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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 mid handicapper 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 golf 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 2021

  1. Titleist T200 Irons (New Champ: Best Performing Mid Handicap Irons...By Far)
  2. Callaway Mavrik Irons (Former Best of 2020)
  3. Taylormade SIM Max Irons (Best Distance)
  4. Taylormade M6 Irons (Most Forgiving)
  5. Taylormade M5 Irons (Former Champ)

#1 Titleist T200 Irons

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

Titleist T200 irons

The best irons for mid handicap golfers and intermediate players are the Titleist T200 irons...MUCH to my surprise

I haven't experienced such pure hitting irons since the Taylormade M5s (still on this list, by the way)

I, In No Way, expected this result. I have, LITERALLY, never hit a Titleist iron until the T200s.

What have I been missing?

I thought expensive and players iron when I think of Titleist irons. I was only half right: they cost a decent chunk of change. But, all new irons do these days.

I prefer compact club heads so I thought the heads were a little too long. WRONG

Put them behind the ball at address and magic begins to happen.

  • First, they feel great in your hands. The True Temper AMT Black S300 shafts turned out to be Money.
  • Second, they frame the ball beautifully. Gap wedge to 4-iron (the lowest iron in the T200s)
  • Third, the ball LAUNCHES off the face. High and far

Below is some Tech and Marketing talk from Titleist.

  • Max distance and forgiveness anywhere on the face thanks to Max Impact technology.
  • Max Impact also allows you to be deadly accurate and consistent thanks to the unique polymer core developed in conjunction with Titleist golf ball R&D which provides precise sound and dampening
  • Optimum MOI for more help with distance, tighter shot dispersion, and superior ball flights thanks to an average of 90g of tungsten weight in the heel and toe of the mid and long irons
  • Category-leading feel thanks to the forged L-Face which wraps around the sole of the iron. 

Titleist T200 Specs

Iron
4
5
6
7
8
9
P
W
Loft
21*
24*
27*
30*
34*
38*
43*
48*

Bottom line: The Titleist T200 irons WORK. WELL. To put it mildly. 

  • Don't be scared of Titleist irons and don't wait until you are a low single digit handicapper to give them a try. Titleist has put serious effort into attracting your business.
  • Read my full review here

Pros

  • Best Performers of 2020...Not Close
  • Larger sweet spot for more quality shots
  • Feel Great
  • EASY ball launch
  • All the distance & forgiveness you need
  • Hot AND Consistent face

Cons

  • Price is up there but not outrageous


Buy from Global Golf

  • Get 8% OFF with Coupon Code: GolferGeek at Global Golf
  • You can demo the set for 2 weeks for $50 (see site for details)
  • Full customization
  • Financing available
  • Global Golf is ALWAYS running deals and other coupons
  • Free Shipping

#2 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...

Mid handicappers looking for more performance, playability, and slightly more "player" look. 

I found the Mavriks set up well behind the ball, were easy to make good contact with, got the ball up fast and required no extra effort to get the distance I needed. 

Tech behind Callaway Golf men's Mavrik irons

Flash Face Cup Technology

  • Callaway uses A.I. to create a unique ultra thin face design architecture for industry-leading ball speeds across the face while also optimizing spin consistency.

Tungsten Energy Core

  • The addition of tungsten weighting in specific locations in each iron for ideal CG for promoting optimum ball launch angle, ball flight, spin rates and landing angles (better to hold the green) throughout the set. (Get the ball up easily and land softly)

Urethane Microsphere Technology

  • Urethane microspheres Absorb vibration, maximize COR, and retain "pure" feel.

My by-the-numbers assessment:

  • Looks: I like cavity backed irons, but I'm not in love with the color scheme and club head design for these. Head and clubface size are moderately big, but not gaudy. The top line and sole are a bit thicker too, but not bad at all.
  • Feel / Sound: Great 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. I didn't lose much with slight mis hits. The Mavriks are easy to hit through the bag.
    • The scoring irons and long irons get up easily and carry for days. 
    • We also can't forget the offset hosel to give you just another instant to square your club face. 
  • Distance: Looong. Superior distance and accuracy through the bag 
  • Shaping / Flighting: You can dial up any shape or trajectory you want, assuming you can already dial up any shape or trajectory you want.

Callaway says the Mavriks serve a handicap range of 8-20

You'll want to check out the Callaway Apex or Callaway Mavrik pro irons here if you are looking for a more compact or low handicap player friendly club head. 

Pros

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

Cons

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


Buy from Callaway

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


Buy from Global Golf

  • Get 8% OFF with Coupon Code: GolferGeek at Global Golf
  • Buy new or used
  • Customization: grip, lie, shaft, etc.
  • Free Shipping
  • Financing available

#3 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!)

Sim max iron

Who are the Taylormade SIM Max irons for

  • Mid handicappers or any player needing ample help with forgiveness and distance. SIM irons fit the bill beautifully. 

SIM Max irons are the upgrade to one of our prior favorites, the M6s, also from Taylormade. 

Consider them 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 top line and sole.
  • We are still very forgiving on slight mis hits 
  • We are still talking about speed bridge technology, an ultra thin face and the speed pocket and inverted cone technology...
  • Just a better version of each.
  • For even more distance and forgiveness across the face.

SIM Max irons get the ball up easily, launch your golf ball a long way, and land softly so you can hold the green.

 Taylormade really doesn't rest on their laurels. 

Bottom Line: Everything the M6s are plus more forgiveness and distance. 

