To most golfers, a larger sweet spot and consistent accuracy are more important than a few extra yards when hitting iron shots.
The pros play thin “blade” irons, but the average golfer can lower their scores and have a lot more fun using a cavity-back set that still performs well on mis-hits.
Your iron set takes up the majority of your bag, so selecting the right one is crucial.
Even if you buy forgiving irons, purchasing the wrong set for your swing speed, handicap and goals can have an adverse effect and no one wants to make an investment in their game that doesn’t pay off.
Luckily, our team tested 25 of the most forgiving iron sets on the market today and created a complete buying guide that will benefit players of any handicap or swing speed.
Below you will find a rundown of our top performers including the key benefits of each to help you card lower scores.
If you’re looking for more in-depth info, keep scrolling for our full report.
Ready to find the perfect iron set?
Let’s jump in.
Most Forgiving Irons In 2023
Editor’s Choice: TaylorMade M6 Irons (click to see)
Most forgiving hybrid irons: Cleveland Golf Men’s Launcher HB Iron Set (click to see)
Best for slow swings: Callaway Golf Men’s XR OS Irons Set (click to see)
Most forgiving irons for seniors: Extreme X5 Wide Sole iBRID Iron Set (click to see on eBay)
Short on Time? Here’s A Quick Product Synopsis
|Iron Set Name||TaylorMade M6 Irons||Mazel Single Length Golf Club Iron Set||Cleveland Golf Men’s Launcher HB Iron Set||Callaway Golf Men’s XR OS Irons Set||Extreme X5 Wide Sole iBRID Iron Set|
|Our Rating||9.2/10 |
Most Forgiving Hybrid Irons
Best For Slow Swings
Most Forgiving Irons For Seniors
|Pricing||Jump To Pricing Section||Jump To Pricing Section||Jump To Pricing Section||Jump To Pricing Section||Jump To Pricing Section|
|Irons Included||4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, PW, SW||4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, PW, AW, SW||4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, PW||5, 6, 7, 8, 9, PW, SW||4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, PW, SW|
|Iron Back||Cavity Back||Cavity Back||Cavity Back||Cavity Back||Cavity Back|
|Shaft||Fujikura Atmos Orange / KBS Max 85||Mazel Standard Graphite Shaft||True Temper Dynamic Gold 98 Steel / Miyazaki C. KUA Graphite||True Temper Speed Step 80 Steel / Project X SD Graphite||Senior “A” Flex Graphite Shaft|
|Grip||Lamkin Dual Feel||Mazel High-Performance Rubber Grip||Cleveland Blue Cap By Lamkin||Callaway Standard Grip||Tacki-Mac Arthritic Grip|
|Read Review||Jump To TaylorMade M6 Irons Review||Jump To Mazel Single Length Golf Club Irons Review||Jump To Cleveland Golf Men’s Launcher HB Irons Review||Jump To Callaway Golf Men’s XR OS Irons Review||Jump To Extreme X5 Wide Sole iBRID Irons Review|
TaylorMade Golf M6 Irons
Rating: 9.2 /10
- Increased distance on shots.
- Fluted hosel adds high loft and improves trajectory.
- Soft feel at impact and forgiving.
- Club heads are thin so they are a little less forgiving than hybrid-like irons.
- Pricey when bought new.
TaylorMade equipment is used by some of the world’s best golfers and by one of the most successful golfers in history: Tiger Woods.
Aside from Woods, players such as Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka, (uses driver and woods) Dustin Johnson and Jason Day use TaylorMade.
The TaylorMade M6 irons feature a speed bridge structure that enables players to get more distance out of their swings. Adding their speed bridge technology allows TaylorMade owners to feel soft and smooth on impact.
The irons have a fluted hosel that increases the loft and ball speed even when hit on the lower part of the face.
All these new features from TaylorMade including forgiveness from the clubs make the M6 irons our editor’s choice for most forgiving irons.
Mazel Single Length Golf Club Irons Set
Rating: 8.6 /10
- Face features a huge sweet spot minimizing the chance of mishits.
- Every club is 37.5 inches so getting used to hitting different clubs should not take long.
