Golf Equipment: Irons, The Underrated Mid-range Game


May 30, 2013; Dublin, OH, USA; Justin Rose lines up an iron shot at The Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Golf Club . Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

We all like to blast off from the tee box, and get up and down around the green to be in good position to make birdie and/or par. With the easier to hit and distance increases that come with game-changing hybrids, how relevant are irons anymore?

As always, I went to the professionals at Haggin Oaks Golf Complex in Sacramento for assistance in answering this question. I was fortunate to speak with Pat Gould, PGA Class A Professional, who gladly shared his wealth of knowledge. What I came away with after our conversation was that there are a lot of factors that go into making a choice in which irons a golfer should hit.

There were so many elements that go into the construction of an iron that I wish I had recorded our conversation. Some of the key components of an iron are: face/head size, cavity back vs forged, the club head weight, shaft flex and weight, shaft material (metal or graphite). One question that I posed was the myth that graphite shafted irons are for women and seniors. His response was an absolute no.

He explained that any given golfer needs to choose the irons that they are most comfortable with, that fits their style of swing, and most importantly gives them the confidence they need to strike the ball and get the ball in the air and to green with consistency.

So I went out to the range to see test a handful (more like armful) of irons to see which fit my game.

The first three I hit were catered more to the golf professional who is accustomed to shaping shots and is confident and comfortable taking a divot and really getting underneath the ball.

Callaway X-hot Pro Irons – A nice looking iron set that I was able to get under the ball nicely with. My irons shots have a natural draw to them, but I was getting these out pretty straight.

Taylormade Rocketbladez Irons – For myself there was a little too much weight in the head. I was taking a good amount of earth up with each swing (not typical for me) and was striking the ball fairly high on the club face. If you’re a golfer that is comfortable taking a divot with your irons and still able to strike the ball well, this one’s all yours.

Nike VR S Covert Irons – My current set of irons is the Nike CCI Irons, and the Covert set has a similar feel. Easy to get down on the ball, but not so much that I am too far underneath. Maybe it was my comfortability with Nike club design, but these irons were my favorite of the first three.

The second three were definitely more forgiving and were for those golfers who sweep the ball and perhaps have a little difficulty getting the ball airborne.

Titleist AP1 Irons – One of my favorite irons the AP1’s were long, straight and easy to hit. Like the Titleist 913D2 driver, I felt comfortable unleashing a mighty swing with these irons sending the ball high into the sky. I did take divot or two with this set, so the weighting on this iron took a little getting used to

Ping G25 Irons – If I had the funds, I would have walked out of the pro shop with these irons. For my swing style, these irons were ideal. Literally every shot I hit went where I wanted it, with a high trajectory and solid distance. My favorite of the bunch!

Adams Idea Tech V4 Irons – never surprised anymore when Adams puts out a high-quality, solid and affordable product. These irons were similar in style and hittability (a made up word, but you know what I mean) to the former two irons, but will save you some scratch.

So, are irons still relevant? With pros and amateurs alike making room in their bags for hybrids, irons may become less popular; however, I don’t believe they will ever go away completely.

As for myself, my traditional side will always keep irons in the bag, but the part of me that wants the latest and greatest in golf tech has already given way to the world of hybrids.