Best Golf Irons 2017 – Expert Review Of The Best Irons On The Market

Welcome to our Best Golf Irons 2017 review!

In this comprehensive guide we have sifted through the absolute best golf irons currently available on the market. The guide separates irons by category, price and features to help you find the best golf irons for your game.

We have tried to keep our selection pretty broad in terms of handicap suitability, but admittedly, most of the irons featured below are for low single figure to mid-teen handicaps.

If you are just beginning golf or are a high handicapper we recommend you check out our review of the Best Golf Clubs for Beginners, or better still check out our selection of Best Irons For Beginners.

Let’s jump into our Best Golf Irons review and find out which is best for you and why!

Best Golf Irons

Use the quicklinks to navigate our Best Golf Irons Review.

Low Handicap Players

  1. Mizuno MP18
  2. Titleist 718 AP2
  3. Callaway Apex Pro 16
  4. Srixon Z 765
  5. Ping iBlade
  6. Mizuno MP5
  7. Titleist 716 AP2
  8. Taylormade PSi Tour

Low to Mid Handicap Players

  1. Callaway Steelhead XR
  2. Callaway Epic
  3. Taylormade M1
  4. Mizuno JPX900 Forged
  5. Titleist C16

Assessment Criteria

In general irons have the most stability in terms of the golf market as new models are only released every year to two years. Some manufacturers like Taylormade are a lot more regular, but if you purchase a brand new set of irons that have just been released you can be fairly sure that you’ll be current for at least 15 – 18 months.

With the huge variety of offerings on the market, the most challenging aspect we had was choosing a comprehensive set of irons to review.

We initially cast the net wide, but quickly whittled the list down to our view of the best golf irons available on the market at the moment.

Below you can find a side-by-side comparison of our list of best golf irons.

All irons were put to the test against our standard assessment model, where we looked at 4 key aspects: Design and Appearance, Build Quality, Control & Performance, Design & Appearance and Value for Money. Individual scores of each of these aspects was then aggregated to give an overall assessment score, as follows:

Overall Mark Score Description
Outstanding A+ 9.6 – 10 Stop the clock and buy now. This piece of equipment will change your game.
Excellent A 9.0 – 9.5 Superb piece of gear. Amazing quality, performance and value for money.
Great B+ 8.6 – 8.9 Great offering. This piece of gear won’t let you down.
Good B 8.0 – 8.5 Solid piece of gear with only minor issues to criticise.
Average C+ 7.6 – 7.9 Adequate offering, but not the best value for money.
Average C 7.0 – 7.5 Not the most exciting piece of gear, seek alternatives.
Weak D+ 6.6 – 6.9 Leaves lots to be desired. You can do a lot better.
Weak D 6.0 – 6.5 Steer well clear of this gear. Not worth the money!

Side-by-Side Comparison

Below is a side-by-side comparison of the top 10 irons we reviewed in our Best Golf Irons assessment. To read our detailed individual reviews just click on a set of irons.

Image DescriptionScore
Editor choice
Mizuno MP18 Irons Review

Mizuno MP18 Irons Review

Want four (okay, three-and-a-half) sets of irons for the price of one? Sounds good, right? Well, that’s what ...

2 Srixon Z 765 Irons Review

Srixon Z 765 Irons Review

On this page you’ll find our detailed assessment of the Srixon Z 765 Irons, the pros and cons, and a side-by-side ...

Best price
3 Taylormade M1 Irons Review

Taylormade M1 Irons Review

On this page you’ll find our detailed the Taylormade M1 Irons Review, the pros and cons, and a side-by-side ...

Best seller
4 Callaway Epic Irons Review

Callaway Epic Irons Review

"If you are ever caught on a golf course during a storm and are afraid of lightning, hold up a 1-iron. Not even God can ...

5 Mizuno JPX 900 Forged Irons Review

Mizuno JPX 900 Forged Irons Review

Like many people, I’ve got a bit of an eclectic bag. I always wonder why some of my mates set out their stall, ...

6 Titleist C16 Irons Review

Titleist C16 Irons Review

On this page you’ll find our detailed assessment of the Titleist C16 Irons, the pros and cons, and a side-by-side ...

