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Best irons in golf of 2023: Easiest to launch

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At GolfWRX, to determine the 2023 best irons, we have compiled an expert panel of fitters to help you find out which of 2023 irons is best for your game. We’re seeing new technology, more technology packed into the cavity of a club, catering toward combo sets, more consistency across the face, game improvement irons that really improve your game, and increased model segmentation against a backdrop of a few models that work well for wide sections of the fitting bell curve.

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.

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 2023: 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Modern iron sets are designed into player categories that overlap the outdated “what’s your handicap?”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 2023: The categories

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

Best irons of 2023: Meet the fitters

2023 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.

Mizuno JPX923 Hot Metal HL

best irons 2023 easiest to launch

Their story: With the JPX923 Hot Metal, Mizuno introduced “4355 nickel chromoly,” which is 35 percent stronger than the original Hot Metal material and allows for an eight-percent thinner clubface. Cup face construction works in tandem with a deep center of gravity for high launch with stopping power. Mizuno developed Hot Metal Pro, Hot Metal and Hot Metal HL (High Launch) from 175,000 real golf swings recorded via Mizuno’s Swing DNA system. JPX923 Hot Metal HL is a high launch speed cavity delivering a higher launching option for players with moderate swing speeds or aggressive shaft lean, it’s suitable for mid to high handicap golfers.

From the fitters:

  • “Mizuno being Mizuno making another great iron that fits a high handicap and improves their current ball flight with the weaker lofts. Ball speed is great, and feel is never an issue with Mizuno, one of my favorite clubs to use in a fitting.”
  • “Excellent ball speed from an iron designed to get the ball up in the air with Mizuno feel! Great iron for slower swing speeds needing height. Love the CG positioning; low and back from the face of the club. Increasing static loft makes these great for increasing forgiveness and launch.”
  • “Mizuno asked us what we saw in their game improvement side, and we said ‘players don’t hit it high enough. Your lofts are too strong.’ This club fits a wide range of players. We’ve had fittings where we’re going 2 degrees weak from standard.”
  • “This was a club that we begged for someone to make. Make a game improvement iron that has some loft on it. We wanted something that had all the tech, but just make it half a club weaker. This allows the player who can’t get the ball in the air to keep a 5 or 6-iron in the bag instead of going to a hybrid.”
  • “The low spin we’re seeing with so many players, the higher we can launch it, the better they’re going to hit it. This is a good fitting option for many women as well. Great for a player who needs launch more than anything. We’re pulling this a lot, and it’s performing exceedingly well.”

For more photos/info, read our launch piece.

TaylorMade Stealth HD

best irons 2023 easiest to launch

Their story: The new addition features an ultra-low profile head shape in the long irons designed to drive CG lower to help get the ball airborne with ease while progressive head sizes (each club is uniquely shaped and gets incrementally larger from 5-iron through pitching wedge) aim to help independently optimize the performance of each iron. An increased sole radius and step down design along the bottom of the club round out the all-new shape. Per TaylorMade, testing confirmed that increasing the sole arc from heel to toe led to more shots high on the face, which translates to higher launch and further helps this golfer get the ball airborne. The step down sole is designed to boost playability by reducing the amount of surface area that contacts the turf.

From the fitters:

  • “If you have a player who struggles with launch, just give them these.”
    “I had a guy who couldn’t hit it through a second-story window, but the first swing he took with this, it went 60 feet in the air. It really goes straight up in the air, but it has all the tech and distance TaylorMade irons are known for. As we get into the season, I think this iron is going to do really well.”
    “Higher handicappers want higher shots and shots that draw. With the HD — high draw — TaylorMade is delivering that. It’s a different club. Similar to how hybrids looked different 20 years ago. But they do what they’re supposed to do, and I always appreciate thinking outside of the box.”
  • “The face-wrapped designed face makes this iron hot all over the face and super forgiving. Also, love the hollow body for stability and speed as well. The HD really varies the CG allowing golfers to get the forgiveness and height needed to hit high bombs.”
  • “The all-new sole design helps get through the turf easier with the added weight in the back allowing for a player who struggles with launch to get the height they need with the added forgiveness to get a ball to launch properly and stop quicker on a green.”

For more photos/info, read our launch piece,

Ping G430 HL

best irons 2023 easiest to launch

Their story: Billed as Ping’s “longest iron ever”, the G430 irons combine a lower CG with stronger, custom- engineered lofts and a thinner face that delivers up to 2 more mph of ball speed, per the company. At the heart of the new addition is the PurFlex cavity badge, an innovation which features seven flex zones that allow more free bending in design to increase ball speed across the face. In combination with a lower CG, the badge aims to contribute to the solid feel and pleasing impact sound. The stronger lofts across the set resulted in the addition of a 41 degree PW to ensure proper gapping options and allowed for standard lofts in the traditional scoring wedges (45.5, 50, 54 and 58 degrees).

From the fitters:

  • “These are hands down the most eye-appealing game improvement iron on the market. With a lightweight option this club is able to fit a player who may not swing it as fast and needs extra launch help and needs speed. The smaller, compact shape with the added forgiveness is great for the higher handicap players. The added changes of Power spec and retro spec allow us fitters to help dial in loft and help a player achieve a ball flight that suits them. These might be one of the best irons ever made!”
  • “With the stock shaft option at 45 grams, you see players pick up some speed and launch, and get the ball to land softer.”
  • “It’s not that much difference from the standard G430, which is great, you just have it in a lightweight package. For the player who wants to play the G430 but needs to pick up a couple of yards, this is a great choice.”
  • “Light, fast, and easy to elevate. The Ping irons continue to be a home run with golfers in the slower swing speed categories.”
  • “Great for height, spin and forgiveness. Ping poured a lot of tech into the G430 with the Pureflex badge and helping players hit it higher by offering the HL version of an already high launch iron.”

