Being a mid handicap player is when things start to get exciting in golf. Your game stops being played from the trees and rough all the time, and you realize how much easier it is to play from the fairway. Good equipment can help this process; the best irons for mid handicappers help you to start nailing greens from the fairway and rough more consistently.
As you improve your golf game and your scores start to lower, good iron play should become a top priority in your course management strategy. If you’re playing with a hybrid set of irons, or a general game improvement set that is more than a few years old, it’s time for you to upgrade to the latest golf club technology, as you’re likely missing golden opportunities to shoot better scores through more accurate, longer, yet forgiving irons.
If you’re not at least around the green in regulation for an easy chip up, it becomes extremely hard to shoot low scores. Good iron play helps you regulate more greens, get more looks at birdie and shoot those low 80 or high 70 rounds as a mid handicapper.
In this guide, I’ll show you what you need to know and what to look for when choosing the best golf irons for mid handicappers.
Short on time? here’s our top pick for the Best irons for mid handicappers: Titleist T200
Complete Buyers Guide: What to consider before buying
What is a mid handicapper?
There is no hard number that makes you a mid handicap player, and the lines often get blurred between low, mid and high handicappers. That said, if you break 90 consistently and most of your rounds you shoot somewhere between 80 and 90, you are a mid handicap player. More specifically, if your handicap is somewhere between 10 and 18, you fall within this range.
Congratulations! Roughly 40% of golfers fall within this range, so you’re in good company.
What area of my game will mid handicap irons improve most?
With a brand new set of irons meant for your game, there are two key areas that these irons can help you really hone in your game: your closer approaches, and your mid range shots.
First are you low irons and your approach shots. As a mid handicap player, you have a serious scoring opportunity when you’re anywhere from 50-150 yards from the green. A new set of irons can give you confidence (backed by technology) to hit more greens from this range, giving more looks at birdie and chances at par.
Mid to long irons (6,5,4) are typically the most challenging irons for most amateurs to hit, and that definitely includes this mid handicap category. Game improvement irons usually have fat soles that give you much less workability. These mid and long irons in these mid-handicap focused sets are packed with technology to help you get the ball in the air, without having that super wide sole.
When is it time to upgrade?
There are a few situations that should tip you off that you need new irons.
- You’re better than the irons you’re playing with. You took up golf a couple years back, got serious, took lessons or just played a lot and genuinely improved. Now you’re hitting your irons straight and have a decent game; you’re no stranger to shooting in the 80’s. But if you have a super game improvement set where half your irons are hybrids, you’re missing some opportunities for more workable shots. Those clubs are made for beginners, and you’re now better than the irons you use. That’s a major sign.
- Your irons are more than 5 years old. Most people will tell you if your clubs are more than 3 years old, the new technology justifies an upgrade. This is true. But, I don’t go running at the 3 year mark. I think if you’ve had them for 5 years or longer, the technology improvements you get in a new set will blow your mind. In this situation, it’s time for that upgrade.
If you fit either of these criteria, it’s definitely time for you to make the switch. If you’re using older technology, you’re missing out on both forgiveness and distance.
What should be my main buying criteria?
As a mid handicapper, you want to look for a cavity back iron set, and avoid blades or hybrids clubs. Cavity backed irons are made to offer forgiveness on mishit shots, without losing any distance. The only sacrifice in a cavity backed iron vs a blade is you lose some workability and shot shaping.
Blades, also known as muscle back irons, are reserved for low handicap, scratch, or even tour players. These irons don’t have enough forgiveness for a mid handicapper, who is known to miss the center of the club face here and there.
On the other end of the spectrum, avoid iron sets that are half hybrids. If you’re shooting in the 80’s consistently, you’ve outgrown this style of club.
This goes for any club, and the type of shaft you go for should depend solely on your swing speed. Graphite shafts are typically for older players, or players with very slow swings. Regular shafts work well for golfers who have slow to slightly below average swing speeds, and stiff shafts are for average to fast swing speeds. If you swing way faster than the average golfer, spring for X-Stiff.
If you get the wrong shaft for your swing speed, you’re going to be missing opportunities either in accuracy or distance.
A great set of irons is the most expensive purchase you will ever make for your golf game, but they are the clubs that you use the most, and do the most for you.
While there are some decent irons in the $4-500 be prepared to spend up to $1000 for the right set of irons. At this level of play, technology matters. I wouldn’t advise going for a budget set, because you get what you pay for. If anything, last year’s model is usually a couple hundred bucks cheaper, so if you have a 10 year old set of irons, no shame in grabbing the 2019 vs the 2020!