7 Titleist 718 AP2 Irons Review

Titleist 718 AP2 Irons Review

Since 2015, you haven’t been able to look at a “Best of” chart when it comes to Tour irons, and not see the Titleist ...

8 Mizuno MP5 Irons Review

Mizuno MP5 Irons Review

Whilst Mizuno don’t spend anywhere near as much on player contracts or marketing as other club manufacturers, the ...

Best value
9 Callaway Steelhead XR Irons Review

Callaway Steelhead XR Irons Review

On this page you’ll find our detailed assessment of the Callaway Steelhead XR Irons, the pros and cons, and a ...

10 Callaway Apex Pro 16 Irons Review

Callaway Apex Pro 16 Irons Review

Our Callaway Apex Pro 16 Irons Review highlights an all forged offering from Callaway golf that is slightly smaller ...

Best Golf Irons by Category

Here is a brief overview of the best golf irons by category:

  • Editor’s Choice – Mizuno MP18
  • Best Value – Callaway Steelhead XR
  • Pro’s Choice – Titleist 718 AP2
  • Best Sellers – Callaway Epic
  • Best Price – Taylormade M1
  • Worthy Competitors – Titleist 716 AP2, Callaway Apex Pro 16, Srixon Z 765, Titleist C16, Ping iBlade, Mizuno MP5, Taylormade PSi Tour

Editor’s Choice

Mizuno MP18 Irons

Undoubtedly aimed at the better player, but boy oh boy are these just spectacular. Not just in terms of appearance either.

Three and a half sets to choose from in order to maximize playability and improve or enhance certain areas of your iron game that will result in better scoring. Massive amounts of workability and versatility on offer and pin point accuracy if iron play is a strong point in your game.

If you’re a 5 handicap or lower and are passionate about this beautiful game then give these a go – you are sure to be wowed!

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Here is a summary of the pros and cons. To read the full review click here.


PROS:
  • Option of combining aspects of three and a half sets maximizing your iron play potential
  • Control and workability some of the best we’ve ever tested and experienced
  • More cushioning available in the SC’s and MMC’s
  • Beautiful overall design with just one step across the rear of the blade

CONS:
  • Only the best ball strikers should give the true MP18 blades a go. The other variations are more suitable if not

Best Value

Callaway Steelhead XR Irons

At first glance there doesn’t really seem to be much difference between these and the good-old X-14s. But there are actually a ton of enhancements here, and these clubs really do set the bar at a whole new level in terms of forgiveness, launch, and, to a lesser extent, distance.

Is this going to be the set of choice for low single-figure players? Doubtful. But in terms of game improvement, these irons are right up there, and we think there’s a good chance the Steelhead XRs could float your boat – and at an affordable price too.

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Here is a summary of the pros and cons. To read the full review click here.


PROS:
  • Callaway’s Face Cup technology enhances distance and feel
  • Variable CG from long to short irons works effectively
  • Forgiveness in the extreme
  • A wallet-friendly price tag

CONS:
  • The lowest of low single-figure players won’t be interested


Pro’s Choice

Titleist 718 AP2 Irons

The primary aim of the 718 AP2s was to make them slightly more forgiving than their 716 equivalents. And Titleist have definitely done this. Thinner clubfaces, sturdy inserts and clever weight redistribution has done wonders for ball speeds off the clubface at impact.

The feel and playability have been improved on making the 718 AP2’s just brilliant. Not to mention just how classy they look too.

The AP2’s are absolutely world class irons and provide ample distance, playability, forgiveness and feel. If in doubt regarding price – just know these are going to be in it for the long haul and will hold their longevity in terms of design and performance.

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Here is a summary of the pros and cons. To read the full review click here.


PROS:
  • Considerable improvement in terms of forgiveness from the 716’s to the 718’s
  • Feel beautiful through impact particularly the 5, 6 & 7 irons for some reason
  • The steel face inserts have added a few yards to each and every iron – always handy!
  • Thumbs up all round in terms of appearance – just classy and clean

CONS:
  • You need to be a good ball striker in order to get the most out of the AP2’s

Best Seller

Callaway Epic Irons

epic-irons-review
A world class iron that will appeal to a wide facet of golfer. A reasonably thick topline paired up with a compact face screams playability and will aid confidence especially with long irons.

