Does game improvement mean beginner?
Could it be a mid handicapper working to get better?
Here’s the scoop on who needs this type of iron . . .
- You are not the best ball-striker
- The only irons you hit consistently are your wedges, 9, maybe the 8
- Your mishits are generally short or right of the target
- Your handicap is over 10
- Your swing speed is slowing down
- You were a beginner and are now looking for an upgrade
If you fit into this category of player then you should be considering a game improvement iron for your next upgrade.
These types of irons have come a long way in the last few years. Historically known as a large clunky club, lots of room to miss and terrible feel.
Today you can find plenty of feel, distance, and forgiveness, all packed into a club that doesn’t look like you are swinging a brick!
In this review, I will give you my favorite best game improvement irons on the market and some advice for making sure you choose the right clubs for you.
Best Game Improvement Irons
- TaylorMade SiM 2 Max Iron Set (Best Game Improvement Irons 2022)
- Callaway Rogue & Callaway Rogue X Irons (Runner Up 1)
- TaylorMade M6 Irons (Runner Up 2)
- Cobra F9 Speedback & Cobra F9 Speedback One Length Irons (Best Game Improvement Irons for Fixing a Slice)
- Wilson Staff D7 Irons (Best Budget Game Improvement Irons)
- Callaway Big Bertha Irons (Best Game Improvement Irons for Seniors)
- Callaway Women’s Mavrik Max Iron Set (Best Game Improvement Irons for Women)
- Cobra Golf RadSpeed Irons (Best For Consistency)
- Callaway Apex DCB (Best Premium Game Improvement Irons)
Best Game Improvement Irons: TaylorMade SiM 2 Max Iron Set
The Taylor Made new SIM 2 Max Iron are the best overall game improvement golf irons. With these clubs, you will be able to get an incredible feel, yet still get the distance and forgiveness necessary for a game improvement iron.
There are some improvements to the TaylorMade SIM 2 Max that truly make it stand out from previous TaylorMade golf irons.
The new fast and forgiving face gives golfers lots of performance even when they miss the center. The impressive Speed Pocket technology is continuing to improve, and it has yet again been included in the new SIM 2 Max irons.
In addition to the speed technology, the ECHO damping system makes it so that there are very few vibrations when golfers make contact with the ball.
This is rare to find in a cavity back iron because of the basic construction of this club. The great thing about this is that the SIM 2 Max is going to work quite well when you start to improve as well.
Even if your handicap drops a bit, you will still be able to use these Sim 2 Max irons. They have a great feel and can last until your handicap drops into the single digits. This is without a doubt a set of game improvement irons that will make golf more enjoyable.
Runner Up 1: Callaway Rogue and Callaway Rogue X Irons
If you have not heard about this series of irons this year I would be very surprised.
Callaway released these sets as an upgrade on the Callaway XR series that was released several years ago. The XR was a bit bulky, not all that long and moderately forgiving.
The Rogue and Rogue X iron sets are incredibly forgiving and long as well.
If you are looking for an easy way to increase distance in your golf game, this is something you need to consider. The clubhead is slightly larger than the CBX irons that we declared the winner in this category.
Golfers with slower swing speeds who struggle to get the correct launch and distance will benefit from the 360 Cup Face installed in this club.
The loft on a seven iron in this set is going to be quite different than that of a seven iron from ten years ago. It will be more like a five iron.
With the shaft choices and improvements made to the clubhead, it’s still possible to hit these lower lofted irons with the correct ball flight and launch.
If you are looking to increase ball speed and you are not worried about ball flight, the Rogue X would be your best choice. The lofts are even lower on these than the Rogue.
Read our Callaway Rogue Irons review.
Runner Up 2: TaylorMade M6
TaylorMade took their original speed pocket technology, made it better and now they call it the Speed Bridge. As I have mentioned in other reviews, TaylorMade is all about ball speed this year.
This set of irons produces some of the highest ball speeds on the market. Golfers who struggle with distance will see improvements when switching to the TaylorMade M6.
Another positive of the M6 is the sound. Although the sound on the CBX is pleasing the Rogues can sound a little hollow. This M6 uses HYBRAR compression damper to decrease vibration at impact and make the sound and feel that much better.
