Golf Irons Buying Guide

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Table Of Contents: Golf Irons Buyer's Guide

What Golf Irons Should You Buy?

When choosing golf irons, consider your skill level and other iron specifics, like the types of shafts and clubhead design. Also, consider the set's composition and size, your budget, and your brand and personal preferences.

Golf Irons Buying Tips

A large portion of your golf game is spent getting across the fairway to the green. In many cases, the irons are calibrated for the different distances you will run into as you make this approach. And this is where your irons become essential. Like in all categories of clubs, there are certain things you want to consider during selection. Irons are no different. Understanding the basics of this utility club can positively impact your game. Here are a few basics to help you decide.

Golf Iron Selection By Skill Level

While the maximum number of clubs you should carry in your bag is 14, how those clubs are selected is essential. While there are guidelines as to which clubs you should have, there is some flexibility in your equipment lineup. Although some clubs are crucial, you can alter the mix between woods, irons, wedges, and hybrids. And doing this is highly recommended since players have different skill levels and needs.

Every golfer, of course, will carry irons in their bag. The question is which ones, and how many? Technology has made this process even more involved. The advent and development of hybrid clubs have created a substitute that is easier to use than many lower-numbered irons. That being said, a great way to select which irons, or hybrids, to use is to look at experience and skill level.

infographic: Every numbered golf iron has a different loft  - Image
infographic: Every numbered iron has a different loft

Beginner Or Higher Handicap Golfers

Beginners, novices, and players with slower swing speeds will have one of the most complicated relationships with the irons and hybrids. Lower irons can be challenging to hit with accuracy. They tend to be unforgiving. For this reason, many sources will tell you to skip the lower irons and use the 3-hybrid and 4-hybrid. For shots deeper into the fairway, a novice player should have a 6-iron, 7-iron, 8-iron, and 9-iron. You could get by with a 7-iron or 9-iron if you are more of a recreational player.

Intermediate Golfers

As players gain more experience or have a higher swing speed, they have more options for what irons to carry. While you may start including lower-numbered irons, you must ask yourself an important question. Do you want to? The ease of use of a 3-hybrid and 4-hybrid can allow you better shots when you are on the beginning fringes of the fairway but need an accurate low loft. As you move closer to the green, you want to ensure you have all four higher-numbered, higher-lofted irons. Unlike a beginner player, you want the precision of the higher lofted irons.

Advanced Or Lower Handicap Golfers

If any player will make the most use of the irons, it is the advanced or pro player. A seasoned player with a fast swing and low handicap can deftly use this group of clubs with precision on the fairway. That said, advanced players will carry a full set of irons, including the lower ones. More advanced players can choose to interject a hybrid or hybrids into the lineup as needed to infuse the benefits of this club into their game.

infographic: the closer you get to the green, the higher the golf iron loft  - Image
infographic: the closer you get to the green, the higher the golf iron loft

Understanding Irons

Not to oversimplify the iron family, but it does help to break them up into subcategories. You probably have heard the term long iron, mid iron, short iron, or wedges. These are a more granular breakdown of the different clubs that make up this group. Accordingly, the loft is the most significant change between irons within a set of irons. The loft, of course, is the angle of the club head. The iron loft increases as you go from the long or lower irons to the short irons, also known as wedges. Simply put, the ball's arc gets sharper and higher as you move closer to the hole. A higher arcing ball flight helps ensure you don't overshoot the green.

Cavity Back Versus Muscle Back

The club head is one of the most critical parts of the club. For irons, the two principal styles are cavity back and muscle back. The muscle back is the traditional style of the club head in an iron. It is thinner and solid. And it appeals to more advanced players for several good reasons. For example, muscle back irons offer an incredible feeling when you contact the ball, giving the golfer feedback when they hit it. And this can be ideal for a golfer that is consistent with their stroke. However, a drawback of this club is that it can be very unforgiving. That brings us to the cavity back iron.

The cavity back is the right choice for a less experienced or skilled player. It is designed to be more forgiving with a much larger striking area. And this can help you make more shots. Cavity backs are also constructed with a lower center of gravity, which can help players generate more speed and velocity when they strike the ball. Some cavity backs can also have precision weighting to help you hit the ball straighter.

Also, many irons today can be a hybrid mix of cavity back and muscle back and fall, more or less, into both categories. There are also "game improvement" irons that use more perimeter weighting, providing more casual or novice players with more shot forgiveness.

