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When selecting an iron set, it’s important to consider the needs of your game, and the results you hope to achieve by making a switch. Almost more than any other aspect of the game, every golfer’s iron play is dependant on his or her own unique swing characteristics. In most instances, the iron sets used by your favorite touring professionals won’t provide you the feedback or forgiveness that you require, and any decision you make should be based on a realistic assessment of your current skill level and the amount of time you’re able to dedicate to playing and practicing. From a playability standpoint, consider the trajectory, workability, and feel that you hope to achieve from your iron set on a regular basis.
Golf Irons Sets
Generally speaking, today’s modern irons can be grouped into one of four performance categories: hybrid, game-improvement, midsize, or blade. Each is named for the head design of the respective iron, and each targets a specific type of player and swing.
Like the widely-played hybrid woods that have gained a following in recent years, hybrid irons are a fusion of fairway wood technology and traditional iron design. Hybrid sets are graduated in design – the less-lofted irons bear a striking resemblance to metal woods, but the mid and short irons look gradually more traditional in design. Due to a wider sole and lower center of gravity, these sets are ideal for beginners as well as players who have trouble getting their irons airborne. Adams (A-OS and Redline series) and Callaway (RAZR X hybrid) sets are among the best known models available today, but comparable offerings from TaylorMade (Rocketballz), Cobra (S3), and Wilson (Di11 series) ensure that even the most discriminating golfers will find what they’re seeking in a quality iron.
The notable characteristics of game-improvement sets are wider soles, thicker toplines, and offset, the face of the club being set slightly back from the shaft. Known informally as “cavity-backs”, these irons boast expansive rear cavities behind the face of the club. Taken as a whole, all of these features promote a achieve higher launch while eliminating the tendency for “fading” or “slicing” – hitting shots that fall to the right during flight, often at the expense of distance and accuracy. If game-improvement is the iron type for you, consider the well-known models produced by TaylorMade (Burner HT and Burner Plus), Callaway (RAZR X), and Cleveland Golf (CG7 and CG16).
More accomplished players tend to gravitate towards midsize and blade irons, featuring thinner toplines, heavier clubheads, a smaller face area, and less offset. The most compact type of iron, “blades” or “musclebacks” are named for their fuller, smoother backs, which boast few (if any) game-improvement features. The principal benefit of these so-called “player’s irons” is workability and control, but it comes at a price – consistent technique is a must in order to product solid contact and repeatable results. For many years, Mizuno (MP-62) has been considered a go-to for the experienced iron player, but Callaway (RAZR X Forged) and Nike (VR Pro Combo) have recently challenged that reputation with their own quality offerings.