The right set of irons can help you lower your handicap from more greens in regulation and better par 3 performance. Getting new irons is expensive and there are so many options in the mid handicap bracket, it can get confusing.
What if you don't like them? What do you do with them? You don't want to waste your money, I understand.
I remember buying irons as a 15 handicap when I wanted to drop to a single figure handicap golfer. I am here to show you which are the best golf irons for mid handicappers to banish your buyer's remorse forever! I've based these reviews on my experiences hitting every single iron in this list, and have added recommendations based on my friends latest purchases if they have helped them.
The best golf irons for mid handicappers are the Srixon ZX5 MK 2s.
Our Best Golf Irons for Mid Handicappers 2023
Here are the 9 best irons for mid-handicap golfers:
- Srixon ZX5 MKII irons (#1 Pick & Editors choice - finest metals used in production)
- Callaway Apex DCB irons (tech-filled irons for forgiveness)
- Titleist T300 irons (most forgiving irons Titleist has ever made)
- Cleveland Launcher XL irons (easiest irons to launch)
- PING G430 irons (best cavity back iron for mid handicap)
- Mizuno JPX 923 irons (Mizuno soft feel)
- Cobra Aerojet irons (best iron for distance)
- TaylorMade STEALTH irons (high launching forgiving irons)
The best mid handicapper irons I have reviewed
The Srixon ZX5 MKII irons are the best irons for mid handicappers and average golfers. They are the #1 pick for 2023. As a mid handicapper, these irons might not be on your radar but they should be. The newest model has been updated from the original ZX5 and is aimed at the mid handicapper who wants consistent distances and forgiveness in one package.
You can use the Srixon ZX5's for a very long time, even into the low handicap range. They're forged steel and of such high quality materials, you will not need to replace them. Srixon make probably the best irons on the market from the major manufacturers.
The Srixon ZX5 MKII irons have a large, forgiving sole, without being bulky. The head is a semi-encased cavity back to help move the center of gravity lower and bring the sweet spot down in the face to get even crisper contact on the ball on imperfect strikes. The V shaped sole is designed to interact with the turf in a way that it won't dig.
Turf interaction on iron shots is essential and for mid handicappers, steep swings can cause a lot of digging. The ZX5 MKII irons nullify that digging.
Srixon have made these clubs look easy to hit when you look down at them, but they keep the size of the head down to a minimum. If you can get them with the NS Pro shafts in them, you'll have a great time with these clubs. In my opinion, Srixon is my go-to for every mid handicapper looking to replace their clubs.
Reasons to buy
Best mid handicap irons for golfers approaching mid 80s
I've been a fanboy of Ben Hogan clubs since I began playing and Callaway now own the Ben Hogan brand 'Apex'. Callaway have always made some of the most forgiving irons on the market and with the Apex design in their range, they bring in a great option for a 10 to 15 handicapper.
The irons are forged (much softer feeling) and cavity backed (forgiving on mis-hits) with a mid-size sole for easy turf interaction. From 4 to 9 iron, there is a wrap-around cupface technology that Callaway uses, where it touches the top line for a maximum spring effect off the club face. The extra spring effect means more distance for you.
Callaway put a minimal offset on the irons as they are game improvement irons. The offset prevents big shots to the right with a slice. Like in all of Callaway's irons, I found the sole to be pretty wide which always makes it easier for mid handicappers to get the ball airborne without the need to hit so steep onto the ball. The sole allowed me to have a skimming interaction with the turf and even when you feel like you fat the shot a little, it flies much further than you expect.
What I found most impressive was the launch of the ball. It flew at the same heights almost every shot. The flight was high despite the stronger lofts and the ball seemed to stay in the air a second longer than usual.
The looks of the club are executive and they look like golf irons for low handicappers but they perform for mid handicappers in the areas they need the most help to get into the 80s: forgiveness, turf interaction and consistent distances across the face.
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.
Reasons to buy
For the mid handicapper who needs to break 90 every time
Some people are scared of Titleists but the T300 model is really a new era for Titleist. I avoided their irons and drivers for years. I would even refuse to try hit them when a friend offered.
The T300 is the best choice for golfers anywhere above a 13 handicap. They are cast irons and not forged. If this is important for your decision making, it is good to know.
There is plenty of forgiveness for the mid handicapper. The club face gets thinner towards the heel of the club in the long and mid irons for more consistent ball speeds. That is vital because anyone playing above a 13 handicap has some inconsistent strikes which can be nullified with the design of the T300.
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. The feel of the irons is one of the best of the current cast sets available.
Behind the T300 badge is an enhanced polymer core that improves feel and efficiency at impact for more ball speed and better feedback.
Titleist T300 irons promise a hollow construction, high-strength steel face and tungsten weight system for maximum distance and forgiveness. T Mid-to-high handicap golfers will love these for looks, and performance but the price is high.
Reasons to buy
Mid handicap irons with priority of forgiveness
The Launcher XL irons give the best of both worlds of forgiveness and control by making it easier to hit longer irons and have more control over the shorter clubs. They are the upgrade to the near perfect Cleveland Launcher UHX which my friend Rahat uses after I recommended them to him.
The Launcher XL iron has the loft stamped on the bottom of the sole which let's you understand your ball flight more. Knowing this information allows you to be less attached to the iron number, and more to the loft. you'll find you hit the same loft in every model of club, the same distance.
