If you’re new to golf, you may have heard the term ‘handicap’, which differs greatly to the meaning of the word outside of the game. A golf handicap is the quantitative measure of a golfer’s ability to play the game, and it is used to make the game fairer.
A golf handicap is measured in three categories: high, low, and mid. The handicap difference between players is then used to determine the number of strokes the high handicap golfer should receive in comparison to the low handicap golfer - as a low handicap is an indication of a better player.
According to USGA statistics, around 43 percent of golfers fall into the category of mid-handicap, meaning their handicap score falls between 11 and 20, and they normally shoot between 85 and 95. Mid-handicap is a good position to be: you’re a reliable and consistent player, able to hit the balls straight to the fairway, chip, put and you can achieve pars and birdies at just the right moment.
It’s important to match your irons with your handicap score because this is how you can get the most out of your game. With this in mind, mid-handicap golfers need irons that offer a combination of forgiveness and distance.
We’ve put together a list of the best irons for mid-handicap players, so you can make a quick, convenient choice with the help of our informative and in-depth buyer’s guide. That way, you can spend less time browsing, and more time on the green.
Top 5 Best Irons for a Mid Handicap
OUR TOP PICK
This M2 Iron-Set developed by TaylorMade has just the right amount of forgiveness and added flexibility, thanks to a deeper speed-pocket with a 33% thinner front wall, which heightens your launch and enables a deeper center of gravity.
The wide, six-sided fluted hosel makes these irons incredibly lightweight so you can achieve speed and power, while face slots help preserve ball speed on shots that are struck from the heel or toe.
TaylorMade is known for integrating the latest technology into their clubs, and their Geocoustic engineering utilizes a combination of geometric shaping and acoustic management to enhance sound and feel while playing.
The lighter design saves two grams of weight overall, allowing for the center of gravity to be moved even lower which boosts height and furthers distance.
- From a brand who are leading the way in golf innovation
- Just the right amount of forgiveness and flex
- The thinner front wall and lightweight design heightens your launch
- The lighter design saves two grams of weight and promotes a deeper center of gravity
- Deeper speed pocket
- A couple of customers did not receive the full set
Callaway’s Rogue irons offer the full package: combining distance, accuracy, and playability with the 360 Face Cup with Variable Face Thickness (VFT) technology to expand the portion of the face that delivers fast ball speed.
The Face Cup promotes ball speed through the shallow, flexible rim around the perimeter of the face that flexes and releases at impact. Tungsten Weighting lowers the center of gravity which promotes optimum launch and control at each loft, enabling you to swing fast and hit further.
Whereas a thin clubface can cause excessive vibration which sounds and feels unpleasant, Callaway uses elastic-urethane microspheres to provide the sound and feel of urethane but without compromising on flexibility and speed, so you get a thin clubface without the nasty vibration. Overall, the Callaway Rogue irons offer a lot of bang for your buck.
- Good value for money
- 360 Face Cup with Variable Face Thickness increases the speed of your swing
- Tungsten Weighting lowers the center of gravity which improves launch and height
- Elastic-urethane microspheres minimize vibration and improve feel
- Some mid handicappers felt these irons lacked forgiveness
The Cleveland Launcher Iron set offers the mid handicap golfer a solid combination of high projection and ionic power. Thanks to the Cup-Face Technique the Launcher increases ball velocity while this is preserved by the perimeter load in the cavity design which lowers the center of gravity.
The progressive shape through the set takes your golfing performance to the next level, as low-profile long iridescence along the topline promotes range and height, while more compact short breaks with thinner toplines enhance power and control for the best of both worlds.
The standout feature of these irons is the Feel Balancing Technology which moves weight away from the hosel and toward the impact zone for a better feel and improved distance control without compromising on power and speed.
Cleveland is known for quality and innovation, and this set of irons offer consistency and precision: with the tour zip-grooves and laser milling combining to deliver ultimate range control from wherever you stand.
- Dual V-soul ensures a combination of forgiveness, versatility, and enhanced turf interaction
- New cup-face promotes speed and distance
- Feel Balancing Technology improves feel and allows you to take consistent shots from any angle
- New Dynamic Gold DST 98 Shaft has a lightweight feel for more speed and easier launch
- Tour Zip Grooves and Double Laser Milling Combine to produce spin consistency from all lies.
- Won’t help slicers
This Callaway Apex set combines distance with playability, featuring Callaway’s first Face cup in a forged player's iron. They’ve taken their industry-leading 360 cup design and combined it with a forged apex clubhead that achieves their classic ball speed with added precision and sleekness.
These irons prioritize your scoring potential, with the progressive offset, sole widths, center of gravity height, and notch weighting providing the right balance of ball flight, forgiveness, and control for each iron.
