Best golf irons for mid handicappers
The Mid Handicapper group represents the largest golf population in America. The majority of engineering and technology in the golf industry is geared to this group. In business terms, this is where the money is for golf manufacturers.
The result is a great thing for golfers in this group. Companies competing to put out new irons every year. Racing to add more distance and forgiveness while keeping the price down.
With all the game improvement irons on the market and the new releases coming out every 12-18 months it can be hard to keep up.
Our review of the best golf irons for mid handicappers will give you some more insight into which irons are the best and which set may be the perfect match for you.
Our Best Golf Irons for Mid Handicappers in 2020
Overall Best Golf Irons for Mid Handicappers: Callaway Mavrik & Mavrik Max
The Callaway Mavrik and Mavrik Max are a brand new release hitting the market in early February of 2020. The Mavrik irons are the upgrade of the Rogue irons and they do offer some improvements.
The Mavrik is the standard model in this set. It is the longest between the Mavrik and the Max. The lofts are almost two degrees lower on each iron to promote extra distance and slightly lower launch angles. Very similar to the Rogue X irons from the previous year.
Callaway used their 360 Face cup Technology on these irons. Although this concept is not new, it has proven to be effective in increasing both distance and forgiveness.
A new feature in these irons is the Flash Face. The Flash Face was first tried on the Epic Flash woods and driver. The concept has been very effective in increasing distance and this is the first time that it will be used in irons.
The Mavrik irons are the first set of irons every built to use AI (Artificial Intelligence). Callaway did many hours of testing and discovered that they could make slight adjustments in every single clubhead to increase performance.
The new and improved tungsten energy core allows weights to be different in each club. Improving launch and ball flight for players who need it.
Broken down this just means that your 8 iron is designed slightly different than your 7 iron. Lofts have always been different from club to club but Callaway took it to another level with this.
With the Rogue and Rogue X Irons, the differences were fairly simple. The Rogue X was lower lofted, slightly longer and lower launching. With the Mavrik Irons, the standard Mavrik model is the longest and the Max is a higher launching lighter option.
Research and testing has shown us that many golfers are not getting the swing speed they need to be hitting their irons with the correct launch and ball flight.
The Marvik Max comes standard with an 80-gram steel shaft and lots of low weight graphite options. If you are not getting enough ball flight to stop a ball properly on a green, distance doesn’t matter. The Max Irons are plenty long enough but also allow players to hit the ball with more accuracy and proper spin rates.
If you are a Callaway person and playing the XR model or prior the Mavrik is the perfect upgrade. If the Rogue caught your eye last year and you upgraded, changing to the Mavrik is not imperative.
If you were on the fence about the Rogue, now is the time to make the jump to the Mavrik. The feel and sound have been improved overall and this is a great set of clubs for a mid handicapper.
The pricing for the Callaway Mavrik and Mavrik Max is about average for a great mid handicapper set of irons.
Read our Callaway Mavrik Irons review.
Runner Up 1: TaylorMade SIM Max
Just as the Mavrik was the improvement on the Rogue, TaylorMade had to put out their SIM Max irons to replace the very successful M6 Irons from last year.
The biggest issues and complaints with any distance iron are sound and feel. The M6 was no exception. Truly an amazing set of irons with incredible distance and launch, yet still felt like a cavity back iron.
With the SIM MAX TaylorMade has done everything they can to make a cavity back iron feel more and more like a forged iron. This is an easy to hit club. Countless hours and several technology upgrades were put in place to improve sound and feel.
For starters, the Inverted Core Technology has made it possible to tweak each iron for accuracy. As you move up towards the 4 iron in this set, the core is moved out towards the toe making it more draw bias.
Something many mid-handicap players need on those long irons that tend to fade a bit too much at the end.
TaylorMade continued with their speed pocket/speed bridge concept on these irons. The extremely thin face on SIM is not connected to the sole of the club, allowing stability and increased ball speed.
Lastly, an Echo dampening system was put into the SIM MAX. When you hit a shot with these clubs they react at lightning speed to absorb that vibration and provide only positive feedback to the player. The idea is to have an easy to hit club that feels as close as possible to a forged iron.
The SIM MAX also comes in an oversized model, SIM MAX OS. The oversized model claims to be longer and more forgiving than the SIM MAX (and especially the M6). The iron is a bit larger, same speed pocket and speed bridge technology, just a bigger sweet spot for those off-center hits.
Since the SIM MAX is a brand new release it’s easy to order these irons custom however the standard shaft options are perfect for the mid-handicapper.