Very long and also consistent in terms of dispersion left and right of target. They are slightly expensive, but man are these going to turn your iron play around. You may not notice it at first, but give them a handful of rounds and you’ll see just what we’re talking about.

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Here is a summary of the pros and cons. To read the full review click here.


PROS:
  • Low spinning off the clubface providing superb ball flight with plenty of distance
  • Perfect combination between a generous topline and compact clubface
  • Forgiving and consistent in terms of distance and dispersion
  • Suited to a wide range of player despite being termed more of a ‘game improvement’ iron

CONS:
  • A bit on the pricey side of things
  • Sounds a bit dull on off center mishits, but generally still more than acceptable

Best Price

Taylormade M1 Irons

The M1 irons impressed us tremendously. The Face Slot paired with Speed Pocket technologies have a profound impact on forgiveness, but the small, stylish look is retained through a reasonable amount of offset. A thin top line along with shorter heads from heel to toe provide an all around good look.

Not to mention just how good these irons feel through impact – fantastic! The M1s have a unique design which is going to appeal to a wide range of golfer and at the price they are certainly going to become a fan favorite in next to no time. Great set of irons by Taylormade.

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Here is a summary of the pros and cons. To read the full review click here.


PROS:
  • The Face Slot/Speed Pocket combo has delivered accuracy, distance and forgiveness all in one
  • The lower center of gravity has delivered even more forgiveness than previous player’s irons
  • The M1’s are compact and look the part – will definitely appeal to a wide range of players
  • Good value for money

CONS:
  • Not the easiest irons to work in terms of shot shape – if this doesn’t bother you then no problems here!

Worthy Competitors

Mizuno JPX 900 Forged Irons

We wouldn’t say that Mizuno have reinvented the wheel when you compare the JPX-900 Forged with their JPX-850 predecessors.

But out of all the tweaks and improvements that have been made, the most impressive is the variable face thickness design, which encompasses the benefits of weight redistribution you associate more with top-of-the-range drivers.

All in all, it’s a truly world-class product, guaranteed to improve distance and forgiveness. Well worth giving these puppies a test drive.

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Here is a summary of the pros and cons. To read the full review click here.


PROS:
  • Variable face thickness underpins cutting-edge design
  • Tangible differences in ball speeds and distance when compared with JPX-850s, and excellent flight/trajectory
  • Unmistakable forged feel, and sound is very pleasing
  • Redistribution of weight as a result of thinner face to corners of the PowerFrame noticeably enhances forgiveness

CONS:
  • A step in the right direction for reaching out to beginners/high handicappers, but not quite the silver bullet

Callaway Apex Pro 16 Irons

The Apex Pro 16’s scream distance and ease of use. Callaway have taken all players opinions into account and established that their preferred look was the original X-Forged 13 irons some years back. Engineers have subsequently done what they could in order to mimic that set, but add a modern spin to it.

The forged slightly bulky appearance provide superb feel on both center and off-center strikes minimizing that important distance gap. The graded COG provides optimal trajectory for each and every club although we still thought they’re a touch on the low side. Slightly higher in terms of retail price than competitors , but they are superb value for money!

If you’re in the low to mid handicap bracket the Apex Pro’s will add that fun factor back into your game and add confidence at the same time.

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Here is a summary of the pros and cons. To read the full review click here.


PROS:
  • More than long enough and almost certainly going to add yards to your current set of irons
  • Forgiving set of players’ irons – particularly in the longer irons such as 3 & 4
  • High launch angle which really aids your long iron play and being able to attack tighter targets

CONS:
  • It is somewhat of an effort to hit them with a low ball flight when need be
  • The appearance is slightly chunkier than some other manufacturers although still not over the top by any means

Srixon Z 765 Irons

We don’t like reinvention of the wheel for the sake of it, and it’s clear that Srixon have built on the strengths of the Z 745 range; in particular, the Z 745s. That means you’re effectively guaranteeing yourself extra consistency, and a good deal of precision and control with these. That’s amplified by the Tour V.T. Sole, which minimizes friction with the turf at impact.

