The utility or driving iron has made a strong resurgence in golf in recent years and advanced technology has made these clubs better performing replacements for traditional long irons while also being a preferred alternative to hybrids and higher lofted fairway woods for many better players.
There is no doubt that driving irons are used more by the better ball striker, but manufacturers have improved the playability and forgiveness factors allowing the market to open up to include the slightly higher handicap golfer.
They are a fantastic asset to your starting line-up and allow for another powerful option when faced with a narrow tee shot or approach into Par 5’s.
We have highlighted five of the best performing utility irons currently on the market for you to make a more informed decision on which one would be most ideal for your game.
Best Golf Driving Irons
1. Callaway Apex UT
The Callaway Apex UT is our number one choice for best driving iron.
This forged hollow-construction golf club has a soft, silky look and feel thanks to the forged carbon steel and the satin finish. This look and finish, and the loft options allow you to easily replace your Callaway Apex long irons in your set. It provides the perfect option for you on slightly shorter narrower Par 4’s where you’re needing to get it in play, but as far down there as possible. Just so pure.
The 18-degree 2-iron Apex UT is very popular among better players thanks to the feel and ease of use. And the ability to adjust the weight through a port in the sole makes it easier to control the launch and spin produced by this club. Undoubtedly one of the longest driving irons we’ve ever tested.
2. Titleist 718 T-MB
Arguably the best performing driving iron for better players and the most popular on professional tours globally. The clubhead is much more compact and looks very similar to the 718 MB blade. The 718 T-MB is even available as a full set of irons.
When it comes to distance the 718 T-MB wins that race. Despite being so compact the ball seems to explode off the face with a much lower launch and spin resulting in more roll and increase workability.
As mentioned before this club is very popular among professionals and better golfers for good reason. Higher handicapped golfers with slower swing speeds may battle to get the best performance out of this utility iron.
3. Ping G410 Crossover
When the original G Crossover was first launched it turned a few heads as it was designed to be the perfect middle man for those wanting something between a long iron and hybrid. The G400 followed suit and now it’s the G410 that has taken centre stage.
The G410 has moved more towards the long iron appearance in comparison to the G400 and is notably more attractive especially from the address position. What is great to see is that Ping have added internal ribs in the clubhead that connect the sole to the crown in order to improve feel, sound and most importantly performance.
The Hydropearl Chrome finish G410 Crossover has a tungsten weight in the toe of the clubhead for added forgiveness and higher MOI. Fantastic driving iron for the better player and ball striker.
4. Mizuno MP-18 MMC Fli Hi
You can never go wrong with a Mizuno iron and the MP-18 MMC Fli Hi is no different. Designed to complement the latest MP-18 range of irons the Fli Hi replaces traditional long irons in these sets seamlessly.
Despite the MP series of irons always being known as the better player’s irons, the Fli Hi is easy enough to hit by golfers of all abilities. The cast clubhead is surprisingly soft feeling and the satin finish looks much more luxurious while also reducing glare.
The Fli Hi offers a great all-round performance in feel, forgiveness and distance. It is also easy to control the launch and workability and the best part is that you can replace as much as a 6-iron in a traditional set with the MP-18 MMC Fli Hi driving/utility irons.
5. Cobra KING Utility
The only adjustable driving/utility iron on the market. The two options of KING Utility irons allow you to adjust the loft up to three degrees and add a draw too. These are great clubs for those who have either extra wedges or fairway woods in their bag and need to drop a club.
The 2/3-iron can be adjusted between 18 and 21 degrees while the 3/4-iron can be adjusted between 21 and 24 degrees. These are the traditional long iron lofts making the KING Utility the perfect replacement in your set.
Depending on whether you need a lower, running ball or a higher, soft landing flight you can adjust the club to suit the conditions on the day.
Best Utility Iron Buyers Guide
Design and Feel
Driving irons will more likely be slightly chunkier in look than traditional long irons.
The topline will be thicker and there will be slightly more offset, unless you are using game improvement irons. Better players will prefer the look of a more compact utility iron, of which there are some on the market.
When it comes to feel, if you are using forged irons you will likely prefer a driving iron with a forged construction or at least a forged face insert. This method of club manufacturing produces a softer, more buttery feel.
Driving irons that have thicker soles and muscle pads behind the face will more than likely launch the ball higher and be less workable for the better player. While this may be the answer as a replacement for a long iron, it may not necessarily offer as much performance if you are looking for a low hitting tee club in windy conditions.
Ease of use
The degree of how easy a driving iron is to hit depends mostly on the design.
Those that are created to be a lower launching and spinning alternative to a hybrid or high lofted fairway wood will generally be more workable and will be preferred by better golfers who possess the high swing speed and ability to compress the ball more effectively.
The majority of driving irons are designed to be easier to hit than a traditional long iron, and longer in distance too. But as the lofts increase on a driving iron the higher they do tend to launch, especially when compared to a traditional long iron.
Value for money
The affordability of a driving iron is mostly dependent on the materials used in the club’s design and construction.
A forged club will almost always be more expensive as the carbon steel costs more.
This does affect feel and again you often pay more for a product that feels more luxurious.