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Best irons in golf of 2021: Easiest to launch

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A new set of irons is the single biggest investment you can make into your set of golf clubs. At GolfWRX, to determine the 2021 best irons and their categories, we have compiled an expert panel of fitters to help you find out which of 2021 irons is best for your game.

In 2021, OEMs have continued to push the engineering envelope of iron design by utilizing new technology and manufacturing methods to create clubs that offer forgiveness, along with faster, more consistent club faces and launch windows. Not only that, but we are also seeing more segmentation of models from equipment manufacturers to help you determine your best set and/or set combination thanks to fitting.

These fitting options are important because irons are the key to better scoring and by building the perfect set, you create a cohesive group of clubs in your bag to help you reduce dispersion and hit it closer to your target.

That being said, ultimately the best way to find your personal iron set is to work with a professional fitter using a launch monitor. The difficult part is a lot of people don’t have easy access to fitters, launch monitors, and club builders—so at GolfWRX, we have done a lot of the work for you.

We are in the era of not just maximizing distance but also minimizing the penalty of common misses for each player—this applies to irons just as much as it does with any other club in the bag. This is why, now more than ever, custom fitting is essential to help you see results on every swing you make.

Join the discussion about best irons 2021 in the forums!

The methodology is simple: We want to give you the tools and information to go out and find what works best for you by offering recommendations for your individual iron set wants and needs with insight and feedback from the people who work every single day to help golfers get peak performance out of their equipment.

Best irons of 2021: How we did it

Before starting the process of building our best iron survey, we reached out to our trusted fitters to discuss how they sort through the endless number of iron options available to golfers. The consensus was clear—the best fitters in the world see all the options available in the marketplace, analyze their performance traits, and pull from that internal database of knowledge and experience like a supercomputer when they are working with a golfer.

It’s essentially a huge decision tree derived from experience and boiled down to a starting point of options—and it has nothing to do with a handicap!

Modern iron sets are designed into player categories that overlap the outdated “what’s your handicap?” model, and at GolfWRX we believe it was important to go beyond handicap and ask specific questions about the most crucial performance elements fitters are looking at to help golfers find the best set of irons for them. From overall performance to shotmaking, to helping players achieve better trajectories and speed, we strived to ask the right questions.

These are the best iron categories we have developed to help you the reader determine what rankings are most important for your swing and game.

Best irons of 2021: The categories

Best irons of 2021: Meet the fitters

Nick Sherburne: Founder, Club Champion
Clare Cornelius: Fitter,
 Cool Clubs
Eric Johnson: Fitter, True Spec Golf
Shaun Fagan: Fitter, True Spec Golf
Kirk Oguri: PGA Professional/ Club Specialist, Pete’s Golf
Sue O’Connor: Fitter, Cool Clubs 
Scott Felix: Owner, Felix Club Works
Mark Knapp: Club Fitter, Carls Golfland
Ryan Johnson: Club Fitter, Carls Golfland
Eric Hensler: Manager & Fitter, 
Miles of Golf
Brad Coffield: Fitter Carls Golfland
Nick Waterworth: Fitter, Haggin Oaks Golf Super Shop
Adam White: Co-Founder & Director of Club Fitting, Measured Golf
Scott Anderson: VP of Sales, Fitter, True Spec Golf
Matthew Sim: Director of Operations, Modern Golf
Ian Fraser: CEO & Founder, Tour Experience Golf
Mike Martysiewicz: Director of Club Fitting & Building, Tour Experience Golf
Shawn Zawodni: Fitter, Miles of Golf
Ben Giunta: Owner, The Tour Van

best irons 2021 pure enjoyment

2021 Best irons: Easy to launch

This category of irons is aimed to help players who need height. With today’s modern golf ball, creating proper flight widows and spin can be difficult for some players—especially those at lower speeds, and this is where technology can really help. All of these irons do everything they can to create shot-stopping trajectories, regardless of clubhead speed.

