What are players irons? To answer that question, it’s easier to start with what players irons are not.

Players irons are not “game-improvement irons,” which have oversized club heads, thin faces and wide soles to help golfers hit their shots higher and farther, particularly on mishits. They are not “blades” or “blade-like irons,” either, which have small club heads, thick faces and narrow soles that better golfers often prefer because of their versatility.

Think of players irons as something in between, mixing different elements of both game-improvement and blade-like irons to give golfers a blend of distance, forgiveness and versatility. So how do you know what players irons are for you? That’s where we come in.

For this year’s 2015 Gear Trials: Best Players Irons list, we polled six of the top custom club fitters on the planet. That’s not our opinion. Four of the six are rated top-100 club fitters in America by Golf Digest, while the other two (Modern Golf and True Spec Golf) are top international club fitters. Each club fitting team also performs in excess of 1,000 professional fittings per year.

The 2015 Gear Trials Panel includes:

Learn more about our Gear Trials: Best Clubs Lists

Our Gear Trials Panel combines the experience of dozens of club fitters who, as a group, perform hundreds of Trackman-Based fittings each month with the latest clubs.

To make this list of the top-seven performing players irons currently available, we asked each Gear Trials Panelist to leave looks and feel out of the equation, and to base their votes solely on performance. 

This list gives golfers the information they’ve always wanted: What clubs are performing best for real golfers in real fittings?

Related: Looking for more forgiveness? Click here to read our 2015 Gear Trials: Best Game-Improvement Irons list. 

We learned from last year’s list that many of our readers are searching for irons that are more compact than the winners on this list. For that reason, we’ve added a Something Smaller section underneath certain winners. These irons have similar technologies as the winners, but are designed with more compact blade lengths, less offset, thinner top lines and narrower soles. Each of these irons also received votes from our Gear Trials Panel, but not enough to make it into our Top-7.

Before you scroll down to the list, we want to make one thing clear: We encourage every golfer to be fit for their next set of irons (and all their clubs) by a reputable fitter. We can make recommendations on what irons might be best for you, as we have below, but keep in mind that nearly every iron set is sold with slightly different lofts, lie angles, and stock shafts that will affect performance. They also have different blade lengths and sole widths, which will work better for different golfers depending on their needs.

This is the starting point for your next set of irons, not the finish line.

Editor’s Note: If you’re more concerned with the looks and feel of your irons than you are distance and forgiveness, STAY TUNED. We are in the process of finalizing 2015 Gear Trials: Best Blade Irons list that was created for golfers like you. 

The Winners

chart_geartrials15_bar_playersirons_v2

The Ratings

Below are the distance, forgiveness and overall ratings for each of our 2015 Gear Trials: Best Players Irons. The ratings (scaled 1-10) represent the votes of our Gear Trials Panel in each category.

Note: In cases of ties, irons are listed alphabetically.

geartrials_slider_playersirons_CALLAWAY

  • Construction: Forged, Multi-material
  • Pitching Wedge Loft: 45 degrees
  • Stock Shafts: True Temper XP 95 (steel), UST Mamiya Recoil 660/680 (graphite)
  • Price: $1,099

When you design a great players iron, it will stand the test of time. Case in point? Callaway’s Apex, which was launched in the fall of 2013 and continues to dominate many iron fittings across the country.

“The Apex offers high ball speed, and a relatively low launch and spin,” said one of our Gear Trials Panelists. “It’s going to look slightly bigger than most players irons, but it’s definitely one of the longest forgings. It’s great for high-ball hitters and those who tend to have too much spin with their irons. Apex often works great as a combo set with Apex Pros, too.”

The Apex’s big ball speed comes from the merging of their 1020 carbon steel forged bodies with extremely thin, heat-treated 455 carpenter stainless steel faces. Each iron also undergoes a 40-minute milling process that enhances perimeter weighting for more forgiveness.

“[These are] one of the most popular irons, specifically for guys with high ball flights,” said one of our Gear Trials Panelists. “Quite possibly the lowest-launching and lowest-spinning iron with great ball speed.”

Something Smaller: Callaway’s Apex Pro irons are noticeably smaller at address than the Apex irons, and lack their fast faces. But thanks to Callaway’s addition of a tungsten sole weight in the long and mid irons, extensive milling in the cavity and slightly stronger lofts (the pitching wedge is 46 degrees), they’re a great compromise for golfers who can’t stomach the larger size of the Apex, or don’t want to hit their irons quite as far.

