Golfers of all levels look for forgiveness in their irons. In this review of the most forgiving irons available on the market, we are going to address the irons that are truly the most forgiving. The clubs that make this game easier, hopefully without sacrificing distance or feel.
If iron shots are not your strong point this is for you.
If you struggle to get any kind of consistency with an iron, this is also for you.
Finally, if you want an unbiased opinion about what to look for in a forgiving iron, keep reading.
Our Most Forgiving Irons in 2020
Most Forgiving Golf Irons: Cleveland Launcher HB
Before I get into the features and benefits of this great set of irons I need to first tell a story.
My grandfather had been playing the game for 45 years and had finally reached the point where his swing speed was seriously affecting distance.
The game became frustrating. Par fours were too long to realistically par. The fun was gone. In all seriousness, he stopped playing.
One weekend I managed to get him to come with me to a golf shop to try out the newly released Cleveland irons.
Although they were not the new Cleveland Launcher HB, they were a version of the early model that eventually led to the design of the HB. A man who played ping blades his entire life he rolled his eyes and agreed to at least swing one.
He bought a set of these irons that afternoon and the following week he played golf four times.
These irons help people of all ages get the ball in the air and on the green. They make the game fun and exciting again because they are extremely forgiving.
Why is it the most forgiving iron set?
If you aren’t familiar with the Cleveland Launcher HB set, they are a progressive set of irons that look very similar to a hybrid design.
As you move up in the irons the clubhead gets large and more and more like a hybrid. They are one of the best irons for high handicapper golfers because of this built-in hybrid technology.
Also unique about the Launcher HB irons is that they feature a fully hollow construction. With all the speed injection and urethane microspheres that other companies are advertising, they chose to keep things simple by just letting the head be hollow.
The concern with this would be sound and vibration but because of the thickness of the club neither seem to be an issue.
The hollow construction allows weight to be redistributed low and deep in the clubhead, as well as to the perimeter, to maximize forgiveness. You will not find another 8-iron on the market as forgiving as the HB Launcher.
As you move towards the irons and wedges in this set the top line does get thinner. Although they won’t play like a traditional iron they have more spin and a cleaner look than the 7,6,5 iron do.
Cleveland has just released their newest version of the Cleveland HB Launcher irons and this line is called the Launcher Turbo.
There are not too many differences between these sets. Each new release gets a little longer and a little more forgiving. However, as far as a hybrid set of irons is concerned Cleveland has been leading the way for years.
I prefer a more traditional, thinner blade style of clubs but when I hit these irons, its hard not to fall in love with the extra performance and forgiveness that they give. I can see why they have made the game fun again for those that need game improvement irons.
Runner Up 1: Cobra F Max and One Length
Cobra F Max
Some of the most forgiving irons ever made have been put out by Cobra.
The Cobra F Max and Cobra F Max One Length are no exception.
These irons have a traditional lower profile design. If the Hybrid set makeup like the Launcher HB does not appeal to you this could be a great option to consider.
The Cobra F Max Irons are without a doubt designed for a player with a slower swing speed. It can be hard to create an extremely long iron without sacrificing feel. Cobra managed to get that done with the F Max.
If you tend to hit the ball to the right it’s important to look for a clubhead with extra offset. The Cobra F Max is noticeably offset providing players a little extra help at impact with squaring up the face. This design will not appeal to everyone but if it is pure forgiveness you are in search of, this will do the trick.
Cobra F Max One Length
The F Max Iron is also offered in the One Length option. Until about two years ago the idea of all the irons being the same length was rather revolutionary.
Now with the help of a few tour players, it’s become quite commonplace. The benefit of swinging irons that are all the same length is that the setup is the same for all of your shots.
Ask any of the pros and they will tell you that setup, stance and grip are the most important part of hitting a solid shot. When your setup and stance can change from one club to the next it came make it overwhelming and difficult for the average golfer.
Originally I was concerned that there would be a decrease in the distance on the 6 and 5 iron with this set. It’s been proven that because of the solid contact players are making with this technology, they are losing no distance.
Cobra put our two very solid sets here between the Cobra F Max and One Length you can’t go wrong when looking for a forgiving iron.
The best news is that because these irons are a few years old, the prices have been dropping considerably.
Runner Up 2: Callaway Rogue and Rogue X
The Callaway Rogue and Rogue X Irons are not only some of the most forgiving irons available they are also some of the best game improvement irons on the market.
