Hot List

The highest-flying irons for golfers of every skill level

February 21, 2024
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As iron lofts have gotten stronger, the ability of iron designs to produce an appropriate (and green-holding) height has never been more important. The good news is that along with those extra yards delivered via the jacked-up lofts, many designs also offer more than an acceptable height.

This is not pixie dust but a full understanding of golf-club science, specifically center-of-gravity location. Achieving a CG that is lower and farther back allows for shots to launch higher without the ball being subject to a distance-robbing ballooning where it actually goes too high. Wider soles or tungsten weights are a pair of typical ways to lower CG and place it back.

CG position, however, is not the only means of achieving a high-flying shot. In fact, designers can achieve a desirable ball flight in several ways depending on the type of iron being produced. Some stronger-lofted irons have thinner, more flexible faces that, when designed in concert with a low CG, tend to launch the ball higher. For slower swingers in the super-game-improvement category, that could mean producing irons with significantly lighter shafts and possibly even weaker lofts.

Whatever the method behind the design, however, fact is many golfers struggle to get the ball as airborne as they would like. Here are the ones from this year’s Golf Digest Hot List that our testers found had no problem achieving that, broken down by handicaps.

Players Irons

Low-handicap

Callaway Apex CB
$215 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.5
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$215 per iron

With its effective mix of classic looks and contemporary technology, the Apex CB is made for the demands of elite players. This is an iron that gets the details right, especially the features better golfers appreciate, like an improved sole design for more effective turf interaction, tweaked centers of gravity via the use of tungsten weights that are dialed in for each individual iron, and hitting the trifecta of shape, sound and feel that better players require.

More on this club

Ping Blueprint S
$230 per iron | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$230 per iron

Manufacturing a soft, forgiving players iron with an undercut shape is a difficult engineering challenge. Ping took five years to develop the Blueprint S, which replaces the i59 model. The forged irons are essentially two sets in one: The 3- through 5-irons have a pocket-cavity design in which an elastomer insert saves 10 grams of weight that is redistributed to assist launch and forgiveness in the clubs where it is needed most. The shorter irons are single-piece forgings that encourage more ball-flight control.

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Ping i230
$205 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.5
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$205 per iron

The company famous for forgiveness keeps pushing the limits of how to make a golfer’s worst misses more playable, even in an iron designed for better players. The i230’s elastomer insert saves 21 grams that is repositioned low and toward the perimeter to make it easier to get the ball in the air and foster forgiveness. The elastomer also helps support the face, providing a pleasing feel, even when shots hit slightly off-center. For those particularly severe mis-hits, tungsten toe and tip weights help mitigate loss of ball speed.

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TaylorMade P·770
$186 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.5
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$186 per iron

Yes, tour players use this iron, but even average players can enjoy many benefits. Tungsten, for example, is used in the longer irons to make it easier to get shots airborne. Despite its classic looks, this is a hollow-body iron with a face as thin as 1.55 millimeters. The thin face and TaylorMade’s “speed-pocket slot” produce plenty of spring-like effect at impact.

Titleist T100
$200 per iron | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$200 per iron

A proven performer has little need to make drastic changes. This does not mean the latest T100 hasn’t undergone any improvements. The dual-cavity design uses super dense D18 tungsten (which weighs about 1.5 times more than lead), allowing for precise center-of-gravity placement in each iron without sacrificing the premium forged feel and pleasing shape the T100 is known for. Engineers worked with tour pros and the grind experts in its wedge department to smooth and soften the trail edge of the sole to allow the club to move faster through the turf.

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Titleist T150
$200 per iron | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$200 per iron

The secret sauce that makes this players iron pack plenty of power is not just stronger lofts than the Titleist T100. A channel behind the face adds the kind of extra zip that is sure to excite better recreational players. Sacrificing feel and forgiveness, however, was not an option: The use of dense tungsten and a slightly thicker topline and sole bolster stability. Also, the lower portion of the face is a shade thicker than the T100 to enhance feel.

