Hot List

The most forgiving irons for golfers of every skill level

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What is forgiveness? It can be a loving spouse letting go of the fact you came home late after an extra cocktail. Or a grandmother looking the other way when the little ones empty the cookie jar after being told to “take just one.” In golf, as in life, forgiveness means different things to different people. For lower handicappers it might mean a mis-hit still finds the front of the green instead of the front bunker. For those less skilled it might purely be making your worst shots somehow less terrible—like turning a shot where you feel like the divot might go farther than the ball into something serviceable.

With that in mind we present the most forgiving irons from this year’s Golf Digest Hot List as ranked by each of our handicap groups: low, mid and high. Whether it’s using a softened leading edge, generous amounts of tungsten weighting, a thin, zippy face structure or simply a big honkin’ sole the size of LeBron James’ sneaker, manufacturers know everyday players need need an assist to keep balls in play and out of trouble when they miss the clubface. Take a look at the irons our testers found the most absolving of your golfing sins. Just don’t come home late or eat all the cookies.

Players Irons

Low Handicaps

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

For close to a decade now, driver technology has trickled down into irons, particularly springy faces. The problem is that irons are smaller than drivers, making it a more difficult task. To achieve optimal performance in the Apex Pro, engineers used a hollow-body construction with a thinner, more flexible cupface (in which the face wraps around part of the sole and topline) on the 3- through 5-iron to provide more ball speed and a higher launch to enhance distance. The remaining irons have a 1025 forged-carbon-steel face insert designed for precision, accuracy and repeatability in the clubs where distance isn’t as crucial.

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Cobra King Tour
$185 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.5
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$185 per iron

Most traditional irons use a two- or three-step forging process, but these irons use a five-step process that more effectively aligns the grain structure of the metal and reduces the number of voids. This process allows for tighter control of the weight specs and reduces the amount of hand polishing, leading to a more precise clubhead. The grooves are milled into the face so they can be manufactured closer to the USGA limit. A channel behind the hitting area is filled with a thermoplastic urethane to keep the feel just right.

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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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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.

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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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Mid Handicaps

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.

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Cobra King Tour
$185 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.5
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$185 per iron

Most traditional irons use a two- or three-step forging process, but these irons use a five-step process that more effectively aligns the grain structure of the metal and reduces the number of voids. This process allows for tighter control of the weight specs and reduces the amount of hand polishing, leading to a more precise clubhead. The grooves are milled into the face so they can be manufactured closer to the USGA limit. A channel behind the hitting area is filled with a thermoplastic urethane to keep the feel just right.

More on this club

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.

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.

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.

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Players Distance Irons

Low Handicaps

Ping i530
$205 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.5
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$205 per iron

Ping realizes off-center hits are part of the game, even for single-digit players. This iron doesn’t ignore that unpleasant reality but places more of an emphasis on a clean aesthetic and more pop than a ball coming off Aaron Judge’s bat. The construction is almost metal-wood-like with a hollow-body design using C300 maraging steel for the face—the same type of metal used in landing gear for aircraft. The sole has an “arcing cascade” that aids in the flexing of the face and combines with strong lofts to ensure the desire for distance is satisfied.

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.

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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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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.

Wilson Dynapower Forged
$143 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Silver
$143 per iron

To get the full picture here you need to turn the club over to see the “powerholes.” You’ve seen these from Wilson before but now these flexible sections appear only on the 4- through 6-irons—or the clubs where most players are looking for a little extra punch. Still, an iron designed for distance isn’t much good if you’re yelling “Full flaps!” when it hits the green. To address that, Wilson lowered the CG to increase the launch angle and foster stopping power. Finally, the soft, forged carbon steel delivers the kind of responsive feel worthy of the Dynapower name.

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Mid Handicaps

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.

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.

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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.

Wilson Dynapower Forged
$143 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Silver
$143 per iron

To get the full picture here you need to turn the club over to see the “powerholes.” You’ve seen these from Wilson before but now these flexible sections appear only on the 4- through 6-irons—or the clubs where most players are looking for a little extra punch. Still, an iron designed for distance isn’t much good if you’re yelling “Full flaps!” when it hits the green. To address that, Wilson lowered the CG to increase the launch angle and foster stopping power. Finally, the soft, forged carbon steel delivers the kind of responsive feel worthy of the Dynapower name.

More on this club

High Handicaps

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.

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Mizuno Mizuno Pro 245
$200 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.5
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$200 per iron

The traditional blade appearance of the Mizuno Pro 245 says, “Be afraid. Be very afraid.” The performance, however, says otherwise. This hollow-body iron is grain-flow forged from 4135 Chromoly steel for the face and neck all the way to the 8-iron. Internal tungsten weighting in the irons up to the 7-iron is 46.4 grams as opposed to 30 grams in its predecessor. A new method of laser welding suspends the tungsten in the head so that it doesn’t touch the sole, allowing the face to flex better and boost ball speed.

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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.

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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 Handicaps

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

Mid Handicaps

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 Handicaps

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

Ping G730
$185 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Silver
$185 per iron

These irons were built for speed. A proprietary heat-treating process makes the variable-thickness 17-4 stainless-steel face super strong, allowing it to be thinned significantly, resulting in more face bend for greater distance and added height. The lofts are quite strong but when combined with a low center of gravity and additional perimeter weighting bring about noticeable ball-speed gains. The 10-piece cavity badge has multiple flex zones that help generate a higher launch with steeper landing angles to hold the green. Call this one the 12-handicappers secret weapon.

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

Super Game-Improvement Irons

High Handicaps

Callaway Big Bertha
$171 per iron | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$171 per iron

With a name like Big Bertha, you expect features like a wide sole and the kind of offset that is sure to tame a slice. However, it’s the guts of this club that delivers the goods. This iron’s cupface technology in which the face wraps around part of the topline and sole helps improve flex and distance. Tungsten weighting is generously used as well, including 43 grams inside the head to bolster forgiveness on mis-hits. Progressive center-of-gravity locations help with launch in the long irons and control in the short irons.

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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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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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Tour Edge Hot Launch E524
$100 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Silver
$100 per iron

The idea of super-game-improvement-irons started with helping average golfers, but some clubs in this category fail to commit to that goal. Rather than skimping on the help, this iron embraces the concept fully. A revised design led to a wider front-to-back length, a thinner topline and more weight lower inside the hollow clubhead. The offset is aggressive but serves the purpose of scaling back those wicked slices higher-handicappers often battle. The lofts are a little weaker than other Tour Edge irons because this player needs more help getting the ball in the air compared to the extra yards that might come from stronger lofts.