In this review we’re going to look at the most forgiving irons currently on the market. We all love looking at a set of blades, but at the end of the day, golf isn’t about looks, it is about getting the golf ball into the hole.
Every iron set featured in this review offers maximum levels of forgiveness. Some pair forgiveness with distance, others provide a blend of distance and control. I’ve tried to find the best option for every golfer (and their budget).
Scroll down to find out the best option for your golf game.
Table of Contents
- 1 The most forgiving irons in 2021:
- 2 TaylorMade Sim Max OS
- 3 Cobra F-max irons
- 4 Cleveland Golf Men’s Launcher HB Iron Set
- 5 Ping G410
- 6 Tour Edge Hot Launch C521 Irons
- 7 Wilson D7 Irons
- 8 Mizuno JPX 921 Hot Metal Forged Iron
- 9 Callaway Mavrik Max Irons
- 10 Callaway Rogue X Combo Irons
- 11 TaylorMade Golf M6 Irons
- 12 TaylorMade RocketBladez
- 13 Callaway Big Bertha Irons
- 14 Cobra King F6 Hybrid and Iron Golf Club Set
- 15 Frequently asked questions when buying irons
- 15.1 Are the clubs in this review suitable for high handicappers?
- 15.2 Are blades or cavity back irons most forgiving?
- 15.3 What are muscle back irons?
- 15.4 What is the most forgiving golf club make?
- 15.5 What is the difference between a game improvement iron and a forgiving iron?
- 15.6 What is the difference between cast and forged irons?
- 15.7 What is the most forgiving forged iron?
- 15.8 What are super game improvement irons?
- 15.9 How will these irons affect my ball flight?
- 15.10 I have a high / low swing speed which irons will suit me best?
- 15.11 What shafts should I select?
- 16 Summary
The most forgiving irons in 2021:
- TaylorMade Sim Max OS (Overall winner)
- Cobra F-Max Irons (Runner-up)
- Ping G410 (Great all-rounder)
- Cleveland Golf Men’s Launcher HB Iron Set (Best for distance)
- Tour Edge Hot Launch C521 Irons (Best value)
- Wilson D7 (Great value)
- Mizuno JPX 921 (Best forged)
- Callaway Mavrik (Worth considering)
- Callaway Rogue X Combo Irons (Worth considering)
- TaylorMade Golf M6 Irons (Worth considering)
- TaylorMade Rocketbladez (Worth considering)
- Callaway Big Bertha Irons (Worth considering)
You can also jump to our frequently asked questions when buying irons. If your question isn’t there leave a comment at the bottom and I’ll get back to you.
The TaylorMade Sim Max irons offer all the forgiveness of the M6 irons but with a softer feel off the face – which is achieved by TaylorMade’s new dampener system placed behind the club face. The club face is the thinnest TaylorMade have ever produced, which maximises ball speed and distance on your iron shots – these irons are not only forgiving but super long.
The large cavity back and steel bridge at the back of the club pushes the centre of mass back away from the face and low down. The effect is long, powerful iron shots where ever you strike the club face.
TaylorMade have also tweaked the face design to try to maximise ball speed across the face. The result is better distance and forgiveness for toe, heel and thinned shots.
The Sim Max irons are available in standard and over-sized (OS) options. Both are great – we’re featuring the OS version here as they offer even greater levels of forgiveness.
The OS version has a little more perimeter weighting, meaning the club head will twist less during heel and toe strikes. The OS also feature more offset and encourage a soft draw.
If you’re looking for forgiving set of clubs which feel great and offer great distance then check out the TaylorMade Sim Max OS irons.
If you’re wanting to tick all of these boxes, but struggle with a hook I’d recommend the standard TaylorMade Sim Max irons. As these are still very forgiving and but have slightly less draw bias.
The Cobra F-Max range has been around for many years, I’ve been delighted to offer the F-max clubs to many golfers I’ve coached over the years and that continues with the new F-Max irons.
These irons fill you with confidence – the big face and thick top line let you know you’ve got a lot of golf club in your hands. The F-Max irons also feature a wide sole and large cavity back, to further push the levels of forgiveness across the club face.
