The Most Forgiving Golf Irons in 2024: Tested and reviewed for you

Today’s Golfer pitches the best golf irons for beginners and high-handicappers head-to-head to provide our shortlist of the most confidence-inspiring green finders in 2024.

Most Forgiving Irons – Jump To:

There’s nothing more frustrating than getting a good drive away off the tee and then duffing your 7-iron from the middle of the fairway. If this feels familiar then perhaps start considering if you are playing with the best golf irons for your game. And while technique will invariably be the root cause of missing greens from positions you shouldn’t, there is a lot to be gained from switching to a set of more forgiving golf irons.

Whether you’re just starting out in golf, a high handicapper trying to improve, or even a mid-handicap golfer with a plateauing handicap, the added forgiveness and launch-ability on offer from the super game improvement iron market will help you achieve a more consistent strike, maximize forgiveness on off-center hits and swing more confidently from tricky lies.

Best At A Glance

Best for distance: Callaway Paradym Ai-Smoke HL Irons | Buy Now – US | Buy Now – UK

Best for easy launch: Cleveland Halo XL Full Face Irons | Buy Now – US | Buy Now – UK

Best for slower swing speeds: Eleven Hybrid Irons | Buy Now – US | Buy Now – UK

Best looking high-handicap iron: Mizuno JPX923 Hot Metal HL Irons | Buy Now – US | Buy Now – UK

Best for precision: TaylorMade Stealth HD Irons | Buy Now – US | Buy Now – UK

Best value beginners irons: Ram Golf Wizard Hybrid Irons | Buy Now – US | Buy Now – UK

Best for high launch: Cobra Air X Irons | Buy Now – US | Buy Now – UK

Super game improvement irons sit at the opposite end of the iron category spectrum to blade irons and players’ irons. The larger heads with weight distributed at the perimeter are designed to make it easy for high-handicap golfers to launch the ball and maximize distance. Some models in this category have hybrid-style designs, incorporating the extra playability that has transformed many golfers’ long games over the last decade. If your swing speed has gone south, hybrid irons are a brilliant option due to their lightweight construction and wide soles to help get the ball airborne.

We tested 2024’s most forgiving models head-to-head on a launch monitor to see which irons and hybrid irons are worthy of our Top Gear Awards. For those itching to see our test pro’s numbers, jump straight to the data table, or carry on scrolling for our expert-reviewed shortlist.

How we tested the most forgiving golf irons

We asked the leading brands to send us their 2024 super game improvement irons in our test Pro Neil Wain’s specs.

We created an indoor test lab at Keele Golf Centre to ensure a controlled environment, which meant we could use premium Titleist Pro V1x golf balls and a Foresight GC Quad launch monitor to create the most reliable data possible. We rejected major misses but recorded how shots launched, span, peaked out, and how far they flew in which direction.

See more about how TG tests golf clubs and other equipment.

Neil Wain is the Today's Golfer golf test professional.

Most Forgiving Golf Irons 2024:

Perhaps the fastest and longest high-handicap irons in 2024.

Best for distance
Price: $143 / £143 RRP per club
Incredibly in the space of a few short years lofts in the High-Handicap/Moderate Swing Speed Iron category have loosened off substantially. It wasn’t that long ago Callaway’s entry into this category would also have had the brand's strongest lofts. Where today the HL is now a couple of degrees weaker than the mass-market Ai-Smoke iron, and it’s much better for it.
Our test pro really enjoyed hitting this simple cast cavity back. The heads are a decent shape and size and unlike some previous Callaway game improver irons the top edge width does not completely dominate the look. The model produced the fastest ball speed of the entire category, an impressive 2.8mph or 2.2% faster than our test average.

