Best Irons for Beginners and High Handicappers: 2021 Guide

If you’ve swung a golf club once or twice before, you already know that the game can be incredibly challenging; it doesn’t matter if you’ve played for years or are brand new to the game. If you’re a beginner, there are two important things you need to do: practice, and have the right equipment. Not all irons or golf clubs are created equally, and some can be incredibly hard to hit. You want to get irons that are made for beginners and high handicappers that will help you get the most out of the game as you grow and become a better player.

The best irons for beginners and high handicappers will be easy to hit and have plenty of technology in them to make your life easy on the golf course. We’ve had a look at some great iron sets to get you started in 2021 that can help you grow and perfect your golf swing. Check out our full guide below!

Best Irons for Beginners in 2021: Reviewed

TaylorMade SIM Max Irons

TaylorMade SIM Max Irons

When beginners first set foot on the course, there are two things that they want to achieve. They want to hit the ball as far as possible, and they want to hit it straight. Any club which ticks those two boxes is bound to be a success, and the TaylorMade SIM Max iron set is made to the high handicap crowd play better golf.

TaylorMade has produced one of the best irons for beginners that we have seen. They offer maximum forgiveness and explosive distance in a package that is extremely easy for the beginner crowd to play with.

One of the first things to note about the Taylormade SIM Max irons is the actual look of these clubs; they have an oversized face that inspires confidence in the high handicap golfer, and the design of the actual club is extremely clean. Beyond the aesthetics, there is a ton of technology packed into the SIM Max iron set that helps both the performance and feel of these clubs.

One of the standout features is the ‘Speed Bridge’ located on the back of the club. The Speed Bridge supports the iron’s top line, giving explosive distance and a solid sound and feel element. TaylorMade also adds technology to the actual clubface to help produce optimal results. These irons feature a revolutionary echo damping system that is deployed across the face of the club; the grooved interior absorbs shocks and vibration, giving a feel to mirror real ‘players’ irons’. The face also features TaylorMade’s patented Speed Pocket technology, as well as an ultra-thin face. The produces a large sweet spot making shots off the middle that much easier.

Frankly, these clubs are very easy to hit, and are well priced now that a newer set has come to market. If you want some of the latest TaylorMade technology that does all it can to help you play your best, these are an excellent choice.

Pros:

  • These irons produce a forged feel with all of the forgiveness of a Game Improvement iron
  • Ultra thin face gives increased distance and forgiveness
  • Oversized clubhead profile is likely to fill beginners with confidence

Cons:

  • The only thing I didn’t like was that the Speed Bridge makes cleaning a little difficult

Ping G410 Irons

Ping G410 Iron Set

Ping is well known for making some of the best golf clubs on the market, and have clubs meant for every type of player. The Ping G410 irons are one of the most forgiving irons out there. Ping boasts that this is the most forgiving iron on the market, and the technology in them backs that claim up.

The irons have a face that flexes on contact with the ball. This flex produces a higher ball flight and faster ball speeds, helping produce excellent distance and control. The short irons are especially easy to control, and allow even high handicappers to have some serious shot-stopping power.

The irons are weighted in both the toe of the club and the hosel. This focuses weight around the perimeter of the clubhead, while lowering the center of gravity. The perimeter weighting results in an 8% increase in the iron’s moment of inertia as well. While that may sound technical, it just means the club will stay square on impact, helping you straighten out you ball flight. To summarize, the weighting of the club helps get the ball higher into the air and stay straighter on mishits.

Visually, the club looks great; the topline is mid-sized, perfect for giving much-needed confidence when stood over the ball. Ping have made the clubhead slightly more compact than other game improvement irons, giving it a refined and clean looking shape.

Looking to the rear of the iron, you’ll see a co-molded cavity badge. This elastomer insert will prevent vibrations and ensure that the club’s sound and feel are powerful and reassuring. Hitting these irons just feels good. If you want some of the most forgiving golf clubs you can find, these are probably your best bet.

Pros:

  • One of the most forgiving irons on the market
  • Low C.G. and high MOI for increased forgiveness
  • Great Topline and well-sized clubhead

Cons:

  • The club isn’t as offset as some other game improvement irons, which might affect some beginner’s confidence

Cleveland Launcher HB Turbo Irons

Cleveland Launcher HB Turbo Irons

As game improvement irons go, Cleveland has produced a hybrid iron second to none when launching the ball. These might look slightly untraditional, but they offer everything that either a beginner or high handicapper is looking for in a set of irons.

