Best Irons for Beginners & High Handicappers ([year] List)

Best Irons for Beginners & High Handicappers (2023 List)

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Beginners have their fair share of difficulty getting used to playing golf and should use short or hybrid irons for better accuracy, which helps high handicappers too!

Here’s a list of the 12 best irons for beginners (and high handicappers):

  1. Cleveland Launcher XL Halo
  2. Callaway Big Bertha 21 Irons
  3. Callaway Rogue ST Max OS
  4. Titleist T300 – Best feel
  5. Ping G425 Iron
  6. Cobra LTDX Iron
  7. TaylorMade Stealth Iron
  8. TaylorMade Sim MAX
  9. Mizuno JPX 921
  10. Wilson Launch Pad
  11. Cobra Air X Iron
  12. TaylorMade P790

Whether you’re looking to increase your handicap score or need help as a beginner, some irons will improve your game better than others, and this list contains some of the best irons in golf to help you pick.

1. Cleveland Launcher XL Halo – The Most Forgiving Iron

Sale
Cleveland Launcher XL Halo Iron Set RH 5-DW Steel Reg
90 Reviews
Cleveland Launcher XL Halo Iron Set RH 5-DW Steel Reg
  • XL HEAD DESIGN - This is huge: a bigger head means an MOI of 2,908 g-cm2 in the 7-Ironβ€”our most ever in a Cleveland Golf Hybrid-Iron. It’s maximum distance with maximum fun.
  • RAIL TO V-SHAPED SOLE DESIGN - Gliderail in the long Irons gradually transitions to a V-Shaped sole in the short Irons and ultimately a 3-Tiered Sole on the Dual and Sand Wedges.
  • MAINFRAME - Designed using Artificial Intelligence, MainFrame variable face technology increases ball speed while unique weight pad designs ensure maximum forgiveness across the face.

For many reasons, the Cleveland Launcher series is all the rave for both beginners and high handicappers, especially the XL Halo. The Launcher XL Halo is a hybrid iron with a large head for stability and is available in long or short.

Consistency is key, and any high handicapper or beginner will appreciate the amount this iron offers. There is a ton of accuracy packed into this iron hybrid, with an accurate build configuration with a weight in the grip, allowing easy control.

The Launcher XL Halo is considered one of the best irons for average golfer. With its smooth swing and ability to hit the turf crisply, it launches the ball to an impressive distance on the course.

The positives:

  • Ultra-Forgiving
  • Large club head allows for stability
  • Great consistency and accuracy
  • Easy to control
  • Smooth swing
  • Amazing launching ability and distance

The negatives:

  • The oversized clubhead becomes challenging to use as you improve your handicap
  • It looks chunky
  • Can seem a bit short

2. Callaway Big Bertha 21 Iron – Best Overall Iron

Callaway Big Bertha B21 Single Iron (Right, Graphite, Light, 7 Iron) , Silver
214 Reviews
Callaway Big Bertha B21 Single Iron (Right, Graphite, Light, 7 Iron) , Silver
  • Big Bertha B-21 is the first Big Bertha Iron with our A.I.-designed Flash Face Cup.
  • This industry-leading Flash Face Cup is in each club. We’ve created high ball speeds and increased spin robustness with a sophisticated face architecture that’s unique to every loft.
  • This club profile is engineered to give you more confidence over the ball with noticeably wider soles. For easy launch, lower spin and straighter shots, we’ve added more offset.

The Callaway Big Bertha 21 Iron tops the charts for beginner-friendliness thanks to its impressive launching and striking ability. Handicappers also benefit from this top-performing iron. The Big Bertha 21 Iron has a large offset, widened soles, and a profuse topline.

This iron has an easy swing and has used Artificial Intelligence to design Flash Face architecture to increase ball speed and get the ball to soar to great heights.

The Big Bertha 21 Iron is ultra-forgiving due to its offset and uses tungsten weighting to help off-center shots. This iron absorbs unwanted vibration using urethane microfibers, letting off an exceptionally smooth feeling during play. 