While the model launched a fraction lower than our test average it managed to pull off the modern-day magic trick of spinning at good levels while peaking out higher and hitting the green at a steeper decent angle than average, so this would be a really playable iron on the golf course as shots will hit the green and stop quickly.   
Throw in how the HL was the second longest hitting iron in the category, plus at 6 yards it produced our joint smallest (tied with the Ram Wizard) carry distance drop-off and the 2nd smallest shot area and it takes no further explaining as to why the HL is among my three top-performing High-Handicap Irons of 2024.

Read our full Callaway Paradym Ai-Smoke HL irons review.


  • More golfers really should give HL irons a try.
  • The lower profile head is super easy to launch.
  • Additional loft will help you stop shots on the dancefloor.


  • If you are the target golfer, I'm genuinely struggling to find a fault.
Availability 5-SW
Stock shafts True Temper Elevate 85/95 (s), Project X Cypher 2.0 70/60/50 (Stiff, Regular, Light), Mitsubishi Tensei Blue White (40 – Light), Mitsubishi Eldio (Womens)
7-iron loft 30°

A super friendly option to make the game a good bit easier.

Best for easy launch
Price: $128 / £100 RRP per club
Every time our pro tests hybrid irons he ends the session with a smile from ear to ear and finds himself questioning why golfers insist on making the game harder than it needs to be by using smaller more compact irons.
In the past the Halo has been super easy to launch at very average club golfer speeds, however this time around thanks to a slightly stronger 7-iron loft (it’s 0.5° stronger than the previous model) I feel you’ll need nothing less than average levels of speed to get the very best out of this model. Our test pros data highlights how the Halo launched and flew lower, with less spin and a shallower descent angle than our test averages, so just be warned there might be slightly more friendly models out there if you don’t have speed in abundance.
The Halo won’t win any beauty contests, especially not now as this generation comes with the addition of unnecessary full-face grooves, but this model as it always has 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 Halo XL Full Face irons review. 


  • Incredibly forgiving. 
  • They'll make golf easier.
  • Perfect for new golfers.


  • You need to be comfortable with the looks.
Availability 4-SW
Stock shafts KBS Tour Lite (s)
7-iron loft 29°

A brilliant starting point for iron games that need a helping hand.

Best for slower swing speeds
Price: $115 / £90 RRP per club
I’ve said for years now cavity back wedges should be the place where everybody starts when they’re looking at buying new wedges. If you can stomach them they’re great as for the majority of club golfers there’s no doubt in my mind they will help you enjoy the game more. After seeing the smile hybrid irons put on the face of our test pro over recent years I’m more than confident, unless you know otherwise, to say hybrid irons should be the starting point for golfers looking to invest in new irons now too.
I say that because they’re so dam easy, not to just hit, but hit well. Eleven were winners for us in the High-Handicap Iron category in 2023 and they’ve done it again in 2024. Granted this model is not going to be for everyone. But if your game needs maximum help, and your swing speed is slipping away fast, our data highlights how they would be a brilliant choice.
Thanks to the hybrid body width our #7 Eleven sample produced masses of spin (13.5% more than our test average), shot height (11.1% more than our test average), and descent angle (6.5% steeper than our test average), exactly what slower speed players need to hit irons more effectively. The model was also bang on average for carry distance and generated a shot area 15.7% smaller than average which has to say this is a forgiving hybrid option geared to erratic golfers who spray shots all over the face.    
For this price I’m really surprised Eleven hybrids now come with KBS TGI shafts as standard, a move our test pro thought upped stability and delivered more pop off the face than last years model. If you don’t want a full set or just want to buy them individually, prices run to £89.99 each, which is incredibly good value in the current market.


  • Back-to-back TG award winners.
  • Easy to hit with solid all-round performance.
  • KBS stock shafts as standard.


  • The iron-hybrid concept won't be for everyone.
Availability 3-PW
Stock shafts KBS TGI
7-iron loft 31°

A fantastic looking that will really appeal to moderate speed players.

