Best Distance Irons Test 2019
Nearly every amateur golfer wants to hit the ball further. It makes the game seem easier and provides the ultimate in bragging rights.
The iron category has seen some big advances in technology but also a shifting of the lofts, which plays a big part in how high and far the ball will travel.
The lofts of all 7-irons launched this year range from 27-35°, so the number on the bottom of the club really does mean next to nothing.
When testing a new iron, be sure to compare the loft against your own as this will give you some indication of where any extra distance is coming from.
But if you are wanting to hit longer iron shots, we’ve picked eight of our favourite models and tested them thoroughly to assist with your buying decision. It can give you a headache with so many to choose from, but hopefully our test will lift the wool from your eyes and help you see the true performance characteristics of each.
The eight we’ve chosen, along with the 7-iron loft, are:
Callaway Rogue X (27°)
Cobra King F9 Speedback (29.5°)
Honma TW747 P (28.5°)
Mizuno JPX919 Hot Metal (30°)
Ping G410 (30°)
TaylorMade M6 (28.5°)
Titleist 718 AP1 (30°)
Wilson Staff D7 (28°)
We hit all eight indoors on the Foresight Sports GCQuad launch monitor and then outdoors on the range at West Hill Golf Club to assess the performance.
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Naturally, all the irons offer something different visually. If you want something oversized that inspires confidence, you’ll probably prefer the Callaway Rogue X or the Ping G410. If something more refined is on your tick list, the Mizuno JPX919 Hot Metal or the Titleist 718 AP1 will suit your eye. The others are somewhere in between, with the Honma offerin the most unique combination of the thinnest topline with the longest blade length.
All these irons feel fast, but it was arguably the Cobra King F9 and the Wilson Staff D7 that stood out as feeling the most explosive. Not far behind was the Callaway Rogue X and the TaylorMade M6, with the Honma offering arguably the softest feel.
Interestingly, it was the Wilson Staff D7 that hit the ball the furthest on average with the Callaway Rogue X just behind. The Cobra, Honma and TaylorMade irons all produced good distance too, the Cobra is arguably more notable given its higher loft static loft. The Ping G410 and Honma TW747 P flighted the ball noticeably lower than the others while the Cobra definitely had a higher flight window. None of the irons were short but generally speaking the irons with higher static lofts didn’t hit the ball as far as the stronger-lofted models.
In terms of consistency (front-to-back dispersion) on all shots, the TaylorMade was the clear winner, producing just a three-yard gap between our shortest and longest shots. The Titleist 718 AP1 wasn’t far behind at five yards. Out on the range, it was noticeable how easy it was to control the strike and direction of the Ping G410 and the Cobra King F9, while the Rogue X was also surprisingly straight given it has the strongest loft. All these irons have high MOI and offer great stability on off-centre hits so whichever you choose, you’ll find them to be noticeably user friendly.
The hands-down winner in the value category is the Wilson Staff D7. It’s nearly half the price of many other models on test and for us, hit the ball the furthest. Some of this is down to the loft and also a lighter feel that helped increase clubhead speed. The look has been cleaned up too, although you can see the back of the sole behind the topline of the longer irons. The spin was also the lowest on test, which might result in some struggling to control left-to-right dispersion, but pound for pound the D7 offers the best overall performance package with the Cobra King F9 Speedback not far behind.
Which iron you choose will come down to what performance attribute is most important to you. But if you’re looking for a bit of everything, the Titleist 718 AP1 really stood out. Many will enjoy the darker finish and sleek, simple look while on the range it offered a nice balance of feeling powerful while also seeming easy to hit consistently well. The mid-flight with a touch more spin than the other models enhanced stopping power and control. It might not be the longest, but it was one of the most consistent performers and for us, ticked the most boxes.