The positives:

  • Great launch and strike ability
  • Large offset helping the center of gravity
  • Easy to swing
  • AI flash face design
  • Good ball speed and height
  • Urethane microfibers for a smooth hit

The negatives:

  • Could be more workable
  • Offset doesn’t look all that attractive
  • Can feel quite heavy

3. Callaway Rogue ST Max OS – Best Ball Speed

Sale
Callaway Golf Rogue ST Max OS Iron Set (Right Hand, Steel Shaft, Regular Flex, 5 Iron - PW, Set of 6 Clubs)
67 Reviews
Callaway Golf Rogue ST Max OS Iron Set (Right Hand, Steel Shaft, Regular Flex, 5 Iron - PW, Set of 6 Clubs)
  • Rogue ST MAX OS irons are Callaway’s fastest irons ever. They’re built with wide soles, enhanced offset, and a thicker topline vs. Rogue ST MAX. This provides confidence, high launch,...
  • For the first time in the industry, they’ve combined high strength 450 steel with our A.I. designed Flash Face Cup. This delivers more ball speed and better ball speed consistency.
  • They’ve applied our new A.I. Face Optimization to Rogue ST MAX OS. It’s unique for each model and loft to create spin rate consistency across the face. This delivers high launch and COR...

The Callaway Rogue ST Max OS is a forgiving iron for beginners and high handicappers and is worth considering. It is lightweight and delivers the fastest ball speed out of all irons on this list.

The Rogue ST’s AI face design offers consistent accelerated shots. It has high-density tungsten to increase launch and allow for high shots.

The wide soles of the Rogue ST Max hit the turf cleanly, and the offset prevents sidespin for a straight shot. The swing is super easy, and the lightness balanced with swing weights allows you to deliver fast.  

The positives:

  • Forgiving
  • Fastest ball speed of all irons on the list
  • AI face design offers consistency
  • Great launching ability
  • Increased zip
  • Offers straight shots

The negatives:

  • Has lots of offset
  • Faster swing may be problematic for beginners
  • Expensive

4. Titleist T300 – Best Feel

Titleist T300 - Best Feel
Source: Titleist T300

The Titleist T300 is worth choosing as a beginner or high-handicapper iron for improving your game.

Besides being at peak forgiveness, you’re bound to be wowed by its soft feel for easy playing.

The acoustics are also worth a mention.

The softness is thanks to the clubface cavity that absorbs shock, which is especially useful when you miss the sweet spot.

The TitleistT300 offers noticeable ball speed but gives you the distance you need for a good shot. The launch provided is also commendable, along with its consistency in doing so.

This iron is an excellent starter to your golfing career and provides the basics needed to improve your game.

The positives:

  • Peak forgiveness
  • Soft feel while playing
  • Great acoustics
  • Creates good distance
  • Impressive and consistent launch

The negatives:

  • Slow swing speed
  • Better for beginners rather than high handicappers

5. Ping G425 Iron – Best All-Rounder

Ping G425 Iron - Best All-Rounder
Source: Ping

Ping G425 irons are recommended due to their decent MOI, made possible by the iron’s shortened blade.

Beginners and high handicappers can go to town with this iron, featuring beautifully straight shots with tried-and-tested precision. Vibrations are absorbed, allowing a soft feel when playing, even if you’re off-center. 

The accuracy and forgiveness of the Ping G425 are impeccable, making it worthwhile for high handicappers and friendly for beginners.  The short heel-to-to blade offers stability and excellent ball flight.

The Ping G425 has remarkable acoustics, which can be pleasing to some. It also has a Hydropearl Chrome coating to protect and offer crisp contact in the wet.

