The right set of irons can help you lower your handicap via more greens in regulation, better par 3 performance and better misses around the greens. Getting a new set of irons is expensive though and there are so many options in the mid handicap range, it can get confusing. You could use almost any of the mid handicap irons out there but I don't want you to make the wrong choice.
What if I don't like them? What do I do with them? Will my wife give me that look? You don't want to waste your money, I understand. I remember buying irons when I wanted to drop to a single figure handicap golfers. Never fear. I am here to show you which are the best golf irons for mid handicappers to banish your buyer's remorse forever!
The new technology in the clubs has made them easier to hit than ever. From compact mid handicap irons to cavity back, large headed irons, you'll make the right choice first time and enjoy the feeling of hitting more greens, gaining a a few yards and dropping your scores. If your handicap is 9 to 18, you'll really benefit from these clubs for mid handicappers. I've personally hit every single iron in this list while shopping with four of my buddies. They all bought irons off this list and are very happy with them.
Best Irons for Mid Handicappers
- Srixon ZX5 irons (Editors choice - finest metals used in production)
- XXIO X irons (best quality irons you've never heard of)
- Callaway Apex DCB irons (tech-filled irons for forgiveness)
- Titleist T300 irons (most forgiving irons Titleist has ever made)
- Cleveland Launcher XL Halo irons (easiest irons to launch)
- PING G425 irons (best cavity back iron for mid handicap)
- Mizuno JPX 921 Hot Metal irons (Mizuno soft feel)
- Cobra Radspeed irons (longest iron for distance)
- Taylormade STEALTH irons (high launching forgiving irons)
Best quality metals for mid handicap irons
The Srixon ZX5 irons might not be on your radar, but they should be. This range has been aimed at the mid handicapper who likes shot shaping and forgiveness in one package. The best part is they will last you even as a low handicapper.
I've been a Srixon fan since I owned the Z585 which are still a GREAT iron. If you are on more of a budget, I would highly recommend a set of Z585 irons which can be had for bargain barrel prices for what is one of the best clubs on the market.
The clubs have a formidable but not bulky sole as well as a semi-encased cavity back to help shift the center of gravity lower and move the sweet spot down in the face to get even crisper contact on the ball. That sole is shaped in a way that gets through the turf easily.
Srixon have made these clubs look easy to hit when you look down at them, but they're not oversized at all. If you're worried about your clubs looking very chunky, these ones will quell your fears because current mid handicap irons look like shovels indeed.
If you can get them with the NS Pro shafts in them, you'll have a great time with these clubs. In my opinion, these are best golf irons for mid handicappers.
Super lightweight mid handicap irons for slow swing speeds
XXIO isn't a brand which is that familiar to mid handicap players in the USA, but they are a powerhouse in Asia. They are produced by the same parent company who create Cleveland and Srixon clubs but are aimed at more premium section of the market.
These clubs are the second generation of the XXIO X, and are a lightweight iron set designed for the older golfer who has some skill and swing speed left. Unlike most mid handicap irons, the XXIO X irons have a steel shaft option. They also feature the signature Srixon-Cleveland V-Sole to help you get the club through the turf more consistently.
The XXIO X uses High Strength Specialized Steel in their construction. The 5- through 9-irons have high-strength specialized-steel faces with forged S25C bodies. The pitching and gap wedges are SUP10 steel which is a softer forgeable stainless steel ideal for these scoring clubs.
I found these clubs to be extremely easy to swing and they went LONG due to the flexible iron faces. They also look amazing - there is so much attention to detail and they just ooze a premium vibe. In the hands of an older player who can still rip it, they would be a serious set of weapons for the course.
Best mid handicap irons approaching mid 80s
I've been a fanboy of Ben Hogan clubs since I began playing - but not so much Callaway. I can't keep them out of the list based on my own tastes. These are good clubs. Callaway have always made some of the most forgiving irons on the market and bringing in the Apex brand from Hogan makes even me like them. I always dreamed of a Hogan set as a kid.
The Apex name was always associated with clubs for better players in the Hogan range. Callaway changed that with the use of the famous name and expanded to mid handicap irons.
The irons are forged and cavity backed with a mid-size sole for easy turf interaction. From 4 to 9 iron, the wrap-around cupface touches the top line for a maximum spring effect off the club face.
The standard stock shaft, True Temper’s Elevate ETS 85 shaft is lightweight to increase your swing speed without creating an unstable clubhead and club face situation. The looks of the club are executive and they look like golf irons for low handicappers but they certainly perform for mid handicappers in the mid handicap category.
