Best Irons for Mid Handicappers 2021

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More Penetrating Flight Iron

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The JPX921 Hot Metal Pro irons continue Mizuno’s quest of using Chromoly material. They feature a new thinner CORTECH face and a variable thickness sole, which combine to produce Mizuno’s fastest iron ball speeds…

best irons for mid handicappers

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Callaway Apex irons have long been a favourite amongst elite golfers and now the introduction of the DCB model opens up the range to mid handicappers

Easy to hit & add distance

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TaylorMade’s SIM2 Max irons are definitely on the game improvement side of irons suitable for mid handicappers, however do not let this put you off. TaylorMade’s new patented Cap Back multi-material cavity design offers exceptional distance and forgiveness…

Forgiving and consistent Irons

Available on American Golf

PINGs G iron range is well-renowned for its forgiveness qualities and the G425 irons follow in the same vein thanks to expanded perimeter weighting from a tungsten toe screw and hosel weight

THE SWING FASTER IRON SET

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The third and newest release in Srixon’s ZX range the ZX4 irons offer a slightly thicker topline and additional forgiveness compared with the ZX5 and ZX7 models. New Mainframe technology with a milled backside to the face is designed to increase ball speed.

What are the best irons for Mid Handicappers in 2021

Buying a new set of irons is incredibly exciting for any golfer and will typically be their most expensive golfing purchase. It is a huge decision, with many golfers hoping for several years of use and potentially thousands of golf balls hit from these irons.

 

Mid handicappers will be looking for excellent forgiveness and distance, however they still want a good amount of feel and control. The irons have to have nice bag appeal, but still inspire confidence at address. In other words, mid handicappers really want a bit of everything when it comes to their irons. Luckily there are lots of excellent options available that fit this criteria.

what are the best irons for Mid handicap Golfers?

So, how do you go about choosing the perfect iron set for you? Hopefully this review can help. We have reviewed our top five irons for mid handicappers in 2021 and answered some of the most common questions.

The JPX921 Hot Metal Pro irons continue Mizuno’s quest of using Chromoly material. They feature a new thinner CORTECH face and a variable thickness sole, which combine to produce Mizuno’s fastest iron ball speeds. These irons also include Harmonic Impact sound ribs to reduce vibration and extreme perimeter weighting for extra forgiveness.

 

The Pro version of the Hot Metal irons offers a slightly more compact profile with a bit less offset. These irons have almost a player’s iron style profile, but with the forgiveness you need as a mid handicap golfer. For golfers a little intimidated by the lack of offset and thinner topline, I suggest trying out the standard Hot Metal irons.

 

Pros
● Great looking irons
● Produces great ball speed
● Lower launching penetrating ball flight (also see cons)
● One of the longer irons in the mid handicapper market

 

Cons
● Lower ball flight won’t suit everyone
● Low spin levels can make longer irons hard to hold the green

Callaway Apex irons have long been a favourite amongst elite golfers and now the introduction of the DCB model opens up the range to mid handicappers. Callaway have added their AI designed Flash Face Cup and Tungsten Energy Core technology into these irons. This equates to a high launching, long distance and forgiving iron.

 

As expected with Apex irons, these irons feel great through impact thanks to Callaway’s forged 1025 mild carbon steel body and patented urethane microspheres. These irons are definitely one of the most premiumly priced on the market, but with Apex irons you certainly get what you pay for.

 

Pros
● Excellent forgiveness and accuracy
● Low spin and high launch
● Lighter shaft than normal Apex irons to suit average swing speeds
● Good amount of feel for an iron aimed at mid handicappers

 

Cons
● One of the most expensive irons available

TaylorMade’s SIM2 Max irons are definitely on the game improvement side of irons suitable for mid handicappers, however do not let this put you off. TaylorMade’s new patented Cap Back multi-material cavity design offers exceptional distance and forgiveness. Thru-Slot Speed Pocket technology and optimized CG placement deliver high launching yet penetrating ball flight. New ECHO Damping System technology controls unwanted vibrations and ensures these irons still feel smooth through impact.

