Game improvement irons are for the golfer looking to improve their scores with a little help from their clubs. If you want to go from shooting 102 to 92 or 93 to 85, you are in the right place. These irons will make a tremendous difference in your ability to work on your scores while getting plenty of support from your clubs.
Each one of the irons we chose has a specific task that it is great for. Some are going to be better if you want forgiveness and others for distance, and if you don't know what it is you want, check out our buyers guide for some valuable information.
Our Best Golf Improvement Irons in 2021
- Cobra Speedzone One Length (Best Overall)
"The Cobra One Length Speedzone Irons are like none other in its class. If you want a great feel, consistent and easy setup, and the ability to launch the ball, the Speedzone One Length is a great choice."
- Titleist T300 (Best on a Budget)
"Titleist is traditionally known for being a club that the tour players use, they have extended their incredible performance and technology down to the mid to high handicappers. The T300 gives a tour-level feel with plenty of forgiveness and a large face. "
- TaylorMade P790 TI (Upgrade Pick)
"The TaylorMade P790TI irons come with a titanium face and a ton of speed. If budget is not an issue for you, there is a great choice to consider. "
- Ping G710 (Best for Feel)
- Cleveland Launcher UHX (Best for Forgiveness)
- Our Best Golf Improvement Irons in 2021
- Best Game Improvement Irons
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- What is A Game Improvement Iron?
- What Is The Difference Between A Forged and A Cavity Back Iron?
- How Often Should I Replace My Golf Irons?
- Why Is Ball Speed So Important?
- What Set Makeup Should A Mid Handicapper Use?
- Should The Brand Of My Irons Match The Woods?
- Is There A Good Time Of Year To Buy New Irons?
- Should I Purchase the Gap Wedge That Matches My Irons?
- Testing Criteria used for evaluation
Best Game Improvement Irons
Cobra King Speedzone
Cobra knows a thing or two about game improvement irons. Every golf manufacturer is known for having its strengths and weaknesses. Cobra is known for its ability to make high quality, great feeling clubs for the mid handicapper looking to improve.
The Speedzone is the upgrade from the F9 irons of last year. These clubs have quite a few benefits that we will discuss, but first, we should mention that we are talking about the one length Cobra irons. All of the irons in this set are going to be the same length as the seven iron.
Although this is unconventional, it makes a tremendous difference when it comes to consistency in setup, feel, and overall lowering of your golf score. In addition to the length of the clubs being the same, so are the weights. If for some reason, you have a favorite club in your bag right now, with the Speedzone, they will all become your favorite.
The shafts in the longer irons are lighter and heavier in the wedges. This will help you get some more control in the short irons considering the club itself is a bit longer. The one-length is available in both graphite and steel shafts.
If you are a technology person, you will enjoy the ability to check on your progress using the Cobra Connect technology. You can open an app on your phone and see how far you are hitting your irons. With so many mid handicappers working to improve their game, these are some of the best irons on the market for checking on your progress
Best on a Budget
It may surprise you to see a Titleist iron as a great value. Titleist is known for having some of the more expensive golf clubs on the market. The thing about the T300 is that they made this club very affordable and very high performing at the same time.
If you ever played the Titleist AP1 irons in the past, the T300 is going to have a very similar feel but a bit better performance. In the past, Titleist lacked or fell behind when it came to ball speed, that has changed with the new T300.
The iron face itself is a mid-sized cavity back. These will not be the thickest iron you have ever played with, and they won't be the thinnest. They have just enough bulk to give the mid to high handicapper some confidence in what they are swinging.
The T300 features a low center of gravity and easy launch. They have a tungsten weight that is positioned perfectly to give you the maximum forgiveness and distance possible. If you want a golf club that feels like you are swinging a players club with the forgiveness of a game improvement iron, you will love the T300.
TaylorMade P790 TI
If budget is a concern for you, you may want to move on from this selection. The TaylorMade P790TI irons are not going to be cheap, but they are sure going to be effective when it comes to ball speed.
The head on the TaylorMade P790 is titanium. This is part of what makes them so expensive. You will notice that the P790 is a progressive design, so as you move up towards the four iron, the P790 TI gets a little more thickness in the sole and a little more forgiveness.
Since the head of the iron is hollow, TaylorMade injects it with SpeedFoam. The Speedfoam is similar to the Urethane Microspheres that Callaway uses in their Mavrik irons. The Speedfoam will help absorb any vibration at impact and give you an impeccable feel with this set of irons.
The P790 irons have been around for several years now, and people love them. The P790Ti takes the P790 craze to a new level because of the increased distance to an already forgiving and terrific feeling iron
Best for Feel
Most people that play Ping irons play them for a very long time. Ping has a certain feel to it that other golf clubs have a hard time replicating. If you want something that will perform like a game improvement iron but still offer a tour like a feel, the G710 is a great choice.