With stronger lofts, you'll notice a distance increase. While the flight is high in relation to the lofts, be careful if you're a low ball hitter as you may find some shallow landing angles when approaching greens.
For the mid handicapper who wants to break 80
Some people are scared of Titleists but you haven’t tried a Titleist iron lately because of this preconceived idea that they lack distance or forgiveness, the T300 was created for you. The AP series were some of the best in the market for years and transformed peoples games.
The White Fox on my channel still loves his Titleist AP irons.
There is plenty of forgiveness for the mid handicapper, and honestly the distances are on par with any mid handicap iron as they also have the same stronger lofts with a 6 iron being 26° and a pitching wedge having 43° of loft.
When it comes to Titleist, either you're a fan or ambivalent to them, but after you try their newer ranges of irons, you'll find irons that you not only like to hit because they're forgiving, but you'll realize you won't need to replace them as you move your scores into the low 80's and even high 70s.
Mid handicap irons for max forgiveness for a mid handicapper
They're way more famous for high quality wedges made for mid to low handicappers, but Cleveland have designed a set of irons aimed entirely at the mid handicapper to boost distance while at the same time dishing out ample forgiveness.
The Launcher UHX irons give the best of both worlds by making it easier to hit longer mid handicap irons and have more control over the shorter clubs. They're the upgrade to the near perfect Cleveland Launcher CBX which my friend Rahat uses after I recommended them to him.
Like the Launcher CBX, the UHX also has the loft stamped on the bottom of the sole which I think most companies should do. The number of the club has become irrelevant and Cleveland are one of the few to stamp the loft on the club.
While not massive on Tour as much as when Vijay and David Toms played for them, Cleveland have remained a favorite among us mere mortals especially the easy to hit drivers. Their golf iron range is majorly under-appreciated especially their high handicap/beginner range in the Launcher Hi Bore hybrid style irons.
The top line of the club is quite hefty but the offset in the longer irons looks minimal so it looks very professional. A V-shape sole promotes the club moving through the turf to give rock solid hits even if you hit it a little fat.
The Cleveland Launcher XL irons have a much larger cavity back in the long irons for more forgiveness and a larger sweet spot and as you progress to the shorter irons, the cavity back reduces for a more control-based feel to knock it close.
Most golfers notice an increase in distance anywhere from half a club to a full club with this set and it could be down to the stronger lofts. Cleveland actually engrave the degrees of loft on the sole of the club - a nifty idea indeed.
PING ease-of-use never fails
Always the easiest drivers to hit, Ping developed the G425 irons to behave a bit more like fairway woods by making the face of the club variable in thickness. They removed some of the unwanted frequencies of sound by dampening the club behind the face with epoxy.
A tungsten screw in the toe ensure strong perimeter weighting which helps to recuperate some of the distance losses from mis-hit shots and increase ball speeds overall. The G425 are incredibly forgiving irons but are NOT ugly mid handicap irons.
In fact, they've shortened the distance from heel to toe, making the head look more compact and classic looking with a moderate top line that doesn't look THICK.
The irons come standard fit with Golf Pride grips with Arccos shot-tracking sensors. The shafts are stock fitted with the PING AWT 2.0 steel shafts and in the graphite option, the ALTA CB Slate.
These are the type of mid handicap irons that do not dig into the turf. That's a major issue, especially with mid handicap players who are starting to approach the 8-12 handicap range. Turf interaction is so important and with the Ping G425, you'll get forgiveness and speed in all aspects.
Best for mid handicappers who love FEEL
The upgrade to the Mizuno JPX 919 come in a forged OR Hot Metal cast head. The sole has a more U-shaped appearance for less digging in the turf interaction. As always, Mizuno forged golf irons are buttery soft but what's normally reserved for the better players is available to anyone now. The JPX 921 look like a forgiving muscle back but are classified as a cavity back.
You'll be able to shape the ball both ways with these. there are a lot of mid handicappers who were once single figures who still like a fade or draw into a tight pin. There's still hope out there for you if you enjoy shot shaping.
The better, lower mid handicapper will love the feel of the forged Mizunos but the higher mid handicapper will love the hot metal irons. They have stronger lofts (-1°) than even the already-strong JPX 919. But with the movement of the sweet spot to a lower position in the face, the Hot Metals launch the ball high so your strong lofts, go further but also fly higher.
What's special about the Mizuno JPX 921, is that once you move south of the double digit handicap, you'll still be playing these clubs. Like almost any Mizuno, they're timeless in design. With all the latest technology coming out being not-much-different to the previous one or two years, these will serve you a long time.
Steve, on my channel, has a 17-year-old set of Mizunos. And he keeps the identical set in his storage room in case one breaks or gets lost in his current set.
