Selecting a Golf Iron Set
For most golfers, iron sets will be used for shots under 200 yards. Traditional iron sets have been comprised of eight irons; the 3 through 9 irons plus a pitching wedge. Many iron sets now include hybrids in place of the 3, 4 and/or 5 irons. This update reflects the notion that hybrids are easier to hit than the longest irons for a majority of golfers.
The iron set is designed to progress from lower lofted, longer clubs (i.e. 3, 4, 5 irons) to higher lofted, shorter clubs (i.e. 8, 9 irons, PW). The progression in length from one club to the next can typically be measured in 1/2" increments.
This loft and length progression is designed to give the player the appropriate distance and trajectory gaps for the different shots required while playing the course. The low numbered irons (longer length, less loft) will fly the ball farther than the high numbered irons and the wedges (shorter length, more loft).
Irons can be manufactured from a variety of materials into many different styles. The materials and playing characteristics of irons will vary based on the type of golfer for which they are designed. The most common materials used in iron manufacturing are stainless steel and carbon steel.
Many factors must be taken into account when determining which material to use for a given set of irons. Two main factors are club head design (i.e. cavity back, hollow or muscle back) and material cost. Investment cast irons are typically manufactured from stainless steel and are less expensive to produce than forged irons, which are usually manufactured from carbon steel.
Game Improvement Irons
Game Improvement Irons are designed to enhance performance and forgiveness. The best game improvement irons often include hybrids to replace the hard- to- hit long irons (i.e. 3, 4, 5 irons), while the remainder of the set normally features cavity back club heads. Game Improvement Irons are ideal for any player looking to benefit from a forgiving design.
- Cavity back or hollow club heads create perimeter weighting, increasing the sweet spot for more forgiveness.
- Longer blade (face) length accommodates off-center hits.
- Wider soles allow for more turf forgiveness.
- A lower center of gravity (COG) enhances trajectory.
- More offset aids in squaring the blade at impact.
- Lightweight steel or graphite shafts lower the overall weight, making the irons easier to swing and improving club head speed.
- Usually manufactured from stainless steel using the investment casting method.
Players Irons are designed to give the more experienced golfer the ability to play a wide variety of shots. These irons feature a more traditional look, with shorter blade lengths, reduced offset, more narrow sole widths, and thinner top lines. Players Irons are less forgiving on off-center shots, making them ideal for the more accomplished golfer.
- Muscle back club heads (a solid, non-cavity back design) are common in this category. They are less forgiving but offer advanced control on well struck shots. Some Players Irons offer the slightly more forgiving cavity back design but still have many other features that appeal to an experienced golfer.
- Slightly shorter blade (face) lengths, reduced offset, narrow sole widths, beveled leading edges and thinner top lines favor superior shot-making control over forgiveness.
- Stainless steel shafts are standard and preferred by most elite players.
- Usually manufactured from softer carbon steel using a forging process. May also be forged or investment cast from heat-treated stainless steel, which softens the steel and results in properties similar to carbon steel.
Shop our great assortment of Men's Iron Sets and Women's Iron Sets.
Golf Club Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is Loft angle? The amount that a clubface deviates from perpendicular to the ground as measured in degrees. Loft angle is crucial in determining the golf ball's trajectory and spin. If all other factors (shaft flex, flex point, etc.) remain equal, then the greater the loft angle, the higher the ball flies and the faster it spins.
2. What is "Lie" angle? The "lie," or "lie angle," of a golf club is defined as the angle made between the shaft and the clubhead with the sole touching the ground at the club head's center. It is important to be custom fitted for lie angle by a certified club fitter because improper lie on a golf club can cause unintentional directional control problems. If the club is too upright, the ball will miss left of target. If the lie is too flat, the ball will miss to the right of the target.
3. What is "bounce?" Bounce is the angle of flange, or how much the back edge of the club head drops below the leading edge. Different degrees of bounce help players handle varying turf conditions. More bounce is better for soft turf or sand conditions where the club can be allowed to "dig." Less bounce will promote crisp contact on hard sand, turf or tighter lies.
4. What is "offset?" Offset is a club design characteristic that builds the club so the leading edge is set slightly behind the shaft. This allows the player to more easily square the face at impact by combating the average players tendency to leave the face open through the hitting area.
5. What is swingweight? Swingweight is the club weights distribution around a fixed fulcrum point, or the weight distribution of the grip, shaft, and head through a given club length. It is measured in alpha-numeric units (i.e. D-1, D-2, etc.) with higher letter-number measures indicating more club head weight, relative to the grip end.
6. What is the "center of gravity?" The Center of Gravity, or CG, is the point in the club head at which all of the points of balance intersect. The lower the CG of a club, the higher the ball flight and the easier the club is to hit. The higher the CG the lower the ball flight and the harder the club is to hit.
7. What does COR stand for? COR stands for "Coefficient of Restitution" and it is the efficiency percentage of a collision. In golf, it is used to measure the "spring like effect," or how fast a golf ball leaves the face of a club in woods. For example: If a golf ball is struck at 100 MPH and the ball leaves the face at 83 MPH, the club is said to have a COR of .830. The maximum limit allowed by the USGA is .830 COR on clubs.
8. What is the different between Forged and Cast irons? Forged irons are clubs that are manufactured by stamping red-hot metal bars into shapes between a pair of dies multiple times. These clubs are generally made of carbon-steel and are usually made for more advanced players. Cast irons are made by pouring molten steel (usually stainless steel) into ceramic molds and then cooled to form their shape. Cast irons can be made into any shape and designs range from those for high-handicap players to more blade designs for better players.
9. What is MOI? MOI is the Moment of Inertia, or the resistance to twisting of any golf club head when the golf ball is impacted off center.
10. What is shaft flex? Shaft flex is the measurement of the shaft's willingness to bend under a given stress or weight. Shafts are available in Senior/Flexible (A), Ladies (L), Regular (R), Stiff (S), Extra Stiff (X) and Double Extra Stiff (XX). As a general rule, the stiffer the flex the more strength and club head speed are needed to make the shaft straighten out at impact. Shaft flex has a direct impact on ball flight and direction.
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