This is a review of the best irons for 10 handicap golfers in 2022.
When you’ve reached a certain point in golf, you’ll start to look for golf clubs that provide less forgiveness but other features like feel, feedback, turf interaction, and maximized distance.
When I reached a 10 handicap 7-years ago, I knew it was time to say goodbye to my super game improvement irons. Though they’re easy to hit with, they lacked in feel. And as someone who doesn’t miss the center of the face that much, I knew I was better off using a club that gave me more distance from well-struck golf shots.
That’s where player distance irons come into the equation with the best iron for a 10 handicap to be the TaylorMade P790 Irons. These irons are the perfect mix of some game improvement features and the feel provided by blade/ muscle back irons. The feel of a golf club will allow you to have a better idea of where you made contact with the ball and where the club head is throughout your swing, a key component to helping you improve into a lower handicap.
We’ll cover more on what makes a good golf club for a 10 handicap golfer later. Let’s first introduce our top 7 picks for the best irons for a modern 10 handicap golfer.
Our Top 7 Picks
- TaylorMade P790 Irons (Winner: The Best Iron for a 10 Handicap)
- Callaway Apex 21 Irons (Runner-Up: Most Fine-Tuned Set For Each Club)
- Titleist T200 2021 Irons (Runner-Up 2: Best Quality Player Distance Irons)
- PING i500 Irons (Best Compact Player Distance Iron)
- Titleist T300 2021 Irons (Best Game Improvement Iron for a 10 Handicap)
- Callaway Mavrik 2020 Irons (A Great Game Improvement Option for 10 Handicappers)
- TaylorMade SiM MAX Irons (Best Irons for Beginners and High Handicappers)
7 Best Irons for 10 Handicap Golfers
In this review, four-player distance irons made our top list while three-game improvement irons joined the final three.
Best Player Distance Irons for a 10 Handicap
Player distance irons tend to be the go-to irons for anyone with a low to mid handicap (5 to 15). They’re the closest to providing that workability and feedback of a blade while offering some game improvement features for a bit of forgiveness.
For a 10 handicapper, we recommend getting player distance irons as they often last you the longest even when you’ve reached a lower handicap. They also provide the best opportunity for improvement for most mid handicap golfers. These irons tend to be thinner and smaller than game improvement irons, which is what most skilled golfers would prefer.
The irons that made this list is are the TaylorMade P790, the Callaway Apex 21, the 2021 Titleist T200, and the PING i500.
1. TaylorMade P790 (Winner: The Best Iron for a 10 Handicap)
- Forged feel and performance
- Extra 5 to 10 yards when transitioning from game improvement irons (according to some)
- High forgiveness while offering great performance for mid handicappers
- Looks amazing with a nice thin topline and premium design
- Easy to hit down on the ball and launch the ball from low positioned tungsten weighting
- Highly spec’ed with all of TaylorMade’s best technology
- Priced at the higher end of the market
The P790 series by TaylorMade started in 2017 and its success led TaylorMade to confidently continue the P790 by launching two newer versions in 2019 and 2021.
What’s loved about these clubs is their incredible look and forged feel. Out of the box, you’ll notice right away how premium and clean TaylorMade managed to pull off with these irons. By reducing the topline and face thickness for the 2019 version, while keeping everything else relatively the same, the P790 feels balanced and extremely workable.
Performance-wise, the technology and forgiveness in these clubs make it easy to hit the ball extremely far. According to some golfers, you can see a jump by 5 to 10 yards compared to your previous game improvement irons. This can be attributed to TaylorMade’s 7% thinner face (on the 2019 and 2021 versions) and their patented Injected urethane Speed Foam which allows more COR (a.k.a. energy transferred to the golf ball) to be applied to the golf ball, carrying it farther.
Center of gravity with the P790 is excellent thanks to the tungsten weighting positioned at the lower back of the club making it easier to hit down on the ball, creating a natural divot and good ball flight.
