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Best Irons for Mid Handicappers & Intermediate Golfers

Best Mid Handicap Irons

Welcome to my best irons for mid handicappers and intermediate golfers review.

I've dropped a lot of sweat in the Houston heat hitting buckets of balls and playing beaucoup rounds of golf putting the best irons on the market through their paces. 

Here's what you'll learn:

  • How to chose the right golf clubs for your game
  • Key attributes of each club
  • Where they excel and do not excel
  • Best pricing if you decide to take the plunge & I always try to give you a couple choices
    • I link directly to manufacturer when it makes sense... to help the little guy, and they are all little guys compared to the big "A"
  • Our #1 Recommendation...it may not be the newest model.

Best Irons For Mid Handicappers & Intermediate Golfers 2020

  1. Callaway Mavrik Irons (Best of 2020)
  2. Taylormade SIM Max Irons (Best Distance)
  3. Taylormade M6 Irons (Most Forgiving)
  4. Taylormade M5 Irons (Former Champ)

#1 Callaway Mavrik Irons

To learn more about what the "Approved" symbol means, please click here. (It pretty much means this stuff is 100% LEGIT!)

Who are they for...

The mid handicapper looking for more performance, playability, and slightly more "player" look. 

  • LooksBlack w/ orange accents (not my favorite for these irons). Head size is moderately big, but not gaudy. 
  • Feel / Sound: Very solid feel with a nice "click" on contact. Pleasing overall.
  • ForgivenessIf you have any ball-striking skill whatsoever, you will be good to go with the Mavriks. Center strikes yield killer results, but the whole face is working in your favor. 
  • The Mavriks are easy to hit through the bag. Even the long irons get up easily and carry for days. 
  • Distance: Looong. Greater distance over a good portion of the golf club face. Hit the ball with the sweet spot and watch it really fly.
  • Shaping: You can dial up any shape or trajectory you want, assuming you can already dial up any shape or trajectory you want.


  • Long and Forgiving
  • Launch the ball for easy trajectory
  • Shape and flight the ball easily
  • Free shipping & returns from Callaway
  • 0% Financing available


  • Not the best looking iron set in my opinion
Mavrik iron customer review

Get 8% OFF with Coupon Code: GolferGeek at Global Golf

#2 Taylormade SIM Max Irons

To learn more about what the "Approved" symbol means, please click here. (It pretty much means this stuff is 100% LEGIT!)

Who are the Taylormade SIM Max irons for

  • The mid and high handicap player needing ample help with forgiveness and distance. SIM Max irons fit the bill beautifully. 

SIM Max irons are the upgrade to one of our prior favorites, the M6 irons, also from Taylormade. 

Consider the new SIM Max irons a juiced up version of the M6's with a fresh coat of paint.

  • We are still talking about a slightly oversized head with a thicker topline and sole. 
  • We are still talking about a speed bridge and the speed pocket and inverted cone technology...
  • Just a better version of each.
  • For even more distance and forgiveness across the face.

Taylormade really doesn't rest on their laurels. 

Bottom Line: Everything the M6 irons are plus more forgiveness and distance. 


  • Game changing distance and forgiveness
  • Built to get your ball up fast and keep it in the air a long time
  • No problem shaping and flighting shots
  • Even faster ball speed across the face


  • Not loving the looks
  • Face will scratch a little easy

Buy from Taylormade

  • Same or lower price
  • Customization: grip, lie, shaft, etc. 
  • Free Shipping
  • Financing
  • 30-Day return policy

Buy from Global Golf

  • Get 8% OFF with Coupon Code: GolferGeek at Global Golf
  • Buy new or used
  • Use multiple coupons

#3 Taylormade M6 Irons

To learn more about what the "Approved" symbol means, please click here. (It pretty much means this stuff is 100% LEGIT!)

Who are the these for:

  • Mid handicappers looking for all the performance of the M5 in a larger club head with even more forgiveness. The M6 irons are game-improvement irons that look like game improvement irons. 
  • High handicap golfers moving into the mid handicapper range.