They have the look of professional style clubs with more forgiving and bigger clubs heads in the long irons and more compact shorter irons for precision shots. They have a tiny bit of offset so if you prefer a more classical style head but with massive forgiveness, the Mizuno's cater to you.
Most Mizuno users are Mizuno users for life and you'll very rarely find second hand sets being traded in by someone who hates the clubs. The only 2nd hand Mizuno's I've seen have been well used!
Best for low hitting mid handicappers
Cobra irons are definitely mid handicap irons but have a much more mid-sized club heads. The top line when you address the ball is not as chunky as most mid handicap irons. Like with most of the new irons in this category, they've made the club face thinner to promote more ball speed off the flexible face to hit it longer.
Behind the face (Powershell Face-A) is the power shell insert they've created to not only increase distance, and improve the forgiveness, as they always do, but also create a very pleasing sound at impact.
Cobra have placed a 10g screw into the toe of the club to create a weighting system that lower the center of gravity for max power and forgiveness.
The head looks really long as well so don't expect a small blade face.
The light weight of the clubs and decreased lofts can help your swing speed and distance enough to prevent you from moving to softer shafts.
The cavity back is 3D printed which some people may find cool and hip, but to be fair, it's aesthetics. I care about the performance Cobra continue to create some of the easiest to hit clubs on the market.
Cobra continues offering the Arccos Caddie GPS system with sensors in the butt of the club, which can be paired with the Cobra Connect feature.
Easy to hit for any level of mid handicap
Taylormade have gone the extra mile with the STEALTH irons. They’ve made a thinner and hotter face for more distance and speed.
I'm going to level with you. I like Taylormade irons. I never play them in the player's irons because I prefer Srixon. But I have tried their irons every year since RSi clubs and would rank them up there with Srixon Z5 range for forgiveness and ease of use. They are SO easy to hit and straighten up your ball flight.
The sweet spot is so wide; it extends over almost the entire groove area so when you mishit the ball it still goes a long way and straight as an arrow. The offset on these irons is a lot more moderate than a lot of mid handicap irons and you don't feel like it's going to hit the ball way left.
Taylormade's STEALTH set has been specially designed to increase the height of your shots. The short irons get up quickly and mid irons are so forgiving, you'll think they're wedges. With that increase in height, the ball comes down soft on the mid irons to stay on the green and give you more birdie and par putts.
Balls launch high when you hit them and the wide soles help to get under the ball especially in deep rough to get your golf ball moving toward the green and out of the weeds. The heavy perimeter weighting means you can swing it and trust the club to do the work for you. There's no stress wondering what's going to happen next.
Taylormade has designed the STEALTH iron set with forgiveness in mind. They're extremely accurate golf irons and with the offset hosel, cavity back design, they tick all our boxes. The STEALTH are one of the best mid handicap irons on the market.
One top tip is to get yourself some cavity back wedges if possible if you're going to play these types of irons. it's difficult to go from a cavity back iron to a blade style wedge.
What's the difference between irons for mid handicaps and low handicaps?
A mid handicapper is a golfer who plays off a handicap between 8 and 18. That means you can break 90 shoot often. It's a wide range but the goal is always the same, break 90 consistently or easily break 80, consistently.
There's no hard and fast rule on the classification of low, mid and high but we all know roughly where we fall.
Mid handicappers irons should
- Contain at the longest, a 5 iron, and go through to pitching wedge and maybe sand wedge
- Be cavity backed for a wider sweet spot on the face
- Have perimeter weighting to increase the sweet spot
- Have an offset hosel to promote a straighter ball flight
Most sets nowadays don't come with a 3 or even a 4 iron because they're difficult to hit and are usually replaced by fairway woods and hybrids to complete what should be the best golf clubs for mid handicappers.
On the other hand, low handicappers often get the impression they need to upgrade to a professional style golf club. Which leads onto the next point....
Which clubs to avoid!
Low handicap golfers believe they need a more 'professional' style of club so they upgrade to a set of musclebacks or blades. Avoid any golf irons that has "muscle back", "MB", "blade", "Tour", "players irons" or "pro" in their name unless you really LOVE them! Generally I don't think anyone who plays less than 3 times a week or isn't off a single figure should buy blades.
But as mentioned above, if you LOVE them and BELIEVE they will improve your game, guess what! They probably will, just through positive association.
