Best Game Improvement Irons

Gone are the days when you were only able to choose between traditional blade irons and simplistic cavity back irons.

These days the types of irons have been further categorised and instead fall into either players, game improvement or super game improvement. These are fairly generalised categories, but all feature certain design aspects and features that make them suitable for different golfers.

In this article we look at some of the best game improvement irons on the market that suit the widest range of golfers. These irons are generally designed to offer more distance and forgiveness, while allowing some workability for the slightly lower handicapped golfer seeking to improve even further on to players’ irons at some stage.

Other Club Reviews: Beginner Irons | Beginner Golf Sets | Ladies Golf Clubs | Golf Clubs for Seniors | Junior Golf Sets

Best Game Improvement Irons

1. Ping G410 Irons

PING G410 irons

The PING G410 irons are our #1 choice for best game improvement irons.

At first glance they do have the look and feel of game improvement irons and these have definitely improved in the looks department in comparison to its G400 predecessor.

Ping have even improved the offset and chunkiness/size of the clubhead compared to the G400 yet they haven’t sacrificed playability.

The G410 irons are cast, but have an incredible feel thanks to the aluminium and santoprene elastomer materials in the rear of the clubhead.

Pros

  • Incredibly easy to hit and very forgiving on mishits
  • Launches high and long thanks to the low CG design and lower than traditional lofts
  • The Hydropearl finish reduces friction when the club interacts with turf to ensure a clean, consistent strike
  • They’ve come on in leaps and bounds in terms of appearance over the G400’s

Cons

  • Not necessarily the longest irons we tested, but not far off either

2. Callaway Rogue X Irons

Callaway Rogue X

Using very premium materials and advanced design features the Rogue X irons suit a wide range of players seeking more distance and enjoyment in their game without requiring extra effort.

Rogue X irons rival some of the high end brands when it comes to price, but these are now huge value dropping in price a touch since new Callaway iron models were released earlier this year.

Compared to the standard Rogue irons, the X model is slightly bigger and wider in order to deepen centre of gravity and offer more forgiveness.

The Rogue X are incredibly long and with a 7 iron carries up to 10 yards further than the other irons we tested in this category.

Pros

  • Exceptionally easy to strike consistently well out the centre of the club
  • High towering ball flight particularly with the long irons
  • Great value now with newer models having been released since
  • Incredibly long in terms of overall carry

Cons

  • Not the best looking clubs in all honesty, particularly the long irons that display the slight bulge behind clubface at address
  • Sound is slightly on the hollow side

3. Mizuno JPX919 Hot Metal Irons

JPX919 Hot Metal irons

This set forms part of the JPX919 range that also includes the super game improvement JPX919 Hot Metal irons and the JPX919 Tour irons that are immensely popular on worldwide professional tours (particularly with those non-contracted equipment players).

The JPX919 Forged irons feature Boron metal that has been infused into the soft carbon steel that makes up the body of the club. This metal is stronger and allows for a thinner face and larger cavity back design that improves distance and forgiveness without sacrificing the silky feel Mizuno irons are known for.

Admittedly - these aren’t as long as the Callaway Rogue X or as forgiving as the Ping G410, but they are still a superb set of game improvement irons that will make a difference.

Pros

  • An incredibly soft feel across the entire face thanks to the Grain Flow Forging
  • Narrowed shot dispersion and consistent distance even on mishits thanks to the added boron in the forged steel
  • High launch and good spin rates on every iron ensures more control
  • Wonderful look at address that is meshed between chunky and too small and the satin finish is superb

Cons

  • Not as forgiving as many other game improvement irons especially for higher handicapped players looking to transition into this category

4. Cleveland CBX Irons

Cleveland CBX irons

The Cleveland CBX irons are the best price of all the options we’ve tested. A humble looking set that still carries enough spark in terms of aesthetics. 

