Looking for a new set of irons soon? Let us help you find out which ones would suit you best.
Basically, sets of irons are divided into three categories. First we have the traditional ‘bladed’ or muscle back club, which is designed primarily for the low handicapper or professional.
Secondly, and perhaps the most popular category is the “game-improvement” iron. These irons are somewhat of a hybrid between easy to hit cavity backed clubs while maintaining classical looks of a bladed club, but with enough forgiveness on the off centre hits.
And thirdly, but by no means the least useable, are the extremely forgiving large, confidence inspiring high handicappers clubs. They are usually, but not always, bigger, more forgiving and easier to get the ball airborne out of any lie.
Depending on what standard of player you are depends on the type of club you should think about buying.
Firstly, we will concentrate on the low handicappers and what they might be looking for.
Designed with the better player in mind, the new DCI 990 is the latest model on offer from Titleist. The DCI 990 is used by many players on the tours including Sergio Garcia, Davis Love III and Phil Mickelson.
The looks are classical as it is a high performance "blade" design, featuring a variable muscle back cavity for solid feel, workability and consistent performance.
|Titleist 990 irons|
The long irons are easy to hit and the shorter irons have a flatter, more penetrating trajectory, preferred by many professionals.
DCI 990's feature dual hosel lengths for optimum trajectory. A shorter hosel in the 1-7 irons lowers the centre of gravity location for a higher trajectory, while the longer hosel of the 8-PW have a higher centre of gravity for a flatter trajectory.
The clubs come with a Titleist Velvet Victory round Full Cord grip by Golf Pride and True Temper Dynamic Gold steel shafts although they can be custom fitted to your requirements.
Also, look out for the new 990B irons from Titleist, available in April. In comparison to the DCI 990, the sole of the DCI 990B iron is significantly narrower and flatter with more bounce for the stronger player seeking smaller, less offset, and more blade-like looks and feel. As a result, the club is "faster" through the turf and is excellent for golfers that want or need additional trajectory control and/or help keeping the ball down. The unique design of the DCI 990B enables better players to hit long irons more easily without sacrificing shot workability.
TaylorMade 300 Irons
New this season from TaylorMade are some exciting irons designed for the low handicap player. The 300 forged irons are part of a new family of three, with the 320 and 360 irons making up the trio. The 300 series are designed for the better player and were built for precise control, a classic feel and designed to be the best perimeter-weighted forged blade ever made. And with many of their staff professionals such as Ernie Els, Justin Rose and Tom Lehman using them on tour, TaylorMade have capitalised on their success with the 300 series drivers with a quality iron to match.
|TaylorMade 300 iron|
The heads are made from the highest quality carbon steel and are double-strike forged with a precision “coining” process to produce a refined grain structure for a soft, responsive feel. A mirror-chrome finish adds to the cosmetic appeal to give it an even more classic look and feel.
TaylorMade’s engineers optimized the location of the centre of gravity for controlled ball flight and maximum consistency from iron to iron. An “impact pad” is placed in the cavity behind the impact zone to maintain ball velocity and produce a more solid feel.
The long irons have negative bounce, which helps create lift, while the short irons employ positive bounce to reduce drag and prevent “ballooned” shots.
The 300 forged irons feature Precision Flighted Rifle shafts in three flexes: 5.0 Regular, 6.0 Stiff and 6.5 Extra Stiff. (5.5 and 7.0 Custom) with Tour Velvet grips from Golf Pride.
RRP is £649 for 8 clubs steel shaft only.
Mizuno MP33 irons
The new MP 33 blade from Mizuno is, in my opinion, the finest club they have ever produced and it plays as good as it looks.
First of all, you have to be able to hit the ball consistently well to even consider these clubs as your everyday weapons as there is little forgiveness in them whatsoever.
