Irons can be your best friend or your worst enemy, so don't go the cheap-o route with them. Consider these clubs (largely considered the best irons for mid handicappers) if you need a new set.
If you’re a mid-handicap golfer, you know that you’re strong off the tee, solid on the approach, and reliable on the green. Some days, you’re pretty good. Some days, you’re very good. But even if you’re solid you still make mistakes, and there are still ways out there for you to improve your game.
For example: All of us want truer, straighter, longer iron shots. But how do we get that done?
With the best golf irons, of course!
We going to have a look at some of the best golf irons for mid-handicappers, but first here is a quick glance at some of our favorites:
Best Golf Irons For Mid Handicappers 2021:
- Cobra King F8 Golf Irons Club Set (Best Overall)
- Cleveland Launcher HB Golf Irons Club Set (Best Performer)
- TaylorMade M4 Golf Irons Club Set (Best Premium)
- TaylorMade M6 Golf Irons Club Set (Best Value)
- Callaway Rogue Golf Irons Club Set (Best Improver)
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Our Test Winner After 35 + Hours Of Research:
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Cobra King F8 Irons Set
Why is it the BEST?
Best Irons for Mid Handicappers - Comparison Chart
1. Cobra King F8 Irons (Best Overall)
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Many of the iron clubs on this list will improve the distance of your shot and are also going spark improvements in other key areas such as shot accuracy and forgiveness.
The Cobra King F8 golf irons are arguably the best or close to the best in all of these areas, and, when you throw in such considerations as price, value, overall feel, and other perks, these guys will come out on top every time.
These golf irons are competitively priced but don’t sacrifice any value in the process, and, on top of the that, they come with an electronic monitoring system that allows you to follow and maximize club performance, and that’s something that none of the other golf irons on this list are going to give.
The clubs have a somewhat flashy appearance, yes, and they’re not from an old boys’ brand like Cleveland or TaylorMade, but when it comes down to it, none of that is going to matter too much in regards to the quality of your game. These irons are winners in terms of total results, and especially in terms of value.
One of the features that sets these irons apart, also, is the electronic caddy. You’re not going to find that, really, with any of the other clubs on this list, or with any other Cobra golf irons. It’s a unique, innovative feature, and you’re going to love it if you’re a player who’s big into technological innovations.
That said, if you’re more of a traditional player who might be averse to tech in their clubs, or if you’re willing to shell out for a more expensive, more traditional set of irons, you might want to look for something else.
Nothing on this list gives you better value, but some sets of irons (like, for example, the Cleveland Launcher HBs) are more traditional and play to different strengths.
They aren’t going to give you the electronic feedback that the F8s are going to give, but they’re a solid and – depending on your strengths as a player – possibly a superior set of golfCobra mid handicap irons, again, are cheaper than the Cleveland irons by a good measure, but it’s possible that this doesn’t matter to you, and, if that’s the case, then more power to you.
Still, be advised: The F8s are one of the most forgiving irons, innovative, giving you better control out on the course and they seem to deliver on the bold promises they make for mid handicappers. We think these irons are a great addition to any mid handicappers golf bag!
Now, welcome to the the actual detail of the review - where we dig in a little deeper. Below you will find out top picks, why we liked them and the pros and cons of each. Within a few minutes you should have a fairly good idea of which golf irons are best suited to your needs and be confident making a purchase.
2. Cleveland Launcher HB Irons (Best Performer)
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Cleveland is a brand with a long track record of producing high-performing, playable clubs.
The Launcher HB irons are no exception. They’ll give you that extra shot distance you need, and they’ll forgive some of those mistakes and miss hits.
Listen, they’re beautiful golf clubs, with their own distinctive look. In fact, the Launcher HB golf irons distinctive shape is going to give you greater control on approach shots, and greater distance and launch on those mid- and long-range iron shots.
It’s called progressive shaping, and it has the power to change your play. They’re also going to let you choose what sort of material you want the shaft to be made of. Later in this article, I’ll discuss the positives and negatives of a graphite versus a steel shafts, and that’s important for these Cleveland irons because the company is going to let you choose your material.
Cleveland likes to tout a couple main features with these irons, and I don’t blame them, because the progressive shaping that they’re so big on is in fact going to give you greater control with those lower range irons, and greater distance and launch on those middle and longer range shots.