Best looking high-handicap iron
Price: $137 / £135 RRP per club
Until recently moderate speed irons have always had big chunky wide bodies, a look no matter how bad your golf, that really struggles to look attractive. But Mizuno’s introduction of the JPX923 Hot Metal HL marked a massive change in the market for moderate-speed club golfers in Autumn 2022. The HL has already opened up a whole new avenue towards higher lofts and more attractive designs for those swinging 7-iron less than 75mph, and I applaud Mizuno for it.
Of course, the HL was never designed with our test pro in mind, but our data highlights brilliantly what higher lofts bring to the party in the High-Handicap/Moderate Speed Iron arena. At 31° in the 7-iron the HL launched and flighted shots higher as well as spinning shots more and falling out of the sky at a steeper angle than our test averages, all numbers that at reasonable speeds will mean approaches hit the green and stop quickly. And those are traits that will help you nestle shots closer to the flag and shave strokes from your game. The HLs really are a very different proposition to the distance irons pitched at slower-speed players just a decade ago.
Come autumn the impressive HL will be two years old so it’s likely the model might be superseded which is well worth bearing in mind if you’re sensitive to playing with the very latest equipment. If you’re not and you have a preference for great-looking high-handicap irons over hybrid alternatives then this superb model is exactly what lots of average speed club golfers have dreamed about for years. 

Read our full Mizuno JPX923 Hot Metal HL irons review.


  • The JPX923 Hot Metal family is a brilliant option for club golfers.
  • Choose from a huge array of shaft options with no upcharge.
  • A great option for lower-speed players


  • Not as confidence-inspiring as some models.
Availability 4-GW
Stock shaft Choose from 21 premium options
7-iron loft 31°

Fantastic levels of help and forgiveness from an iron that still looks the part.

Best for precision
Price: $142 / £128 RRP per club
We were as surprised as the next man when TaylorMade unveiled their new Stealth HD, an iron to attract an audience who the brand hadn’t really catered to with weaker lofted irons before. The move adds weight to the current thinking that average speed and high-handicap players need more loft, not less, if they’re to flight shots properly and score successfully on the golf course.

We love that TaylorMade has 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. For the target golfer, the TaylorMade Stealth HD will be the best TaylorMade iron you can get.

Read our full TaylorMade Stealth HD irons review.


  • Extremely easy to launch and flight at lower speeds.
  • A very forgiving iron option.
  • Can be custom-fitted in the same way as any TaylorMade iron.


  • The looks won't be to all tastes.
  • Forgiveness rating:
Availability 5-AW
Stock shaft KBS Max 85 MT (s) Fujikura Speeder NX Red (g)
7-Iron loft 30°

A stand-out performer for those starting out on their golf journey.

Best value beginners irons
Price: £299 RRP per set
Ram equipment has barely featured among our top-performing products for years here at TG as without too much in terms of tech or top-performing components in their products the brand doesn’t typically fly too close to the top of our data charts. In 2024 though the Wizard are stand-out performers in my eyes for those just starting out on their golfing journey or price-conscious players who don’t want to spend a fortune on easy-to-flight, forgiving irons. If you’re new to golf and looking for irons you really can’t go too far wrong with this set-up bearing in mind the cost.
I really like how the Wizard comes with decent KBS Max steel or UST Recoil graphite shafts, components that helped the model post strong numbers on our data charts. Don’t expect a refined head shape like the Mizuno JPX 923 Hot Metal, the Wizard is chunky and confidence-building at address, but our test pro did feel this was probably the best-shaped hybrid iron we tested this year. If your swing speed is anywhere close to average you’ll appreciate how shots slingshot off the face, feeling fast and stable, while sounding decent too.              


  • A top performer in terms of carry distance drop-off.
  • Excellent stock shaft options.
  • One of the best-shaped hybrid irons.


  • Fast improvers may want to upgrade soon.
Availability 5-LW
Stock shafts KBS Max (s), UST Recoil (g)
7-iron loft 30°

A super impressive iron offering maximum forgiveness and effortless launch.