Callaway has recently stopped producing the Rogue irons to focus on their new technology releases, yet there are still stock sets readily available.
The Rogue and Rogue X are a very improved and updated version of the XR Series by Callaway. The XR Series were just not quite long enough and the sound and feel were a little off.
The Rogue is a cavity back iron designed with what Callaway calls a 360 Face Cup. The Face Cup technology provides a little more launch off the clubhead making this iron one of the longest on the market.
To help increase the distance these clubs can create Callaway did lower the lofts. The loft of a 7 iron today and one from five years ago are completely different. The new clubhead design does allow for a good ball flight even with the lower loft.
Callaway Rogue X
The difference between the Rogue and Rogue X is quite simple.
Although both clubs feature a very large sweet spot and both graphite and steel options the Rogue X is designed for the player who is lacking some swing and ball speed. The design of this club allows a little extra distance and the performance of the slower swinging, more inconsistent player needs.
The club offers excellent feel for a cavity back distance producing iron. In my opinion, it does not feel as soft as the Apex irons by Callaway do but it’s also not forged and not the same price point as the Apex series. The Rogue Irons were some of (if not THE) best selling irons.
Read our Callaway Rogue Irons review.
Best Affordable: Wilson D350 Iron Set
Wilson Irons are often found in the affordable category but that doesn’t mean they don’t have some amazing benefits.
The Wilson D350 Iron set is one of the most affordable and forgiving sets around, especially if you struggle with distance.
- Wide sole and low center of gravity to promote better launch
- Large clubface with extra weight in the clubhead
- Thick top line at address
- Speed sole technology to help increase distance across the sweet spot
- Mostly sold as a combo set to eliminate the hard to hit long irons
- Price point is very low
Best for Senior: TaylorMade M4 or M6 Iron Set
The TaylorMade M series has brought positive changes to millions of golf games across America. The sets are designed to be long and forgiving but also have a great feel.
I feel as though both the M4 and M6 are great options for seniors because of their distance and ease of use. Not all Seniors want to hit the lightest, cheapest club on the market. In fact, many senior players still go after the ball and just need something to help them get back that extra few yards.
If you have not upgraded your irons in several years it’s seriously worth considering looking into the TaylorMade M series.
- Model is a few years older so the price point will be slightly lower
- Designed with TaylorMade RIBCOR technology to produce better sound, forgiveness, and dispersion
- Increases in distance from the M2
- Still sets up and looks like a classic set of irons
- 2019 release from TaylorMade
- No longer producing this iron so custom shafts will be difficult to find
- Speedbridge technology to increase distance even on mis-hits
- Strong, penetrating ball flight even when the ball is hit outside of the sweet spot
- Sound and feel improvements from the M4
- Still readily available in both the steel and graphite shafts
Best for Women: F Max One Length Women’s
Nothing is more frustrating than when a manufacturer comes up with a new high-performance design but doesn’t release a women’s model.
The good news here is that the Cobra F-Max One Length Irons are available for the female golfer.
- Offset design head to help straighten out that left to right shot
- Draw bias
- Designed to help promote higher launch
- Gap and Sand Wedge sold as part of the set are specially designed to offer feel and workability around the greens
- All clubs the same length as the 7 iron
- Most standard sets are the 7-SW (use Hybrids for shots that need more distance)
- Standard in graphite shaft
Best If Price Does not Matter: Callaway Epic Forged Star
For some players, money is not an issue when it comes to finding a forgiving iron that helps you hit the sweet spot every time. As we all know, golf equipment has a large range of prices.
The Epic Forged Star irons are an excellent set of irons but they are also one of the most expensive products available today.
- Individual graphite iron can cost considerably more than other irons we mentioned in our review
- Designed to increase ball speed throughout
- Tungsten core in a forged clubhead-first time a company has done this
- 360 Face cup technology, just like the apex and Rogue irons, to help promote faster ball speeds and increased distance
What to look for when Picking a Forgiving Set of Irons?
Now that we have discussed some of the most forgiving irons in the golf world. Let’s look at the important factors to consider when choosing a forgiving set of irons.
Sometimes the right set of irons will come down to preference but there are certain characteristics that all-forgiving sets have.
Club Head Size and Weight
Generally speaking the clubhead side will be larger for a more forgiving iron. For a manufacturer to pack the most performance technology and the largest sweet spot into the clubhead they need some space. As golfers improve and more toward irons the pros play the clubhead will get smaller.
