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Members Choice: The Best Game-Improvement Irons of 2017

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What are the best Game-Improvement Irons of 2017? Before you can answer that question, you of course have to define exactly what a Game-Improvement Iron is. After conducting this poll and reading the responses from GolfWRX Members, however, it seems defining a Game-Improvement Iron is not as straightforward as it might seem.

To create this list, we defined Game-Improvement Irons as models that fall in between Players Irons, which are designed with small frames, thin top lines and have few distance-enhancing technology features, and Super Game-Improvement Irons, which focus on generating as much distance and forgiveness as possible for golfers. That leaves Game-Improvement Irons as a wide-ranging category of clubs that offer a blend distance, forgiveness, good looks and workability.

Related: Full Voting Results and Responses from GolfWRX Members

Some of you may disagree with how we’ve categorized our lists of Players Irons, Game-Improvement Irons and Super Game-Improvement Irons in Members Choice, and that’s fine. As always, we’re listening to your feedback and working to get better. We want to thank all GolfWRX Members for the votes and feedback you’ve provided, and believe that you have provided an important resource to the greater golf world.

Below are the results for Members Choice: Best Game Improvement Irons of 2017, where four models separated themselves from the pack of 27 options. Along with the percentage of the vote each iron garnered, we’ve also highlighted noteworthy responses from GolfWRX Members about each of those irons, which have been edited for brevity.

Note: Percentage of vote is accurate as of the time of publication. Voting will remain open throughout 2017 as GolfWRXers continue to test and evaluate the latest Game-Improvement Irons. 

Callaway Apex CF 16 (19.45 percent of votes)

CallawayApexMembersChoice

eldog-in-the-hizouse: CF 16 is every bit as good as the others

mxskier: CF 16 for me is best (why I play it :)). I love the look of the matte silver, not too white/bland like the Mizuno (JPX-900 Forged).

Striker Ace: Callaway Apex CF 16. I’m new to the sport, but I didn’t want to start with beginners clubs and they feel great.

Warrenpeace: Apex CF ’16 are nice feeling, but are so long it’s hard to know just what is going to happen when you hit one good. Will my 7 iron go 165 or 195?

TonyJ10: My top 3 were the Apex CF 16, JPX-900 forged and the Steelhead XR 16s. I settled on the Apex CF 16s over the JPX-900 because there is not much loss of distance on mishits. I’m a 18 Handicap and was intimidated at first because I didn’t think my swing was “good enough” to play them until I actually hit them. They felt great from the beginning and I love the look of them. To me, that’s the first step of playing good it to like what you are looking at. They perform very well on center hits and almost as good on mishits. If you are in the market, definitely consider the Apex CF 16.

gallas2: They’re like Kelly Clarkson: a little chunky, but still workin’. Confidence, ball speed and spin. KBS Tour 90 (also tested xp95).

LeftyDanny: Apex CF is simply the most explosive, best feeling iron I’ve ever hit in this category. It hasn’t even been close (for me).

Further Reading

Mizuno JPX-900 Forged (18.84 percent)

JPX900ForgedMemebrsChoice

Willstuart2328: I voted for Mizuno JPX-900s because I game them. I feel they are a pretty solid mix of players irons and game improvement. It was a tough adjustment for me at first because I’ve played players irons since high school. I just only get to play maybe 8-10 times a year now so I need the help in the long irons. I can honestly still work the 8-PW though in these. I also like them because they are a little fade biased, whereas the others I tried were all draw biased if anything with my swing.

Warrenpeace: Mizuno JPX-900 Forged are great irons although the lofts are super strong, but they feel great. Look a lot like the tour model, but are longer and stronger.

MPG: I went through a extensive fitting and this was the iron with Project X LZ shafts for me. I will say it wasn’t immediately, but it took me a few practice sessions and rounds to get comfortable with these. I will say that once I got use to these, they are not going anywhere. They are amazing and my overall numbers are terrific. The distance, trajectory, spin, forgiveness and consistency are perfect for me. These are real close to the Z565, and I could go either way once you find the right shaft head combo.

Shawn Paul: I went into my fitting with Ping i200 or MP-25 in mind. I ended up with Mizuno JPX-900 Forged. The Mizunos had the best accuracy, flight, feel, and distance. I did not consider them a true GI. A bit spendy, but top quality. Great looking irons.

Further Reading

Ping i200 (17.84 percent)

Pingi200MembersChoice

eldog-in-the-hizouse: The i200 is yet another consistent performer from Ping.

jtothep21: I am gaming the i200s and love ’em. Nothing bad to say except they are hard to keep clean.

oldtimie: Picked up my I200s yesterday, replacing my i20s. Took them out to the course that afternoon. One thing about new clubs is that you can see right away where on the face you are contacting the ball. Hit a six iron and thought, wow, that didn’t feel good! Then noticed that it was a toe hit. Well, the ball ended up just right where it normally would for a good hit. Had a couple more off-center hits with other clubs, also toe hits, and results were still acceptable. Decided that I wasn’t setting up close enough to the ball. Point is, these clubs are very forgiving for those of us that don’t always contact the sweet spot.

