We tested some of the most incredible golf irons in the world

We spent a day with Dragon Golf to find out more about the wide range of stunning handcrafted Japanese irons they sell. 

Dragon Golf UK
Dragon Golf UK

For as long as we've been covering golf,  Japanese club manufacturers have been highly regarded as some of the best in the world.

While we are familiar with some of the more recognisable Japanese brands on the market, including Mizuno, Miura and Honma, there is a whole host of ultra-luxury brands that we know, frankly, very little about.

Related: Best Golf Irons 2023 

That was until we met Dragon Golf UK director Ash Sudera. For those of you unfamiliar with Dragon Golf UK, it is a company that sources the finest golf products from Japan and brings them to the UK for golfers to sample and test before making custom orders. 

The company has partnered with some of the best Japanese golf brands in order to bring their products to a broader audience. So, naturally, as soon as we got the chance, we were thrilled to be able to meet him and try some of the extraordinary golf clubs he had to show us. 

To do so, we headed down to Custom Golf Works in Woking to sample some of the finest forged steel Japan has to offer from brands, including Makino, Itobori, Orion and Team Yoshimura. 

So, without further ado, let's get into it.

Watch our full testing video below



As soon as we stepped into the studio at Custom Golf Works we knew we were in for a real treat. Laid out before our eyes were no fewer than seven travel cases, packed full of some of the most incredible-looking irons we've ever seen. 

With numerous iron heads to test, we could have been there all day hitting ball after ball on the simulator, but sadly, the studio closed at 6pm, so we decided to narrow our selection down a little. 

Itobori irons
Itobori irons

It's often said people eat with their eyes, and it turns out picking golf clubs is no different, as our eyes were immediately drawn to the striking design of the Itobori irons. 

While all of the irons on offer were beautiful, the Itobori heads have one particular characteristic that sets them apart from the competition. That is, of course, the coarse-ground finish on each club. 

Each Itobori iron is hand-crafted with coarse grinding techniques, typically reserved for the creation of swords and knives. The meticulous process is fascinating because of its non-uniformity. Each head has a unique finish, which technically makes each one a limited edition. Truly bonkers. 

As any mechanic worth their salt will tell you, looks are great, but it's the performance that really matters, and as quickly became apparent, these clubs not only look as good as a Ferrari. They perform and feel like one, too. 

Itobori V3
Itobori V3

We selected two models from the Itobori range to test: the more modest cavity back iron in silver and red and the genuinely eye-catching copper and blue V3, which offers a bit more of a muscle back profile.

Both irons were scorching hot off the face, with a surprising amount of forgiveness, too. You can really feel the quality of the premium forged steel as soon as you make contact with the ball, and we were left with our jaws on the floor with just how good these irons felt. 

With the cavity back irons, we were able to achieve a total distance of about 200 yards and 7,000 rpm with a 7-iron, which should give you some idea of the punch that they pack.

Offering extra forgiveness across the face, too, these irons are beautifully constructed for perhaps a mid-handicapper or someone who demands that extra bit of help from off-centre strikes. 

So then we switched to the V3, which, as previously mentioned, fits nicely into the muscle back category. 

Now, typically, when hitting a muscle back, we would expect a little drop off in distance compared to a cavity back. This, however, was not the case with the V3s. We were able to carry the 7-iron 200 yards with a total distance of 211 yards on average. 

These irons are absolute rocket ships, and if that wasn't impressive enough, they also offered a remarkable amount of forgiveness for an iron that will be aimed at appealing to elite ball strikers. 

Very impressive, Itobori, very impressive indeed. 

With our appetites for Japanese irons well and truly wet, we decided to try out another brand. Orion. 

Orion Irons
Orion Irons

To test the Orion clubs, we took them out to a 195-yard par three at Foxhills Country Club to see if we could make a memorable hole-in-one. 

The hole-in-one sadly never happened, but one thing we can tell you is these Orion clubs will have you believing you will make one every time you step foot on a par three.  

First up was the Orion Closer S-Line, which is the most forgiving iron we tested on the day. The Closer S-Line features a cavity back design and strong lofts to help golfers launch the ball high and long, and that's precisely what they did.

Similar in profile to the TaylorMade P790s, these clubs offer a confidence-inspiring look at address. Where they really set themselves apart from most irons, though, was feel and sound. 

We were blown away by how good these irons felt; the forged head is buttery soft, and the satisfying crack at impact is enough to make any golf purist start to drool. Excited by what we had seen, we couldn't wait to see how the other irons would perform.

Orion Irons
Orion Irons

Next up was the Orion Closer Cavity Back. 

Offering more of a player's performance profile, this cavity-back model felt incredible. Typically, Miura and Mizuno are regarded as the best feeling irons in the world, but as far as we're concerned, Orion deserves a seat at the top table, too. 

Less forgiving than the Closer S-Line, these irons are certainly aimed at better ball strikers. 

Orion Muscle Back Iron
Orion Muscle Back Iron

Last but not least, we tried out the Orion Muscle Back. As you can probably tell just by looking at the head, these are elite ball strikers' irons. 

Featuring a small head, thin top line, and sharp toe, these irons were just begging to be hit out of the middle. The weight behind the middle of the club will provide a little extra oomph and bring the CG down to help you launch the ball, but let's get one thing straight: these irons are for the flushers of the golf world. 

As soon as we started hitting them, we noticed a significant drop off in distance even when struck slightly off-centre. While that was disappointing in our search for a hole-in-one, it was hardly surprising. 

These irons are built for feel and workability, not distance and forgiveness. They will require Tour-level ball striking, but that's exactly who they are aimed at, Tour-level players. 

So, as good as they look and feel, for those of you who are playing off a handicap of anywhere above five, be warned: approach with caution. 

Itobori Irons
Itobori Irons


Testing out the full range of products Dragon Golf UK had on offer was a true eye-opener. The level of craftsmanship and attention to detail is remarkable, and the performance and feel were equally impressive. 

The level of feel on offer from these forged irons is possibly unmatched, but as with almost all luxury items, there is always a 'but'. And the 'but' for these irons is the price. 

If you are in the market for a full set of Itobori or Orion irons, it will set you back roughly £2,900. 

While that price might make the everyday golfer shudder, it's worth pointing out that these irons offer the absolute best in handmade forging and finishing. 

Every single head is custom-built to specific specs, with a wide range of personalisation available, including loft and lie alterations and stamping. 

So, while at first sight, you may think the best part of three grand is a ludicrous amount of money to pay for a set of irons, it's fair to say what you will be receiving is not just a set of irons, but six or seven individual pieces of art. 

To find out more about Dragon Golf UK and its incredible range of products, click here.

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