These are some of the easiest irons to hit, thanks to the hybrid style clubhead these irons feature.

Cleveland boasts maximum forgiveness built-in as standard and looking at these irons, it is easy to see why. The club head’s large shape won’t be for everyone, but it allows the clubhead to be entirely hollow with a lower and rearward center of gravity. The effect is a high and straight launch with a minimum of effort. Just what a beginner needs.

The iron’s face has been made thinner to give a supremely high launch speed straight off the face.

Because these irons are slightly more like hybrids, they tend to go further than other traditional irons on this list. Beginners and high handicappers often have very low swing speeds. As a result, they’ll need every extra yard they can. This unorthodox iron set performs exceptionally well when it comes to gaining distance.

The clubheads of the Cleveland launcher is large and extremely forgiving. With clubheads of this size, it is practically impossible to mishit the ball. If you are just getting started in the game and want something that allows you to knock it around with zero effort, these might just be a great choice.

Pros:

  • The easiest irons to hit on my list
  • Amazing ball flight and distance
  • Great for building beginner confidence, especially in the longer irons

Cons:

  • The unusual hybrid shape might not be for everyone
  • Once you advance, you may want something that offers more scope to shape and control shots.

Callaway Rogue X Irons

Callaway Rogue X iron set

Callaway is another heavy hitter in the golf club game, and we admit they have a few different iron sets on there that are forgiving, and well suited for beginners and high handicappers. While the Rogue X irons are forgiving, the main draw on these clubs is that they’re built for speed and distance. If you lack in the distance category, these are literally designed for you.

The Rogue X irons feature variable face thickness. This increases the hittable area on the iron’s face, which helps mishits stay longer and straighter. The face is effectively ‘framed,’ allowing it to flex slightly on contact. This encourages the ball to fly faster and further.

Each iron features customized tungsten weighting to finesse the center of gravity placement. By subtly moving the C.G. in each iron, Callaway can ensure that every club is optimized for a good shot. That optimization ensures the best ball flight and distance for every club.

Hollow faces can sometimes sound and feel a little ‘clacky’. Callaway has utilized urethane inserts to dampen vibrations and make these irons feel more like players irons. They use a special elasticized polymer to ensure that the feel is excellent without compromising ease of use or forgiveness.

On viewing these irons from above, it is hard to miss the wide sole on each iron. This wide sole further lowers the center of gravity in each club, offering the high handicapper a good launch angle and trajectory.

As we mentioned, the Callaway Rogue X irons have been fine-tuned to offer maximum distance. When it comes to lofts, these are about as strong as you can possibly get. To give an example, their 7-iron is 27°. That is actually only half a degree from being a traditional 6 iron!

The iron has also been paired with a lighter shaft and slightly more flexible shaft compared to other Callaway iron sets. As a result, you can not only expect to see an increase in the distance but a marginal increase in swing speed. These are built for distance; if you want to hit the ball further, the Rogue X golf clubs are made to help you.

Pros:

  • Super forgiving
  • Huge distance and explosive face, great for beginners
  • Great feel and sound

Cons:

  • The lofts are very strong. For those struggling to get a higher trajectory, these are not ideal.

Callaway Mavrik Max Irons

Callaway Mavrik Max Iron Set

It isn’t often that you will find a club designed by artificial intelligence. The Callaway Mavrik Max irons have been created with a precision that has previously been unsurpassed. Callaway has run thousands of shots through computers and refined their iron faces with unbelievable accuracy to produce some of the easiest irons to hit in 2021.

A standout feature of the Callaway Mavrik Max is the size of the clubhead. Quite simply put, it is colossal! Aside from the obvious benefits that you will gain from increased confidence, a larger head has allowed Callaway to tweak and move each clubhead’s weight to provide increased performance.

Speaking of weight, the Mavrik Max irons feature tungsten weight inserts they refer to as an ‘energy core’. These weights have been placed with precision in each iron to create the perfect C.G. position.  The aim of their energy core is to give an optimum launch and create a faster ball speed.

