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Best irons in golf 2023: The shotmakers

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Modern iron sets are designed into player categories that overlap the outdated “what’s your handicap?”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

Best irons of 2023: Meet the fitters

2023 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.”

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”
  • “Srixon has been the “sleeper” iron company for a number of years now, but I think the secret is out. The ZX7 Mk II fit many different player types, from tour pro to mid-handicapper. The forging is very soft and forgiving, and the iron is very workable for the player with more ability. They didn’t change the shape from ZX7 to Mk II, and I think that’s a great thing.”
  • “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 forgiving players iron. V-Sole design gives significantly better turf interaction compared to a traditional sole.”

For more photos/info, read our launch piece.

Callaway Apex TCB

Their story: With internal and external MIM’d tungsten weighting, Callaway engineers precisely each irons CG within the 1025 mild carbon steel body. Tour-inspired size and shaping with a straighter leading edge, less offset, a thinner top line, and a smoother hosel transition distinguishes the TCB from the stock Apex CB.

From the fitters:

  • “Good lofts for spin, and you can flight them any way you want if you have the club speed.”
  • “Classic small compact look with the endless ability to shape shots into the window a better player is looking for. We have seen lots of wins on tour this season. Players who need spin will tend to gravitate towards this iron.”
  • “One of the best players irons Callaway has made. Great shape. Looks fantastic. Feels fantastic. You can feel that weight in the back, and obviously its done well on tour. They don’t need to change anything.”
  • “One of the best players irons out there but still has the right amount of forgiveness that player is looking for.”
  • “Excellent shape, sound, and feel from an iron with a bit of forgiveness as well. Tour response is excellent, and offering the same iron to the retail market is a very positive option for golfers looking to shape the ball.”

For more photos/info, read our launch piece.

Titleist T100

Their story: The “players iron” of the new T-Series family, the T100 iron features an all-new Tour-designed sole, which was inspired by discussions with both the tour staff and the Vokey wedge design team. It features a new variable bounce sole design, which provides less bounce in the heel and more bounce in the toe to facilitate better turf interaction and improved feel.

The new T100 face features a continuous cradle construction that aims to provide a seamless striking surface and a more uniform leading edge than its predecessor.

From the fitters

  • “A purist players club. For a better ballstriker. Not a ton of offset but still easy to launch and spin. It’s not forgiving within the category, but usually it’s not for a player looking for forgiveness. In the right window for launch. Great sound and feel.”
  • “The club that blade players transition to when they don’t want to go full muscleback…when you look down at it, it looks like a blade. You don’t see the back or the cavity. It has enough tech in it to make it forgiving on mishits. But it’s slim enough and has a thin enough topline that guys feel it has playability for shot shaping.”
  • “Still the GOAT in the high-tech players category. Titleist somehow manages to make it better looking with each update, more forgiving than they look.”
  • “Best low handicap iron head. Always performs well. Great look at address for that discerning golfer. Classic Titleist sound and feel.”
  • “Great ball speed and performance for a tour-style profile. For players looking for a classic players look combined with distance, this has to be in the mix.”

For more photos/info, read our launch piece

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:

For more photos/info, read our launch piece.

Mizuno Pro 223

Their story: The Mizuno Pro 223 irons conceal a ball speed-enhancing construction within the frame of a compact players cavity. A completely new technology platform from 4-7 iron combines Mizuno’s tested Chromoly Forging and Flow Micro-Slot – An innovation designed to produce extreme ball speeds from a small tour-ready profile. The irons deliver a face thickness of just 2.4mm (vs 2.6mm JPX921 Forged), and from 8-PW, the Pro 223 irons are constructed from 1025E Pure Select Mild Carbon Steel in a bid to offer excellent precision and control.

From the fitters:

  • “223 is tremendous. Should not be as forgiving as it is. Players clubs are getting a little too low spin, but this is still great. Definitely for the single-digit player. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how easy it is to fit. It’s Mizuno, so everybody loves the feel.”
  • “When you have something in that 32-degree 7-iron range, and it feels good, looks good, sounds good and offers what the better player is looking for. Home run. For someone who isn’t a tour level-player but wants something that looks like a Mizuno with a little bit of help, this is great.”
  • “Forged Mizuno feel with great distance and control. Compact shape but enough ball speed to hang with other players distance irons.”
  • “Iron has done great for cutting spin for a high-spin player.”

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

Keith Mitchell WITB 2024 (May)

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Driver: Mizuno ST-Z 230 (9.5 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS T1100 75 6.5

3-wood: TaylorMade Qi10 (16.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei 1K Blue 90 TX

7-wood: Titleist TS2 (21 degrees, C1 SureFit setting)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Blue 90 TX

Irons: Mizuno Pro 225 (2), Mizuno Pro 225 “KM-92” (4-9)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Wedges: Mizuno T24 (46-08S @47, 50-07S @51, 56-10D @55), Titleist Vokey Design WedgeWorks Proto (60-T)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour
Grip: Golf Pride Pro Only

Grips: Golf Pride Victory Cord

Ball: Titleist Pro V1

See the rest of Keith Mitchell’s WITB in the forums.

 

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Equipment

Coolest thing for sale in the GolfWRX Classifieds (5/22/24): Piretti Workshop Tesora 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 Piretti Workshop Tesora putter.

From the seller: (@zwhitworth): “Piretti Workshop Tesora – KBS GPS Matte Black shaft and Ping PP58 non-cord grip. Playing 35”. Micro/skim milled face. Limited headcover. Includes weight kit and wrench. Some light wear marks (ready to game not mount on wall). Relisting with a huge price drop –$800.

To check out the full listing in our BST forum, head through the link: Piretti Workshop Tesora 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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Whats in the Bag

Min Woo Lee WITB 2024 (May)

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  • Min Woo Lee what’s in the bag accurate as of Charles Schwab Challenge. 

Driver: Callaway Paradym Triple Diamond S (10.5 degrees @9.5)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue 6 X

3-wood: Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Triple Diamond HL (16.5 degrees @15.5)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue 9 X

Hybrid: Callaway Apex Pro (20 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue HB 8 X

Irons: Callaway X Forged UT (2), Callaway Apex MB (4-PW)
Shafts: True Temper AMT Tour White (2), True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 (4-PW)

Wedges: Callaway Jaws MD5 (50-10S, ), Titleist Vokey Design SM9 (56-14F @55), WedgeWorks (60-T)
Shafts: Nippon NS Pro Modus3

Putter: Odyssey Ai-One Milled Six T DB
Shaft: Odyssey Stroke Lab 70
Grip: SuperStroke Zenergy Claw 1.0

Grips: Grip Master

Check out more in-hand photos of Min Woo Lee’s clubs here.

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