The Z 765s are undoubtedly targeted at better players, but, that said, the muscle cavity provides a decent amount of forgiveness, and that extra bit of cushion will open the door to the average weekly golfer too. And then there’s the design… just, wow!

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Here is a summary of the pros and cons. To read the full review click here.


PROS:
  • Very clean look: thin top line, thin sole, minimal offset and understated design
  • 1020 carbon steel makes for a delightfully soft feel, but with good feedback on bad shots too
  • The price is reasonable
  • A quality player’s club with well-disguised forgiveness

CONS:
  • The only reason not to go down this road is if you already have a set of Z 745s. Not quite enough differentiation to warrant an upgrade

Titleist C16 Irons

titleist-c16-irons-review
The C16 Concept irons are state of the art in every way, and the mix of high-quality materials is almost futuristic. Where to even begin? The slim, but immensely robust K301 Cup Face in the longer irons which produce unrivaled carry and distance? The precision of the short irons, underpinned by the 1RK95 High-Strength Steel Face insert? Or how about their sleek design?

Perhaps these irons aren’t geared towards the lowest of low handicappers, but, if you don’t fall into that category, we can assure you that they’re simply out of this world. It’s just the price tag you need to contend with.

Limited Availability on eBay Only

Here is a summary of the pros and cons. To read the full review click here.


PROS:
  • It’s an eclectic mix of everything cutting edge in iron technology
  • Steel (K301) Cup Face yields tremendous carry and distance in long irons
  • 1RK95 High-Strength Steel Face in the shorter irons gives you plenty of control
  • Forgiveness to the nth degree from 4 to PW

CONS:
  • It’s eye-wateringly expensive. This one’s for the big dogs
  • These are game improvement technologies at work, so probably won’t appeal to low handicappers


Ping iBlade Irons

ping-iblade-irons-review
For us, we felt the most notable improvement in the iBlade when compared with the S55 irons was forgiveness. Not in the sense that they are dramatically easier to hit, but with the slenderer ‘bladey’ look, at first glance you might think your bad shot could sting a little. Not so – the ball gets away beautifully.

These are surely the most stylish irons Ping have produced to date too, and it’s a good modern blade. But does $1,200 represent good value here? We’re not so sure…

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Here is a summary of the pros and cons. To read the full review click here.


PROS:
  • Forgiveness enhanced by extra tungsten plug in the toe
  • Clean, compact design with minimal offset
  • Very easy to hit, with excellent sound and feel
  • Good feedback on mishits, despite impressive levels of forgiveness

CONS:
  • Lower spin and less penetration in ball flights
  • On the pricey side of average

Mizuno MP5 Irons

The Mizuno MP5 Irons are our Editor’s Choice for Irons.

Mizuno and the word ‘irons’ go hand in hand. The MP5’s are quite simply beautiful in terms of both look and feel.

Mizuno have always been known for their blade irons and the MP5’s are another perfect example. What really appealed to us was the excellent flow of the set which provided the same level of performance, feel and forgiveness. The MP5’s generally provide a low trajectory that helps keep it on target especially with short iron approaches.

Grain Flow Forged from a single billet of 1025E Pure Select Mild Carbon steel for exceptional feel. If you’re a low handicapper then these are a fantastic set of irons that will check just about every box – cut, draw, slice, hook, low stinger. You will definitely be taken aback at the versatility. If you’re a mid to high handicapper though, stay away from the MP5’s not because they’re bad. But because they are exceptionally demanding in terms of ball striking.

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Here is a summary of the pros and cons. To read the full review click here.


PROS:
  • Absolutely beautiful blade design
  • Pure strikes provide exceptional feedback and feel beautifully soft
  • Mizuno engineers have fine-tuned acoustics and vibration at impact
  • Thin top-line and minimal offset that provide the purest ball flight for the better player

CONS:
  • If you are not a pure ball striker, these babies are not for you

Titleist 716 AP2 Irons

Titleist are definitely a sought after brand in golf and that is not likely to change even in the next two decades. Quality in a nutshell.

Rated as best value due to a number of factors, but primarily the dispersion in both distance and direction is superb. No other forged irons can meet the technical advancements of the 716 AP2’s and that says a lot.