The other big detail to know here is that all irons in the set feature a hollow construction, and that’s going to redistribute the weight of the club around the head, giving you quite a bit of forgiveness as you’re leaning into your swing. These two features will give you greater accuracy and distance when needed, and they’re going to forgive you of your (very rare, I’m sure) mechanical errors. A top game-improving set of golf irons.
These clubs bring a lot to the table, true. But do they build so much on past models? I say yes. Cleveland makes a lot of their supposedly novel progressive shaping, I can see how much better these clubs are than other previous Cleveland models, or other models on the market right now for mid handicappers.
3. TaylorMade M4 Irons (Best Premium)
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Another trusted name. With this set, TaylorMade promises the mid-handicapper the latest in technological innovations to improve their golf shots and control out on the course.
The club smiths at TaylorMade tinkered with the shaft on this one, delivering a new RibCor design that promises to transform your golf. This model aims to deliver distance, consistency and accuracy; something to live up to its name.
The RibCor design is a stroke of genius, redistributing the weight of the club around the perimeter of the face, allowing the player greater distance on their shot.
That weight redistribution is also going to allow you better consistency shots, and a greater degree of forgiveness. TaylorMade is big on this: The M4s give you greater distance and better play on a regular basis. The results with these forgiving irons seems to be overwhelmingly positive.
4. TaylorMade M6 Irons
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That’s right, folks, another TaylorMade. And this one has all the bells, in addition to many of the whistles.
Beautiful golf clubs. These guys look, feel, and sound great, all the while boasting a new Speed Bridge structure that enhances playability.
It’s a great set of irons from a storied brand. As promised, the new Speed Bridge structure does in fact add distance to your shots with golf irons.
The M6 golf irons also has a similar structural advantage to the M4 golf irons, meaning that both clubs are going to give you a greater degree of forgiveness in your shot. These Irons are going to give you, like, a lot of forgiveness, actually. A lot. Also, it just sounds good, and feels good with every shot. A sensuous piece of metal if there ever was one.
Again, it’s not clear how much more distance the M6 is really going to give you over other similar or previous models.
The M6 iron is also quite a bit more expensive than its TaylorMade counterpart the M4, so be advised, you might be better off keeping your money, or getting the M4 irons instead. Also, just know that this club makes a loud, sweet sound. Some like it, some don’t. Ultimately these are a great set of irons for mid handicappers.
5. Callaway Rogue Irons
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Dangerous and fierce as the title promises, these Callaway irons are going to add to your game.
These are solid golf clubs. Nothing too fancy, nothing too far out of the box, just solid game improving golf irons. You’re gonna like the way you play.
The lads at Callaway have played with the face of their wee club here, which is going to add some distance to your shot, and the overall design is going to give you a high degree of control over your shot.
It’s pretty cut and dry here: The ball is going to go where you want it to with these Callaway Iron, as long as you want it to go a bit farther and maybe a bit higher than it has been going with your old golf clubs.
It’s not going to magically make you good at the great sport of golf, but it is going to elevate your game if you’re a mid-handicapper. Pretty much on par (ouch) with its competitors in terms of price. Maybe even a bit cheaper, which is a plus.
These Callaway clubs won’t – and are not meant to – transform your game. But they will give you better distance and better accuracy. They're a great set of irons for any mid handicapper out there.
6. Callaway Rogue X Irons
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Supposedly a step up from their brothers-in-arms the Callaway Rogue Irons.
Like the Callaway Rogue golf Irons, the Callaway Rogue X Irons promise to increase distance, accuracy and control.
The Rogue X Irons include several unique features such as a 360 face cup for improved distance, internal standing wave for maximal flight and accuracy, and a cool, cold, classic look.
The Callaway Rogue X irons will have you hitting higher when desired, harder when desired, and farther as needed. Many of Callaway’s promises ring true. It’s a solid club, and it’s going to improve your game whether you like it or not. Listen, it’s just not a great value.
Are you really getting that much more with the Callaway Rogue X clubs than you are with the Rogue golf irons, or with any other similarly priced contemporary model, for that matter?
From what we have seen of the irons, for mid handicappers, its a yes from us!
