Most Forgiving Irons in Golf to Drop that Handicap

Most Forgiving Irons in Golf 2021

'A bad workman blames his tools'. We've all heard that one when we want to upgrade our equipment in life. I prefer to tell the naysayers 'a master craftsman knows when they need replacing'. 

Maybe you're upgrading from a set that doesn't suit you...or a used set your buddy gave you from his dad's garage or maybe you need something a bit more forgiving.

I love an iron off the tee

When should you buy new clubs?

Getting a new set of clubs is one of the more expensive investments you can make in yourself as a golfer. It's not like a driver that you might change in a coupe years. Most of us keep irons for a long time. So it's important to take the decision seriously.

The clubs nowadays have been designed to make golf easier and more fun without any stress while standing over the ball. Get a new set of clubs when you feel your clubs are holding you back. The difference will be amazing when you hit that ball and think you've hit it badly but it still gets to the green!

I say to replace them when you feel your current irons are holding you back because once you've committed to a feeling regarding your equipment, it's very difficult to fall back in love with them. Often though, we start out with and persevere with irons that are just not helping us.

If you're a beginner golfer, another option is to investigate getting a complete set of golf clubs. 

Most Forgiving Irons on the Market in 2021

  1. Taylormade M4 irons (best budget for all players over 12 handicap)
  2. Taylormade SIM MAX irons (best high end set)
  3. Cleveland Launcher HB Turbo irons (most forgiving iron-hybrids ever)
  4. Callaway Mavrik irons (max game improvement irons that look like pro clubs)
  5. Cleveland Launcher UHX irons (sleek design with ultra forgiveness)
  6. Wilson Staff D7 irons (best for slow swing to get the ball higher)
  7. Cobra King SpeedZone irons (best for the technology and one-length option)
  8. Mizuno JPX 921 Hot Metal (nothing feels like a Mizuno)

What makes the most forgiving irons?

The most forgiving irons:

  • Contain 5 iron through to pitching wedge and maybe sand wedge
  • Have an offset hosel
  • Are cavity backed
  • Have perimeter weighting

The basic idea is to find the easiest clubs to hit and cavity backs are the right choice.

Where are the 3 and 4 irons? These are incredibly difficult to hit and I've found some good choices for fairway woods and some of the best golf hybrids to replace them to make your set the most forgiving irons possible.

Taylormade M4 Irons

Easy to hit for any level of golfer

Taylormade have gone the extra mile with the M4 Super Game Improvement irons. They’ve created a RIBCOR behind the face to make the face flex and give you more distance anywhere you hit it on the face. The RIBCOR puts more weight around the edges of the club to improve acoustics and correct your off-center hits.

The sweet spot is so wide; it extends almost the entire groove area so when you mishit the ball it still goes a long way and straight as an arrow..

Taylormade's M4 set has been specially designed to increase the height of your shots. The short irons get up quickly and mid irons are so forgiving, you'll think they're wedges. With that increase in height, the ball comes down soft to stay on the green and give you more birdie and par putts.

High flying and easy to hit even when you're not trying

Balls launch high when you hit them and the wide soles help to get under the ball especially in deep rough to get your golf ball moving toward the green and out of the weeds. The heavy perimeter weighting means you can swing it and trust the club to do the work for you. There's no stress wondering what's going to happen next.

Taylormade has designed the M4 iron set with forgiveness in mind. They're extremely accurate irons and with the offset hosel, cavity back design, they tick all our boxes. I recommend the 5 iron to PW or the 4 iron to PW set as one of the most forgiving irons today.

  • Massive sweet spot for to hit it pure every time
  • Easy to hit the ball high in the air
  • Mishits go an abnormally long way
  • Bargain as they are 2 or 3 models old!
  • Looks very busy and less classic
  • The shiny appearance of the bottom of the clubs dull very quickly

Taylormade SIM MAX Irons

Long missile launchers

The new SIM MAX iron set from Taylormade have a large sweet spot and very forgiving on both toe and heel mishits make these clubs a mid- and high-handicappers dream. The extra forgiveness away from the sweet spot is from the slots cut out in the sole of the club.