“[The Apex Pros] are really long for their size, and they’re a lot more workable than Apex,” said one of our Gear Trials Panelists. “At address, they look pretty much the same as a blade.”

Buy them from CallawayBuy Now on Amazon

TaylorMade RSi 2

geartrials_slider_playersirons_TAYLORMADE

  • Construction: Cast, Multi-material (wedges are forged)
  • Pitching Wedge Loft: 45 degrees
  • Stock Shafts: KBS 105 (steel), Matrix Program F15 (graphite)
  • Price: $999 (steel), $1,199 (graphite)

“The best feeling iron of the bunch more times than not was TaylorMade RSi 2,” said one of our Gear Trials Panelists.”

That’s generally not the feedback you get on one of the longest-flying irons on the market, but with TaylorMade’s RSi 2, it’s a reality.

The RSi 2 irons debut what TaylorMade calls “Face Slots,” two vertical, polymer-filled slots just outside the grooves of the faces on the 2-8 irons that improve ball speed on mishits. They work with yet another slot — a “Speed Pocket” in the sole of the 2-7 irons — that raises launch, lowers spin and improves ball speed — three important ingredients for more distance.

“These are so much better than TaylorMade’s previous past slotted players irons,” one of our Gear Trials Panelists said. “The size and shape are right where they need to be for this category, and they’re crazy long and forgiving.”

Something Smaller: TaylorMade’s RSi TP irons use the same Face Slots and Speed Pocket as the RSi 2 irons, but don’t have the bulk. The technology still works, however — according to our Gear Trials Panel — even in an iron that’s barely bigger than a blade.

“We noticed that they launch really high, and without as much spin as irons in their category,” said one of our Gear Trials Panelists. 

The RSi TP’s won’t fly as far as the RSi 2’s — the pitching wedge measures 47 degrees, 2 degrees weaker — but they’re plenty long for golfers in need of an iron of this size.

Buy them from TaylorMadeBuy Now on Amazon

Ping i25

geartrials_slider_playersirons_PING

  • Construction: Cast, Multi-Material
  • Pitching Wedge Loft: 46 degrees
  • Stock Shafts: Ping CFS (steel), Ping TFC 189I (graphite)
  • Price: $99 per club (steel), $125 per club (graphite)

For the second-straight year, Ping’s i25 irons were identified by our Gear Trials Panel as the most forgiving players irons in the world. But two other things are still true about the i25’s, as well: they’re shorter than the other irons on this list, due to their slightly slower ball speeds, and they’re also the highest-spinning. But if it’s pure forgiveness you want, you simply can’t do better than the i25’s.

The i25’s are cast from 17-4 stainless steel, and use a progressive design that includes larger, wider-soled long irons and smaller, narrower soled short irons to give golfers more of what they need from each end of the set.

“They don’t go as far as leading models, but they’re deadly accurate … and for a cast club, they actually feel pretty soft,” said one of our Gear Trials Panelists.

Something Smaller: If the i25’s are too big for your liking, but you’re still looking for big forgiveness, give Ping’s S55’s a shot. The blade-like irons are cast from 17-4 stainless steel, but incorporate tungsten weights in the toe area of the irons to improve performance on mishits. Thermoplastic elastomer inserts behind the iron faces also help soften feel at impact.

“The S55 is outstanding for blade lovers, because it offers more forgiveness than the traditional blade,” said one of our Gear Trials Panelists. 

Nike Vapor Pro Combo

geartrials_slider_playersirons_NIKE

  • Construction: Forged, Multi-material
  • Pitching Wedge Loft: 46 degrees
  • Stock Shafts: True Temper DG Pro (steel)
  • Price: $1,099

One of the most popular trends in players irons is what’s called a “progressive design,” which merges larger, easier-to-hit long irons with smaller, more blade-like short irons. That gives golfers more distance and forgiveness on longer shots, and more versatility and trajectory control on shorter shots.

Nike’s Vapor Pro Combo irons fit that description, using “Spring Steel” faces in the 2-7 irons and a “Muscle Cavity” design in the 8-AW to give golfers the best of both worlds. There’s a slew of other new features as well: Nike’s “Modern Muscle design,” which moves more weight to the toe section of the cavity to position the CG in the true center of the club head, and the company’s “RZN Cavity” in the long irons (2-7), which saves weight from the center of the club heads to make them more forgiving.

“Low-ball hitters do great with these,” said one of our Gear Trials Panelists.

While not as distance-driven as other winners on this list — the pitching wedge measures a relatively tame 46 degrees — the Vapor Pro Combos aren’t short by any means.

