What are the best golf irons available in 2023? We tested 83 leading golf irons to find out.
JUMP TO: Best Blade Golf Irons | Best Players’ Golf Irons | Best Players’ Distance Irons | Best Mid-Handicap Irons | Best High-Handicap Irons | How we tested the best golf irons | Buying advice & FAQs
The best golf irons, perhaps more than any other category of golf equipment, present a huge breadth and variety of options. There are the best blade golf irons, which are typically the reserve of elite ball-strikers.
All the way through to the most forgiving golf irons, that are packed with technology to help golfers with launch and distance.
Your handicap can be one factor in determining the type of iron you need, but it’s also important to consider swing speed, ball speed, carry distance, launch angle and peak height, spin rate, shaft type and flex, and whether you want cast or forged heads, not to mention price.
Best Golf Irons – our top picks:
With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to know where to start with how to choose the best golf irons for your game. To help make your decision easier, we tested 83 of the best golf irons from all categories and leading manufacturers in order to produce head-to-head comparison data and pick out the best-performing models.
We’d recommend using our recommendations to narrow your shortlist and then get fitted by a professional, as that’s the only way to fully optimize the best golf irons for you.
Best Golf Irons 2023: Blades
Best for players who insist on the looks and feel of a blade but still want distance, control and adjustability
The PXG 0317 ST irons created a dispersion area of just 64.8 SQ YDS and saw carry distance drop-offs of just 6 yards between the longest and shortest shots struck with it, which constitutes fantastic distance control and consistency.
Distance should never come into the equation when buying blades, but the PXG 0317 ST iron produced a carry distance of 173 yards, which was only 2 yards back from the stronger-lofted Sub 70 639 MB, the longest of any blade iron we tested.
If you buy five or more irons, the price of the PXG 0317 ST irons drops to £169 per club, which feels like decent value for one of the best blade golf clubs around.
Read our full PXG 0317 ST iron review.
- Nice feel
- Decent distance for a blade
- Very consistent
- Offers for buying five or more
- Not everyone will love the back design
|Stock shaft||True Temper Elevate / KBS Tour Lite / Mitsubishi MMT / Project X Cypher / UST Recoil Dart|
Best Golf Irons 2023: Players’ Irons
A fantastic iron that can also be used as part of an excellent combo set
Like any of the best players’ irons, the head shape is really attractive. Data tends to be less important within this category, but the Cobra King Tour iron does itself no harm by producing our joint-fastest ball speed and joint 2nd longest carry distance of any players’ iron.
Read our full Cobra King Tour iron review.
- Very soft feel
- Great looks
- Good distance for a players' iron
- Cavity can collect dirt and debris
|Stock shaft||KBS $-Taper|
Stability and distance in a beautiful package will help good golfers score better
In our test, the TaylorMade P770 produced a ball speed 0.8 mph faster than the same loft P7MC. Shots launched higher and the ball hit the green at a steeper angle, whilst also adding 3 yards of additional carry distance.
Read our full TaylorMade P770 iron review.
- High launch
- Good distance for the loft
- Hold greens brilliantly
- Slot and screw detract from looks
|Stock shaft||KBS Tour|
|Forgiveness rating||2 - 2.5/5|
The forgiveness you expect from Ping, now in a package that looks and feels like a true 'better player' option
Our test pro loved the feel and feedback and is happily playing a set in his own bag. Our data has the model sat bang in and around our test averages on every metric barring shot area, where the i230 registered a dispersion area 33.6% tighter than our test average.
If you’ve been put off Ping irons before by a longer, boxy blade shape, now is the time to reconsider. The i230 is a great-looking iron, and thanks to having elastomer supporting the whole back of the face, you can expect a forged-like feel and impact sound.
Make sure you exploit Ping’s brilliant fitting options.
Read our full Ping i230 iron review.