Finally, if you struggle with hitting the ball thin, TaylorMade claims that its ‘flexible’ Speed Pocket Technology will enhance ball speed while providing more forgiveness from thinned golf shots, allowing shots off the lower areas of the face to still launch relatively well.
If you’re looking to get the P790 we suggest the 2019 version as it’s much more advanced than the 2017 one and not far off the newer 2021. The 2021 version is good too, but if you’re on a budget, go for the 2019 ones.
2. Callaway Apex 21 (Runner-Up: Most Fine-Tuned Set For Each Club)
- Designed by Artificial Intelligence
- A.I. designed details that are unique to each iron in this set
- Low CG from tungsten eight
- High COR
- Generates high ball speed with mid and long irons
- Has an excellent women’s version
- Also priced on the more expensive end
- Not the most forgiving, but high workability
Callaway Apex 21 is the best player distance irons offered by Callaway as of today. This series of irons come in two versions — the standard Apex 21, which we are covering here, and the Apex DCB 21, which is a more forgiving option offered to better high handicappers and newer mid handicappers (those with a handicap of roughly 18 to 20).
The Apex 21 has a smaller club head, thinner top line, and less offset which is usually what most with a 10 handicap are looking for.
When we think of Callaway nowadays, we think of artificial intelligence. Unlike the forged clubs on this list, the Callaway Apex 21 is the first set of forged irons designed by A.I. We see this in the club’s A.I. Flash Face Cup Technology, where A.I. has been used to design a complex club head unique to each iron in the set. This gives each long iron the distance and forgiveness, mid irons the accuracy and distance, and shorter irons the precision and accuracy.
Up to 50 grams of tungsten was also fitted into the mid and long irons, giving the irons a good low center of gravity for easier launching ability.
Finally, Callaway can’t lose to TaylorMade and Titleist when it comes to a forged feel. The head is made with 1025 mild carbon steel and like the P790 has urethane microspheres in the head that absorbs off-center mishits to make these shots more forgiving.
3. Titleist T200 2021 (Runner-Up 2: Best Quality Player Distance Irons)
- Gold medal on the Golf Digest 2021 Hot List in the player distance category
- Much better than the 2019 T200
- Good forgiveness but shines most when you hit the sweet spot
- Very high-quality build
- Like the 2019 T200, hits extremely far
- High COR
- Also priced at the premium end of the market
- Some may not like the bulge on the back of the club head as it makes it look like a Senior’s club
When golfers hear ‘Titleist’, we tend to think of clubs catered to more professional golfers, but that’s not always the case. Titleist has been making amazing irons for many mid-handicap golfers and the 2021 T200 iron set is a great choice for a 10 handicapper.
In fact, the 2021 T200 earned a gold medal on the Golf Digest 2021 Hot List in the players’ distance category.
When you look down at the club, you’ll notice that the 2021 T200 is thinner and smaller than its predecessors. Even though you’d think it looks quite bulky from the photos, it really isn’t.
The quality of the forged face makes it a very high feedback iron. It was significantly easy to locate where you hit the ball through impact, something Titleist always nails at.
Like P790, Titleist also applied quite a lot of tungsten to making this club head, more than 40% of to be exact. And it’s D18 tungsten, which has been heated under 2000 degrees Fahrenheit to make it extremely solid and well forged. This gives the club a great balance throughout the golf swing. And just like the P790, you can definitely feel the club head throughout your swing.
This tungsten weighting also provides a unique center of gravity for each club in the set, making it easy to launch the golf ball.
Finally, the standout of the T200 is its Multi-Material Construction, which is broken down into two components.
First is the slim L-Face insert located around the sole of the club head, which acts to increase the COR (energy transfer) to the golf ball and gives it a more solid feel.
Second is their Max Impact Technology that consists of an enhanced polymer core located behind the face which ultimately allocates the mass at the center of the club face, promoting more ball speed when you find the sweet spot.