“[They] actually hit it pretty far while not trying to be a distance iron,” said one of our Gear Trials Panelists.

If you like the sounds of a progressive design, and you’re into forged clubs, it’s hard do better than the Vapor Pro Combos in the players iron category.

Buy them from NikeBuy Now on Amazon

Srixon Z745

geartrials_slider_playersirons_SRIXON

  • Construction: Forged, Multi-material
  • Pitching Wedge Loft: 46 degrees
  • Stock Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold
  • Price: $999

“Forged irons that really fly.”

That’s what we were hearing from fitters in the Fall of 2014 about Srixon’s Z745 irons, and it rang true when the Gear Trials votes came in.

The Z745’s are forged from 1020 carbon steel, and have a medium-sized head shape that delivers one of the best blends of distance, forgiveness, feel and versatility of any of our winners. To help boost performance, Srixon also gave the long irons (3-6) tungsten weights in their toes, which broadens their sweet spot.

“On solid hits, these perform a lot like [Callaway’s] Apex irons,” one of our Gear Trials Panelists said. “They’re not quite as forgiving, but most golfers tell us that they feel better.”

Learn more from SrixonBuy Now on Amazon

Epon AF-503

Epon

geartrials_slider_playersirons_EPON

  • Construction: Forged, Multi-material
  • Pitching Wedge Loft: 45 degrees
  • Stock Shafts: n/a
  • Price: $280 per head

Most golf equipment aficionados have heard of Endo, the forging house that produces forged irons for many of golf leading equipment companies. But they many not have heard of Epon, the company’s in-house equipment brand.

Epon makes a full line of equipment, including drivers, fairway woods, hybrids, irons and wedges, but it’s the AF-503 irons that have the attention of our Gear Trials Panel.

“What amazes me is how high the Smash Factor is with the [AF-503] versus other brands, thereby creating higher ball speeds and more distance,” said one of our Gear Trials Panelists. “Launch is high and the spin tends to be on the lower side of optimal, but since they fly higher it’s OK to have a bit less spin.”

The AF-503’s have a one-piece body that is forged from S20C carbon steel. The design uses a deep undercut to position center of gravity low and deep in the club head, and Epon’s “Spring Steel Faces,” which are billet forged, drive their brisk ball speeds. The inclusion of a shock absorbing gel in the cavities of the AF-503’s creates the blade-like feel that many discerning golfers prefer.

Another feather in Epon’s cap? According to club builders, the tolerances of Epon’s clubs are exceptionally tight.

“From a builders perspective, the head weights are always very good, and they always come very very close to spec,” said one of our Gear Trials Panelists. 

Mizuno JPX-850 Forged

geartrials_slider_playersirons_MIZUNO

  • Construction: Forged
  • Pitching Wedge Loft: 45 degrees
  • Stock Shafts: True Temper XP 115 (steel), graphite available
  • Price: $999 (steel)

Mizuno’s JPX-850 Forged irons are made from a boron-infused steel, which Mizuno claims is 30 percent stronger than the 1025e carbon steel the company uses to create its other forged irons. Because of the increased strength, Mizuno opted to skip the face inserts used for many irons in this category, thinning the faces of the JPX-850 Forged to make them longer and more forgiving than their predecessors.

“Many of our customers like the look and feel of Mizuno’s MP irons, but they often need a set that’s easier to hit,” said one of our Gear Trials Panelists. “The JPX-850 Forged are more forgiving, and really consistent for as far as they fly.”

Maybe more than any other winner on this list, you’ll need to be a pretty good ball striker to get the most out of the compact JPX-850 Forged irons.

“Mizuno says they’re for golfers with handicaps from 6-to-16, but I think that’s a little high,” said one of our Gear Trials Panelists. “We’ve seen more success with lower handicappers.”

Buy them from MizunoBuy Now on Amazon

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105 COMMENTS

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  1. I’m curious to find out what blog system you have been working with?
    I’m having some small security problems with my latest site and I would like to find something more risk-free.

    Do you have any suggestions?

  2. I have a question regarding the scores between your categories of irons. Does a 9.5, in forgiveness in the players category equal a 9.5 in forgiveness in the game improvement category? Same question regarding distance. So, for instance, is the TM RSi 2 (9.75) comparatively as long and forgiving as the TM RSi 1 (9.75)?

  3. The i25s are a great club and have unbelievably soft feel and consistent distance on slight mis hits which is great for avoiding those hazards lurking short of the greens. Didn’t go with the stock cfs shafts (pro said they were shitty) and put s300s in them which may be helping there.

