2016 Best Game-Improvement Irons

The goal of game-improvement irons is pretty straightforward: Make you less terrible. The wheelhouse for these 2016 Hot List clubs is the true middle-handicapper and perhaps even the high single-digit player who is secure enough to check his or her ego in exchange for playing better golf.

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The goal of game improvement irons is pretty straightforward: Make you less terrible. The wheelhouse for these clubs is the true middle-handicapper and perhaps even the high single-digit players who are secure enough to check their egos in exchange for playing better golf.

The trend in these irons is enhanced distance without making the iron look like a club designed for Chopper McGee. Helping achieve that is many companies are borrowing from driver design to produce more ball speed. Some now utilize a cup face where the face wraps around the topline and sole—a technology previously saved for metalwoods. Others employ a special heat treatment to produce a strong, thin face with plenty of pop. Others are taking a page from drivers and fairway woods by using slots to achieve distance gains. The use of multiple materials also is prevalent, in some cases tungsten weights to move the center of gravity to help elevate the ball. Elastomer badges or other materials also are employed to help damp vibration (needed more than ever due to the thin faces).

It's the kind of stuff that allows you to turn to your buddies on that 165-yard par 3, puff out your chest and say, "7-iron" when they ask what club you hit.