Best Irons For Mid Handicap Golfers — (The Golf Instructor’s Buying Guide)

Best Irons for Mid Handicap Golfers the Golf Instructor S Buying Guide from Tell Me More Golf Review Team

We sent the product review team at Tell Me More Golf to find the best irons for mid-handicap golfers.

I wanted them to look for the attributes in irons that would help mid-handicappers best:

  • Distance
  • Forgiveness
  • Consistency
Best Irons for Mid Handicap Golfers the Golf Instructor S Buying Guide from Tell Me More Golf Review Team

#1. Cleveland Launcher XL/UHX – Best Irons for 15 Handicap Golfers

Best Quality

Golfers who like a muscle-back look for their long irons should read this review of these Cleveland Launcher irons! Our testers reviewed these irons for their distance and forgiveness.

The Benefits:

The hollow construction for the long irons makes them extremely forgiving according to our testers. The cavity back short irons with a deeper weight distribution give them excellent control according to our testers. In addition, we’ve found that they have a variable-strength, steel-face insert composed of steel that should increase high ball speeds for great distance, even on toe and heel hits. Our testers put this set #1 due to its forgiveness, making it an excellent purchase for mid handicappers.

These irons also have laser-milled zip grooves that give a mid-handicap player plenty of spin and control throughout the set.

A couple of our testers didn’t like the hollowed-out, muscle-back look of the long irons when standing over them but loved how the ball came off the clubface.


  • High-Launch for Consistent Distance
  • Variable Strength Steel Face Forgiving on Mishits
  • Laser-Milled Zip Grooves for Maximum Spin and Control


  • Hollowed-Out Long Irons Have a Different Look

#2. TaylorMade SIM MAX – Best Irons for 20 Handicap Golfers

Most Popular
TaylorMade SIM MAX Irons

Tell Me More Golf tested for consistent distance and forgiveness in these irons. Tester after tester commented on how forgiving the TaylorMade SIM MAX irons were.

The Benefits:

It’s all about forgiveness with the SIM MAX irons. It starts with their Progressive Inverted Cone Technology (ICT) on the clubface, increasing the sweet spot and helping minimize side-spin on mishit shots for our team’s testers.

Don’t think these irons aren’t long. They get plenty of distance from their Speed Pocket technology and an ultra-thin club face, which provide plenty of ball speed. 

The SIM MAX irons also have an ECHO Damping System and a Speed Bridge topline which reduces vibration at impact, giving the irons a fantastic feel.

Some testers didn’t like the ECHO Damping System as they felt they couldn’t feel where they were mishitting shots, like on the toe or off the heel.


  • ICT Technology is Extremely Forgiving on Mishits
  • Ultra-Thin Face and Speed Pocket Promote Excellent Distance
  • Speed Bridge Technology and ECHO Damping System Give Consistent Stability and Feel


  • ECHO Damping Made it Difficult to Sense Where Mishits Were on Clubface

#3. PXG 2021 0211 DC – Best Budget Irons for Mid Handicap Golfers

Best Budget

Our testers were impressed with the progressive offset and bounce of the PXG 211s and how they helped create consistent contact and distance. They also liked how forgiving the clubs were, especially on shots off of the toe of the club.

The Benefits:

Let’s start with the obvious, PXG makes beautiful golf clubs, and the PXG 2021 211s are no exception to that rule. They are designed with mid-handicap golfers in mind with a progressive offset, and progressive bounce produces incredible distance and accuracy through the set. 

In addition, they have a DUALCOR system with a soft inner polymer core and a high-strength polymer outer core. This combination gives added structural stability and generates tremendous ball speeds. 

In addition, its angled top rail moves mass from the heel to the toe, which moves the center of gravity closer to the center of the face for a higher Moment of Impact, consistency, and forgiveness.

A couple of our testers thought the angled topline was distracting when addressing the ball.


  • Progressive Bounce and Offset Help With Distance and Accuracy
  • DUALCOR System and Thin Club Face Combine for Excellent Ball Speed
  • Angled Top-Line Helps With Consistency and Forgiveness on Mishits


  • Angled-Top Line a Distraction When Addressing the Golf Ball for Some Testers


#4. Callaway Golf Apex – Best Irons for 10 Handicap Golfers

Callaway Golf 2021 Apex DCB Iron Set

Our testers looked for consistent contact and forgiveness for these Callaway APEX DCB irons. They also liked the distance and feel of the club from any lie throughout the set.