Ping G710

best irons 2021

Their story: The key element of the Ping G710 irons is in the materials used to build them. Thanks to maraging steel’s high strength and durability attributes, engineers can push the face thinner, which in turn creates more discretionary mass to move around the head to raise MOI and increase forgiveness. Beyond that, each face of the G710 iron is machined with variable-wall thickness to increase ball speeds around the whole hittable surface to help with those pesky mishits and keep ball speeds and distances consistent.

Just like with other hollow irons from Ping, the body of the iron is maximized to flex along with the face to assist in energy transfer to the ball while also being built to provide a solid and pleasant feel. It’s one thing to offer more forgiveness, but if golfers don’t like the feel, all the effort is wasted.

From the fitters

  • The G710 irons offer supreme forgiveness and a low center of gravity. They just want to get up in the air, which is great for those golfers who struggle to stop shots coming into greens.
  • These irons are really forgiving and pack a ton of ball speed. With as well as they perform, I still feel they fly under the radar for their ability to throw the ball up in the air.

For more photos/info, read our launch piece and check out this forum thread.

Callaway Big Bertha B21

best irons 2021

Their story: The Callaway Big Bertha B21 irons appeal to higher-handicappers and players who tend to slice the ball. The irons contain a large amount of offset, wide soles and a thick topline, and feature a Visible Tungsten Energy Core (VTEC) for the very first time which deepens the CG in design to make these irons extremely easy to launch.

The irons also feature a unique Flash Face architecture in each iron in a bid to provide high balls speeds and increased spin robustness throughout the bag on each loft. Complimenting the Flash Face Cup is a 360 Face Cup that flexes and releases at impact to help increase ball speed further.

From the fitters

  • Probably the most forgiving iron out in the market for golfers who need to both get the ball up in the air but also to help stop the dreaded fade. The matching hybrids are the perfect complement to build a high launching combo set.
  • This iron is hot and forgiving and just launches to the moon for slower players

For more photos/info, read our launch piece and check out this forum thread.

Cleveland Launcher HB Turbo

best irons 2021

Their story: The Launcher HB Turbo irons feature a redesigned HiBore Crown, which pushes the center of gravity low and deep within the sole – a placement that is designed to allow golfers to launch their ball higher. The clubs also contain progressive shaping throughout, as the designers at Cleveland sought to provide players with a smooth transition by offering maximum forgiveness on long irons to optimal control on short irons.

From the fitters

  • The Launcher HB Turbo irons are a straightforward high-flying set built to maximize launch. The wide sole also helps glide the iron through the turf.
  • They are super easy to hit, super high launch, and pack a lot of distance. The only drawback is the full hybrid look can be a bit too much for some players, but most change their tune very quickly after seeing the results they produce.

For more photos/info, read our launch piece and check out this forum thread.

XXIO Eleven Series

best irons 2021

Their story: Thanks to their low profile geometry along with a forged titanium faceplate, tungsten sole weight, and intricate composite construction the XXIO Eleven Irons are easy to hit and very easy to get up in the air.

It’s also not just about the materials, but also how they use them. The thin titanium face is designed to create maximum flex resulting in additional ball speed and two slots cut behind that face, form a double undercut cavity to help get shots hit lower on the face up in the air faster to promote extra carry.

From the fitters:

  • The Eleven series is a great lightweight game improvement iron that helps slow-speed players. It works exactly as advertised to boost launch and feels unbelievable.
  • Every golfer that I have fit into these has raved about how great this iron set has been—total game changes.
  • Incredible height and ball speed. XXIO really has designed an iron that delivers the whole package by having the head and shaft pair so well.

For more photos/info, read our launch piece and check out this forum thread.

XXIO Prime Series

best irons 2021

Their story: XXIO and its whole Prime line of clubs are one of the leaders in the world of lightweight golf equipment. With the 2021 Prime line, XXIO continues to offer some of the fastest and most forgiving clubs on the market for golfers in the moderate-to-slow speed category looking for speed and height.

The key to the XXIO Prime irons is strategic weighting and mass saving at every possible step without sacrificing forgiveness. The faces of the Prime irons are made of the same Super-Tix Plus titanium, as the fairways and hybrids – how’s that for speed!

