The 5 Best Irons for High Handicap & Beginner Golfers

Choosing the best irons as a high handicapper can seem confusing. To help I’ve put together this guide, summarising my top advice as a PGA professional and coach. Read on to find out the best irons for high handicap golfers.

Each iron set has been tested for the top attributes you need as a high handicapper and/or beginner golfer. I’ve even added in my own fitting suggestions to help you get the ideal setup for your golfing needs.

Enjoy.

TOP RATED
Cobra F-Max irons
Cobra F-Max irons
8.5
DISTANCE & FORGIVENESS
TaylorMade Sim Max OS irons
TaylorMade Sim Max OS irons
8.3
PLAYER GROWTH
Mizuno JPX Hot Metal irons
Mizuno JPX Hot Metal irons
8

The best irons for high handicap and beginner golfers

  1. Cobra F-max irons (overall winner)
  2. TaylorMade Sim Max OS (best for distance & forgiveness)
  3. Mizuno JPX Hot Metal irons (best for player growth)
  4. Ping G410 (all round performer)
  5. Tour Edge Hot Launch C521 Irons (great value)

Best irons for high handicappers

Cobra F-max irons (overall winner)

Cobra F-max 7-iron rated best iron for high handicap golfers
8.5
Total
Looks8.1
Forgiveness9.2
Distance8.5
Control7.4
Value9.4

The Cobra F-Max range has been around for many years, I’ve been delighted to offer the F-max range to beginners and high handicappers I coach and that continues with the new F-Max irons.

Looks

These irons fill you with confidence – a large face and chunky top line let you know you’ve got a lot of golf club in your hands to help you make contact. This is paired with a wide sole and large cavity back, again, really giving the impression of power and forgiveness as you setup to play.

Cobra have also considered that golfers want control too. The F-Max irons have a progressive design running through their set. Meaning the long irons have the most offset, but the amount of offset is reduced as you move towards the short irons – offering more control where it is needed.

Forgiveness

Each iron has a deep cavity back design allowing weight to be pushed to the perimeter of the club and low down. The result is a very forgiving set of irons (large sweet spot) and high-launching iron shots.

The F-Max irons also have more mass towards the heel and toe to further minimise club twisting for off-centre strikes. The overall result is exceptional forgiveness across all the irons in this set.

Power & distance

The Cobra F-Max irons are not the longest in this review of high handicap golf irons, but they still provide great distance. Unlike other manufacturers, Cobra have kept a little extra loft on each iron, which gives you a great blend of distance and control. The higher loft on the longer irons will also mean you’ll find them easier to hit and creates a better gapping of distances between each iron.

The Cobra F-Max irons create a high launch and great distance across the set.

Feel & control

The irons feel great and offer superb forgiveness even when you miss the sweet spot (there is a large sweet spot on these irons). The Cobra F-Max irons have additional weight added to the heel of the club which promotes a draw ball flight.

If you struggle with a fade/slice you will love the high, draw-bias flight these irons produce.

Suggested buying options

The Cobra F-Max irons are ideal for golfers looking for great forgiveness, distance and control and a great price. They also promote a slight draw, making them ideal if you struggle with a fade or slice.

A 5-iron to pitching wedge is what I would suggest for most high-handicappers. This will leave room for hybrids or fairway woods to replace the long irons. However, because of the generous lofts on these irons you could also opt for a 4-iron if you really want one.

The Cobra F-Max irons will really help you get the most out of your golf game.

TaylorMade Sim Max OS (best for distance & forgiveness)

TaylorMade Sim Max irons are a great choice for beginner and high handicap players with their big cavity and thick top line
8.3
Total
Looks8.3
Forgiveness9.6
Distance9.6
Control6.0
Value8.0

Many high handicappers want to hit the ball longer and straighter. The TaylorMade Sim Max irons are here to solve both of these needs – without thousands of hours practice.

The over-sized (OS) version of the Sim Max irons have a slightly larger club head and a lower centre of gravity compared to the standard Sim Max irons. This design further increases forgiveness and generates a slightly higher ball launch.

Looks

The large club head of the TaylorMade Sim Max OS and thick top line really gives you confidence when you place these behind the golf ball.

Despite the large size of the Sim Max OS irons, TaylorMade have done a great job to make these still look like a golf club you want to have sit in your bag and hit with.

Forgiveness

Along with the larger club head the TM Sim Max irons feature a large cavity back design which pushes the centre of mass low down. Resulting in exceptional forgiveness and a high launch.

The large hitting area and big cavity is finished off with a wide, rolling sole that TaylorMade say gives the most forgiving turf interaction they have created.

There is very little on the iron market that will match these for forgiveness.

Power & distance

If you are in the market for a set of irons that will give you extra distance, then this is the number one iron for you.

The Sim Max irons also include the thinnest iron face TaylorMade have produced in an iron to date. The effect is a club head that transfers more energy from the face to the golf ball, resulting in a powerful ball flight and greater distance.

Combined with this tech, the Sim Max OS irons have stronger lofts than most of the irons in this review, further increasing the distance you will get out of each club. This isn’t just for distance sake, but rather to create the ideal launch when considering how low and deep the centre of mass is within these irons – which naturally promotes a higher launch.