Mtngolfer1: I voted for the Ping i200. This is as versatile of an iron as I believe you will find. It offers a ton of technology, providing a high level of playability and ample forgiveness all packed in a attractive iron design. Ping definitely has a winner with the i200.

MPG: I will say i have had limited time with these. I did enjoy them, but I definitely liked the S55 irons much better than any of the new i-Series clubs. Yes, the S55 are not game-improvement, but they played like game-improvement with enough forgiveness across the entire set. I am not saying these are not good; they are really good irons but just do not match up for MY game like the Mizuno or Srixon irons.

gallas2: (Tested with an) AWT 2.0 shaft (also tested XP95 and KBS Tour 90). Second cousin once removed to the RAC irons we all loved.

Further Reading

Srixon Z565 (15.62 percent) 

Srixon565MembersChoice

eldog-in-the-hizouse: The Srixon (Z565) fractionally looks and feels the best.

mxskier: The Srixon (Z565 irons) also look great, but I like the slightly softer/less square toe of the CF 16 compared to the Srixons. And I thought it felt a touch softer, but really no huge difference between the two.

hurricanes7: Try the Srixon Z565 if you have hit the others on the list to compare. They are that good.

MPG: I really like the look and playability of this head with the Project X LZ shaft. I think they are slightly more forgiving then the JPX-900s, but I get better distance control with the Mizunos. I can definitely control trajectory with any of the heads that I tested. I could definitely use these day in and out with no problem. I don’t really care for the approach wedge in this set for some reason. To me, that is not a showstopper because of the other wedges that could replace that spot in the bag.

gmiller598: I went for the Z565, as that is what I play. I’m on the high end of the handicap spectrum and I feel like I can hit these and grow into them as I improve my ball striking.

gallas2: Best looks, feel and dispersion. They may have a little junk in the trunk, but they ain’t gonna let you down when you need a 5 iron into a back pin.

Further Reading

Members Choice 2017

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. DS of GA

    Jul 12, 2018 at 1:58 pm

    As soon as I hear anyone use ‘game’ as a verb, I tune them out. Same person likely uses ‘boss of the moss’ and calls the Ryder Cup captain ‘Captain Azinger’. Golf is so uncool at times…

  2. Benny

    May 30, 2017 at 6:11 am

    How about this, I don’t play any of these but based on opinions on wrx and articles read along with looks and my opionion the JPX is what I woukd go adter first. I would love a set of JPX Tours but cannot kick out my MB2’s no matter how hard I try.

    The second would be the 565’s. A good friend and top am here in NH actually played 545’s. I saw him time and time again fly greens or not be able to stop on greens. I suspect some changes came in the new 565’s or having a mixed back would be idea, 565/765/965 down the line. Either way great to see what oem’s are doing now compared to years past. Longer, forged, forgiving and capable! Cool….

  3. Nigel Kent

    May 30, 2017 at 3:06 am

    How come one of your reviewers voted for 3 out of 4 clubs ??

  4. Matt

    May 28, 2017 at 1:57 am

    The z545 and z565 Srixon iron series’ are fantastic; crisp feel, good dispersion and distance control plus powerful turf interaction. Finding way less chunked shots and/or flying over greens. No excuses now.

  5. Q

    May 27, 2017 at 1:50 am

    Looks like you found each other

    • ooffa

      May 27, 2017 at 4:56 pm

      He’s funny Smiz you should read his comments. I mean he’s always wrong and always annoying. That’s his thing. It’s fun though to see how off base he can get. It’s kind of like he gets up and says what can I say today that is more foolish then what I said yesterday. Embrace his madness and you can’t help but enjoy his unraveling.

      • Rh

        May 27, 2017 at 5:13 pm

        They’re the same person of one of the multiples

      • ooffa

        May 29, 2017 at 7:18 am

        See guys, this is what I meant by unraveling. It’s really cool to watch. I’m a big fan.

  6. dcorun

    May 26, 2017 at 12:28 pm

    I do agree that the Z565 and CF16 are super irons but, no love for Cobra. Their F7 and F7 one length are very fine irons. Distance wise maybe not up with the previous two I mentioned but, not short by any means. The forgiveness and ability to dial in consistent distance is as good or better than those on the list IMHO.

  7. ooffa

    May 26, 2017 at 10:35 am

    There is a mistake in your article. The best clubs in the world were not included. Here is a hint.
    P X G

  8. Steve

    May 26, 2017 at 9:52 am

    Interesting……no Titlesit AP-1’s? Or were they excluded from the survey?

    • Zak Kozuchowski

      May 26, 2017 at 10:15 am

      Thank you for your comment. We have classified the Titleist 716 AP1 irons as super game-improvement, and that list will be released in the coming weeks for voting.

