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.
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
- Most technology packed
- Easiest to launch
- Pure Enjoyment
- Best blade
- Overall performance
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
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Bridgestone launches special First Tee edition e6 ball
Bridgestone Golf has launched a special First Tee edition e6 golf ball, with a portion of the proceeds going directly to First Tee, a youth development organization that helps kids and teens build their strength of character through golf.
The special First Tee edition ball is available now exclusively through PGA Tour Superstore and comes in both white and optic yellow color codes.
“We’re very pleased to offer this special First Tee edition e6, exclusively at PGA Tour Superstore. For decades, First Tee has done very fine work, helping young people learn and grow through the game of golf, building strong individuals and communities. It is an honor to create a dedicated product where the proceeds from the sales will bolster their charitable endeavors.” – Dan Murphy, President and CEO, Bridgestone Golf
As a reminder, the e6 is the longest-running model in Bridgestone’s current lineup. The latest model, new for 2021, features a larger, softer core in design for a more responsive feel added distance for moderate swing speed players.
The new design, which is specifically tailored to modern players who value a ball that provides a very soft feel at impact, retails for $21.99 per dozen.
Adidas unveils new Stan Smith golf shoe in classic colorway
Adidas Golf is bringing the classic Stan Smith colorway to the course, with the new unmistakable white and green golf shoe.
Building upon the new PimeGreen upper made with high-performance recycled materials1 as part of Adidas’ mission to End Plastic Waste, this version is also waterproof (one-year warranty) to help keep golfers dry both on and off the course.
The new Stan Smith golf shoe features a PU cushioning in targeted areas in the midsole to go alongside a PU die-cut sockliner in a bid to provide maximum comfort.
The shoe also contains an adiwear spikeless outsole that features lugs inspired by the shoe’s original sole design, offering some added traction for all course conditions to go along with their style.
“When we were talking about bringing this shoe into golf, the original white and green colorway was a must-have as part of our planning. The Stan Smith silhouette is known throughout the world for being so versatile from a fashion standpoint, so we’re excited to give golfers that same style and versatility for when they head out to the course, now in a more sustainable way.” – Masun Denison, global footwear director, Adidas Golf.
As an ode to the traditions of the past, Adidas has also included a removable white kiltie to provide players another way to wear their shoes and give off some added flair for their round.
This classic white and green colorway of the Stan Smith Golf will be available on adidas.com, through the Adidas app, and at select retail partners worldwide beginning Saturday, May 1.
Lob wedge or no lob wedge? – GolfWRXers discuss
In our forums, our members have been discussing the necessity of a lob wedge. WRXer ‘rickybooby25’ kicks off the thread, saying
“Do you use a Lob wedge in your current set-up or not? Players nowadays immediately default to using a LW when playing a chip shot around the greens. I currently have a LW in the bag but have been debating on taking it out completely because it creates bad habits when facing a chip shot. What are your thoughts?”
And our members have been sharing their thoughts on the subject in the forum, with some very interesting responses.
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.
- Chadwickog: “I am in the NO lob wedge camp, it simplifies the decision making when it comes to wedge play, and all shots are still possible if you know how to hit them.”
- jholz: “I’ve always looked at the lob wedge as a specialty club for special situations. Lower lofted wedges (54* or 56*) are the ones I use for the vast majority of generic chip shots.”
- timmekang: “I’ve mentioned this in prior posts, but I carry 2 lob wedges. Not all lob wedges are created equal to don’t be afraid to bring more than 1 out on the course with different bounce/grind/etc. and see what works best depending on your lie and circumstances.”
- lefthack: “I bought one, learned to hit it, but didn’t find a need for it in my bag when there are other clubs I would use more.”
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