4. PING i500 (Best Compact Player Distance Iron)
- Clean and looks amazing
- Hits far due to the C300 steel material
- Best for those who want a very classic looking club with modern performance
- Nice perimeter wieghitng
- If you were using the G400 or G425, this is a great set to transition into
- Not quite expensive too
- Not the most forgiving club on this list
PING wasn’t always known for its irons, but when the iBlade, i500, and G400 were released, we had to take a look to see how well PING had made the i500 for low mid handicappers.
When we talk about performance and forgiveness, the i500 is the bridge between the PING iBlade irons (PING’s newer blade irons) and the G400 irons (PING’s game improvement irons for high handicappers and beginners).
This iron looks like a muscle back but it’s actually hollow and has a hinged cavity which allows PING to effectively forge these iron from C300 maraging steel. This steel is extremely strong but also flexible, and is what gives the i500 incredible power as the club can flex two-thirds of its own thickness on impact. In physics, more mass means more force (given the club acceleration is the same) and therefore more COR.
Sound-wise, the i500 surprisingly doesn’t have a hollow sound but is actually rather loud and explosive. Contact at the sweet spot is noticeable as it’s particularly louder in a satisfying way.
Best Game Improvement Irons for a 10 Handicap Golfer
We’ve just reviewed four of the best player distance irons for a 10 handicap golfer.
Of course, not every 10 handicapper is looking for a player distance irons, some may prefer a more forgiving option yet don’t sacrifice performance due to too much forgiveness as we see in super game improvement irons. This is where we dive into the game improvement irons category.
How we chose these irons is by comparing them to how close they resemble player distance irons while still having game improvement features at their core. These irons are the Titleist T300 2021, Callaway Mavrik from 2020, and the TaylorMade SiM MAX from 2020.
5. Titleist T300 2021 (Best Game Improvement Iron for a 10 Handicap)
- High-quality build
- Long hitter
- Max Impact and Variable Face Technology for forgiveness and ball speed
- More than 40% D18 tungsten is used to forge these clubs, giving you that great feel, balance, and feedback.
- Game Improvement Iron but feels like a Player Distance Iron
- Unlike the P790, these clubs are quite thick
- Like the P790, these clubs are not cheap but will last you for a long time
When the T300 was released, we compared it to the T200 and the T400 Super GI and found it to be the ‘in-between’ in terms of forgiveness and feel. Distance-wise, all three hit extremely far and are relatively the same.
To see how Titleist made such an amazing set of game improvement irons for a 10 handicap, we need to look into the details Titleist invested in designing these golf clubs.
Similar to the 2021 T200, the T300 has the same tungsten features we mentioned earlier, making it one of the best feedback providing game improvement forged irons in the market right now.
Titleist’s Max Impact Technology is the engine of the club. Allowing for high COR which leads to better feedback and ball speed, punching the ball far into the air.
Finally, if you struggle with hitting the heel of the club, the Variable Face Technology of the T300 will provide better performance off the heel than most clubs will in this list.
If you liked the T200 on this list but felt like you preferred a similar club with more forgiveness, you should really consider the T300.
6. 2022 Callaway Mavrik Irons (A Great Game Improvement Option for 10 Handicappers)
- Amazing feel for a cavity-back iron
- A great cavity-back for those with a 10 handicap that want a more forgiving set of irons
- Built with A.I. that makes every club in the set unique
- Available in a wide range of shaft options
- More affordable than the irons in this list
- Won’t be suited for most 10 handicap golfers
- If you’re looking for high feedback and less forgiveness, this club ain’t for you
The 2022 Callaway Mavrik golf clubs were the best set of irons offered by Callaway for a long time.
The Mavrik comes in three versions, the Mavrik Max (more for beginners), the Mavrik, and the Mavrik PRO (also a good option for mid-handicappers).
Everything about these clubs screams performance and forgiveness. The 360 Face Cup Technology improves distance and forgiveness by smartly positioning the face and the weight distribution of the club head to deliver more power. The Mavrik irons are also fitted with Callaway’s famous Flash Face technology that is also used in the Epic Flash driver and woods. These features all help in maximizing the COR, club head speed, and forgiveness of the club.