    Love the titleist and mizuno fan boi comments on here. Such overrated sticks and over priced, esp. Here in australia.

    Would like to give the nikes a hit if I can ever let the i25s go

  4. Great test and better results. Zak, try not to get offended by these comments. It is the 3% equipment junkies that are blowing steam. You have +4 players playing these clubs and even more forgiving heads in my state am tournaments.

    This is the modern players cb and you fitting team that voted are the reason that they are on your list, not because you decided. Good job doing what is right and not what is popular.

  5. Below is the ranking for each of the discussed clubs on distance.

    In parentheses after each club is the loft of a 6-iron, the club that is probably most often used for demos and fitting.

    WRX Distance Rank
    1. Callaway Apex (27)
    2. TM RSI2 (27)
    3. Srixon Z745 (28)
    4. Nike Vapor Pro (30)
    5. Epon AF-503 (28)
    6. Miz JPX850 forged (28)
    7. Ping I25 (30)

    The only exception to a perfect relationship between distance ranking and loft was the relatively high rank of the Nikes.

    Many have wondered why the AP2s didn’t make the list. Well, they had a disadvantage on at least one dimension, distance. The loft of a 6 iron is 30 degrees.

      • I wonder what the distance gap for everyone is between #1 and #7.. I tested the i25 and Apex 4-irons side by side extensively. The i25 was bent to 22 degrees.. The Apex iron is 23 degrees. When struck well the i25 flies higher, the Apex is about 4 yards longer.. Though, the Apex seems to land, bounce and roll to the back of the green and sometimes off. Whereas the i25 lands softer and stops quicker, for me at least. XP 115 s300 in both.

    • I can answer the Nike question… their iron shafts are longer by almost an inch on stock.

      Boys and girls, if you’re using overall distance as a judge for which irons to buy, you’re going to be very disappointed. No one gives a prize for how far your 6-iron goes; just how close you get it to the pin. If you want to hit the net at TopGolf with a 7-iron, go get yourself some loft-jacked irons. If you’re trying to hit a target, pay attention to other things.

  6. I’m mostly with WRX on this one. This is THEIR test and these are THEIR results. If you don’t like them, go read somewhere else. Or better yet, start your own publication and do it your way so you can get $&*^ talked about you by a bunch of trolls.
    At this point in the game, if you’re playing blades, I think it’s for reasons other than your golf score. Maybe overcompensating? If tour pro’s are going to something more forgiving, it’s probably time you should too.
    That being said, I do feel the comment’s regarding the AP2’s need to be answered. Were they not in the top of this test, will they be involved in the blade test, or did you just write them off?

  7. This “test” fell flat for me. I would have liked more info on the test itself and the full list of clubs tested. It was a pretty short list too many good clubs left out. So for me it was a shank.

  8. Players irons are not “game-improvement irons,” which have oversized club heads, thin faces and wide soles to help golfers hit their shots higher and farther, particularly on mishits.

    The Apex’s big ball speed comes from the merging of their 1020 carbon steel forged bodies with extremely thin, heat-treated 455 carpenter stainless steel faces.

    Am I being too picky?
    Perhaps, but these are two cut and pasted lines from the top of this article. They seem to contradict each other. The winning iron has a face that you don’t categorize in the “players iron” category.
    I think that this highlights some of the problems when trying to categorize different irons to make the testing fair, equal and credible.

    • Oldplayer,

      Below is how we defined a players iron. It’s two sentences below the sentence you quoted.

      “Think of players irons as something in between, mixing different elements of both game-improvement and blade-like irons to give golfers a blend of distance, forgiveness and versatility.”

      In this case, the Apex irons mix the thin faces typical of a GI iron with a forged construction and a size that’s roughly halfway between Callaway’s Apex Pro and XR Pro irons.

      Many of the commenters here say that they would never play something as large as an Apex iron, and we respect their feedback. I know that our definition of a players iron is not the traditional one, and we expected these types of comments. We are asking a lot — for golfers to consider irons that they may have never considered in the past, but the GolfWRX Team and our Gear Trials Panel have seen the fantastic results these irons produce on Trackman! They’re not for everybody, but most golfers should at least try them if they’re in the market for new irons.

      Food for thought: There is a PGA Tour player using a full set of Apex irons at The Players Championship this week. There are also several players using Ping’s i25 irons, Nike’s Vapor Pro Combo irons, Srixon’s Z745 irons and TaylorMade’s RSi 2 irons.

