In the first of our 2014 Club Test Series, we survey ten of the latest top-end game improvement irons in the UK designed to help you get better
About the test
The test was carried out over a single day at Mannings Heath GC by myself, equipment writer Andy Roberts - a seven handicapper - and staff writer Charlie Lemay - off 12.
We selected our ten brands and used a steel-shafted 6-iron to hit ten shots with each on the range. Srixon Z Star XV balls were used for the test.
We also used Flightscope data inside the practice studio under the watchful eye of former European Tour pro Carl Watts, who made sure both Charlie and I were compressing the balls to our best abilities.
We then marked each out of five for appearance and out of ten for both feel and performance. (Andy and Charlie both scored separately without consultation and the score presented for each iron is an average of the two.) This generated an overall score out of 25 and the overall scores and conclusion can be found on the final page of the feature.
With each iron, we have provided details of set price, loft, lie angle (angle between centre of shaft and sole), length, swing weight (measure of how the weight of the club feels when you swing it), shaft and grip.
We've also provided our shot data to give you some idea how the clubs perform against each other in terms of carry distance (yards), spin rate (rpm) and launch angle (degree) - N.B. Charlie creates a little more spin and a higher launch angle with his irons than I do because of his shallower swing plane.
The test was carried out in alphabetical order.
What is a game improvement iron?
The game improvement iron, a concept that originated in the mid-1980s, has the sole purpose of combining forgiveness with playability, enabling us to hit the ball further, straighter, higher and more consistently than ever.
Game improvement irons feature a larger head profile than irons designed for better players with the goal of achieving solid contact at impact. The addition of perimeter weighting creates a larger effective hitting area for the golfer, minimising loss of distance and accuracy on those dreaded mis-hits.
All the irons tested in this feature comprise offset (how much the neck or hosel is positioned in front of the face) to reduce pushed and sliced shots. The more offset, the further the head’s centre of gravity is back from the shaft and therefore the lower the centre of gravity, the higher the trajectory off the face.
Secondly, the more offset you have in the clubhead, effectively the greater time you have in the downswing to square the face at impact as the face arrives at the ball a split-second later than a club without offset.
Click on this link to view our Game Improvement Irons Test 2014
(If you would like to skip straight to the results page, click here)
Click on this link to view our Game Improvement Irons Test 2013