 

These irons do come with strong lofts, which although promoting maximum distance, is important to be aware of when trying to gap your wedge lofts. These irons are probably best suited to golfers prioritising distance and forgiveness, but would not be out of place in any mid handicappers bag.

 

Pros
● Easy to hit with a large sweet spot
● High launching ball flight
● Very long, even on off-centre strikes

 

Cons
● Strong lofts cause gapping issues with wedges
● Not as much distance control as other irons

PINGs G iron range is well-renowned for its forgiveness qualities and the G425 irons follow in the same vein thanks to expanded perimeter weighting from a tungsten toe screw and hosel weight. A variable thickness metal-wood style face design produces the fastest ball speed ever in a G-series iron and a patented cascading sole increases consistency. If you want to prioritise forgiveness, a straight ball flight and consistent performance then these irons should be at the top of your list.

 

Recently PING have made a conscious effort to smarten-up their appearance and this has definitely worked with the G425 irons. They have a more compact clubhead, slightly less offset and a toned down badge, which produces an iron that will appeal to a wide variety of golfers.

 

Pros
● Good all-round performance; soft feel, high launch and very forgiving
● Will suit a vast range of handicaps from high single figures to twenties.
● Looks great at address for a players’ distance iron
● Mid handicappers will love the straightness of the ball flight

 

Cons
● Not as long as other irons in this category
● Probably not worth the upgrade if you already have PING G410 irons

The third and newest release in Srixon’s ZX range the ZX4 irons offer a slightly thicker topline and additional forgiveness compared with the ZX5 and ZX7 models. New Mainframe technology with a milled backside to the face is designed to increase ball speed. Whilst a hollow back design and a tungsten weight for lower CG are designed for a high launching straight ball flight. Srixon’s Tour VT Sole and renewed sole notches help smooth turf interaction even on slightly heavy strikes for extra forgiveness.

 

The ZX4 model is definitely the closest to game improvement technology within the ZX range, however it does retain a fairly sharp appearance at address. The lofts are strong, with the pitching wedge 43-degrees, so this needs to be kept in mind when selecting wedge lofts. The lower-end of mid handicap golfers may prefer the ZX5 irons, however a combination of each of these models could provide an excellent mixed set.

 

Pros
● High launching with long distance carry
● Consistent performance in dispersion and distance
● Clean traditional look
● Good levels of forgiveness

 

Cons
● Stronger lofts may cause gapping issues with wedges
● Slightly thicker topline may deter the lower end of mid handicappers

Honourable Mentions

Cleveland Launcher UHX


Perfect for the mid handicapper whose handicap is heading upwards, the Cleveland Launcher UHX are a half-hybrid mixed set of irons. The utility-hollow design in the 7 to 4 irons will provide excellent forgiveness and the standard cavity back design of PW to 8 iron offers slightly more control. All irons come with V shaped sole technology for great turf interaction Tour Zip Grooves for maximising spin control.

 

Cobra RadSpeed

 

These irons are great value and will suit mid handicappers wanting to maximise their distance. Radial Weighting technology and a new innovative 3D printed medallion produce excellent forgiveness with a high launching and low spinning ball flight.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Who is a mid handicap golfer?

A mid handicapper is a generic term describing golfers around the 8 to 18 handicap range and accounts for the largest portion of male golfers. Golfers in this handicap range will typically shoot average scores ranging anywhere from the early-80s up to early-90s. 

However, a mid handicapper is such a wide reaching term that it could refer to improving or declining golfers, someone that hits their 7-iron 120 yards or 160 yards, a senior or a junior.

 

Mid handicap irons will still prioritise forgiveness and distance, however they will offer more feel and control than irons aimed at high handicappers. Different models of irons will still have their own strengths and weaknesses. So, you need to evaluate your skill set and priorities to determine which type of irons that will best suit your game.

What shafts should I get?

There are typically two shafts to choose between, stainless steel or graphite.

 

Both shafts have unique attributes, with positives and negatives. What is most important is ensuring you select the option best suited to your game, because having the wrong shafts can have a huge impact on your ball flight and accuracy.