  9. I’m a single digit handi cap and if I’m buying a set of “players irons” distance is definitely not at the top of my list. I’m looking for workability with a touch of forgiveness. I’m going to look for a club that can hit all the shots but offer up just enough forgiveness to correct the slight miss-hits. I think I speak for a majority of people who would be in the market for a set of clubs like this. So why would you rank/judge “players irons” on the same parameters as GI or Max GI Irons?

    • Rob,

      I think you’ll be pleased with the way we’ll present 2015 Gear Trials: Best Blade Irons. Stay tuned! The list was created just for golfers like you.

        • No promises were made.. I like the idea of a Best Blade Irons category as I think it will definitely strengthen the other tests. So many questions and comments regarding cathegories, well we are getting an additional category…I’m happy.. I look forward to learning what the fitters and testers think about the s55’s if they make it on the list.

    • My number one consideration is distance consistency. If I know my PW hits 96-105 yds 9/10 times then I know I have a 15 foot birdie putt or better. My 15 year old Titleists can do better than that. I don’t want a wedge which hits 125 but is 115- 130 range.

  10. These comments just go to show you, rankings are just starting points. Different irons fit different swings. I tried to like the Apex but just couldn’t, I could not hit consistent shots with them. I really like the JPX forged and the Srixons, I can hit them pretty well. But nothing came close to the i25s for me, they just fit my swing.

    • So Lee Westwood (i20), Mark Wilson and David Lingmerth are players but they need improvement? This petty hair splitting about the name of a category is getting ridiculous.

      • I don’t think the category name is the issue; it’s more about comparing the right clubs. It’s unfair – when giving performance rankings with metrics – to compare two clubs that are not targeting the same demo.

        I get what your saying though. Jordan Spieth play AP2s where McIlroy played with MB Blades when he was with Titleist… does that mean Spieth needs improvement? No. But it does mean that for whatever reason Spieth prefers a little more forgiveness over workability in his game. It’s all about what fits your game. He doesn’t bomb it like Rory, so he has to make sure his long irons go where he thinks they will (almost) every time. All that said, it would still be unfair to compare the performance of MBs to the AP2s (not that the author is trying to do so, but as an example).

        I think there needs to be more than three categories. If manufacturers are making more than three type of irons, they obviously believe so too.

      • Did you just split hairs while complaining about splitting hairs?..! So Zach Johnson and Ben Curtis aren’t players? They’ve used AP1’s in the past. No, what’s ridiculous are the numerous negative comments and feedback, and the dissection of each category. I, myself, have no issues with the gear trials and the choices (love it actually), but most here do. So I have offered my resolution.. Apex, i25, RSI 2, AP2, JPX-850 Forged, J15 DPF—-Player Improvement Irons. It’s just a name, the important thing is that they fit in a specific category that is becoming more popular each year: players-type irons with progressive set design, multi-material, packed with technology or a little of all of those. Playeresque.

  11. I have the perfect resolution to all the negative feedback: it’s time to introduce the “Player Improvement Irons” category. Players Irons > Player Improvement Irons > Game Improvement Irons. What do you say, GolfWRX?

    I love these Gear Trials by the way.. no complaints here

    • Thanks for the positive feedback, Lee.

      We did our best to create a performance-first list with the help of the fitters we trust the most. It seems that many of our readers would like to see us classify things such as workability, feel and versatility — in addition to launch angle, spin rate and ball speed. We’ve taken their feedback to heart, and are doing our best to create a list that helps golfers make the best buying decisions they can.

      I hope that many of the unhappy commenters read the intro and realize that there is another Gear Trials coming soon that revolves around the types of irons they say that they want to play.

      • Zak,
        I like that you do these tests and am appreciative of the time and energy that must go into them. That being said, it seems that the only “performance-first” metrics used were distance and forgiveness. Were there any other metrics used besides these to determine the results in this “players irons” categories? You mention several others that one would think would be included in a “players irons” category, but may have been left out. The mention of a blade/muscleback test coming up tells me that this category should have been called “cavity back irons” or something of that sort. Perhaps that’s what it was called in the past and the golf industry/golfwrx are just trying to change the vernacular. What do you think? Thanks.

  12. What an unbelievable let down – surely a candidate for the most misleading test ever on Golfwrx?

    Clubs categorised as “Players Irons” do not extend beyond irons like AP2, MP54, TM MC’s, etc

    A scratch player can easily play G25’s, etc., and many do – they are a fine club, but they and many on this test cannot be categorised as “Players Irons”

    Please repeat the test and add Apex Pro’s, MP15’s, RSi TP, etc

    • Keep in mind that this list is based entirely on the feedback of the top fitters who we trust the most. We did perform a test, as mentioned in our FAQ, and used it to verify the votes of our fitters.