The F-Max irons have a progressive design running through their set. Meaning the long irons have the most offset and the amount of offset is reduced as you move towards the short irons – offering more control where it is needed.
The Cobra F-Max irons topped our review of best irons for high handicappers
Each F-Max iron has a deep cavity back design allowing weight to be pushed to the perimeter of the club head and low down. The result is a very forgiving set of irons, with a big sweet spot and a high-launch.
The F-Max irons also have more mass towards the heel and toe to further minimise club twisting for off-centre strikes. This design further increases forgiveness across all the irons in this set.
Power & distance
The Cobra F-Max irons are not the longest clubs in this review, but they do still provide great distance. Unlike other brands, Cobra have traditional lofts on each iron, which has created a great blend of distance and control. The higher loft on the longer irons also makes them easier to hit and creates a better spread of yardages between each iron.
Feel & control
These irons feel great and offer superb forgiveness even when you miss the sweet spot. If you struggle with a fade/slice you will love the high, draw-bias flight these irons produce.
Next, in our roundup of the most forgiving irons we have the Cleveland Launcher HB Irons. The Cleveland HB irons are made entirely of hybrid heads. The hybrid head size does get progressively smaller as you move towards the short irons and wedges, but all have a hybrid club head look and feel.
Why, you ask? Well as the video below describes, this hybrid design allows the club head centre of mass to be pushed low down and further back away from the face, leading to maximum forgiveness.
The wide sole on all of the Launcher HB irons stops the club digging into the turf and provides great forgiveness if you tend to fat or thin your iron shots.
In terms of overall forgiveness, these irons rank the best out of all of the irons reviewed in this article – the reason they didn’t finish in first place is that they sacrifice some control and precision for full-out forgiveness.
This is not a negative, however in my humble opinion, most golfers would be better off with the middle-ground of the TaylorMade Sim Max OS Irons or Cobra F-Max irons, rather than the full-out forgiveness offered by these irons.
That being said, these irons hit the ball seriously high – if you struggle to get enough height with your iron shots and you want a lot of forgiveness these are ideal.
The Cleveland Launcher HB irons offer serious distance, with no other irons matching this forgiveness and distance blend.
If this is what you are after, check out the set options using the buttons below.
The G410 is Ping’s latest creation for golfers looking for great forgiveness. The G410 features some revolutionary design allowing Ping to make a really forgiving iron that still looks sleek and refined.
Ping have placed additional weights in the hosel and toe creating all of the forgiveness of their old G-max iron in a much smaller club head. The G410 also features a large cavity back which further increases forgiveness by pushing the centre of mass low down in the head and creates a high launch off the face.
The rolling sole has been created to maximise the ability of the club head to brush rather than dig into the ground in instances where you catch the ground before the ball. This provides even more room for error as you move into the longer irons and attempt to strike the ball off the fairway.
The Ping G410‘s are a great option for golfers wanting great forgiveness, all round performance and prefer a more classical club head design. You can read a full review of the Ping G410s here, or use the button below to check out the pricing options.
I’ve long been a fan of Tour Edge equipment. The Tour Edge Hot Launch C521 Irons are the latest release in their Hot Launch range catering for players wanting great forgiveness.
With their large face, chunky top line and slight offset these irons will prove a firm favourite for many golfers looking for max forgiveness.
Despite the large club head size, these irons still look like stylish.
The deep cavity in the C521 Irons pushes the centre of gravity low down, preventing the club from twisting and creating great forgiveness across the face. The sole on the C521 Irons is 15% wider than previous versions which shifts the centre of gravity further away from the face and creates a high launch.
This wider sole also creates a more forgiving club-turf interaction for players – great news if you have a tendency to catch the ground before the ball. The C521 irons also feature additional toe weighting to increase the forgiveness across the club face.
Power & distance
The Tour Edge C521 Irons produce excellent 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 distance and carry.