The advanced forging of these irons results in a quality set of clubs that offer power without losing flexibility and softness. Precise quadruple net forging, careful milling, and a 1025 mild carbon steel take Callaway’s engineering to a new standard and allows the mid handicapper to achieve distance, power, and speed.
- High launch angle
- Classing 360 cup in a forged Apex design
- Generates ball speed without compromising precision
- Balances ball flight with forgiveness and control
- Soft feel from advanced forging
- Multi-piece construction
- These are quite expensive in comparison to others
These Cobra irons are well-suited to the mid-handicapper thanks to their ‘Power Shell’ clubface which achieves more distance without compromising on flex and precision. The thinner, stronger face and sole structure make this Cobra’s largest sweet spot ever, which allows you to achieve explosive power to generate faster ball speed and cover more distance.
Weight distribution is an important consideration for the mid-handicapper and these irons take this into account with Cobra’s Zone Weighting design, which removes the weight from the center of the clubhead and redistributes it around the perimeter of the face at a lower height and further back - which is optimal positioning for achieving height and distance.
The Progressive Spin Technology-V-Grooves on the 3-6 irons reduce ball spin, while the U-Grooves on the 7-PW and wedge-spaced grooves on the GW and SW optimize spin. Not only this, but the face and grooves feature 100% CNC milling to improve groove structure which in turn delivers maximum control over spin and trajectory throughout your game.
- Powershell clubface for distance and power
- Thinner, stronger face and sole structure
- Large sweet spot
- Zone weighting design
- Spin technology for ball control and precision
- An adaptable and diverse set of irons
- These irons are one length
- Can take some getting used to
Best Irons for a Mid Handicap for Beginners Buying Guide
These are the key things we think all mid handicappers should bear in mind when purchasing a new set of irons:
The materials your irons are made from, and how they are crafted, can have a big impact on your game, so it’s important to select the right type for your needs.
Forged irons are crafted out of a single piece of metal, and are usually used more by advanced or professional players, and, as a result, they come with a higher price tag, too.
These irons are meticulously engineered and usually offer less perimeter weighting or perhaps no cavity back. They tend to offer fewer game-improvement features and as a result, can usually be associated with low to mid-handicap players.
Irons made from cast iron are instead made by pouring hot metal into molds to form the iron body, and as a result, this allows engineers to integrate a range of game-improvement features such as cavity backs and wider soles into their design and enables manufacturers to experiment more with the center of gravity locations and where it is best placed.
As a result, irons made in this way are usually a little more forgiving.
As the bridge between your hands and the clubhead, the shaft plays a very important role. Most shafts are steel or graphite, and while steel is highly durable and can withstand a high swing motion, graphite is lighter and can be more forgiving for mid-handicap players.
The degree of flexibility in your shaft should also be chosen based on your playing ability. Most mid-handicap players perform best with a shaft that is regular to stiff flex.
This is the part of the golf iron that is most distinctive to a particular brand, and it is also the part of the club that brands compete with each other to develop the latest technology on.
The two main designs are a blade design, which provides extra swing and distance, and cavity backed, which are focused more on accuracy. Blade designs are best suited to the high handicap who can benefit from a little extra power in their swing, while the mid handicap player may benefit from the extra room of a cavity-backed design, which provides more space to correct shots.
How much you decide to spend on a set of irons is entirely dependent on the budget you have to spend. The materials used in the club, and the way it's been crafted, will influence the cost, as well as which level handicap it's aimed at - as a low handicap player may be willing to spend more.
A mid-handicap golfer can go for a middle price point, as they want a set of irons that are good quality and designed with game-improving elements, however, equally, they may not want to spend more on a forged set.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a respectable handicap?
The USPAG suggests that the handicap average is around 15, which is a player who typically scores around 90 on the average course - meaning they’d fall into the mid handicap range.
According to Golf Digest, the true handicap average is probably a lot higher, as not all players will have an official handicap. While the most elite players will be a low handicap, and anyone with a figure in the single-digits is certainly skilled, a mid handicap score is a perfectly respectable position to be in also.
What are game-improvement irons?
Game improvement irons are designed to add power to your swing and are a little more forgiving than forged irons, as they have certain elements built-in which are aimed at enhancing your game.
These types of irons will enable you to hit further, higher and faster, and will overall do what they say on the tin: improve your game.
Can a mid handicapper use blades?
The differences between blades and the chunkier cavity-backed clubheads are becoming increasingly smaller as golf design continues to evolve.
The ultimate priority of any golfer should be to use a type of iron that is suited to their handicap, but which above all feels natural and comfortable to play with.