  13. The comments on here about this gear trial are a carbon copy of last year. I think most of you people failed comprehension at school. They clearly define what they classify as a players iron. It’s very clear in the preamble to the test. None of the irons on the list fall outside the definition they give. It doesn’t matter what your definition of a player might be. If you don’t like it, too bad. They gave a scope at the start of the list and they covered it. It doesn’t mean that all players are going to like all irons on this list, it just means each of these irons incorporate game improvement and blade like features in some combination. Get over it, please!

    • Actually, defining “player” is important. I comprehend that “player” is an adjective when used in combination with “iron”: players irons. Players is a descriptive term used to give clarity to irons. If you don’t define what “player” is, then it holds no meaning as an adjective and shouldn’t have been used, but it was.

      • Oh for goodness sake, don’t be ridiculous. Players iron is terminology used in the golf industry, we don’t need to split this up into nouns and adjectives and define each one. The comments on here are becoming ridiculous. This is not an English language lesson, it’s a golf website that told you why they were listing the irons they listed. If you don’t agree with the reason they listed these irons, fair enough but don’t try to be a smart alec about it. If you don’t want to use any of these irons because you think you’re a “playa” then I’m sure somewhere down the track they will do. A blades or blade like list. Can we please move on.

        • I am NOT a “player”, just wanted to know how the authors of this article defined what a player is, since this is a golf site and the term was used. Honestly, the only reason I responded by breaking it down into noun and adjective was because of your original “comprehension” remark.

          • Ok fair enough but it’s not about the word player. The definition is required for the phrase players iron, because that’s what they were testing. They could have called it the “sick irons” category and defined it the same way for all I care and it would have been exactly the same article except in that case player = sick. Trying to define sick in that case would have been pointless. See what I’m getting at? It doesn’t matter what the category is called as long as there is a definition for the category and there was.

  14. Well, what defines a player? First of all that he/she has a consistent, repeatable swing and can predict where the ball will fly, play different shots like Fade, Draw, high/low and have some degree of distance control. Scoring on and around the green is a different topic because this does come with practice and experience – what you put in is what you’ll get out.
    Those clubs in this list are certainly not defining a Player, period. However those clubs will certainly help mid handicappers become Players over time.

  15. I guess like many on here I’m a little confused. Maybe we need to define what a player is. I consider myself a serious player my handicap is 1.6. Like many on hear I would consider MP54’s, AP2’s, S55’s, RSi TP’s etc. to be players irons. Although from what I know of the Srixon Z745’s thay do seem to fit the category of players iron. I’ve been very interested in giving them a try.

  16. Now I am very confused. No Titleist or Bridgestone clubs – Srixon and Epon instead. What’s up? And if you are talking of players clubs, please just bring up those clubs in comment like the S55, Apex Pro and RSi TP. The rest are game improvement clubs for better players.

  17. I can understand the struggle in trying to qualify a certain set as “players irons.” It’s my opinion that, although you may have miscategorized what we all typically understand to be a players iron, you were at least consistent in choosing similar sets across the board from different manufacturers. You may then need a subcategory apart from blades to include sets such as Mizuno’s MP line (apart from the MP-4 and maybe the MP-H5) and Titleist’s AP2.

    Also, others have commented that irons should not be judged on distance. I agree and disagree. I agree in that for solid players who have no problem with reaching specific distances with their irons, I, personally, know of some regular golfers in the 55+ age bracket that would love to maintain their swing while gaining a few extra yards. However, for most single digit cappers, all we care about is consistency. What will my dispersion be on mishits? How readily can I draw or fade a ball when necessary.

  18. Why were the wilson fg tour v4 irons not on there? Or the apex pros? The regular apex’s don’t belong with the rest of these irons. And to be honest, not many people outside of this site have even heard of epon. Why not replace that iron with something more people would actually recognize and have better access to?

    • Jason,

      Are you suggesting that we don’t award an iron that was voted a top performer by our Gear Trials Panel simply because people are not familiar with it? Sorry, that’s not our style.

  19. Just got the Srixon z745 irons. I tried everything on the list (except the Epon) and couldn’t get over how good the Srixon looked compared to the rest. I hit my clubs far to begin with so the whole distance ranking didn’t really mean anything when I came to choose.

    Besides, a true player knows how important the shaft is. The testing they did was hardly scientific albeit still helpful for some I’m sure.
    Shaft fitting > Club fitting.