Best Irons For Mid Handicappers: Reviewed
Best Overall: Titleist T200 Irons
Going into 2020, Titleist decided to drop the AP series and instead replace that with the T series; instead of AP1, AP2, AP3 we now have the T100,T200 and T300 sets. At a glance, the T100 is the players iron, the T200 is the Players Distance Iron, and the T300 is this year’s game improvement iron.
The T200 is beautifully designed, and made with distance, workability and forgiveness in mind, in that order. The T200 features Titleist’s Max Impact Technology, which is meant to deliver faster ball speeds with better distance control and tighter shot dispersion.
Titleist uses about 90g of Tungsten in the mid and long irons, which ends up being 1/3 of the weight of the club head and produces a higher MOI. These clubs have a progressive set design which helps lower the center of gravity, especially in long irons, for optimal trajectory and forgiveness. These clubs are designed for mid handicappers who want more distance out of their irons coupled with forgiveness and a playable look and feel.
- Max Impact Technology is designed to increase ball speed for longer shots with each iron
- Tungsten inserts increase MOI, and allow better mishits from off-center shots
- Forged L shaped face wraps under the sole of the clubhead
- Beautiful Design
- Progressive set design produces better ball flight and helps you get the ball into the air
- Fits a wide range of players, and delivers a big improvement from a game improvement set
- Not great for high handicappers
- Near the top end of the price range
Best New Game Improvement Set: Ping G425 Irons
The Ping G series has been a staple for mid handicappers since they first came out in 2003, and the G425 are the latest Ping set, following up on the already successful Ping G410 iron set. The Ping G425 falls into the Game-Improvement iron category, thanks to Pings work to make these more forgiving and longer than the G410s.
The Ping G425’s are on the smaller side when it comes to blade length for a game-improvement iron; the blade length has been reduced from the larger size of the G410, making these irons look more like a players iron from address. Ping deploys their popular variable thickness face technology into these irons as well, offering straighter mishits from off center strikes. The variable thickness face is 10% thinner than the G410 irons, making this face hotter and faster than the previous model.
The G425s feature a tungsten toe weight for a perimeter weighted club, and the weight has been moved slightly further from the face on the G425s, producing 3% higher MOI vs the G410s. Higher MOI translates to less face rotation at impact, helping further straighten out your shots. For the mid handicap iron crowd, these are workable in the hands of a good player, and easy to control the ball flight.
If you’re looking for the latest Ping Technology and want a true game-improvement set in your golf bag, this is an excellent pick for 2021.
- Latest Ping Technology offering a highly forgiving, and performance driven iron
- 3% higher MOI than the G410s, resulting in straighter mishits
- 10% thinner variable thickness face to promote higher ball speeds
- Naturally higher launch through a low center of gravity
- Newer technology is a little more expensive
- Not ideal if you want a forged feel
Better Value: Callaway Mavrik Irons
Callaway tried to be as current and innovative as possible when producing the Mavrik lineup for 2020, using artificial intelligence, or AI, to create the perfect compact players distance iron. The Mavrik series features 3 different sets of irons: the Mavrik, Mavrik Max, and Mavrik Pro irons. The Mavrik Max irons are built for a high handicappers, the Mavrik Pro are for lower handicappers, and the standard Mavrik irons are made for mid handicappers (between 8 and 20 handicap).
The Callaway Mavrik irons produce the longest distance of the 3 sets, and have a mid sized clubhead that looks sleek as you stand over it. The Flash Face Cup Technology was designed by AI to produce long and consistent distance, while still maintaining it’s forgiveness. These irons feature tungsten infused weights for optimal center of gravity in each iron, and deliver exceptional trajectory, spin rated and landing angles.
Callaway uses a unique urethane microsphere technology in the clubhead to dampen vibration on mishits, which does reduce feedback on bad shots. This same technology enhances feel on well struck shots. These irons are made with every aspect of a mid handicappers game in mind, and deliver performance and distance on the course.
- AI Designed Flash Face Cup Technology produces explosive distance
- Well placed tungsten weights help optimize trajectory and landing angles, making this club very easy to launch
- Beautiful clubhead design
- Workable mid sized club head for shot shaping
- Well Priced
- Less workable than a true players iron
- Dampened feel and feedback on bad shots
Premium Pick: Mizuno MP20 MMC Irons
Mizuno have a reputation for exceptional feel in their irons, and their 2020 MP20 lineup isn’t an exception. The MP20 MMC irons are made with low to mid handicappers in mind (4-12), and they are slightly larger and have stronger lofts than the MP20 Blades. Mizuno is famous for their forged irons, and these irons have a forged face with a cast body for a premium feel.
