Golf irons can sometimes be a sore subject with the mid handicapper. Most of the time, if you have made it to the mid handicap range, you love your driver and your wedges, but you may feel a weakness in your game’s core. If your irons are more than five years old, chances are you are missing out on some really impressive technology.
Golf irons have come a long way in the last several years, and the technology that is currently offered is entirely different than what the game of golf has seen before. Feel and performance is becoming even more important than forgiveness and distance at times. Golfers in the mid handicap range are learning what it’s supposed to feel like to hit a great shot.
We put together our picks for the top golf irons for mid handicappers, and we know that there will be an option on this list that will work in your golf bag. As always, we try to accommodate every player style and budget when we do our reviews.
Our Best Irons for Mid Handicappers in 2021
- Cobra King Speedzone (Best Overall)
"The Cobra Speedzone irons were made with the mid handicapper in mind. These irons have lots of power, incredible feel, and an extremely low center of gravity. This could be the set that takes you from mid to low."
- Cleveland Launcher UHX (Best on a Budget)
"Cleveland UHC Irons is a cavity back hollow design with a very close to forged feel. The new sole design and the tour zip grooves make these irons a great choice for the money."
- TaylorMade P790 (Upgrade Pick)
"The P790 irons have been around for a few years now, and they just keep getting better. This is a set of irons designed to perform like a player’s blade but offers the mid handicapper everything they could ask for and more!"
- TaylorMade Sim Max (Best for Distance)
- Ping G710 (Best For Feel)
- Our Best Irons for Mid Handicappers in 2021
- Best Irons for Mid Handicappers
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- Testing Criteria used for evaluation
Best Irons for Mid Handicappers
Cobra King Speedzone
The Cobra Speedzone irons were a huge improvement from Cobra. Last year they released the F9 irons, and it’s not that these were bad clubs, but the feel was just not that great. With the Speedzone, the feel, look, and distance has been significantly improved.
With the Speedzone, you are getting a very lightweight golf club with a forgiving clubhead shape that looks a bit like a mix between a modern iron and a traditional iron. The speedback shaping has been slightly modified from last year's model to help increase the MOI and make the clubs that much more appealing to the average golfer as well.
When it comes to power, Cobra is never known as the leader. They pride themselves on forgiveness and feel; however, with the Speedzone irons, they compete when it comes to distance as well.
The new PowerShell Technology is a face insert that allows for much more ball speed and launch across the face. This technology has made a major difference in the ball speeds that golfers can get from the Cobra Speedzone irons. We were very impressed with this transition to being considered a distance club and not just forgiveness.
As always, the Cobra irons feel is what sets them apart from the rest of the crowd. This particular set has a Co Mold Medallion. The Medallion is designed to dampen vibration and provide much better sound and feel on off-center hits. If you are a mid handicapper that misses the center of the clubface from time to time the Speedzone will be a great choice.
To top things off, the Speedzone irons are part of the Cobra Connect technology that golfers have come to know and love. With the Cobra Connect, you can log in to an app on your phone and see how you are hitting these irons. If you think you may hit your seven iron 140 yards, you could find out that it is actually 146. This kind of information can be used to help you make better club selections and shoot lower scores.
Cleveland Launcher UHX
Best on a Budget
The Cleveland irons are sometimes thought of as being for the high handicap golfer. With the release of the new UHX, this is just not the case. The UHX Irons are extremely high performing, have a great feel, and some of the best grooves on the market.
The UHX irons are a cavity back golf club with a hollow design. If you have ever seen the TaylorMade P790 irons, the UHX is a very similar concept. The idea is that the hollow back cavity on the iron is supposed to help a player create even more swing speed as they make their way towards impact; this is certainly true for the UHX irons.
Cleveland did some work on the sole of this club and brought back and improved the V Shaped sole that they have had in several other irons through the years. The V shaped sole helps to make turf interaction that much better, regardless of if you are hitting out of the rough or the short grass.
Each clubface on the UHX irons is made with a variable strength HT1770M steel. This insert is designed for speed, but the fact that it has variable thickness will give golfers the forgiveness they need. If you hit the ball in the center of the club, you will notice that the face is thin, and you will get the explosive distance.