The face is connected to rest of the club by the top line so that it actually performs similar to a fairway wood face. With a floating face, that means bigger rebound and more distance.

At address, the clubs look very strong and feedback from each shot is consistent with the clubs having a crisp reverberation at impact. For game improvement irons, they have a good degree of workability and so are even a good choice for players of mid to mid-low handicap players.

These are great clubs to pair with one of the Taylormade hybrids to complete the set. Add a forgiving fairway wood to that and you'll have a set you can use for a long time.

The SIM MAX are a real go-to club for both good players and those looking to drastically improve their wayward approach game due to inconsistency with distance and direction.

Honestly though, if you went for the previous models, the Taylormade M4's, would you be missing much? Probably not. You can learn more about the most forgiving Taylormade irons here.

  • Very workable for game improvement clubs
  • Excellent sound and better looking than the M4
  • Face connects to the body only at the leading edge makes it act like a fairway wood face
  • Minimal effort to launch the ball long and high
  • Pricey
  • They removed the speed slots from the M4 
  • Quite bulky looking

Cleveland Launcher Turbo HB Irons

Most forgiving irons set on the list

The HB (Hi Bore) Turbo irons are the new Super Game Improvement clubs from Cleveland designed to help you hit more consistent shots with ease. We're talking straight to the target and way up in the air. They're almost impossible to mishit. 

I wish I was exaggerating but Tiha, from my channel, has been using these for a season and is IN LOVE with golf even more than when she played the round in this video. 

It's not the first time Cleveland have produced these weird looking clubs. The older Cleveland HB Launchers won over a lot of golfers, with their extreme forgiveness and consistent ball flight. This style of progressive hybrid and iron combination set's really easy to hit and the only thing stopping most golfers from switching over to them is ego. A lot of golfers want to look like the pros with standard looking irons in their bag. 

But if you're struggling to get the ball to fly decent distances with standard irons, these clubs could revolutionize your entire golf experience.

It's like legal cheating

The set starts with a 4 iron shaped exactly like a hybrid and as the set progresses toward pitching wedge, the hybrid back of the club gets smaller until you can't see it on the pitching wedge. The thick sole created by the hybrid design of the irons makes them easy to hit out of any lie. It just can't be stated enough how easy they are to hit.

Cleveland have colored the hybrid back of the irons black to calm down the appearance to give it a more streamlined look because it can be distracting if you're used to standard irons. 

Do yourself a favor and try these clubs. You might find they're the most forgiving irons you've ever hit.

  • Unbelievably easy to hit consistently well
  • High spin numbers even with the hybrid back
  • Flat face, not rounded like most hybrids for a more iron-like look 
  • Wide sole for easy movement through turf
  • Much easier to hit mid and long irons
  • Hybrid look on each club can be a turn-off for some
  • Adjustment period to get used to the new design
  • No sand wedge included

Callaway Mavrik irons

Extreme forgiveness and distance in a very SLEEK package

While the Cleveland Hi Bore irons in this guide might scare you because of the beginner-ish looks, Callaway took your exact worries and created the Callaway Mavrik irons These clubs look good, like old-school-Ping-iron good. They don't look like Max Game Improvement irons at all but they are. You'll find Callaway to be some of the most forgiving irons around.

We all need somebody to lean on

We all need help with hitting a golf ball and these fit the bill. If you need some help getting it in the air and keeping it there, the Mavrik irons have been designed to solve that problem. They've made the faces thinner around the edges with thicker areas near the sweet spot to maximise center strikes and rectify the off center hits. 

Callaway have put a Tungsten Energy Core in the cavity back to create a more desirable high launch. With stronger lofts on the irons, they need to raise the center of gravity to get that ball flying higher. Be warned that you may see an increase in distance, but ti may just be down to stronger lofts, like with most modern irons.