- Available for left or right-handed golfers.
- Mazel was created in 2002 and has less experience making clubs than other well-known manufacturers.
- Switching from a standard set of golf clubs to a single-length could be problematic.
The Mazel Single Length Iron Set features nine clubs all the same length at 37.5 inches. Each club has the same swing weight enabling golfers to feel identical when hitting each iron.
The set includes clubs 4-9 along with a pitching, approach and sand wedge. The lower center of gravity on the clubs helps players hit more accurate shots with more distance.
The clubs feature graphite shafts and stainless steel heads. The rubber grip is designed with shock absorption and helps golfers keep a firm hold on the club when swinging.
Cleveland Golf Men’s Launcher HB Iron Set
Most Forgiving Hybrid Irons
Rating: 9.2 /10
- Hybrid design allows golfers more forgiveness and make the clubs easy to hit.
- Available in steel or graphite shafts giving buyers more options.
- High-Strength HT1770 steel face increases distance.
- Hybrid design could pose problems to golfers switching over from blades.
- Having a thick cavity on the pitching wedge could create issues for golfers who use thin wedges to pitch and create less spin.
The Cleveland Launcher HB Iron Set are created by Cleveland similarly to a hybrid to increase forgiveness. The build increases ball flight and allows golfers to hit straight shots more consistently.
The irons have a HiBore Crown creating a low and deep center of gravity which is what sets it apart from typical irons.
The irons also have a High-Strength HT1770 steel face that enables solid hits on impact and gives golfers more distance.
There are multiple choices when buying a set that include either a 4-iron or 5-iron through a pitching wedge or a set that includes a dual wedge.
The set comes in a regular, stiff or senior flex.
Callaway Golf Men’s XR OS Irons Set
Best For Slow Swings
- Wider soles allow players to have better shots despite not perfect swings.
- Features Callaway’s progressive lengths and lofts that give more distance.
- Can be purchased in six different configurations.
- Some golfers said they didn’t feel their distance had increased.
- These iron brands are expensive when they are bought new.
Callaway golf was founded in 1982 and has been providing state-of-the-art clubs to amateurs and professionals for years. 44-time PGA Tour winner Phil Mickelson is the most well-known golfer that has an equipment deal with Callaway.
The XR OS iron set is made with cup 360 technology that increases ball speed. The irons have a center of gravity that has been moved back and put lower in the club head helping increase distance.
The soles of the XR OS irons are wider which makes the clubs more forgiving and easier to mishit.
The clubs come in left or right handed models.
Extreme X5 Wide Sole iBRID Iron Set
Most Forgivign Irons For Seniors
Rating: 8.9 /10
- Large cavity backs increase forgiveness.
- Arthritic grips make swinging the clubs easier on the hands.
- Light graphite shafts.
- Large sole on sand wedge could make bunker shots difficult.
- Relatively unknown brand.
The Extreme X5 Wide Sole iBrid irons are created to replicate hybrids with a deep and long cavity back.
The cavity back is open on the irons and is designed to increase forgiveness and move the center of gravity in a lower part of the club head.
The irons feature a premium arthritic grip. The large padded grip reduces stress on hands when swung.
The set comes with a 4-iron through 9-iron along with a pitching and sand wedge. The irons have graphite senior “A” flex shafts.
Difference between forgiving irons and regular irons
The main difference between forgiving irons and regular irons is the level of forgiveness when each type of club is hit. Forgiveness in golf means an imperfect shot still has a chance to end up as a decent shot.
Regular irons have smaller cavities which is the build in the back of the club head and behind the face. They can be classified more so as blades which are very thin on the head and are about the width of a person’s thumb. When striking a blade, the sweet spot must nearly always be hit to manufacture a solid stroke. If hit thin, fat or on the toe, the result will be a mishit and a bad shot.
Cavity backs have weight on the base or edges of the head and can be struck different ways. If you hit a forgiving club badly, you still have a chance at solid contact and a satisfiable result.
For example, if you’re sitting in the middle of the fairway 150 yards from the hole, and reach for a forgiving seven or eight iron and slightly mishit it—there is still a strong likelihood you will be on the green or near the green. The shot will carry about the distance you intended to hit it.
