The Best Set Of Irons For Beginners [Mid 2020]

*Don’t forget to check the price at all stores as they usually run different promotions such as free shipping*

How We Found the Best Set Of Irons For Beginners
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To iron or not to iron? That is the question.

It’s maybe not a classic question. It’s probably not going to rock the ages with its philosophical wonder, but this is golf, not philosophy, and it is actually a relevant question when you’re starting out.

In its longer form, it runs “To buy a dedicated set of irons when I’m new to the game, or to buy a complete set and see how it goes?”

Not as catchy, you have to admit.

But the advice from most golfing philosophers and sages actually comes down as “Keep your eye on the money.” Buy full sets, they say, because they’ll give you more value and experience than isolated iron sets.

Complete sets, being geared to help beginner play, will be where you’ll find some of the best irons to help you get your game refined. They don’t stop being excellent because they come with some woods thrown in.

So let’s find ourselves the best sets of irons for beginners – whether they’re standalone or in complete sets.

In a hurry? Here’s our top pick.

Our Reviews

Editors Choice

Callaway Golf Men's Strata Complete 12 Piece Package Set (Right Hand, Steel)

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*Don’t forget to check the price at all stores as they usually run different promotions such as free shipping*

Our take

The Strata set from Callaway is a case in point. It’s a complete set, and it’s probably quite annoying to other clubmakers.

There’s very little that’s especially scientific or designed about the Callaway Strata sets. That frees the company to make a set that’s good enough for absolute beginners. It also makes for a set that’s beloved by beginners because there’s no pressure to treat the clubs with any especial reverence for all the hard work that’s gone into them.

That means they’re a set of irons, with some woods attached, that lots of beginner golfers love, and cherish, and use when they first start out. They’re confidence boosters when you first start out. When you’re a beginner, you want to be able to instinctively feel which club is right for you in the moment. That’s what the Callaway Strata sets can give you. They may not be the best irons in the world, but guess what? You’re not the best golfer in the world either. You’re a beginner. Callaway has developed a beginner set that will deliver you some of the key qualities you need. It’s a set that will pull you in, help you out and most particularly, show you the potential and the pleasure of the game, rather than its complications.

What key qualities do we mean?

Well, when you start out, you need three things from your irons. You need control. You need distance. And you need, above all, forgiveness.

Forgiveness?

Forgiveness of how much you don’t know. Forgiveness, in particular, of mis-hit balls. Golf stripped raw is merciless – you mis-hit the ball, the ball will obey you and scream off into the rough, the woods, or any bunker worth its name. Forgiveness is a designed-in quality that helps protect you from that unsentimental reality. If your clubs have larger sweet spots, they artificially inflate the likelihood of you hitting a straight shot. And so, they encourage you onward in a game where you’re new, and discouragement could lead to disillusionment and baseball.

The irons in the Callaway set have lightweight shafts to help with both your confidence and your contacts, and they have high flight technology, to give your shots a boost. It’s not much technological, built-in help, because that would bump up the price out of the range where it would make sense for beginners to invest. But it’s just enough to make your games of golf, even when you’re new, feel like sweet, accomplishable challenges, rather than frustrating, iron-bending slogs.

And to get you moving in the right direction, the set also includes a couple of hybrid clubs –like irons, but cooler – which can help you loft your ball out of any tough spots. Again, the ethos isn’t about cheat-mode golf clubs. It’s about taking just the right amount of pain out of a day on the course to keep you interested and challenged, and to keep you coming back.

That’s why the Callaway Strata sets top our list. They don’t baffle newcomers with too much science, or put too heavy an expectation on their shoulders. They deliver a ‘just right’ level of forgiveness and help for beginners, and they’ll serve you faithfully and well until you’re a better golfer than they’re a set of clubs.

Stand-out features include

  • Lightweight irons
  • Strong forgiveness all the way through the set
  • Addition of some hybrids, to teach beginners of their value
  • Price – for a full set of clubs, the Callaway sets are impressive

Best Value

Callaway Women's Strata Complete Golf Set (11-Piece, Right Hand, Graphite)

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*Don’t forget to check the price at all stores as they usually run different promotions such as free shipping*

Our take

As with the Men’s sets, the Women’s Strata sets have both irons and hybrids included, to draw you into the game, and forgive some of your inevitable beginner mis-hits.

The irons have shafts of flexible graphite, for ease of swing and powerful delivery of intent to the ball. But the graphite also allows beginners to hit shots with some control.