As with the Rogue X, Callaway has focused on the feel of these clubs just as much as performance, which is vital in the best irons for beginners. This is another iron that features urethane in its construction. This reduces vibration while allowing the golfer a sense of feel, all combined with a club that is easy to hit.

The Callaway Mavrik Max also features a slight offset to their irons. This will increase the spin imparted on the ball. By increasing the spin, you can be assured of straighter shots and higher flights. These are some of the most technologically advanced irons on the market; if that’s appealing to you, these are an excellent pick.

Pros:

  • Precision designed by artificial intelligence
  • Large head size to promote confidence
  • Really easy to hit
  • Super fast ball speed and high launch

Cons:

  • Not massively different from the Rogue X in terms of raw performance

 

Wilson Staff D7 Irons

Wilson D7 Iron set

Not all new players want to walk around with irons that look like ‘game improvement’ clubs. The Wilson Staff D7’s are one of the best irons for high handicappers, but they look much more like a player’s iron. They still have plenty of features that make them really easy to hit.

For a start, they are forged, and these are the only forged irons on this list. This is somewhat of a rarity in irons made for beginners. Forged irons are made from one single piece of steel. However, unlike traditional forged clubs, there are a few features that allow these clubs to be forgiving.

Wilson has incorporated ‘power hole’ technology in these clubs, which essentially are hollow sections within the clubface. This allows the face to bend and flex slightly, increasing the amount of time in contact with the ball. As a result, more energy is transferred in each shot, maximizing spin and distance.

A hollow clubface can lead to a reduced feel and feedback, which is a big drawback to playing club sets that are filled with hybrids. To counter this, Wilson has filled the power holes with a dampening material that increases the feel, which also gives these irons a really great sound.

The large cavity at the rear is something you are likely to find on most game improvement irons. This cavity creates a much larger sweet spot, maximizing your chances of getting a good flight on contact.

These irons would be absolutely ideal for the serious beginner or one who wants to make a one-off investment that will last all the way up to the intermediate level. If you want a set of clubs that will be a true investment into your game for the long term, we love the D7s.

Pros:

  • Amazing looking Irons, more like an intermediate club
  • Great forgiveness
  • Forged construction
  • Good for intermediates as well as beginners.

Cons:

  • They don’t look like a game improvement iron, so those looking for a large confidence-boosting head might want to consider another option.

Mizuno JPX921 Hot Metal

Mizuno JPX 921 Hot Metal Irons

Mizuno is known for the feel of their golf clubs, and many of their irons are forged. The JPX 921 Hot Metal irons are one of 3 sets in the JPX 921 series, and are by far the most forgiving and best for high handicappers out of the 3.

If you are looking for playability and forgiveness, the JPX 921 Hot Metal irons deliver. The face of the iron is surrounded by Mizuno’s stability frame. By positioning the majority of the club head structure on the club’s perimeter, Mizuno has created an iron that will maintain its stability through the swing and strike. A squarer clubhead at impact will mean straighter shots, which is just what a high handicapper needs.

The best irons for beginners will often feature a variable thickness sole. Mizuno has included this technology to allow the face of the iron to flex. This will give a terrific ball speed on impact and an impressive high trajectory launch.

If you look to the rear of the club, you will find a series of tiny bars. Mizuno refers to these as sound ribs. They are designed to slightly stiffen the rear of the club, leading to a more solid feel and a crisper sound.

The clubhead is constructed from Chromoly, which is a unique alloy no other irons on this list use. This alloy allows the clubface to be even thinner, especially towards the center of the clubface. Again this thin face helps produce the fastest possible ball speeds and create eye-popping distance.

Long irons are often a new player’s nemesis. Mizuno increases the face’s length as you work your way up through the mid to long irons. A longer face means a bigger sweet spot and also aids in giving a confidence boost with those long shots down the fairway.

Overall, the JPX 921 Hot Metals are an incredibly popular set of irons, and are near the top of our list for high handicappers. If you want the feel of a Mizuno and the forgiveness of a game improvement iron, this is your go-to iron set.

Pros:

  • One of the best irons for beginners on the market
  • Beautiful finish and forged construction
  • Great sound and feel

Cons:

Honestly, there isn’t too much to dislike about the Mizuno JPX irons

Buyers Guide: What to Look for When Buying Golf Irons for Beginners

When buying a new iron set, it can be hard to know what to focus on, especially for a beginner. As general advice, you want to focus on something that will last a while and, most importantly help you hit the ball as far and straight as possible.