Perhaps our favorite feature of the Cleveland UHX irons are the tour zip grooves. If you don’t already know this, Cleveland makes some of the best wedges in golf. Their wedges are used on the PGA Tour every single day because of their high performing groove and spin design. Cleveland used that technology on the short irons in this set.
The shorter irons have laser milling as well that will allow you to truly go after a pin. Mid handicappers may not have the same accuracy in the long game as a low handicapper, but they absolutely have the game to attack a pin with a short iron; the UHX will allow for that to happen.
The UHX irons won our value category because they are priced about average, but they perform well above average. This is an iron that feels as though it should cost quite a bit more than it does.
The TaylorMade P790 irons are a cavity back iron even though they look a bit like a forged golf club. They are built with a very thin face and a clubhead that is packed full with SpeedFoam technology.
The TaylorMade Speedfoam is what helps the P790 irons have a forged like feel even though they are a cavity back golf club. The only thing that will let you know that these are not a players club is that the face is a little large, and the top-down look is a bit thicker than a blade.
The only downside to the P790 irons is that they are expensive. Golfers that have switched to these clubs have learned why they are priced as high as they are and a good portion of it comes down to the quality of materials. The P790 is made with high strength forged 4140 carbon steel.
Although performance is certainly more important than look, we have to bring up the fact that the P790 irons are a great looking set of clubs. If you have been playing with a “clunky” set of cavity back irons for some time, this is a set you are going to really want to take a look at and consider.
Inside the hollow design of the P790 club head, you will find a strategically placed tungsten weight. The weight is put where it is to help increase the MOI. This is a bit of an upgrade from the speed pocket technology on most of the TaylorMade irons, but it is along the same lines from a technological standpoint.
If you have the room in your golf budget for a premium set of irons, there is no question that you will be happy with the P790; some claim they are the best irons in golf.
TaylorMade Sim Max
Best for Distance
There are two types of mid handicappers, those that can hit the ball a long way and those that can't. If you struggle with distance in your game, you are not alone. The interesting thing is most golfers that truly struggle with distance are not playing with the best golf clubs. Golf equipment has changed so much in the last few years; if you need distance, you should look into some newer clubs.
The TaylorMade SIM Max is all about ball speed. These game improvement irons have more speed and distance than many of the other irons on the market. The speed pocket technology that TaylorMade has perfected is only getting more and more effective.
The TaylorMade SIM Max are also some of the best golf irons when it comes to forgiveness. When you swing with forgiving irons, you normally have to give up some feel, but you still get quite a bit of workability, playability, and feel with the SIM Max. It is likely because of a combination of the perimeter weighting and the twist face technology.
Mid handicap irons should help golfers maintain their handicap or get them into the low handicap category. This is absolutely possible with these TaylorMade SIM Max.
One of our favorite features with this iron is the Echo Damping System. With the Echo Damping System, you will notice that there are no harsh vibrations at impact. This allows mid handicappers to attack the ball with no fear of feeling that missed sweet spot.
The last thing worth noting about these game improvement irons is that the sweet spot is quite large on the ultra-thin face. A combination of these two factors will significantly increase a golfer's chance of getting extra distance. Depending on the golf irons that you are playing with and your swing capabilities, you could see a massive increase in distance switching to the SIM Max irons.
Best For Feel
Ping is a company that prides itself in making some of the best golf irons for mid handicappers. Most golfers will, at some point in their lives, play with a set of Pings. It has almost become a right of passage into the realm of lower handicaps.
The Ping G710 irons are longer and more forgiving than many of the irons that we have seen Ping release. The G710 is built like an iron but perform like a wood when it comes to distance off the club face. These irons have some very impressive ball speeds.
The lower center of gravity helps the Ping G710 irons to get up in the air a bit more, something that most mid handicappers can benefit from. If you have a slower swing speed, the Ping is built to help you get your performance back.
The C300 face on the Ping G710 is a bit flexible, which helps players get faster ball speeds than you may expect. The entire clubhead is done with a Hydroperal finish that makes this one of the better-looking sets of irons as well. The Black PVD coating will help you be able to see your irons even when there is quite a bit of glare.
The real reason the G710 stands out is because of their sound and feel. For a set of game improvement irons, you don’t usually get this type of low vibration and consistent feel.