You will likely hear things about a low center of gravity, located in the heel and some tungsten weighting. These are all good things for performance and forgiveness.
As a golfer who does not hit the center of the club head all that often you will need that low center of gravity.
If distance is your main concern, go with a graphite shaft. The lighter shaft is going to help you launch the ball higher and swing the club faster. Your shots will likely go higher but you will be hitting them further.
If swing speed is not a concern but accuracy is, go with the steel shafts. Steel shafts are going to be a little heavier and help you control the ball flight and shot shape quite a bit more.
When looking at steel shafts look for something with mid launch and mid kick. Some good options are Dynamic Gold or KBS.
You will not have much say in the lofts on a set of forgiving irons. Almost all of the current options are going to be lower lofts than the clubs that were available 5-10 years ago.
Manufacturers have found ways to lower the lofts without decreasing forgiveness.
You can now have less loft than in the past but still hit the golf ball with enough of a launch angle to get the ball to stop on a green. Even within the group of best irons for mid handicapper, some will have more loft than others.
An example is the Rogue and Rogue X Set. The Rogue X is 1-2 degrees lower lofted than the Rogue. This is an excellent option for those looking for more penetrating shots that tend to go quite a bit longer. Rogue X are not a great option for those who struggle to get the ball in the air.
I always find it interesting when an amateur golfer explains to me that the best club in their bag is a 3 iron. They struggle to hit their 7 iron but that 3 is solid. My questions usually is, what does solid mean?
The 3 iron should go further than the 7 but are you hitting it at the right launch angle?
Are you hitting it as far as you should?
Is it consistent?
Most times an amateur player looking for a forgiving set of irons likely does not have the clubhead speed nor the control to hit a 3 iron solid, consistently.
The best set makeup if you’re looking for forgiveness is something that incorporates both irons and hybrids. Most players are getting away from 3 and 4 irons and going to hybrids. The sole is wider, they are easier to hit out of the rough and the golf ball just jumps off of them much easier.
Lately, there has been a trend to replace the 5 iron with a hybrid as well. This decision will be largely personal based on what time of golf shots you are trying to hit. The one thing to add here is that some of the best irons 2019 have a 6 iron loft that is very similar to that of a 5 iron of the past.
With a true forgiving iron, you are usually going to find am offset cavity back with a large sole. This design is to help offer the maximum amount of forgiveness. Be prepared to see more of a thicker look from the top down and a club that can appear almost bulky.
Some amateur golfers prefer this look and feel as though it gives them more confidence as to where the ball will end up. Most pros are going to want a thin top-down look.
In the years past the most forgiving irons would often feel hard and sound hollow. Much has been done to improve both sound and feel while still providing an extremely forgiving golf club. The hit feels softer and the aesthetics have changed to help improve the visual appeal of a forgiving club.
What to avoid when looking for maximum forgiveness?
There are a few key things that you want to avoid when shopping for maximum forgiveness for your golf game.
- Stay away from anything that says “Tour” on it, those are for the pros.
- Forged irons can be ok as far as forgiveness is concerned but know they won’t be as forgiving as the cavity back
- Blade irons offer little to no forgiveness
- Irons with heavy shafts can be excellent for fast swing speeds but very few people searching for forgiveness can handle these heavy shafts.
- Keep the technology current, forgiveness does change from year to year.
Our hands-down winner for the easiest to hit golf iron on the market is the Cleveland HB Launcher set. The club does all the things needed to give it more forgiveness, extra launch, extra distance, and less dispersion.
This Hybrid type iron is not for everyone. The biggest transition is switching to hybrids in the short irons. They certainly don’t feel the same but after a bit of time and adjusting they can do wonders for your game.
Keep in mind that the wedges in this set have extra technology put into place so they don’t roll out like a typical hybrid would. Don’t think that these are going to hit like your 3 or 4 hybrid.
The ease of use is the most important takeaway. The confidence you have over your hybrid will be the same way you now feel standing over your 6, 7, 8 iron.
That Cobra F Max One Length concept is something that people hold off on for too long. Cobra is trying to make the game simpler for players of all levels (even the pros). Let Cobra make your day easier!
If you should have any questions about any of our options or would like to ask if a specific set is right or wrong for your game, please don’t hesitate to reach out.