Now that the majority of new releases are out for 2021, it’s time to break down, which golf irons are genuinely the best.
“Best” can mean different things to different people. We will break down the best golf irons in several different categories to try and help you find exactly what you are looking for.
Overall an iron that is going to qualify as a leader will be forgiving, long, and offer features to make the game more enjoyable.
Sometimes irons that I choose are not clubs that are new for 2021, instead some fantastic irons that deserve to make this list year in and year out.
Our Best Golf Irons In 2021
- TaylorMade P790 Irons (Best Golf Irons Overall)
- Mizuno JPX 919 Hot Metal Irons (Runner Up 1)
- Callaway Apex Iron Set (Runner Up 2)
- Callaway Mavrik Irons (Best Golf Irons For Fixing a Slice)
- TaylorMade SIM MAX Irons (Best Golf Irons for Distance)
- Cleveland UHX Irons (Best Golf Irons for Forgiveness and Feel)
- Mizuno JPX Tour & Mizuno JPX Forged (Best Golf Irons for Feel)
- Titleist AP3 Irons (Best Mix of Forgiveness and Feel)
- TaylorMade M4 & Callaway Rogue (Best Deals of 2021)
Best Golf Irons: TaylorMade P790 Irons
The TaylorMade P790 Irons are some of the best-looking irons ever made. They have a clean forged design that will make any level handicap feel like a player.
This set of irons packs in a ton of technology and are aimed at the middle to low handicap player. Initially released in 2017, TaylorMade has made a few subtle improvements to this iron in 2019. Mostly the shape of the club head has improved for a bit of a lower profile look.
The P790 irons are injected with Speedfoam. The Speedfoam is what helps dampen the blow at impact and make sure that these irons have the best feel on the market.
Distance irons are often kept hollow to increase speed. With the P790, Speedfoam offers a lightweight option that won’t slow the club head but helps to produce a much better feel.
Forged irons are usually geared towards the better player. Taylormade wanted to produce an option that works for both average handicap and lower handicap players. They were able to maintain high ball speed and forgiveness while still giving tour like feel.
The P790 Irons retail for a very high price depending on the set makeup you choose. TaylorMade is still producing them so you can get these irons custom to your needs.
The stock steel shaft is the Dynamic Gold S300. The S300 is an excellent option, mid-spin, mid-launch, and slightly more substantial than the KBS Shaft that is offered in many other irons in this category.
Read our TaylorMade P790 Irons review.
Runner Up: Mizuno JPX 919 Hot Metal Irons
When choosing the top irons for 2021, I like to select options that would work for a wide variety of players. The Mizuno JPX 919 line has an option for all levels. Specifically, here we will focus on the Hot Metal Irons.
The JPX Irons have compact players look to them, but they are built for the mid handicapper. These irons offer a low center of gravity with plenty of launch and forgiveness.
Designed with the new Chromoly 4140M, the feedback on these irons at impact is like a tour-level club. Mizuno, like Titleist, has been known as a players club. That is just not the case with these 919 Irons.
Like all-forgiving distance irons, the weakness can be feel and sound. Mizuno worked on the sound with these irons by improving their sound ribs to make impact sound as top-end as they feel.
As far as lofts are concerned on the 919 series, you will see the same progression you do across most manufacturers. The Metal irons set will have the lowest lofts, and as you move to the forged and the tour, the lofts will increase, allowing the workability for the better player.
Although they were also considered some of the best irons last year, they will remain on the list this year. For a set of this JPX in a steel shaft, your pricing will be quite high, depending on set makeup.
Mizuno released their new MP 20 line, but they are still going to manufacture the JPX Series for some time, allowing you a chance to get these clubs custom should you need it.
Runner Up 2: Callaway Apex Iron Set
Although the Callaway Apex iron set is a 2019 release, it’s going to stay at the top of the list in 2021. The Apex is one of the softest feeling irons on the market while still offering consistent distance and ball speed.
Callaway was able to add their urethane microspheres to a forged clubhead for the first time. These microspheres help to absorb the impact and give these irons better feel than many of their competitors.