Focus on a few key areas, and you’ll find the task of choosing the best irons for beginners that much easier. Here are some areas to consider when choosing an iron set that should put you in a good place.

Forgiveness

When you are new, it is natural that you are going to make mistakes when playing golf. Try not to see this as a bad thing. It is part of the learning experience and is very much part of improving your game.

The simple fact is that if every mistake you make is harshly punished, it will kill your ball flight (and enthusiasm) quickly.

One of the things that you should focus heavily on is forgiveness. All of the clubs on this list have been hand picked in part because they are supremely forgiving. Look for features that will add to this. There are a few things that make clubs forgiving, but most importantly you need a low center of gravity and high MOI, or moment of inertia. Look for irons with a higher-than-normal moment of inertia too. The MOI is the club’s natural tendency to continue on its original path. The higher the MOI, the less likely the clubface is to turn or twist at impact. This should give you straighter shots.

Additional technical features such as enlarged club heads can fill you with confidence as you stand over the ball. Variable thickness faces and clubs with cavity style back can be good as they will still ensure a decent flight even if you don’t find the middle. Another area that helps make better shots with irons is s slight offset. This will impart spin on the ball, ensuring that it at least gets airborne.  

Distance

When you are trying to get your technique dialed in, swinging fast is not the way forward. Controlling your swing and learning what it feels like is much more important. The downside to this is that your swing speed may be slower than you would like. However, this doesn’t need to come at the cost of distance, provided you choose the right iron.

When choosing the best irons for high handicappers, you must look for features that will allow you to hit the ball a fair distance, even if you have a slower swing. For the beginner, clubs that have a slightly ‘hotter’ face will give good results. If you can get the ball a little further down the fairway, it makes your second or third shot much easier, increasing your chances of a lower score.

A golf club with a fast face will maximize launch speed, vital for getting the ball up and away. Most of the irons above promise to give faster ball speeds off the face. They utilize things like thinner and more flexible faces to give an optimum launch.

Another area where distance can be maximized is in the iron’s loft. Strong lofting is when the angle of each club’s face is lowered slightly. When this is combined with a hot face, you will still get a high ball launch but get a little further roll with each shot.

 

Feel

Great feel is a common theme in the best golf irons. The meaning of ‘feel’ is being able to accurately assess what is right (or wrong) with a shot before you’ve seen where the ball is going. Essentially you can ‘feel’ the shot based on how the club behaved at impact. This, of course, includes the sound the club makes too. If you started off playing with a very cheap or very old iron set, you’d immediately be able to see (and feel) the difference.

Feel is vital for the newer golfer. By recognizing what a good (and bad) shot feels like, you will be able to accurately start making improvements to your swing.

Features that increase feel are numerous. In some irons, you will see inserts or additions to the back of the club designed to reduce vibration. In addition to this, clubs for beginners are engineered to produce a crisp sound when you strike the ball well. Essentially feel is about telling when you have struck the ball cleanly without ever having to look up.

Value for Money

Let’s face it, provided you practice with some degree of regularity, you will find that you will improve. It is important to invest in a set of clubs that can accompany you on your journey as you get better.

When we talk about irons that are the best value for money, this is what we mean. You will probably be investing a considerable amount in your game, and you must pick the best golf irons to allow you to progress.

A cheap set might be good to get you started. However, you may find that you will quickly ‘outgrow’ them. In which case, you’ll be buying two sets of irons in a short space of time.

A much better solution is to go for something that will offer a fair degree of forgiveness but performs well enough to keep you going as you enter the ‘intermediate’ stage. An iron set might seem a little too advanced at the moment, but the future (and greatly improved) You will thank you further down the line.

By choosing a high-quality iron set, you get the best of both worlds. You will see an improvement in your game, have an iron set that will keep you playing, and therefore will save money in the long run.

Confidence

Any seasoned golfer will tell you that golf is a game mostly played, not on the course, but in the grey space between your ears. A key factor in enjoying your golf as a beginner is confidence. There’s no better feeling than walking up to the golf ball, setting up, and feeling like you are going to rip one straight down the middle.

