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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. dcorun

    Jun 28, 2017 at 11:19 pm

    Wilson C200 are good as any iron listed here. They feel great, are long and forgiving. They may be hard to find but, if you can try them out. I hit them against the Apex and for me they were the better club IMHO.

  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

GolfWRX members predict where Tiger will finish at the 2017 Hero World Challenge

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If you’ve managed to stay off the internet for the entire week, then I’ve got some exciting news for you: Tiger Woods announced he is playing in the 2017 Hero World Challenge.

No more back surgeries, no more time off, no more legal issues, no more speculation on when he will play again. Tiger will tee it up in competition on November 30. That leaves us one last question; “What place will he finish?”

For the record, I was asked the same question and predicted he’d finish 18th out of the 18 players in the limited field. But what do I know? We put the same question to our GolfWRX members to vote, and here are the results they came back with.

See the full poll results and comments here.

Second (0.54 percent)

*Apparently no one was bold enough to predict in the comments that he would play well enough to contend, but not well enough to get the job done on Sunday while wearing his power red. 

Top-5 (3.26 percent)

*Top-5 and not win? Again, no GolfWRX members put their commenter names on the line to make that prediction.

Win (3.80 percent)

sekrah: Anyone who thinks a healthy (key word obviously) Tiger Woods can’t play high level golf anymore, they are out to lunch. You don’t just lose “it” when you are that great. Muscle-wise, 42 is not that old for golf and he keeps himself into great shape. Now is he legitimately pain free to point where he can practice regularly without interruption?? That’s the million dollar question.  With previous long layoffs and limited playing time because of extreme nerve pain the last 4 years, he’s still shown flashes of great golf. If he’s healthy and can practice a full time schedule, pain free?  I’ll bet anyone here he wins on tour again and contends for majors.

WD, or withdraw (14.13 percent)

80sFredrickson: Let’s just hope the guy can stand after 4 rounds

QuickFeet: It will be a victory in its self if he finishes 72 holes without hurting his back or coming away with another injury. I’ll be surprised if he can be competitive with the top players in the field.  I think it will take several tournaments, playing 4 rounds, before he can regain an “A” game that may allow him to win, if that is even possible now.

18th, or last place (23.37 percent)

youngwaldo: He will have some great shots no doubt but last place is what will happen and I am one of his great fans. 

leventhalc: I bet he will crack the top 20 haha

cradd10: The only way he doesn’t finish last is… if he invites me to play in field.

Top-10 (27.17 percent)

bladehunter: He finished 15th last year and dropped from top 10 on the last day with 4th round 76. So an even par 4th round is a solid top 10 last year. And led the field in birdies, so id take that bet.

Dave230: Middle of the pack I think. Show some glimpses but make a few silly mistakes. It’s a fairly soft event, small crowds, limited danger, and with no cut you’ll get some guys who just don’t have it at all for the week. 

straightshot7: I will guess he finishes 7th (I know it’s ambitious but I want to he optimistic). As others have said, I’ll be happy if he just finishes 4 rounds without setbacks to his health. 

Top-17 (27.72 percent of votes)

Debow: T-11th

Santiago Golf: Very doubtful that he finishes top 10. Though it wouldn’t surprise me if has a round in the 60s. Key thing here is he doesn’t have more than one blow up hole all week and play with in himself.

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WRX Forum Buzzz

Does Tiger Woods need golf more than golf needs Tiger Woods?

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In light of Tiger Woods’ return to the public eye as an assistant captain at the Presidents Cup, and his admission that his future in the game remains uncertain, GolfWRX Member Need4spd raises the question highlighted in the headline: “Does Tiger Woods need golf more than golf needs Tiger Woods?” Piggybacking off a Golf.com video, this GolfWRX forum thread has seen more than 125 replies this week and is heating up.

The responses are excellent, with many revolving around the idea that, putting aside how much we want to see him play, a return to golf may not be what’s best for Woods personally (although it would surely be difficult for the 14-time major champion).

Mackepa writes: “I genuinely believe time away from golf and the lime light is best for Tiger. Just let him have something close to a normal life.”

MidwestGolfBum writes: “Golf isn’t going to go away because he isn’t playing. There may be less interest in it at the professional level from people who don’t actually play the game like when Tiger was in his prime, but it’s not going to die as so many have predicted.”

Presidents Cup - Preview Day 2

And dbleag has an excellent take: “I am reading ‘The Fine Green Line: My Year of Golf Adventure on the Pro-Golf Mini-Tours,’ by John Newport. He meets Ivan Lendl at a mini-tour event in Florida where IL shoots 73/83.

“They discuss whether IL is trying to get good enough to go on to the PGA Tour. Lendl admits that he isn’t nor will ever be good enough to play at the highest level, but he has “competitiveness” in his blood and has to be in an environment which allows him the rush that tennis used to give him.”

To the Lendl point, Woods mentioned in his press conference yesterday that he’s been playing competitive golf since he was four. He misses it. He wants to get back to it. Certainly, if Woods were able to remain healthy, a return has substantially less downside than the grim pattern of coming back, getting hurt, needing another surgery, and being cast into that dark place again.

Great discussion with no shortage of variables to consider.

Discussion: Have your say in the thread

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WRX Forum Buzzz

What’s your favorite Scotty Cameron putter ever?

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The GolfWRX forums exist so golfers have access to the latest equipment releases, hottest discussions, real equipment reviews, best instruction, new technologies and everything golf you can imagine. So if you love golf, the GolfWRX forums are your sanctuary.

In the From the Forums weekly feature, we bring you the hottest, most buzz-worthy topics from our forums for your convenience. I’ll be your trusty tour guide to navigate the latest buzz. Here’s a peek behind the curtain into golf’s sanctuary.

Your favorite Scotty Cameron…ever!

CameronProto

Simple enough question. Numerous possibilities. Plenty of passion. An excellent thread in theory turns out very well in practice as mattd1206 asks for WRXers favorite Scotty Cameron models. Check it out if you’re a sucker for Scotty.

See the thread.

Forged + forgiveness + beauty? 

Mizuno_MP_18_Irons

Different golfers. Different handicaps. Different wants and needs in a golf club. Mfm22 is looking for a forged iron that offers a measure of forgiveness and is aesthetically pleasing? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and forgiveness in a forged iron is highly subjective, so this is an interesting thread to peruse.

See the thread.

How common is using fewer than 14 clubs? 

OUUL_Super_Light_Stand_Bag_Top

14 clubs. If you were just coming to the game of golf, you’d think that was a lot, wouldn’t you? How many weapons could you get by with if you had to? Five? Six? Spartan6910 poses the question to the forum faithful: Do any of you carry fewer than 14 clubs (and why)?

See the thread.

Jack Nicklaus’ Rolex 

(Photo credit: Hodinkee)

(Photo credit: Hodinkee)

Fantastic stuff here as the Golden Bear tells the story of a Rolex (the only watch he’s ever owned!) that he’s worn since the 1960s. Ebrasmus21 spotted the video on Hodinkee and shared it with the community. An absolute must watch, and the forum chatter is top-notch as well.  

See the thread.

Peeping PGA Tour tax documents 

1

Ever wondered what the PGA Tour’s (non-profit organization that it is) Form 990 looks like? Ebrasmus21 (again!) dug it up. And while the form itself is interesting, it’s the five pages of hot takes from GolfWRX members that are worth your time. Interesting stuff.

See the thread.

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