More on this club

Mid-Handicap

Callaway Apex CB
$215 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.5
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$215 per iron

With its effective mix of classic looks and contemporary technology, the Apex CB is made for the demands of elite players. This is an iron that gets the details right, especially the features better golfers appreciate, like an improved sole design for more effective turf interaction, tweaked centers of gravity via the use of tungsten weights that are dialed in for each individual iron, and hitting the trifecta of shape, sound and feel that better players require.

More on this club

Ping Blueprint S
$230 per iron | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$230 per iron

Manufacturing a soft, forgiving players iron with an undercut shape is a difficult engineering challenge. Ping took five years to develop the Blueprint S, which replaces the i59 model. The forged irons are essentially two sets in one: The 3- through 5-irons have a pocket-cavity design in which an elastomer insert saves 10 grams of weight that is redistributed to assist launch and forgiveness in the clubs where it is needed most. The shorter irons are single-piece forgings that encourage more ball-flight control.

More on this club

TaylorMade P·770
$186 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.5
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$186 per iron

Yes, tour players use this iron, but even average players can enjoy many benefits. Tungsten, for example, is used in the longer irons to make it easier to get shots airborne. Despite its classic looks, this is a hollow-body iron with a face as thin as 1.55 millimeters. The thin face and TaylorMade’s “speed-pocket slot” produce plenty of spring-like effect at impact.

PXG 0317 CB
$180 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Silver
$180 per iron

Unlike the 0317 T, which has a hollow-body construction, the 0317 CB is a more traditional single-piece forging. With a longer blade length, thicker topline and wider sole, the CB provides a higher moment of inertia that reduces ball-speed loss on shots that fail to find the center of the face. The large weight in the back of the club can be adjusted during the fitting process (something PXG encourages) to achieve the optimal swingweight. The face is milled to ensure flatness and a precise control on thickness.

Wilson Staff Model CB
$171 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Silver
$171 per iron

At first blush this iron would appear to be little more than old-school cool with nothing transformative about the design, but this isn’t your grandfather’s Staff Model. The classic “fluid-feel hosel” doesn’t just pay homage to this iron’s storied past. It also saves 6.4 grams that is moved to the toe area to help keep the clubface from shutting too fast at impact. The mill pattern on the face is designed to allow the ball to stay in contact with the face longer, leading to more consistent spin.

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Players Distance Irons

Low-handicap

Mizuno JPX923 Hot Metal Pro
$138 per iron | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$138 per iron

Advancements in golf clubs aren’t always solely driven by design. You need to be able to manufacture them as well. For this iron that meant finding a different steel—Nickel Chromoly 4335—that could be cast to an ultra-thin 1.75 millimeters and still withstand impact with the ball and ground at high speeds. This led to the ability to create a single-piece design that behaves like an iron that has a spring-like face insert. The elimination of weld joints eradicates hot spots on the face.

More on this club

PXG 0311 P GEN6
$180 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.5
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$180 per iron

Increasing launch and decreasing spin is a recipe for distance in irons as well as metal woods. The internal groove built into the back surface of the high-strength HT1770 steel face insert helps in that regard. The groove, about ten-thousandths of an inch deep, runs up both sides and across the top of the perimeter to create more give in the face. It also helps promote a gear effect to increase launch and decrease spin. A large weight in the back is more than ornamentation: It allows fitters to dial in the desired swingweight.

More on this club

TaylorMade P·790
$200 per iron | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$200 per iron

The third generation of TaylorMade’s flagship iron has a thin face that hits harder than T.J. Watt sacking a quarterback. TaylorMade engineers used artificial intelligence to run through some 600 iterations of its clubhead design, leading to the use of different internal weighting: low in the 4- and 5-irons to help increase launch, toward the perimeter to foster forgiveness on the 6- and 7-irons and no internal weighting for the 8-iron and higher. These design gymnastics are not just for performance gains but for improving sound and feel, too.

More on this club

Titleist T200
$200 per iron | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$200 per iron

The T100 is the most-played iron on the PGA Tour, so it’s easy to see how some might view the T200 in a lesser light. Nothing could be more wrong. This club has undergone a substantial overhaul. A ball speed boost comes from a face that wraps around the sole for extra flex at impact. A more stable frame, dense tungsten weights and a revamped polymer core and support-bar structure behind the face improve ball-speed consistency on mis-hits, too. It’s no wonder some PGA Tour pros use these for their long irons.