Feel & control
The C521 Irons have a slight draw bias which is great news if you do suffer with a fade/slice. The Tour Edge C521 Irons are made from an 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.
These 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.
These clubs provide great forgiveness and superb value. The design is particularly well suited to golfers with slower swing speeds looking to maximise distance and carry. Even better news – all Tour Edge irons come with a lifetime warranty.
If you’re looking for great forgiveness on a budget then check out the Wilson D7 irons. The large cavity back design and additional weighting inside the club head push the centre of mass low down, creating great forgiveness for miss-hit golf shots.
The D7 irons also feature a progressive design – the longer irons are a little larger and have wider soles for maximum forgiveness. The iron head become a little smaller in the mid-irons and most compact in the 9-iron and wedges.
The result is a set of irons that provide great forgiveness where needed but still offer great control for shorter shots around the green. The lofts of the Wilson D7’s are quite strong, similar to other irons featured in this review. This means you’ll be hitting half a club less into most holes.
With this in mind, try to purchase a set of 5-iron upwards, as most golfers will be better off with a hybrid or fairway wood than a low lofted 4 and 3 irons.
If this review was about the best looking irons on the market in the game improvement range there is little doubt that the Mizuno JPX 921‘s would rank top. The 921’s are the only forged irons to make this review and are probably the most forgiving forged iron currently on the market.
The club head features a large cavity behind the face that allows the designer to add more perimeter weighting behind the toe and heel. The result is great stability for off-centre hits.
The strength of the forged metal has allowed Minzuno to make the club face thinner than any other forged iron they have made before. The result is a higher max and average ball speed off the face compared to other models.
Most manufactures like to discuss max ball speed, but Minzuno also mention an increase in average ball speed off the face, indicating great distance even for off-centre strikes – another key feature for game improvement irons.
The Mizuno JPX 921‘s have a progressive design. The longer irons have a wider top line and more perimeter weighting, with the irons progressively getting thinner and more blade-like as you move towards the shorter irons and wedges.
Check out this review to lean more about the Mizuno JPX irons
This creates a set of irons with easy to hit long irons, great control with the mid irons and great feel with the shorter irons.
With all of this praise why are they not higher up the list? Well in our opinion they don’t quite meet the exceptional levels of forgiveness seen in the TaylorMade Sim Max OS irons or Callaway Mavrik Max irons.
However, they aren’t designed to, this iron will suit you if you are looking for a brilliant set of forged irons with great feel and good to very good levels of forgiveness.
The Callaway Mavrik Max are next up on our most forgiving irons review. The Mavrik range is Callaway’s latest offering of game improvement irons. We’re featuring their Mavrik Max irons here which Callaway have designed for 15 – 36 handicappers.
The Marvik max irons have a strong focus on pushing as much of the weight to the edge of the club head and low down. Making these irons highly forgiving where ever you strike on the club face.
The low centre of mass will also help launch your iron shots high into the air, which is particularly useful as you hit the longer irons (5 and 4-iron). This new design has allowed Callaway to reduce the loft of each iron by 1º, which means your iron shots will launch high, but will also benefit from additional ball speed and distance.
Along with the lower loft, the Callaway Mavrik Max irons feature a variable club face design that aims to maximise distance where ever you strike on the club face. This should result in the best possible chance of your iron shots reaching the putting surface for toe and heel strikes.
The Callaway Mavrik Max irons have been finished off with a mulit-layer dampening system which sit behind the club face and creates a soft but solid feel for your iron shots.
The Callaway Marvik max irons are another great option for golfers looking for a forgiving set of irons offering great distance. Click the links below to check pricing – Global Golf also offer a range of buying options (including a 5-iron and 6-iron upwards) if you prefer to use more fairway woods and hybrids with your iron sets.
In first place we have the Callaway Rogue Combo Irons. These secured first place as they really do offer great forgiveness where golfers need it the most (the longer irons), whilst still producing great looking irons which provide great control.
The Callaway hybrids in this set allow more of the club head mass to be placed lower down and further away from the face. This means that if you miss the centre of the club face, the club will twist less and lead to longer, straighter shots.