Not to mention, they’re iconic for being the first set of irons ever manufactured by A.I. And similar to the Apex 21, each iron in the set is uniquely designed to provide an optimal feel. For instance, they’ve shifted the tungsten energy core differently for each club, making each club forgiving and easy to launch.
For most with a 10 handicap, this is probably not the club you’re looking for as a lack of forgiveness isn’t the biggest issue for you. But if you’ve been a Callaway fan and have been using the XR model or prior, you should consider transitioning to the Mavrik if you’re looking for a more forgiving game-improvement iron that fits a mid-handicapper.
- High forgiveness
- Thinner face than most game improvement irons
- Decent feedback given that it’s a cavity back
- Doesn’t shy away from distance
- Not the newest model
- Big face and thick topline, which some with a 10 handicap won’t want
If you’ve been golfing for the past year, you’ve heard of the SiM MAX series by TaylorMade.
With that said, the SiM MAX Irons are an excellent set of game improvement irons if you’re on a tighter budget and prefer clubs with a lot of forgiveness.
The SiM MAX comes with TaylorMade’s Thru-Slot Speed Pocket, Echo Damping System, and Progressive Inverted Cone Technology. In short, this iron is extremely forgiving and easy to launch with. Your swing speed wouldn’t be that much slower than the irons on this and the sweet spot is much larger. Mis-hits off the center are going to be much more forgiving due to its high MOI design.
You may also be wondering why we don’t have the SiM 2 MAX instead on the 7th spot. In our opinion, the SiM 2 MAX iron is not that different from the SiM MAX, so of course, we’d recommend the more affordable option given it’s released in 2020 instead of 2021.
Keep in mind that the SiM MAX is more suited for high handicappers and for some beginners, but that doesn’t mean all 10 handicappers can’t make good use of it. That said if you’re an older golfer who just wants to maintain a 10 handicap, this set of clubs might just be what you need.
The Ultimate Buying Guide When Looking For Best Irons for 10 Handicap
With so many great irons for you to consider, it’s important to narrow your options down to find the best set of irons for you.
So far we’ve only recommended the player distance and game improvement irons because they meet the criteria that best fit someone with a 7 to 15 handicap. But, you should take it upon yourself to determine which irons suit you best.
Iron Style: Muscle Back vs Cavity Back Irons
Cavity back irons are the most common irons produced by golf manufacturers and they occupy most of the super game improvement, game improvement, and player distance irons categories.
Cavity back irons have a cavity/ gap at the back of the club head. This is done to distribute weight more equally throughout the club face (specifically at the edges) instead of just dead center, a process known as perimeter weighting. As a result, golf manufacturers were able to significantly increase the forgiveness of modern golf clubs by allowing off-center golf shots to still launch relatively well while preventing too much club twisting from shots off the heel or toe. This reduces the severity of the dread slices or hooks.
That said, every iron in this list are cavity back irons in some shape or form, player distance irons are different from game improvements in that the mass is not as distributed from the center, while the club head is smaller and thinner for better acceleration and overall club feedback. All in all, these features allow for more workability and ball speed.
As for muscle back irons, they’re often referred to as blades and are the slickest yet challenging clubs used more by professional golfers and low handicappers. Without diving too deep into what muscle backs are, just know that they offer little to no forgiveness given that most of the weight of the club is at the center of the face. As a result, shots off-center will lead to terrible golf shots.
Why lower handicappers prefer muscle backs is because they provide the best feel, feedback, workability, and maximum distance (if hit centered).
That said, as someone with a 10 handicap, these clubs will most likely do more harm than good for your game.
Iron shafts come in two materials — graphite and steel. For most golfers, steel is the preferred option as it’s heavier and feels more solid, which makes it easier for golfers to not only hit down on the ball easier with the additional weight but also helps to provide feedback during the golf swing and on impact.