But for the better player, the feel and looks are unsurpassed from the number one iron in the men’s Professional game.
|Mizuno MP 33|
Mizuno are synonymous with producing the finest forged irons on the market and with more touring professionals using their clubs than any other on the world tours, hundreds of Pros who make a living at the game cannot be wrong.
The MP-33 iron features attributes from the previous MP series irons: Face profile of the MP-9, the Sole and Camber and Radius of the MP-14 and the loft and lie angles preferred on Tour.
The MP-33 has several design enhancements including a computer optimised sweetspot and sole camber. The location and flow of the sweetspot provide ideal workability and trajectory control.
The sole shape includes a rolled leading edge and a bevelled trailing edge to minimise turf digging and turf drag and the design has minimal offset consistent throughout the set. Other enhancements include a slightly larger hitting area and added mass behind the hitting area for more solid feel.
Like all Mizuno forgings, the MP-33 is crafted from Select 1025 Mild Carbon Steel using process to ensure consistent feelMizuno’s patent pending "Grain Flow Forging" and quality from clubhead to clubhead.
The MP-33 will be offered with True Temper Dynamic Gold steel shafts and Golf Pride Tour Velvet Grips and as you would expect from such an exacting company, custom fitting is always available. But with only 200 sets arriving in the UK you will have to be very quick as they are likely to sell like hot cakes.
RRP £90 per iron.
Callaway Pro Series X-14
Callaway have never managed to please the majority of low handicappers when it comes to making irons. Often cited for being too chunky and terrible to look at, they have changed that ill-founded criticism with the launch of the new X-14 pro Series.
At last, Callaway have made a club that is not only forgiving, it is also good looking and highly playable.
|Callaway X-14 pro series|
The Steelhead X-14 Pro Series irons have a reduced offset hosel that will appeal to the better player and provide them with more workability of their shots. The centre of gravity has been moved towards the heel of the club which in turn will help with better playability.
Add to that a thinner top line, a higher toe and a shorter blade length and the new VFT or Variable Face Thickness technology as used in their new ERC II driver and Hawk Eye woods, Callaway have managed to produce a club that will surely be seen in the bags of the low handicappers very soon.
The X-14 Pro Series irons are available from 1-9-iron with a range of six wedges from 48 degrees right through to the 60 degree Lob wedge. They come standard with Constant weight rifle shafts from Brunswick and the RRP is £849 for 3-PW with each additional wedge costing £95.
Maxfli Australian Blade
This club is a classically-designed performance model for better players, similar to the Mizuno MP 33 irons, but a lot cheaper.
|Maxfli Australian blade|
The Australian Blade features the same multi-layer technology of the two popular Maxfli Revolution models. and has a muscle-back design and a precise centre of gravity to generate a penetrating and powerful ball flight.
These are not very forgiving, but if you are a good ball striker, you will find that the feel is good for a cast club, thanks to the nickel and chrome plating and the workability of the ball is excellent.
The RRP is £499 for 1-iron to SW making them the best value of the popular brands.
Ben Hogan Apex blades
The great Ben Hogan once said: “A golf club should be a like a work of art, like a fine piece of jewellery,” and with their new Apex irons, Spading, the parent company of Ben Hogan, have re-introduced one of the finest bladed clubs back to the market without changing much from the way the iron looked in Hogan’s day.
|Hogan Apex blades|
The Apex blade is as classical as you will get from any manufacturer. Based on input from Tour players like Justin Leonard and Hal Sutton, the new Apex Iron combines some of the best features of the previous Apex models and the result is the feel and performance you would expect from a forged blade.
It has a soft, penetrating ball flight and in Hal Sutton’s hands, it was and still is one of very few brands of iron that has beaten Tiger Woods in a head to head battle. (Last year at Sawgrass!)
Forged from 1030 carbon steel, the feel is very soft.
If you are into classics, you must look at the latest fine pieces of jewellery from Hogan. And matching the irons is a series of fine wedges, designed originally by the “Wee Ice Mon” that are ever popular today.