In the bag, you won't notice the huge cavity back and extra wide sole which makes your golf bag look more like a pro's and less like a handicap golfer. When swinging the club, you'll notice the extra weight in the sole gets more weight under and behind the ball for superior shots that fly high and far, landing softly at your target.

Well struck shots sound pure to the ears and feedback from the clubface is sufficient to tell you when you've hit it flush and when you've mishit it. The best part for you is the mishit isn't going to be 30 yards short of a well struck shot. These clubs are forgiving, and give you maximum distance for your efforts.

  • Power club designed for distance 
  • Wide sole to get it airborne quickly
  • Consistent and forgiving, delivering good shots even on mishits
  • Super Game Improvement irons that look like standard low handicapper clubs
  • Heads are quite big
  • Chrome heads scratch up quickly so the 'new look' soon fades

Wilson Staff D7 Irons

Lots of boom boom for the slower swingers who hit it too low

A lot of golfers might scoff at the idea of playing Wilson irons, but these are top notch quality golf clubs. 

The D in the name means Distance so expect the focal point of this club to be power and not finesse. The heads are nicely weighted so you can really feel the club head throughout the swing. This is an important feature of a club, to feel where the club head is through the swing.

They offer great feel when you make contact with the ball with excellent control and forgiveness so you know the ball is going in the direction you intend. Picking the right ball to pair with these clubs will improve your game tremendously if you're a 13+ handicapper.

It's easy to be convinced by all the marketing of the big brands but there are some value sleeper sets out there and this one made the list because the clubs are quality and can give most of these clubs in this category a run for the money.

  • Best bang for buck in the game improvement category
  • Deep cavity back for major forgiveness on off-center hits
  • Stronger lofts with a high launch so you get more distance in every iron
  • High quality club faces and have the looks of sets twice the price
  • Be sure to get the GW because the difference in loft between PW and SW is 12°
  • Low spin so may not stop so quickly
  • You can see the back of the club behind the top line

Cleveland Launcher UHX Irons

King of forgiveness back with a sleek beautiful set

The UHX are a slick, cleaner looking upgrade to the beautiful CBX which had the blue cavity back are some of the best irons Cleveland have made.

From an aesthetics point of view, I believe these Launcher UHX irons are the most beautiful in the category. The lofts are stronger than most sets so you'll see an increase in distance. The sole is V-shaped to improve interaction with the turf a lot like their Srixon irons. Cleveland and Srixon are the same company so the tech can transfer. 

The stock shaft in the club is very light and allows you to generate quite a bit of clubhead speed which of course means more distance. Couple that with the fat top line of the club and it's like you're swinging Thor's hammer onto the ball. 

Longer irons in the set are setup with a  hollow cavity back (covered) and strong looking top line meaning the focal point here is distance and power with less waywardness. It's not easy to hit long irons, but these make it easier. The short clubs (8 iron and down) are designed for more precision and spin for more attacking prowess.

You'll get lasered tour grooves in the club face so while they may go further and bigger, they will still sit down. 

Overall, a beautiful looking club with a strong top line and sweet spot to give you forgiveness and make it easier to hit the sweet spot. A variable high strength steel face insert gives you the explosive ball speeds you need to reach more greens. 

  • Improved spin on game improvement irons with milled face
  • Really helps players who strike it nearer the toe
  • Precision grooves and milled face increase workability
  • Promotes a draw 
  • Lofts are strong so you might find increase in distance
  • Naturally not very workable

Cobra King Speedzone Irons

Top quality shot-tracking system and one-length irons simplify everything

The King of edgy yet forgiving and playable clubs, Cobra continue aiming their offerings at the mid handicappers and higher  handicappers. I didn't include the F9 Speedbacks in the list but they are good, and you could could them if you like a budget, prior-model option.

To make them easier to hit, Cobra removed three grams of weight from the topline in the 4- through 7-iron of the Speedzone model. Then they put two thin strips of carbon fiber in this slot to keep the top line strong with less weight.