From the fitters:

  • Premium materials, top-end technology, and designed with the singular goal of making the game easier for players who have lost distance and need height. 
  • It’s always fun to hand this iron to a golfer who you know it is going to benefit and see their face light up when they see a trajectory that they didn’t think was even possible.

For more photos/info, read our launch piece.

Join the discussion about best irons 2021 in the forums!

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Whats in the Bag

Matteo Manassero WITB 2024 (June)

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Driver: Titleist TSR3 (10 degrees, A1 SureFit setting)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus TR Red 6 X

3-wood: Titleist TSR2 (15 degrees, A1 SureFit setting)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD IZ

Hybrid: Titleist TSR3 (19 degrees, A1 SureFit setting)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD IZ Hybrid 85 X

Irons: Titleist U505 (2), Titleist T200 (4), Titleist T100 (4-PW)
Shafts: Graphite Design Tour AD IZ Hybrid 95 X (2), Project X 6.5 (4-PW)

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM10 (50-08F, 54-10S), WedgeWorks (58-A+)
Shafts: Project X Wedge 6.5

Putter: Scotty Cameron SB-2

Grips: Golf Pride MCC Align

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

See more in-hand photos of Matteo Manassero’s clubs here.

 

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Patrick Cantlay switched driver, irons ahead of the U.S. Open

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Editor’s note: This is an excerpt of an article our Andrew Tursky filed for PGATour.com’s Equipment Report. Patrick Cantlay abruptly ended his brief experiment with Ping Blueprint S irons, returning to his previous gamers. He also elected to upgrade to Titleist’s new GT2 driver. Read the full piece here.

Cantlay’s familiar 718 AP2 irons are unique because they have custom grinds on their leading edges, helping Cantlay achieve the precise turf interaction he prefers at impact.

Irons aren’t the only news coming out of Cantlay’s equipment setup this week at the 2024 U.S. Open, however.

Cantlay conducted lengthy driver testing on-site at Pinehurst this week between his older TSR2 driver model, and Titleist’s new GT2 model.

Then, on Wednesday afternoon, he posted a photo of the new GT2 driver to his Instagram, likely confirming the winner of his driver tests. As an equipment free agent, Cantlay’s post on social media says a lot about how much he likes the new driver.

As per our previous Equipment Report, PGA TOUR pros are seeing increased distance, more consistent spin rates, and a more muted sound from Titleist’s new, unreleased drivers thus far. Additionally, Titleist Tour rep J.J. Van Wezenbeeck told GolfWRX.com on Wednesday at the U.S. Open that pros are gravitating toward the GT2 model due to its ease of launch, forgiveness, and overall head shape at address, in addition to the previously mentioned upgrades in the GT lineup.

Read the full piece here.

*featured image via Patrick Cantlay on Instagram. 

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Equipment

Club Junkie WITB league night, week 9: Looking for forgiveness

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Last week was tough in some windy conditions, so this week, BK is going with a more forgiving setup. Some Ping irons lay the foundation and the PXG Black Ops 7-wood is a great option for use off the tee.

Driver: Cobra Darkspeed X (10.5 degrees, neutral setting)
Shaft: UST Mamiya Lin-Q M40x TSPX Blue 6F5

3-wood: Mizuno ST-Z 230 (15 degrees, -1 setting)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Smoke Green RDX 75 6.5

7-wood: PXG 0311 Black Ops (21 degrees, -1 loft, flat)
Shaft: Nippon Regio Formula MB+ 75x

4-iron: Titleist T200
Shaft: Aerotech Steelfiber i110cw Stiff

Irons: Ping i230 (5-PW)
Shaft: Fujikura Axiom 105s

Wedge: Titleist Vokey Design SM10 (50.08F)
Shaft: UST Mamiya Dart V 105 Wedge F4

Wedge: TaylorMade MG4 TW (56-12)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold TI 115 Wedge

Wedge: TaylorMade MG4 TW (60-11)
Shaft:True Temper Dynamic Gold TI 115 Wedge

Putter: L.A.B. Mezz.1 Max
Shaft: Accra x L.A.B. Graphite

Ball: Titleist ProV1 Enhanced Alignment

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