The Dual V Sole grind (as in the RTX-3 wedge) aids the club getting through turf that much easier right throughout the set. The 3 – 7 iron has the Launcher face Cup which aids forgiveness and makes them a whole lot easier to strike out the centre.

The long irons have a thick topline, but is still not overpowering and won’t scare the lower handicapper. The short irons, also with thick topline, look solid and appealing and scream playability.

Pros

  • Lightweight Dynamic Gold DST 98 stock shafts provide higher clubhead speed and feel great
  • Look good in the address position particularly the short irons
  • Dual V Grind sole aids playability by cutting through the turf that fraction easier
  • Great value for money in the CBX set

Cons

  • The long irons don’t feel or sound fantastic, but that is generally the trade off in game improvement iron sets

5. Titleist 718 AP1 Irons

Titleist 718 AP1 Irons

Ever since Titleist launched the first generation of the AP1 irons in the 710 range, this model has evolved to become one of the better sets of game improvement irons on the market.

Using many of the design features in the forged AP2 irons the 718 AP1 irons are cast, slightly chunkier in size and have more offset to make them more forgiving and easier to hit.

Despite being cast, the multi-material construction offers a softer and more pleasing feel than most other cast irons with plenty of distance, a high launch and loads of forgiveness on mishits.

Pros

  • Look really good both at address position and from the rear of clubhead
  • Superb feel for a cast construction
  • Launches the ball high and far with low spin
  • Progressive design makes the long irons very easy to hit and the shorter, scoring irons more workable and accurate

Cons

  • No 3 iron in the set, although all of the irons in the set have considerably stronger than traditional lofts

Improvement Golf Irons Buying Guide

Design and Feel

Game improvement irons feature certain design aspects that allow them to fit into this category. They generally have slightly more offset than players irons to give you more time to square the face at impact and therefore produce a soft draw or straight flight.

They also have thicker toplines and soles due to the increased perimeter weighting that makes the face more stable and forgiving on mishits. The wider sole helps to reduce the club’s ability to dig into the turf at impact and this helps to produce a consistently cleaner strike.

When it comes to feel it all depends on what materials are used in the construction of the clubheads. You may get a game improvement set that is forged and therefore will feel softer, while other sets might be cast but feature vibration dampening material behind the face that improves feel dramatically.

Ease of Use

Game improvement irons are designed to be easy to use.

They generally feature slightly lower than traditional lofts per iron that helps increase distance and reduce spin slightly. The additional offset also helps to ensure a consistently squarer face at impact.

For the player seeking a straighter ball flight and isn’t too worried about shaping their shots in the air game improvement irons are definitely the best choice, and with the variety on offer you will find a set that suits your game more precisely.

Value for Money

Thanks to the game improvement irons category being so wide you will always find a set of these irons that will suit your budget.

Price mostly depends on the materials used in the construction and sometimes the various technologies used by the different brands can affect price too.

For the most part it generally comes down to feel and therefore whether you would prefer to pay more for a forged set of irons or settle for a more affordable cast set.

Been hooked on golf since I was 12 and lived on a golf estate while at school. Began to work in Golf Industry during university and spent a year on the Sunshine Tour as a media operator. Subsequently became deputy editor of Compleat Golfer in South Africa for 5 years, specializing in equipment and travel reviews. After that I became a consultant to a major golf chain, testing and reviewing all equipment. Also a Callaway custom fitter and play off a 2 handicap when actually getting the chance to play!

1 Comment
  1. Jason ….. I’d have to disagree with your choice of the Ping G400 as a “Game Improvement” iron. I’d put it in a category called “Shot Improvement”. My personal experience has taught me that excessive offset, which this Ping iron has, will not help anyone improve their game. In fact, they will be fighting balls going left of target every time out because the clubface has a little extra time to shut down prior to impact. No chance for improvement there! However, you can put a bad swing on the ball with this club and get a reasonable outcome. Shot improvement! Manufacturers are misleading the public using the term game improvement.

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