7. TaylorMade M2 Irons
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The third TaylorMade irons model on this list, and inarguably the worst in terms of performance.
The smiths at TaylorMade have redistributed the weight on this model to afford the skilled player added distance and control over their shot.
For the most part, this seems to have paid off. Shots do in fact seem to go further with the M2 golf irons than they do with older models. The M2 irons are a high performing club from a trusted name. For the most part, they give off a cool look and hit and are going to give you a good overall feel.
You’ll hit farther as desired, and in most cases will have increased accuracy with these irons.
The Mid-Handicapper Irons Buying Guide
Look, the technology out there these days is advanced. Very advanced.
In fact, think about this: Guys are out there hitting harder and more accurately than at any other time in human history. Normal guys. Mid handicappers, like you and me. In fact, we live in a time of nirvana for the mid-handicapper’s iron. It has never been better than this for guys like us. We have options, my friend, options, and many of them.
That said, with the sheer amount of new technology out there on the market, it can be hard for a prospective buyer to know where to turn. It is important, first of all, to know thyself as you search for a new set of golf irons. You have to know your golf, know what you’re looking for, and know where you’re looking to be in the near future. As a mid handicapper, you’re not looking to transform your game, you’re only looking to augment it.
It’s likely that you’re already playing at a reasonably high level, though you’re (probably) not on the brink of turning pro. For this reason, you’re going to want to avoid irons that say “pro” or “tour” in the title. These are for – you guessed it – pros and lower handicappers, and, buddy, that ain’t you. These golf clubs will not be easy on your game, and will not give you the particular set of improvements that you’re looking for as a mid-handicapper.
What you need from your next set of golf irons, as a mid-handicapper, is a combination of the following:
- Greater distance
- Greater accuracy
- And, most important for the mid-handicapper, greater forgiveness
The right irons can bump you up a few notches, and do a great deal to improve your golf, but you need to know what you’re buying, and what to look for.
In this section, we’ll focus in on a couple of areas that are particularly important to consider when you’re buying a new set of irons to elevate your performance. In particular, we’re going to focus on a couple of hard-to-read elements of club design that can have a huge impact on the distance, height, and trueness of a hit
Seeing Through the Jargon
If you’re in the pro shop or online, and you’re running your eyes over the marketing schtick for that nice new iron set, you might get confused when you see such phrases as “carbon fibered micro-malice,” or “neo-sutured fringe protection,” or some other combination of words that don’t seem to make any kind of sense.
Most of the time, these phrases aren’t meant to make sense. They’re meant to jar the everyman, and to throw you off balance in your approach to buying a new set of golf irons.
A lot of the time, companies – even venerable, trusted companies – are trying to impress you with their language, and trick you into buying their product by hurling long-winded bits of jargon your way. None of the irons on this list (or, really, any cutting edge golf irons in the mid-handicapper range) are going to give you radically greater or lesser distances or measures of accuracy to your shots.
They’re all going to improve your golf quite a bit, sure, but there’s nothing really that stands so far out of the pack that it’s going to blow everything else out of the water. So, don’t let the jargon scare you, or, for that matter, don’t let it impress you. All of the clubs on this list are going to make your shots longer, but none of them are going to turn you into Happy Gilmore.
It comes down, basically, to finding a set of irons that improve your level in all the usual areas (shot distance, accuracy, etc., as all of the irons on this list will do) while maximizing one key factor: forgiveness.
As a mid-handicapper, you’re a solid player, but you’re not a pro or a low-handicapper, and, let’s be honest, you’re going to mishit the ball sometimes. Not all the time, mind you.
You’re not some bushwhacking high-handicapper. But, still, you’re going to make a few mistakes, and as such you’re going to want golf irons that forgive you of some of your worst sins.
A lot of irons on this list and in this class claim to have maximum forgiveness, but do they all have it? Invariably, they do not, my friend. They do not.
Maximizing Forgiveness in Your Golf Irons
First off: the shaft. The composition of the shaft is going to have a tremendous impact on your swing. Which do you choose: graphite or steel shafts?
The choice, ultimately, is one that depends mostly on your body type, and on your personal preferences. Graphite is lighter and can sometimes change the pace and composition of your swing. Steel shafts have their benefits as well, and can change the feel and strength of your strike. It can make your shots more consistent.