 

Stainless steel shafts are suited to golfers with quicker swing speeds, making them by far the most common choice on the Men’s Professional Tours. They offer more consistency and playability. Therefore allowing golfers to have greater accuracy and spin control, as well as manipulating ball flight easier.

 

Graphite shafts are more commonly seen on Senior and Ladies Professional Tours and are suited to golfers with slower swing speeds. Graphite is lighter, so generates more clubhead speed offering greater distance. They also tend to cut down on vibration through impact, especially on poor strikes, which can be beneficial for senior golfers.

 

Additionally, it is equally, if not more important, to ensure you have the correct flexibility in your shafts. Research by True Spec Golf shows the shaft you should be using based on your average swing speeds with driver:

 

Over 105mph

Extra Stiff

97-104mph

Stiff

84-96mph

Regular

72-83mph

Senior

Less than 72mph

Ladies

What different styles are there?

The choice until fairly recently was simply muscle back or cavity back irons. However, nowadays golfers looking to buy the newest irons will find more different styles spoken about.

 

Muscle back irons are often referred to as blades because of their thin blade-like appearance. They are significantly less forgiving than cavity back irons, with off centre strikes heavily punished. For the very best ball strikers they can offer the ultimate control and shot-shaping, however even the majority professionals now opt for an iron with some cavity. I would suggest that every mid handicapper should stay clear of these irons.

 

Here is where we fall into the cavity back subsection of irons. Players’ irons are the most common choice for Professionals and low handicap golfers and have the smallest cavity. They have a compact clubhead, thin topline and relatively small sweet spot for a cavity back iron. These irons offer great workability, control and feel, but should only be a consideration for the best ball strikers out of the mid handicap range. Most mid handicappers would benefit from the additional forgiveness and distance that comes with a slightly thicker cavity.

 

Players’ distance irons are probably the most popular choice amongst mid handicap golfers and the category where the majority of the best mid handicap irons of 2021 above are found. A slightly thicker cavity and a little added offset inspires more confidence for mid handicappers in appearance, with excellent forgiveness and plenty of distance. They will also still offer more feel, accuracy and spin control than you associated with game improvement irons. You will find that game improvement irons, with the largest cavity back, offer even greater levels of support for bad shots at the sacrifice of control and accuracy. I would recommend these irons for mid handicappers with declining handicaps or the more senior golfers.

 

These subcategories of cavity back are certainly not set in stone. As technology has advanced many leading manufacturers are now incorporating qualities from each of these different styles to improve the other ones. Many of the most modern irons could easily be considered to fit within two different categories.

Should I buy a mixed set?

Mixed (or blended) sets are incredibly popular amongst the best golfers and should definitely also be a consideration for mid handicappers. A mixed iron set is one including two or more different styles. For example you could choose, pitching wedge to 8 iron as players’ irons, 7 to 5 iron as players’ distance irons and a 4 or 3 iron as a game improvement iron. Mixed sets offer golfers a chance to prioritise different iron characteristics for different types of golf shot. Commonly, adding more game improvement qualities in the lower lofted irons and more control in higher lofted irons can be of massive benefit. Most major manufacturers are now offering per-iron costs that allow you to select your style for the whole set. If you are going to get a mixed set, be careful to consider the lofts of all the irons you choose so that you do not end up with any gapping issues.

Should I get a custom-fit for irons?

In a word, yes. My recommendation for all mid handicap golfers that are looking to get the most out of their new irons is to get custom-fit with your local PGA Professional. There are so many different irons to choose from and there is no replacement for trying these clubs and seeing the data first hand. A custom-fit will make sure you select the perfect irons and shafts to suit your game, as well as any customisation such as shaft length or grips. This will make a massive difference to how your irons perform and ensure you get the best quality from your investment.

Conclusion

Overall, I have selected the Callaway Apex DCB irons as my number one pick for mid handicappers. They offer the most complete package and should suit a wide range of mid handicap golfers, provided they fit within your budget.

 

However, any golfer currently looking to purchase new irons is spoilt for choice. There are so many viable options for all types of mid handicap golfers. Each iron will have its own strengths and weaknesses, so it is important to select whichever helps maximise your potential and inspires you with confidence.

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