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Best irons in golf of 2022: Pure enjoyment

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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 2022 best irons, we have compiled an expert panel of fitters to help you find out which of 2022 irons is best for your game.

OEMs have again 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. We are also seeing more segmentation of models to help you determine your best set and/or set combination.

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 2022 in the forums!

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 2022: 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Modern iron sets are designed into player categories that overlap the outdated “what’s your handicap?”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 2022: The categories

  • Overall performance
  • Easiest to launch
  • Pure enjoyment
  • Shotmakers
  • Most technology-packed
  • Best blade

Best irons of 2022: 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: Fitter, Carls Golfland
Ryan Johnson: Fitter, Carl’s Golfland
Eric Hensler:
Manager & Fitter, Miles of Golf
Brad Coffield: Fitter Carl’s Golfland
Nick Waterworth: Fitter,Haggin Oaks Golf Super Shop
Scott Anderson: VP of Sales, Fitter, True Spec Golf
Matthew Sim: Director of Operations, Modern Golf
Shawn Zawodni: Fitter, Miles of Golf
Ben Giunta: Owner,The Tour Van
Matt Decker: Head Fitter and Builder, The Fitting Lab – Baltimore
Jason Bodey: Head Fitter and Builder, The Fitting Lab Pittsburgh
Bradley Harrelson: Fitter, 2nd Swing Golf
Alex Dice: Fitter, Carl’s Golfland
Matt Mora: Director of Club Fitting, Urban Golf Performance
Jordan Patrick: Fitter, True Spec Golf
Gus Alzate: Fitter, True Spec Golf
Carmen Corvino: Fitter, True Spec Golf
Blake Smith: Fitter, True Spec Golf
Marc Roybal: Fitter, True Spec Golf
Shaun Fagan: Fitter, True Spec Golf

2022 Best irons: Pure enjoyment

It’s no mistake that we are seeing overlap in the way the top irons are defined by fitters in this category. The most playable irons are most likely to be higher launching, and shots that fly higher make the game more enjoyable for everyone. This reiterates the point previously made that your iron selection should not be defined by your handicap but instead what gives you the best opportunity to play your best — and most enjoyable — golf.

TaylorMade P790

Their story: Of course, we also know the real story of the P700 line in general, P790 in particular, is under the hood, so let’s take a look.

SpeedFoam, which was the showpiece of the original (2017) P790 line gets an upgrade in the 2021 edition. Dubbed SpeedFoam Air, the ultralight urethane foam is 69 percent less dense than the 2019 iteration.

As is the formula in golf club design, saving weight in one area allows engineers to relocate it to another to accomplish specific aims. In this case, it’s to aid launch. And that’s just what the folks at TM have done, moving the CG lower in the heads of P790 irons to the tune of an average of .5 millimeters.

From the fitters

  • “Just a ton of technology packed into a great looking iron. The ball speeds has been crazy good and I am impressed with how TaylorMade keeps improving them. Even for better players who just want a little more distance, they love the look.”
  • “It’s still very highly in demand. Very forgiving. Very long. In those hollow foam irons, if not the best, probably the leader in that category.”

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

TaylorMade Stealth

Their story: Building from the Cap Back Design in SIM2 Max and SIM2 Max OS irons – which utilized the concept of a multi-material hollow body construction – the new Stealth irons are engineered to improve face flexibility and deliver fast ball speeds. TaylorMade engineers created the multi-material Cap Back Design by utilizing the concept of the hollow iron but replacing the steel back with a low density, polymer composite cap.

From the fitters

  • “I think TaylorMade made the right choice making it slimmer and just one model. It launches the ball really well for a wide range of players and the sole design fits a lot of different players and turf. Creates consistent play from tight or fluffier lies.”
  • “We’ve done very, very well with early fittings. It’s a very, very long golf club. Even longer than P790 or some other forged golf clubs. It’s claim to fame is going to be providing a players look but with a game improvement distance profile.”

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

Callaway Apex 21

Their story: Callaway Apex Forged irons were created with one goal in mind: optimization, not only through the set but into each specific iron. For the first time, Callaway used A.I. to design its patented Flash Face Cup, which in previous applications created a face that was not only fast but extremely forgiving.

