Cast Vs Forged Golf Irons: What’s The Difference?

Joel Tadman explains the key differences between the manufacturing techniques and which iron you should choose

Cast Vs Forged Golf Irons: What’s The Difference?
(Image credit: Future)

Cast Vs Forged Golf Irons: What’s The Difference?

Technology inside the best golf irons seems to know no bounds but despite the high level of innovation involved, the manufacturing of irons (and wedges) boils down to just two techniques - cast or forged. So what’s the difference between the two and which type of iron should you choose?

Cast irons are made from a mould. Think of casting like making ice in your freezer. You are turning a liquid into a solid by using a mould. Cast irons tend to be made from a stainless steel alloy - the steel goes into a furnace, melts and is then poured into a ceramic mould. When everything has cooled down, the mould is broken, leaving the club inside. 

VIDEO: Mizuno's Chris Voshell explains the key differences between cast and forged irons

Cast irons are more commonly associated with cavity back, game improvement irons because manufacturers can be more creative with the design. The feel tends to be harder, a little less consistent and with a louder sound at impact because of the loss of the internal grain structure and because tiny air bubble can be produced during the process that absorb sound and vibration. Cast irons also tend to be cheaper than forged irons, which is one reason why these types of irons tend to sit at a lower price point than forged irons.

The best recent examples of cast irons would be the Ping G425, Callaway Rogue ST Max and the TaylorMade Stealth. You should be looking to choose a cast iron if you want to hit the ball higher and further and aren't too bothered about experiencing a soft feel.

forged iron heads

Forged iron heads having been pressed into shape

(Image credit: Future)

With forged irons, the club is fashioned from one piece of metal and so it is always in a solid state. The metal is heated until it is red hot, then hammered and crafted into shape by a very heavy press. They feel and sound different because there are no bubbles in a forged club, which gives them their longer sound, denser feel and more overall feedback.

The forging process also tightens the grains within the metal. Mizuno is one of the most well-known makers of forged iron created in its Chuo forging house in Hiroshima. During it’s unique Grain Flow Forging process, a 10-inch billet of steel is heated, then bent into the lie angle of a golf iron before being pressed, ensuring continuous grain through the head to make some of the best Mizuno irons. Some brands will weld the neck onto a forged head or even just forge the face that then gets welded on to a cast head, which can mislead golfers into thinking the whole head is forged if it is inscribed somewhere on the head.

Forged irons, like the best golf blades, are mostly aimed at better players as they tend to be smaller and more feel-orientated. They don’t tend to be as long or forgiving as cast irons but offer a much softer feel and additional workability for competent players that like to manipulate the ball flight.

Examples of recent forged irons would be the Mizuno Pro 221, TaylorMade P7MC and Titleist 620 MB. You should choose a forged iron if you are a good ball striker with a high swing speed, like to see a penetrating flight and experience a soft feel.

Should you want to buy a forged iron to add to your bag, consider checking out our TaylorMade, Mizuno and Titleist coupon codes

Joel Tadman
Technical Editor

Joel has worked in the golf industry for over 12 years covering both instruction and more recently equipment. He now oversees all product content here at Golf Monthly, managing a team of talented and passionate writers and presenters in delivering the most thorough and accurate reviews, buying advice, comparisons and deals to help the reader find exactly what they are looking for. So whether it's the latest driver, irons, putter or laser rangefinder, Joel has his finger on the pulse keeping up to date with the latest releases in golf. He is also responsible for all content on irons and golf tech, including distance measuring devices and launch monitors.

One of his career highlights came when covering the 2012 Masters he got to play the sacred Augusta National course on the Monday after the tournament concluded, shooting a respectable 86 with just one par and four birdies. To date, his best ever round of golf is a 5-under 67 back in 2011. He currently plays his golf at Burghley Park Golf Club in Stamford, Lincs, with a handicap index of 3.2.

Joel's current What's In The Bag? 

Driver: Titleist TSR3, 9° 

Fairway wood: Titleist TSR3, 15° 

Hybrid: Titleist TSi2, 18° 

Irons: Ping i230 4-UW

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM8, 54°. Titleist Vokey SM9 60° lob wedge, K Grind

Putter: Evnroll ER2V 

Ball: 2023 Titleist Pro V1x