Golf irons are an essential part of any golfer’s tool kit, typically used for shots up to 200 yards from the green.
Numbered from two to nine – the larger numbers are known as “short irons” and used for shorter-distance shots – a set of golf irons typically includes anywhere from five to eight clubs. Although, those just starting out can get by with fewer; a couple of mid-range irons like a 5 and a 7 should do the trick.
When it comes to finding the right golf irons for you, sending your ball farthest isn’t the only factor to consider.
“At whatever level the player, they should be looking for consistency with their distance control and not which irons go the furthest,” says national PGA golf coach, Jeremy Bennett, who offers coaching at Windlesham Golf Club, Surrey.
No matter your price point or skill level, you can find golf irons that work for you. Higher handicap golfers are typically looking for game-improvement irons with a larger clubhead for stability, while those with more expertise typically prefer a blade-style club.
How we tested
We tested a variety of irons over the past couple of months, at the range, on nine and 18-hole courses and even on a golf tour across a long weekend. We primarily tested men’s game-improvement irons, which are designed for mid-to-high level handicaps, but also too some irons geared to more advanced players for a spin too. Here’s what we thought...
The best golf irons of 2021 are:
- Best overall – TaylorMade P790 steel irons 2021: £942, Golfonline.co.uk
- Best basics – Callaway Golf big Bertha B21 irons: £898.90, Onlinegolf.co.uk
- Best for mid-to-high handicap golfers – Yonex Ezone elite 3.0 irons: £489, Affordablegolf.co.uk
- Best for slower swing speeds – Honma T world GS ladies irons: £1170, Rocgolf.co.uk
- Best accuracy – Ping i210: £649, Clubhousegolf.co.uk
- Best craftmanship – Vega mizar tour: £1050, Coregolf.co.uk
- Best for low handicap golfers – Srixon ZX7: £899, Afforablegolf.co.uk
- Best budget – Inesis 100: £24.99, Decathlon.co.uk
TaylorMade P790 steel irons
We were able to try the whole set of these and can attest to their great look and performance. These clubs are designed for the mid-to-lower handicap golfer, and have a great feel, with appropriate forgiveness. The “intelligent sweet spot” has been increased by as much as 60 per cent on these; hitting it within this range improved our distance and overall shots.
We took these out on a golf trip to Ireland and noticed these combine forgiveness, distance and good ball launch, which we suspect is due to the Speedfoam air technology, which keeps them lightweight and ensures the best possible speed performance. We’ve been golfing with the previous iteration of P790s and can see the improvements with this newest model.
Callaway Golf big Bertha B21 irons
Considered an ideal first iron for the beginner-yet-wanting-to-get-serious golfer, Callaway’s big Bertha irons aren’t top of the list for aesthetics, but they’re effective and can help bring down handicaps by a few points. The newest iteration boasts AI to improve ball speed, but we found it’s the wider sole design that really helps with contact.
Yonex Ezone elite 3.0 irons
Best: For mid-to-high handicap golfers
With an oversize club head and internal groove around the face, this iron is designed for forgiveness and distance, plus it has a lower centre of gravity to encourage the ball to go further, faster. We tested this one at the range and think the set is a bargain for golfers looking to improve consistency, distance and overall scores.
Honma T world GS ladies irons
Best: For slower swing speeds
Honma’s GS irons are designed for improving golfers who aren’t all that confident on the course and need greater forgiveness (the deeper cavity and wide sole, with extended sweet spot, is there but doesn’t feel chunky). It was really lightweight and we managed to get the ball further and keep our swing more consistent than we were used to. We also really like the stylish yellow colourway.
Pro golfer Lee Westwood is a fan of the Ping i210, which scores high on this list for both accuracy and consistency: the iron feels soft as butter, which in turn improves how we were hitting our ball. We found it went straighter, faster and closer to the pin. These are appropriate for the good golfer looking for accuracy. They look sleek, too.
Vega mizar tour
This iron looks and feels luxurious: it’s impossible not to appreciate the quality and craftsmanship that this Japanese brand delivers. Forged from carbon steel, it has a softer face insert for the forgiveness mid-handicap golfers want, with great feedback.
Best: For low-handicap golfers
This iron is more forgiving than a blade but offers more in terms of control and speed, and it’s a solid choice for the low-handicap golfer (it’s less suitable for beginners). It has an appealing look, it feels good and it allows you to shape shots. The v-shaped sole saved a few of our shots where strike wasn’t perfect.
This iron is our top pick for anyone new to golf who is thinking about trying out the game but doesn’t want to spend a fortune. Designed with an enlarged head to make positioning easier, this game-improvement iron is ideal for those just starting out, plus it handles smoothly – like a far more expensive club.
You can also get full sets of Inesis irons at Decathlon for under £350, and the retailer also stocks irons from top brands like TaylorMade. A great budget club, but more experienced golfers will want to steer clear.
The verdict: Golf Irons
TaylorMade’s P790 series scores high across the board, from appearance to forgiveness to ease of use – and the serious golfer won’t be disappointed. Just starting out? Save your pence with the Inesis 100 at Decathlon, which does the job and will help your score, while still looking smart on the course.
Make sure you have all your essentials for a day on the course and check our guide to the best golf putters for improving your game on the green
IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.
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