Ping claims that this is the longest, most forgiving iron ever created, and it comes in a really great looking black clubhead that will help reduce glare. If you have seen more and more irons with the black clubhead, it's because people find them to be both practical and appealing.
The G710 has a special PVD finish that is used to repel water and excess turf. If you want a clean clubface while hitting out of the rough, this is a great choice. The finish will also hold up well over time; you do not need to worry about it chipping off the irons. Perhaps our favorite feature is that the black finish helps the large clubface appear much smaller. This is great for the player looking for more low profile design.
The last thing we need to mention about the G710 is the Arccos Smart Grip. Just like the Cobra Speedzone, if you like to track your stats, you can do so with this Ping G710. All you need to do is log onto your app and see how each shot performed during the course of your round. A sensor in your grip is what reports back to your app, and you can always replace these sensors if necessary. When you buy a set of the G710, you get a set of sensors with the irons.
The G710 irons were built for the mid to high handicapper that lacks both distance and launch. If that is what you are looking for in a set of irons, the G710 can deliver.
Cleveland Launcher UHX
Best for Forgiveness
When you look at the Cleveland CBX irons, you will see that they are designed exactly to be a set of game improvement irons. These clubs are capable of some incredible distances, tremendous ball speeds, and they have a huge sweet spot.
There are two things we really love about the UHX irons. The first is that they are a progressive design, and the second is the grooves in the shorter irons. The progressive design allows the five and four iron on this set to feel even more like a hybrid. They are easy to launch and incredibly forgiving.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is A Game Improvement Iron?
Game improvement irons are designed to help you improve your golf game. If you are working on breaking 100 or working on breaking 90 or even 80, a game improvement iron can help. Traditionally speaking, these irons are going to be very forgiving, have plenty of distance, and be more of a cavity back design.
The technology used in a game improvement iron is usually geared towards the mid to high handicapper. Game improvement irons are offered in both steel and graphite shafts. If you struggle with speed, launch angle, ball flight, or missing the center of the face, the game improvement iron can help.
What Is The Difference Between A Forged and A Cavity Back Iron?
A cavity back iron has a space or a cavity on the backside of the iron. The forged irons do not have this. Forged irons have a much better feel than a cavity back because they don't have any vibration at impact. The ball comes off of the clubface of a forged iron a little differently than a cavity back.
Players that are looking for feel and performance want forged irons. The forged irons are not going to come with as much forgiveness, and you may be disappointed in their distance capabilities as well. However, if you want to work the ball and hit a draw or a fade into a pin using feel, there is no substitute for the forged iron performance.
How Often Should I Replace My Golf Irons?
Golf equipment will go bad after a certain period. It can take a long time and many rounds before you start to see a decrease in performance, but it can happen. If your irons are about seven years old and you have played a good amount of golf with them, it is probably time to replace them.
You will notice that if you hit some of the newer technology, there is a big difference in irons that are about five or more years apart. In that time span, you will see a huge change in how the irons are designed and made. From one season to another, the differences between the irons are subtle.
If budget is not a problem, then buying irons every three years will keep you with very relevant technology in your hands at all times.
Why Is Ball Speed So Important?
Ball speed seems to get more and more important each season. Companies like TaylorMade even name some of their parts on their golf irons as the speed pocket, others talk about power holes on their golf clubs. Everybody wants to make sure you get the most speed while still having a great sound and feel.
Ball speed will directly translate into more distance in your irons. With game improvement irons speed is important. The players who can produce higher ball speeds will have an easier time scoring as they will be much closer to the hole.
In order to get high ball speeds, you used to have to hit the ball directly on the sweet spot. As advancements have been made and the sweet spot area on the clubs has gotten larger, people are starting to hit the ball further and further.
What Set Makeup Should A Mid Handicapper Use?
You may notice that more and more players are taking their long irons out of their golf bag. When the long irons come out, they are replaced with hybrids. A hybrid is much easier to hit out of the rough, and it is easier to hit a hybrid longer than a long iron as well.
That being said, the best set makeup for a mid handicapper or high handicapper is going to start at the five iron and go down through the gap wedge. Putting four iron in the golf bag of a player who struggles to break 80 is just not worth it anymore. In fact, even some of the best low handicap golfers don't want to put long irons in their golf bag.
Hybrids help improve the launch angle of your shots as well. It takes a great deal of clubhead speed to hit a four-iron up in the air without enough launch and spin to get it to stop on the green. Even players with medium swing speed can get a hybrid shot high enough to let it stop on a green.
Should The Brand Of My Irons Match The Woods?
Getting the brand of all of your clubs to be the same does not matter at all. Although you may see some professionals doing this, it is more because of equipment contracts than it is because of the preference of clubs.