Best for high launch
Price: $100 / £85 RRP per club
The Cobra AIR-X irons have been right up there at the top of our forgiveness leaderboards during testing over the past years, hitting balls into our tightest shot areas and delivering top performance in terms of distance drop-off. As far as forgiving irons go, Cobra's Air X irons are just about as good as it gets.

The Cobra Air X is very much a modern high handicap/moderate speed player iron set-up. The lofts are slightly weaker, the weights are slightly lighter, and the shafts are slightly higher launch, all of which make the set more playable for mere mortals at average speeds. And because higher-handicap players are often less likely to notice the difference, slightly less costly tech built-in means prices are super competitive too.

The Air-X is a brilliant fit for average-speed players. Those who are less worried about playing the very latest tech-laden equipment, and are happy just to put a decent-looking and feeling iron into play that’s going to do their game no harm. Ultimately the X’s target golfer should compare the model to Cobra’s T-Rail hybrid iron, as undoubtedly there will be more forgiveness, playability, and launch on offer from the wider body hybrid.

Read our full Cobra Air-X iron review.


  • One of the most forgiving irons out there.
  • Lightweight and easy to launch.
  • Competitively priced.


  • Less tech than some Cobra models.
Availability 5-SW
Stock shafts FST ULTRALITE (s); ULTRALITE (g)
7-iron loft 31.5°

Most Forgiving Golf Irons: The Data

Below is the data from our independent testing of the most forgiving irons available in 2024. You can read about all the other models that didn’t make our shortlist above in our golf club review pages or category-specific irons pages.

Test Pro Data:

Iron7-Iron LoftBall SpeedLaunch AngleBackspinHeightDescent AngleCarry DistanceCarry Distance Drop OffShot Area
Yonex Ezone Elite 4125.6 MPH (3)13.9°4752 RPM28 YDS41.6°187 YDS (1)14 YDS219.8 SQ YDS
Callaway Paradym AI Smoke HL30°127.4 MPH (1)14.8°5654 RPM32 YDS45.2°185 YDS (2)6 YDS (T1)103.8 SQ YDS (2)
Cleveland Halo XL Full Face29°123.9 MPH14.8°5079 RPM29 YDS42.2°184 YDS (3)13 YDS399.1 SQ YDS
Ram Wizard30°125.1 MPH14.4°5526 RPM29 YDS43.8°181 YDS6 YDS (T1)172.8 SQ YDS
Eleven31°127.2 MPH (T2)15.9°6454 RPM34 YDS47.4°180 YDS9 YDS169.2 SQ YDS
TaylorMade Stealth HD30°123 MPH15.8°5300 RPM30 YDS44.1°180 YDS7 YDS (T2)140 SQ YDS (3)
Cobra Air X31.5°123.6 MPH14.9°6053 RPM30 YDS44.8°176 YDS7 YDS (T2)53.2 SQ YDS (1)
PXG 0211 Z31°123.3 MPH15.5°6334 RPM31 YDS45.6°175 YDS15 YDS318 SQ YDS
Mizuno JPX923 Hot Metal HL31°122 MPH16.5°6025 RPM32 YDS45.7°175 YDS14 YDS231 SQ YDS
Average124.6 MPH15.2°5686 RPM30.6 YDS44.5°180.3 YDS10.1 YDS200.8 SQ YDS

Most Forgiving Golf Irons: Buying Guide

For our most comprehensive buying guide for those unsure what type of iron they need, jump over to our best golf irons page for a more thorough breakdown of what each category has to offer. But if you know a set of super game improvement irons is the way forward, here are the key things worth considering.

Ability Level

An important assessment when weighing up your needs from a new set of golf irons is your realistic iron-play ability which may not mirror up exactly with your handicap. For example, a mid-handicapper could excel off the tee and around the green but perform far worse than their handicap suggests from the fairways.

