Whether you want to work on improving or just play for fun, choosing the best golf irons for beginners is important when you are just getting started.
Golf clubs, especially irons, come in a huge variety of makes and models all designed for a specific type of golfer and a specific skill level. As a beginner, you definitely should not be playing the same clubs as the pros you see on TV. You need to work up to that.
So our top pick for beginners is the Callaway Strata Ultimate Set. It comes with everything you need to get started right away without having to worry about choosing specific clubs. It even includes a bag and a putter.
If you want to learn more and see some other options, keep reading…
Best Overall | Callaway Strata Ultimate
As a beginner, you are still figuring out the sport of golf and how to play. So it’s a good idea to start with a beginner’s set that will give you everything you need without breaking the bank. The Callaway Strata Ultimate set is an ideal blend of affordability and features that make it perfect for beginners.
If you want a more in-depth review of the different Strata set CLICK HERE for our Callaway Strata Review.
We put this set at the top of the list because as a beginner, you may not want to spend a lot of money getting separate irons, woods, a putter, and wedges. You want to give golf a try and make sure you like it before you invest that kind of money, right?
But, if you already know you’re in it for the long term and want to get a set of irons that will last a long time, then feel free to skip ahead to our other picks below or check out this breakdown of the best irons overall.
There are some downsides to getting a starter set like the Callaway Strata Ultimate.
First, you may not like the woods and hybrid clubs that come with the set (or even the bag for that matter).
Second, these clubs are designed for beginners. You can get a lot higher quality irons when you upgrade to the iron-only sets listed below. That means that you aren’t getting top-of-the-line technology and performance out of these clubs. It also means that they can wear out sooner than more expensive sets.
- Has everything you need to get started
- Decent forgiveness
- Less durable than more expensive iron sets
- You want to upgrade as you improve
You can always start with a set like this (that’s why they call it a starter set) and upgrade the different pieces one at a time. That’s what I did as a young player and it can be an affordable way to work up to the better options out there.
If that’s your plan, don’t forget to check out our guide on the Best Drivers For Beginners.
Runner-Up | Cleveland Launcher HB Irons
Our runner-up choice is only second because I think beginners should start with a starter set. But as we get into the dedicated iron sets, the Cleveland Launcher HB Irons are the ideal choice for beginners. Cleveland has made these irons a hybrid style club throughout the set, making them very forgiving and easy to hit, even for beginners.
Cleveland says that these are, “forgiving, easiest iron sets to hit in golf.” That sounds pretty good for beginners. The fact is, they are extremely easy to hit and very forgiving.
Cleveland has been focusing on the game improvement side of things for many years and these irons are a great result from that focus. While Cleveland doesn’t call the long irons in the set “hybrids,” they actually are.
This set transitions progressively from a very forgiving hybrid style in the long irons to a design more focused on control in the short irons. This is the best thing about these clubs. There is not really an abrupt change from hybrid to iron. I suspect that this will be a popular design for many other manufacturers in the future.
When you are just getting started, you want to make the game as easy as possible. That’s what these irons do best.
Best Budget Option For Beginners | Pinemeadow Pre 16-Piece Set
If you’re a beginner or know a beginner that likes golf but isn’t quite sure if they are ready to go all-in on the sport, then you’ll want to check out a set of irons that don’t cost a lot and let you give golf a try. The Pinemeadow Pre 16-Piece Set is exactly what you are looking for.
It doesn’t have all the tech and bells and whistles that the expensive dedicated iron sets have, but it is a decent set of clubs at a very reasonable price.
This Pinemeadow set has everything a beginner needs to get started.
The 16-piece set comes with a 10.5-degree driver, 15-degree 3 wood, 21-degree hybrid, 4 through 9 irons, and a pitching wedge as well as a putter and a stand bag. So you can pick this set up and head right out to the course (although you may want to practice a little bit first).
Since this article is supposed to be about irons for beginners, let’s talk about the irons. The set comes with a 21-degree hybrid, which is equivalent to a 3 iron. Then the 4 iron through pitching wedge clubs are regular irons.
I will say that some of the other sets on this list include more hybrids across the set which is probably a better set makeup for beginners. However, this set is more about getting what you need on a budget.
The irons are cavity back irons which are more forgiving, so you will get some benefit there. The shorter irons are less of a concern because you don’t need the forgiveness there as much.
Best For Beginners With Slow Swing Speeds | Cobra F-Max Superlite Combo Irons
The Cobra F-Max Superlite Combo Irons are all about cutting weight, and they do this well. The lighter weight in both the iron head and the shaft is a perfect solution for golfers with slower swing speeds. With less weight, you can swing faster and hit the ball farther.
These irons also feature some good game improvement technology and forgiveness in addition to the lighter weight.
They used the weight savings to redistribute the weight to the heel and toe which helps keep off-center hits traveling straighter and further.
These irons also feature a progressive offset which means that as you get into the longer irons they are a more offset. Seeing as beginners tend to slice the long irons more than the short irons, this is a useful feature.