A Golf Digest’s 2019 Hot List Gold Medal Winner, the Taylormade M6 irons are true performs and not just a pretty face. Thanks to speed pocket, speed bridge, strategically placed center of gravity among other tech, you are getting serious gamers.

I'm a low handicapper, so I was a little worried the size of the heads would be a distraction...Not to worry! Though the clubheads are bigger than my player irons, they are in no way gaudy. You can show these off to your buddies. 

They perform beautifully and are perfect for the mid handicapper and maybe even higher handicapper out there. What I saw at address should inspire a lot of confidence for those looking for just a little more forgiveness.

  • The clubface frames the ball very nicely with zero intimidation with the longer irons
  • Excellent distance and trajectory from the first strike and very easy to flight (Not expected in such forgiving irons
  • Even longer irons were really easy to hit the ball

Though the M6s are getting harder to find new, you have a couple options when buying your M6 iron set

  • Direct from Taylormade
  • Anyone of a number of retailers: Global Golf, Amazon, Fairway Golf USA, etc.


  • Confidence-inspiring head size for the mid handicappers
  • As long as any iron set out there
  • The ball gets up really easy
  • No problem shaping and flighting shots
  • Faster ball speed across the face
  • Very forgiving irons
  • Great Value- On Sale


  • Getting harder to find.
M6 iron customer review

Get 8% OFF with Coupon Code: GolferGeek at Global Golf

#4 Taylormade M5 Irons

To learn more about what the "Approved" symbol means, please click here. (It pretty much means this stuff is 100% LEGIT!)

Who are these for:

  • The mid handicap golfer comfortable with a smaller profile and a more player look that needs a touch less forgiveness and wants to max out performance.
  • These are game improvement irons that players can play all day long. 

...Cream of the Crop. The best mid handicap irons I've ever put my hands on. 

I am absolutely blown away by these irons. Maybe the best irons Taylormade has produced for the mid handicapper. 

They are the first irons I've ever hit from Taylormade...and they made quite the impression on me from the first strike. I guess I have to give a little thanks to speed pocket and speed bridge tech for greater ball speed and distance on nearly every shot. 

From the pitching wedge to the short irons to the long irons, I could have not been more impressed.

Awesome ball speed and Distance...Superior ball flight. I am smitten... Seemed like the entire club face was a sweet spot. I think the M5's have the best head design in the class. 

I've been playing Taylormade woods and drivers since 2007 so it stands to reason they would probably make great irons too. Well, I'm a believer now.

HURRYHURRYHURRY: Taylormade is phasing out the M5 and has no direct replacement.

Stock is intermittent at all retailers, including: Taylormade and Amazon.


  • Best Performing iron set by far
  • Explosive Distance
  • Plenty forgiveness and playability
  • Great trajectory and green holding
  • Superior sound and feel


  • B + on Looks
  • Taylormade is phasing these out. HURRY
M5 iron Customer Review

Get 8% OFF with Coupon Code: GolferGeek at Global Golf

How To Choose The Best Mid Handicap Irons 

There’s a lot that goes into this choosing new clubs, even before you ever take a swing.

  • Do I like the looks?
  • Is the clubhead too big, too small, too thick, too thin, too short, too long?
  • Do I like the finish?
  • Am I confident when I look at the clubhead behind the ball?

Now that you’ve made the choice to upgrade your set, there are a few considerations you want to make…


All major manufacturers that produce golf irons for the mid handicappers and the lower categories price a set of irons anywhere from $800 to $1400 or so.

Ben Hogan (not a major manufacturer, but a known brand),  being the lone stand out with a max price of just over $770 for a full set of irons.


Mizuno, Cobra, Callaway, Ping, Taylormade and Ben Hogan, are but a few of the many fantastic brands to consider.

When looking to purchase a new set of irons, it’s going to come down to personal choice and idiosyncrasies in your own swing and game.