The grooves in the club face start off as a V shape in the long irons and that helps reduce the spin to get you more distance and roll while the shorter irons have a U shape groove to increase spin to give you more stopping power. 

The reason they need to do this is because the club is just that forgiving that it may seem difficult to stop the ball in time with the stronger lofts and higher launch properties of the modern iron. 

Cobra Connect in the grips tracks your shot distances and your game using the Arccos system which is fantastic for your analysis. You will need to pay extra for that though.

The other great part of these clubs is they come in the ONE LENGTH variety which means every club is the length of a 7 iron. But beware, as it may take some getting used to and I suggest seeing a pro to help you dial it in as it an feel weird hitting a 4 iron and 9 iron with the same length.

  • This club is built purely for distance and it goes long
  • Available in one length
  • COBRA CONNECT technology allows you to track your stats with each club by using the technology in the top of the grip
  • Designed for 5 to 25 handicappers
  • One length can be very tricky to master
  • $100 per iron if you want the Arccos sensor put in

Mizuno JPX 921 Hot Metal

You can NEVER go wrong with a set of Mizunos

Mizuno are definitely more famous for their forged irons. You'll love the JPX 921 Forged if you are looking for a forged set. This is a cast set but is an improvement on their previous prior JPX 919 set and for the money, you're better off going with the new set as the difference in price is minimal for newer looks and tech.

The 921 Hot Metal looks more classy anyway.

Guide to what makes the most forgiving irons 

How forgiving irons can improve your enjoyment

When you hit more greens and hit straighter shots with confidence, you're gonna enjoy golf. When you know where the ball is gonna go, you'll love golf. A set of forgiving irons designed for your skill level can get you there.

To do this, golf clubs need to:

  1. Get the ball into the air nice and high with little effort
  2. Land softly on the greens
  3. Be very forgiving particularly on mishit shots

Like with drivers and fairway woods, iron sets need to be very forgiving. It’s very common to miss the sweet spot quite often. Forgiving irons are designed with huge sweet spots so even your mishits find the sweet spot! You still end up around the green on a mishit, instead of in the deep stuff or 40 yards short.

Buying a set of irons is a big investment but the improvement in your game with a set of Max or Super Game Improvement irons will be dramatic. While your swing naturally develops, the game improvement irons you use will enhance your results by giving you extreme confidence regardless of how you’re swinging.

What makes a set of irons forgiving?

Two things: shafts and club head design create the most forgiving irons.


There are two types of shaft in irons – steel and graphite. Graphite is very popular in drivers and hybrids. For irons, the extra weight offered by steel gives golfers a better “feel” than graphite.

Graphite can help with distance and should be looked at if your swing speed is very low. The reduced weight of the shaft can help you pick up a few more mph in swing speed and with that, more distance.

As a general rule, steel shafts are the best option for the vast majority of golfers and a Regular flex is going to be the best for most golfers based on swing speeds. 

Tips for shaft flex based on 6 iron swing speed and carry distance
  • X Flex  - 6 iron swing speed 90 mph and carry 175 yards
  • Stiff (S) Flex - 6 iron swing 80-90 mph and carry 155 - 175 yards
  • Regular  (R) Flex - 70-80 mph and 130 - 155 yards
  • A Flex - 60-70 mph and 100 - 130 yards
  • L Flex - Less than 60 mph and carry under 100 yards

It's always best to go get tested and get advice from a fitter or a local pro to truly maximize your purchase to your requirements.

Club Head Design

There are 2 club head designs: 

Muscleback vs cavity back

    • Muscle Back/Blade irons - used almost exclusively by low single digit handicappers and professionals
    • Cavity Back irons - this is what we are looking for and the most forgiving irons ever have all been cavity back. 

    How cavity back gives extra forgiveness over muscle backs

    Perimeter Weighting

    Cavity back irons usually have perimeter weighting, which is just a jargon term to mean they hollow out the back of a muscle back iron and put that spare metal around the border of the back of the club.