Since this is a combo set, the 4-iron and 5-iron are replaced with hybrids. As a beginner, this is an option that you should take advantage of. There are even a good number of pros that have replaced their longest irons with hybrids so beginners should definitely use a combo set like this one if possible.
Best For Beginners That Want To Improve | Callaway Big Bertha Combo Irons
There are two kinds of beginner golfers. Those that want to just have fun playing the sport and those that are ready to put in the time to practice and improve their skills. If you are in the second category, then the Callaway Big Bertha Combo Irons will be a great choice for you.
The Big Bertha Combo Irons are very high quality (but expensive clubs) that also have all the game improvement technology that a beginner could want.
They are a great option for players that are actively working on improving their game. They offer very good forgiveness, but also a great feel and very high quality.
|7 iron/PW Loft||Stock|
|Callaway Strata Ultimate||34°/46°||Best For Beginners|
|Cleveland Launcher HB Irons||30°/44°||True Temper DG 98, |
Miyazaki C Kua (graphite)
|Pinemeadow Pre 16-Piece Set||(not published)||Premium Steel||Best Budget Option|
|Cobra F-Max Superlite Combo||31.5°/45°||KBS TT Superlite, |
Cobra Superlite 55 (graphite)
|Best For Slow Swing Speeds|
|Callaway Big Bertha Combo||30°/43°||Recoil ESX, Recoil ZT9, |
KBS Max 90
|Best For Beginners Trying To Improve|
What Beginners Should Look For In A Driver
As a player that is starting to improve your swing and get some good results, this is a great time to think about upgrading your clubs, especially if you have been playing with clubs designed for players of a lesser skill level.
Forgiveness should be the primary factor when choosing an iron set as a beginner.
Put simply, forgiveness in a golf club means that even shots that aren’t hit that well will still give you decent results.
Better players use clubs that give them precise control over the ball, allowing them to curve it left and right at will. That may seem good, but clubs that give you precise control also need to be hit perfectly on the center of the clubface, or else the ball will lose a lot of distance and curve off-target.
Beginner clubs, sometimes called super game improvement clubs are the opposite. They use golf club technology and design to give you consistent results even on off-center hits. The result is that more of your shots go straight and far. This may seem boring compared to the curved shots the pros hit, but as a beginner, boring straight shots are exactly what you want.
Once you improve, you can look to upgrade your irons and get a little more control over your shots.
Club Head Design
Beginner irons are generally going to look a little bigger and chunkier than the irons you may see the pros using.
That extra size behind the clubface helps to lower the center of gravity of the club. This means that more weight gets under the ball even on mis-hits and gets it airborne and headed in the right direction.
This goes along with the forgiveness of the club. But a lot of beginners may avoid these “chunky” clubs because of what they see others using.
Don’t avoid them. Clubs like this, like hybrids, are your friend as a beginner.
The last thing to consider as a beginner is the affordability of the clubs. This is why we included a few low-cost options on the list above.
When you are just starting to learn the game, don’t spend all your money on clubs (unless money isn’t a restriction for you).
You’ll do better using your budget for more practice, more rounds on the course, and lessons from a professional.
That being said, the more expensive clubs are going to give you better results, and you can usually get a good price for them by reselling them as used when it is time for you to upgrade.
This is less about which clubs you choose and more about the options you select for those clubs.
As a beginner, you may not even know your swing speed. If you are an athlete then you may have a fast swing speed but you probably lack the control you need to be a good ball striker.
If you aren’t sure, then stick with a regular flex shaft. Learn to hit the clubs well with that shaft before you move on to a stiff shaft. Choosing a shaft that is too stiff will just prevent you from hitting the ball as far as you should be hitting it.
Should I Buy Irons Online?
Buying online is a great way to get the best prices on a set of irons. I recommend buying from a store that has a favorable return policy in the event that the clubs turn out not to be right for you. One of the best places you can get clubs from is The Golf Warehouse because of their Mulligan 30-day Club Playability Guarantee.
There are two things you want to be aware of though. First, forged irons are able to have their lie angle adjusted so you can take care of that after you get them and decide you want to keep them. Second, be sure the place you buy them has a decent return policy in case you hate them.
You can also rent different types of clubs before you buy, just to be certain.
Do Beginners Need Special Clubs?
Beginners do not necessarily need “special” clubs, but as described above, beginners should look for clubs that are very forgiving. As you learn the game, you aren’t going to hit the center of the clubface on every shot (or most shots for that matter). So you will need clubs that still result in a decent result even on mis-hit shots. This will help you enjoy the game more and develop your skills as a golfer.
Should I Use Hybrid Irons As A Beginner?
Yes, hybrids will give you a huge benefit as a beginner. They are specifically designed to help you get the ball flying high and far even on imperfect hits. As a beginner, it is especially important to use hybrids in place of your long irons (5-iron, 4-iron, and 3-iron). Those are the most difficult to hit well.