Classic styling with the right amount of innovation. Our annual review of the best players irons in the game.
HOT: The Apex Pro has all the good traits that better players want. The head is forged from 1020 carbon steel and features a polymer insert in the back to dampen any vibration from the thin face. The long irons have tungsten sole weights to help you get shots airborne more easily.
NOT: The topline might be a tad thick for purists.
COMMENTS: (L) The feedback you get through the hands is outstanding, and for a bigger head, you can hit a lot of different shots.
HOT: This is a reassuring club to have in your hands when the pressure is on. The milled undercut design (3 through 8-iron) and use of tungsten in the heel and toe (3 through 7-iron) offer extra forgiveness. Also, the five-press forging process provides consistency from club to club.
NOT: The D-3 swingweight might be too heavy for high-single-digit players.
COMMENTS: (M) This felt like it really had a motor in it and got a lot of distance without sacrificing feel.
HOT: The MP-15 is a true players iron, with traditional lofts and slightly shorter shaft lengths, both of which translate to better consistency. The titanium cavity insert used in the MP-59 has been modified here, allowing Mizuno to redistribute more weight to the perimeter. The result is an expanded sweet spot with better feel.
NOT: The long irons aren’t the most forgiving.
COMMENTS: (L) The titanium insert makes it feel like it has a turbocharger behind it.
HOT: Consumers expect a certain level of quality from Mizuno, and the company doesn’t disappoint here. The milled, deep pocket cavity on the 3 through 7-iron allowed designers to redistribute 16 grams to improve launch angle and centre-hit feel. The short irons have a muscle-back design for workability.
NOT: A stock shaft lighter than True Temper’s Dynamic Gold might be a better choice.
COMMENTS: (L) I love how the narrow, beveled sole interacts with the turf.
Vapor Pro Combo
HOT: This is a thoughtful method for improving centre-of-gravity location without forgetting about the other things better players crave. By shifting weight towards the toe, the CG is positioned at the centre of the face. A thin, high-strength steel face insert through the 7-iron maximises distance.
NOT: The Volt-coloured swoosh is cool only if you have game to back it up.
COMMENTS: (M) The ball really sizzled, and the trajectory cut through the wind with ease.
HOT: Some irons are built for tour-level games, but this one is designed for Everyman. The progressive CG location is lower on the long irons to help launch the ball and higher on the short irons to keep the flight down. This produces a comfortable players iron that lacks the intimidation factor of a pure blade.
NOT: The offset and head size might be too much for low-handicappers.
COMMENTS: (M) The sweet spot feels like it runs from heel to toe. The most user-friendly iron in this category. The thump at impact is a sound of strength.
HOT: The S55 strikes a nice balance between traditional design and today’s technology. The club is cast, but the elastomer used in the custom tuning port within the cavity provides the feel of a forged feel. Furthermore, Ping reduced the moment of inertia around the hosel (compared to the previous S56) to provide more shot-shaping ability.
NOT: No advancement in the area of grooves.
COMMENTS: (L) The topline is thin, but it still has a ton of forgiveness.
HOT: The long irons are cast from 450 stainless steel and have tungsten toe weights, but the story is the use of slots to help the face flex (in the sole on the 3 through 7-iron and on the face in the 3 through 8-iron). Doing so creates enough ball speed to turn scrawny-arm hackers around the country into studs.
NOT: The look is a little too game improvement-y.
COMMENTS: (L) Excellent ball flight: Takes off low, and rises to its apex before dropping softly.
HOT: Vertical face slots frame the ball well at address, and the forged carbon-steel face and hosel optimise feel. The compact head and minimal offset provide a tour-level look that will make you the envy of your foursome.
NOT: The price will likely have you hiding the credit-card statement from your spouse.
COMMENTS: (L) A nice job of melding the short irons without the slots with the rest of the set and keeping the feel consistent.
HOT: No iron makes technology look as beautiful as this perennial favourite does. Tungsten in the heel and toe make the head more stable on off-centre strikes than its tour-proven, compact size would have you believe. That shape, including a neatly bevelled trailing edge on the sole, gives you the confidence at address to play any shot.
NOT: Those seeking extra distance from their irons might not find it here.
COMMENTS: (L) The consistency from shot to shot is impressive.
FG Tour V4
HOT: At one time Wilson was heralded for its better-player irons, and this model is worthy of that heritage. Tungsten in the centre of the sole helps shots get in the air, and additional mass behind the centre of the face produces a muscle-back sound and feel without sacrificing forgiveness.
NOT: Doesn’t have the extensive fitting options of other companies.
COMMENTS: (L) Easy to turn over, hold open or sling a hook. You can hit any shot on command.
HOT: Rickie Fowler’s AMP Cell Pro irons were made with a tungsten weight in the toe to shift the CG toward the centre of the face. Cobra made that the stock club with its Fly-Z Pro. The forged irons also borrow from the company’s wedge line by using the same groove and face milling. Combined, they make this a set worth investigating.
NOT: These are so close to the AMP Cell Pro in look you might think they didn’t change anything.
COMMENTS: (L) The mass behind the centre seems to give shots a little boost. Even better, mis-hits kept up the distance.
HOT: Srixon is known for its success in Japan, but this iron has Aussies taking note. A double-laser-milled face (parallel and slightly angled) provides consistent spin, especially from the rough. Its undervalued asset, however, is the Tour VT sole that increases the leading bounce and decreases the trailing bounce to help turf interaction.
NOT: Misses feel like a foul ball on a cold day.
COMMENTS: (M) A lighter feel. You can speed the club through impact.
HOT: The CB 714 is a cavity-back iron forged from 1025 carbon steel that gets all the little things right. The reduced blade height in the heel (compared to the CB 712) and the consistent blade length are visually pleasing. The lofts (a 47-degree pitching wedge) are retro cool.
NOT: Retro cool doesn’t appeal to a wide audience.
COMMENTS: (M) I don’t know where the feel is coming from, because there’s no visible technology, but they feel like a cushy metal. Love it.
(L) Low-Handicapper | (M) Middle-Handicapper