Feel & control

The trade-off for the truckload of distance these irons offer is a little control. They still offer great levels of control but will not compare to the control and feel of the Mizuno JPX 921 irons featured below.

Sim Max irons have progressed the sound and feel compared to previous iron models. The new dampening system that sits behind the length of the club face provides a soft but solid feel that you would usually associate with a players iron rather than a high handicap club.

Suggested buying options

These are the best performing irons based on the performance ratings in this review. The only factors keeping them off top spot is the brilliant value of the Cobra F-Max irons.

With the strong lofts on these irons I would advise most golfers to opt for a 5-iron to pitching wedge set and consider also getting a gap wedge. The approach/gap wedge (48º) will help fill the distance between your powerful pitching wedge (42º) and current/new sand wedge (54-56º).

If you are looking for the best irons on the market for distance and forgiveness there are very options that will keep up with the TaylorMade Sim Max OS irons.

Mizuno JPX Hot Metal irons (best for player growth)

Mizuno Hot Metal pro 7 iron
8
Total
Looks8.5
Forgiveness8.2
Distance8.7
Control8.0
Value6.7

The JPX 921 Hot Metal irons are Mizuno’s most forgiving and most powerful in the JPX line up. They are not designed just for high handicappers and offer great room to grow as a player, as these irons offer a brilliant blend of forgiveness, distance and feel.

Looks

The Mizuno JPX irons look great in your golf bag and behind the ball. The club heads are more refined than most irons in this review, making them ideal if you want forgiveness in a slightly more classical looking golf club.

The head lengths across the set are 5-7mm longer than the MP-HMB irons, making the Mizuno JPX Hot Metal your top choice if you are looking for large, forgiving Mizuno irons.

Forgiveness

The head size combined with a stability frame placed behind the club face creates a high moment of inertia – which minimises twist on off-centre strikes. The result is exceptional levels of forgiveness and distance for heel and toe strikes.

The club head design has also created a sweet spot that is lower down than any other Mizuno iron, making these ideal if you tend to catch the odd iron shot thin.

Check out our full Mizuno 921 JPX irons review

Power & distance

The JPX 921 irons feature a COR-TECH face that is 0.2mm thinner across the centre compared to the JPX 919’s, resulting in even higher ball speeds. The face thickness also varies across the hitting surface to optimise ball speed from all areas of the club face.

These irons have a slightly stronger lofts than player irons which aimed at lower handicaps. However, thanks to their head design the Mizuno JPX 921 irons still launch your iron shot high.

What I love most about these is that they offer great consistent distance. Other iron sets in this review will be longer, but these irons offer a brilliant blend of distance and control.

Feel & control

Mizuno are well known for creating beautiful feeling irons. Although these are cast, not forged, they feel superb.

Three new sound ribs have been added to the top line of the JPX club head to make it lighter, stiffer and to enhance acoustics. The result is a pure feel and a sound that is more like a players iron than a beginner golf club.

Suggested buying options

The Mizuno JPX 921 Hot Metal irons are ideal for a high handicapper who hits the ball well and wants room to grow. There are more forgiving clubs in this review, but none that offer better all-round performance.

Most high handicappers should opt for a 5-iron to pitching wedge setup. You can add in a 4-iron, but because the lofts are strong a 4-iron will travel more like a 3-iron. It might be worth adding in a gap wedge to your order if you want an extra option from 110 – 70 yards and when chipping around the green.

Ping G410 (all round performance)

Ping G410 iron
8.1
Total
Looks8.3
Forgiveness8.5
Distance8.8
Control8.0
Value7.0

Ping have a long history will making great irons and their G-range is designed to pack all of they knowledge and tech to an iron for the club golfers. The result is the Ping G410 iron.

Looks

The Ping G410 irons have smaller, more refined club heads compared to most others in this review of the best irons for high handicappers. I’ve decided to include them as not all high-handicap golfers want a large club head to drop behind the ball, but they do want the performance such a club offers.

Best irons for high handicap golfers, the Ping G410 from face on and toe view

Thanks to the new toe and hosel weighting Ping were able to reduce the off-set by 10% from previous models (G400), and have shortened the blade length. The result is a clean, sleek-looking iron that is still packed with forgiveness.

Forgiveness

The Ping G410 has taken a classical cavity back design and added weighting in the toe and hosel to push the levels of forgiveness offered by a club head of this size. The result is great forgiveness across the club face.

Power & distance

The Ping G410 irons have more clever design work to provide great distance – the face is thinner and the cavity design has been tweaked to create greater flex at impact, resulting in a higher launch off the face and higher ball speeds.

This means the Ping G410s have slightly stronger lofts on all irons to generate greater distance whilst maintaining the desired launch high handicap golfers desire.

The result of all this tech is a 30º 7-iron that launches like a 32 – 33º club – meaning you’ll generate greater distance with the G410 irons with no loss in launch trajectory.

The Ping G410 irons give you really long iron shots that still offer control and consistency.

Check out our full Ping G410 iron review

Feel & control

The Ping G410 irons are cavity back in design, but the cavities are filled with a polymer insert which gives the look and feel of a solid club head.

