Skip to navigation Skip to main content

Golf Irons A Buyers Guide

During the course of a round, on average you will hit your irons more times than any clubs in your bag, so finding the right set for you can make a considerable improvement to your game. There are many types of clubs with different features, here are some basic things to consider to help you decide which irons are best for you. 

Club design

The first thing to consider is design, which club matches your ball-striking ability?. Cavities are forgiving and tend the launch the ball higher (but also tend to have stronger lofts), while compact heads such as blades are more workable with less of a focus on distance alone.

Higher handicappers tend to do better with cavities for the larger heads and forgiveness for off-center shots, but all players are different, and feel is the name of the game so try both types and different makers and see which one is best for you. 

A full set?

Irons are usually sold in sets of up to 9 irons. Within each set, the irons are numbered to correspond to the loft of the club. The long irons in a set are usually numbers 2, 3 and 4, although these days it is rare to see a 2 or even a 3 iron. Mid-irons are numbers 5, 6 and 7 and short irons are numbers 8, 9 and wedges such as a Pitching Wedge (PW), Gap or Attack wedge (GW or AW) and a Sand Wedge (SW). 



The most commonly chosen shaft for irons is steel. Steel is stronger and heavier than graphite, meaning it produces less flex and is more consistent and accurate. The carbon steel or stainless steel used in shafts is thick and offers consistent torque and flexibility, allowing you to have the same flex and stiffness in your 4 iron as you have in your 9 iron. The reduced price and highly durable nature of the metal make it a popular choice for all golfers.

Not as common as steel in the iron market, graphite can still be a great advantage because it is lightweight and flexible. This enables you to increase swing speed and perhaps unlock more distance in your game. The drawback of graphite is the feel from the shaft. A stiff graphite shaft will not feel like a stiff steel shaft and may mean the feel is not consistent. Another drawback is price, as the process of making graphite shafts is more expensive than steel. However, if you are an older, junior or lady golfer who perhaps prefers a light feeling club, then the extra money you spend may benefit your game.

The Difference Between Forged and Cast heads

Forged or cast?
Japanese makers such as Mizuno favor forged irons, the practice of shaping a club head from one solid continuous piece of steel. Most of the irons on the market, however, are cast and they tend to be larger in size and offer more distance as well as a firmer feel. Forged irons offer a softer feel and greater consistency, something they put to down to 'Grain Flow'.

*One thing to remember is forged clubs cost more as the process is more labor intensive.

Getting a fitting

Most good golf shops in Japan will have a club fitter or a pro on hand to help wit the decision process, make sure you hit some shots on a lie board using sole and impact tape to ensure the clubs matches your swing, rather than trying to change your swing to suit your new irons!

More on Air