Almost every golfer could use a little help from their equipment. But an entire subset has taken shape in recent decades that has provided more than a little help. These have become known as game improvement irons.

What do these iron sets do for your game? Mostly, they correct for off-center hits. If you are an amateur, chances are you don’t have the time to practice to the point where you strike the ball consistently in the middle of the clubface.

Game improvement irons also help you get the ball airborne more easily, keep the ball in play, and hit the ball farther.


At A Glance: Top 3 Game Improvement Irons


Today’s game improvement irons have gotten better at eliminating, or at least reducing the disadvantages. The main disadvantages are a lack of feel and lesser ability to work the ball left or right. These disadvantages are already outweighed heavily by the benefits, but these irons have improved to the point that even some professionals are using them. That’s especially true for the harder to hit long irons. Here are some of the best game improvement irons on the market in 2020.

OUR TOP PICKS

Callaway Golf 2018 Men's Rogue Irons Set (Set of 6 Total Clubs: 5-PW, Right Hand, Steel, Regular Flex)
Callaway Rogue
  • Forgiving
  • Perfectly placed center of gravity
VIEW ON AMAZON →
Callaway Golf 2020 Mavrik Iron Set  (Right Hand, Steel, Regular, 5 Iron - PW)
Best all-around
Callaway Mavrik
  • Club face designed with artificial intelligence
  • Thinner top line
VIEW ON AMAZON →
Cleveland Golf Launcher Turbo HB Iron Set 4-P GR A LH
Cleveland Launcher Turbo HB
  • Easy to hit
  • Thin face for greater ball speed
VIEW ON AMAZON →
Ping Men's G400 Iron Set, Black Dot, RH 4-PW & UW, ALTA CB Graphite Shaft, Regular Flex
Best for distance
Ping G400
  • Very long
  • Forgiving
VIEW ON AMAZON →
Cobra Men's 2018 F-Max Iron Set, Black/Gold Regular Steel Right Hand
Cobra F-Max
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Low center of gravity
VIEW ON AMAZON →
Wilson Velocity HDX Men's Right Handed 7 Piece Steel Iron 5-PW+SW Golf Club Set
Best low-budget option
Wilson Velocity
  • Large sweet spot
  • Forgiving
VIEW ON AMAZON →
Cobra Golf 2019 F9 Speedback One Length Iron Set, Chrome/Black/Blue, Right Hand, Senior, 5-GW, Graphite
Cobra King F9 Speedback One Length
  • Easy to hit
  • Same swing for each club
VIEW ON AMAZON →
TaylorMade SIM MAX OS Irons, Graphite Shaft, Fujikura Ventus Blue, 5-PW, Left Hand, Senior Flex
TaylorMade SiM Max OS
  • ECHO Dampening System cuts vibration
  • Speed Pocket maximizes face flexibility
VIEW ON AMAZON →
2020 XXIO Eleven Iron Set RH 6-PW Graph Reg
XXIO Eleven
  • Good distance
  • Consistent
VIEW ON AMAZON →

Best Game Improvement Irons in 2020


Callaway Rogue

Callaway Golf 2018 Men's Rogue Irons Set (Set of 6 Total Clubs: 5-PW, Right Hand, Steel, Regular Flex)

While the Callaway Rogue irons did not get our pick as the best all-around game improvement categories, it very well could have. That honor goes to a newer product from the same company, but the Rogue irons can hold its own with any set from any manufacturer.

Callaway’s goal was to make a club that is long, accurate, versatile, and easy to hit. It largely succeeded in all categories.

The company’s 360 Face Cup technology promotes more ball speed, particularly on off-center hits, due to its variable face thickness. A thin club face often gives a great deal of vibration on impact. Callaway fought this with an insert behind the face of elastic-urethane microspheres. This added weight gives better feel without sacrificing distance.

Speaking of weighting, a tungsten weight is strategically placed in each iron to give a precise and progressive center of gravity, key to getting the ball airborne with ease.

When you stand at address and look at the club, you will see a medium-width top-line. That is not as sleek as a blade, but gives you confidence you can hit this club with little difficulty.

Pros

  • Forgiving
  • Perfectly placed center of gravity
  • Great feel

Cons

  • While more forgiving, it’s not as long as its sister club, the Rogue X
See On Amazon

Callaway Mavrik

Callaway Golf 2020 Mavrik Iron Set  (Right Hand, Steel, Regular, 5 Iron - PW)

Callaway’s Mavrik irons hit the market in 2020, creating a firestorm over its overall performance. Callaway improved on its already impressive array of iron sets by using artificial intelligence to improve upon its Flash Face Cup technology. Now, each individual loft has its own uniquely designed face, all thanks to advancements in A.I.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0823F6174/?tag=anydaygolf-20The company is promoting this as its longest iron, although the Mavrik Max or Mavrik Pro might take that honor. Still, it is plenty long.

