Hot List

The softest irons for players of every skill level

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The Golf Digest Hot List is a mix of objective and subjective information. Something such as the criteria of “Look” is certainly open to an individual’s interpretation of what fits his or her eye at address. When we ask our player panel to rate clubs of a scale of soft to firm, however, it is less idiosyncratic.

Golfers tend to be more uniform in their opinions of what feels as soft as the proverbial “hot knife through butter” versus a long iron that packs a sting after hitting a badly missed shot in cold weather. The ease or difficulty of pursuing a soft feel differs depending on the construction of the club. A soft feel in a single-piece forging is fairly easy to achieve while doing the same in a thin-faced or hollow body iron takes some technological gymnastics.

To accomplish a feel that has you saying, “There’s not enough o’s in smooooooooth,” club designers use badges to damp unwanted vibrations, or thermoplastic urethane to fill an otherwise hollow clubhead and deliver the pleasant sensation at impact that resonates with all golfers.

The following are the irons on this year’s Hot List that took softness to a new level, delivering the kind of feel normally reserved for sinking into your favorite pillow or reclining chair. Take a look. Your hands will thank you.

Players Irons

Low Handicaps

Mizuno JPX923 Tour
$188 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.5
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$188 per iron

This is the epitome of a modern iron for better players. The blade length was shortened in the 6-iron through pitching wedge from the JPX921, and the topline is trimmer. On the sole, a more rounded trailing edge increases shot-making ability and makes it easier to get through the turf. As with most Mizuno irons, its “grain-flow forging” process tightens the carbon steel’s grain structure to produce a beyond-pleasant feel at impact—a reminder that you don’t have to play for pay to enjoy benefits normally reserved for tour players.

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.

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Srixon ZX7 Mk II
$1200 | Golf Galaxy
4.5
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$1200

What’s different in this model is the “PureFrame” design in which mass is forged into the clubhead behind the hitting area. That added thickness, determined by studying the iron impact patterns of the company’s tour staff, reduces face flex by 12 percent, providing the distance control of a muscle-back blade iron with more than a hint of forgiveness. A shorter blade height enhances control, allowing players the ability to flight short-iron shots lower. Turf interaction—always a priority for Srixon with irons—is enhanced with notches on the heel and toe areas of the sole that reduce resistance when exiting the turf.

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Cobra King CB
$186 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Silver
$186 per iron

To improve on feel, Cobra had its carbon-steel heads undergo a five-step forging process (in which the force is increased with each hit). This led to a clubhead with better grain alignment that achieves the type of soft, crisp feel better players seek. Although clearly a club designed for single-digit players, the weight placed in the toe area provides the kind of stability that allows slight mis-hits to still have distance to carry that front bunker instead of landing in it.

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TaylorMade P·7MC
$185 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Silver
$185 per iron

This iron is likely the least complex in TaylorMade’s lineup, but it still offers golfers shopping in this category what they need. The club’s primary features are made for those with ball-striking skills, like a thin topline, minimal offset and a narrow sole that allows golfers to shape their shot. The face and grooves are machined as well for consistency on every shot. Given all of that, it’s no wonder this is the company’s most-played iron on tour.

Mid Handicaps

Mizuno JPX923 Tour
$188 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.5
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$188 per iron

This is the epitome of a modern iron for better players. The blade length was shortened in the 6-iron through pitching wedge from the JPX921, and the topline is trimmer. On the sole, a more rounded trailing edge increases shot-making ability and makes it easier to get through the turf. As with most Mizuno irons, its “grain-flow forging” process tightens the carbon steel’s grain structure to produce a beyond-pleasant feel at impact—a reminder that you don’t have to play for pay to enjoy benefits normally reserved for tour players.

More on this club

PXG 0317 T
$180 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.5
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$180 per iron

Forget for a minute that this iron almost looks like a muscle-back blade. It plays anything but. The compact head shape has a slightly larger profile for enhanced stability and mis-hit forgiveness. PXG also has taken what it has learned over the years from previous hollow-body designs and brought it to an iron targeted to elite players. However, instead of using the hollow area and the polymer that fills it to enhance distance, polymer is used to stabilize the face. That improves distance and spin consistency, which is what you want when you’re pin-hunting.

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Edel SMS Pro
$250 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Silver
$250 per iron

Low-handicap contrarians who revel in others peeking in their bag and asking, “What is that you’re playing?” might consider these. Immediately noticeable are the movable weights on the back of the clubhead. The weights on the three ports include two two-gram screws and an eight-gram screw. When placed in the optimal position for each individual, these weight screws can promote a better swing path. The milled tri-sole uses different geometries in the leading edge, middle and trailing edge to bolster turf interaction.

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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.

TaylorMade P·7MC
$185 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Silver
$185 per iron

This iron is likely the least complex in TaylorMade’s lineup, but it still offers golfers shopping in this category what they need. The club’s primary features are made for those with ball-striking skills, like a thin topline, minimal offset and a narrow sole that allows golfers to shape their shot. The face and grooves are machined as well for consistency on every shot. Given all of that, it’s no wonder this is the company’s most-played iron on tour.

Players-Distance Irons

Low 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.

More on this club

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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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.

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.

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.

Mid Handicaps

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 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.

More on this club

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.

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

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 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.

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

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.

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.