Main characteristics of bad irons for mid handicappers
- Contain 3 irons (difficult to hit)
- Have no cavity back and are solid metal on the back of the club (reduced sweet spot)
- Most of the weight is located behind a tiny sweet spot
- The hosel is not offset because these golfers shape it both ways (easier to slice if you slice)
Guide to what makes the best mid handicapper irons
Pair your new clubs up with a golf ball that will match your mid handicap, for maximum fun and least stress.
How mid handicapper irons can help your game
When you hit more greens, you're going to love going to the course. Once you know where the ball is gonna go, you'll aim at your target with confidence. And when you hit it closer, you'll make more pars and birdies and in the end drop that mid handicap into the single digits.
Characteristics of the best mid handicapper irons
- Get the ball into the air high and handsome with little effort
- Land softly on the greens
- Be very forgiving particularly on mishit shots
There's just no need to go get yourself a "player's iron set" or a muscleback or blade club because it's expected of you as you get better. The technology out there is so powerful now, while the musclebacks have remained almost identical since Arnold Palmer was a young guy.
Buying a set of irons is a big investment in yourself and the improvement in your game with a set of mid handicapper irons will be dramatic. There's no need to handicap yourself further with a smaller more concentrated sweet spot unless you're playing 5 days a week. But let's face it, most of us mid handicappers are out there once a week when we get to escape our wives and girlfriends.
Make it fun!
What makes a set of irons forgiving for mid handicappers?
Four things: shafts, club head design, lofts and ball flight will define the best golf irons for mid handicap golfers.
There are two types of shaft for your irons – steel and graphite. Graphite is popular in drivers and hybrids. For irons, the extra weight offered by steel gives golfers a better “feel” than graphite.
Graphite can help with distance and should be looked at if your swing speed is very low. The reduced weight of the shaft can help you pick up a few more mph in swing speed and with that, more distance. These shafts are similar to the ones in drivers that increase the swing speed to provide more distance.
As a general rule, steel shafts are the best option for the vast majority of golfers and a Regular flex is going to be the best for most golfers based on swing speeds.
Tips for shaft flex based on 6 iron swing speed and carry distance
It's always best to go get tested and get advice from a fitter or a local pro to truly maximize your purchase to your requirements.
- X Flex - 6 iron swing speed 90 mph and carry 175 yards
- Stiff (S) Flex - 6 iron swing 80-90 mph and carry 155 - 175 yards
- Regular (R) Flex - 70-80 mph and 130 - 155 yards
- A Flex - 60-70 mph and 100 - 130 yards
- L Flex - Less than 60 mph and carry under 100 yards
Club Head Design
There are 2 club head designs:
How we rank irons for mid handicappers
Cavity back irons usually have perimeter weighting, which is just a jargon term to mean they hollow out the back of a muscle back iron and put that spare metal around the border of the back of the club.
The perimeter weighting thus adds more weight behind the ball on off-centre strikes.
A muscle back iron the pros use has the majority of its weight mainly behind the TINY sweet spot. If you miss the sweet spot on a muscleback, the pain that shoots up the club into your fingers is stunning!
The cavity back iron with perimeter weighting has a massive sweet spot because the face is encased with reinforcement through the perimeter weight.
The wider sole lowers the clubs center of gravity which means more weight can get under and behind the golf ball on your shots. This produces an arching high ball flight even on mishits.
The extra beef on the sole will improve shots where you hit the ground before the ball too. That extra weight will “bounce” off the ground instead of digging into the earth like a thin sole would.
For newer golfers, it's better to have a really really fat sole but we are looking for a moderately fat sole. Those large game improvement irons don't work as well because you have much more skill to be able to already get the ball airborne.
According to club designer Tom Wishon, “Offset is a design in clubs in which the neck or hosel of the head is positioned in front of the face of the club head, so that the clubface appears to be set back a little from the neck of the club.”
“The more offset, the farther the head's center of gravity is back from the shaft. And the farther the CG is back from the shaft, the higher the trajectory will be for any given loft on the face. More offset can help increase the height of the shot for golfers who have a difficult time getting the ball well up in the air.”
The most forgiving game improvement irons on the market are going to have offset hosels. The low handicappers playing blades or muscle backs have such skill to square the club face at impact, they don't need the offset. The offset encourages a draw and reduces workability of the club to hit fades. Highly skilled players want to hit the ball both ways.
If you're looking for forgiving wedges for mid handicappers, you should be looking at similarly cavity backed wedges for easy chipping and pitching.
Shaft (Steel vs. Graphite)
While face design is key to the execution of the shot, the shaft is more important than most people know. Graphite and steel shafts react in different ways to each other.
These are lighter for more swing speed and that translates into more ball speed for more distance. Steel shafts are heavier and allow for more workability especially as your handicap gets lower.
