Best Golf Irons For Beginners 2024

We take a look at the best golf irons for beginners on the market to help you get started and improve your game

Best Golf Irons For Beginners
(Image credit: Golf Monthly)

If you’re new to the game of golf or in the early stages of your playing career, you need to find the best irons to help you get off to a fast start. Within this category of the best golf irons for beginners, you’ll find clubs designed to get the ball up in the air quickly to give you longer carries. They also tend to be larger in order to be the most forgiving irons possible, giving you the best chance of getting the ball on or close to the green, even from an off-center strike. Some of these iron sets will include the option of switching out the 3, 4 and even 5-irons for easier-to-hit hybrids, which could help your performance at the more difficult end of your bag to master.

So to help you narrow your iron search, below we have taken a look at some of the best beginner irons on the market right now. We also recommend taking a look at our other iron guides on the best distance irons, best game improvement irons, or also the best budget irons if you want great value.

VIDEO: Joe Ferguson test the latest irons aimed at beginner golfers

The Quick List

Best Golf Irons For Beginners

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Top pick

Ping G430 Iron Review

(Image credit: Future)
Extra distance and performance without compromising on consistency

Specifications

Construction: Cavity back
Clubs available: 4-LW

Reasons to buy

+
Notably longer than G425
+
Impressive stopping power
+
Very consistent off center

Reasons to avoid

-
Badge appearance will divide opinion

Replacing the excellent G425 irons, the Ping G430 clubs are the latest addition to the brand's excellent range of irons that continue to offer golfers a lot of playability around the course. It's no secret that the best Ping irons on the market are renowned for their forgiveness, and the G430 is an excellent club that delivers great looks and performance that will suit less experienced players.

These irons come with a very similar profile to the G425 but have a cool PUR Flex badge insert that is situated behind the club face, which helps to improve the performance of the club. The insert adds seven new 'flex zones' to the back of the club to help generate more flexibility on the face as well as greater ball speed - making it easier than ever to get the ball in the air. 

That also meant that the club delivered a softer feel and a lower pitch on impact, similar to what you'll find on some of the best game improvement irons. In testing, we were impressed with the distance it offered without sacrificing launch angles or height. In fact it offered more yards than its predecessor and more favorable shot patterns, too. Ultimately, we found it to be a very enjoyable club to play with; approach shots seemed easier to execute and the sensation on impact will be favorable to a range of players. 

Best feel

Mizuno JPX923 Hot Metal HL Iron held aloft on the golf course

(Image credit: Future)
A great club for slower swing speeds, delivering an effortless launch

Specifications

Construction: Cavity back
Clubs available: 4-LW

Reasons to buy

+
Effortless launch for slower swing speeds
+
Very forgiving off center
+
Powerful feel

Reasons to avoid

-
Some may want to look down on a bigger head

Excellent for lower swing speeds, this iron set delivers greater forgiveness for lower handicap golfers. Helping you produce greater ball flights and extra distance, this is a very forgiving game-improvement iron perfect for force-limited golfers. Plus they deliver a lot of shaft lean at impact that will help you achieve a more optimum ball flight for more distance and better stopping power. 

Additionally we were greatly impressed with the feel from these irons. In testing we noticed they have a dense, forged-like feel that is great for anyone looking to progress their game to a more powerful set of clubs. 

Aesthetically this iron looks great and has a wider sole, offering a deeper CG and greater forgiveness compared to the standard Mizuno Hot Metal iron. In testing, the ball launched higher compared to other Mizuno JPX923 offerings but is certainly suited less experienced players who are looking for a confidence inspiring iron that will help them play more consistently. 

Best distance

Photo of the Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Iron

(Image credit: Future)
Sophisticated looks with a performance to match

Specifications

Construction: Hollow
Clubs available: 4-SW

Reasons to buy

+
Very competitive on distance
+
Refreshingly sophisticated look
+
Impressively forgiving

Reasons to avoid

-
Low spin could hurt stopping power

Part of the Callaway family for 2024 are the Paradym Ai Smoke irons which attempt to sit amongst the best distance irons and also the most forgiving irons. The chief technology to mention is the all-new Ai Smart Face which optimizes iron performance using swing data from thousands of real golfers. The result is a face that is designed to promote maximum distance with tight dispersion into the green.