Game-Improvement Irons

Low Handicaps

Cobra Darkspeed
$143 per iron | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$143 per iron

You’ve heard the phrase “pound for pound, the best”? That would apply to Cobra’s R&D team. Although outnumbered and out-budgeted by the biggest companies, Cobra continues to innovate in meaningful ways, and this iron is the latest example. The face of the hollow-body irons, designed with the help of a supercomputer, is 1.5 millimeters at its thinnest, providing explosive ball speed. Inside the cavity is a soft polymer (used in underbody coatings in cars) to dampen vibrations. It’s also available in the One Length shaft option, which accounts for nearly 30 percent of Cobra’s iron sales.

More on this club

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

TaylorMade’s P-series irons have long overshadowed its game-improvement offerings, but that’s changed over time. The Qi is the latest leap. The iron incorporates a “cap back” that replaces the steel back of the clubhead with a composite badge. The badge provides the necessary reinforcement for the thin, flexing face, along with a pleasant sound and feel. The badge also reduces mass, allowing weight to be moved to dial in the proper center-of-gravity location. To assist sound, a damping system uses a softer polymer blend and multiple contact points across the face to channel away those pesky unwanted vibrations without slowing ball speed. The nickel-chrome plating adds a touch of class, too.

More on this club

Cobra King Forged Tec-X
$171 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Silver
$171 per iron

The speed in these irons comes from an almost utility-iron-like design in the 4- through 7-irons. Those clubs are hollow in construction with a 65-gram slab of tungsten that drives the center of gravity down low to assist launch. The face insert is made from a high-strength stainless steel through a multistep forging and machining process, allowing for a face that gets as thin as 1.6 millimeters in the upper pocket area. All that results in the kind of fire off the face middle-handicappers crave.

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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.

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
$143 per iron | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$143 per iron

The game-improvement category is probably the most expansive of any and requires an iron that works for a variety of swing speeds and swing paths. To achieve this, Callaway leaned into its history of using artificial intelligence to run through thousands of possible designs. The result is a hollow-body iron featuring micro-face deflections (think tiny moguls behind the face ranging from 1.14 millimeters to 3.40 millimeters thick). The purpose is to produce faster ball speeds off the 17-4 stainless-steel cupface.

More on this club

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

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

TaylorMade’s P-series irons have long overshadowed its game-improvement offerings, but that’s changed over time. The Qi is the latest leap. The iron incorporates a “cap back” that replaces the steel back of the clubhead with a composite badge. The badge provides the necessary reinforcement for the thin, flexing face, along with a pleasant sound and feel. The badge also reduces mass, allowing weight to be moved to dial in the proper center-of-gravity location. To assist sound, a damping system uses a softer polymer blend and multiple contact points across the face to channel away those pesky unwanted vibrations without slowing ball speed. The nickel-chrome plating adds a touch of class, too.

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

Honma Beres Nx
$350 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Silver
$350 per iron

Sometimes you see something so different and cool that you’re immediately intrigued, like Honma’s new resin bar behind the face of this club that stretches all the way to the toe where it is attached via a toe screw. The bar is 90 percent resin, making it super light so that it saves weight while damping vibration. The L-face (in which a lip goes over part of the sole) produces plenty of ball speed, especially on shots hit low on the face.

More on this club

High Handicaps

Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke
$143 per iron | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$143 per iron

The game-improvement category is probably the most expansive of any and requires an iron that works for a variety of swing speeds and swing paths. To achieve this, Callaway leaned into its history of using artificial intelligence to run through thousands of possible designs. The result is a hollow-body iron featuring micro-face deflections (think tiny moguls behind the face ranging from 1.14 millimeters to 3.40 millimeters thick). The purpose is to produce faster ball speeds off the 17-4 stainless-steel cupface.

More on this club

Cobra Darkspeed
$143 per iron | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$143 per iron

You’ve heard the phrase “pound for pound, the best”? That would apply to Cobra’s R&D team. Although outnumbered and out-budgeted by the biggest companies, Cobra continues to innovate in meaningful ways, and this iron is the latest example. The face of the hollow-body irons, designed with the help of a supercomputer, is 1.5 millimeters at its thinnest, providing explosive ball speed. Inside the cavity is a soft polymer (used in underbody coatings in cars) to dampen vibrations. It’s also available in the One Length shaft option, which accounts for nearly 30 percent of Cobra’s iron sales.

More on this club

Honma Beres Nx
$350 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Silver
$350 per iron

Sometimes you see something so different and cool that you’re immediately intrigued, like Honma’s new resin bar behind the face of this club that stretches all the way to the toe where it is attached via a toe screw. The bar is 90 percent resin, making it super light so that it saves weight while damping vibration. The L-face (in which a lip goes over part of the sole) produces plenty of ball speed, especially on shots hit low on the face.

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.

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 Handicaps

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.

Yonex Ezone Elite 4.0
$130 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Silver
$130 per iron

Some think super-game-improvement irons are just for players who swing over the top. Some of this thinking can be attributed to the bulky designs. Those who need the help of a SGI iron but still want to look like they have game should give this one a look. The relatively sleek appearance hides the horsepower. Taking weight out of the upper back of the face (where few golfers hit the ball) lowers the center of gravity for better launch. Channels behind the face reduce weight and increase the compression of the ball and ensuing rebound for extra yards.