Best Muscle Back Irons 2024 - Golf Sidekick

Best Muscle Back Irons 2024

Last Updated on January 2, 2024 by Matt Greene
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Everyone drools over a set of muscleback blades. When you see Adam Scott or Tiger hitting their irons with ease, shaping the ball left and right, we all want that, too.

Then reality bites - or STINGS and anyone who has mis-hit a blade will tell you. Traditionally, muscleback irons have never been easy to hit and were therefore reserved for the best ball strikers.

But things are changing. Forged clubs with thin top lines and minimal offset are now found in the bags of many golfers shooting in the 80s, thanks to revolutions in club technology. So let's look at the most forgiving and best muscleback irons on the market today and see if you want to take on the challenge of striking it better.

The Best and Most Forgiving Muscleback Irons in 2024

  1. Srixon Z-Forged Iron (best materials used in the market)
  2. Callaway Apex 21 (best for accuracy and consistency)
  3. Takomo 301 MB (best value for money muscleback)
  4. PXG 0311P (most head turning iron)
  5. Mizuno MP20 MB (best for feel)

Srixon Z Forged

Nothing feels like a Srixon

I played these clubs for 2 years. I love these clubs. 

I tried many many muscleback irons, from Mizuno to TaylorMade to Ping to Cobra to Itobori. I like them all but the Srixon Z Forged is just made of superior metals. 

These irons are the best looking blade on the market and feel like butter when you hit the ball. When I hit the sweet spot, the distance control is the best in the business. 

These are one of the most forgiving muscleback irons I’ve played and it's because they use superior metals to any other big manufacturer. The metal is soft, the sweet spot feels like a tuning fork ringing in your loins.

The Z-Forged irons have a signature 'double curve' design which helped me use the clubs with maximum workability. The forged construction delivers a fantastic soft feel and the V sole promotes optimized turf interaction and stability. The leading edge will enter the ground, but then does not get stuck, instead sliding through the other side, smoothly. The best muscle back iron on the market is the Srixon Z Forged. 


  • Supersoft feel forged heads feels like you're hitting a marshmallow
  • Maximum workability with the correct shaft 
  • Perfect for steeper strikers as the sole is shaped to glide through turf


  • Be fitted for the right shaft otherwise it's hand pain city

Callaway Apex 21

An approachable blade from Callaway  

Callaway Apex 21

The Apex is Callaway’s premium player’s club and this 2021 version includes a few updates from the 2019 version.

These  irons feature improved tungsten weighting a semi cavity to give you maximum forgiveness with a precision strike you're used to from Ben Hogan irons. Callaway bought the Apex range off Hogan and this is the result. 

I play quite a bit with very low handicappers and pros and these feature in the bag quite often. I've hit them plenty but for me the look of a Callaway iron just doesn't feel 100% right to my eye which is the most important part of your clubs. You MUST love them.

Callaway have created a very forgiving iron with the Apex series. 


  • Classic looks with thick top line if you like a top line that's thick
  • These are irons you will not need to replace for very long
  • Satisfying sound off the face which feels consistent and high flying


  • Can be pricey but Callaway fans will like it regardless
  • Thick top line if you prefer a butter knife look like I do

Takomo 301 MB

The best value muscleback in the world

takomo muscle back 301mb

Takomo 301MB irons are my iron of choice and current gamers. What sets Takomo apart in the muscleback category is that they are prices below any other iron on the market.

The 301MB are forged in Japan and designed in Finland. My set came with the standard KBS Tour stiff shafts. I switched them out to KBS Tour S+ shafts which are not on the Takomo standard fitting options. The quality of KBS Tour shafts makes it even more amazing that these high quality irons can be had for less than $700.

When I play the 301MB, I find the forgiveness is biased toward the toe and high in the face. Center strikes are always consistent distances which is vital for muscleback irons and their biggest advantage. When i hit high toe shots, they generate much lower spin and go similar distances to well hit shots.

I will be playing the Takomo 301MB for the foreseeable future.


  • Very thin sole for precise ball striking contact
  • Forged club head for soft feel
  • The lofts are not strong, and more traditional for better low iron distance control

PXG 0311P irons

From elite only moving into everyday golfers bags

most forgiving muscle back

PXG made a name for themselves as only for the elite with eye watering prices. 

The prices have come down and that is great news for every day golfer because these clubs are superb. The weighting, the design and the feel are right up there with some of the best in the game.

Yond from the channel, and Joe who contributes from England on this site both play these PXG irons and have fallen back in love with the game. What is important from both Yond and Joe's experiences is that you should be fitted for these clubs to understand your specs. 

Lofts are slightly stronger in the PXG 0311P but the ball flight is high and handsome with a soft face for buttery contact. While the price is high, it's because you get the best of the best. PXG won't release new clubs unless they are confident their new model is much superior to their prior models. This model is a couple of versions older now so you'll be sure to get the best value if you buy used or new! 


  • Talking point every time you play with people
  • Soft feel and high launch using superior materials and engineering
  • One of the sleeping giants in the golf world


  • Very very pricey
  • Fitting is important for maximum output for your money

Mizuno MP20 MB

"Nothing feels like a Mizuno"

Mizuno MP20 MB

Mizuno clubs have to be included in any muscleback list - they pretty much invented the term almost.

They are seen as the players iron and when you buy a set of the MP range of Mizunos, you keep them for years and years because NOTHING ever compares and the new models of any other iron never impress you enough to give up your 8 year old set. 

I know, because I had 2 different model of Mizunos from 2001 to 2019. Steve on the channel only plays the MP range and has had his set for 18 years. He loves them so much, he has a backup set with the identical specs in case his current set goes missing.

The Mizuno MP20 MB has a thin layer of copper in the face to enhance feel. Where these clubs offer forgiveness is in their stability. They are very accurate and even mishits won’t go wildly off line. You will sacrifice some distance but you will be rewarded with supreme feel and feedback.

The differences between these and the Srixon Z Forged are minimal. If I weren't playing Z Forged I would have a long hard look at purchasing a third set of MP Mizuno irons. I tried the JPX 919 Tours and if you're in the air about which to purchase, I would say go for the MP range every time. 


  • Mizuno premium craftsmanship and forged goodness
  • Consistent stability and with low dispersion both long and short, and left and right 
  • You will not replace a set of Mizuno MP range for at least 5 years
  • Similar looks as previous models with the standard beautiful top line thinness


  • Not as visually appealing as prior models
  • Thin top line which can be good if you like it

Best blade irons for high handicappers 

I wouldn't recommend playing a blade if you are a high handicapper as they will make the game more difficult. I always recommend forgiving irons for high handicappers like cavity backs. BUT if you must play a blade, the best blade irons for high handicappers are the Ping i500 irons.

Best blade irons for the money

I'm very biased because I play these clubs, but I think the best blade irons for the money are the Takomo 301MB.  You will not find an iron set of such quality for the price you get from them direct to consumer. 10 to 20 handicappers will prefer to play some irons aimed at mid handicap golfers and Takomo offer the 101 and 201 in that range. 


Musclebacks are not really the most forgiving clubs in the world, but with modern technology, they can be the best muscleback iron you have ever played - soft materials with forged bodies. 

Gone are the days of the old 1980 butter knife blades with amputated toes. The new era of big faces have made musclebacks accessible to everyone.

My personal bias is toward anything Srixon or Takomo. If you have the money, the PXG is really a good purchase, but remember to be fitted and get your specs before finding those specs online. 

Last Updated on January 2, 2024 by Matt Greene