The top line is not as thin as a player’s iron and about the same thickness as the Rogue. Although at the start of last year these irons were on the high end of the price range they have come down considerably throughout the year.
The stock shaft and grip are a perfect combination of both weight and feel for the player looking to shave some strokes off their score.
If you are a TaylorMade person and looking to upgrade from the M2 series the M6 is a great option. If you currently play the M4, I would suggest waiting to see how these SIM irons are before buying the M6.
Best For Fixing A Slice
Although I will admit that this iron does not have the traditional shape that many golfers prefer, it’s worth hitting to see what it can do for your scores.
The Cobra F9 Speedback was designed with a low center of gravity and high moment of inertia. Cobra has since released the SZ series but before that this was the longest and fastest club that they had put out.
The shaping on this iron allows for much more forgiveness on off-center hits but also a very soft feel at impact, something that is hard to achieve with on a game-enhancing set.
The One Length variety is something to seriously consider if you have trouble with slicing your irons. All of the irons in the set are made to be the same length as the 7 iron.
Sometimes the cause of a slice can be not releasing the club. The longer the club gets the harder it is to release. Sometimes a slice can be caused by poor setup and ball position.
Keeping all clubs the same length allows players to develop some consistency in their ball striking. Your setup will be the same for every iron. Now you can focus on the fundamentals needed to start lowering scores.
Best Budget Game Improvement Irons
Wilson Staff can sometimes be known as the beginner players’ option. The truth is they have been putting out quality sets for many years.
The D7 is a classic looking iron designed for maximum distance and forgiveness. The price point for the complete sets is affordable. Something that makes them worth considering if you are looking for the best value option.
Wilson kept their technology simple on this set. Very long in the long irons and better feel in the short irons. These irons feature a thin face that helps the ball jump off for a little extra ball speed.
Best Game Improvement Irons For Seniors
For great senior irons, it’s important to look for lightweight and forgiving clubs as swing speeds tend to slow down as golfers age.
Possibly the best part of the Callaway Big Bertha Irons is their sleek black look. The “Smoke” color option has become quite popular among players and this is no exception.
The Big Bertha Irons also utilize the 360 face cup technology for maximum jump off the clubface. The graphite shafts offered with this club (Recoil ESX) are a great mid-launch, mid-weight to help get the loft you need from your irons.
The Callaway Big Bertha irons are best sold as a combo, something all seniors should consider. The standard option is a 4 and 5 hybrid sold with 5-PW.
They are quite a bit more expensive than some other options put out by Callaway but you are getting some extra technology with this choice.
Best Game Improvement Irons For Women
The Callaway Women’s Mavrik Max Iron Set is the best game improvement irons set for women. This set was created using artificial intelligence to perfectly position the center of gravity in each club.
With the center of gravity in place, golfers can now get better launch and increased distance with each swing.
This is a lightweight and high performing set of irons that are designed specifically for the woman golfer. The combination of the Flash Face Cup technology and the urethane microspheres helps to absorb unwanted vibration at impact.
Like the SIM 2 Max, these irons will have great feel, despite being a cavity back design.
The graphite UST Helium golf shafts that are features in the Women’s Mavrik irons can help even the slower swing speed golfers to gain some extra ball speed.
The irons also come with a Lamkin grip that can give players decreased grip pressure and more control over the clubs.
For women golfers that need help with the launch, distance, and consistency, the Mavrik women’s irons are the absolute best choice.
Best for Consistency
- Radial weighting technology
- Power Shell Face with forged insert
- 10g of weight in the toe for a better center of gravity
- Thick top down look
The Cobra Radspeed Golf irons are the best game improvement irons for consistency. If you are a golfer that tends to hit one great shot and then two bad ones, it can get very frustrating. Luckily there are some clubs on the market that can help you become a more consistent player.
With the Cobra Radspeed irons, you will notice that the centralized center of gravity and the forged face also help these irons to have great feel. Players that want this higher ball speed and feel in a game improvement iron will be satisfied with what the Cobra has to offer.
One of the most interesting things about the Cobra Radspeed Golf irons is that they are designed with a 3D printed medallion. This is a unique technology that helped to improve the weighting in the club head. Golfers get better forgiveness and distance with the Cobra Radspeed.