But how did it test? Well we found the sound and feel highly sophisticated for irons in this category, which was very much a plus. Impressive distance was evident on strikes all across the face and really took us by surprise. Whilst obviously the centre of the face yielded the fastest speeds, drop offs were minimal too which made the forgiveness outstanding.

Overall, of all of the distance irons we have tested so far this season, the Ai Smoke leads the way in a number of categories, including feel and sophistication of looks. If you are after some distance-enhancing irons that will really look the part in your golf bag and feel softer than most game improvement irons, then this may well be the set for you.

Best for confidence

titleist t400 iron with grass background

(Image credit: Future)
The longest, most forgiving iron in Titleist's range

Specifications

Construction: Hollow
Clubs available: 5-GW

Reasons to buy

+
Outstanding forgiveness and distance
+
Confidence-inspiring shape

Reasons to avoid

-
Very strong lofts limit stopping power

The Titleist T400 iron has been designed to be the most forgiving and longest iron in Titleist’s popular T series. It has the strongest lofts in the Titleist range, but the launch is not compromised with a strong, high ball flight produced.

The split sole design delivers smooth turf interaction, while super-thin face and hollow head are fortified by high-density tungsten weighting making this a powerful and supremely forgiving iron. The set is progressive with blade lengths, sole widths and hosel lengths decreasing towards the shorter irons. But what makes the iron particularly confidence-inspiring is the overall size of the iron and the thicker topline makes it look inviting to hit. There is noticeable offset and the back of the sole on the 7-iron is visible at address, which some won’t like to see, but many others will.

Overall, we think the T400 is a great game improvement iron that could really help beginners and high handicappers get the most from their games.

Best looks

Ram FX77 Iron held aloft to reveal its wide sole

(Image credit: Future)
An awful lot of performance crammed into a well-priced package

Specifications

Construction: Muscleback
Clubs available: 4-PW

Reasons to buy

+
Pleasing looks
+
Lively, stable feel
+
Tight dispersion

Reasons to avoid

-
Some will need more launch
-
Finish isn't overly hard wearing

Thanks to the cost of living crisis, investing in brand new golf gear is way down in a lot of people's priorities right now, particularly if you're a less experienced golfer. Yet, we've found one of the cheapest sets of irons on the market right now, the Ram FX77. These clubs retail for under $400, and for that price, you'll get a very nice looking club that boasts a similar profile to some of the best blade irons. The finish is very elegant and delivers a premium look at address.

Performance wasn't an issue here either, with the FX77 delivering a very reassuring and solid feel for their price. The heat treated stainless steel faces on this club make it lively and that helps to deliver a lot of stability on off-center strikes. That makes it a  great option for beginner golfers. Considering its blade design, it does deliver lower ball flights which will be a concern for slower swingers, but despite that, they certainly remain playable for most high handicap golfers. Pleasing looks, lots of power and consistency all combine in this club, to make the Ram FX77 one of the best value clubs on the market right now.  

Most forgiving

Cleveland launcher xl halo iron and its chunky head design

(Image credit: Future)
A hybrid iron designed for clean turf interaction with accuracy and power

Specifications

Construction: Hollow
Clubs available: 4-SW

Reasons to buy

+
Easy launch
+
Option of a shorter spec for greater accuracy
+
Feels effortless to swing fast

Reasons to avoid

-
Not all will like the chunky looks

Cleveland's Launcher XL Halo irons are said to help develop a better, consistent strike. Gliderails on the long irons deliver excellent turf interaction, while the mid-to-short irons feature V-Shaped Soles to cut through the turf more effectively for cleaner contact. Meanwhile, a new 8g weight placed inside the end of every grip delivers better balance, control, and a smoother swing without extra effort to help square up to the ball at impact. 