  9. Joro

    May 26, 2017 at 9:32 am

    I have both the Callaway Apex and the Mizuno Hot Metals, both in Graphite. Callaway has the name, Mizuno has the game. Great Irons, and the Sand Wedge hits itself out of Sand. I have been a crappy Sand Player and this makes me think I am good. And at 78 I hit them a club longer than the Callaway.

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WRX Forum Buzzz

Forum Thread of the Day: “Current best player without a major?”

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Today’s Forum Thread of the Day comes from buckeye440 who asks fellow members who they believe is the current best player on tour without a major who has competed in at least 20 major championships. For buckeye440, his six choices are “Rickie Fowler 0-38, Matt Kuchar 0-54, Paul Casey 0-61, Hideki Matsuyama 0-27, Marc Leishman 0-31 and Gary Woodland 0-30.” 

Our members reflect on buckeye440’s list, as well as giving their thoughts on who is most likely to break through at some stage.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • puttfordoux: “I would have to go with Kuchar. His best bet seems to be the Open where he’s played well of late. And #1 in the FedEx Cup this year.”
  • golfandfishing: “It’s Bryson DeChanbeau at the moment. Five wins since 2017 is (I think) the most of anyone on tour without a major.”
  • Hescrience: “Tony Finau. He is too close to the top in virtually every tournament. He hasn’t competed in 20 of them though. Of the people you listed, Rickie. Rickie also hasn’t won many regular tournaments either though.”
  • conrad1953: “I’d go with Rickie. He’s played well in majors; shot some low rounds and had some very high finishes in many. The way he won the Players was unbelievable; he played some astounding golf that Sunday on the back 9 and in the playoff.”

Entire Thread: “Current best player without a major?”

 

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Equipment

Forum Thread of the Day: “Low handicapper switching to game improvement irons”

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Today’s Forum Thread of the Day comes from jasonTel3 – a low handicap player who plays blades but who has had his head turned by game improvement irons. According to jasonTel3, every ball was hit straight when testing out a set of Ping G400’s at a simulator, and he’s been asking fellow members for advice on whether he should make the move to GI’s.

Here are a few posts from the thread discussing jasonTel3’s conundrum, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • balls_deep: “My first thought is to say don’t do it.. but then if you’ve hit them, liked them, and the numbers were right, it could be a good option. A friend I play with uses G400 and they have too much offset for my liking. I also don’t like that you can see the cavity on the 4 and 5 iron. Top line is actually very nice for a SGI iron. I just read the Ping Blueprint article on Golf Digest where they were talking about how some players hit small heads better. I definitely fall into that category. That said, I just ordered a set of i210 to try as I had really good luck with the i200 and should never have sold them. Have you tried the newer I series? IMO it’s GI help in a players look with an acceptable sole width. Long story short though – if you felt comfortable and the fit was right, why not try them? If you don’t work the ball a ton, I don’t see any issue with it. High and straight is a good way to go!”
  • hammergolf: “I’ve been playing Ping G25’s for 6 years. Still can’t find anything I like better. I can hit any shot I need to whether it’s my stock draw, fade, high, or low. And when I hit it a little thin, or on the toe, it still lands on the green. My thought is why play golf with a club that will punish you for mishit when you can play one that will help you.”
  • azone: “Everyone has an opinion, and here is mine. If you are/have been a good ball striker with a sound mental game, your mind will keep writing checks your body may not be able to cash as you get older or don’t practice enough. Those “ugly” forgiving irons look beautiful when a miss ends up on the green, and you are putting– not in rough or deep in a short side bunker. Those irons won’t be AS ACCURATE as, say, a blade, BUT if you aren’t as dependable as in the past, your results will be better. I used to keep two sets of blueprinted irons; blades for practice and CB for play. I play with guys that have cashed checks playing…and they don’t care how ugly the iron is.”
  • Jut: “As a decent player (and ball striker) and a sweeper/picker (I could hit off of a green and not take any landscape with me), I’ve found much success with the F9s (which, with the wide sole, are very similar to the G410 irons). In the past 4 years I’ve gone from Mizuno MP-68 to Callaway Apex CF16 to Ping i500 (a brief and bad experience) to the Cobra F9’s. For what it’s worth, the Cobras have been the best of the bunch by far.”

Entire Thread: “Low handicap going to game improvement irons”

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Forum Thread of the Day: “Mark O’Meara’s Scotty Cameron putter”

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Today’s Forum Thread of the Day showcases Mark O’Meara’s Scotty Cameron flat-stick. The 62-year-old is teeing it up at the Senior PGA Championship from Oak Hill this week, and his putter has impressed our members, who in particular have praised the clean finish and sole shape of the flat-stick.

Here are what our members are saying about the putter, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • BearQ: “Clean. Love the sole.”
  • Bdmac79: “Looks similar to Tiger’s and Rickie’s with the neck placement. I would guess that he’s had it for a bit.”
  • mBiden2: “So fresh and so clean, clean!”

Entire Thread: “Mark O’Meara’s Scotty Cameron putter”

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