If you typically play with graphite shafts (or need the increased swing speed they provide) the Fujikura Ventas shaft is the stock option. Available in three different flex options, this is a fairly high launching high spinning shaft.
The Steel shaft stock option is the KBS Max 85 Shaft, high launch and high spin, mid-weight with this option. Available in stiff and regular the KBS has been a standard option for TaylorMade for many years and has paired quite well with their irons.
Pricing on this set is very similar to the M6 when it was first released. Solid value considering the performance.
Read our TaylorMade SIM MAX Irons review.
Runner Up 2: Cleveland UHX Iron Set
With all the advertising and promotion that TaylorMade and Callaway do I always feel like Cleveland gets left behind. This is not because their golf iron options for mid handicappers are less capable. This UHX set is one of the best looking designs on the market.
Cleveland believes in the hollow construction golf clubs, it’s what they use in the popular and forgiving HB irons. This UHX set is a combination of hollow construction in the long irons and cavity back in the short irons.
The UHX irons are going to perform like a hybrid while still looking somewhat like an iron. The transition from the short to the long irons feels seamless.
The Cleveland UHX features a V-Shaped Sole to help with better turf interaction. Cleveland’s goal with these irons is simply to lower scores. With the zip groves and milled face, these irons are easy to stop when you hit the ball correctly and even sometimes when you don’t.
Increasing spin for the mid handicap golfer has been a goal for many years and Cleveland was able to effectively do it with this set.
For a cavity back design this iron set looks and feels very close to a forged iron. As far as distance is concerned the lofts are very similar to the SIM MAX and Mavrik iron set. More of a distance than feel option.
The stock steel shafts on the UHX Set is the Dynamic Gold DST in the 98 gram. The graphite option is the traditional Miyazaki shaft. This shaft was originally designed specifically for Cleveland irons. It’s a lightweight higher spinning 60-gram graphite shaft.
This set features a lot of improvements over the already popular CBX Set and they are offered at a goof price for a 4-PW in steel.
Best for the Money: Tour Edge HL4 Iron Set
- Priced on the lower end of the budget
- Traditional and clean cavity back design
- 431 Stainless Steel provides some soft feel at impact
- Increased sweet spot size helps for maximum forgiveness even on mis-hits
- Top-down look is not as thick as other game improvement irons
- Also available in Iron Wood/Hybrid set makeup to accommodate a wide range of players
- Tour Edge saves money on advertising and puts it back into research and development, underrated, overperforming set well worth the money
Best for Women: Mavrik Max Women
- Good value for the price for the 5-PW
- Specifically designed for women
- Clubheads have been changed to account for lower swing speed
- Tungsten energy core for increased launch
- Lightweight option sold standard with 50g helium shaft
- Stock Lamkin grip with very soft feel
- Urethane Microsphere technology to increase feel and lessen the blow at impact
Best for Slice: Cobra SpeedZone Irons
- Reasonable price for a 4-PW in the steel shaft
- First-ever Carbon Fiber topline, 40% lighter than steel
- More weight in the center of gravity
- Co Mold Medallion makes for less vibration at impact and better sound and feel
- Higher MOI than traditional iron shapes allowing for greater ball speed
- Cobra Connect technology allows you to monitor your performance with this golf club
- KBS Tour 90 Steel stock shafts, mid-weight, mid-launch
- Cobra is known for creating an offset club to help mid handicappers with forgiveness while still keeping feel and look intact
Read our Cobra Speedzone Irons review.
Best Lesser-Known Option: Srixon 585
- Forged Irons built for distance
- Speed technology to help get higher ball speed
- Easy pairing with the utility options for those who don’t prefer hybrids
- Excellent soft feel coming off the clubface
- Appearance of a players iron yet very forgiving
- 2018 model but has enough technology to make it a competitor in the 2020 market
- Laser milling to help with spin even from the worst lies
- Price represents good value for money and it often goes on sale
Best for Feel: TaylorMade P790 Iron Set
- Forged look and feel
- Keeps forgiveness in place while offering the best feeling at impact for the mid handicappers
- Forgiveness increases from the 2017 model
- Slight change in clubhead shape to allow for a cleaner look for the better player
- Not a large top line for those mid handicappers that are looking for something cleaner
- Speedfoam technology and low profile tungsten weighting
- Higher price than other options but overall better feel
Read our TaylorMade P790 Irons review.