If you wonder if the extra ball speed is impacting the distance you hit your new G710 irons, you can log in to your Arccos app and check and see how these irons are working to help you hit the ball better. We love when golf companies with a ton of history and tradition can step into the modern world and give players the best golf experience possible.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Now that you have a better idea as to what the best clubs on the market are for the mid handicappers, it’s time to start to narrow down what you need for your own game. There are more golf iron options for mid handicappers than for any other handicap group, so this can sometimes be a daunting task. Luckily we have put together some helpful information to get you through this process with ease.
Can A Mid Handicapper Use Blades?
A golfer can use any club they want as long as they are prepared to handle the results. Is a blade the best iron choice for a mid handicapper? Absolutely not. Is there anything stopping them from using a blade irons?
The irons you choose are a matter of preference. If you like a certain type of iron, you can absolutely play it, but it does make sense to understand which irons are the best fit for your golf game.
If you are a mid handicapper, the cavity back irons will be the best fit for you because of the forgiveness and distance they offer. These are key features that you will need to have in your game to start moving from a mid handicapper to a low handicapper.
When mid handicappers use blades, it is like they are making the game more difficult than it needs to be. Of course, with the blades you will get a better feel when you hit a great shot; the question becomes, how many great shots will you hit?
What Is The Difference Between Cavity Back And Blade Irons??
There are a few key differences between cavity back and blade irons, but the biggest is the way they are manufactured.
A cavity back iron is put together with several different pieces to come up with a forgiving and long-hitting design. The blades are made from one piece of metal. Since the blade is made with only one piece, you will notice that it has a much better feel.
There is less chance for vibration or movement when you hit the blade iron, but the sweet spots are generally much smaller and a bit more difficult to find than a cavity back iron. Blade irons are built for golfers who have lots of precision in their golf game, and they value feel over distance and forgiveness.
Generally, golfers that use blade irons also like to hit a draw and a fade or control the iron’s launch. The mid handicapper may be more concerned with hitting a golf ball straight than controlling these aspects of their shots. In that case, a cavity back iron is best for a long and straight type shot.
Are Graphite Or Steel Shafts Better For Mid Handicappers?
Before you can decide if graphite or steel is a better fit for you, you must determine your game’s strengths and weaknesses.
If you are a golfer that hits the ball a long way, but it is never straight, the steel shafts are going to be a better fit for you. They may cost you a few yards, but you will notice that you can control the ball much better.
For golfers that can not hit the ball the distances they want, the graphite shafts could be a better choice. The graphite shaft will help golfers hit the ball further, and although you may lose some control with the graphite, if your swing is sound, you won’t see it being too much of an issue.
There is no way to determine or say that graphite is better than steel or vice versa. The proper shaft is going to depend on your swing speed and your ability to control and work the golf ball.
Should Mid Handicappers Use Long Irons?
Most professionals will tell you that unless you have a very high swing speed you will not benefit from keeping longer irons in the bag. Longer irons have less loft than the other golf irons in your bag and because of that they are more difficult to get up in the air.
A much better alternative to the long irons are hybrids. A hybrid is easier to hit not just from the fairway but it is a great club from the rough. Longer irons are nearly impossible to hit out of a thick rough lie but the hybrids handle these lies with ease.
For some mid handicappers making the switch from iron to hybrid should happen at the five irons and for others it will be at the six iron. When hybrids were first introduced players used them to replace three and four irons. This has now changed and they are being used for five irons as well. As time goes on you will probably see this go to the six iron.
If you struggle with those longer fairway shots, it is time to put a hybrid or two in your bag. If nothing else adding a hybrid or two is going to save you some money on your next set of irons!
Testing Criteria used for evaluation
Here are a few of the major decisions that you will have to make when you purchase your next set of irons. Make sure you consider these things seriously before you make your purchase so that you end up with something that works for you now and in the future as well.
Potentially even more important than the clubhead that you purchase is the golf shaft. If you do not put a high performing, high end golf shaft that fits your swing speed into your new set of irons, you will struggle to get them to perform.
The three majors factors you must consider are the flex, weight and the material of the shaft.
The two materials you can choose from are graphite or steel. Graphite clubs are going to cost more money but they will usually fly a little bit further. Graphite shafts are usually about a ¼ inch longer than steel shafts, that is something that the shorter golfers should keep in mind.
