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Best irons in golf of 2023: Pure enjoyment

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Modern iron sets are designed into player categories that overlap the outdated “what’s your handicap?”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

Srixon ZX5 Mk II

Their story: MainFrame v2 was developed with an Automated Intelligence process, flex-maximizing variable thickness pattern of grooves, channels, and cavities carefully milled into the backside of Z ZX5 iron faces for high ball speeds. Not only does MainFrame boost COR, but it also repositions mass away from the face and into the toe and sole for a lower CG for easier launch, more consistency, and forgiveness.

From the fitters:

  • “From Z585 to ZX5 was a huge bump in performance, and this one picks up where ZX5 left off. It fits such a wide array of golfers — it looks good enough a mid-low single digit will play it, and the guy who is a 12-15 can play it. Awesome iron.”
  • “I’m a big believer in the V-Sole. For high-speed guys who want a little forgiveness and are steep, it just doesn’t stick in the ground. Super soft and high launching. Not a ton of offset. It’s also been a good fit for moderate to high handicappers.”
  • “We’ve fit a scary amount of these. They’ve refined the sole over previous generations so it works for a variety of attack angles. Good ball speeds. Players still aren’t look at this club as much as they should be. Great to combo with the ZX7 Mk II.”
  • “Like the old 745 in feel. I find the V-sole a little more prominent. They’ve cleaned up the shaping. The best combo iron with ZX7. Not as clickly as the previous generation. The PureFrame in the back has made a huge difference with the sound. Launches high with a ton of control.”

For more photos/info, read our launch piece.

Ping G430

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.

From the fitters:

  • “Hyper 17-5 face adding speed, along with a new badge design to help with additional speed and forgiveness, makes this iron a home run.”
  • “They continue to make this iron look and feel better. The only issue I had with G425 in comparison with other distance irons, it just went shorter. With a little bit of a bump in loft this year, distance-wise, it’s right there with anything else. And it doesn’t look like a golfer that’s built for a 20-handicap. It looks really good at setup with the way they’re able to hide offset and keep a thin topline.”
  • “These are hands down the most eye-appealing game improvement iron on the market. The smaller, compact shape with the added forgiveness is great for the higher handicap players.”
  • “G430 improves upon the already great G425 in every way. Higher, straighter and farther, and also better sounding and feeling.”
  • “Best looking G.I. iron out there. Blends great forgiveness and distance.”

For more photos/info, read our launch piece.

Callaway Paradym

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.

From the fitters:

  •  “Every time they come out with a new iron, I think ‘this is the time performance gets flat. They aren’t going to be able to beat what they did.’ It is absolutely incredible. The best iron I’ve ever seen performance-wise. Ball speed numbers are crazy. I’ve had players picking up 30 yards with a 7-iron. Looks awesome. Feels great. Callaway continues to amaze me.”
  • “Super strong lofted. Super clean. Something that launches high and spin.”
  •  “Could be X too. Again the AI designed face, hollow body construction, along with a sexy look makes these irons awesome.”
  • “Lots of forgiveness in a small great looking golf club. Fantastic distance and feel.”

For more photos/info, read our launch piece.

TaylorMade P790

Their story: 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:

  • “This is one of our most sought-out/asked-about irons. A nice, clean look, but you’re still getting some forgiveness. I’d tell TaylorMade to keep doing what you’re doing.”
  • “High single digit, low double digit who is looking for as much help as possible, this is a great club. Ball speed. Distance. One of the best offerings year in and year out.”
  • “It fights a wide range of players…all the way up to 20-plus handicaps. Ball speed on off-center hits is tremendous. It’s not overly high or low launching. Hot face with spin rates in a happy medium. One of the easiest fits for a lot of players.”
  • “This series is a modern classic. Long-standing hollow-bodied performance. They’ve continued to improve this club. SpeedFoam Air is that much better. Fits a wide range of players. The perfect iron for many players. TaylorMade just needs to keep riding the wave.”

For more photos/info, read our launch piece.

Srixon ZX7 Mk II

Their story:The players iron ZX7 Mk II features PureFrame: an 80-percent thicker portion of 1020 carbon steel forged behind the sweet spot in the body of the iron for soft-yet-solid-feeling impact. Also significant to the design: A refined Tour V.T. Sole Proprietary sole widths, bounce angles, and notches in the heel and toe of the club aid clean contact from a variety of lies.

From the fitters:

  • “While it’s not the best metric, these are the most played irons among our fitters”
  • “Slight refinement here. A little better look and feel. Players iron with distance. Gain a bit of ball speed and distance but still have enough spin to control the golf ball.”
  • “They did a really good job of not screwing up a good thing. ZX7 was fantastic. It seemed like 50 percent of the non-contract guys in pro golf played that iron. It continues to give very consistent numbers. The better player wants a consistent number. They need to know it’s going to go that distance. This club does that very well.”
  • “Most of what we’ve done is short iron combos with the ZX5 Mk II.”

For more photos/info, read our launch piece.

Join the discussion about best irons 2023 in the forums!

 

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Equipment

Coolest thing for sale in the GolfWRX Classifieds (5/20/24): Callaway Triple Diamond Ai smoke 7-wood

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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 Callaway Triple Diamond Ai smoke 7-wood.

From the seller: (@bogeywoods03): “Triple Diamond ai smoke 7 wood 20 degree with Denali 6.0 70 shaft , hits nukes and comes with og headcover $225 shipped obo.”

To check out the full listing in our BST forum, head through the link: Callaway Triple Diamond Ai smoke 7-wood

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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Whats in the Bag

Xander Schauffele’s winning WITB: 2024 PGA Championship

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

3-wood: Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Triple Diamond (15 degrees @14.4) Buy here.
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana PD 80 TX

Hybrid: Callaway Apex UW (21 degrees @19.7) Buy here.
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ 90 TX

Irons: Callaway Apex TCB ’24 (4-10) Buy here.
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 (4-10)

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

Putter: Odyssey Toulon Design Las Vegas Prototype 7CH Buy here.
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.

The winning WITB is presented by 2nd Swing Golf. 2nd Swing has more than 100,000 new and pre-swung golf clubs available in six store locations and online. Check them out here.

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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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