In the end, it’s going to be a good idea for you, the wizened mid handicapper, to be aware of the material of the shaft you’re thinking of buying, and to consult in-person with a pro regarding which material is best for your performance. In this area, all I can do is advise you to be aware of the differences, as each has its own drawbacks and benefits.
Some companies have started to modify the weight of the shaft to redistribute the weight of the club around the head, sometimes the perimeter of the head, sometimes elsewhere, and that will have an impact on your shot as well.
Another big factor – arguably a bigger factor – is the style of the head of the club.
When it comes down to it, there are essentially two styles of club head with an iron: the muscle back/blade back iron, and the cavity back iron. If you’re a mid-handicapper, you’re going to want the cavity back iron.
Why, you ask? And what is a cavity back iron anyway? Good questions. Let’s get into it.
The Cavity Back Iron and the Mid-Handicapper: A Love Story
Remember earlier, when we were talking about jargon? Well, “cavity back” is certainly one of those jargon-laden phrases we just need to see through and mince down to nothing.
Cavity back has to do, essentially, with the weight distribution on and around the head of the club. A cavity back golf iron, unlike a blade back iron, is going to have its weight distributed around the perimeter of the head of the club, leaving a comfortable hole (or, cavity) in the center of the face that’s going to afford you a great deal of forgiveness on your shot. What the cavity iron does, essentially, is to maximize the area of the sweet spot on your iron. With a cavity back, it’s certainly going to be harder to mishit a shot, simply because the sweet spot of the club is bigger.
Most of the time, you can tell if your golf iron is a cavity back just by looking at it. If the iron has metal around the perimeter of the head, and much less metal in the center of the club head, well, then you’re probably dealing with a cavity golf iron, and you’re probably going to want to stick with that puppy, because it loves you, friend. It wants your shot to go far and true, and it’s going to improve your game.
Because you’re a mid-handicapper, and because you know your business, it’s worth discussing in a little more depth how and why the cavity back design is going to help you out. There are, in essence, two main areas where the cavity back design is really going to help you out (on top of the perimeter weighting, which we’ve already discussed).
1. A Wide (but not too wide) Sole
Looking at the bottom of the face on the cavity back golf irons I’ve been recommending here, you’re going to notice that that sole is pretty wide, but, crucially, not too wide.
If you’re a total novice or a high handicapper, you’re going to want a really wide sole – a really wide bottom on the head – since that’s going to forgive a lot in terms of mistakes and mishits. It’s going to let you recover from, say, hitting the ground in front of the ball, but too wide a sole is going to sacrifice a lot in terms of distance and accuracy.
Too forgiving a sole is going to cause you to lose out in other areas, while one that is narrow and unforgiving isn’t quite right for the mid handicapper, who, let’s be honest, is known to sometimes mishit the ball.
The cavity back design on a lot of these clubs is going to come with a wider sole that is going to give you, the mid-handicapper, quite a lot in terms of forgiveness without sacrificing too much in terms of distance, accuracy, lift, etc.
2. An Offset Hosel
A lot of these cavity back clubs are also going to feature a neck (hosel) that is positioned slightly to the front of the club head.
This might seem like a minor feature, but it’s not, and it’s going to give you a lot of extra forgiveness because an offset hosel completely changes the center of gravity of the golf iron.
The center of gravity, in fact, will be higher with these golf clubs, and that’s going to make it easier for you to get the ball in the air.
This makes the club highly suitable for players like us who have the skills to get the ball into the air most of the time, but can still use a little help when we mishit the ball.
As is the case the wider sole, an offset hosel is going to add an element of forgiveness to your shot, and it’s really not going to take that much off your shot in terms of distance and accuracy. Simply put, this feature is going to make it easier for you to get height when you need it.
These two design features are great reasons for a mid-handicapper to use a cavity back irons. They’re going to improve your iron performance. If you’re a mid-handicapper, cavity back this is what you want, plain and simple.
How do I know when it’s time for a new set of irons?
This is a tough one, in part because it’s a bit subjective. Some, for example, argue that you should not buy new golf irons unless you’ve fallen out of love with your old ones.