Admittedly in testing it wasn't necessarily longer than some traditional irons with similar lofts (the 7-iron has a loft of 30 degrees), but it was noticeable how easy shots felt to strike cleanly and the stability of the ball flight that really stood out during testing.

If precision is what is desired above all else, Cleveland is offering a new Accuracy Build, a custom configuration that is half an inch shorter without counterbalancing to focus on maximum control. Overall, much like the Wilson Launch Pad, this iron is noticeably easy to swing fast and each good distance and accuracy - something beginners crave. 

Best high launch

TaylorMade Stealth HD Iron held aloft

(Image credit: Future)
Maximum height and draw bias for anyone struggling with ball flight consistency

Specifications

Construction: Hollow
Clubs available: 5-SW

Reasons to buy

+
High launch
+
Plenty of draw bias
+
Forgiving off-center and through the turf

Reasons to avoid

-
Unorthodox looks could deter some

If you're a less experienced golfer looking to add more consistency to your game, the Stealth HD iron is a very forgiving club that can help to eliminate slices and improve ball flights, thanks to its draw-bias technology. It is one of the best TaylorMade irons on the market and offers some lovely visuals, with a cool carbon fiber on its head that is surrounded by a stainless steel head. It is a chunky iron at address, which will appeal to high-handicap golfers who prefer clubs with a wide sole and shallow face height that deliver a fair bit of ballast behind the golf ball. 

In testing, we had no issues getting it up in the air, with it delivering distances just short of the original Stealth iron. We loved how easy it was to turn the ball over from right-to-left and that makes it a great club for golfers who may often miss to the right. A real standout is the sole of the iron, which features a step down design that means it plays much narrower than it looks. So, while it has the forgiveness through the turf that helps when you contact the ground early, it doesn’t feel too clunky through the hit.

Best for consistent strike

Wilson Launch Pad 2022 Iron lying on the ground

(Image credit: Future)
A metalwood-like iron that helps achieve a cleaner strike

Specifications

Construction: Hollow
Clubs available: 5-GW

Reasons to buy

+
Confidence inspiring looks
+
Easy to launch and swing faster
+
Effective in reducing the impact of heavy strikes

Reasons to avoid

-
Wide soles limit ball striking progression
-
Will look too chunky for some

The final addition to this best golf irons for beginners guide, the 2022 Launch Pad irons are hollow like a metalwood for speed and boast maximum forgiveness through the turf thanks to the wide sole, helping achieve smaller and shallower divots and rescue a heavy contact by keeping the leading edge up. The back wall of the iron has been thinned out to move more weight lower in the head for added launch. 

It's an ideal iron for the beginner and high handicapper that is inconsistent with where they contact the ground and ball. Gets the ball in the air easily, with good distance and a solid, powerful feel. For the golfer that wants an iron that is easy to hit, the Launch Pad delivers. It’s a great starting option for those new to the game that can then progress into something more traditional in design once their ability has improved.

How we test irons

All golf irons, and golf gear, goes through a thorough and comprehensive testing process at Golf Monthly. Before testing, the Golf Monthly team will usually attend product launches and meet with the manufacturer’s R&D experts to understand the new technology. Usually, when it comes to hitting the clubs, we use an indoor simulator at Foresight Sports so we can hit in a controlled environment using premium balls and a launch monitor.

We then look to test the clubs outside and this usually takes place at West Hill because of the awesome practice facilities available. When it comes to actual reviews, we should say that no company can buy a good review because our testers tell it how they see it. Technical Editor Joel Tadman oversees all iron testing at Golf Monthly because he has years of experience in club testing. 

How to choose irons

It can be a daunting task buying a set of golf clubs for the first time and chances are - if you are a pure beginner to the game - you are not very good at swinging a golf club yet, which makes the task even more daunting.

And that is okay - no one is expecting you to stripe it off the tee like Tiger Woods at your first range session. The best golf irons for  beginners are ideally a set that will offer as much help as possible as you begin the long journey to perfecting the game of golf.