The Callaway irons also offer great forgiveness by using additional tungsten weighting inserted in the base of the toe to further prevent the club face from twisting on off-centre hits. The wider soles on the irons reduce the negative effects of catching the ground before the golf ball – the bevelled sole plate prevents the leading edge from digging in to the ground and robbing you of your dignity with those fat iron shots.
The combo iron set comes in a few different options:
- 3H, 4H, 5 – 9 irons & PW
- 4H, 5H, 6 – 9 irons, PW & AW
- 5H, 6H, 7 – 9 irons, PW, AW, SW
For most golfers I would recommend the middle option (4H, 5H, 6 – 9 irons, PW & AW). Modern golf irons have less loft on them than golf irons from 10 – 15 years ago, this means a new 5-iron has the equivalent loft of an old-fashioned 3-iron. For this reason I suggest golfers looking for game improvement irons will find great joy in how easy the 4 and 5 hybrids are to hit, and will then be ready for a 6-iron, offering a little less forgiveness, but more control.
Buy these irons if you are looking for maximum forgiveness in your long irons, but still want great control as you move closer to the green. They are a great option if you struggle with hitting the toe and heel of the golf club and will be pretty forgiving for the few shots where you catch the ground before the ball.
In third place for the most forgiving irons we have the TaylorMade M6 Irons. These irons offer a great mix of forgiveness and control. They have a slightly larger head than the TaylorMade M5s, along with a little more off-set and stronger lofts. These factors add a little more forgiveness, particularly for heel and toe strikes.
The large cavity back design has been combined with added mass to the sole and toe of the club to shift around the weight of the club head and improve your off-centre hits. Added to this, the irons have the added ‘speed bridge’, which is essentially another heavy mass, placed at the back of the club head, directly behind the hitting zone.
This technology makes the M6 irons a great option for golfers looking for forgiveness. These irons provide a powerful flight with longer irons, and a nice level of control with the shorter irons.
There are many set ups to choose from, with the 5 iron – PW & AW, or the 4 iron – PW & AW options proving popular. If you struggle with your longer irons I would opt for the 5 iron to AW set up and consider adding a fairway wood or hybrid when you feel you need one.
All in all, these are a very forgiving set of irons that offer a lot of great tech and performance. This means that they are not the cheapest irons in our review, but do offer golfers a great option.
Next we have an almost historic entry in our most forgiving irons review – the TaylorMade’s RocketBladez. The RocketBladez provide a powerful and forgiving set of irons that gradually provide more control as you move from the long irons (4 and 5-iron) up to the shorter irons (8 and 9-iron) and wedges.
The irons feature a ‘speed pocket’ to max-out distance and forgiveness. Essentially, this is referring to the big cavity behind the iron face. By removing mass from directly behind the face and placing it lower and further back in the club head, this makes the iron twist less for off-centre hits, and makes the irons more forgiving.
The RocketBladez also feature an ultra-thin face to maximise ball speed. This design gives the face a small amount of flex at impact and increases ball speed slightly. However, I would suggest the effect of this technology is minimal. That being said, the irons don’t lack for distance!
The polyurethane (plastic) insert behind the club face absorbs a lot of the vibrations. This leads to well-struck shots feeling powerful, and minimises the vibrations your feel for off-centre iron shots.
The TaylorMade’s RocketBladez are a great game improvement iron with serious distance. If you are looking for a great blend of power and forgiveness at a reasonable price, consider these irons.
Next in our review of the most forgiving irons we the Callaway Big Bertha Irons. I want to be clear, these are still great irons and have made the top five.
The reason for their appearance is their blend of great looks and forgiveness. With the exception of the TaylorMade M6 Irons, most irons in this review look like a game improvement iron – they are large, chunky and lack some elegance.
The Callaway Big Bertha Irons are different, Callaway have produced a sleek looking iron that still provides great forgiveness. Callaway put this forgiveness down to the tungsten weight, placed at the base of the club. The result is a much thinner top-line and design that still provides great forgiveness.