What is most appealing though is that even though they are aimed at the better player, the forgiveness is excellent. So you don’t have to stress when standing over a long iron having to carry water – the AP2’s help your confidence big time.

Really good value for money option and these will hold their style and character well for a few years to come.

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Here is a summary of the pros and cons. To read the full review click here.


PROS:
  • Solid attractive appearance to the clubhead
  • 25% more tungsten to improve off center strikes and forgiveness
  • Compact club-head with little offset
  • Exceptionally consistent in both shot dispersion and distance, which is a huge plus

CONS:
  • Not as long as competitors
  • No ‘spring’ like effect from center strikes providing added distance

Taylormade PSI Tour Irons

Taylormade have definitely come to the fore in the last 15 years and provide exciting equipment for every golfer.

The PSI Tour’s feel and sound beautiful on reasonable to good strikes and are long enough to keep up with the long hitting ‘Jones’.

Workability is fantastic and will provide the confidence to attack the riskier targets. At the slightly higher price than competitors they’re still of good value if you are a low handicap player.

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Here is a summary of the pros and cons. To read the full review click here.


PROS:
  • Relatively long, more than enough under the hood to keep you happy in this department
  • Inspired by the help of leading professionals
  • Attractive intermediate top line and little offset
  • Incredibly soft feel on center strikes at impact

CONS:
  • Not exceptionally forgiving
  • If you are a poor ball striker or handicapped over 5, then forget these puppies. They are only targeted at the best amateurs and professionals

Key Considerations

Build Quality

You don’t have to be an equipment nerd to appreciate how the bar is being raised in terms of manufacturing quality. We’re seeing all sorts of experimentation with materials: everything from tungsten to lighter forms of carbon are being thrown into the melting pot.

Different face inserts and designs are findings ways to add strength to the clubhead in the absence of bulk, and it’s releasing the shackles in terms of both distance and consistency as a result.

Whether forged or cast iron is your bag, there is much to contemplate (and admire) when it comes to quality control. Luckily, you’re in good hands with us.

Control and Performance

It’s pretty safe to say that there is a dividing line when it comes to golfers of different abilities. Leisure golfers seek forgiveness (and more forgiveness) in their irons, whereas better players, generally speaking, thrive on blades which could cut diamonds, and which provide ample feedback on bad shots.

For manufacturers, this has often resulted in a trade-off, depending on which type of golfer they seek to target. But this once mutually-exclusive relationship between forgiveness and slimness is diminishing, and we golfers really are starting to get the best of both worlds.

The question is, which brand marries these two elements best?

Design and Appearance

There is nothing quite like putting an iron down on the ground, and having a top line that suits your eye. It just gives you that priceless extra bit of confidence at address, and I firmly believe that a set of irons you’re proud to own takes shots off your score. But there’s a lot more to it than just the top line.

Offset, badging and thickness of the blade are just a few of the aesthetics which matter, while the type of material used will play a crucial role in the look and feel.

Ultimately, these are fairly subjective things to assess, but there’s no doubting that when you come across a club which looks the part, you’ll just know it.

Value for Money

Within the world of golf equipment, you’re probably not going to find greater scope for variance in terms of price than with irons. True, that’s partly because you’re going to be purchasing eight separate clubs – or more! But it’s also because the difference in quality between the best and the worst is so vastly polarized.

So a lot of it depends on what you’re after, and your ability isn’t necessarily a determinant in this regard either. There is cutting-edge stuff out there for those hunting down game-improvement irons; in much the same way that paying for the finest of fine blades comes at a price.

But, as ever, if you are being asked to pay a lot of money for something, you need to understand why. Only with this in hand can you make meaningful comparisons with cheaper – or pricier – alternatives.

Have Your Say!

We put this article together to help players, like yourself, find a set of golf irons that suits their specific game, level and budget. By keeping this guide updated and via feedback from the GA community, we hope this article becomes a great resource for anyone looking to get a new set of irons. Please let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Golf Assessor is the web’s No. 1 independent golf equipment review website. Each week 1000s of avid golfers visit Golf Assessor to get our latest views and reviews on new equipment releases in the golfing industry. We try to keep things light and fun at Golf Assessor, whilst maintaining a rigorous, thorough and fair assessment process that puts golf clubs and gear to the real test.

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