Pros

  • Game changing distance
  • Huge sweet spot for excellent forgiveness
  • Built to get your ball up fast and keep it in the air a long time
  • No problem shaping and flighting shots
  • Increased ball speed all over the face

Cons

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


Buy from Taylormade

  • Same or lower price
  • Customization: grip, lie, shaft, etc. 
  • Chat with an expert
  • Free Shipping
  • Financing available


Buy from Global Golf

  • Get 8% OFF with Coupon Code: GolferGeek at Global Golf
  • Buy new or used
  • Financing available
  • Free Shipping

#4 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 handicappers 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 lowish to mid handicap player (depends when you catch me), so I was a little worried the size of the heads would be a distraction...Not to worry! The club heads are bigger than my players irons but they are in no way gaudy. You can show these off to your buddies. 

They perform beautifully and are perfect for the mid handicappers 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 club face 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
  • An offset hosel design for extra time to square the club face

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.

Pros

  • 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 over the entire face
  • Nice feel and sound
  • Very forgiving irons

Cons

  • Getting harder to find.
M6 iron customer review


Buy from Global Golf

  • Get 8% OFF with Coupon Code: GolferGeek at Global Golf
  • Buy new or used
  • Financing available
  • Free Shipping

#5 Taylormade M5 Irons

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

NOTE: The M5s are ONLY fifth in our list because they are hard to find new. They remain one of my favorite irons ever.

Who are these for:

  • The mid handicap player comfortable with a smaller profile and a more player look that needs a touch less forgiveness and wants to max out performance.
  • Low handicap players will love the M5s too. 
  • These are game improvement irons that players can play all day long. 

...Cream of the Crop. The best cavity backed irons for the average golfer I've ever put my hands on. These are a players iron in a forgiving package.

Are you a handicap golfer? Stop looking and try the M5s on for size.

I am absolutely blown away by these golf irons for mid handicappers. Maybe my favorite irons Taylormade has produced for the mid handicappers. 

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.

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

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

Low handicappers will love the M5s too

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

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

Pros

  • Best Performing iron set by far
  • Greater Distance off more of the face
  • Plenty forgiveness and playability
  • Great trajectory and green holding
  • Superior sound and feel

Cons

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


Buy from Global Golf

  • Get 8% OFF with Coupon Code: GolferGeek at Global Golf
  • Buy new or used
  • Financing available
  • Free Shipping

Buy from Amazon


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 club head 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?

That's just aesthetics…There's more. Depending on how serious you are. 

How do you want your irons to perform?

  • Do you like to flight your irons?
  • Is shot shaping a part of your game?
  • Do you need help getting the ball up?
  • Do you fight a slice? 
  • Do you want traditional lofts or stronger lofts?
  • Etc.

Price

All major manufacturers that produce golf irons for 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.

Brand

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 game improvement 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. All irons were blade irons. Then Ping came along…

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

The forging process is being used more these days in golf irons for the mid handicap player to improve shot-making ability. Callaway, Taylormade, Mizuno, and Ben Hogan, are just a few examples of companies making a forged cavity back iron. 

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

Mid handicap golfers should 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 speeds = weaker flex
  • Fast swing speeds = 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.

TEST FOR YOURSELF

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 iron 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 a mid handicapper get custom fit for irons?


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 golf 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.

So, what are the best golf irons for average, or intermediate golfers?


The answer for what are the best golf irons for the average player is...It depends.

You know my opinion if you are reading this page. But it's just my opinion.

Here's another opinion of mine I've shared on multiple pages on this site.

  • It all comes down to personal preference, your golfing aspirations, and hopefully, some testing on your part. 

Just close your eyes and throw a dart if you just want good enough. All the golf irons on this page are fine performers for the bulk of players.

Are you a little more serious? Put your hands on some or all of the clubs featured here in a practice bay or on the range. Definitely on the golf course if you can swing it. Then you will know.

Don't farm out this decision to me. The best golf clubs for you depend on you.

Get your hands on some clubs and hit some shots. Besides, it's fun. 

What clubs should a mid handicapper carry?


The mid handicap golfer should carry the following clubs...

  • Driver (9.5 - 10.5 degrees of loft) nearly all driver lofts are adjustable these days
  • 3-wood (15 or 16) degrees of loft
  • 5-wood or 2-hybrid (18 or 19 degrees of loft)
  • 4-hybrid
  • 5-iron through gap wedge (as part of your set)
  • Sand wedge (54-56 degrees of loft)
  • Lob wedge (58-60 degrees of loft)
  • Putter

The is set make up isn't gospel, but you can't go wrong with this as a starting point. You can tinker with the loft of your fairway woods and hybrids a bit. (This is my current set make up and has been for about 15 years)

Should a mid handicapper play blades?


Let me say this about that: There are MANY elite players on all the pro tours that do not play blades. See Jordan Spieth and Xander Schauffele for example. 

I know they are pretty (trust me, I know)
I know you MAY hit them well on occasion (we all flush irons on occasion)

You will always play better with an iron that is designed for your handicap. And, they won't be blades.

So, no. A mid handicapper should not play blades. Wait until you are a low handicap..


The Best Mid Handicap Irons are...(in my opinion)

The best irons for Mid Handicappers in 2020 are the Titleist T200 Irons 

  1. Best Performing irons of 2020 by a LONG shot
  2. They are powerful, forgiving, and beautiful
  3. Great sound and feel
  4. They can transition you right into being a low handicapper because the heads are just small enough to look cool for single digits and they have all the qualities better golf ball strikers look for.

Give them a looksee if you are in the market for a new set of irons

WINNER

Titleist T200 irons


Buy from Global Golf

  • Get 8% OFF with Coupon Code: GolferGeek at Global Golf
  • You can demo the set for 2 weeks for $50 (see site for details)
  • Full customization
  • Financing available
  • Global Golf is ALWAYS running deals and other coupons
  • Free Shipping

Our #1 Recommendation

Titleist T200 Irons

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