If you’re a romantic, or a purist, then maybe this works for you. But if you’re a mid-handicapper just looking to improve your game, you’re probably not all that sentimental. Only buy new clubs if you don’t love your old ones? A bit emotional, no? A bit sappy?
If you’re a mid-handicapper, you probably value results over sentiment, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
The hard truth is that, today, with all the new technology on the market, most new sets of irons – especially the models on this list, with the specific set of traits we’ve discussed – are going to be a massive improvement over that well-loved set you’ve had for a number of years.
Manufacturers are coming out with new innovations in club design and composition every few years, and, yes, while some of these so-called “innovations” are actually just specious selling points, many of them actually will have a significantly positive impact on how far, true, and accurate your shots are going to be.
Frankly, if you’ve had your golf irons for a few years, and are on the fence about keeping them, you should dump those guys. You’ll be amazed at what some of these golf clubs can do to your performance. You could be hitting ten, maybe even twenty yards further with a new set of irons, and who doesn’t want that?
I’m a mid-handicapper and I want the highest rated, best hitting irons out there. Shouldn’t I be looking at golf irons with “pro” or “tour” in the name?
Nope! No. Sorry, no.
As a mid-handicapper, you’re a lot more than a casual player. You might even have some really solid days out there on the course, but, let’s face it: You’re not a pro. And that’s okay!
The simple truth here is that irons with “pro” or “tour” in the title are likely to adversely impact your score. These irons are simply going to give you much less forgiveness on your shot, and they’re going to run your bank account dry, all for naught.
You can look at the market for golf irons and just decide you want “the best” but, actually, the best are going to worsen your game.
What you, the mid-handicapper, needs is the best club for your skill set and ability. You need a club that plays to your strengths, and hides your weakness. Pros and low-handicappers have a different skill set from mid-handicappers, and, as such, the clubs they use tend to hide fewer weakness and, more importantly, tend to play to the strengths of the pro or low-handicap player. Pros have different strengths than mid-handicappers, and it makes sense that pro golf clubs are going to accentuate those strengths, but if you don’t have the skills of a pro (and, again, no shame in that), the clubs are just going to make you worse.
In the end, the goal isn’t to buy “the best” set of irons, it’s to buy the best set of irons for your skill set and abilities, and we mid handicappers just have different skill sets and abilities than the pros. Nothing wrong with that.
Should I be afraid to spend big on a new set of golf irons?
Hey, no, you should not. If you want to go for an expensive set of irons with the design traits and shapes that are going to help a mid-handicapper, then go for it. You’ll probably land a good set of golf clubs, and your score is probably going to improve. A lot of these expensive clubs are going to up your game, and we’ll try to warn you about the ones that don’t live up to their price tag (looking at you, TaylorMade M2).
That said, some clubs are of course going to give you better value than others. On this list, the best value, frankly, are those Cobra King F8s – just a lovely set of clubs, and they’re going to give you top value for the price.
So, the answer to this question is no, but with a gigantic asterisk hanging off the end. Some of these clubs are going to promise a lot, and some aren’t going to deliver what they promise. One tipoff that the irons your about to buy might be promising too much is, again, as we’ve said, huge amounts of jargon. If the marketing for the golf irons are highlighting, say something vague about carbon fiber, or if the bit on the website is telling you something about an innovative new shape, you’re right to be suspicious.
Some clubs deliver, others don’t, but if a company is promising you something truly revolutionary – something that none of the other guys have – then that’s a good clue that they might be trying to sell you on a bunch of lies or exaggerations.
The smiths of the TaylorMade M2, for example (not to bash on them too much), sit on a throne of jargon-coated exaggerations. It’s a solid iron, but the company promises a lot, and just doesn’t seem to deliver.
Mid handicappers need to be looking (1) at the shape of the club, as I’ve said, and (2) also at the material of the shaft. Anything else – like for example, the Cobra King F8’s electronic monitoring system – is an added bonus.
Don’t be afraid to spend, but be suspicious of golf clubs that cost a lot and promise something totally new and revelatory. Keep it simple, and don’t get swindled.
I’m looking at buying a new set of golf irons and have a particular model in mind, but I don’t see them on this list. How do I know that irons are a good buy?