  20. Here are the lofts for the Apex irons, compared with my current set of Bridgestone J40 CBs.
    No wonder the Apex irons are “low launching” and “low spinning”. They are essentially a full club stronger. Lower loft = lower launch and lower spin.

    Apex J40CB
    3 19° 21
    4 21.5° 24
    5 24° 27
    6 27° 31
    7 31° 35
    8 35° 39
    9 40° 43
    PW 45° 47

    • I’m with Hippocamp on this one. When you are comparing the i25s vs the Apex irons, are you comparing apples to apples. i.e. are you saying the 6 irons are paired up in the test or are you comparing a 27 degree with another 27 degree? That’s a very different game.

  21. There isn’t a single “Players” Iron on this list IMO… If the category is “non-blade players irons” I would think that AP2, Apex Pro, MP-54, etc would be the correct sticks for this category.

      • @Wilson absolutely agree with you that the Srixon Z745 are player’s Irons. I tested them the other week with the stock standard NSPRo 980 GH DST shafts – great feel and lighter shaft for a slower swinger like me.

        @Golfwrx – But I don’t understand why Golfwrx says the 745’s Construction is Forged/Multi-Material. My understanding is that the 745s& 945s are a single piece forged iron head (Endo forged). with a tungsten insert. Whether that constitutes a description “multi-material” IMHO it doesn’t. The Z545 irons are a forged body/frame with steel face which i would believe constitutes the description Forged/Multi-material – that description is apt. My understanding is that a fully forged single piece head, does have different feel to a head that in parts are forged. Judging by the list it is only the Mizuno JPX850 and the Srixon Z745 are the only true forged heads listed. I would be interested if other readers have any opinions on this – particularly whether there should be a distinction between fully forged and in part forged irons.

  22. I’m confused. Why judge players’ irons on distance? Distance matters only to the extent that they fit nicely within the rest of the set (and don’t create gaps by being too long or too short). Accuracy, consistency, flight characteristics, and feel are the only relevant factors once the distance is in the right range.

    Companies are maximizing iron distance by cynically making the lofts ever stronger. Why encourage them by giving high marks to clubs that go TOO FAR?

    • Completely agree that distance is irrelevant for this category. Consistency and yardage gaps matter to good players. I’ve never met a “player” that cares what the number on the club is. They care that whatever club they hit goes the distance they want it to.

    • Yeah I’m totally with you on this. If they were to test a “player’s” iron then they should have tested workability, trajectory control, looks, feel and distance control. I understand that other companies do these same tests and Golfwrx may have wanted to have done something different, but a player’s iron is a player’s iron and what a “player” wants from their iron will not change, so why change the variables that are being tested?

  23. Were the Titleist AP2’s not considered for this test? Or the Cobra Fly Z+? Just surprising to me. I found them just as easy to hit as the PING i25 or Mizuno JPX 850 Forged.

  24. It would’ve been nice for them to actually adjusted things like loft and shaft length to all be EQUAL, then we could see who would really win…

    I have a feeling Mizuno would’ve won.

    • +1 on that. Any independent clubfitters want to take that on? Or, if any WRXers know where to view this info, point us in the right direction.

      I did watch a Mark Crossfield video where he bent some TM clubs to a weaker loft with a shorter shaft and they performed very closely to his current gamers. There were some differences, but not enough to warrant a new set.

  25. There are two completely different categories of irons in this test. There are players cavity irons and regular cavity back irons. If you can’t even get compare the proper groups, then nobody will take your tests seriously.

    Switch the Taylormade RSi2 with the TP CB, the Ping i25 with the s55, and the Callaway Apex with the Apex Pro to have the correct models for comparison. Next test on GolfWRX, what has more forgiveness Ping G30 or Miura baby blades? Come on.

  26. So you make special mention in your preamble that looks and feel will be left out of the equation, and then one of the first bracketed quotes I read under the RSI1s is “’The best feeling iron of the bunch more times than not was TaylorMade RSi 2,’ said one of our Gear Trials Panelists.”

    WHY?

    • Dave,

      We aimed to provide readers with all the information we felt was relative to a buying decision in the description of each iron.

      Although we did not consider subjective elements such as looks and feel in the ratings of each iron, we felt that it was important in many cases to add details on looks and feel, as many golfers still base buying decisions on those factors.