The smaller club heads also provide more control for chip shots and pitches around the green – this is a problem that plagues many other game improvement clubs.

I personally feel this is one area where the G410 irons really stand out. Golfers want forgiveness in an iron, but they don’t want a shovel which offers little control.

Suggested buying options

The Ping G410 are ideal for high handicap players that want forgiveness and distance, without a large club head. The irons are large from heel to toe, but don’t feel clunky like other high handicap irons.

Most golfers should opt for a 5-iron to pitching wedge setup. However, the Ping wedges are brilliant, so feel free to add in a gap wedge or approach wedge to your order, you’ll not regret it.

Tour Edge Hot Launch C521 Irons (great value)

Tour Edge Hot Launch C521 irons with a wide sole and deep cavity are ideal for high handicap and beginner golfers
8.1
Total
Looks8.0
Forgiveness8.7
Distance8.5
Control6.2
Value9.3

I’ve long been a fan of Tour Edge and the gear they produce. The Tour Edge Hot Launch C521 Irons are the latest release in their Hot Launch range catering for higher handicap players.

Looks

With a large face, thick top line and slight offset these will prove a firm favourite for many high handicap golfers. The longer irons sure to give the sense of confidence when placed behind the golf ball.

Despite the large club head, I feel Tour Edge have done a great job of making these look like a classy set of irons, with a great finish.

Forgiveness

The deep cavity pushes the centre of gravity low down, preventing the club from twisting and creating great forgiveness. The sole on the C521 Irons is 15% wider than previous versions which moves the centre of gravity further away from the face and creates a high launch.

This wider sole also provides a more forgiving club-turf interaction for players – great news if you have a tendency to catch the ground before the ball.

As with other clubs in this review, the C521 Irons feature additional toe weighting to increase the forgiveness across the club face.

Power & distance

The Tour Edge C521 Irons produce great distance, whilst maintaining sensible lofts. The low centre of gravity in the club heads, along with the shaft options available in these irons will make these a great option for golfers with lower swing speeds looking to optimise forgiveness, distance and carry.

Feel & control

The C521 Irons have a slight draw bias which is great news if you do suffer with a slice or fade. The Tour Edge C521 Irons are made from the extremely soft 431 stainless steel, providing the optimal feel. The feel is further enhanced by the polymer insert behind the club face which dampen vibrations from off-centre hits.

The irons feel powerful and solid when struck well and do a great job of softening the vibrations when you don’t catch the sweet spot.

Suggested buying options

These clubs provide great performance and superb value. The design is particularly well suited to high handicappers with slower swing speeds looking to maximise distance and carry.

For most golfers I would opt for the 5-PW set. However, the lofting on these irons mean the 4-iron is easier to hit than most other sets if you are keen to add one to your set.

Even better news – all Tour Edge irons come with a lifetime warranty.

Frequently asked questions

As I said in the introduction, buying irons can seem complicated. All of the sets mentioned in this review are ones that I would be delighted for any of my own students to buy.

You won’t go wrong with any of these options if you have a strong preference. However, below I’ve put some answers to some frequently asked questions. If you have a question that isn’t featured just leave a comment at the bottom and I will get back to you.

What are the best golf irons for high handicappers?

The irons in this review all offer great forgiveness. From here you have to decide if you are looking for max forgiveness, max power, or greater levels of control. Check out the ratings for each set to gauge how the sets compare.

What are the best irons for a 20 handicapper?

If you are a 20 handicapper and progressing well I would push you towards the Mizuno JPX 921 Hot Metal irons or the Ping G410 irons. Both of these offer greater control and precision, rather than all out distance and forgiveness.

Both options will all you to grow as a golfer as you keep moving through into a teen handicap player and will still serve you well if you get down to a 7 or 8 handicap.

What irons are the most forgiving?

All the irons in this review feature high on forgiveness. If you are looking for all out forgiveness I would suggest the Cobra F-Max irons or TaylorMade Sim Max OS irons.

There are few clubs on the market that will rival these two. If you want to keep reading, check out our most forgiving irons review.

What is the easiest iron to hit?

This will depend on your golf swing and performance requirements. I personally feel the setup and technology in the Cobra F-max irons will suit most high handicap players well.

The TaylorMade Sim Max OS irons are very easy to hit, but the stronger lofts make the longer irons slightly more challenging to hit off the ground.

What are the best game improvement irons?

I would class game improvement irons as the best clubs for a 20-handicap golfer who is rapidly improving and wants room to grow. For that reason I would suggest the Mizuno JPX 921 Hot Metal irons or the Ping G410 irons.

If you want to read more you can check out our full review of the best game improvement irons.

Best irons for high handicap golfers – Summary

I hope this review has help you on your journey to find some great irons. Do check out the rest of Golf Insider UK for more ideas on how to optimise your practice and our golf instruction guides.

Happy golfing – Will @ Golf Insider UK

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A PGA golf professional, with a PhD in Biomedical Science and MSc in Sports Biomechanics & Psychology. I currently spend my time lecturing part-time at Leeds Beckett University and working with elite athletes. In my spare time I build Golf Insider UK.

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