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Best irons in golf of 2021: The shotmakers

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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 is 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-in-golf-2021-the-shotmakers

2021 best irons: The shotmakers

Each one of these irons was designed with a single purpose: to provide the ultimate shotmaking weapon. You don’t have to be a tour player to appreciate the pleasure of hitting a well-struck shot with a club engineered to offer superior feedback. This category is all about control—and that doesn’t mean it “has to be a blade.”

TaylorMade P7MC

best irons 2021 taylormade p7mc

Their story: To build the TaylorMade P7MC irons, the manufacturing process incorporates a 2,000-ton pressure forging to ensure the feel and sound is dialed in. This iron is all business, and anyone comparing this to the smaller P7MB (blade) will notice its slightly longer heel-to-toe length, and just a touch more offset which makes it a great candidate for gapping.

It offers a crisp feel at impact and the workability of a blade iron, but in a platform that still offers forgiveness on shots hit outside of the middle. Looks, feel, and workability—it’s all here.

From the fitters

  • This iron is compact, clean, and offers a superb feel. The P7MC allows better players to have the confidence to hit the shots they want, while still having enough forgiveness hidden in the design to help with forgiveness.
  • It’s bare-bones clean and delivers exactly what you want and expect from a small forged cavity. I should also mention that it feels soooo good.

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

Srixon ZX7

best irons 2021 srixon zx7

Their story: The Srixon ZX7 provides a compact squared-off blade profile with a thin topline to frame the ball and inspire confidence for those who prefer workability over maximum forgiveness. The “tour cavity” construction places mass where it’s needed for feel and acoustics while removing it from other places around the cavity to increase stability in the small forged cavity back.

The other piece of technology, which Srixon is using to maximize performance, is tungsten in the toe of the mid and long irons to condense more mass towards the toe for extra stability without having to extend the blade length. Using tungsten isn’t new, but when the goal is to minimize size while maximizing stability, it’s a complete necessity at this point, and Srixon does a great job utilizing it in the irons.

From the fitters

  • You can call your shot and hit it with the ZX7, and even when you miss a bit we still see nice results. The camber built into the (VT) sole allows for great turf interaction and the ball comes off fast.
  • Even though the Srixon “7” iron has always done well, the ZX7 feels like a big next step in feel and performance.
  • Amazing players iron that offers more ball speed and forgiveness than a lot of other irons in this category. Thanks to the center of gravity and slightly stronger lofts, it’s a top choice for elite players who want distance and need to control spin.
  • This iron has replaced all other better player forged cavity back irons for looks and performance. I dare you to find a better performing forged cavity of its size.

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

Titleist T100

best irons 2021 titleist t100

Their story: Built from the ground up with direct input from Titleist’s PGA Tour staff, the mission statement from the design team for the T100 was to simply create “the best performing tour iron ever.” With a shape that is distinctly Titleist but completely redefined as far as offset, top line, sole width, camber, and blade length, the T100 gives players looking for a tour performance iron more playability than ever before.

The irons are co-forged with large amounts of tungsten (66 grams on average in the 3- 7-irons) in the heel and toe, and it looks a lot more like a single-piece forged player’s cavity back than a multi-piece forgiveness monster—but looks can be deceiving. It has the thinnest face Titleist has ever built into a true forged players club, which allows designers to push more mass around the head and create greater ball speed.

From the fitters

  • The T100 is a classic, clean-looking iron that packs a punch. From the address position, you would have no idea this iron has so much forgiveness packed into it.
  • This iron typically launches a little higher than some others in this category, which is great for lower ball flight players who are in need of more spin, and on the other side of things, there is the T100S model that delivers with less spin and a lower flight.

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

Callaway Apex MB

best irons 2021 callaway apex mb

Their story: The Callaway Apex MB is forged from 1025 carbon steel with a classic shape that is similar to other blade irons from Callaway’s past, but this time with a slightly narrower sole and less offset. Another improvement is the 20V grooves ensure optimal spin control in and out of the rough.

The centrally located weight screw in the back of the head allows Callaway builders to maintain the precise center of gravity locations when adding or removing weight from the irons—it’s not a new idea, but it’s one that is key to allowing the irons to be dialed into spec for each golfer.