The positives:

  • Great MOI
  • Straight shots and precision
  • Vibration absorption
  • Accurate, forgiving, and stable
  • Good ball flight
  • Hydropearl Chrome coating

The negatives:

  • Not the most workable iron
  • Acoustics can be off-putting to some
  • Limited shaping ability

6. Cobra LTDX Iron – Best Value For Money

Cobra Golf 2022 LTDX One Length Iron Set Satin Chrome-Red-Blue (Men's, Right Hand, KBS PGI 75, Reg Flex, 5-GW)
6 Reviews
Cobra Golf 2022 LTDX One Length Iron Set Satin Chrome-Red-Blue (Men's, Right Hand, KBS PGI 75, Reg Flex, 5-GW)
  • Pwr-Cor Technology-Multi Material weighting system features a steel core bar that is suspended within a polymer injected casing; The design promotes maximum flex of the body, face and sole...
  • Pwrshell Face Design-A forged face cup design increases ball speed across a wider area on the face
  • Speed Tuned Weighting-An 8 gram toe weight enhances stability and can be adjusted down to 2G and up to 14G to dial in swing weighting for custom builds

High handicappers will benefit most from the Cobra LTDX thanks to its forgiving nature and high center of gravity.

This iron is for you if you want maximum yardage and increased ball speed.

Regarding ball speed, this Cobra iron has PWR-Cor technology and a face design that propels the ball to zip consistently. The LTDX also has a 13.7-degree launch, which adds to the recipe of a splendid iron.

It also has brilliant clubface flex and an expanded active zone to ensure you hit the sweet spot. The LTDX has a high MOI and a toe weight that offers straight shots.  It’s also designed to help you optimize spin, control, and ball topping. 

The positives:

  • Forgiving and has a high center of gravity
  • Great distance 
  • High ball speed
  • Consistent zip
  • Commendable launch
  • High MOI and straight shots
  • Affordable

The negatives:

  • Slower swings don’t launch as well
  • Not the most workable iron, so it is better for high handicappers

7. TaylorMade Stealth Iron – Best Ball Speed

TaylorMade Golf Stealth Iron Lob Wedge Right Handed
55 Reviews
TaylorMade Golf Stealth Iron Lob Wedge Right Handed
  • A 450SS face has an intelligently positioned sweet spot that spans the most common impact points, delivering explosive ball speeds and consistency in all the right places.
  • Patented TaylorMade technology engineered to maximize face flexibility for increased ball speed and forgiveness for mis-hits low on the face.
  • Located behind the face, the ECHO Damping System uses a soft polymer blend and mulitple contact points across the face to channel away harsh vibrations and create a forged-like feel at...

If you love TaylorMade, this iron will surely please your high-handicap or beginner needs if you’re looking for launching speed and distance. It has a cap-back design with toe wrap, encouraging an impressive launch ending in lovely yardage. This iron also provides tight accuracy for narrow greens.

The Stealth Iron has clubface flexibility to help with spin loss on low strikes owing to the low CG. It also has a commendable sweet spot and is shock-absorbent for smooth play. In addition to the Stealth Iron’s speed and distance, these irons are highly forgiving, which is helpful to any golfer.

The positives:

  • Impressive speed
  • Consistent distance
  • Tight accuracy
  • Clubface flexibility
  • Shock-absorbent
  • Forgiving

The negatives:

  • Not ideal for slow swing speeds
  • Expensive, especially for a beginner iron

8. TaylorMade Sim MAX – Best Distance

TaylorMade SIM 2 Max Iron Set Mens Right Hand Steel Regular 4-PW
368 Reviews
TaylorMade SIM 2 Max Iron Set Mens Right Hand Steel Regular 4-PW
  • Cap Back Design - The all-new multi-material Cap Back Design utilizes high-strength stainless steel and ultralight weight polymers. Designed to maximize distance, forgiveness and feel with...
  • Fast Forgiving Face - The all-new SIM2 Max irons use a fast and forgiving face to give golfers more performance exactly where they need it.
  • New ECHO Damping System - The new ECHO Damping System uses a softer polymer blend and multiple contact points across the face to channel away harsh vibrations creating forged iron like feel.