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Proto-Concept C05TP
$450 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Silver
$450 per iron

Everyday golfers can probably learn more about what type of clubs to play by looking at what LPGA Tour players are using instead of PGA Tour stars, which is why this iron might be worth considering. Proto-Concept designed these irons for Lydia Ko, using her input as its roadmap. The result is a sleeker shape with more mass behind the impact zone compared to previous Proto-Concept irons for a more satisfying look and feel. The use of a Chromoly steel face insert—with variable thicknesses in the impact area—helps produces the ideal trajectory.

Mid-handicap

Cobra King Forged Tec
$171 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.5
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$171 per iron

Sometimes multiple materials are used to mask deficiencies in one area, but not so here. By mixing materials, Cobra brings the kind of raw power irons in this category need. The neat trick, however, is doing so in a pleasing shape that doesn’t scrimp on feel thanks to a light, soft foam inside the 1025 carbon-steel clubhead. The muscle-back shape belies the hollow construction and the thin face delivers significant ball speed with a higher launch. A 20-gram tungsten toe weight is positioned so that the center of gravity is more in line with the center of the face to deliver a sweet feel on center strikes.

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Mizuno JPX923 Forged
$188 per iron | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$188 per iron

If these irons took human form, they might just give Patrick Dempsey a run for “Sexiest Man Alive.” Just like with the actor, there’s more here than good looks. The speed on this iron comes from the thinnest face on a forged iron in the company’s history—just 2.2 millimeters thick. The distance chase doesn’t stop there. Micro-slots in the sole cavity (wider in the 4- through 6-irons and slightly narrower in the 7-iron to smooth the transition to the scoring clubs) provide plenty of heat.

Mizuno JPX923 Hot Metal Pro
$138 per iron | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$138 per iron

Advancements in golf clubs aren’t always solely driven by design. You need to be able to manufacture them as well. For this iron that meant finding a different steel—Nickel Chromoly 4335—that could be cast to an ultra-thin 1.75 millimeters and still withstand impact with the ball and ground at high speeds. This led to the ability to create a single-piece design that behaves like an iron that has a spring-like face insert. The elimination of weld joints eradicates hot spots on the face.

More on this club

PXG 0311 P GEN6
$180 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.5
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$180 per iron

Increasing launch and decreasing spin is a recipe for distance in irons as well as metal woods. The internal groove built into the back surface of the high-strength HT1770 steel face insert helps in that regard. The groove, about ten-thousandths of an inch deep, runs up both sides and across the top of the perimeter to create more give in the face. It also helps promote a gear effect to increase launch and decrease spin. A large weight in the back is more than ornamentation: It allows fitters to dial in the desired swingweight.

More on this club

TaylorMade P·790
$200 per iron | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$200 per iron

The third generation of TaylorMade’s flagship iron has a thin face that hits harder than T.J. Watt sacking a quarterback. TaylorMade engineers used artificial intelligence to run through some 600 iterations of its clubhead design, leading to the use of different internal weighting: low in the 4- and 5-irons to help increase launch, toward the perimeter to foster forgiveness on the 6- and 7-irons and no internal weighting for the 8-iron and higher. These design gymnastics are not just for performance gains but for improving sound and feel, too.

More on this club

Sub 70 699 Pro
$110 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Silver
$110 per iron

It's fitting that Sub 70’s main headquarters outside Chicago features a full-service bar because the feel of these irons is like a happy hour waiting to happen. Thin-face irons can feel harsh, but thanks to a thermoplastic urethane inside the head, the thin (just 1.7 millimeters) 455 Carpenter-steel clubface feels syrupy at impact without any unwanted noise. The thin topline, reduced offset and sole design combine to offer the kind of workability sure to bring out the inner shotmaker in you—provided you don’t over-indulge at the bar first.