In this newest iteration of the Apex iron, the focus was on control and “spin robustness,” which is another way to say spin optimization. Callaway was able to not only increase ball speeds and forgiveness across the face but with a new weighting configuration, also able to control and optimize spin. Each iron face is tuned to complement the loft (i.e. long irons equal high launch/low spin, mid irons equal mid launch/mid spin, short irons equal lower launch/higher spin).

From the fitters:

  • “They have had Apex for so many years and each year they add improvement. It fits a wide range of golfers from 4 to 15 handicaps. Some distance irons see some hot spots on the face and the Apex just offers really consistent ball speed, spin, and distance.”
  • “Apex has always been one of our bread-and-butters. Actually, if anything the 790 tilts toward the better player, and the Apex tilts a little bit towards the player that wants some help. It’s not as clean looking, but it has that forged feel, good looking, forgiving, ball speed, yeah, it’s…those two irons are our top dogs for sure.”

For more photos/info, read our launch piece.

Callaway Apex DCB 21

Their story: Same tech package as Apex Forged (standard) in a beefed-up chassis for the higher handicapper. This iron, which is Callaway’s most forgiving forging ever, is a direct response to the players who wanted the full Apex Forged experience but with a bit more forgiveness.

Players will see a bit more offset, thicker top line, wider sole, and a longer blade length. This combination equals more launch and ball speed across the face all while staying true to the Apex Forged loft package which makes combo sets a no-brainer.

From the fitters:

  • “It’s almost a blend, but it’s more like the original Apex but a better look and feel. They’ve thrown a lot into it. And they do all those combo sets now, so they do it right. There’s almost too many options to be honest.”

For more photos/info, read our launch piece.

Ping G425

Their story: The Ping G425 iron builds off the success of the G410 by packing more forgiveness into a smaller package designed to add distance and give golfers the ability to reduce dispersions and land the ball softer into greens.

The most important design feature of the G425 irons is the new metal wood style VFT (variable face thickness), used to increase ball speed, consistency, and launch. The new VFT is possible thanks to the Hyper 17-4 stainless steel material, which allows engineers to go thinner while still maintaining structural integrity and feel. This new VFT is not symmetrical and is instead a more sideways egg-shaped oval. This allows the G425 iron to have more face deflection than Ping has ever been able to create with a cast design. When you add in the new face with an improved hinge (notice the small notch on the toe to also increase deflection) you get a diving board-like effect to send the ball higher to stop sooner.

From the fitters:

  • “The G425 iron is easily the number 1 iron I fit players to in the fitting bays. A lot of players come in are high handicaps and need forgiveness. The Power spec allows us to decrease the loft by 2 degrees for those players who need to lower ball flight and reduce spin. The retro spec lofts allow us to add 2 degrees of loft for those players who need to add spin and height to their shots.”
  • “For us, I believe it to be the most forgiving iron we have on the sales floor. For customers that spray the ball, or distance isn’t their biggest motivating factor, not that it’s short, but they’re really trying to hit a specific yardage and a specific target. It’s as easy to hit as anything we’ve ever carried.”

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

Join the discussion about best irons 2022 in the forums!

 

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Spotted: Custom Scotty Cameron putters at the Cognizant Classic

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Each week on the PGA Tour, we spot some pretty amazing Scotty Cameron Circle T putters that players are using or testing. This week is no exception as we have some great flatsticks that were built for players at the Congnizant Classic. Here are a few of the ones that stood out to us!

Jacob Bridgeman: Circle T Masterful+

The matte copper finish is something you don’t see a ton from Scotty Cameron, but it looks great on this putter. The Masterful+ is a version of the retail Newport+ with a slightly wider shape from face to back. A Teryllium face insert should offer a softer feel and sound, especially with the deeper milling on it.

Tom Kim: Circle T 5s

Kim’s putter might be the most unique here because of the center shaft, shaft alignment aid, and a sanded-down sole. When you look at the top of the putter, down near the heel, you can see an alignment aid that works with the shaft to make sure the putter face is square to the target. The sole also looks to have the center of it sanded down and that could be to ensure that the putter sits a certain way when it is resting on the turf.

Alejandro Tosti: Circle T Timeless+

This Timeless+ is a take on the retail Newport 2 Plus with a wider shape and a sole plate that moves more mass to the perimeter for added stability. Tosti went with a single site line on the topline of the putter, leaving the flange naked. We see another Teryllium face insert here for dialing in the sound and feel, but this time with shallower milling.