Again, the main things you’re going to want to look for as a mid-handicapper is the weight distribution on the head of the club. If it’s not a cavity back iron, it’s probably not for you.
If it is a cavity back iron, and you like it, and it’s from a reputable maker, then you’re probably in good shape. The market has very high standards at the moment; most of the models you encounter out there that feature the specifications I’ve mentioned are going to end up improving your game, especially if you’re moving up from a much older model.
There are, of course, other specifications to consider. Many models, for example, are going to give you a choice between a graphite and steel shaft.
Graphite shafts are usually lighter and is going to give you greater swing velocity, while steel shafts are going to give you greater stability and consistency. It’s a matter of personal preference, and also a matter of playing to your strengths.
If you value swing speed and use strike distance as a big part of your performance, then you might want to go with a graphite shaft. If, on the other hand, you’re looking for greater consistency and a little bit less distance, then maybe you want to go with steel shafts.
It’s best to consult a pro who knows your game. I, very sadly, do not know you or your skill level.
How do I know if I’m a mid-handicapper?
Mid-handicappers are the cohort of players between pros and total novices. They shoot in the range of 80-90 pretty regularly, and play, maybe, once or twice a week on average.
If you’re not in this range, you’re not a mid-handicapper, and you’re going to want to look at buying a different set of golf irons that play to your particular strengths, and, again, tend to hide your weaknesses.
Recapping the Top Golf Irons for Mid Handicappers
The irons I’ve been pushing here – those Cobra King F8s – are a great value. They’re going to improve your score, and they bring a lot to the table.
That said, if you’re willing to spend a little more on a club, I want to make one final plug for those Cleveland Launcher HB irons. These irons are going to give a lot in terms of greater shot distance, greater loft, and greater control. They’re not cheap, but they’re still going to give you good value, and if you’re a frequent player with some cash and time to burn, they’re definitely a good option.
The Cobras blow me out of the water, but those Launcher HBs are a close runner-up, and the progressive shaping feature is going to add a lot to all of your iron shots: short, mid-range, and long range.
Another beauty of this list is that the cheapest option is also the best in terms of durability and overall upside potential.
There are a few lower priced clubs on this list that stand out in addition to the F8s (a Callaway, and a TaylorMade, for example), but those other inexpensive or less expensive clubs aren’t going to do what the F8s do for your performance, and, as is especially the case with the TaylorMade M2s, they’re going to give you the durability of a cheaper club.
There is, on the other hand, no indication that the F8s are any less durable than their more expensive counterparts. None of that, however, is to say that you’d be wrong for going with a different club.
Finding the right club is, again, a case of finding one that plays to your strengths and hides your weaknesses. It’s also a matter of personal preference. You have to like the way your club feels, the way it hits, and the way it sounds.
You have to enjoy the less tangible aspects of this tool, and no one can do that research except for you.
Still, all the golf clubs on this list are going to improve your performance if you’re a mid-handicapper, and the same goes for cavity-backed golf irons that fit the specifications I’ve laid out.
Happy shopping, mid handicapper, with the help of these top irons maybe you'll be calling yourself a low handicapper in quick time!
Look, it’s a bit of a jungle out there. Many different trusted brands are trying to market what, at the end of the day, is pretty similar – if also, in a historical sense, revolutionary – game improving technology. As a mid-handicapper, you’re no fool, and you’re no novice, either. You know your strengths, and you know what parts of your game your golf irons need to cover up.
As I’ve said before, all of the clubs on this list are going to give you greater distance, many will give you greater accuracy, and some will give you a lot of added forgiveness.
As a buyer, you need to make sure that your new irons include that famous cavity back shape on the head. If they don’t, they might not be for you. Beyond that, there are the added considerations of shaft material, price, value, and any added benefits the golf clubs might include. Keep all of this in mind, and, again, be suspicious of those that promise too much.
As for durability, while I’ve vetted the clubs on this list, I obviously cannot do the same for all clubs on the market. If you’re looking at a nice new set of irons from a reputable manufacturer, and you’re wondering whether or not they’re going to fall apart on you, you’re probably going to want to scour the internet a bit, in particular the Amazon reviews.
If there’s an issue with a popular club, it’s probably going to show up online. Not that you’re easy to fool. You’re a mid-handicapper, and you know what you’re up to.