The Benefits

According to Callaway, they used artificial intelligence to produce their Flash Face Cup in the APEX DCB, resulting in increased ball speed and spin throughout the set. 

They have also introduced a Tungsten Energy Core allowing them to precisely place the Center of Gravity, promoting incredible distance and forgiveness even on mishits. 

In addition, the deep cavity back and enhanced sole width combine for easy launch and solid turf interaction from any lie.

Our testers, accustomed to the classic APEX lines, found the DCBs to look chunky at set-up.


  • Performance and Feel of a Blade in a Cavity Back Design
  • Tungsten Energy Core Helps with Consistent Distance and Forgiveness
  • Deep Cavity Back and Enhanced Sole Width Made it Easy to Hit From Any Lie


#5. Cobra Golf Radspeed – Best Distance Golf Irons for Mid Handicappers

Cobra Golf 2021 Men's Radspeed Iron Set

For the player looking for maximum distance from their irons, the Cobra Radspeed Irons are a good choice.  Our testers commented on how consistently long and forgiving the Cobra Radspeed Irons were.

The Benefits:

The 2021 Cobra Radspeed irons have a Forged Powershell Face, an insert of 17-4 stainless steel that increases the size and flex in the sweet spot. This technology results in blistering fast ball speeds and sky-high launches. 

They also have Radial Weighting Technology, a strategic placement of weight around the Center of Gravity that helps optimize forgiveness and the dispersion of shots. 

Turned Rad Weighting takes a 10g weight and positions it low in the toe area, which adds stability for more distance on off-center hits.

Several testers commented on how the contact felt soft on the clubface.


  • Strong Lofts and Cobra Technology Makes the Radspeed Irons Long
  • Radial Weighting Allows for More Consistent Forgiveness on Mishits
  • Turned Rad Weighting Helps With Distance on Off-Center Hits


  • Clubface Felt Soft on Impact for Some Golfers

Other Notable Irons for Mid-Handicap Golfers

The Tell Me More Golf testers hit various iron sets when looking for the best one for mid-handicap golfers. Here are some of the irons we liked but didn’t quite make the cut for our best-of list.

Notable Irons for Mid-Handicap Golfers

How to Choose The Right Irons for a Mid-Handicapper – Buying Guide

The Tell Me More Golf team suggests that mid-handicap golfers consider two things when buying new irons. Types of club heads and the material and flex of the shaft.

Blades vs. Cavity Back Irons

Both blades and cavity back irons have strengths and weaknesses that mid-handicap golfers should consider when looking at an iron set.

As a rule, blade irons are better for players who can hit the sweet spot consistently and are looking for better feedback, feel, and the ability to work the ball.

Cavity back clubs are better for players who don’t hit the sweet spot consistently. Players are looking for more forgiving irons that give them distance and accuracy on mishits and aren’t concerned with working the ball.

While workability could be desirable for some mid-handicap golfers, most would do better with the consistency, distance, and forgiveness on mishits that cavity back irons provide.

Golf Iron Shaft Material and Flex

Regarding shafts for their irons, mid-handicap golfers have several things to consider. The first is if they want steel or graphite shafts. The second factor is finding the right flex for their swing speed and tempo.

Steel Shafts

Steel shafts for irons are less expensive, have a solid feel, weigh more, flex less, and produce less torque than graphite golf shafts. They are designed for golfers with average swing speeds or higher looking for accuracy.

Graphite Shafts

Graphite shafts typically cost more, have more torque, flex, and softer feel, and provide more swing speed and distance than steel shafts. Graphite shafts are designed for golfers with average to below average swing speeds looking for less flex, a softer feel, and more distance.

Shaft Flexes

As a rule, the faster your swing speed, the stiffer the flex you will need when selecting a golf iron shaft. There are five main golf shaft flexes; Extra Stiff, Stiff Flex, Regular Flex, Senior Flex, and Ladies Flex.