- One of the most forgiving players' iron
- Nice looks
- Good feel
- Not as desirable as some players' irons
|Stock shaft||True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 (s), Ping Alta CB Black (g)|
A beautiful iron that may even turn the heads of Mizuno devotees
Srixon’s ZX MK II irons are now more than capable of giving Mizuno a serious run for their money on looks, feel and desirability.
The ZX7 will be very much at home in the hands of 8 handicappers and below. We love the model’s pure and simple straight-line beauty; there’s nothing here to not like or draw the eye, and the classic non-glare satin finish is just the perfect cherry on top.
Read our full Srixon ZX7 MKII iron review.
- Looks good behind the ball
- Fantastic feel
- Rear design a little busy
|Stock shaft||Nippon NS Pro Modus3 Tour|
Lots of clever technology packed into a head that feels about as good as anything out there
Like with the other PXG GEN5 irons, the ability to try longer and shorter shafts, lighter and heavier swing weights, without changing the center of gravity location, is just out of this world good.
Yes, they’re expensive, but if you’re looking for a great performing players’ iron that’s utterly tailored to you and your game, the PXG 0311 GEN5 T should not be overlooked.
Read our full PXG 0311 T GEN5 review.
- Fantastic feel
- Excellent custom fitting options
- Marmite looks won't suit everyone
|Stock shaft||True Temper Elevate (s), Mitsubishi MMT (g)|
Best Golf Irons 2023: Best Players’ Distance Irons
An all-round classy iron that can be combined with the ZX7 and/or ZX4
As solid as the model was, there’s no hiding it produced a fraction less spin, shot height, descent angle and carry distance than our test average. It’s important to point out our test sample came with a Nippon Modus3 Tour 105, which is ordinarily the stock shaft for the slightly more lofted ZX7. Consequently, our numbers are a little skewed, but they’d typically be corrected by the stock lighter, higher launching and higher spinning KBS Tour Lite.
We love the ZX’s combination of forged head with a thin, fast and springy face for excellent speed and distance; it’s a great marriage for what is a pretty weak loft in the players’ iron category.
The ability to buy individual irons and combo any of Srixon’s three ZX models together make them a brilliant buy in 2023.
Read our full Srixon ZX5 MkII irons review.
- Nice feel
- Great combo set options available
- Weaker loft means not the longest distances
|Stock shaft||KBS Tour Lite (s) UST Recoil Dart (g)|
A hugely consistent performer that will take some beating if you get fitted
Our data has the Callaway Paradym down as our second longest Players’ Distance iron of 2023, just a yard behind the Mizuno JPX923 Hot Metal Pro. The Paradym produced the 3rd fastest ball speed, while dropping just 6 yards between on and off-center hits meant the model racked up a 3rd best performance for protecting carry distance too.
With the numbers being so impressive, it’s great the head shape, size and feel doesn’t let the side down, and we love how Callaway have chosen the lighter, higher launch and higher spin True Temper Elevate shaft for this model. We have a sneaking suspicion this slightly more lofted set-up will be a better fit for more average-speed players than the stronger lofted Paradym X, so get fitted to help you choose wisely.
Read our full Callaway Paradym irons review.
- Impressive distances
- Good forgiveness
- Not the softest feel
|Stock shaft||True Temper Elevate MPH 95 (s) Aldila Ascent PLK Blue or Project X HZRDUS Silver (g)|
The P790 takes some beating in the player's distance category, but you may want to wait for a new model later this year
As has been the case since the first P790s in 2017, this is a cracking hollow body forged face iron, the shaping, profile and attractiveness at address will inspire confidence in reasonable ball strikers, while sat in the bag they’re just plain gorgeous.
Read our full TaylorMade P790 iron review.
- Great for distance
- Good looks
- Current model is a few years old
|Stock shaft||Dynamic Gold 95/105 VSS (s) Mitsubishi Chemical MMT (g)|
With the fastest ball speed and longest carry distance in the category, the JPX923 Hot Metal Pro will be a popular choice among golfers with the speed to launch it effectively
Our data has the JPX923 Hot Metal Pro down as our longest (191 yards) and fastest (128.9 mph) Players’ Distance Iron of 2023.