Graphite Or Steel Shaft

Another component to consider with iron selection is the club shaft. The two predominant choices here are graphite and steel. Both have different characteristics to match different styles of play. The steel shaft is heavier and favors players with higher swing speeds. The lighter graphite shaft is better for players with a slower swing speed who need to generate more power.

Individual Irons Versus A Full Set

Another question determining what you purchase is the number of irons you buy. You can purchase an individual iron or a complete set of irons. Naturally, when you are a beginner or buying your first set of clubs, you must ensure you have the entire set. But for golfers who already have their irons, it may make sense to buy them individually based on the specific situations they frequently face on the fairway.

infographic: Iron distance usage - Long irons, mid irons, short irons  - Image
infographic: Iron distance usage - Long irons, mid irons, short irons

Certified Pre-Owned Irons

Every Golf Irons is different, and you should be able to take advantage of the brand and model that best meets your requirements. The golf club that performs well for the pros on tour may not be the same club that works best for all golfers. You should be able to try different clubs to find the best one for your individual playing style. That is also why buying Pre-Owned Clubs is such an excellent and practical solution.

You do not have to purchase new to get a name-brand quality wedge. Our certified pre-owned irons offer top-name brands at a lower price point. Many are also backed with our Certified Pre-Owned Guarantee. Each used club we receive is meticulously inspected and rated appropriately.

Click on the pre-owned categories below to find out more!

Like New Pre-Owned Golf Club Category Information Image
Excellent Pre-Owned Golf Club Category Information Image
Very Good Pre-Owned Golf Club Category Information Image
Value Pre-Owned Golf Club Category Information Image

The Main Takeaway?

Golf Irons are the most common club in any golf bag. So understanding golf irons and how they can affect your game is essential. Will your game benefit from a set of cavity back irons or muscle back? Or would a "game improvement" iron set be better for you? With so many options, it may also be advantageous to get fitted at your local golf pro shop. Plus, you may want to consider pre-owned irons, but buy from a reputable dealer so you can be certain what you are buying. Whatever you do, getting the best irons for you and your playing style is crucial to keep you playing your best!

Best Golf Irons For 2024

Modern golf manufacturers add a new dimension to modern golf irons. Using today's technology, clubmakers can create irons that are easier to hit and more accurate. These are some of the most popular individual irons and iron sets.


Mizuno Golf JPX 923 Hot Metal Irons Image

Mizuno Golf JPX 923 Hot Metal Irons

Mizuno's JPX923 irons are engineered for custom performance. Five unique iron models were created from three specific metals - based on Swing DNA data from over 350,000 real golfers. The expanded head options combine with one of over 50 custom shafts for specific trajectory, ball speed, and ease of use. This creates possibilities for elite tour players, slow-swinging amateurs, and every player in between.

Mizuo Golf Pro FLI-HI Iron Image

Mizuo Golf Pro FLI-HI Iron

The Mizuno Golf Pro FLI-HI Iron offers many features to make every swing with this club more effective. Designed to be used with a graphite shaft, this club features the MAS1C steel face material on the club head. This helps improve ball speed. The club also has a 21-gram Tungsten weight to help you consistently make better swings. It also features unique aesthetics with distinctive black plating on the club head.

Mizuno Golf JPX 921 Hot Metal Irons Image

Mizuno Golf JPX 921 Hot Metal Irons

The Mizuno Golf JPX 921 Hot Metal Irons is the product of endless innovations designed to amplify your performance on every shot. These clubs use a seamless cup face with a variable-thickness sole design. In simple terms, the design acts as a hinge to help you achieve greater ball speeds. Complementing this is the perimeter weighting in the frame to help you achieve stability even when your shot is less than perfect. The pearl brush finish is designed to mitigate glare, allowing you to focus on your shot more easily.


Titleist Golf T200 Irons Image

Titleist Golf T200 Irons

The new T200 is an R&D standout, combining the best of previous generations into a compact, Tour-ready shape. Every component of the multi-material construction is designed to produce a depth of feel that is unexpected in such a powerful iron. With a sleeker shape, shorter blade length, and topline, the T200 evolution represents the most significant shift within the T-Series. It has the same minimal offset as the T100 and T100S to allow for seamless set blending. The engineered muscle plate also improves acoustics for a more crisp, satisfying sound and feel.