Callaway’s 360 Face Cup technology was also included in this incredible set of irons. The Face Cup makes these irons extra forgiving. The Face Cup Technology allows the face to flex and then spring back, giving it incredible accuracy and distance.
The tungsten center of gravity is carefully placed in each iron to optimize ball flight. Callaway is still producing Apex Irons so you can order them custom to your needs. In the stock option steel shaft, they are built with a 90-gram True Temper Elevate. The stock flex options are stiff and regular.
If you have tried the new Mavrik iron and steel feel like you are missing the tour-level feel that you desire, these forged irons could be the perfect fit for you.
A set of 4-PW in the Apex Irons will run about the same as the P790. I think you will see that price drop throughout the year.
Read our Callaway Apex Irons review.
Best Golf Irons in the Game Improvement Category
Now that I have given you my three choices for the best of what is out there for 2021, I will now break it down a little further to provide you with some options more specific to player type.
This next group of irons are going to be for the player that needs both distance and forgiveness.
A game improvement iron is not going to focus on feel and a compact or thin look. These irons will have the features they need to help your game improve.
Callaway Mavrik Irons
Best Golf Irons for Fixing A Slice
The new Mavrik irons are the latest game improvement set from Callaway. This iron was produced to replace the Rogue set, one of the best golf irons 2018.
The Mavrik comes in two models, the Mavrik and the Mavrik Max. Very similar to how the Rogue came in the Rogue and Rogue X.
These Mavrik irons have a large sweet spot and are built for distance. The Max irons are slightly oversized, and the lofts are a bit higher. Technically higher lofts will decrease length but increase launch.
If you are a player that wants more traditional lofts and a bit higher ball flight, the Max is going to be the choice for you.
Callaway used Artificial Intelligence for the first time in an iron. They were able to create a specific design for each iron and the proper positioning of the center of gravity. Your eight iron will actually be built differently than your seven iron, not just loft.
Similar to the Apex irons, I already mentioned the Mavrik clubhead is packed full with urethane microspheres. They are able to keep the weight low while still producing incredible feel on solid shots.
If you tend to hit the ball slightly off-center, these cavity-back irons will at least make impact more pleasant. Your shot will also very likely be under control.
The Mavrik come stock with the True Temper Elevate 95 shaft. The True Temper is a 95-gram mid launch, mid spin, mid-weight shaft. Most golfers are going to be looking for a medium weight option that is easy to control and rewarding on a great shot.
The average player does not need an iron shaft heavier than 95/100 grams. If, however, your swing speed is above average, there are custom options to help you control the ball in the way you want.
A new set of Mavrik irons starts at medium to high price point, depending on what kind of a set makeup you are looking for.
TaylorMade SIM MAX Irons
Best Golf Irons for Distance
The brand new SIM MAX irons also came out in January. 2020 The SIM MAX is for golfers looking for the best distance and forgiveness they can get with some feel that very closely resembles forged irons.
If there were any complaints about the M6 iron set, it was that the sound was not perfect. TaylorMade worked with sound engineers to make sure that every hit with this iron sounds as close to a forged set of irons as possible.
The echo dampening system spans across the entire face of the iron, so even the mis-hit sounds excellent. For a cavity back iron, they did an excellent job with sound.
Taylor Made realizes that average golfers need a very stable face to promote control at impact. The new and improved Speed Bridge provides this stability while still keeping weight low and ball speed up.
As with all game improvement irons, the center of gravity is held low to make it easier to get shots in the air.
The SIM MAX also comes in an oversized version. Although the two models are very close, the SIM MAX OS has a larger sweet spot and more forgiveness.
Also, TaylorMade claims that the SIM MAX OS is the longest club in the 2020 line up. For golfers that need pure distance and speed on every shot, the MAX is the way to go.
The SIM and SIM MAX retail for the same price, depending on the type of set makeup you are looking for.
Cleveland UHX Irons
Best For Forgiveness and Feel
The Cleveland UHX Irons are the new release for the 2020 golf season. Cleveland did very well in 2019 with their CBX Iron set and they answered back.