High-handicap

Mizuno JPX923 Hot Metal Pro
$138 per iron | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$138 per iron

Advancements in golf clubs aren’t always solely driven by design. You need to be able to manufacture them as well. For this iron that meant finding a different steel—Nickel Chromoly 4335—that could be cast to an ultra-thin 1.75 millimeters and still withstand impact with the ball and ground at high speeds. This led to the ability to create a single-piece design that behaves like an iron that has a spring-like face insert. The elimination of weld joints eradicates hot spots on the face.

More on this club

PXG 0311 P GEN6
$180 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.5
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$180 per iron

Increasing launch and decreasing spin is a recipe for distance in irons as well as metal woods. The internal groove built into the back surface of the high-strength HT1770 steel face insert helps in that regard. The groove, about ten-thousandths of an inch deep, runs up both sides and across the top of the perimeter to create more give in the face. It also helps promote a gear effect to increase launch and decrease spin. A large weight in the back is more than ornamentation: It allows fitters to dial in the desired swingweight.

More on this club

Srixon ZX5 Mk II Irons
$171 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.5
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$171 per iron

Some irons in this category go heavy on the distance and light on the players. This one is the right combination of both. A slim hosel provides a pleasing visual at address, and the offset produces a natural flow through the set—both small enhancements better players will appreciate. The face has plenty of sizzle thanks to the use of a forged SUP10 steel plate featuring a variable-thickness pattern of grooves, channels and cavities milled into the back of the iron face to maximize rebound at impact.

More on this club

TaylorMade P·790
$200 per iron | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$200 per iron

The third generation of TaylorMade’s flagship iron has a thin face that hits harder than T.J. Watt sacking a quarterback. TaylorMade engineers used artificial intelligence to run through some 600 iterations of its clubhead design, leading to the use of different internal weighting: low in the 4- and 5-irons to help increase launch, toward the perimeter to foster forgiveness on the 6- and 7-irons and no internal weighting for the 8-iron and higher. These design gymnastics are not just for performance gains but for improving sound and feel, too.

More on this club

Titleist T200
$200 per iron | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$200 per iron

The T100 is the most-played iron on the PGA Tour, so it’s easy to see how some might view the T200 in a lesser light. Nothing could be more wrong. This club has undergone a substantial overhaul. A ball speed boost comes from a face that wraps around the sole for extra flex at impact. A more stable frame, dense tungsten weights and a revamped polymer core and support-bar structure behind the face improve ball-speed consistency on mis-hits, too. It’s no wonder some PGA Tour pros use these for their long irons.

More on this club

Game-Improvement Irons

Low-handicap

Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke HL
$143 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.5
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$143 per iron

The Paradym Ai Smoke is designed for players with faster swings. This model is made for players who swing a little slower and carry their 7-iron less than 130 yards. That player needs help achieving a healthy ball flight. Using real-player data, the company’s supercomputer simulated tens of thousands of impacts to arrive at a design that improves launch and spin and would keep the ball in the air longer—something that can be the difference between fixing a pitch mark on the green or fishing the ball out of the water.

More on this club

Cleveland ZipCore XL
$128 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.5
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$128 per iron

On the surface this iron looks standard, but the real improvements are on the inside. The face in the 4- through 7-irons is similar to that of affiliated company Srixon’s irons with channels and cavities on the back of the face to save mass and increase ball speed. This iron goes a step further, borrowing the groundbreaking ZipCore technology from Cleveland’s wedge line in the 8-iron through the wedges. ZipCore takes steel out of the hosel and replaces it with a lighter material, allowing for optimal CG placement and greater forgiveness.

More on this club

Mizuno JPX923 Hot Metal
$138 | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$138

If you’re a player seeking raw distance, you might be drawn to an iron named Hot Metal. The achievement in this club is that it’s able to bring high ball speeds through metallurgy. Mizuno used Nickel Chromoly 4335—a remarkably strong steel alloy used in military aircraft—to create the thinnest face of any Mizuno iron ever. Of course, a hotter face brings with it a powerful sound. In this case, Mizuno was able to neatly walk the line of producing audio that was pleasing and have others in your foursome take notice.

