We take a look at the best slimline game improver irons you can buy in 2016 aimed at the improving mid handicapper or the better player seeking more forgiveness
Buying a new set of irons can be an expensive minefield if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Nowhere is this more true than in the mid-handicap sector, where players can potentially use every option in a brand’s range with some degree of success. For golfers in the 8-to-18 handicap range, the search parameters can vary significantly.
Those who are steadily improving will seek a smaller set that offers plenty of feel and control, while those who are perhaps heading the other way, or playing less often, will be more suited to designs that offer higher levels of forgiveness.
The wide range of prices in this showcase – from £379 to over £1,100 – will cater for all budgets, while the broad choice of colours and finishes can further influence your final shortlist.
Whichever models make the grade, you are going to enjoy seeing and feeling the benefits of modern technology. These include the likes of pocket-cavity designs that put forgiveness in smaller headshapes, tungsten weighting that helps reduce twisting on heel and toe mishits, and thinner faces and sole slots that mean you’ll find the power normally associated with larger-profile irons.
So, in alphabetical order…
Benross HTX type R
Price: £379 (s) and £429 (g) for 5-SW. Stock shaft: KBS Tour 90 steel or Kuro Kage Black graphite.
Key technology: Heat-treated faces increase ball speeds for extra distance, while Torsion Control Bars across the cavity backs boost forgiveness on heel and toe hits.
Aimed at: Those on a budget, while progressive top lines suit long-iron strugglers.
Benross HTX type R iron review
Callaway Apex CF 16
Price: £849 (s) and £1,099 (g) for 4-PW. Stock shaft: True Temper XP 95 steel or UST Mamiya Recoil 760/780 graphite.
Key technology: Callaway’s first face cup in a forged iron means faster ball speeds for added distance with responsive feel.
Aimed at: The progressive offsets and sole widths on the forged heads will attract those who want a balance of feel and playability.
Cobra King Forged Tec
Price: £699 (s) for 4-PW. Stock shaft: KBS Tour C-Taper Lite steel.
Key technology: A high-strength steel forged face insert springs to boost distance; tungsten heel and toe weights reduce twisting for better accuracy.
Aimed at: Forged feel and urethane inserts that dampen vibrations mean this will appeal to better players looking for a safety net.
Lynx Black Cat
Price: £389 (s) and £429 (g) for 5-SW. Stock shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold steel or Lynx graphite.
Key technology: A strong steel is made thinner for faster ball speeds, while Twin-Slot technology helps off-centre hits carry further.
Aimed at: Those on a budget, plus golfers with inconsistent strikes who will benefit from the forgiving soles and Twin Slots.
Price: £115 per club (s). Stock shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold and Project X steel.
Key technology: Fusing boron with steel enables the faces to be made thinner for more distance, while also freeing up mass to increase perimeter weighting.
Aimed at: Golfers who want to play traditionally shaped and lofted heads that offer forged feel, but with modern distance.
Mizuno MP-25 iron review
Nike Vapor Fly Pro
Price: £699.99 (s) for 4-PW. Stock shaft: True Temper XP 95 steel.
Key technology: These cast irons have strong chassis that help the steel faces spring powerfully. RZN material and thinner faces have freed up 14g to aid forgiveness.
Aimed at: The combination of hollow-cavity 2- to 5-irons, RZN Pocket 6- to 8-irons and RZN Cavities from 9-iron to AW means these should suit players seeking improved strikes.
Price: £122 (s) and £124 (g) per club. Stock shaft: Ping CFS Distance steel or Ping CFS graphite.
Key technology: Higher-strength steel means lighter heads and thinner faces that save weight to increase forgiveness; reshaped hosels help increase workability.
Aimed at: Ping’s colour-dot fitting system and no premium-shaft upcharge makes i ideal for those wanting to dial-in during a fitting.
Ping i irons review
Srixon Z 745
Price: £600 (s) for 4-PW. Stock shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold steel.
Key technology: Tour V.T. Soles increase leading bounce and decrease trailing bounce to improve turf interaction, and double laser milling creates more stable spin.
Aimed at: The slim toplines and compact shapes will suit more confident ball strikers after a little more workability and control.
Price: £799 (s) or £899 (g) for 4-PW. Stock shaft: KBS Tour C-Taper steel and Mitsubishi MRC Kuro Kage graphite.
Key technology: Cut-Thru sole slots and thin faces increase distance and maintain ball speed on low strikes. Face slots do the same for heel and toe mishits.
Aimed at: Forged short-irons and tungsten-weighted, slot-loaded long-irons promote workability and forgiveness.
TaylorMade PSi irons review
Titleist 716 AP2
Price: £117 (s) and £133 (g) per club. Stock shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold AMT (s) or Mitsubishi Kuro Kage TiNi 65 (g).
Key technology: High-density tungsten weights in the toe and heel boost MOI for off-centre forgiveness, while progressive CG placements create predictable trajectories.
Aimed at: Confident ball strikers searching for a compact look, forged feel, traditional aesthetics and a wide range of fitting options.
Titleist 716 AP2 iron review
Wilson Staff C200
Price: £499 (s) and £599 (g) for 4-SW. Stock shaft: KBS Tour 90 steel or Aldila Rogue Pro graphite.
Key technology: FLX Face Technology minimises contact points between the
head and face so the iron can spring faster. Urethane fills the space to boost feel.
Aimed at: Golfers who want a little help with distance and forgiveness, without sacrificing too much feel.
Wilson Staff C200 irons review
Price: £1,199 (s) for 4-PW. Stock shaft: Nippon N.S. Pro 950GH oz Nippon N.S. Pro Modus 3 System Tour125.
Key technology: A graphite plate in the pocket cavity dampens vibration to improve feel, while a large sweetspot improves forgiveness across the face.
Aimed at: Those not constrained by budget looking for a blend of looks, forged feel and powerful all-round performance.
Key points to consider:
Some irons are priced per club, but most tend to come in a 4-PW set. Depending on your preference, this can give you scope to add a hybrid or even take out the PW so you can play a specialist wedge.
This showcase covers a range of options that will suit different needs. Are you an improving golfer looking for more feel and workability? Or are you a better player struggling with ball striking who needs some extra forgiveness?