This is a progressive set, something that can help even the best of golfers. The short irons in the set are a cavity back design, giving players control over their shorter shots. The long irons are a hollow, hybrid-like design for maximum distance, accuracy, and launch.
The UHX Irons are designed for a mid handicap player. The look on this set is impressive. On the shorter irons, the top-down look is a clean, classic iron that has you feeling like you can hit it pure.
As you get towards the five iron, the club gets thicker and helps you have the confidence you need for that long shot.
Cleveland makes some of the best wedges on the market. They are working continuously to improve shot control, and because of that, they are no putting their zip grooves on the irons as well.
If you are a feel player looking to improve, this is a perfect set for you. From the pitching wedge to the long irons, the set is constructed to increase ball speed while maintaining control over your shots.
As always, Clevelands pricing is fair and will likely continue to drop as we move through the year. Currently, you can get a UHX Iron in a steel shaft for a great value.
Considering most companies launch their game improvement clubs at a higher price point per club, this is an excellent value for a long-lasting set of golf clubs.
Best Golf Irons in the Players Category
If you are less than a ten handicap and more worried about control, playability, and feel as opposed to distance and forgiveness, these are the irons for you.
Mizuno JPX Tour/Forged
Best Golf Irons for Feel
The 919 Series of clubs that Mizuno put out in 2019 are some of the best golf irons on the market. There is an option for all player types within this series.
The Tour and Forged Version are going to be the models that better players will enjoy.
Differences between these two sets are going to be both loft and the top-down look. The Forged will have a thicker top line and slightly lower lofts, and the other model is more for the lower handicap golfers. For some time last year, even Brooks Koepka was playing these irons.
If you are a player who likes to work the ball, has control over ball flight, and enjoys hitting unconventional shots, these irons will allow you to do all of that.
Sold stock with steel shafts. This set of irons will run close to quite high, but I can guarantee this is an iron set that you will still have in the bag five years from now.
Titleist AP3 Irons
Best Mix Of Forgiveness And Feel
The AP Series by Titleist has been around for many years. The latest AP3 model is the 718. Just recently, Titleist launched their brand new line of T series irons that will replace these AP irons.
Since the release of the T series, the AP has been dropping in price. Now you can easily find a set of AP3 for less than its release price. Titleist irons on sale are always a great deal.
From the pitching wedge up to the four iron, this set is designed to have distance and feel. It’s a combination of the Ap1 and Ap2. Taking only the best features and using them to give golfers a great option of players/distance all in one iron.
Titleist has been on a mission to increase ball speeds across all clubs. This set has a thinner clubface than previous models and truly rewards for great shots. If you happen to miss the center, you get the forgiveness that you often see in a more forgiving iron.
Keep an eye on this set this year and pick up some for a great deal.
Best Golf Iron Deals of 2021
With new releases come price reductions in old versions. Is the older technology already outdated?
Here are two of the best deals out there right now for a new golf iron that also has plenty of recent technology and upgrades.
If you are playing something more than five years old but don’t want to break the bank on a new set, these irons need to be considered.
TaylorMade M4 Irons
The TaylorMade M4 set is probably one of the most popular among golfers in the mid handicap range. I have not talked to many players that don’t like the M4 iron.
The M4 is all about increasing distance on every hit. The RIBCOR technology is used to help make this one of the longest options for golfers in the mid handicap range. The best part about the M4, in my opinion, is that it still looked like a classic set of traditional irons.
As TaylorMade moved into the M6 and SIM MAX irons, the design became a little less traditional. Yes, this still appeals to plenty of golfers, but I feel like the M4 is a cleaner looking club. Standing over a club that has a sleek look to it makes me feel as those I can pull of the shot that I want.
The M4 set was initially released at a price close to the SIM MAX is now. Since this was a 2018 set, you can now find deals for considerably less if you can find them in the specs you need.
Although you cannot order these custom fit to your swing, these are worth the investment at this price. Many golfers that played with and enjoyed the Burner irons found the M4 to be a perfect upgrade.
