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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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Equipment

New irons for a high-handicapper – GolfWRXers discuss

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In our forums, our members have been discussing irons for the high handicap player. WRXer ‘StrongTR’ is a recreational golfer looking to play more often and is in the market for a new set of irons, saying:

“I’ve ‘golfed’ recreationally for years. This mostly includes scrambles for events my company sponsors with a few random rounds each season. I currently play Callaway XR’s I purchased off the CPO site years ago, and they are still in good shape. I want to invest more time this year in improving my game and consistency- more rounds, lessons, etc. 

Is it worth investing in a newer set of Game Improvement irons, Super Game Improvement or anything else? If so, any recommendations on what I should be looking at? I’m not opposed to purchasing used again, just want good condition if so. Also I’ll add I’m a lefty so that can make tracking them down a bit more of a challenge. 

I will admit new shiny things do tend to make for a little extra motivation and fun. Who doesn’t like to treat yourself?!”

And our members have been sharing their thoughts and suggestions in our forum.

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.

  • Davidv: “Get a set of Callaway Big Bertha irons good looking, and forgiving. Nothing like a new set of irons to make you feel good and anxious to get out there and enjoy some golf.”
  • xkilgorextroutx: “Keep the XRs. Get lessons. Re-evaluate later this year as your game has improved. I was eyeing some XRs for my 15-year-old son to upgrade from his old Cobra Jr set. They’re solid clubs. Stick with them and work with someone to build a solid repeatable swing.”
  • Nateyeight: “I will go against the trend of this feed. I recently purchased a set of the new Titleist T300’s. Traded in a bunch of old clubs and got a big discount. While testing out different clubs, the Mizuno JPX 921 Hot metal irons were a close second. The T300’s are long and super forgiving. I also got some lessons with the new clubs, and my shot is more consistent now, and distances are within normal range instead of short. I don’t like to swing hard with my irons, so these were perfect. They will be in my bag for a very long time; I highly recommend them.”
  • demeeksDC: “You don’t have to choose one or the other. Get shiny (or satin) new clubs AND take lessons! If you have a good teaching pro, might be worth a lesson first simply to get some advice on what type of clubs might be best for you. Then hold tryouts. I’ve hit the XRs. Just due to the improvements in feel in cast clubs the past 5 years, I doubt the XRs will win.” 

Entire Thread: “New irons for a high-handicapper

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Equipment

How old is too old for irons? – GolfWRXers discuss

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In our forums, our members have been discussing older irons. WRXer ‘R5Two’ kicks off the thread, saying

“I pulled my old Titleist 695 CBs (cr 2006) out of storage to hit a few balls. I have seen many videos about how much faster the ballspeeds are these days, but I don’t know if I care. I’m a blade guy. Isn’t a hunk of metal a hunk of metal? 

How old is too old for forged irons? What are we missing? Non-confirming grooves maybe? Maybe a little forgiveness?”

And our members have been sharing their thoughts in our forum.

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.

  • PEI_Golfer: “Irons are all about accuracy and distance control, not ball speed… Nothing wrong with the 695’s (my first OEM set of irons); I still bring out my 690.CB’s from time to time and OG Nike blades.”
  • Tar_Heel_93: “I’m with you. I prefer a solid forged iron. Not looking for a lot of tech. Here are the irons I am testing for next season. Apex MBs have been in the bag for several seasons. Others are recent additions. Titleist CB and Wilson Staff CB have Tungsten in the mid and long irons. However, so far my favorite CB is the Bridgestone J33 CBs circa 2006.” (Photo above proved by Tar_Heel_93)
  • mrfuz: “I recently regripped my old 690MBs and pulled out my Eye2s. They’re not replacing my Sim2 Maxes, but they’re fun to play with.”
  • HoosierHacker89: “695 CB irons are great! One of my all-time favorites. I found them to be really forgiving especially the long irons. This was one of the few sets I was confident in the 4/5 irons. I played a set of Srixon 765 irons the last 3 years. Honestly can’t say there was much if anyone difference in the heads Of both sets.”

Entire Thread: “How old is too old for irons?

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Equipment

3-wood (or alternative) for someone who can’t hit one – GolfWRXers discuss

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In our forums, our members have been discussing 3-woods for players who generally struggle with the club. WRXer ‘SpartyJeff’ is looking to add a 3-wood to the bag despite his difficulty to hit the club and kicks off the thread saying:

“I’m about a 3 handicap and currently have a massive gap between driver and 2 driving iron. All in all, I’m not a bad ball striker, but I absolutely cannot hit a 3-wood. Bagged the Titleist 915F for years (I know bad idea). Any suggestions on forgiving three woods? Been kicking around the idea of the Callaway Apex UW and a 2 hybrid (used to love my 2 hybrid).”

And our members have been sharing their thoughts in our forum.

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.

  • MilfordLefty: “A forgiving 3-wood is a 5-wood. The 17° Apex UW is 5-wood loft with an inch shorter shaft, so a good option.”
  • Dax279: “If you can, try the PXG XF 3 wood. I was surprised to find how easy it was to launch off the fairway and the tee. It is lofted 1 degree higher than a regular 3-wood as well and so is kind of like a 4-wood.”
  • kwxsports: “‘ve got a TM High Launch 16.5 that is the easiest I’ve ever hit. It’s really a 4-wood I guess.”
  • scooterhd2: “Cobra F6 Baffler.”

Entire Thread: “3-wood (or alternative) for someone who can’t hit one

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