Ryo Hisatsune: Circle T F-3

We haven’t seen too many heel-shafted putters in the past couple of years, but recently they have made a slight comeback. Ryo’s F3 is based off the legendary Del Mar head shape with the larger shoulders surrounding the flange. This putter also has a unique “T” shaped alignment with a white line running from heel to toe on the top of the putter and a half line running from front to back on the flange. The face looks to have a pretty aggressive deep milling for a softer, quieter impact.

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Whats in the Bag

Shane Lowry WITB 2024 (March)

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  • Shane Lowry what’s in the bag accurate as of the Cognizant Classic.

Driver: Srixon ZX5 Mk II (8.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ White 70 TX

5-wood: TaylorMade M5 (19 degrees @ 18.25 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI 8 X

Irons: Srixon ZX Utility (3, 20 degrees), Srixon ZX5 Mk II (4, 5), Srixon ZX7 Mk II (6-PW)
Shafts: Nippon N.S. Pro Modus3 Tour 120 X (3), KBS Tour 130 X (4-PW)

Wedges: Cleveland RTX 6 ZipCore Tour Rack (50-10 MID, 54-10 MID), Cleveland RTX Full Face (58-8)
Shafts: KBS Tour Wedge X Black

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG 2-Ball
Grip: SuperStroke Pistol

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet

Ball: Srixon Z-Star XV

 

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Tua Tagovailoa’s WITB + 9 interesting equipment photos from the Cognizant Classic

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Welcome to the 2024 Cognizant Classic at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, where the Florida Swing officially gets underway

Not to oversell the story below, but we spotted a surprising amount of interesting gear this week.

We got our first look at Maverick McNealy’s updated set (he’s mostly a free agent now, aside from the putter), Jake Knapp’s two-driver setup, Chris Kirk’s show-stopping new black irons, Tom Kim’s “new” custom Scotty Cameron, an oddly high-tech prototype driver headcover, and we even got a look at Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s set during the Wednesday Pro-Am.

There’s a lot to cover, and no time to waste. Let’s get right into the 9 interesting equipment photos below!

See all of our photos from the 2024 Cognizant Classic here

1) Our first look at Maverick McNealy’s setup in 2024

Now as an Odyssey putter staffer, McNealy is free to play any 13 full-shot clubs that he desires. McNealy has always preferred a blade iron style with a longer blade length – ala Tiger Woods – so it’s no shocker to see him switch into the TaylorMade P-7TW iron head, co-designed by Tiger himself. What’s cool about the photo above is you can see that he originally had lead tape across the top portion of the head, but removed it and added weight to the bottom portion; in all likelihood, he still wanted the extra head weight, but also wanted a bit of extra launch and height. After all, it is a thin blade 3-iron we’re talking about, so it makes sense.

As for the rest of McNealy’s bag, he’s using a TaylorMade Qi10 driver, two Stealth 2 fairway woods (3HL and 7), a set of P-7TW irons (3-9), Titleist Vokey SM10 wedges (46, 50, 54 and 58 degrees), and he’s testing between his longtime Odyssey Toulon “Stanford MM” putter, and a new Odyssey Ai-One Milled “Stanford” black-and-gold putter.

He’s also using a Titleist Pro V1x golf ball, where he uses the “dot” while putting for visual focus, and the line for alignment on his tee shot.

McNealy is the type of gearhead that GolfWRX.com is all about; attention to detail, with a flair for style. He’s a pilot, too, which explains the Top Gun-inspired “Maverick” headcovers, and “remove before flight” headcover tag.

Check out McNealy’s full 2024 WITB here from the Cognizant Classic

2) Shane Lowry’s two heartwarming headcovers

Shane Lowry has two daughters.

One is named Ivy…

And the other is named Iris…

See what golf clubs are underneath Lowry’s family-oriented headcovers here.

3) Brandt Snedeker still has the Odyssey White Hot Rossie XG putter in the bag

He’s still got it!

But, let’s not get too excited, because on Wednesday, we also spotted Sneds with a Bridgestone TD-02 putter in the bag, which looks quite similar to his longtime gamer Rossie XG.

Snedeker certainly has a type when it comes to how his putter looks, doesn’t he?

Check out the rest of Snedeker’s 2024 WITB here

4) A prototype Swag Golf headcover

 

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It’s rare that “prototype headcover testing” happens on the PGA Tour, but that exactly what’s happening with Nick Hardy this week.