On the contrary, from the same yardage, a slightly wrong hit shot with a blade could end up 20 yards in front of you or 20 yards to the left or right of the green. Forgiving irons were created so the average or beginner golfer can make good contact nearly all the time.
Practice is essential to being a better golfer. Cavity backs allow the average weekend golfer who rarely hits the range and plays biweekly to have a more enjoyable time hitting better shots with forgiving irons.Blade irons require substantial practice because the owners’ swing must be executed to near perfection.
The forgiveness in forgiving irons is created with the weight located at the periphery of the iron head. Having more weight at the sole of the club enables users to lift the ball off the ground better and increase loft and distance. Most golfers have cavity-back irons in their bags with these irons among the most popular on the market.
What to look for when buying a forgiving iron
People decide to buy forgiving irons for various reasons. Some have trouble hitting their blades or thin irons. Others have extremely worn clubs and need an upgrade, and some want to experiment with new clubs.
When buying a forgiving iron, a golfer must consider a number of attributes including weight, grip and length.
Before purchasing a new set of irons, a golfer should go to his or her local shop and test out different irons. Hitting one set better than another is an indication the person has the right set. Getting fitted by a professional is highly recommended, but it can be costly. During this process, the professional customizes a set of clubs to your swing and your height.
The weight of the clubs is very important for forgiving irons because they are created with the weight of the club from the back of the iron to the perimeter. This makes the face have a larger “sweet spot” surface area” producing better shots.
The length of “off the rack” forgiving irons are made so that any golfer can use them. As stated two paragraphs above, it is recommended to get a custom length. Any golfer with a set of clubs set to their height has a higher likelihood of being successful. There are also one length irons in which every iron is the same length. Some golfers prefer these, but they are still rare to find in amateurs’ bags.
Choosing a grip for your clubs is all your preference. Some golfers prefer standard grips, and others prefer midsize or oversize. The material of the grip can be chosen to be softer or firmer as well as sticky and rough or smooth.
Benefits of using Hybrid Irons
Hybrid irons are being used increasingly more often by golfers. The hybrid iron mixes the appearance of an iron and a wood.
One of the advantages to using a hybrid iron is increased distance. A hybrid iron will on average extend length by five to eight yards according to golfweek.com.
For example, an iron shot from a regular 5-iron that traveled 170 yards will travel 175-178 yards when using a hybrid iron.
Another advantage to hybrid irons are higher loft and trajectory. Hybrid clubs feature a design of the head setting the center of gravity lower and further from the club face. In turn, this creates more loft and trajectory on shots.
Hybrid irons are considered easier to hit due to their light weight.
Emergence of game-improvement clubs
Game improvement irons started being made and emerging in the 1960s. The clubs were created so people who struggled hitting their irons could see improved results on their scorecards.
Game improvement irons’ purpose is to let golfers hit the ball higher with more distance and accuracy.
Making the change to game improvement irons can make a big difference in your game. There’s nothing like hitting the ball solid, straight and long.
After reviewing the different clubs, we concluded that the best all-around and most forgiving golf irons were the TaylorMade M6’s. If you are looking for the best game improvement iron, look no further. The M6’s are our editor’s choice award.
Do forgiving irons make a difference?
Yes, forgiving irons do make a big difference for most golfers of many different skill levels. The cavity-back design and center of gravity location enable players to have decent outcomes on mishits. There are large sweet spots that help players lift the ball into the air easier than blades or forged irons. Forgiving irons are considered game-improvement irons.
What handicap should play game improvement irons?
Any level of golfer can play game-improvement irons. If you’re a low-handicapper around single digits then you should consider switching to forged irons or blades. It’s easier to shot shape with these clubs but mishits will produce worse shots. If you only play on the weekends and don’t practice much definitely use game improvement irons.
What makes an iron more forgiving?
The design of the club which includes the cavity, the center of gravity in a low area of the face, the large sweet spot and the perimeter weighting of the club increase forgiveness. If you hit the ball on the sweet spot where the center of gravity is, you’ll have a solid shot with optimized distance.