Distance was much longer than most irons I tried. I was around 10 yards longer on average compared to other models on the list. It could be down to lower loft, but Cleveland are known for making irons that travel long.
Off-center strikes did not lose much distance and with the 1mm of offset, the ball doesn't fly off target by much. Where the iron is exceptional is that you can actually feel where you hit the ball. This is difficult in game improvement irons usually. hitting the Launcher XLs all over the face, the feedback I got made it easy to feel where I hit the ball.
The spin on the irons is standard and will be helpful to you as your swing speed increases, to stick on the green after hitting it. This coupled with the launch angle, which is high, will allow for a steeper descent into the greens on approach for more stickability.
Reasons to buy
PING irons that inspire confidence
Always the easiest drivers to hit, PING developed the G430 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 G430s 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 new heat treated Hyper 17-4 stainless steel face is super hot and the PurFlex Technology badge with seven flex zones allows for more free bending to increase ball speed across the face for longer results
The irons come fitted as standard with Golf Pride grips and the option to add 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 Black.
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 G430, you'll get forgiveness and speed in all aspects.
Reasons to buy
Best for mid handicappers who love FEEL
The sole of the Mizuno 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 923 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. It's fun to shape shots if you can.
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 923, 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.
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.
Reasons to buy
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 Hot Face first seen in the Radspeed) is the updated Pwr-bridge 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 built the Aerojet irons for 10-20 handicappers specifically and they want these players to be able to hit a 7 iron 155 yards + on the fly with these bad boys.
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.
Reasons to buy
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 ZX5 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.
Reasons to buy
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.
What are mid handicap golf irons?
- Contain at the longest, a 5 iron, through to pitching wedge
- Cavity backed
- Perimeter weighting
- Offset hosel
Most sets don't come with a 3 or a 4 iron because they're difficult to hit. Fairway woods and hybrids are available for longer distance shots.
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.
Best iron shafts for mid handicappers
There are two types of shaft for your irons – steel and graphite.
The extra weight offered by steel gives golfers a better “feel” than graphite.
Graphite can help with distance and can be an option of your swing speed is low. The reduced weight of the shaft help you increase your swing speed for more distance. These shafts are similar to the ones in drivers that increase the swing speed to provide more distance.
As a general rule, Regular flex is going to be the best for most golfers based on swing speeds.
Shaft flex based on 6 iron swing speed and carry distance
It's always best to get tested by a fitter or a local pro but here is a general guide:
- 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
Best Club Head Design for Mid Handicappers
Cavity back iron heads. Forged steel is ofter while cast is a little firmer in feel.
How we rank irons for mid handicappers
Cavity backed irons use the material removed from behind the sweet spot of a blade iron, and redistribute the weight to the perimeter of the club head. This increases the sweet spot size.
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 so more weight can get under and behind the golf ball on your shots. This produces an arching high ball flight even on mishits.
The sole will improve shots where you hit the ground before the ball. That extra weight will “bounce” off the ground instead of digging into the earth like a thin sole would.
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.
Shaft (Steel vs. Graphite)
While face design is key to the execution of the shot, the shaft is more important. 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 so while they are more 'stable', they are can produce shorter distance shots.
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 so you can tweak it to perfection. You can use a wide range of weighting in steel shafts but probably not as light as a graphite shaft can go.
The flex of the shaft is equally important. Most 10 to 20 handicappers with a healthy body fall between the regular and stiff shaft, usually steel material.
How the Club Head Looks at Address
When you look at your club behind the ball, you must love it. 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.
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 from 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?
What golf clubs should a mid handicapper carry?
The mid handicap golfer should carry the following clubs…
- Driver (9.5 – 10.5 degrees of loft) you can buy adjustable drivers to tweak the loft
- 3-wood (15 or 16) degrees of loft - DO NOT PLAY A 13 DEGREE 3 WOOD
- 5-wood or 2-hybrid (18 or 19 degrees of loft)
- 4-hybrid or 7 wood - the 7 wood is my secret weapon
- 5-iron through gap wedge (as part of your set)
- Sand wedge (54-56 degrees of loft)
- Lob wedge (58-60 degrees of loft)
What are the best irons for a mid handicapper?
The best irons for mid-handicappers are the Srixon ZX5 MK2 irons.
Best irons for 10 to 15 handicap
If you're playing to a handicap of 10 to 15, any of the golf irons that I've recommended in this article will do the job for you, but as always, there are a few things to consider. If you like a slimmer profile club head on your irons, I'd go for the Srixon ZX5s.
If you want something which looks a little more confidence inspiring behind the ball, then the PING G430 irons will make you feel like you can rip every shot. If you want the latest and greatest tech, then the TaylorMade STEALTH irons will give you that
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.
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 recommend that a mid handicapper plays 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.
What handicap should play blades?
If you are between a scratch and 5 handicap you COULD play blades. They are tough to hit and even the most skilled players will now favor something more forgiving with a shallow cavity back. The blades do look appealing but take a great deal of skill to hit correctly.
The verdict: The best irons for mid handicappers 2023
The best irons for the mid handicap golfer in 2023 are the Srixon ZX5 MK2 irons. I love the feel of a Srixon iron and I think they're making the best irons on the market for all golfers right now.
While there is no “one single best” iron, the manufacturers have given you a great choice. All of the options 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 a 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.