If you’re hoping to shave a few strokes off your game, you need to choose the most forgiving irons. Since you’re reading this article, you already know that some irons are more forgiving than others. My goal is to help you find a set of irons that will improve your performance in spite of the occasional bad hit.

How did I select the Most Forgiving Irons?

Great question. There are large golf websites (Golf Digest, GolfWRX, and MyGolfSpy) that conduct extensive testing for the most common game-improving irons. Given their budgets, connections, golf knowledge, and various skill-sets, I reached the conclusion that I couldn’t do better testing than what they had already done.

Consequently, I decided to cross-examine each of their conclusions and offer you one definitive article that ranked the most forgiving irons, instead of forcing you to read three (or more) consecutive articles. I also consulted a number of smaller sources that tested these irons. All of their insights are packaged nicely for you below, along with a link to buy the product through the manufacturer or through Amazon.


Most Forgiving Irons, Ranked

Before we go any further, it’s worth noting that there are more than 5 iron sets that would fall into the “forgiving iron” category, so I’ll include several others for you to research at the end of this article. If you hate reading, you can just consult the chart below to see my rankings.

# 1 – Callaway Rogue

Most Forgiving Irons 2018 - Callaway Rogue PhotoCost: $900 (but you can get them for about $675 on Amazon)
Shafts: Steel or graphite (this influences cost)
Summary: Callaway’s reputation speaks for itself, so it’s no surprise that the Rogue irons were one of Golf Digest’s Golf Medal winners for 2018.

The Rogue irons pair Callaway’s proven 360 Face Cup technology with what they call VFT (Variable Face Thickness). In short, this tandem leads to more ball speed and greater distance, even for off-center shots.

Each club head incorporates tungsten weighting. Since tungsten is 2x as heavy as steel (something I’m sure you remember from the periodic table you memorized in high school), Callaway was able to set the center of gravity for each club in such a way that golfers get optimum loft on more of their shots.

You can depend on this club for:

  • better ball speed
  • more distance
  • improved launch

What Golfers are Saying

  • The Rogue irons help me golf better.
  • A great feel and sound on each hit.

See the Callaway Rogue on Amazon

 

# 2 – Cobra King F8 One Length

Most Forgiving Irons 2018 - Cobra King F8 PhotoCost: $800
Shafts: Steel or graphite (this influences cost)
Summary: I’ve never owned a set of Cobra irons, but I’m tempted to make a move with the Cobra King F8 because they differentiate themselves in a number of strategic ways. I appreciate companies that think outside the box, and not just for shock value.

A few examples to demonstrate my point: 

  • The F8 short, middle, and long irons are all built differently because they’re supposed to do different things. This seems logical.
  • Sensors are built into the F8 grips which allow golfers to track shot data using the Arcos app. Shouldn’t all companies be doing this in 2018?
  • Carbon fiber medallion inserts look sweet while providing exceptional sound and feel on distance irons. Style and substance — I’m a fan.

You can depend on this club for:

  • great distance
  • more consistency
  • shot data feedback

What Golfers are Saying

  • The longer irons feel explosive.
  • These clubs are a great value and I love the Cobra Connect sensors.

See the Cobra King F8 on Amazon

 

# 3 – Cleveland Launcher CBX

Most Forgiving Irons 2018 - Cleveland Launcher CBX PhotoCost: $699 (but you can usually get them for about $580 on Amazon)
Shafts: Steel or graphite (this influences cost)
Summary: Cleveland took a hiatus from the world of irons, and I think the Launcher CBX irons reflect a carefully-planned return.

These irons might not have the “coolest” design, but they clearly take the crown for 2018’s most affordable forgiving irons. Golfers sometimes need to be reminded that spending more doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting a better product. My Cleveland sand wedge my favorite club, so the Cleveland team always has my attention.

Some key features include a micro-cavity in the hosel (which improves the center of gravity location) and special grooves (which help golfers get better spin in the fairway AND in the rough…not that you ever spend any time there).

You can depend on this club for:

  • more distance
  • improved accuracy
  • better hits on difficult lies

What Golfers are Saying

  • A great value without sacrificing performance.
  • The Launcher name is spot on. These irons launch my shots!
  • I’m getting better hits with the longer irons.

