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.
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)
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).
- Callaway Apex, Apex Pro irons: What you need to know
- Head-to-Head Testing: Callaway’s 2016 Apex and Apex Pro irons
Mizuno JPX-900 Forged (18.84 percent)
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.
Ping i200 (17.84 percent)
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.
Srixon Z565 (15.62 percent)
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.
Members Choice 2017
What GolfWRXers are saying about the best Nike driver ever
In our forums, our members have been discussing Nike drivers. WRXer ‘DixieD’ is currently building up a Nike bag and has reached out to fellow members for driver advice, and WRXers have been sharing what they feel is the best Nike driver ever made.
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.
- Ger21: “VR Pro LE? I have two I was still playing last year.”
- mahonie: “The STR8-Fit Tour was one of the best drivers I’ve played. Still have it the garage and take it to the range occasionally…it would possibly still be in the bag if it hadn’t developed a ‘click’ in the head which I cannot fix. Long, straight(ish) and nice sound.”
- jackr189: “The VR_S is one of the best.”
- Finaus_Umbrella: “I played the Vapor Fly Pro, and still do on occasion for nostalgia sake. Sound and feel are great, but it demands a good strike.”
- PowderedToastMan: “I enjoyed the SQ Tour back in the day, the one Tiger used forever. Do I miss it? Not at all, but it was a pretty good club for its time.”
What GolfWRXers are saying about driving irons for mid-handicappers
In our forums, our members have been discussing whether mid-handicappers can benefit from a driving iron. WRXer ‘jomatty’ says:
“I average about 230 off the tee on good drives. I can get a little more sometimes, but 230 is probably the average. I’m 42 years old and shoot in the mid to low 80’s. I do not get along with fairway woods very well, especially off the tee, and really don’t get enough extra length over my hybrid to consider using it aside from very rare situations on par 5’s (I’ve considered just going from driver to 19-degree hybrid and getting an extra wedge or something).”…
…and wants to know if he would be better served by a driving iron. Our members have been sharing their thoughts and suggestions.
- MtlJeff: “If you can shoot mid 80’s, you probably hit it well enough to hit a bunch of different clubs. Personally, I think hybrids are easier to hit….but some driving irons are quite forgiving. I use a G400 crossover that is very easy to hit and looks more iron-like. Something like that you might like. Be careful with some of them though because they aren’t always super forgiving, so you’d have to hit them first.”
- HackerD: “G410 crossover is my version of a driving iron, feel like I hit it straighter than a hybrid. Just as easy to hit as a hybrid.”
- hanginnwangin: “I shoot in the low 80s normally and in the 70s on my really good days. I have probably around the same or similar swing speed as you. I have been hitting my 4 iron off the tee on tight holes, and it’s been working pretty well so far. I hit it about 190-220. I have a 4 hybrid but just can’t hit it as consistently as the 4 iron, and it doesn’t even go much farther. I have a 5 wood which I only use for 220+ yard par 3s or wide-open fairways. Basically, it’s all personal preference and what you do best with. Everyone is going to be different. Try new stuff out and see what works. But if irons are the strongest part of your game (they are for me as well), I would give the 4 iron a shot. You can get a lot of roll out on the tee shots with it,”
- Hellstrom: “Don’t laugh, but I bought a 17* hybrid with a senior flex shaft at a garage sale for $5, and I can hit it nice and easy and keep it in play without losing any distance. My driver SS is between 105 and 110 usually and swinging this thing feels like swinging a spaghetti noodle, but it works. I don’t have it in the bag all the time, but I do use it for certain courses. I take my 6 iron out and throw that in, so if I struggle with getting the ball off the tee, I just go to that.”
What GolfWRXers are saying about the best iron sets for a senior
In our forums, our members have been discussing the best iron sets for senior players. WRXer ’emdjunk’ is on the hunt for a new set of clubs for his father and says:
“I am trying to find a new set of irons for my father. He’s about 5’6 and can drive the ball around 200 yards. He has some issues getting his irons up in the air and most of his shots land short. I was wondering if anyone had any recommendations for him?
I’d like him to be able to get his irons back up in the air and add some distance. Does anyone have experience with any hybrid iron sets? Are these good for seniors with slower swing speeds? Also, we don’t have access to any club fitters where we live. Is it possible to get fitted online these days?”
And our members have been putting forward their suggestions.
- C6 Snowboarder: “I am a super Senior also – I have found Recoil Graphite shafts for irons do very well.. I put a 65 gr shaft in my 6 and 5 iron – they are now the best they have ever been. I put 80 Gr shafts in the 7 iron, and 95 gr in the 8,9 and PW. For hybrids or fairway – I have found thru lots of experimenting – the Chrome Elements shaft in Epic Flash Fairways do great – especially the Heaven Wood – WOW – what a club for old farts. Driver – the Ck Tensei Blue is doing well for me as well as the ProLaunch Platinum – both great shafts for Old guys.”
- txgolfer45: “I retooled my entire bag last year from Driver down to wedges. Callaway Epic Flash Driver with 55-gram graphite shaft, Callaway Epic Flash 3, 5 and sometimes 7 fwy with 65-gram graphite shaft shafts, Callaway Big Bertha 4H and 5H with 70-gram graphite shafts and 6 – U wedge with Recoil 65 graphite shafts. I have no problem getting proper ball flight with that set up and have regained yardage as well.”
- slolane: “I am 67 years old 5ft 7in with two artificial hips, so the swing speed has slowed down a lot. A couple of weeks ago I went to a fitting and hit a lot of the new offerings. I told the fitter I was looking for irons that would work now and 5 years down the road. I ended up getting Ping G710 irons they were very high and forgiving I got them with the senior graphite shafts. Have only been on the course a couple times but so far everything I was looking for. Lots of youtube reviews on the 710s good luck to you and your father.”
- sean2: “I am a senior, and with stronger lofts, the first iron in my bag is a 7. The 5 and 6 irons in many of today’s set make up are like the old 3 and 4 irons in loft (I have seen more than a few seniors struggle to get those 5 and 6-irons airborne). I haven’t had much luck with hybrids, so I have three fairway woods: 25º, 21º, and a 17º. They go nice and high and land softly. If you get him a set with the stronger lofts, you might want to replace some of the irons at the high end of the bag with hybrids and/or fairway woods.”
- mootrail: “Take a look at my Bridgestone JGR Forged Hybrid Irons and the current successor, the TOUR B JGR HF1 Irons. The look is unique, and the wide flange design gets the ball up high and long with a hot and forgiving face. The wide sole works surprisingly well in all conditions, including hardpan. The stock steel Zelos 8 shafts in mine are a big reason they launch so easy. Although in an S flex, they have a very soft bend profile that gets the ball up fast without feeling unstable. I’d recommended the lightweight Nippon steels over graphite like the excellent Recoils in my current irons if you’re looking for some extra speed and height.”
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