Best for Seniors: Cobra 2020 T Rail Combo Set
- A hybrid type set of irons
- Hollow construction with hybrid like distance and feel
- E9 technology carried over from previous Cobra models, helps to produce distance even on off-center hits
- The 4 iron is a true hybrid, 5-PW & AW are a mix between hybrid and iron
- T Rail technology to help for turf interaction and cutting through rough
- Low and deep center of gravity
- Similar look to the well known Cleveland HB series
- Available stock in the Senior Graphite Shaft
- The Cobra Baffler T-Rail hybrid was one of their best selling clubs of all times, this set is based off of that research
What to look for when Picking a great set of Irons for a Mid Handicapper?
With so many good options out there, how do you know which one is correct for you?
How do you know if you are getting a set specifically designed for mid handicappers?
What makes something game improvement?
We are here to answer all of those questions and give you an idea of what makes the most sense to help you in lowering your score.
Club Head Size and Weight
Look for something that offers a large sweet spot and a medium to thick top line. Any club that mentions in its advertising that it is the tour model or a blade it will likely not pack the forgiveness a mid-handicapper needs.
Maybe more important than overall weight is the center of gravity weight in the clubhead. Make sure the club you are purchasing talks about a low center of gravity. This will help with overall launch and the flight of the ball as well.
If after testing some clubs you feel as though you need custom options you will have to go with a club that is still being manufactured with the company.
Something to keep in mind for mid handicappers, the stock shaft you are testing the club with is what was used in all of the design and manufacturing of the club. When the company claims the new iron is eight yards longer than the previous model, they are referring to the stock shaft.
You need to pay attention to three things when picking a shaft for your next set of irons, overall weight, ball flights, and spin. If you are lacking swing speed and struggling to hit the ball with enough power make sure to go with a lighter shaft (potentially graphite).
Graphite shafts are going to benefit those who lack distance but can control the ball. On the contrary, if you are seeking control and have plenty of distance, steel is the proper choice.
Almost all modern golf sets are made with decreased lofts. The lower lofts allow the new irons to fly much further than something that was produced 8-10 years ago. With the lower center of gravity and the increased sweet spots, most players are still able to get the proper launch even with lower lofts.
If you struggle with getting the ball into the air, stay away from options like the Rogue X or the standard Mavrik iron. If you do choose this make sure you are going with a shaft that has a low kick point to get the ball higher, quicker.
Distance is important but getting the ball to stop where you need it to stop is more important. A 7 iron hit 165 yards (because of roll) is not going to help if you needed to hit it 150. Keep this in mind when testing out different iron options. If you hit a point where you are not stopping the ball on the green, the loft has gone too low for you.
Although there are still plenty of mid handicappers that can swing a 4 iron with enough speed to place the ball where they want, most can’t. Do not be afraid to put a 4 hybrid in a set.
I think the perfect set makeup for a mid handicapper is 5-PW, AW, and a 4 hybrid. I would stay within the same brand when doing a combination set. If you choose to go outside of the brand be sure to check your lofts.
You could very easily end up having a 5 iron and a 4 hybrid that have the same loft and this will create a gap in your bag. Not something that will help to lower your score.
Look and feel always seems to get better as clubs get more expensive. Forged type irons generally have better feel than the cavity back but they are usually several hundred dollars more per set.
Manufacturers are realizing that this mid handicap group of golfers want something that looks decent but still offers all the performance that they need.
I think the best options when it comes to look and feel in this category would be the UHX by Cleveland and the P790 by TaylorMade.
The P790 is more expensive but it’s a very well manufactured set of irons that will last you quite some time. Some compare it to the PXG Irons which are nearly double the price of the P790.
Current release set of golf irons are going to cost more per golf club. Keep this in mind when searching for a set. Steel will always be cheaper than graphite because of the cost to produce.
If the 2020 iron sets are more money than you wish to spend, look into the last year sets now that 2020 have all been released. The prices will continue to lower and you are getting technology that is less than a year old.
This year you are going to want to be one of those people that needs a few sets of clubs.
One for your residence and one for your vacation home, maybe one for traveling as well.
There are just so many good options in this mid handicap range it truly becomes hard to make a decision.
We still believe that the Mavrik Irons are going to steal the show this year. The Rogue was such a huge improvement from the XR Series. Although the Mavrik will be closely related to the Rogue they still offer better sound and feel, an imperative improvement for this set of golf irons.
Using artificial intelligence in the creation of golf irons is something that the Bobby Jones era players would never have seen coming.
The SIM MAX Irons are not only going to give the Mavrik a run for their money but they will also make those players that purchased the M6 question if an upgrade is warranted. I would wait another year and see what comes up.
However, if you are swinging an M4 or older take a serious look at this product.
Although you can’t go wrong with any of our above options make sure you are choosing something that will also work as your score lowers. Expect some serious score lowering with the technology that was released this year.