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Tour Edge Exotics E723
$100 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Silver
$100 per iron

This is a lot of club for the money. At a time when many irons are going for $200 a stick, these are half that. Thermoplastic urethane is inserted behind the lower portion of the face. That saves weight that is used for a toe-weight pocket to assist shots hit out in that area—a place many middle-handicappers routinely find. The variable-thickness face is complex, with more than 100 diamond shapes in three thicknesses. Why the different shapes and thicknesses? Because shots hit on the heel and toe behave differently than center strikes, but you want the result to be as consistent as possible across the entire face.

More on this club

Wilson Dynapower
$114 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Silver
$114 per iron

Admitting you have a problem is the first step toward fixing it, and middle-handicappers tend to hit iron shots on the toe of the club 85 percent of the time (according to data from Arccos). Wilson set out to mitigate that issue by changing the way it uses its “power holes” on the sole of the club. The holes are filled with a polymer and are designed to enhance ball speed. The design team decided the largest of the three holes should be moved to the toe area. Problem solved.

More on this club

Mid-handicap

Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke HL
$143 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.5
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$143 per iron

The Paradym Ai Smoke is designed for players with faster swings. This model is made for players who swing a little slower and carry their 7-iron less than 130 yards. That player needs help achieving a healthy ball flight. Using real-player data, the company’s supercomputer simulated tens of thousands of impacts to arrive at a design that improves launch and spin and would keep the ball in the air longer—something that can be the difference between fixing a pitch mark on the green or fishing the ball out of the water.

More on this club

Cleveland ZipCore XL
$128 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.5
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$128 per iron

On the surface this iron looks standard, but the real improvements are on the inside. The face in the 4- through 7-irons is similar to that of affiliated company Srixon’s irons with channels and cavities on the back of the face to save mass and increase ball speed. This iron goes a step further, borrowing the groundbreaking ZipCore technology from Cleveland’s wedge line in the 8-iron through the wedges. ZipCore takes steel out of the hosel and replaces it with a lighter material, allowing for optimal CG placement and greater forgiveness.

More on this club

Ping G430
$170 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.5
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$170 per iron

When you have success with an iron line, you’re not going to mess with it much. Still, tiny changes here equal big benefits. A proprietary heat-treating process created a super-strong 17-4 stainless steel that allows for more face flexing. This results in the much sought-after combination of increased distance and higher max height. The sole was altered, too. Approximately 1 degree of bounce was added to each iron to promote the kind of clean turf interaction that mitigates the effect of fat shots.

More on this club

Tour Edge Exotics E723
$100 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Silver
$100 per iron

This is a lot of club for the money. At a time when many irons are going for $200 a stick, these are half that. Thermoplastic urethane is inserted behind the lower portion of the face. That saves weight that is used for a toe-weight pocket to assist shots hit out in that area—a place many middle-handicappers routinely find. The variable-thickness face is complex, with more than 100 diamond shapes in three thicknesses. Why the different shapes and thicknesses? Because shots hit on the heel and toe behave differently than center strikes, but you want the result to be as consistent as possible across the entire face.

More on this club

Wilson Dynapower
$114 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Silver
$114 per iron

Admitting you have a problem is the first step toward fixing it, and middle-handicappers tend to hit iron shots on the toe of the club 85 percent of the time (according to data from Arccos). Wilson set out to mitigate that issue by changing the way it uses its “power holes” on the sole of the club. The holes are filled with a polymer and are designed to enhance ball speed. The design team decided the largest of the three holes should be moved to the toe area. Problem solved.

More on this club

High-handicap

Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke HL
$143 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.5
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$143 per iron

The Paradym Ai Smoke is designed for players with faster swings. This model is made for players who swing a little slower and carry their 7-iron less than 130 yards. That player needs help achieving a healthy ball flight. Using real-player data, the company’s supercomputer simulated tens of thousands of impacts to arrive at a design that improves launch and spin and would keep the ball in the air longer—something that can be the difference between fixing a pitch mark on the green or fishing the ball out of the water.