The Sim MAX is another TaylorMade iron worth the beginner and high-handicap-friendly status and works for any skill level in the future. This iron starts with an admirable launch, reaching a remarkable distance.

Ball velocity is also something the Sim Max provides in its design. This iron is pleasant to play with as it has TaylorMade Echo Damping for shock absorption and still provides forged-like feedback. 

This iron has a thin face and a supported topline combined with Progressive Inverted Cone Technology creating a sweet spot that helps you when you are slightly amiss to produce the accuracy needed for a good shot.

Overall, this iron is a budget-friendly option without compromising quality.

The positives:

  • Suits any skill level
  • Impressive launch and distance
  • Good ball speed
  • Shock absorption while still providing feedback
  • Decent sweet spot and accuracy
  • Budget-friendly while still retaining quality

The negatives:

  • No hybrid option is available
  • Th thick topline may bother some
  • Newer options are available

9. Mizuno JPX 921 – Best Stability

JPX921 Forged Iron Set 4-GW, Right Hand, Steel Shaft, Regular Flex
10 Reviews
JPX921 Forged Iron Set 4-GW, Right Hand, Steel Shaft, Regular Flex
  • Grain Flow Forged HD
  • Harmonic Impact Technology: Fine tuned head geometry delivers ideal impact feel and feedback
  • Stability Frame: Open at the heel portion to enhance stability and launch, while producing a tour preferred vibration and sound.

One of the most aesthetically pleasing irons on this list is the Mizuno JPX 921, which is helpful to all level players. Its CORTEC clubface offers a forgiving play for those who might hit slightly off-center.

The JPX 921 flex face has a high MOI and produces extraordinary ball speed.

This Mizuno iron is the star of the show for its stability, made possible by Harmonic Impact Technology and stability frame, preventing twists during your swing. It is evenly weighted, which makes it easier to hit, and provides you with feedback.

Overall, this iron allows you to have control and offers fantastic launch and distance. 

The positives:

  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Supports all level players
  • Ultra-forgiving
  • Great ball speed
  • Exceptional stability
  • Even weight and provides feedback
  • It offers control, decent launch, and distance

The negatives:

  • Expensive
  • The rest of the series is for higher-level golfers
  • Distance could be better

10. Wilson Launch Pad 2 – Best For Shallow Divots

Wilson Staff Launch Pad 2 Men's Graphite Golf Irons - Right Hand, Regular, 5-PW, GW
3 Reviews
Wilson Staff Launch Pad 2 Men's Graphite Golf Irons - Right Hand, Regular, 5-PW, GW
  • Wilson Staff Launch Pad 2 Men's Graphite Golf Irons - Right Hand, Regular, 5-PW, GW
  • LEAVE THE GRASS TO THE GREENSKEEPER: The sole of Launch Pad has been optimized to keep the club head out of the grass and on the ball, preventing chunking and delivering unmatched...
  • EASY DOES IT: Weight has been removed and mass lowered, creating an iron that launches the ball higher and helps it fly farther with less effort.

Wilson has designed the Launch Pad 2 iron with high handicappers in mind, which benefits beginners too. This iron has a high MOI and low CG, offering incredible forgiveness.

If you hit with a shallow angle, you’re bound to get along with the Launch Pad 2, as it eases turf interaction with an enhanced turf interaction sole for those chunky shots.

This iron allows for a fantastic launch thanks to the weights in the clubhead, and the hollow body promotes velocity. Stability is also noticeable as the club hits square on impact. If you’re a beginner or high-handicapped, the Launch Pad 2 will help you with accuracy.

