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Best irons in golf 2023: Most technology packed

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Modern iron sets are designed into player categories that overlap the outdated “what’s your handicap?”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

This is the “give me everything you got” list. These irons are the cream of the crop for offering technology to improve feel, distance, and ball speed. The great thing about the technology category is it’s not reserved for higher handicap golfers—it’s for anyone looking to get everything they can out of their game in an iron that also suits their eye.

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.”

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.

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.

Callaway Great Big Bertha

Their story: By leveraging materials that are typically reserved for drivers, Callaway generated up to 96g of discretionary weight and precisely repositioned this saved weight in their new irons in design to increase launch and forgiveness.  The Great Big Bertha iron features the thinnest titanium face the brand has ever used in an iron. On top of that, it’s also the lightest. In addition, the Commercially Pure Grade 4 (CP4) Titanium body flexes more at impact than traditional steel and works together with the thinner face in a bid to transfer more energy to the ball.

From the fitters:

  • “Hotter than a lot of clubs in this category. This is the club for distance. Higher and farther than anything in this category. Tons of tungsten. The only issue with this club for players in this category is price. Everything else is exactly what this player needs. A great fit for a lot of 40-plus-year olds.”
  • “All that tungsten makes this club easy to hit for high handicaps and slow swing speeds.”
  • “Between AI design face, hollow body construction, and tons of tungsten.”
  • “Titanium/tungsten/carbon fiber. Crazy MOI.”

For more photos/info, read our launch piece.

TaylorMade Stealth HD

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,

Join the discussion about best irons 2023 in the forums!

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Whats in the Bag

Stephen Stallings, Jr. WITB (July)

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  • Stephen Stallings’ WITB accurate as of the ISCO Championship.

Driver: TaylorMade Stealth Plus (10.5 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI 6 X

4-wood: Titleist TSi2 (18 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ 70 TX

Irons: Srixon ZX Utility (3), Srixon ZX7 Mk II (5-PW)

Wedges: Cleveland RTX6 ZipCore (50-10 MID, 54-10 MID, 60-10 MID)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: TaylorMade Spider X

Grips: Golf Pride MCC

Check out more in-hand photos of Stephen Stallings’ WITB in the forums.

 

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Whats in the Bag

Adrien Saddier WITB 2024 (July)

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Driver: Mizuno ST-Z 230 (9.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei 1K White 70 TX

3-wood: Mizuno ST-Z 230 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 8 X

Hybrid: Mizuno ST-Z (19 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black HB 9 TX

Irons: Mizuno Pro Fli-Hi (1), Mizuno Pro 243 (3, 4), Mizuno Pro 241 (5-9)
Shafts: Fujikura Ventus Black HB 9 TX (1), KBS Tour-V 130 (3-9)

Wedges: Mizuno T24 (46-08S), Titleist Vokey Design SM10 (50, 56-08M), WedgeWorks (60-A)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Putter: L.A.B. Golf DF3

Grips: Golf Pride MCC, Golf Pride Tour Velvet

Check out more in-hand photos of Adrien Saddier’s clubs here.

 

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Product Reviews

Three Swing Challenge: Testing the Edel Array F-2 putter

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This week on the Three Swing Challenge, we have the Edel Array F-2 putter. With the Array line of putters, Edel gives golfers several different options to match their putting styles and tendencies. It is a cool concept, but let’s see how it performs.

Why three swings?

Many years ago, the legendary Barney Adams, founder of Adams Golf told us this:

“My formula as a fitter was three shots only. I discounted No. 1 just because it was the first one, counted 100 percent of No. 2 and discounted No. 3 because the player was starting to adjust.”

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