For this reason, don’t be too proud to accept the extra help on offer from these more forgiving options that are designed to help grow your confidence and get you swinging consistently. For those, really struggling to get the ball airborne, including beginners, hybrid irons are a great way to get your game moving in the right direction.


The most forgiving irons are not renowned for being the most aesthetically pleasing with their chunky, unconventional head shapes. But if you value your scorecard above anything else, looks are something you may just have to…well, overlook. It’s worth testing a few different shapes before committing to a purchase, however, as super game improvement irons and hybrid irons can look very different sat behind the ball if you are used to a more conventional iron shape.


Not all irons are lofted equally with the typical 35° 7-iron loft now a thing of the past. High-handicap golfers may want to consider higher launching/weaker lofted models to help get the ball airborne and dropping into greens at steeper landing angles. Many super game improvement and hybrid irons are now labeled HL (high-launch), addressing the research that now suggests higher lofted club faces are more beneficial for performance at this level, both in terms of distance and performance.

Custom fitting

Often overlooked, but dialing in your optimal set-up through a custom fitting session will likely be of more benefit than the slight performance edge you hope to achieve by selecting one set of irons over another. If you’re not sure where to start, we suggest nipping down to your club Pro, or nearest golf retailer to explore the shaft, flex, lie angle, and a whole host of other variables that will help you extract the most value from your chosen model.


As with most things in the golf world, prices for irons can vary considerably. Value for money is subjective and therefore you should spend however much you feel comfortable with, be it a premium set, or one with a more competitive price point.

If you’re ready to upgrade in 2024 but can’t justify the dizzying price tags of the games’s powerhouse brands, check out our pick of the most forgiving irons from 2023. Many of these recently replaced or slightly older models are now available at reduced prices and still deliver a high-performance package.

Matthieu Pavon played an impressive shot from the rough on 18 to set up a closing birdie for the win

Most Forgiving Golf Irons: FAQs

What golf irons are the most forgiving?

The most forgiving golf irons will produce the lowest dispersion numbers in addition to protecting carry distance on off-center strikes. These golf clubs will typically have the highest resistance to twisting on impact, otherwise known as Moment of Inertia (MOI). Today’s Golfer has found the Callaway Paradym Ai-Smoke HL, TaylorMade Stealth HD, and Cobra Air X, to be amongst the most forgiving models in recent years.

What are super game improvement irons?

Super game improvement irons are among the most forgiving irons in the game. With either a deep cavity-back or a hollow head design, they’re often the lightest in a brand’s iron range, featuring lighter shafts with softer tip sections to increase launch and spin, which helps maximize distance at lower speeds. No longer do golfers need to sacrifice looks for forgiveness as modern super game improvement irons have come a long way in recent years.

Who should use super game improver irons?

High-handicap golfers who aren’t afraid to admit that their game needs as much help as they can get will benefit from the most forgiving irons available. It’s difficult to put a lower-end limit on the handicap range that should be using forgiving irons, but those with handicaps of 20 and above should definitely consider super game improvement irons if they are struggling to hit irons consistently well from the fairway.

Are hybrid irons good for high-handicappers?

Hybrid irons are the most forgiving irons available. They have big wide soles, helping prevent the clubhead from digging into the turf and causing fat shots. The center of gravity in hybrid irons is also far lower and deeper than a typical cavity-back iron, making them easier to launch. The extra playability that hybrids have brought to the long game have transformed many golfers’ games in the past decade.

SUBSCRIBE TO TODAY’S GOLFER: Print and Digital access, discounts and rewards!

About the author

Simon Daddow

Simon Daddow – Today’s Golfer Equipment Editor

Having tested and played more than 10,000 clubs in his life, what Simon doesn’t know about golf clubs isn’t worth knowing.

He 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. He joined EMAP Active (now Bauer Media) as Equipment Editor in 2006 and has worked for both Today’s Golfer and Golf World.

You can contact Simon via email and follow him on Twitter for loads more golf equipment insight.

- Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this page, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us.