The positives:

  • High MOI and low CG
  • Great for shallow divots
  • Enhanced turf interaction sole
  • Amazing launch
  • Stable and accurate

The negatives:

  • It looks a bit chunky
  • Can limit striking progression
  • Expensive

11. Cobra AirX Iron- Best Off-Center Shots

Sale
Cobra Golf 2022 Air X Iron Combo Set (Men's, Right Hand, Cobra Ultralite, Reg Flex, 4-PW),Chrome-Red
12 Reviews
Cobra Golf 2022 Air X Iron Combo Set (Men's, Right Hand, Cobra Ultralite, Reg Flex, 4-PW),Chrome-Red
  • Lightweight Design-Air X Irons feature a lightweight design to promote great feel, and effortless speed for the smoothest swing tempos
  • Variable face thickness-A variable face thickness face design is thinner in the heel and toe to promote more speed on off-center hits
  • Low Profile Design-A low profile, cavity back design with greater lofts will help launch it higher and longer effortlessly

The Cobra AirX offers tremendous game improvement for lower-level players. It is incredibly lightweight, which provides an easy swing, especially for slow swingers, producing a notable launch that carries well.

The iron has an undercut that helps you with low-struck shots that still launch beautifully. Its face has a variable thickness, enhancing ball speed, and a cavity back for weak lofts.

The AirX has upright lie angles to help you square shots nicely and is forgiving when you hit off-center. This iron offers stability due to the clubface and further improves consistency. The Cobra AirX iron also has a sleek design and is in an affordable price range.

The positives:

  • Easy swing for slower swingers
  • Great launch
  • Great launch ability thanks to its undercut
  • Forgiving, especially for off-center shots
  • Stability and consistency

The negatives:

  • May lose distance on intense swings
  • Not the most workable iron

12. TaylorMade P790 – Best Feedback

TaylorMade P790 4-P/Rh S (Set of 7 total clubs: 4-PW, Right Hand, Stiff Flex)
123 Reviews
TaylorMade P790 4-P/Rh S (Set of 7 total clubs: 4-PW, Right Hand, Stiff Flex)
  • Forged Hollow Body Construction
  • SpeedFoam
  • Low Profile Tungsten Weighting

This forged iron is an impressive beginner and high-handicapper choice. It is lightweight, and the weight distribution is placed for maximum forgiveness.

The center of gravity and shaved club chassis add to this. It also has a large sweet spot to help with striking slightly amiss. The spring of this iron is a noteworthy attribute, too.

If you hit low on the face, the slot-cut sole maximizes flex and rebound. The feedback given is also impeccable.

One of the prime features is the powerful distance the P790 can produce, along with decent ball speed. The P790 is a Player Distance Iron that offers the high-handicapper and beginner a forgiving top-notch cavity back. 

The positives:

  • Lightweight and even weight distribution
  • Great CG
  • Large sweet spot
  • Noteworthy spring
  • Amazing feedback
  • Distance is impressive
  • High handicap-friendly cavity-back

The negatives:

  • It isn’t the most beginner friendly unless it has the correct shaft
  • Ball speed isn’t the greatest
  • Expensive

How to Chose Irons for Beginners/High Handicappers (8 Qualities to Consider)

How To Chose An Iron For Beginners Or High Handicapper

Finding an iron to match your skill level can prove challenging, but there are a few things to remember to help you make the right choice. All irons are unique in their features, but there are standard attributes that can make the decision easier.

When it comes to lower-level players’ iron choices, there are qualities you need to look for to ensure that the iron you choose suits your needs.

Generally, as a beginner or high handicapper, you’ll need an iron that is easy to use and incorporated by forgiveness, the center of gravity, and an Advanced Moment Of Inertia.

1. Forgiveness

Forgiveness means the club allows room for error when hitting the ball off-center. Forgiving irons have a larger sweet spot thanks to a low center of gravity (CG) so that when you hit the ball, it still launches well and in a straight direction. The forgiveness of iron also has to do with weight distribution to create a balanced club.

The construction and design of the iron also contribute to this quality and vary in each club. Some have more forgiveness than others; usually, it involves a more oversized clubhead, cavity backs, and lower weight distribution. Clubs with forgiveness are typically titled “game improvement clubs” or “super-game improvement clubs.”