Extra Stiff – X

Extra-stiff iron shafts are denoted with an X and are the best iron shaft for 105 mph swing speeds and higher.

Still Flex – S

Stiff iron shafts are denoted with an S and are designed for swing speeds between 97 and 104 mph.

Regular Flex – R

Regular iron shafts are denoted with an R and are designed for swing speeds between 84 and 96 mph.

Senior – A

Senior iron shafts are denoted with an A and are designed for slower swing speeds between 72 and 83 mph.

Ladies – L

Ladies’ iron shafts are denoted with an L and are designed for clubhead speeds less than 72 mph.

Tell Me More Golf Conclusion on Iron Shafts for Mid-Handicap Golfers

When choosing between steel and graphite shafts for mid-handicap golfers, it comes down to what shaft feels better to the individual golfer. 

Golfers with higher swing speeds and quicker tempos will probably like the feel of a steel shaft versus a golfer with a slower, smooth tempo.
Mid-handicappers need to know their swing speed to help them select the right stiffness for their iron shafts. Most mid-handicap golfers will require anywhere from Senior up to Stiff flex, with their swing speeds ranging from 80-100 mph.

Tell Me More Golf – Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best irons for a mid handicapper?

The best mid-irons for a mid-handicap golfer are typically a game improvement iron like the ones in our best-of list. The perimeter weighting and sole design keep them from losing too much distance and reduce the dispersion of shots on mishits.

A player’s iron, like a blade, can be played by more skilled mid-handicap golfers. Still, blades are designed for those with a low handicap who are better ball strikers. 

What is considered a mid-handicap golfer?

The handicap range goes from low to mid to high.

  • Low handicappers have an index between 0 and 10
  • Mid-handicap golfer is a golfer with an index between 11 and 20
  • High-Handicap Golfers have an index of over 21

Most mid-handicap golfers will consistently shoot between 85-95 every time they play an 18-hole round.

What does the average golfer shoot?

According to the PGA and the National Golf Foundation, the average golfer shoots over 100 for an 18-hole round, and only 26% break 90 consistently on regulation 18-hole courses.

Can a mid-handicapper play blade irons?

Yes, a mid-handicapper can play blades. Typically the closer a mid-handicappers index gets to single digits, the more consistently they strike the ball in the center of the clubface, which is required when playing blades.

Plus, some golfers enjoy playing with blades, the shot shaping, and the control and feedback they get on properly hit shots, regardless of the poor shots that come from mishits.

Do any pros play game improvement irons?

While most professional golfers don’t play with game improvement irons, some like Henry Higgs do choose to play them.

The line between blades and game improvement clubs continues to blur as club technology improves and manufacturers produce clubs that balance playability and forgiveness.

It’s important to remember that just because you are a mid-handicap golfer, you don’t have to play game improvement irons. Just like single-digit handicappers don’t have to play blades.


The best irons for mid-handicap golfers are game improvement irons. Game improvement irons help mid-handicap golfers who don’t strike the sweet spot consistently hit the ball further and straighter than blade irons.

They often have stronger lofts, more offset hosels, and larger club head designs with perimeter weighting and broader soles that expand the sweet spot. These design features result in faster ball speeds and reduced dispersion on mishit shots.

While most mid-handicap golfers will benefit from cavity back irons, those who are closing in on a low handicap may want to look at blade-style irons.

Mid-handicap golfers must pick the suitable shaft material and flex when looking at irons. In addition, their swing speed and tempo can affect how the shaft reacts during their swing.

Steel shafts are the stock option for many iron sets. Still, graphite shafts are gaining popularity with players who like a softer feel.

The most important thing is to find the suitable iron set for your game to let you hit the ball further and straighter more consistently from any lie.

Patrick Corley Tell Me More Golf Instructor and Coach
Patrick Corley
From a golf scholarship to a Southern California University, to a private golf coaching career and an instructor position at a nonprofit organization, I’m here to help you get better at golf! With my 50+ years of golf experience; I bring you Tell Me More Golf. A golf coaching website that helps your game with instructional golfing content that’s ultimately geared toward making you a better golfer and having more fun!
Our golf instructor team brings it all to you, so enjoy!

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