If you happen to play well with TaylorMade woods, but you love the feel of a Callaway iron that is completely acceptable. Playing golf with equipment that fits you is more important than staying loyal to a brand.
Is There A Good Time Of Year To Buy New Irons?
It could really be argued that there are sales and deals at all times of the year. You will notice many irons starting to go on sale towards the end of the summer, and then you will see another large drop in price at the start of the new year.
Don't be afraid to get some technology that is a few months old. Even a year or two old is completely fine when it comes to technology. Sometimes when a company releases a new iron, they will put their old set of irons on sale. This can be a great time to grab a set for a very good value.
Should I Purchase the Gap Wedge That Matches My Irons?
We save the most popular question for last. People are continually asking if they should purchase a gap wedge that matches their irons or one that matches their wedges. This can be a tough call to make, but we have a few tips to help you make this decision.
You have to decide what it is you want to use your gap wedge for. If you are using it for full swing shots to approach greens during a round, then you will want something that matches your irons. If you are using your gap wedge mostly around the greens and for the occasional longer pitch shots, then the gap wedge that matches your wedges makes more sense.
Both will be able to perform, both should go about the same distance, but if you are taking a lot of full swings with the gap wedge, you want it to match the feel and weight of your iron set.
The last thing to consider is availability. You can easily go and find a set of matching wedges whenever you need to. However, finding a matching gap wedge after you have purchased your set may be a bit more challenging.
Testing Criteria used for evaluation
When you purchase a set of irons, it is essential to get the right shaft. The shaft will affect your ability to release the ball, it will affect your clubhead speed, and it will also impact your ball flight.
There are two shaft materials to choose from graphite and steel. Within those two materials, there are many flex options. You can choose between x-stiff, stiff, regular, senior, and ladies flex.
The faster your swing speed, the stiffer the shaft that you need. For those golfers swinging a driver more than 115 miles per hour consistently, they will need an extra stiff shaft.
Choosing between steel and graphite shafts has more to do with control and strength. Suppose you want more distance and are not worried about control as much than the graphite shaft is best. For those that want control and workability and are willing to give up a few yards, the steel shaft makes more sense.
The only way to know for sure which golf shaft is going to be the best for your game is to use a launch monitor. However, using a launch monitor will likely cost money, and most people end up needing the stock shaft that comes with the game improvement irons, to begin with.
If you are looking for maximum forgiveness in an iron, there are a few key terms that you should keep in mind.
Large Club Face
This will help to make sure that you have a large enough sweet spot even when you don't hit the ball exactly in the center.
Low Center of Gravity
A low center of gravity in game improvement irons means that it will be easier to launch and get in the air.
The perimeter weighting on irons usually means that they will have a larger sole. This sole helps to give a mid to high handicapper the forgiveness they need to cut through even the worst of lies.
A progressive design means that the long irons are going to be more forgiving than the short irons. As you move towards the five and four iron, the clubs could start looking like hybrids, and this is a good thing.
Feel has come a long way with some of the best game improvement irons. In years past, players had to just accept that a game improvement club was not going to feel as great as the forged or blade irons. This has changed.
Some of the game improvement irons are starting to feel more and more like forged irons. In fact, TaylorMade states that their new SIM Max irons are the closest a cavity back iron has ever been to feeling like a forged club.
Golf manufacturers do everything they can to make game improvement irons look, sound, and feel good while still providing lots of forgiveness and distance; this is no easy task. If you have stayed away from cavity back irons for years because of feel, it may be time to give them a try again.
The name of the game for the best game improvement irons is distance. If a set of irons does not perform when it comes to distance, then it will not sell. People want to hit it a long way, and with the discoveries made in today's golf world, this is possible.
The one thing to watch out for when it comes to distance is the lower lofts on certain irons. One way to gain some extra distance is to lower the loft on a club. When this is done, the ball can travel further. However, if the center of gravity is not adjusted, this club can also end up being difficult to launch and difficult to spin.
This is why you will see some manufacturers like Callaway coming out with the Mavrik and the Mavrik Max. The Max has more traditional lofts for those that want to make sure they can still get the ball flight they need.
When looking for a new set of irons, you have to set a budget for yourself. Most of the sets are going to be around the same price, but it is good to have this general range in mind before you set out to purchase.
The days of getting a high-quality set of irons for less than $500 are gone. You should be prepared to spend anywhere from $750-$950 for a great set. Of course, something like the P790 TI is going to be much more than this, but that is an exception.
We hope this information has helped you learn about the best game improvement irons on the market. Even more importantly, hopefully, you were able to narrow down which ones will work best for your golf game.
If you have not yet tried a one-length golf club, the Cobra SpeedZone one length could solve a lot of the problems you are having in your golf game. When you can make setup and weighting more consistent, you can start swinging the golf club more consistently, something we all wish we could do!