From the fitters

  • In my opinion, the Apex MB is the best-looking blade on the market. It’s also very easy to work the ball in any direction you want.
  • The central weight screw for adjusting swing weight has been great this year for quality control and to fine-tune during fittings. Although not everyone is sensitive to swing weight, this feature allows us, and secondly the builders, to get things just right.

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

Mizuno JPX921 Tour

Their story:  The 921 Tour is about subtle refinements to deliver familiar performance with improved feel and looks. The iron is designed with the feel, flow, and performance of the MP series but with greater clubhead stability and a different player in mind. The MP could still be considered the “traditionalist” iron, whereas the JPX Tour caters to a more aggressive player needing a little bit extra help on occasion but still wanting a smaller-looking iron.

Mizuno’s Stability Frame design allows the 921 Tour to offer greater forgiveness (higher MOI) than the MP-20 MMC without the multi-material construction. The iron achieved flow from top to bottom by narrowing the soles in the shorter irons and ever-so-slightly increasing the width in the longer clubs—not something noticeable from address but a feature that helps with ball flight control and shotmaking.

From the fitters

  • The 921 Tour provides Mizuno MP looks and feel with a lot of extra stability. The satin chrome look has also been a massive hit with golfers who like a stealthy look over a shiny chrome.
  • First, it was the 900, and then the 919. Now with the 921 Tour, Mizuno has combined the best of both previous irons to create a stable yet workable tour-level iron.

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

Join the discussion about best irons 2021 in the forums!

 

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Whats in the Bag

Michael Johnson WITB 2024 (July)

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Driver: Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Triple Diamond Max (8.5 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Black 60 TX

3-wood: Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Max (15 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS T1100 70 6.5

7-wood: TaylorMade Stealth (21 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Smoke Green 90 6.5 TX

Irons: PXG 0317 CB Raw (4-9)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Wedges: PXG Sugar Daddy II (48-10S, 50-12S, 56-12S, 60-07)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 (48), True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 (50-60)

Putter: Odyssey Ai-One #5 DB
Grip: SuperStroke Pistol Lock 1.0

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Cord

Ball: Titleist Pro V1

See more in-hand photos of Michael Johnson’s clubs here.

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Equipment

New Callaway Opus, Opus Platinum wedges announced

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We spotted Callaway’s new Opus wedges on the PGA Tour in May. The design, however, in its “S6” incarnation, has been present in pros bags for much longer, game by the likes of Jon Rahm, Yuka Saso, and Xander Schauffele.

Today, Callaway is officially announcing the retail launch of its Opus and Opus Platinum wedges and pulling back the curtain on the most tour-tested, tour-validated wedge in company history in the process.

2024 Callaway Opus wedges: What’s new, key technology

Spin Gen Face Technology

Callaway engineers combine three elements for what they’re calling “Spin Gen Face Technology.” More grooves are present on the face thanks to decreasing the distance between each groove. As with previous designs, engineers also leverage offset groove-in-groove design for more spin, particularly on open-face shots. Finally, the face has been aggressively blasted with quartz to create additional roughness. The sum total of all these elements? More spin, particularly from the rough and in wet conditions, as well as lower launch.

Tour feedback

As a result of extensive testing and input from tour professionals, Opus wedges feature a higher toe peak, refined leading edge radius, and smooth hosel transition for what the company calls its “best wedge shape ever.” Owing to professional input, Callaway offers Opus wedges with a full range of grinds.

2024 Callaway Opus wedges: Additional model details

Opus Platinum wedges

In addition to the standard Opus wedge, Callaway is also unveiling premium MiM (metal injection molded) Opus Platinum wedges. The wedges feature 17 grams of tungsten bonded high in the topline of the club for lower launch with more spin as well as a proprietary blend of metals in the body of the club for optimum feel and performance.