And its thinner top line gives you the feel of a blade with the performance of the cavity back design of the Mavrik.

Tungsten weights help give each iron its own precise center of gravity, giving you the optimum launch angle for every club.

The Mavrik also retains its urethane microsphere inserts that dampen vibration, increasing feel without sacrificing ball speed.

Pros

  • Club face designed with artificial intelligence
  • Thinner top line
  • Precisely placed center of gravity

Cons

  • Long enough, but not quite Callaway’s longest
See On Amazon

Cleveland Launcher Turbo HB

Cleveland Golf Launcher Turbo HB Iron Set 4-P GR A LH

Cleveland’s Turbo HB irons are ridiculously easy to hit, all important for game improvement clubs.

The longer irons in this set have a beefy appearance that look and play more like a hybrid than an iron. As the lofts get higher, the clubs begin to take on the traditional appearance of irons.

A thin steel face helps produce the distance all players seek, while a hollow construction gives better forgiveness on shots that miss the sweet spot. Internal ribs within the hollow head help stabilize the club on impact.

Pros

  • Easy to hit
  • Thin face for greater ball speed
  • Hollow construction

Cons

  • Lacks great feel
See On Amazon

Ping G400

Ping Men's G400 Iron Set, Black Dot, RH 4-PW & UW, ALTA CB Graphite Shaft, Regular Flex

The Ping G400 iron set is designed for distance. Not surprising coming from an innovative company that first brought cavity-backed irons to the golfing world.

This distance is achieved in large part to Ping’s COR-Eye technology, a design that increases flexing across the entire face of the club. That increase in flexing leads to faster ball speeds and greater distance.

There’s more to this club, including a cavity cut under the toprail and a micropearl chrome finish that add up to a great choice for game-improvement minded players.

Pros

  • Very long
  • Forgiving
  • Micropearl chrome finish allows club to breeze through long or wet grass

Cons

  • Lacks the feel of some on this list
See On Amazon

Cobra F-Max

Cobra Men's 2018 F-Max Iron Set, Black/Gold Regular Steel Right Hand

If your handicap is closer to 20 than 10, then these game-improvement irons from Cobra could be a great choice.

The ultra-lightweight nature of the F-Max makes these irons a perfect fit for slower swing speeds. And the offset hosel also offsets the slices that seem to come along with those slower swing speeds.

These are good-looking clubs, too, with a chrome finish that are both aesthetically pleasing and long lasting.

The low profile of the F-Max makes for a low center of gravity. That in turn leads to an iron that is easy to get airborne, another issue for golfers with slow swing speeds.

Pros

  • Extremely lightweight
  • Low center of gravity
  • Durable

Cons

  • Golfers with 15 handicap or better should look elsewhere
See On Amazon

Wilson Velocity

Wilson Velocity HDX Men's Right Handed 7 Piece Steel Iron 5-PW+SW Golf Club Set

It is easy to get caught up in the latest and greatest among iron sets, even for game improvement clubs. But there is a real need in the market for a budget option.

Wilson has filled that role for many years. Its Velocity set, while not as well-made as more expensive iron sets, still is better than the standard fare you often find in beginner’s sets.

Don’t scoff at the Velocity irons. They are still a good choice for mid-handicappers who are trying to improve their game. Golf can be expensive and opening it up to those with a thinner wallet is a good thing.

Pros

  • Large sweet spot
  • Forgiving
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • Not quite the quality of more expensive sets
See On Amazon

Cobra King F9 Speedback One Length

Cobra Golf 2019 F9 Speedback One Length Iron Set, Chrome/Black/Blue, Right Hand, Senior, 5-GW, Graphite

Every iron is this set from Cobra is 37.25 inches long, the typical length of a 7-iron. This is an innovation popularized by pro golfer Bryson DeChambeau.

There is some merit to the design. If every club in your bag is the same length, that mean you only have to learn one swing. That is to say, the feel of every swing will be the same, regardless of the length of the club.

There are some tradeoffs to this. Simple physics dictate that the longer irons in this set will travel a shorter distance than normal, while the shorter irons will travel farther. A longer club means a wider arc and greater club-head speed.

Cobra is a trusted name, meaning you get what you expect in a high quality set. It features a high MOI and low center of gravity, a variable thickness face, and CNC-milled design.