Choose an iron set that fills you with this confidence, and you will reap the rewards. Look for features that will fill you with confidence when you are standing over the ball.

We find that the best irons to encourage confidence are those with larger heads and thicker top lines. A slight offset often works wonders too. All of these features make the club look much more ‘hittable’.

Trajectory

One key area where beginners struggle is getting the ball airborne to any appreciable level. The longer the ball is in the air, the further it carries, so anything that can promote a high trajectory would be good for a beginner.

Look for features that enable the ball to get a high trajectory. New players love nothing more than seeing the ball fly. Features that go some way to helping this include faster iron faces. A touch of offset is also good. This increases the spin placed on the golf ball by the club. More spin equals more height.

Another key factor in getting a higher trajectory is a low center of gravity. Look for technology that promotes this. Weighted inserts are one method used. Keep a keen eye out for clubs that have a partially filled cavity towards the club’s sole.

FAQ

As a beginner, you may have a lot of questions. Here are some of the most common things we have been asked when it comes to choosing the best irons for high handicappers.

What Irons are Most Forgiving?

In our suggestions above, you’ll find a huge helping of forgiveness. If you want to know which offers the most forgiveness, it’s a close battle between the TaylorMade SIM Max irons vs. Ping G410.

If I was forced to choose the Ping G410 wins by a nose.

Cavity backs have traditionally always been the best when it comes to forgiveness. Both irons sets feature similar technology. They have a great feel, sound, and forgiveness in equal measure.

 Both clubs will be a great choice if forgiveness is your number one criterion. In particular, Ping has made their name in producing irons that offer bags of performance and forgiveness in equal measure.

What are the Best Golf Irons for High Handicappers?

The Cleveland Launcher irons would be an excellent place to start. They are absolutely superb when it comes to forgiveness, and even better, they get the ball traveling a very long way, which is exactly what a high handicapper wants to see.

The hybrid shape won’t be too off-putting and will increase confidence. They are especially suited to golfers with a slower swing, and they would enable those who are struggling with distance to add extra yards and reduce the number of shots needed to reach the green.

What is the Easiest Iron to Hit?

Again it is a close battle as all of the irons you’ll see that have made our shortlist are really easy to hit.

One standout is the Callaway Mavrik Max. The oversized heads and offset both make the club look great behind the ball, filling the beginner with confidence. Even off-center strikes will not be unduly punished, making them one of the easiest irons to hit.

Again, the Ping G410 is also in the running. Ping has always produced irons that get the ball away easily, and this iron set also gives a good result.

Which are the Best Irons for Feel?

Hands down, the Mizuno JPX 921 Hot Metal irons are a solid choice for selecting an iron based on feel. The irons are forged, which is always an excellent sign that a club will produce superior results when it comes to feel. 

The harmonic sound ribs allow the club to perform like a more traditional intermediate iron but give all of the forgiveness you would expect from a game improvement iron.

You can see a video describing its features just here:

What are the Most Forgiving TaylorMade Irons?

TaylorMade specializes in forgiveness. If you have read our review of the TaylorMade P790 irons, you’ll notice that this is a feature even in their ‘players’ irons, so you can expect good results from their dedicated game improvement irons as standard.

When it comes to forgiveness in TaylorMade irons, the SIM Max irons perform superbly. With a thinner face, a high MOI, and Taylormade’s patented “Speed Pocket”, all combined within a massively oversized iron head, it’s pretty easy to see why they are one of the most forgiving beginners golf irons.

Final Thoughts

When choosing the best irons for beginners or high handicappers, you ideally want to focus on two things. Forgiveness is vital, especially in the early stages. Paired with this is choosing the easiest irons to hit, allowing a new golfer to develop their technique while not being unduly punished for less than perfect shots. Any iron which prioritizes both of these criteria will make a great choice.

In 2021, there are dozens of iron sets on the market, and that’s likely an understatement. As a beginner, decide exact what you want from your irons, and hit a few at a Pro Shop to see what you like. Frankly, the most forgiving options are the clubs I’ve included on this list. Good luck, and we look forward to seeing what you pick!

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2 thoughts on “Best Irons for Beginners and High Handicappers: 2021 Guide”

  1. Pingback: Best Driving Irons in 2020: Everything You Need To Know | Fairway Approach

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