See the Cleveland Launcher CBX on Amazon

 

# 4 – TaylorMade M4

Most Forgiving Irons 2018 - TaylorMade M4 PhotoCost: $899.99 (but you can get usually get them for about $790 on Amazon)
Shafts: Steel or graphite (this influences cost)
Summary: If more distance, more forgiveness, and straighter shots sound good to you — you’ll want to take a hard look at the TaylorMade M4 irons. These clubs feature RIBCOR technology which aims to reduce energy loss and increase ball speed.

TaylorMade’s careful adjustments in the M4 resulted in their thinnest club face ever and a lower center of gravity. As a whole, TaylorMade’s forgiving irons seem to make it on every list, and there has to be a reason for that.

You can depend on this club for:

  • increased ball speed
  • straighter shots
  • improved launch and spin

What Golfers are Saying

  • These updated irons are a big improvement from TaylorMade’s M2 and M4.
  • I definitely get more distance from these clubs.

See the TaylorMade M4 on Amazon

 

# 5 – Mizuno JPX900 Hot Metal

Most Forgiving Irons 2018 - Mizuno JPX 900 Hot Metal Photo

Cost: $900-$1,200 (but you can usually get them for about $820 on Amazon)
Shafts: Steel or graphite (this influences cost)
Summary: Have you ever heard of Chromoly 4140M? Well until the JPX900 hit the scene, I hadn’t either. This material is 15% stronger than stainless steel, and Mizuno claims that these clubs have the hottest face ever.

There are some golfers that swear by Mizuno, so if you’re looking to step away from the Callaway’s and TaylorMade’s of the world, the JPX900 are worth considering.

You can depend on this club for:

  • better distance as a result of superior initial ball speed
  • greater forgiveness thanks to a unitized cup face
  • more power all-around

What Golfers are Saying

  • These clubs helped me play my best round ever.
  • Very happy with my purchase.
  • These irons are soft and smooth. My distance has shot through the roof.

See the Mizuno JPX900

 

Other Forgiving Irons to Consider in 2018

 


Most Forgiving Irons 2016

My original post highlighted these five sets of irons from 2016. If you can still find a new 2016 set, you can save a big chunk of money and pick up a great set of game improvement irons. I’ve left all five sets here so you can get digging. You might even want to consider a used set of you’re really looking to save.

The TaylorMade RSi 1

TaylorMade RS1 - Most Forgiving Irons Photo

Cost: Originally $799-$899, but Amazon currently has them in the $549-$599 range
Construction: Cast
Shafts: Steel or graphite (this influences cost)
Summary: TaylorMade’s studies indicate the over 70% of the shots hit by golfers are mis-hits, so they’ve designed a club that forgives the mis-hit.

MyGolfSpy & Golf WRX had the RSi1 ranked #1, and for good reasons. There are face slots in the 3-8 irons (for better consistency) and speed pockets in the 3-7 irons.

You can depend on this club for:

  • better distance
  • higher launch
  • more power all-around

Summarized Reviews

  • “These clubs help me hit the ball further and straighter.”
  • “The large sweet spot helps you strike the ball well.”
  • “I compared clubs from all the major companies and the TaylorMade RS1 felt the best. Lots of pop on the ball.”

See the TaylorMade RSi 1 on Amazon

 

The Cobra Fly-Z

Forgiving Irons - Cobra Fly ZCost: Originally $699-$799, but Amazon currently has them in the $300-$400 range
Construction: Cast
Shafts: Steel or graphite (this influences cost)
Summary: A solid performer in all tests. I’ve ranked it #2 because it combines good looks (colors can be customized as well) with a price that’s slightly below all the other tested irons. Why hit your wallet harder when you don’t have to?

The Cobra Fly-Z is generously forgiving and offers a helpful bottom groove for alignment purposes.