Callaway Rogue Irons
Perhaps the favorite 2019 option for golfers within the Callaway line was the Rogue. It came in two models the Rogue and Rogue X. Rogue X had lower lofts and focused more on lower ball flight and increased distances.
Both sets used the 360 FaceCup technology and did everything possible to increase both distance and forgiveness. Simply said, this is an easy club to hit. It is most definitely a mid to high handicap iron.
The only complaint that people had about this iron was sound and feel. The Mavrik addresses both of those concerns.
If you are looking for a new set but not wanting to spend as much as the new Mavrik, I would first look for a set of these Rogue on closeout. You are going to get a club that is incredibly close to the brand new Mavrik for much less cost; it’s certainly worth a shot!
Read our Callaway Rogue & Rogue X Irons review.
Steps to take when buying The Best iron Set in 2021?
Now that we have discussed some of the best options out there, how will you know what club is right for you.
This buying guide will help you realize what you need to know before purchasing and ultimately how to decide which irons to buy.
Step One: Determine Budget
Golfers almost always get sticker shock when they finally pick out the golf clubs that work best for their game. Unfortunately, with this game, the equipment prices add up fast. That’s why it is best to set your budget from day one.
If $1000 is where you want to be for a set of golf irons, you are very realistic. If your top price is $350 and you want all custom graphite shafts and grips, hopefully, there is a used set that meets your specs!
Keep in mind that the best irons 2018 and 2019 are still out there, and the prices are dropping fast. These golf irons are perfect for the golfer on a budget.
Step Two: Custom Fitting
Do you need to be custom fitted for these irons, or do you just need to try them out. Many golfers think they need a custom club when, in reality, the stock model provides them just fine, and often saves some money. Custom fittings and custom irons can add cost to a set of irons.
The average golfer will be just fine with a set of golf clubs on the shelf. This is not to say that you shouldn’t try hitting some shots with the clubs you intend to buy. Just because the TaylorMade SIM MAX look amazing on TV, or in this review, doesn’t mean they will feel perfect when you hit them.
As a general rule of thumb, golf clubs are designed for a 5’9″ average golfer. If you are 5’7″ or even 6’0, you are still well within the range for standard length clubs.
Having something that is the right length for you is the most critical aspect of a proper fitting. Clubs that are the correct length will help golfers with consistent distance and accuracy.
Step Three: Features and Options
Irons across several manufacturers are going to come with many of the same features. Low center of gravity, lightweight shafts, and increased ball speed.
There are, however, a few features that you need to decide if you want in your clubs are not.
One of them will be forged irons. As hard as a cavity back tries, it can not completely reproduce the feel of a forged iron.
Another option you need to consider is graphite or steel shafts. Graphite is going to provide more distance and less forgiveness, and the steel will keep the ball more in play, but the shots won’t likely be as long.
Lastly, you need to consider the look of the club that works best for your handicap. I don’t like looking down at a thick top line; this eliminates some options for me. If you are a golfer that wants pure forgiveness and doesn’t care what the club looks like, this won’t be an issue for you.
Step Four: Testing and Purchasing
One of the most prominent mistakes golfers make when going to hit new irons is not bringing their old irons with them. New clubs might feel amazing, but if your seven iron is going 152 yards and you are accustomed to hitting it 150, is that worth the $1000 upgrade?
It is very likely that if your clubs are more than a few years old, your ball speed will be quite a bit higher with new irons. This can lead to quite a bit more distance. As long as your shots are heading in the direction you want them, this $1000 upgrade starts making more sense.
When it comes time to purchase a set, the deals on the internet are almost always lower than the traditional golf stores. Look for Masters sales and Memorial Day Sales as well. That will be the first time you see manufacturers start to lower pricing even on the new equipment.
Golf equipment gets overwhelming. Companies continually add new acronyms and made-up product jargon to make their clubs seem more appealing. Honestly, it’s a race between them to offer the best possible option for all golfers.
What average golfers need to remember is that even if a club has urethane microspheres, a Speed Pocket, and ECHO dampening, it may not be the perfect option to lower your score.
Follow my steps to carefully pick out a club that works for you and be aware that when searching for golf irons, everyone is competing for your business.