  27. The article begins with “what are players irons?”, but never defines “player”. I’m interested in how a player is defined FIRST, before a discussion/evaluation of irons those players may prefer. Is a player a golfer with a certain handicap, ability to shape the ball, etc.? I’ve always felt a “player” is, at the very least, a good ball striker. They can play with any set of irons. So, how does the author define a “player”?

    • The Nike Pro Combos were the same size, or extremely close, to the MP15. I get a kick out of AP2 lovers. Most of the guys that I play against that have AP2’s can’t hit them. I like the way that the AP2 looks, but it’s not a great iron for 95% of golfers. I hit the Titleist CB’s better.
      The AP2 isn’t an easy club to hit and I even hit MP-4’s considerably better. I was hitting balls with a Titleist pro rep whose a professional and he can’t hit them consistently. He said because he works for Titleist, he hates saying it, but it’s hard to recommend the AP2 to most players.
      I’ve played with a guy who doesn’t break 85 that plays with the AP2’s. When you ask him how he likes them? He says he LOVES them. But, he’s a poor iron player.
      What he really likes is telling people he plays AP2’s…..I can guarantee him that there are 10 sets of irons better suited to his game than the AP2.

  28. Before I clicked on this article I told myself that a Callaway iron would be the top club. Why did I think that? Every single gear trial has their clubs as the number one club.

    I don’t dislike Callaway, just an observation.

      • This is why the MyGolfSpy.com Most Wanted tests are the best in the industry. There’s no ad dollars or sponsorship coming form club manufacturers. And no, I don’t work there or have any interest, financial or otherwise of you checking out their site. Just a golf lover and gear-head trying to spread the good word ;)

  29. I tried all but the srix and epon. I generally agree with the assessment. I do like that in this article everyone doesn’t win. Those apex irons are crazy long. I hit my 6i 175 and I hit the apex 6i 195 carry, that’s nuts.

  30. After reading this article, it would appear that you have classified AP2’s as “blades”.

    Either that, or they were such poor performers as not to be qualified to be included in the results.

    I’ll go with “blades”.

      • I think he meant the AP2s. It wouldn’t make sense to have a set of 4/5 AP2 and then 6/7/8/9 with AP1s unless I’m missing something.

        But you are correct, AP1s were in the GI category.

        • Yeah sorry. I thought I made a comment right after correcting my mistake. I accidentally swapped the AP1 and AP2. I think Michael Breed set his irons up similar to what I said.

          I rarely hit my 4 or 5 irons at my country club, so I’d like them to be a little more forgiving. I’d probably just go AP2 5-iron actually since I play a 3 and 4 hybrid. Then AP1 6-9s. Currently playing TM Rocketblades Tour.

          • just go with the full set of AP2 up to 6 iron and get additional hybrid for the 5 iron or have the AP1 as 5 iron. I bet you would not see see huge difference between both.

            • AP2’s are the most overrated irons in golf. DON’T get the AP2’s unless you want a substandard iron in the category. Guys that play AP2’s are usually all about telling people that they play AP2’s….
              Try a LOT of irons and make sure that you get the proper iron for your actual ability.

  31. I’d like to know if you tested the Cobra Fly-Z + irons. I have a handicap index of 8.6 and I hit all of these irons except the Epon and Srixon and my favorite by far was the Cobra’s, which I purchased and absolutely love. They are workable, forgiving, and longer then expected. I picked up an additional 5-7 yards per club which is nice. Cobra never gets any love and they make great equipment! Just my opinion.

  32. The Mizuno’s are one of the best looking irons I’ve ever seen. And I 100% agree about the Apex irons – it’s amazing how many fitters match people to those irons still to this day, some 2+ years after they were introduced. Speaks volumes to their playability.

    • How true. The apex has been out for a full year and still gets respect on year 2. Look in the forums and you can see the same comments from the members. Apex are simply great irons.

  33. I just tested all of these irons (except the Epon) and it came down to the Srixon 745 and Nike Vapor Combos. I went with the Nike Vapor Combos because every shot felt incredible and I was wearing out the middle of the face. I actually wanted the Srixon 745’s to win out but I couldn’t get them to perform like the Vapor Pro Combos.
    I’ve never been a Nike iron fan so my purchase is surprising. But, I wanted to buy the best irons for my game. The irons were soft like butter and my control and dispersion was incredible.
    The biggest disappointment for me was the JPX 850 forged, and it doesn’t surprise me to see them knocked down here. The feel wasn’t like a Mizuno, the dispersion was all over the map, and the distance was poor. They look nice.
    Obviously, different strokes for different folks. You’ve got to try them all intensely and see for yourself. Of course, a good fitter is critical.

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