These MP20 irons are made to improve performance with long irons, while making sure the short irons and wedges are workable so you can shape your approaches to the green. The MMC stands for Multi Material Concept, featuring a thin top line. The cavity features titanium construction for forgiveness on off-center hits.
If you’re looking for a premium option for the best irons for mid handicappers, this is an awesome pick. These irons deliver exceptional feel and distance, and the shorter irons help out with shot shaping.
- Forged clubface for exceptional feel
- Tour profile looks great at address
- Titanium muscle cavity distributes weight for better off center hits
- Max Impact Technology delivers optimal ball speed and distance
- Worth the cost- if you’re a mid teen handicap, these irons will still be great as your handicap improves.
- The most expensive set of irons on our list (for a good reason)
- If you struggle to hit the ball well, these irons may hurt your game
Most Forgiving: TaylorMade SIM Max irons
TaylorMade have been an industry leader for golf clubs for decades, and the new SIM lineup for 2020 has been performing well on tour so far, to say the least! The SIM stands for Shape in Motion, and builds on the success of the Speed Bridge Technology deployed into the M5 and M6 irons.
This is a game improvement set that is meant to maximize performance, suiting a wide range of mid handicap player. The Speed Bridge helps increase ball speed, and has been further improved from previous models. In 2020 TaylorMade added a new Echo Dampening System which helps reduce vibration on mishits, with a players iron feel that you normally would only get from a forged iron. This year’s iron face is 17% thinner, further producing faster ball speed and more forgiveness.
If you’re looking for a forgiving players iron that can help you launch the ball and achieve better mishits, this is a great option.
- Exceptional feel, produced from the Echo Dampening System
- Workable irons that are easy to shape, yet still forgiving
- Lower price vs last year’s M6
- Well designed, looks great at address
- Sounds more like a forged iron
- Not much ball speed improvement compared to last year’s models
For Better Players: Ping i500
The Ping i500 is a muscle backed iron set, and realistically is the best golf iron set for a 10 handicap, or lower. The sleek design looks great in a bag and at address, and is billed as a players distance iron, vs a true players iron.
The i500 is an iron set built for speed, with many players gaining 1-2 club lengths in distance. Ping do use a wide sold to increase forgiveness, but beyond that there’s not a lot of extra technology built into this club. The clubface features a a forged c300 steel face, resulting in high trajectories, increased ball speed and stopping power that will help you hold more greens.
If you’re looking for an impressive iron set that will last many seasons that you can grow into, this is a great option.
- Explosive distance with a high trajectory and effective stopping power
- Very workable, but not overly punishing on mishits
- Thin top line at address
- No cavity for extra forgiveness
- Can be tough for higher handicappers to hit well
Budget Pick: TaylorMade M5 irons
In the golf world, there’s a major hack to getting a great set of clubs without paying $1000; buy last years model. If your clubs are more than 5 years old, there’s no reason the 2019 TaylorMade M5 wouldn’t be a great option for you. In 2019 TaylorMade released both the M5 and M6. The M5 targets low and mid handicappers who want a more workable club with a thinner top line and a true “players club” feel, while the M6 is more of a game improvement club.
The M5 is a compact mid-sized iron with a very sleek looking clubhead. The club feature the classic TaylorMade Speed Bridge Technology, as well as tungsten inserts to help lower the center of gravity on irons 4-7. With an ultra thin face, these irons help you achieve maximum ball speed and distance.
If you want a slightly cheaper option without a ton of sacrifice, I highly recommend these irons.
- Beautiful and compact clubhead that looks like a players iron at address
- Cheapest option on the list
- Sounds like a forged iron
- Forgiving design
- Not the latest and greatest for 2020
- If you’re a slightly higher handicap, you may find these challenging to play with
As a mid handicapper, the irons you play with can have a huge impact on your scores. You want forgiveness, distance, and shot stopping power to make sure you regulate more greens. After reviewing more than a dozen irons, we narrowed it down to this list, and felt the Titleist T200 are the best irons for mid handicappers. Titleist added plenty of forgiveness, distance, feel and workability to these mid handicap irons. We felt these were a step up from the 718 version, and feature some impressive Titleist technology. If you want a budget option, we think the Taylormade M5 irons could be the best mid handicap irons for you, as the technology is still up to date, but you can grab them at a discount!
Thanks for reading! Did you like this post? Make sure to check our more of our reviews, like our best rangefinder list that can help you nail more greens with confidence.