What Callaway says

On the name…Paul Winterhalter – Product Manager: There is an art to the game, and we really felt this quote summarized what this product really meant: where the art meets science. So, with that, introducing the new name for our franchise of wedges is Opus. In general, the name has an air of elegance to it. There’s a sense of beauty, and especially as you look at the product and we get these in your hands, you’ll see that there really is just a new look, just a beautiful sense to them. They’re quite elegant…for us, there was a ton of time and effort put into this product, and we really felt that the product was befitting of the name Opus.

On the different design mentality…Brian Herr – R&D Manager, Wedges: “We started with a different mentality this time. We didn’t design a wedge and then bring it out and see what they thought. We started from the ground up, we started with shaping. We had multiple different shapes that we brought out and showed, we got their feedback, we iterated, we got their feedback, we iterated again. So, we really let the Tour players design this product to a shape they wanted. And then after we got a shape that we loved, we started on the sole grind. So, there’s notes here all over of what Dean tested and what he built and how he went about making products for players and getting their feedback. But really, it was 18 months in the making of going and testing and then iterating and then going back out, getting as many players as feedback as we could and helping them to have them help us design it.”

On the available grinds…Paul Winterhalter: “Looking at the grind offerings, as wedges go, this is crucial for us. On the right-hand side, we have the S and W grinds where we do the lion’s share of sales. The S is our standard everyday grind with a standard sole, while the W has a wider, more forgiving full sole…We also wanted to create a product that’s a better fit for better players, so we introduced the T grind, which is new, and the C grind.

Brian Herr: The T grind is narrow and sits low to the ground, incredible for open-faced shots, particularly for players who pick the ball cleanly without taking a divot. On the other hand, the C grind is a departure from what we’ve done before, designed to keep the leading edge low when opening the face, suitable for versatile shot-making from various lies. The wider sole in the C grind provides better feedback through the turf compared to the T grind. Both grinds cater to skilled players who want to make any shot around the green.

On the Opus Platinum wedge design…Paul Winterhalter: The Opus Platinum looks super premium with MIM (Metal Injection Molding) lines in the back and elevated curb appeal. As a quick elevator pitch, we have the Spin Gen face technology as with Opus and Tour-validated shaping so those are kind of baked into the product. But what we’re doing to take it up another level is that trajectory control using tungsten. And then that unique MIM construction. We’ve talked about this already but through a large amount of tungsten being bonded into that topline to help the CG placement…and the next piece of that is the Metal Injection Molding – it’s not caste, it’s not forged, it’s kind of something new for us.

Brian Herr: MiM is a different way to manufacture, it’s more precise, and it also provides better feel. We’ve done extensive testing on MIM versus other manufacturing methods. MIM dampens better than other materials even the same material in different methods. MIM is a better dampener, so you’re going to notice a premium good, soft feel.

Pricing, specs, and availability

  • Price: Opus ($179.99), Opus Plantium ($229.99)
  • Pre-sale: 7/19
  • At retail: 7/26
  • Opus finishes: Brushed chrome, black shadow
  • Opus Platinum finishes: Blue, chrome
  • Stock shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold MID 115 grams (steel), UST Recoil DART HDC 65 grams (graphite)
  • Stock grip: Golf Pride Tour Velvet +2 Gray

Full Callaway Opus specs

Callaway Opus

Callaway Opus Platinum 

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Equipment

Coolest thing for sale in the GolfWRX Classifieds (7/15/24): TaylorMade MySpider X L-Neck putter

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At GolfWRX, we are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment of the game in many ways.

It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball. It even allows us to share another thing we all love – buying and selling equipment.

Currently, in our GolfWRX buy/sell/trade (BST) forum, there is a listing for a TaylorMade MySpider X L-Neck putter.

From the seller: (@Need4spd): “TaylorMade MySpider X L-Neck. Asking $315 • Plays 33.5” • Dead mint condition • SuperStroke Pistol Tour (used for four rounds) – It’s the black and white one, pic won’t upload for some reason. • New and unused MySpider headcover included.”

To check out the full listing in our BST forum, head through the link: TaylorMade MySpider X L-Neck putter

This is the most impressive current listing from the GolfWRX BST, and if you are curious about the rules to participate in the BST Forum you can check them out here: GolfWRX BST Rules

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