Best Premium Golf Irons
- Higher launching
- Forged 1025 mild carbon steel
- Deep cavity back with forged feel
- Very high priced new golf irons as they are premium technology
The Callaway Apex DCB golf irons are made with a forged 1025 carbon steel that helps these have the best feel of any other game-improvement iron on the market. With the DCB, which stands for Deep Cavity Back, these golf irons will provide a solid turf interaction regardless of the lie.
The DCB irons are the most forgiving that the Apex line of clubs has ever had. With these DCB irons golfers will have really impressive sound and feel and almost the same performance that you can get from a premium blade style golf iron.
If you have the extra money to spend and want a golf iron that will work for your game now and your game in the future as you improve, this is it. The technology is so modern and relevant that golfers will be able to keep their golf irons in play for years to come.
What to look for when choosing a Game Improvement Set of Irons?
Now that we have covered the best options for game improvement irons you need some tools on how to pick out what will work specifically for your game.
Club Head Size and Weight
The larger the club head, the better when it comes to game improvement irons; when the head of the club is large, it features a larger sweet spot and can be a much better option for those that are looking for forgiveness in their golf clubs.
It may take some time to get used to a larger style club head, but if your primary goal is to become a better golfer and shoot lower scores, the larger club head can really do the trick.
- Most will be larger with large sweet spot
- Topline will likely be a bit thicker
- Club could progressively get wider on the sole as you move up (almost like a hybrid in the long iron)
- Weight should be average, something around 90 grams is best suited for this type of iron
- Tungsten Weighting in club head can help increase consistency and forgiveness
Golfers searching for game improvement irons will want to look for the perfect shaft option for their game. The graphite flex and the steel shafts are both smart choices, you will need to narrow down which one is best for your swing speed.
Steel flex golf shafts in a stiffer flex are best for the faster swing speed golfers. The graphite golf shafts are the perfect choice for the player with a slightly slower swing speed. The shaft options are difficult to sort through at times, and a custom fitting can make this process considerably easier.
- Choose the right flex, hitting the ball less than 150 yards with a 7 iron equates to needing a Regular Shaft (even if your buddies say you swing fast!)
- Graphite flex is going to give you more distance and less control
- Steel flex is going to give you more control and slightly less distance
- Most sets will have lower loft when compared to the Players iron
- Lower loft combined with the clubhead shape and technology will promote the correct ball flight on your shorts
- If you want traditionally lofted irons, you will need to look at more of a player’s golf club.
Most of the time when a golfer needs game improvement irons they are going to want a club set that has short and mid irons, but the long irons are often hybrids instead. A hybrid is a much more forgiving golf club than a long iron, and it will help to ensure that players are able to get performance from the rough.
The set makeup should also include a gap wedge as this is a club that helps golfers bridge that gap between the pitching wedge and the sand wedge. The gap wedge is sometimes called an approach wedge, and it is a club that will match the rest of the irons in the game improvement set.
- Look for a combination with Hybrids and Irons
- Most mid-handicap players looking to improve their game don’t have the correct swing speed to hit solid shots with a stock 4 iron. Choose the 5-PW and AW instead.
The look and feel of a game improvement golf iron set is another important factor to consider. When a club looks and feels great, golfers will have more confidence to play the shots that are best for their game. Typically speaking, feel can be difficult with a game improvement iron. Many golfers struggle to find a club that feels great but also performs as it should.
The good news is that with the introduction of forged golf irons and forged faces in cavity back irons, the overall feel is much softer and more workable than we have seen in past models.
- Look and feel is very important
- Try to find a local golf center where you can test a few sets
- Remember that feel on this Game Improvement type of club is never going to be as good as a forged iron but it should still have a good sound and feel on solid shots.
- Is your best club in your bag your Hybrid? Maybe you need something with a thicker bottom and graphite shafts. Keep in mind your preferences when considering the look and feel of a club.
It’s important to consider your current golf game and whether or not you need game improvement irons. Game improvement irons are designed for those that are going to try and lower their handicaps and become better at golf. With a game improvement iron in place, players can get more forgiveness and increased launch.