The goal of giving beginners enough encouragement – and enough forgiveness in their clubs to encourage rather than dissuade – is evident in this set too. The set not only has the same sense of rounded completeness for a very reasonable price, each type of club has been tailored towards giving beginners an exciting day’s golf. The flexibility, power and placement it can deliver to beginners is a mark of Callaway’s skill in both the psychology of golf and its engineering. If you’re going to get a complete set for women beginning in the game, go Strata. Not only does it have all the basics you need, engineered to boost your skill level but keep your feet on the ground. It also helps inspire you to make progress over time to become a better golfer.

Stand-out features include

  •  Forgiving, flexible irons delivering great precision and power
  • Addition of two hybrid clubs to get beginners out of trouble
  • All-round package for a low price
  • Works to actively encourage golfers to keep going with the game

Brand New Player

Wilson Golf Profile SGI Men's Complete Golf Set — Senior, Right Hand

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*Don’t forget to check the price at all stores as they usually run different promotions such as free shipping*

Our take

In a sense, this set is Wilson’s answer to Callaway’s powerhousing Strata sets. The irons have enormous forgiveness built into them. If you miss-hit the ball, the Wilson’s larger sweet spots there to help you out. The power, the distance, the forgiveness, the design to help you place the ball where you want it, all has the beginner in mind.

Where the Strata sets make a blessing of their one size helps all simplicity though, the Wilson SGI set is the Swiss Army knife of beginner club sets. It has so many variables, it’s like getting a suit made to measure your precise preferences. You can get the set in no fewer than thirteen options, with different lengths, grip sizes, lofts, flexes and more.

While there’s a kid in a candy store element to this amount of choice, it rather depends on knowing exactly what will suit you best. And you’re not likely to know that before you’ve got several rounds with different options under your belt. So the idea of tooling your Wilson SCI set to your precise specifications and blowing all the other beginners off the course is a little unrealistic. Once you’ve been round the course a few times, you’ll get a feel for different lengths, lofts and grips, and be able to make an informed choice that helps your golf. At that point, the customizable options of the Wilson SCI set, added to the beginner-centered design and high forgiveness level, could really pay your handicap dividends.

Stand-out features include

  •  Staggering range of customization options
  • High forgiveness levels in the irons, suitable for beginner play
  • Additional loft, to help make longer iron shots
  • Price – impressive dollar-per-club ratio

Most Versatile

Japan WaZaki Black Oil Finish WL-IIs 4-SW Mx Steel Hybrid Irons Golf Club Set with Headcover,Regular Flex,65g Pro Graphite Shaft,RH,Limited Edition,Pack of 16

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*Don’t forget to check the price at all stores as they usually run different promotions such as free shipping*

Our take

If you want to be a purist about it, the WaZaki WL-IIs set are not ‘irons’ per se. Everything here is a hybrid, from the 4…erm…iron down to the sand wedge.

So why are we recommending them?

Because they look like irons, play like irons, but behave…rather better than you might expect irons to behave.

Here’s the thing. Iron play is often the neglected ‘mid-section’ of beginners’ golf game. The arcing whack off the tee is fun for everyone so long as the ball moves. The concentration of putting draws you in to the precision necessary. And yet it’s in the iron game where lots of beginners get frustrated, taking forever to whack their way from place to place. The more you whack, the higher your score, and the worse your average for the round. So beginner golfers can’t really afford to skimp this section of their play. But, traditionally, irons are relatively unforgiving.  

They demand a certain kick, a certain swing speed and a certain skill at lofting the ball through the air in order to get the best out of them.

The WaZaki WL-IIs are designed specifically to help you if you have an underpowered swing. That’s most likely to be a factor in your iron play if you’re a beginner. If you have a naturally slow swing, the WaZaki WL-IIs might be worth your money.

Now, you can stand on principle if you like, claiming you’ll never use an all-hybrid iron set because of their technical impurity as irons. That’s your prerogative.

Or you can play better golf.

Your choice.

The thing is, if your swing speed is average or high, the WaZaki WL-IIs are probably not worth your time. But at a very specific point in your golfing life, they may well do enough to help you make the progress you want. They have flexible, lightweight graphite shafts, which promote loft (most hybrids do). That means if you have a slow swing speed, they’ll do more with what you give the ball than would otherwise be the case.

Most golfers use hybrids to replace or augment only their longer irons. But for beginners, struggling to make the progress they want with traditional irons, the WaZaki WL-IIs might well give enough loft to transform frustration into yards of relatively crisp, clean golf.