Callaway Golf X Forged 21 UT Utility Iron Image

Callaway Golf X Forged 21 UT Utility Iron

The Callaway Golf X Forged 21 UT Utility Iron is packed with features that can help you make better, more accurate shots from the fairway. Callaway uses artificial intelligence to engineer the club face design. The resulting flash face cup design helps to enhance ball speeds and improve spin. And this alone can give you an edge when you use this iron. In addition, the club is designed to give you control with a softer feel to help you make a smoother, more effective swing. Tungsten weighting around the clubhead helps to balance the power and gives you a robust trajectory and launch. Even the stable Z-grip can help you swing more fluently as you can easily clutch and control this club.

Callaway Golf Paradym Irons image

Callaway Golf Paradym Irons

Distance irons are obviously long, but discriminating players also need outstanding feel. So why not combine the two in one club? Callaway's Paradym Shift Construction blends a Forged 455 Face with an all-new speed Frame to provide the best of both worlds. The Paradym iron is intended for golfers seeking a distance iron with a refined shape and premium forging.


TaylorMade Golf Stealth Irons image

TaylorMade Golf Stealth Irons

TaylorMade Stealth Irons will help you hit better shots more often. Golf is a fascinating sport. The better you hit it, and the fewer strokes you take in a round, the less golf you play. You can expect to play less golf more often with the all-new Stealth irons. The new Cap Back Design with toe wrap construction is designed to increase face flexibility and ball speed. Stealth's multi-material architecture allows it to outperform regular irons.

TaylorMade Golf P790 Irons image

TaylorMade Golf P790 Irons

The TaylorMade P790 Irons are the culmination of numerous hours of study, testing, and input from players. Every stage, from design to delivery, is handled with one aim in mind. They provide outcomes when you need them most. Our metal meets your mettle in the new P790. Discover the player they'll urge you to become by experiencing them for yourself. The newly designed SpeedFoam Air weighs 69% less than its predecessor. It saves up to 3.5g of weight and redistributes it to further optimize mass characteristics for improved launch conditions. The new formulation delivers a sweet sound, a sturdy feel, and a quick and flexible face.

Tour Edge

Tour Edge Golf Exotics C722 Ti-Utility Iron Image

Tour Edge Golf Exotics C722 Ti-Utility Iron

The Tour Edge Golf Exotics C722 Ti-Utility Iron combines a traditional iron's characteristics with a wood's performance features. One way it does this is with the Beta Titanium L-Cup Face. The Beta Titanium L-Cup Face wraps around the edge of the club. This forms a hinge structure that helps to generate greater ball speed and distance. Another way this club helps to create more ball speed is with engineering improvements that reduce the club's weight. One area where the weight is reduced is in the club head. Weight on the club face is minimized through zero weld technology. The impact of this process can translate into longer ball flights.

Tour Edge Golf Hot Launch C521 Irons Image

Tour Edge Golf Hot Launch C521 Irons

The Tour Edge Golf Hot Launch C521 Irons is perfect for players of all levels. This set of cavity back irons is made with soft stainless steel to improve feel and feedback. Tour Edge innovations like the expanded undercut cavity reposition weight on the club to help provide greater stability during your swing. Another feature that helps improve performance is the wide sole design. And this helps enhance launch for higher, more precise shots.

Customer Reviews

By Rob
Greensburg PA
November 29th, 2023
Smooth as butter
The Srixon ZX7 MKII irons are the best irons I have ever hit. Not the longest, but smooth like butter. Very accurate. Highly recommend!
By Mike
Novembe 21st, 2023
Tour Edge C522 Irons
I've wanted these irons for some time and when they were reduced by $200, I decided it was time. Plus, they came in one inch longer which is what I was looking for. After one round, I'm pleased with the way I hit them.
By Rick
Las Vegas, NV
November 11th, 2023
These Wilson D9 irons have made golf fun again. I have tried every brand over the last 5 years because of my declining flexibility. These are so forgiving and they're easy to get up in the air so they stay on the green. You won't find a better set of irons for this price.
By James
Findlay, Illinois
November 10th, 2023
Great clubs
I have a few rounds on these Cleveland Launcher XL irons now, scoring in the low to mid eighties. They are longer and more accurate than my old irons. Miss hits are less dramatic. Senior graphite shafts are a great fit for me. Excellent value. Long and straight. Good feel at impact.
By Scott A.
November 4th, 2023
These Snake Eyes 685X irons are as solid as anything out there & believe me I’ve tried many sets of irons. I’ve tried to buy a game for yrs. & it’s hard of course. You still have to have a good swing but some clubs just give u that confidence and do help. I’m a 5 handicap & find these clubs highly playable, forgiving, long with a very solid shaft that promotes accuracy. U can save a lot of cash going with these sticks. Fairways & greens!