However, if you are working on trying to become a low handicap player and are ready to put in the time that it takes to do so, you may want to think about more of a players type iron or a forged player’s distance iron. These clubs can help make this process more attainable.
- Are you getting game improvement irons because you are upgrading from a beginner set?
- Are you getting new irons because you’re getting older or playing less and need something more forgiving?
- Make sure to do some analysis of your golf swing before purchasing, to make sure you are getting something fitted specifically to your needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are a few questions that we get about game improvement irons, who they are for, and whether or not they are the right fit for your golf game. Let’s take a look at a few of these questions and see what you need to know about choosing the best game improvement irons on the market.
What is game improvement irons?
Game improvement irons are clubs that are designed to make the game of golf easier for players. With the game improvement, irons players are able to get long distance and forgiveness. Game improvement irons are supposed to make golf a bit more fun and let players enjoy the course even if they are missing the sweet spot from time to time.
Golfing can be a really difficult game, and game improvement irons can help to make it a more enjoyable event. The technology used in a game improvement iron is completely legal under the rules of the USGA. With this equipment available to help make your day on the golf course better, there is no reason not to use them.
Should you use game improvement irons?
If you are around a 14 handicap and up, it makes a lot of sense to use a game improvement iron. For golfers that are less than a 14 handicap, there may be times that the game improvement iron is not the right fit.
When you play with game improvement golf clubs, you can expect to hit the ball relatively straight, but it can be hard to control your ball flight. If you are a golfer that is trying to learn to hit draws and fades or hit high and low shots, the game improvement irons are not the best fit.
In addition, there are some golfers that will benefit more from a hybrid type iron, and those are typically the highest handicap players on the market. Prior to purchasing your next set of irons it does make sense to do some research and learn the different types of golf irons available.
What handicap are game improvement irons for?
The game improvement irons are available for any golfer, but for those with a 15 handicap or higher, the game improvement irons are the best fit. Some low handicap players will use a game improvement type golf club in the long and mid irons of their set.
These players will then fill in with blade style golf wedges for the short irons. Overall, game improvement irons are a good fit for beginners as they will provide the helpful learning curve and information that new players need to adapt to the game.
What are the most forgiving game improvement irons?
The most forgiving game improvement irons are the TaylorMade SIM 2 Max irons. These clubs won our best overall game improvement irons, and they are also forgiving and long hitting. Almost all game improvement irons are forgiving. If you are looking for a golf iron with forgiveness, any of the options on our list would work.
However, the most forgiving options will be those that have more offset and a slightly larger sweet spot. Overall with a game improvement iron in your hands, you will notice improved forgiveness.
How often should I replace game improvement irons?
For the most part, the technology in the game improvement golf irons is going to improve greatly every five to seven years. Although most companies like TaylorMade, Titleist, Callaway, and Cobra will release new golf irons every year, the overall technology changes are hard to see from year to year.
However, when you take a golf iron and compare the technology today to one that was on the market four or five years ago, the differences are incredible. The amount of distance, the easier launch, the ball speeds, and the forgiveness change quite a bit in this period of time.
Overall, game improvement irons should be replaced every four to five years. If you have a set you really love, it is certainly fine to keep the clubs for longer, but you may end up missing out on some of the most relevant technology on the market.
Are game improvement irons more expensive?
Luckily game improvement golf irons are not more expensive than any other type of golf iron on the market. In fact, these game improvement golf irons are sometimes cheaper than other golf irons on the market.
If you want to save money on the golf irons that you purchase, look for something that is a year or so old. In addition, the steel shafts often have better pricing than the graphite shafts. Golf game improvement irons offer a good mix of feel and forgiveness for a very fair price.
The performance that you get from a set of game improvement irons can help you enjoy your time on the golf course even more. Most game improvement irons are priced between $500 and $1000 for a set.
I think the majority of the golf manufacturers in today’s golf world dump the majority of their budget into this category of irons.
The majority of golfers fit into this category of not only looking to improve their scores but having it also be a fun process. Purchasing equipment that makes the game more difficult will not encourage you in any way.
Our clear winner for the best game-enhancing golf irons on the market is the TaylorMade SiM 2 Max. This set stands out in both the look, feel, design, and performance. Even after all of that, they are still reasonably priced.