Just bear in mind you will need decent levels of speed to launch this model successfully. We’ve seen how the same loft standard Mizuno JPX923 Hot Metal iron, thanks to having more offset, a wider sole and deeper cavity back typically flights shots with more spin (500 RPM), and a steeper descent angle (1deg), which is important if you’re borderline on speed.
Read our full Mizuno JPX923 Hot Metal Pro review.
- Top for ball speed and carry distance
- Wide array of shafts
- Won't work for slow swing speeds
|Stock shaft||Choose from 21 premium options|
Hugely accurate iron with custom fitting options above and beyond the competition
A 32° 7-iron loft is 3.5° weaker than our longest iron (the Mizuno JPX923 Hot Metal Pro), which means the model gives up 6 yards of carry distance to the very longest. But every other metric was significantly better than our test averages. Throw in a 2nd place ranking for protecting ball speed on mis-hits combined with the 2nd smallest shot area and you’ve got a fantastically powerful and forgiving players’ distance iron on your hands. It goes without saying we love the head shape and profile, and the fitting options are second to none.
Read our full PXG 0311 P GEN5 iron review.
- Great forgiveness
- Very accurate
- Excellent custom fitting options
- Less distance than its rivals
|Stock shaft||True Temper Elevate (s) Mitsubishi MMT (G)|
Best Mid-Handicap Golf Irons
Plenty of distance and forgiveness but with a topline that looks anything but chunky
The ZX4 is our joint longest mid-handicap iron of the year, producing the fastest ball speed, plus a top-three performance for protecting both ball speed and carry distance.
Read our full Srixon ZX4 MkII irons review.
- Looks great at address
- Fast ball speeds
- Excellent forgiveness
- Less offset may harm mid-handicap slicers
|Stock shaft||KBS Tour Lite (s) Diamana ZX (g)|
|Forgiveness rating||3 - 3.5/5|
A very solid iron that stands out for its loft options
The TaylorMade Stealth is an attractive-looking and great-sounding iron within the mid-handicap category. Whilst not being our very fastest or longest, it was well above the test average on both counts.
Read our full TaylorMade Stealth iron review.
- Clever adjustability
- Good looks
- Decent feel
- Not the longest, despite strong loft
|Stock shaft||KBS Max MT (s) Fujikura Ventus Red (g)|
Expect the G430 to be hugely popular as Ping continues to provide great forgiveness while improving looks, sound and feel
Some have bemoaned Ping deploying stronger lofts on the G430 (strengthening the 7-iron by 1°) but if you’re not a fan of strong lofts, Ping’s Retro lofts are 2° weaker, which will help many flight, land and stop shots correctly. And if you really struggle for speed (swinging the driver at less than 85mph) there’s a new lighter G430 High Launch set-up, to cover off all bases.
Ping say they’ve switched to 2-year product life cycles, so you can buy the G430 safe in the knowledge that the model won’t be old hat next year.
Read our full Ping G430 iron review.
- Good loft options
- Very forgiving
- Nice looks
- Less desirable than some models
|Stock shaft||Ping AWT (s) Ping Alta Quick and Alta CB Black (g)|
Feels like a super-premium iron, but at a normal price point
PXG have always made great-looking irons and we reckon many club golfers would struggle to feel a difference between the 0211 XCOR 2 and the brand’s premium forged and fully adjustable models.
Read our full PXG 0211 XCOR 2 irons review.
- Great value for money
- Good looks
- Nice feel
- Not forged
- Lacking PXG's weight tech
|Stock shaft||True Temper Elevate Tour, Nippon Modus Pro 125, UST Recoil Dart, Project X Cypher, Mitsubishi MMT|
Best Irons for High-Handicappers/Slow Swing Speeds
Great distance combined with good looks and the stopping power to hold greens
Compared to Titleist’s ‘most forgiving iron’, the T400, Mizuno’s model launched higher, span more, and hit the green at a steeper angle. Granted, our test pro hit shots 11 yards further with the T400, but even at his speed the Titleist’s super strong 26° 7-iron loft is tough to launch, flight and stop, so it would be nigh on unplayable for lesser speed players.