The question you have to answer is: is this type of set for me?

Pros

  • Easy to hit
  • Same swing for each club
  • Quality construction

Cons

  • Most definitely not a good fit for every golfer
See On Amazon

TaylorMade SiM Max OS

TaylorMade SIM MAX OS Irons, Graphite Shaft, Fujikura Ventus Blue, 5-PW, Left Hand, Senior Flex

While TaylorMade has made quite a name for itself with its drivers in recent years, the company continues to produce quality iron sets, as evidenced by the SiM Max OS set.

These clubs feature a larger than normal face that makes these clubs easy to hit and inspires confidence in the golfer.

Its Speed Pocket and ECHO Dampening system combine to give a thin but stable face. That means plenty of distance without the strong vibrations resulting from impact. The top of the iron is fortified with what TaylorMade calls the Speed Bridge. This also improves the sound of the club.

You may not appreciate the lack of ability to work the ball from left to right, but you should definitely like its ease of use and forgiving nature.

Pros

  • ECHO Dampening System cuts vibration
  • Speed Pocket maximizes face flexibility
  • Low center of gravity helps get ball airborne

Cons

  • Inability to work the ball effectively
See On Amazon

XXIO Eleven

2020 XXIO Eleven Iron Set RH 6-PW Graph Reg

A counter-balanced club that you see often in putters but not irons make this an interesting and unusual set.

The Eleven set from XXIO (pronounced Zeck-See-Oh) is lightweight with a double undercut cavity that combine to give solid performance.

But its counter-balanced weights, brass and rubber weights are added to the grip at the butt of the club, are its defining feature. This is intended to make the club more stable and is designed for moderate swing speeds.

Much the same as single-length clubs, this becomes a very individual choice. Some will like these clubs, others may hate them.

Pros

  • Good distance
  • Consistent
  • Lightweight for moderate swing speeds

Cons

  • Counter-balancing may turn off many golfers
See On Amazon

In the late 1960s, Karsten Solheim introduced the first perimeter-weighted clubs. Solheim, founder of Ping, discovered that moving the weight of the club face to its perimeter made the club more forgiving.

Acceptance of this new approach to irons did not come right away. Eventually, every golf manufacturer acknowledged the obvious and began to make perimeter-weighted irons.

Cavity back

How did Solheim achieve his perimeter weighted irons? Instead of merely adding weight to the perimeter, he removed weight from the back of the club. That cavity-backed design was crucial to the club’s success.

There is always a struggle for club manufacturers. Adding weight to the perimeter creates a larger sweet spot. It also increases the weight of the club. More weight means less swing speed. You don’t want to sacrifice distance to get a more forgiving club.

Removing weight from the back of the club was a master stroke, but it does not fully solve the problem. Manufacturers have spent the decades since the innovation of cavity-backed clubs managing that delicate balance.

They have honed in on that through the use of technology and materials advancements.

High MOI

The moment of inertia in golf is simply a measure of how much the head twists at impact. This can and does have a large impact on the direction of your shot.

Game-improvement irons have a high MOI due to the strategic placement of weight in the club head. This is great for golfers who struggle to keep the ball on its intended path.

A high MOI is not necessarily a good thing if you are trying to work the ball left or right, but game improvement irons are not aimed at that market.

Low center of gravity

A center of gravity that is low and in the back of the club head helps get the ball airborne. While mostly associated with drivers, it is also true for irons. Game improvement irons take advantage of a low center of gravity that aids less proficient players.

Many club manufacturers these days have progressive centers of gravity for each iron, with the weight moving forward as the club gets shorter. The reason for this is where the player commonly strikes the ball, higher on the club face for shorter irons.

Hybrids replace long irons

It is not unusual to see hybrid clubs replace long irons in game improvement clubs. These clubs have the shape and design of a fairway wood but with the loft of an iron. This makes them much easier to hit.

In fact, some manufacturers make an entire set with hybrids replacing all of the irons.

Three iron sets we like

The Callaway Mavrik is an outstanding set of irons that uses the latest technology to produce high-performing and beautiful clubs. This plus exacting engineering standards makes the Mavrik our best overall choice for game improvement irons.

If it is distance you are seeking, look no further than the Ping G400. It is fitting that we include a Ping set here due to its founder’s innovations that created the category of game improvement irons. But this is no sentimental selection. The G400 irons are among the longest on the market.

It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of the latest and greatest in innovations for golf irons, but beginners need a set that will get them a good start on learning the game. Wilson has been a leader in that area for many years, and its Velocity set carry that torch admirably.