Steel shafts are usually a bit heavier than graphite so they may not fly as far but they usually offer great feel and workability as well. Golf clubs with steel are a little more durable than those with graphite and they are usually built for the faster swing speed players.
The shaft flexes that you will choose from include extra stiff, stiff, regular or senior. The extra stiff shafts are for players who consistently swing a driver at 110mph of speed or more. Stiff shafts are best for those golfers who swing around 95 mph or more. Regular shafts are great when your swing speed is above 75mph.
Senior shafted golf clubs only come in a graphite material and they are best for golfers with the slowest swing speeds. The senior shafts are very lightweight and flexible and are designed to help players get more ball speed.
Most of the time with golf irons you won't have too much of a choice when it comes to the weight of the shaft. By the time you pick your flex and your material you may only have one or two options when it comes to the weight of the club.
It is important to keep in mind that the heavier a golf shaft is the lower the ball flight will be. Lighter weight golf shafts will help you launch the ball quite a bit higher.
If you are a mid handicapper with a slower swing speed you will also want the lighter weight shaft to help you gain some additional speed. Most mid handicappers do quite well with the stock golf shafts that are offered in their golf clubs. The stock shafts have been tested to suit the mid handicapper and will work for the majority of people.
One of the biggest mistakes that mid handicappers make when they purchase new golf irons is they get the wrong set makeup. Choosing your set makeup is key because it will determine all of the other clubs in your bag.
Years ago stock iron sets were sold with a 4-PW. This is pretty much what all golfers assumed that they needed. Lower handicappers would add a 3 iron in but for the most part this was standard.
Today, many iron sets for mid handicappers may only be 6-PW. The set makeup has changed tremendously because of the increase in popularity of the hybrid golf clubs. Hybrids make the game easier for mid handicappers because they will launch the ball out of the rough and they have great sound and feel.
Players with higher swing speeds will have a much better chance of hitting a four iron solid, than those with slower swings. If you struggle with your irons when you get past the five iron, then you should consider taking the five iron out and replacing it with hybrids.
Hybrids are perfectly legal and they are incredibly helpful. Most mid handicappers should be playing with a five iron as their longest iron and they should also consider adding an AW in as well.
The approach wedge or gap wedge will help fill in that gap between the pitching wedge and the sand wedge. A gap wedge that matches your cavity back irons will have a more forgiving club head and more distance than a blade style wedge.
Most brand new sets of golf irons come with a stock Golf Pride Tour Velvet type grip. If you want something with more grab or if your hands are a little larger you should look into other grip options.
If you are a golfer that wears a size XL glove, chances are a standard grip is too small for you and it could cause some issues in your game. When you look for a set of great irons make sure you take into consideration the grip style and size as well.
We already discussed whether or not blade irons are a good idea for the mid handicap golfer, but what about forged irons? Forged are not necessarily blades but they are also not cavity backs. The forged iron fits in between the cavity back and the blade.
Forged irons have a slightly smaller sweet spot, lots of great feel and a much higher price tag than the cavity back irons. Cavity back irons have a low center of gravity and a very large sweet spot. The cavity back irons tend to provide more consistency when it comes to forgiveness and distance. The forged irons allow a golfer to hit shots with more controlled trajectory.
Most of the time it is recommended to switch to the forged irons as you lower your handicapper and make the move from mid handicapper to low handicap golfer. There is no need to make this transition in your game if you are happy with your cavity back irons’ feel and performance. When you notice that they can no longer perform to your standards, this is when you know its time to change to a forged set of irons.
We hope our review of the best golf irons for mid handicappers has helped open your mind to some of the best golf irons on the market. Whether your goal is to move to a low handicap or simply gain more speed and distance in your game, there is an option for you on this list.
Our belief is that the Cobra Speedzone irons are the best golf irons for mid handicappers in 2021. With the Speedzone irons in your hand you can achieve greater distance without having to sacrifice feel or performance. The Speedzone are forgiving irons that allow you to miss the clubface a bit but still be rewarded with the results. There is no question that these clubs were built with the mid handicapper in mind. If it is time for an upgrade in your game, the Speedzone are a great place to start.