For more photos/info, read our launch piece.

Callaway Paradym X

Their story: Industry-leading A.I. face technology is applied to a high-strength Forged 455 Face, creating Callaway’s most powerful forged iron face ever. Each face is uniquely optimized for more speed, higher launch, and increased spin consistency.The all-new Hollow Body design features Speed Frame construction for added stiffness to the body and support for the high-strength Forged 455 Face Cup. This unique construction is the catalyst that stabilizes a thinner face in design for incredibly fast ball speeds. Paradym X irons are designed for golfers who are looking for an iron that’s long with premium forged feel.

From the fitters:

  • “It just goes. Crazy ball speeds. I’ve been shocked at times to see how fast the ball is coming off this iron. If you want distance, this is the iron to consider.”
  • “Numero uno for me for getting the ball up in the air and getting a player some distance. I’ll pull this 10 times out of 10. A cannon.”
  • “Launches high with hollow body deep CG design, super hot AI designed face that gets the ball moving up and fast, all leading to great speed and forgiveness for the slower speed players.”
  • “Launches great and goes straight.”
  • “Long, stays down the middle, great forgiveness. Incredibly easy to hit. Probably the best distance iron in the category.”

For more photos/info, read our launch piece.

XXIO X

best irons 2023 easiest to launch

Their story: The new High-Strength Face Plate is made from specialized steel and allows for a remarkably thin, 2.1mm face, which flexes more substantially for increased ball speed and better performance on shots struck low on the face. The clubs contain a heavier clubhead and an extremely lightweight shaft which work together in a bid to increase ball speed and swing speed at the same time, while manufacturers positioned mass under the grip, behind the hands in design to help players find the ideal spot at the top of their swing to make the downswing more consistent.

From the fitters:

  • “We do a lot of XXIO, and I don’t really reshaft them. They have the right kick point. At stock, they are super hot and they go to the moon. Still with a clean profile and almost looks like an old Srixon. I’ve seen as much as 25-feet difference between this and other fittings.”
  • “Continues to be the best overall performer in the category.”
  • “Always a great iron for the slower swing speed player.”
  • “XXIO is the lightest head we sell, and we love pulling them for people with slow swing speeds. The shaft and head combination is magical many time, and I have seen some incredible improvements for people who tend to hit every iron the same distance.”
  • “This is an iron where it’s just easy to get height. If a player has trouble launching it or needs speed, you throw this in their hands and immediately you see a difference.”

For more photos/info, read our launch piece.

Join the discussion about best irons 2023 in the forums!

 

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Whats in the Bag

Xander Schauffele WITB 2024 (May)

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  • Xander Schauffele what’s in the bag accurate as of the PGA Championship. 

Driver: Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Triple Diamond (10.5 degrees @10.1)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana PD 70 TX (45.5 inches)

3-wood: Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Triple Diamond (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana PD 80 TX

Hybrid: Callaway Apex UW (21 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ 90 TX

Irons: Mizuno MP-20 (3), Callaway Apex TCB ’24 (4-10)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue Mid X100 (3), True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 (4-10)

Wedges: Callaway Jaws Raw (52-10S), Titleist Vokey Design SM10 (56-10S @57), Titleist Vokey Design WedgeWorks Proto (60-K @61)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Putter: Odyssey Toulon Design Las Vegas Prototype 7CH
Grip: SuperStroke Zenergy Tour 2.0

Grips: Golf Pride MCC Align

Ball: Callaway Chrome Tour

Check out more in-hand photos of Xander Schauffele’s clubs in the forums.

More Xander Schauffele WITBs

 

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Whats in the Bag

Cam Smith WITB 2024 (May)

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Driver: Titleist TSR3 (10 degrees, D4 SureFit setting)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus TR Blue 6 X

3-wood: Ping Max G430 Max (15 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus TR Red 7 X

7-wood: Titleist TS2 (21 degrees, D4 SureFit setting)
Shaft: UST Mamiya Elements Proto 8F5

Irons: Mizuno Pro Fli-Hi (2, 3), Titleist T100 (5-9)
Shafts: KBS Tour 130 X Custom Series

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM9 (46-10F, 52-08F, 56-08M, 60-04T)
Shafts: KBS Tour 130X (46, 52, 56, 60)

Putter: Scotty Cameron 009M

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Tack

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

Check out more in-hand photos of Cam Smith’s gear here.

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Whats in the Bag

Patrick Reed WITB 2024 (May)

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Driver: Ping G400 (8.5 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Rogue Silver 125 MSI 70 Tour X

3-wood: Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Triple Diamond (15 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Rogue Silver 125MSI 80 Tour X

Hybrid: Callaway Apex Pro (18 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila RIP Phenom Hybrid 100 TX

Irons: Titleist 716 TMB (2), Grindworks PR-202 (4), Grindworks PR-101A (5-PW)
Shafts:  True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore (50-10 Mid), Titleist Vokey Design SM9 (56-08M @55), SM10 (60-04T)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: Odyssey White Hot RX Pt Customs No. 2

Ball: Titleist Pro V1

Grips: Golf Pride MCC

More photos of Patrick Reed’s WITB in the forums.

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