Read our full Mizuno JPX923 Hot Metal HL irons review.
- Great looks for a high-handicap iron
- Very playable on the course
- Less impressive distances on launch monitor than some models in the category
|Stock shaft||Choose from 21 premium options|
Irons don't come much easier to hit than the Cleveland Launcher XL Halo
The Halo won’t win any beauty contests, but it will help a mishit shot carry a lake, bunker or hazard, which will aid your enjoyment of the game, cut down on lost balls and shave strokes from your game.
Read our full Cleveland Launcher XL Halo irons review.
- Very easy to hit
- Extremely forgiving
- Very chunky to look at
|Stock shaft||True Temper XP90 (s) Project X Catalyst (g)|
Perfect for golfers who find hybrids easier to hit than irons
We’ve hit the Launch Pad several times now and our test pro reckons it produces the easiest 180-yard shot he’s ever hit, which is a ringing endorsement of all hybrid irons, and how the Launch Pad’s cleverly disguised wider body doesn’t distract his eye.
If you struggle with ball striking consistency or flighting shots high enough to allow approaches to land and stop on the dancefloor, this is a brilliant option for 2023.
Read our full Wilson Launch Pad irons review.
- Produces easy launch and distance
- Super forgiving
- Looks won't suit improving golfers
|Stock shaft||KBS Max Ultralite (s) Project X Evenflow (g)|
Fantastic levels of help and forgiveness from an iron that still looks the part
We love that TaylorMade have kept the Stealth name for the HD model, it means you don’t feel left out of the cool gang or unfairly labeled as a sub-standard golfer with a different marquee. Yes, the look is much more hybrid iron, than Mizuno’s sleek HL, but everything about the head and shaft selection screams easy launch and forgiveness at sub-75mph speeds.
From a slightly faster ball speed than most, the HD hovered around our test averages across the board, apart from dispersion where it hit shots into a 19% tighter area.
Read our full TaylorMade Stealth HD irons review.
- Easy to launch
- Lots of distance for slow swings
- Very accurate
- Doesn't look like a normal iron
|Stock shaft||KBS MAX 85 MT (s) Fujikura Speeder NX Red (g)|
A great option for those who lack swing speed or really struggle to hit irons well
Thanks to a hybrid-width body, our #7 Eleven produced masses of spin and height; exactly what slow speed players need to hit irons effectively. For our pro that meant it produced the shortest carry distance of our test, but that wouldn’t be the case at slower speeds. Throw into the mix the model offering up the smallest ball speed difference between on and off-center hits, the smallest carry distance drop-off (nine yards) and hitting shots into our smallest dispersion area (184.5 square yards), and the idea warrants serious investigation if it fits your game.
- Ideal for those who prefer hybrids to irons
- Incredible value for money
- Extremely forgiving
- Not many golfers want a full set of hybrids
|Stock shaft||Eleven shaft|
Buying advice & FAQs: How to choose the best golf iron for you
The best golf irons for you will depend on the individual strengths and weaknesses in your golf game, the kind of feel and sound you prefer from your irons, and what you like to look down on at address. Here are some factors to consider…
Whilst it’s impossible to perfectly categorize types of golf irons by handicap (you may be fantastic with your irons but have a high handicap due to other weaknesses in your game, or vice versa) there is a general trend that the most forgiving golf irons will suit higher handicappers while the best players may choose to play less forgiving irons for the other benefits they offer. The list of golf iron types above runs from least forgiving (blades) to most forgiving (high-handicap/super game-improvement).