1. Budget

Our first recommendation is to think about price. How committed are you to playing golf? Are you recently retired and will soon have a lot of time on your hands? Are you only going to start out by going to the range once a week? Are you only going to play twice a year with work? Deciphering how much you'll be playing to start out can really help narrow down the options. If you're going to be playing a lot, then spending nearly $1000 on golf clubs is a sound investment, but if you're only going to play a few times a year a much cheaper but equally forgiving set will suffice.

This also helps if you don't know how committed you are to golf yet. The last thing you want to do is spend thousands on clubs only to find them collecting dust in the garage six months later.

2. Custom Fit

Next, do you need your beginner set of irons custom fit? This depends entirely on your build, specifically how tall you are. If you are anywhere between 5ft 6" and 6ft 2", a standard set of clubs will be fine as a beginner set.

However, we'd recommend if you are taller or shorter than these numbers, getting custom fit for a set of irons will help you out massively. Custom fitters will stake static measurement to decipher how much longer or shorter the clubs need to be to suit your height; having the right length clubs is essential to starting out right. Again, it may be a daunting task as a total beginner having a custom fit session, but getting clubs that are the correct size will help you in the long and short run to enjoy the game and learn the correct fundamentals from the get go.

If you don't need a custom fit, then why not look at our list of the best package sets of golf clubs as a way to get a quality beginners set of clubs.

3. Shape

Beginner set of golf irons come in all different shapes and sizes. Some are shaped in what we would consider a conventional iron head (see Ping G425 and Callaway Big Bertha) and others with a much wider, more forgiving sole (see Wilson Launch Pad and Cleveland Launcher HB Turbo).

If you feel as though you have good hand-eye coordination or have already used a set of similar conventional shaped iron heads, then these are the best to go for as your beginner set. If you are less confident in your ability, the less conventional head shapes of the Wilson Launch Pad and Cleveland Launcher HB Turbo irons are a great place to start as they offer ample forgiveness and will help you get the most enjoyment out of golf as early as possible. It can also be as simple as which you like the look of the best!

4. Shafts

This is the territory where beginners to golf often get confused and it is a very important factor in getting the right irons from the outset. The choices of shaft type are either steel or graphite material, all of which come in different flexes - regular, stiff or senior. The difference between steel and graphite shafts is simply how much they weigh. Graphite shafts are aimed at those with a slower swing speed who need help getting the ball in the air and steel for those with quicker swing speeds. Many beginners suit a graphite shafted club as they start, but be aware that clubs with graphite shafts are more expensive

Flexes of shaft are also dependent on how quickly you swing the club. Senior flex is self explanatory and is aimed at senior golfers who have a slow swing speed, stiff flex is for those who swing the club quickly and regular flex sits somewhere in the middle. If you are not sure how fast you swing the club, this is where a custom fitting comes in handy where a specialist can tell you how fast you swing your irons and which material and flex of shaft suits you best.

For more advice on some of the best irons on the market, check out our guides to the best game improvement irons, most forgiving irons and best distance irons.

FAQs

What kind of irons should a beginner use?

A iron that will provide stability across the face through perimeter weighting. This offsets the quality of strike by keeping distance levels consistent through resistance to twisting at impact. A golf iron for the beginner may also need to feel relatively lightweight and therefore easy to swing while also being forgiving through the turf via a wide sole design.

What are the easiest irons to hit for beginners?

Ping G-Series irons, like the G430, are know for being easy to hit but also consider hybrid-like irons, including the Wilson Launch Pad and Cleveland Launcher XL Halo, which bring metalwood style speed and forgiveness to the table in an iron set. Cobra also makes excellent irons for the beginner at a reasonable price, including the Air-X iron that really impressed us.

Should beginners use blade irons?

Generally, beginner players should avoid using blade irons. Muscleback clubs are generally a lot less forgiving than standard cavity backed clubs and that means they are a lot harder to hit. Beginner players, with less experience playing golf, should look to use more forgiving clubs like cavity-back irons that help them get the ball up in the air with more speed and distance. 

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