CBX irons are energetic, clever enough that you want to give them a wedgie, and forgiving enough that you think better of it and start examining your life choices. They give you a lot of technical design and clever advantages built into an otherwise game-for-anything set of irons, with a cutesy-but-useful add on dual wedge option. High ball flight, absurdly useful backspin and the forgiveness of a mother make them a set worth checking out.
Callaway is another clubmaker with a cartful of endorsements from leading players. As such, when it makes a set of forgiving irons, the golfing world takes notice.
The XR OS iron set does a lot of the things that have helped other sets leapfrog it up our list. The center of gravity in the XR OS irons has been moved down and back for heft, loft and distance when you strike the ball. Coupled with Callaways ‘cup 360’ technology which increases the speed of the ball when you strike it, it’s a fast, competent, forgiving set of irons, available in a standard 5-iron-pitching wedge collection.
As with the Cleveland set, the Callaway XR OS irons have wide soles, meaning additional forgiveness of mis-hits and a stronger, straighter iron game overall.
Most Forgiving Irons - Buyers Guide
Buying forgiving irons is key if you’re to get the most out of your golf – especially if you’re relatively new to the game. Keep a few things in mind when you’re shopping.
Choose Your Forgiveness Level
There should be no iron set on the market – at least until you’re talking about sets for low handicappers – which doesn’t at least include some forgiveness of mis-hits and slice. Make a judgment call on whether you need a set which is all about the forgiveness, or whether you’re good enough to only need forgiveness as an actual advantage. For instance, if you’re mis-hitting balls every second or third shot you take with an iron, you’re going to get benefit from a more beginner-centred set like the Strata or the Wilson. If on the other hand you’re pretty competent in terms of getting around the course, try something like the M6 instead, because the beginner sets will be too basic overall for your needs.
Forgiveness Is Part Of The Stroke Equation
Forgiveness is likely to be all important to absolute beginners, and to become less important the further along your golfing journey you go. Don’t sacrifice technologies that give you extra speed or loft for notional extra forgiveness unless you’re absolutely sure you need to. Where possible, go for a better club all round – it will likely include forgiveness in its overall stroke equation, but will also improve your golf in other areas simultaneously.
Forgiveness in a set of irons is a big money market for clubmakers. However, the amount of value you get from forgiveness-forward clubs is likely to be intense but short-lived. The more golf you play, the less you’re likely to need extra forgiveness in your irons. The Strata and the Wilson sets for instance are intensely brilliant, forgiving club sets – while you need them. But you’re not likely to need them for very much of your golfing history, so be aware of your outlay on forgiveness.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s forgiveness in irons?
Forgiveness is the measure of designed-in protection from mis-hits. In irons, it stops you whacking away endlessly on fairways, or digging yourself out of the rough.
What gives me forgiveness in irons?
Quite a few elements of iron clubs can be redesigned to give a more forgiving stroke. In particular, look for thick soles to the club, which will mean the center of gravity is lower.
Do I need forgiving irons, particularly?
That depends on where you are in your golfing journey. If you’re brand new, you need every ounce of forgiveness you can get, as your body learns the postures, swings and movements of good golf. As you evolve as a player, you can afford to have less forgiving irons that focus more on distance, precision, placement and shot-shaping.