According to Swag Golf founder and CEO Nick Venson, Swag Golf is in the creation process of what the company is calling “Headcover 3.0,” which uses TPU welding and a support structure to create a three-dimensional look, and greater durability.

The new age of headcovers could be developing right in front of our eyes.

5) Tom Kim’s custom putter

I wrote in-depth about Tom Kim’s new custom putter over on PGATOUR.com’s Equipment Report this week, but below is a few snippets of what he had to say about the customized Scotty Cameron Tour-Only T5S mallet that he switched to recently at the 2024 Genesis Invitational:

“No, [it’s not worn down], they actually milled it out (the black paint) to make me feel like there’s less loft on it. Because it was black, the color change was stronger. I told them my center shafts all look too lofty. They look too behind [the face]. So what they did was – I had no idea they did it – but they shaved off the color so I could see less loft on it. It’s the same thing, it’s just a different color. It doesn’t make me feel like there’s a lot of loft on it.

“It’s a very, very unique putter. The head has been used before, but there’s a lot of details that people don’t really know. It’s a cool putter they made for me. The team did a great job back at home.

“Right now, it’s just helping me feel more connected with my upper body. I’ve always used a blade. I went to the center shaft a little bit before, but I’ve putted my best with a hosel in the back, and I just feel like it started to feel like I just couldn’t really feel it through the release itself.

“And, the start lines were a little shaky, so that kind of made me feel like everything was in front of me. [The center shaft] helps me just feel like the ball was starting straight on my line.”

See what GolfWRX members are saying about the putter in our GolfWRX Forums

6) Chris Kirk’s black Callaway Apex CB irons

We saw Kirk switch into Callaway’s Apex CB irons – which were the stock silver/chrome color – at the 2023 FedEx St. Jude Classic last year, but, we also know that Kirk prefers the look of black irons because they make the head look slightly smaller.

Well, it looks like Kirk is testing out some new black-colored Apex CB irons, which combine the forgiveness of the Apex CB iron head, with the “smaller looking” black colorway that Kirk prefers. He still had his old chrome versions in the bag on Wednesday, to go along with the new black models, so we’ll keep an eye on what irons Kirk decides to put in the bag come competition time.

Don’t be surprised if he switches this week, or sometime in the near future.

See what GolfWRX members are saying Kirk’s new black Apex CB irons here

7) Knapp wins with two drivers in the bag

We already covered Knapp’s two-driver setup on GolfWRX.com and PGATOUR.com, but I wanted to re-emphasize how popular it’s becoming that PGA Tour players are using both a driver and a mini driver, rather than a driver and a 3-wood. Adam Scott and Tommy Fleetwood also come to mind.

I’m not saying you should switch to a setup like this for yourself, but even Knapp says that the BRNR Mini driver is significantly easier to hit than a three wood. When pros say things like that, it’s a cue to amateurs to at least test out its merits for themselves.

8) Make the forums go crazy, Jake!

We’ve already covered a few putters in this story, but still, the Custom Putter of the Week Award goes to Jacob Bridgeman, who showed off his Scotty Cameron putter with a “commando” finish and three white alignment lines.

GolfWRX Forums members weren’t ready for this type of heat, and some even slapped the “NSFW” tag on the putter photos.

Don’t hurt ’em, Jake!

See what else the forum members are saying about Bridgeman’s custom Scotty here

9) Left-handed NFL quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s right-handed golf clubs

Tua isn’t the first person ever to throw a football left-handed and play golf right-handed. Jordan Spieth is the same way. But, admittedly, it did throw me for a spiral when I first saw Tua swinging righty.

Too bad Tua can’t throw a spiral himself!

Sorry, that was a mean attempt at a pun. I’m a Giants fan, though, we can’t help it.

In terms of Tua’s WITB, he was gaming mostly PXG clubs, including a driver, fairway wood, irons, wedges, and a putter. He also had a Callaway Jaws lob wedge in the bag during the Wednesday Pro-Am, just to keep things interesting.

Something tells me the next time we see Tua on the golf course, he’ll be using a custom Miami Dolphins SuperStroke grip on his PXG putter.

And, with that cross-sport connection, we say goodbye to Palm Beach Gardens. We’ll see you next week in Orlando at Arnie’s Place for the 2024 Arnold Palmer Invitational. See you there!

Check out all of our photos from the 2024 Cognizant Classic here

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