If your swing speed is lower, you should have a look at graphite shafts. The properties in the modern golf iron graphite shafts make getting the ball airborne so much easier than older clubs. You can pick up yards with the increase in swing speed in seconds.
Steel shafts have come a long way and the shafts are designed to be lighter than before and that means if you're working on your game, you can really tweak it to perfection. You can use a shaft weight of 100-115 grams depending on their swing speed. BDog from my channel had shafts that were way too heavy for him at 125 grams.
He changed to the ZX7 golf irons and has 105 gram shafts in them. He kept the same distances with higher lofted clubs throughout the bag. That's the power of the shaft. The flex of the shaft it equally important. Most 10 to 20 handicappers with a healthy body fall between the regular and stiff shaft. The newly introduced SR (stiff regular) shaft is an excellent option for most healthy adult male golfers.
How the Club Head Looks at Address
When you look at your club behind the ball, you must love it. This cannot be overstated. You must absolutely LOVE your club so that you can make a confident swing and hit the ball smooth.
High confidence in your club means you put a good, smooth swing on the ball and that converts to great shots. Irons for mid handicap golfers usually have a top line that is not as thick as the irons for high handicappers. The thick top line when you look down at the club can affect how you feel about the iron.
If it's too thin, you feel like you cant hit it. If it's too thick, you think it's never going to get the ball in the air. This is personal preference but it is a huge consideration. I prefer a THIN top line, like a butter knife. Others like it thick thick thick.
As with the look of the club at address, you want to have a consistent feel of the grip throughout the bag. You want to feel ready to hit at any stage because your clubs all match. Different grips on the clubs can make you feel awkward fro one club to the next. Replace grips once a season to give your set a nice fresh feel so you can fall in love with them again.
Be extra careful when buying clubs to buy the correct grip thickness. Mid size or jumbo grips can be VERY VERY different to standard grip thickness.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you have questions about the best irons for mid-handicap golfers?
Which irons should I play and how many irons should I carry?
This is a common question from mid-handicappers.
You should be using the irons that will help your game the most. That can be a blended set of hybrids and irons. But if you're not confident with a 4 or 5 iron, you can buy only 6 iron down to pitching wedge. You can get a blended set of the SUPER game improvement irons of a manufacturer in the 5, 6 iron and then the mid handicap option in the 7 iron down to PW. Most sets nowadays come with maximum a 5 iron down to a PW or SW.
Use a 7 wood
There are a lot of PGA Tour pros playing a 7-wood and I do too now. I got rid of my 2 iron and maybe my 3 iron and now use a Ping G425 7 wood! While you're in the mid handicap range from 85 to 92 scoring average, you can play up to a 5 iron. Anything higher like a 4 or 3 iron may be a wasted club. Think about where you would use those clubs versus where you could use a hybrid or fairway wood. Think of the versatility.
Another wedge or an additional 5 wood or even a crazy 9 wood can benefit you much more than lower lofted irons.
What are the best golf clubs for a mid-handicap golfer?
The list I provided are easily the best for your game on the market. I have played this game for 25 years and I have played it with mostly your handicap level. I love seeing a mid handicapper jam a great game of golf with the right set of clubs.
Should mid-handicappers play a combo set with hybrids or blended set?
Combo sets are part irons and part hybrids - usually Hybrid 4 and 5 with irons 6-PW in the set. There is a blended set available with a lot of manufacturers where the low lofted irons are a game improvement iron and the higher lofted are more players clubs.
If you like hybrids, play a combo set. If you like irons, play a blended set with some game improvement irons in them. It's great!
Should you use one length golf irons?
Generally, no. The idea is sound but 6 pros have told me that a one-length iron needs a certain tweak in the swing to get them right. This is something I don't like a mid handicapper to play around with because it confuses the player. A mid handicap player, like yourself should not be worrying about silly things that distract from your iron shots on approach.
You want a simple point and shoot club and use the same swing each swing. Just because Bryson uses them, I promise, it does NOT mean you should. And in fact, BECAUSE he does, you should NOT.
Play your best golf of your life with a decent set of irons to get you there. While there is no “one single best” iron, the manufacturers have given you a great choice. The ones listed above are the creme-de-la-creme of golf clubs available for mid handicappers at the moment.
Remember what suits your eye, your budget and your goals. Think about playing the irons for 5 years. This is not a short-term game. Be confident with the selection and LOVE the clubs when they sit behind the ball. You cannot go wrong by being mindful and conscious of these important aspects of tba good set of irons.
Get your clubs looked at by a pro club fitter to optimize their grips, shafts and lie angles. You'll be a single figure soon.