Your golf irons will most likely be the single biggest purchase you’ll make in your golf equipment. Irons make up around eight to nine of the clubs in the average golf bag and finding the right set of irons for your level, swing and individual requirement is of the utmost importance. With the enormous variety of irons on the market, our buying guide will help you decide on the set of irons best suited to your game.
All golfers use the irons for attaining the green, they are the staple scoring clubs doing the bread-and-butter work of the game. Used when the golfer is less than 200 yards from the green, the type of iron used is determined by the loft of the club head and the ability of the golfer to hit the ball. Irons are also good for getting the ball out of the sand or long grass, since the face of the club must get right down and hit the ball upwards very quickly.
Types of Irons
Irons are the most versatile and used clubs in any golfer’s bag and are specifically designed to allow the golfer to approach the green from fairway and rough lies. Irons are also used off the tee on shorter holes (par 3s and 4s), or where the player needs a greater degree of control than a driver or wood could offer.
A typical set of clubs consists of 9 irons, ordinarily 3,4,5,6,7,8 and 9 irons plus a pitching wedge and sand wedge. The lower the number of the iron, the lower the loft of the club will be, allowing a greater distance to be generated from a good strike of the ball.
Long and mid irons are typically used for approach or tee shots, while short irons have a higher loft and are used for shorter shots such as pitching and chipping. In general, the closer you are to the green, the higher the number iron you will use.
Iron heads are solid with a flat, grooved face and are generally available in two variations: blades and cavity-backs. Heads on a blade iron have a smooth back and are considered best suited to skilled players since they need to be hit with a high speed in order to deliver effective results.
Additionally, the sweet spot of a blade iron is relatively small which makes it harder to hit shots in the optimal place, increasing the risk of a shorter, more unpredictable stroke.
Cavity-back, or perimeter-weighted, irons have a hollowed-out back, spreading the club head’s weight out towards the edges of the clubface, providing a larger sweet spot on the head. This makes the club more forgiving, allowing less-than-perfect contact to still produce reasonable shots, making a cavity-back iron ideal for higher handicap players.
Onedisadvantage is that the lowered centre of gravity on the cavity-back iron makes the ball launch higher, thereby reducing distance in approach shots for the average player.
Iron heads are either forged or cast. Forged irons are made of carbon steel that is heated, cooled and then ground into shape, while cast clubs are made by pouring steel into a mould which makes them easier and cheaper to produce.
Although forged and cast irons are equally popular, practiced golfers tend to opt for the forged, or blade, irons since they transmit more feel and allows them more control over ball trajectory. Golfers with a high handicap may prefer the cast iron clubs.
Typically, iron shafts are available in either steel or graphite. Steel shafts are cheaper, heavier and more durable than graphite shafts and are suited to those with a faster swing speed since they provide more control.
Graphite shafts are more expensive but are more flexible and lightweight, giving your shot more distance if you have a slower swing speed. For what they may lack in consistency, graphite shafts are often considered to be more comfortable to use since they cause fewer vibrations upon impact with the ball.
Composites are also widely available, offering varying levels of compromise between distance and control.
Most manufacturers will offer a variety of golf iron sets, including of either steel or graphite shafts, with both forged or cast iron heads. On our website you’ll find a great choice of golf irons for all stages and abilities.