Some of the best golf irons now retail for over £200 a club, which means a full set could set you back close to £1,500. There are cheaper options, though; Srixon’s excellent ZX MkII irons, for instance, are under £1,000 for a full set.
One way to save money is to buy an older model that has since been replaced, as retailers and pro shops tend to discount these. The big drawback is that you probably won’t be able to get custom fitted for any irons that aren’t current models. Our pick of the best golf irons of 2022 is a good place to start if you’re considering this option.
Cast vs. forged
Whilst all irons have different head designs and materials, one of the main differentiators is between heads that are forged and cast in the production process.
Forged: A forged head involves taking a single piece of metal and hammering it into the desired shape. It typically involves softer materials and a more labor-intensive process, which can push up prices. Typically, forged clubs were seen as offering the ultimate in feel, although manufacturers have become increasingly adept at making cast clubs feel almost as good as their forged counterparts.
Cast: Casting is a more commonly used process and involves pouring molten metal into a mould to harden into the required shape as it sets. This process allows more versatility in design and is therefore used in the majority of non-bladed irons.
Shaft length and material
Graphite shafts tend to be lighter than steel, which can help increase clubhead speed. Steel shafts tend to offer more rigidity and stability, which is why they are favored by golfers with decent swing speeds who don’t need the extra speed offered by graphite shafts.
Golf iron shafts also come in different lengths. Typically, longer shafts will suit taller golfers and shorter shafts shorter golfers, but the best way to get the right shaft length for you is to be custom fitted as the correct length actually depends on your wrist-to-floor measurement.
Outright distance shouldn’t be the sole factor when it comes to choosing your irons, but most golfers like the idea of hitting their clubs further and many would indeed benefit from more distance. The lofts on irons have generally gotten stronger over time, so when a golfer comes out of a fitting gushing that they’re hitting their new 7-iron 20 yards further than their old one, it is sometimes because the new one has the same loft as their old 6- or even 5-iron. That said, modern irons tend to have a lower center of gravity and technology packed into the head that’s designed to increase launch and therefore stopping power – if you can hit your irons further but still hold greens just as easily, what’s not to like?
The main consideration should be getting irons that hit the distances you need consistently (which is why we measure carry distance drop-off in our test) and don’t leave you with big yardage gaps between clubs.
Types of golf irons
There are five main categories of golf iron:
Blades: Blade golf clubs have small, thin heads, designed to offer great looks, feel and control. Blades typically have weak, traditional lofts (34° or even 35° for a 7-iron) and produce good spin rates but less distance than other types of golf iron. Don’t expect as much forgiveness or help with launch as you get from other golf irons. See our test of the best blade golf clubs. Blade golf irons are typically used by very good golfers, but it’s worth noting that even many of the world’s best golfers don’t play blades these days, preferring irons that offer a little more ‘help’ on less-than-perfect strikes.
Players’ irons: Players’ irons are typically aimed at low handicappers to elite golfers, with many tour pros choosing to use models from this category. They have many similar characteristics to blades (small heads, weak lofts, nice looks) but often have a little more technology packed in to boost distance and/or forgiveness slightly. If you strike your irons consistently well and don’t need much help with distance or forgiveness, our pick of the best players’ irons could be for you. Make no mistake, though, there are far more forgiving and distance-boosting irons available in other categories.
Players’ distance irons: A hugely popular category of iron, spearheaded by the TaylorMade P790, players’ distance irons pack a lot of distance and forgiveness into head shapes that still look great. The best players’ distance irons will typically create more speed and distance than blades or players’ irons, and whilst they may not generate quite as much spin, the high launch helps shots hold greens.
Mid-handicap/game-improvement irons: These hugely versatile irons offer plenty of distance and forgiveness in a package that still looks and feels nice. The very best mid-handicap irons are incredibly versatile and can actually be used by high-handicap golfers who are competent ball strikers all the way down to very low handicappers who value extra forgiveness overlooks.