I believe variation in quality and performance is a much smaller factor than ever.

Forged, Cast, Muscle-back, Cavity back

Once upon a time the best golf irons were forged irons from a single chunk of metal, then Ping came along…

Casting, the cavity back, and perimeter weighting were introduced, lower center of gravity and higher MOI are making better scores accessible to a whole new group of handicap players.

The forging process is being used more these days in mid handicap friendly irons to improve shot-making ability. Callaway, Taylormade, Mizuno, and Ben Hogan, are just a few examples. 

They’ve managed to introduce more playability and great sound and feel without sacrificing forgiveness in a forged iron. 

I think golfers in this category should probably stick to cavity back irons, forged or not.

How To Pick The Best Shaft for My Set

So, we’ve got two choices when it comes to shaft material and many when it comes to stiffness. I’m not going to give a full treatment on all the variables that “can” go into picking a shaft.

If you really want to dig into this stuff, I suggest a fitting.

I’ll give you some general guidelines that I always want you to supplement with testing for yourself before you pull the trigger and buy your set.

Shafts are made of either steel or graphite. For a time in the 2000s, there were shafts that were roughly half graphite shaft and half steel shaft.

I haven’t heard a thing about those in years, though I see they still do exist.

When it comes to shaft flex, there is no industry standard and manufacturers can label their shafts whatever flex they want.

When it comes to shaft flex, there is no industry standard and manufacturers can label their shafts whatever flex they want.

Anything I put below is from my observations, fittings, and what I’ve read on the subject.

In general:

  • Slow swing speed = weaker flex
  • Fast swing speed = stiffer flex

Shaft Flexes: Weakest to Strongest

  • Ladies Flex: you can guess who this flex caters to

  • Senior Flex: see above
  • Regular Flex: the bulk of beginners and high handicappers will do fine with this flex. Even lower handicap seniors will likely find these work fine. 
  • Stiff Flex: better players with driver swing speed approaching 100mph are probably best served with this flex
  • Extra Stiff: start getting past 105 mph driver swing and you can start considering these.

**Disclaimer- There are varying opinions between fitters and manufacturers on who should swing what flex.


How To Pick Shaft Material

Steel vs Graphite:

  • In general, graphite shafts are a bit more flexible, lighter, less durable, and allow you to hit the golf ball farther.
  • In general, steel shafts are a bit stiffer, heavier, more durable, and offer more stability and consistency. 

Graphite shafts are usually a little more expensive, but when ordering brand new sets directly from manufacturers,  you will often pay the same for steel or graphite.

I’ve played both and played well with both. I’m currently using extra stiff steel shafts and have for the last 13 years. I was fitted for these shafts and they’ve performed beautifully for me.

Should I Get My Set Custom Fit?

I’ve got a simple philosophy on custom fitting that I’ve expressed in other reviews on this site.

  • Mandatory: N0
  • Potential to help you play better, a lot better.: Yes

The mid handicapper can start seriously thinking about getting a custom fitting. 

It’s ALL up to you. Do you just want to get on the course have fun and drink a few beers during a round? (That’s a “NO” for me, by the way.)

Are you competitive and want to improve,  play your best, or at least, well when you play golf? (Yes, for me)

I’ve had lessons and been fitted. I can tell you my misses miss less since my fitting and I can set up to the golf ball more comfortably instead of having to manipulate things to try and hit a shot.

Up to you.

The Best Mid Handicap Irons are...

The best irons for Mid Handicappers are the Callaway Mavrik irons 

  1. Best Performer of 2020...by far.
  2. They are long, forgiving, well priced, and super to hit
  3. Great sound and feel
  4. They can transition you right into being a low handicapper beause the heads are just small enough to look cool for single digits and they have all the qualities better golf ball strikers look for.

If you are even thinking about picking up a new set of irons...

Our #1 Recommendation

Callaway Mavrik Irons

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