There are a variety of iron set options when buying these clubs (too many to list). However, based on how powerful these irons are, I would suggest you go for a 5-iron to Pitching Wedge, or Sand Wedge option.
With all of the positives mentioned, we should swiftly cover why these irons haven’t finished higher in our review of the most forgiving irons.
Price – for what you get (the number of clubs) these are the most expensive irons within this review. They are great clubs, but if you are out for maximum forgiveness, buy some other irons featured and spend the extra money on some golf lessons.
Secondly, they are not quite as forgiving as other irons in this list. In our opinion the Callaway Rogue Irons, Cleveland Launchers, TaylorMade M6 and RocketBladez all outperform in terms of miss-hits and getting the ball airborne.
Cobra King F6 Hybrid and Iron Golf Club Set
The F6 irons and hybrid combo was first produced in 2016, but they are still available to buy today at a very good price – hence why they have made this review. This forgiving golf set comes with two hybrids (3/4 or 4/5) and a 6 to gap wedge set of irons.
The blend of powerful hybrids, mid-irons with large cavities and more bladed short-irons gives you a very forgiving set of irons and still offers great control around the greens. The irons also feature a thin top line, and minimal offset which further add to their sleek appearance.
Similar to other irons in this review the Cobra F6 irons go a long way! Partly due to their forgiving and powerful design, but in part due to their loft – 26 degrees for a 6-iron is more like a 5-iron loft. This isn’t a problem, but it explains why the F6 transition from two hybrids straight into a 6-iron.
Check these irons out if you are looking for great forgiveness and distance for a great price.
Frequently asked questions when buying irons
Below we have some frequently asked questions when golfers are looking to buy forgiving or game improvement irons. If you can’t find the question and answer you’re looking for in this section just leave a comment below. I’ll get back to you and update the article.
Are the clubs in this review suitable for high handicappers?
Yes, these the irons featured here are great options for high handicappers. Forgiveness is a key attribute that will help your game as a high handicapper. We do have a separate review for the best irons for high handicap golfers that you can check out here.
Are blades or cavity back irons most forgiving?
To make an iron forgiving designers place the centre of mass low down and far away from the club face. This increases the moment of inertia of the club head and reduces how much the golf club twists on off-centre strikes.
Irons that have a cavity back (pictured above) allow the designers to move more weight to the edge of the club head and low down, keeping the middle of the club low in mass.
This makes designing forgiving cavity backs a far easier than designing forgiving blades – hence why there are few game improvement irons that do not have a large cavity back.
What are muscle back irons?
These days manufacturers also create muscle back irons. Muscle back irons are a half-way house between blades and cavity backs. Some of the mass is removed and placed towards the edge of the iron head. The result is a slim, bladed looking iron with far more forgiveness than a traditional bladed iron.
The Ping G410 irons are a great option for golfers looking for a forgiving iron in a sleek design.
What is the most forgiving golf club make?
All of the main manufactures offer at least one or two great options for golfers looking for forgiving, game improvement irons. The make has less to do with it, instead it is about finding the right club to suit that individual.
What is the difference between a game improvement iron and a forgiving iron?
There is considerable overlap between these two categories. Both are aimed at golfers who have a handicap of 15 or all the way up to 36 and want great forgiveness. However, a game improvement iron may sacrifice a little forgiveness for increased control and feel. Both control and feel are qualities that are in demand from players who are quickly improving.
You could also consider a game improvement iron better suited to you if you already have a handicap of 15 to 20. The TaylorMade Sim Max irons are a good example of a club that would feature in this review and also in the game improvement category.
What is the difference between cast and forged irons?
‘Cast’ and ‘forged’ relate to the processes used to make the iron head. Cast irons are created by pouring molten metal into a cast mould. The irons are then cooled and removed.
Forged irons are created by hitting (forging) one piece of metal into the shape of the club head. For this reason forged clubs are generally more time consuming to make and come at a higher price.
Traditionally better golfers wanted to play with forged irons. They were deemed to have a more solid feel and offer better control. However, advances in the alloys used in cast irons and the dampening systems installed in the club head mean there are now very few differences between cast and forged irons.