    Jargon explained

    The perimeter weighting thus adds more weight behind the ball on off-centre strikes.

    A muscle back iron the pros use has the majority of its weight mainly behind the TINY sweet spot. If you miss the sweet spot on a muscleback, the pain that shoots up the club into your fingers is stunning!

    The cavity back iron with perimeter weighting has a massive sweet spot for forgiveness.

    Wider Sole

    The wider sole lowers the clubs center of gravity which means more weight can get under and behind the golf ball on your shots. This produces an arching high ball flight even on mishits.

    The extra beef on the sole will improve shots where you hit the ground before the ball too. That extra weight will “bounce” off the ground instead of digging into the earth like a thin sole would.

    Additionally, newer golfers and high handicappers hit more balls in the rough and a wider sole will move through long or thick grass easily, allowing for good contact with the ball. The most forgiving irons out there will get you out of every lie: rough, sand, hard-pan and yes the fairways!

    Offset Hosel

    According to club designer Tom Wishon, “Offset is a design in clubheads in which the neck or hosel of the head is positioned in front of the face of the clubhead, so that the clubface appears to be set back a little from the neck of the club.”

    “The more offset, the farther the head's center of gravity is back from the shaft. And the farther the CG is back from the shaft, the higher the trajectory will be for any given loft on the face. More offset can help increase the height of the shot for golfers who have a difficult time getting the ball well up in the air.”

    Offset vs Standard hosels

    The most forgiving irons on the market are going to have offset hosels. The low handicappers playing blades or muscle backs have such skill to square the club face at impact, they don't need the offset. The offset encourages a draw and reduces workability of the club to hit fades. Highly skilled players want to hit the ball both ways.

    Avoid irons with 'Tour Preferred', 'Tour' or 'Pro' in the name

    These are for low handicap and professional players. You'll get there one day but for now they wouldn't be a wise investment. It would be like starting a video game on Expert setting from the beginning. These 'Tour' clubs are not the most forgiving irons as you can imagine.


    Game improvement irons have increased the accessibility of equipment to every skill level making it easier to play golf than ever. If you prefer a specific brand, check out the most forgiving Titleist irons or if you prefer Mizuno forgiving buttery irons. Ping make some of the most impressive forgiving irons too and you can rarely go wrong.

    Leave a Comment:

    Mathew Gerrard says

    To be honest, i am using TaylorMade M2 Irons and oh boy!!! the forgiveness of this club is pure class.

      Roc says

      I agree. I saved some money and got the M2 irons and they’re fantastic.

    Dennis says

    Hi Matt,
    An update on the new set of M4’s that I bought earlier this year. I made certain that the clubs were fitted which meant a change in lie (up 2deg) and an increase in length of 0.5in.
    Certainly being fitted made a huge difference immediately but the M4’s give a great sense of confidence in hand. Big sweet spot and very forgiving on both toe and heel mishits make these clubs a mid-handicappers dream. The clubs also look nicely aggressive at address with the graduated offset very natural. There is very good feedback from each shot and the clubs have a good, crisp resonance on contact. The clubs also have a good degree of workability and so are a good choice for players of most levels.
    I cannot comment on the stock grips as I needed new grips to fit my big mitts but certainly the M4’s have an encouraging balance which promotes a better swing. I coupled 5-SW irons with a 17deg M4 hybrid which is super out of those gnarly rough situations as well as being perfect off good fairway lies. The hybrid has a touch of draw bias and feels very positive in hand.
    Summary is that the M4’s are a real go to club for both good players and those looking to improve their game. Now all I need is a swing to match the sticks.

    Thies says

    Hi Matt,
    first: huge fan of pretty much everything you do. I am looking at the Callaway Mavrik 7i as my 150y club in the 150PSP* system. Should I get the “normal” Mavrik or the MAX?
    Thanks and BR,

      Matt says

      Max is great bro super forgiving, easy to hit

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