Graphite shafts are more suited for golfers with a slower swing speed and those looking for more forgiveness. The softness and lightness of the shaft are usually preferred for beginner and senior golfers.
So which is better?
For mid handicappers, it’s safe to say the steel shafts are the best options. The feedback they provide alone is what will really open the path for you to make your way to become a lower handicapper as you’ll be able to gradually tweak your golf swing to become more consistent.
Of course, this is just our recommendation. Choosing the right shaft really depends on your preference towards your iron’s club head. Is it too light or too heavy, or does it provide too little feedback or you’d prefer more forgiveness and less feedback? That will all be answered next.
Pick the Right Club Head
Ultimately, whatever feature you have on your shaft goes off of your impressions of your club head and your golf swing.
The weight of the club head and build plays a big role in determining what shaft you go for unless you decide to buy a new set of irons altogether. For instance, if your club head is too heavy, but you’re not looking for a new set of clubs, then consider swapping to a lighter shaft to reduce the overall weight of your club.
That said, when buying an iron set for a 10 handicap golfer, you’ll want a golf club that provides the forgiveness from game improvement irons with the feel, workability, and turf interaction of the blades.
Forgiveness comes from features such as the amount of offset, how the mass is distributed on the club head, how thin the face is, and so on. Overall, as someone with a 10 handicap, you probably still hit a few off-centered shots each time your head to the course. Therefore, you’re not ready for a club that demands amazing ball striking (i.e. blades). On the contrary, you’d also want to avoid clubs with too much forgiveness as it reduces shot your shaping abilities, feedback, and overall ball distance. That’s why, settling for a club that provides the best of both worlds is ideal, which is what every club on this list has in its own way.
Feel and workability is ultimately what you should start looking for in your next set of golf clubs. Like we mentioned, a 10 handicap golfer probably doesn’t have the most consistent ball-striking ability yet, but hitting the ball relatively centered in most shots shouldn’t be a challenge for you either. As a result, to help improve and ultimately provide you with a good sense of the golf shots you want to create, look for clubs that provide a great feel. Player distance irons are second in terms of providing a good amount of feel to the golfer (first being the blades). Feel allows you to start shaping your shots as well as letting you know where you made contact with the ball and the turf. Eventually, this will help you hit a better second shot.
Most 10 handicap golfers we’ve met don’t like it when there’s too much offset with their golf clubs as it’s seen as a feature used more on super game improvement and game improvement irons. That said, as a 10 handicap, you may still want a slight offset to your irons to allow for more forgiveness to give you a slight aid in launching the golf ball.
Generally speaking, the more offset there is on a golf club, the farther the club head’s center of gravity is from the shaft. In layman’s terms, the farther the CG is from the shaft, the higher the ball will fly, or at least the easier it is to launch the golf ball.
As someone with a 10 handicap, you’re still going to find yourself in tricky lies in every golf course you play in. And let’s say you get stuck behind a steep bunker 100-so yards from the green. In this case, an offset club will be much better to get you out of such situations than a non-offset club.
Some golfers specifically look to see if their wedges have a leading edge. What the leading edge does is to help blade or skulk the golf ball more easily, allowing golfers to lob and flop the golf ball more easily. Most player distance iron wedges will provide a good enough leading-edge, but if you’re quite particular about this, consider buying a separate set of wedges altogether.
If you’ve just reached a 10 handicap, we really recommend you to swap to a set of player distance irons. Sure, you can try and get a low handicap with your current irons, but utilizing modern irons that optimize distance and feel will help you learn more efficiently and get you to a low handicap much quicker.
That said, there are many player distance irons and some game improvement irons that can fit a 10 handicap golfer. Overall, we still recommend Taylormade’s P790 as it offers everything any 10 handicap golfer needs in a good quality golf club.
We hope that helps, if you’re looking to swap out your set completely, consider checking out our pick on the best golf drivers of all time for some tips on picking your next driver. If you’re looking to step up your game in other ways, check out our post on the best golf exercises or even change your putting style to bring your game to the next level!
Good luck and may the course be with you!