Forged club manufactures will still advocate that forged irons produce a better feel, but there are few noticeable performance benefits associated with them.
What is the most forgiving forged iron?
The Mizuno JPX 921 irons are the most forgiving forged irons currently on the market. There are few forged irons in the game improvement category, partly due to cost, but also because a cast production allows far more flexibility in moving mass around within the club head.
Are these irons suitable for a beginner?
Yes, all of the irons featured here are great options for beginners. If you would like to check out the best golf clubs for beginners we have this guide, where we cover full-sets and irons.
Or you can check out this guide looking at the best irons for high handicap golfers.
What are super game improvement irons?
Super game improvement irons are a new category of clubs which are design to create a giant sweet spot. The tradeoff the the large sweet spot are that these clubs often have far less control than a traditional iron.
The Cleveland Launcher HB Irons are an example of super game improvement irons or hybrid irons. If you do really struggle super game improvement irons / hybrid irons can be an options, but I would prefer for most golfers to opt for a more traditional iron and invest in some golf lessons.
How will these irons affect my ball flight?
Most game improvement irons place the centre of gravity low down in the club head and away from the face. This helps with off centre hit and increases the size of the sweet spot, but does lead to a higher ball flight with your irons.
For most golfers a higher ball flight is a good thing, however there will be some golfers looking for a game improvement irons that offer great forgiveness but still produce a low ball flight.
If this sounds like you I would suggest you opt for the Ping G410 or the Mizuno JPX 921 irons. Both of these irons have great heel – toe weighting systems and have less mass distributed in the sole. This leads to a higher centre of gravity in the club head and a lower ball flight.
There will always be a trade-off between an iron that is easy to use and a lower ball flight. It is up to you to decide what is more important to you, in my opinion a great set of irons that are easy to use are worth a slightly higher ball flight that might cost you 2 to 3 yards.
I have a high / low swing speed which irons will suit me best?
All of the irons will be suitable for players with a high or low swing speed. These clubs are available is a range of shaft options that can be customised to best suit your swing speed.
The design of the TaylorMade Sim Max irons and the Tour Edge C521 Irons make both very well suited to players with a lower swing speed, as both promote a high launch, maximising carry distance.
What shafts should I select?
Irons come in a range of shaft options with manufacturers selecting a range that best fit their club head. Broadly speaking there are the following classes of iron shaft.
- XS – Extra stiff flex (for very high swing speeds)
- S – Stiff flex (for high swing speeds)
- R – Regular flex (for moderate swing speeds)
- Sen – Senior flex (for lower swing speeds)
- L – Lite / Ladies flex (for lower swing speeds)
The ratings above relate to shaft flex, the top of the list requires a higher swing speed to cause the shafts to bend. If you have irons that are too stiff you will lose distance and the irons will feel dead / not powerful even when you hit the sweet spot.
Graphite and steel shafts can fall into any of the categories above, but graphite shafts are often associated with senior and ladies flexes. Graphite shafts make the overall club weight lighter meaning you can create a higher swing speed with the same force and increase your carry distance.
Graphite shafts can really help golfers with slower swing speeds. Some players feel that graphite shafts reduce control and accuracy, but I would suggest this effect is minimal. However, graphite clubs are more expensive to produce, you may have to pay $200 – $300 more for the graphite shafted version of a club.
These days manufactures also offer lite steel shafts these are steel shafts made out of a lighter alloy and offer a great in between option for golfers looking for lighter steel-shafted irons which may offer a little extra distance.
What are the best golf irons on the market?
These days all of the top manufacturers provide great golf irons. Part of this relates to personal preference, however, if you would like to check out our picks, we cover them in this best golf irons review which we update every few months.
For more on the best irons for low and mid handicappers, check out this review.
There is the run down of the most forgiving irons, you can also check out our review of the most forgiving drivers here. If you would like a free article like this one emailed to you every Monday, come join the Golf Insider weekly post.
Happy golfing – Will @ Golf Insider
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