High-handicap/slow swing speed irons: These irons tend to be the most forgiving of all and also typically produce the most distance. Their bigger, chunky heads are packed with technology to make it as easy as possible for golfers of all abilities to get the ball airborne and heading in the right direction. They won’t win any awards purely on looks or feel, but if you struggle to hit irons well, the best high-handicap irons could really help you out.
Best golf irons: launch monitor test
Best Golf Irons 2023: Launch Monitor Data – Blades
Best Golf Irons 2023: Launch Monitor Data – Players’ Irons
Best Golf Irons 2023: Launch Monitor Data – Players’ Distance Irons
Best Golf Irons 2023: Launch Monitor Data – Mid-Handicap Irons
Best Golf Irons 2023: Launch Monitor Data – High-Handicap Irons
How we tested the best golf irons of 2023
Across seven weeks of testing, we created a controlled environment indoors at Keele Golf Centre and collected all the data from every shot hit using a Foresight GC Quad launch monitor.
Why did we use a Srixon Z-Star golf ball?
It would be easy to use the same golf ball brand every year, but that inevitably leads to criticism for being too closely aligned to one manufacturer, especially if that brand’s equipment performs particularly well. To ensure fairness, we like to switch manufacturers each year. For 2023 we’ve used the Srizon Z-Star.
Thanks to the previous Z-Star mopping up 31 wins across all tour global tours last year (that’s 15.5% of the wins available) we know the model is trusted by the world’s very best.
Why do we use a pro tester?
Speak to any golf club engineer about product testing and they all talk about needing a repeatable, reliable strike to offer any sort of valuable comparison. So, whilst we accept not all of the equipment included within our tests was designed for our test pro, our data shows a great comparison of how clubs in each particular category differ, which is hugely valuable in helping you narrow your choice.
Neil Wain is the perfect club tester due to his consistency in delivering accurate and reliable comparative data.
See more about how TG tests golf clubs and other equipment.
Today’s Golfer Equipment Editor
Simon Daddow is the Equipment Editor for Today’s Golfer. Having tested and played more than 10,000 clubs in his life, what he doesn’t know about golf clubs isn’t worth knowing.
He’s a specialist in all things metal having spent a large part of his career as a golf club maker and product development manager, and has worked in the golf industry for more than 30 years. Starting out as trainee professional at Downes Crediton GC where he learned the art of golf club making, he went onto work for Clubhaus Plc and Tony Charles Ltd as a golf club maker, and running Product Development at Benross Golf.
Simon also spent time working as a Sales Executive in Harrods’ golf department, even helping supply Sir Nick Faldo with personalized shirts in a last-minute emergency ahead of a flight to a tournament.
He joined EMAP Active (now Bauer Media) as Equipment Editor in 2006 and has worked for both Today’s Golfer and Golf World. Working alongside our test pro Neil Wain, Simon has made todays-golfer.com the most reliable source for golf club testing.
Despite his youthful looks, Simon has played golf for more than 40 years and plays to a handicap of 10. A lack of club speed means he’s short off the tee, but very handy from 125 yards and in.
He enjoys excellent relationships with the biggest names in the golf equipment industry, including PXG boss Bob Parsons and TaylorMade’s Tomo Bystedt and Adrian Rietveld.
Away from the course, Simon is a season-ticket holder at Peterborough United Football Club, attending games with his young son. He’s also a keen cyclist and enjoys working (and relaxing) at his allotment.
His favorite ever piece of golf equipment is the Callaway Warbird fairway wood and he considers the biggest technological advancement in the game to have been titanium driver heads.
Simon’s job means he plays regularly around the world, and rates Kingsbarns as his favorite course. He uses a PXG 0311 GEN6 XF driver, TaylorMade Stealth 2 HL (15º), Ping G400 (20.5º), PXG 0317 X Gen2 hybrid, PXG 0311 GEN6 P irons (6–PW), Cleveland CBX2 wedges (52°, 58°), Ping 21 Fetch putter and a TaylorMade Tour Response golf ball.