They’re also, by comparison to a traditional set of purist-pleasing irons, a steal at their price point, and they come with a 5-year warranty.

Stand-out features include

  • Extra loft for beginners with an underpowered swing
  • Can transform iron play and promote good habits
  • Price
  • 5-year warranty

Easiest to Hit

Cleveland Golf 2018 Men's Launcher HB Iron Set (Set of 7 total clubs: Graphite, Regular, Left Hand, 4-PW)

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Our take

The prevailing wisdom for beginner golfers is to get a full set, because they deliver more for less and show you whether you’re suited to golf. Now just imagine how impressive the Cleveland Launcher HBs must be to buck that trend towards full sets.

Mm-hmm. Exactly.

Let’s talk specifics.

Hybrid construction means the HBs can use hollowed out shafts. That makes for lightness, boosts swing speed and significantly more designed-in forgiveness of mis-hits than you can get with standard heavy irons.

The HT1770 steel face is ultra-thin. That means it flexes more on impact with the ball. That gives the HB Launchers the ability to claim significantly longer distances over standard irons.

The thinness of the face also means more weight is distributed to the perimeter of the clubhead. Guess what that means? Means an extra surprise scoop of forgiveness, that’s what. You’re welcome.

And in another move absolutely calculated to make beginners fall in love with these irons, the HiBore crown (HB) is weighted low and deep. That means when you hit it, it’s predisposed to go far, to go high and to make your day instantly better.

There’s even a progressive system involved in the HB Launchers. The longer irons feel more hybrid-like, to maximize forgiveness. The shorter irons feel more…erm…iron-like, giving you a better sense of control over your play.

The Cleveland Launcher HBs earn their spot on this list by bringing extreme science and design into the development of a set of irons that you don’t need a math degree to work. The science all just helps beginners with their iron play. That’s more than enough to put them on the list of the best sets of irons for beginners.

Stand-out features include

  • HiBore crowns are low weighted for more loft
  • Shafts are hollowed out for lightness, speed and forgiveness
  • Progressive system allows the transitions between clubs to feel natural
  • Ultra-thin face adds to distance and forgiveness

Buyers Guide

If you’re buying a set of irons (or a set of clubs with irons in) as a beginner to golf, there are some things to look out for.

Forgive Me, Five Iron, For I Have Sliced

Whatever else is true about your beginner golf, the likelihood that you’ll miss-hit the ball, usually in a slice which sends the ball veering off to the side, is enormously high.

Forgiveness in clubs can help mitigate that effect. Look for clubs with larger sweet spots, with hollowed-out shafts, and with faces that spread the impact to the perimeter of the club. All of this is jargon for Things You Need In Beginner Irons. Be prepared to pay for anything that boosts your irons’ forgiveness factor.

It’s A Long Way To The Ninth Hole

Mid-hole play is mostly what you’ll use your irons for. The bit between the drive off the tee and the putt. Anything that helps get you extra distance per stroke is your friend. Heads that add loft to your shot, hybrid irons that speed up a slow swing, you name it. Distance gets you to the pin faster, with smaller, more desirable numbers.

To Thine Own Self Be True

Ultimately, you’re not buying a set of irons for ‘Beginners.’ You’re buying a set of clubs for yourself. Knowing where your early iron game is weakest will be a great help in guiding you to the right set of clubs for you. Do you have an underpowered swing? Consider the WaZaki WL-IIs. Want the extra distance right out of the gate? Try the Cleveland Launchers. Ideally, postpone buying your first serious set of irons until you’ve had some experience on the fairway, and can make a realistic assessment of which beginner irons will actually help you most.

Best Set Of Irons For Beginners FAQs

Why would you need lighter weights when you first started bodybuilding?

Golf is a set of skills that depend on the equipment you use being tuned to your level of experience and understanding. There are no shortcuts. Starting at the beginning and getting gradually better is the only way to go

Improvement. Improvement in whichever areas of your beginner iron play are lacking. Whether it’s your slow swing, your massive slice or your inability to loft the ball, the beginner irons exist to help you conquer those issues.

Conventional wisdom says that beginners should get full sets. It gives them a more rounded experience of beginner golf and lets them see if the game is for them. That said, there are excellent iron-only sets out there, like the Cleveland Launcher HBs. Ultimately, you’re not going to be able to get round a course with just irons, so you should probably start out with a full set – but upgrade your irons at the earliest financial opportunity.

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