More on this club

Ping G430
$170 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.5
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$170 per iron

When you have success with an iron line, you’re not going to mess with it much. Still, tiny changes here equal big benefits. A proprietary heat-treating process created a super-strong 17-4 stainless steel that allows for more face flexing. This results in the much sought-after combination of increased distance and higher max height. The sole was altered, too. Approximately 1 degree of bounce was added to each iron to promote the kind of clean turf interaction that mitigates the effect of fat shots.

More on this club

Titleist T350
$200 per iron | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$200 per iron

A shift away from an undercut-cavity design to a hollow-body platform signals a transformational upgrade from its T300 predecessor. The hollow design houses the polymer-core structure (previously on the back of the iron), moving it closer to the face for better performance and feel. Also different from the T300 are super-dense tungsten weights in the heel and toe. This feature not only triggers more stability but contributes to ball speed and helps maintains feel. The high-strength steel face features that same alloy as the T200 and L-shape that overlaps into the sole for extra rebound at impact.

More on this club

Tour Edge Exotics E723
$100 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Silver
$100 per iron

This is a lot of club for the money. At a time when many irons are going for $200 a stick, these are half that. Thermoplastic urethane is inserted behind the lower portion of the face. That saves weight that is used for a toe-weight pocket to assist shots hit out in that area—a place many middle-handicappers routinely find. The variable-thickness face is complex, with more than 100 diamond shapes in three thicknesses. Why the different shapes and thicknesses? Because shots hit on the heel and toe behave differently than center strikes, but you want the result to be as consistent as possible across the entire face.

More on this club

Wilson Dynapower
$114 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Silver
$114 per iron

Admitting you have a problem is the first step toward fixing it, and middle-handicappers tend to hit iron shots on the toe of the club 85 percent of the time (according to data from Arccos). Wilson set out to mitigate that issue by changing the way it uses its “power holes” on the sole of the club. The holes are filled with a polymer and are designed to enhance ball speed. The design team decided the largest of the three holes should be moved to the toe area. Problem solved.

More on this club

Super-Game-Improvement Irons

High-handicap

Cleveland Halo XL Full Face
$128 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.5
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$128 per iron

Cleveland believes helping players achieve more distance, forgiveness and launch starts with the face, specifically making it lighter and more flexible to produce maximum yards. The face here underwent a proprietary face blast and laser-mill-line process to enhance surface roughness to optimize spin. The grooves that stretch all the way across the face are purposeful, too: They increase consistency and reduce the chance of flyers.

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Cobra Air-X
$114 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.5
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$114 per iron

The ability to launch the ball is critical for golfers with slower swing speeds. That’s because slow swings don’t produce enough speed to generate significant height. This club seeks to launch higher without adding too much distance-robbing spin. That quest began by using lighter clubheads, shafts and grips, making it easier for golfers to generate more clubhead speed. Generous offset and heel-biased weighting contribute to a higher launch and slice-correction. A revamped variable-thickness face inspired by Cobra’s driver is 15 percent thinner on the 4- through 7-irons to help with distance.

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TaylorMade Qi HL
$157 per iron | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$157 per iron

The look is so elegant that you might expect to find this one in the bag of The Golden Bachelor (who does play golf), but substance is plentiful, too. The hard-to-hit long irons have a backbar that lowers the center of gravity and combines with a new slot design to promote higher launch. The short irons, however, have a backbar with extreme heel-toe weighting to boost forgiveness and a different slot to maximize ball speed.

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Wilson Launch Pad
$100 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.5
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$100 per iron

Short of a whiff, few things are more distressing than laying the sod over the ball. How to avoid that? Wilson starts with the sole. A thicker, wider bottom on the all-hybrid-style design features more bounce than its Launch Pad predecessor. This sole allows the club to enter and exit the turf more easily. Slicing also can be an issue for this player type, so the Wilson team added weight to the heel area for a little draw bias.

Cobra T-Rail
$143 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Silver
$143 per iron

Cobra went outside the typical design box with this all-hybrid-like iron set as an alternative to its Air-X iron offering. A stainless-steel face with 15 variable-thickness zones helps generate more ball speed. Then, to mask as many flaws as possible, rails are used on the sole. This reduces the consequences of fat shots, and the front portion of the rails is hollow, adding flex on the leading edge of the face.

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