You can depend on this club for:

  • extreme distance on center hits
  • consistent distance on mis-hits
  • remarkable feel at impact (no vibration thanks to a thermoplastic urethane insert)

Summarized Reviews

  • “Great clubs at a great price.”
  • “Delivers higher trajectories throughout the set for the ultimate in ‘Easy Distance’ from tee to green.” – todaysgolfer.co.uk

See the Cobra Fly-Z on Amazon

 

The Callaway XR

Forgiving Irons - Callaway XRCost: Originally $799-$899
Construction: Cast
Shafts: Steel or graphite (this influences cost)
Summary: It’s no surprise to see Callaway on this list. The XR are reported to be one of the easier clubs to hit, and if improved distances are your goal, these clubs performed consistently in that area. Better for mid to upper handicaps, as low handicappers had some minor criticisms.

You can depend on this club for:

  • great ball speed
  • above-average performance

Summarized Reviews

  • “These are the best Callaway clubs I have ever played with.”
  • “These clubs deliver top-notch performance.”
  • “Very happy with my purchase. Price was worth it. Added distance on every shot.”

See the Callaway XR on Amazon

 

The Mizuno JPX-850

Most Forgiving Irons - Mizuno JPX-850Cost: Originally $799-$899
Construction: Cast
Shafts: Steel or graphite (this influences cost)
Summary: These clubs hit the market in 2014 and the reviews have been mostly positive. A well-rounded set of irons with 13 different fitting options, the Mizuno can be carefully customized to match your swing.

You can depend on this club for:

  • great ball speed
  • firm feel
  • consistent height

Summarized Reviews

  • “If you’ve shied away from Mizuno clubs, you need to check these out.”
  • “Out of all the irons I’ve tried, these are my favorite.”
  • “Superb feel and ball trajectory.”

From Mizuno’s Research and Development Team

  • “With the Power Frame we were able to take ball speeds to a completely different level – all while keeping it hand in hand with a nice feel and a level of workability.”

See the Mizuno JPX-850 on Amazon

 

The Ping G30

Most Forgiving Irons - Ping G30Cost: Originally $799-$899
Construction: Cast
Shafts: Steel or graphite (this influences cost)
Summary: Most of the online reviews put Ping anywhere from 3-7 in their rankings, so we’re fitting them right in the middle with a #5 ranking.

The G30 strong suits are forgiveness and ease of use. The majority of golfers will like these consistent irons. Delicate shots will require some extra care of the part of the golfer. Look and sound were a minor complaint in the review, but I think the black carbon finish is a nice alternative.

You can depend on this club for:

  • high lofts
  • good yardage

See the Ping G30 on GolfSmith

 

Other Forgiving Irons to Consider

If you’re the type of person who needs more options, you should take a look at the iron sets below.

Do you own clubs from our most forgiving irons series?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the most forgiving irons in the comments below.

Looking for the Easiest Driver to Hit? We can help you out there too.

Leave a Reply

  1. Ari

    Hi-
    I was just about to purchase the Cobra Baffler irons (not with hybrids).
    They are also reviewed as “super forgiving irons” on other sites. Do you agree?
    You seem very knowledgeable.
    Thanks!
    Ari-

    1. Josh Listing Owner

      Hey Ari –

      I’ve never played with these irons, but the Amazon reviews are good — http://tinyurl.com/jnmhsz4 — and Cobra seems to consistently rank well in the forgiving irons tests. Seems like a good purchase. If you do buy them, let me know what you think.

      Josh

  2. Tom

    I’m 65 years old and shoot in the upper 70’s to low 80’s. I currently play Callaway 2013 X-Forged irons. Though I love these irons, I have to work at hitting them and would like something a little more friendly without getting a set of “shovels”. Any suggestions.

  3. calum

    i play with nike v r pro combo irons. they have pocket cavities in the longer irons and feel lovely off of the face. they are a forged iron and i love them. best buy i have ever made. they are quite thin on the topline so are not shovel like. maybe worth a look?

  4. Jure

    Hi, my handicap is 26… bigest problem i have is slice… which set would you recomand, i am so new in golf

  5. arch

    It would be helpful if you listed them by cost as well as your rankings

    1. Josh Listing Owner

      Hey Arch,

      I like the idea, but unfortunately the prices for these irons change somewhat regularly on Amazon, so it’s tough to make a list with accurate costs. Thanks for visiting Par3NearMe!

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