2. Center Of Gravity

The center of gravity, also known as CG, means the club’s weight is distributed to improve performance during missed hits. CG is usually placed in the club face because it is the thickest and heaviest part, but performance irons usually have CG further away for more MOI. 

The better the CG, the more chance you have of launching the ball at greater height and speed. CG also helps with consistency and allows a greater angle during ball flight to ensure your shot lands sharply onto the green.

3. Advanced Moment Of Inertia

Advanced Moment of Inertia, known as MOI, allows you to square the ball and prevents your club from flexing. MOI means your clubface remains rigid so that you can hit a straight shot without side spin. The more MOI, the more forgiving the club is, adding to consistent strikes, which is key for lower-level players.

MOI is achieved through weighting around the club head, which also helps with workability. MOI is also created by cavities in the cub head, or hollow construction, as seen in the TaylorMade P790. When selecting a club as a beginner or high handicapper, MOI is a necessary attribute.

4. Iron Attributes

Many aspects, such as style, clubhead, material, and the shaft, make up an iron, which can either be beginner-friendly or only suitable for advanced playing styles. Each attribute should be evaluated to choose the one best suited to your needs.

5. Iron Style

The style options include cavity-back and muscle-back. Cavity-back irons Have a hollow construction that increases MOI and forgiveness. Amateur golfers benefit further from the accuracy and distance of cavity-backs. This style has an even weight distribution, allowing for a smooth hit even if you miss the sweet spot.

Muscle-back irons have a mass behind the club head, giving a sleek look. Along with the sleekness comes a powerful impact when striking. Muscle-backs allow you to shape shots and offer more control. They’re less forgiving than cavity-backs, which is why they are better suited for players with some golfing experience. Cavity-backs should be the beginner’s and high handicapper’s go-to.

6. The Clubhead

The clubhead should typically be larger for beginners and high handicappers to help with CG and forgiveness. Larger heads mean a larger sweet spot for those slightly off hits. It also gives you more confidence as you gain consistency. Larger clubheads are like training wheels, in a way, to get you used to playing.

The club head also benefits amateur players when fitted with wider soles and made with wider blade lengths. Offset and height top lines are also beneficial. All these qualities ensure that even if you don’t contact the ball perfectly, it still provides a square shot that reaches a satisfactory distance.

7. The Shaft

The shaft of your club influences your launch, weightiness, and feel. The shaft also renders your speed and distance, and it could be made of graphite or steel in flex levels of regular, stiff, or senior. Graphite shafts are lightweight and have more flexibility which helps those with slow swings gain maximum ball speed.

Steel shafts are heavier, producing more power and distance, so they are better suited for quick swingers. There isn’t an obvious choice between graphite and steel other than your weight preference and swing style.

Flex can influence your speed and launch results and takes your swing into consideration. The faster your swing, the higher stiffness you need. Beginners and high handicappers would be better off with regular stiffness and change up once they’re used to their playing style.

8. Your Budget

How much money you’re willing to spend is an obvious determining factor in what iron you buy.

Clubs are expensive, and the more advanced the specs are, the more you’ll pay. It’s not to say that lower-budget irons aren’t any good, but a good rule of thumb is not to buy one below $500, and you might perform better with a lower-budget iron.

Although price can mean quality, it doesn’t mean the most expensive iron would improve your game. All you need to do is keep the qualities you need in mind and base your decision on that. You can also buy second-hand golf clubs and speak to the previous owner about how it performs.

Key Takeaways: Best Irons for High Handicappers and Beginners

Key Takeaways

Out of all the options on the market, the most talked about iron for beginners is the Cleveland Launcher XL Halo and the Callaway Big Bertha 21 Iron, which also compliments the high handicapper.

A special mention is owed to the Ping G425 Iron for being the best all-rounder and the Cobra LTDX Iron for having all the bells and whistles at its price. 

If you keep the qualities of a beginner and high-handicap iron in mind, you shouldn’t run into any issues finding the best one.