With our best new game improvement irons 2021/2022 article we are continuing to roll out our iron rankings for golfer’s specific skill levels. As mentioned in our best new player’s-distance irons 2021/2022 article, we plan to track the irons that have come to market during the last year and into next year. Our belief is that since manufacturers typically do not update each iron line year on year comparing two-year blocks makes more sense. That way it provides more opportunity to rank the various irons against each other. Then around this time next year we will shift everything one year forward.
While our best new golf irons 2021/2022 article is linked with all the irons we will review during the next year we limit our category specific rankings to the top 3. With categorized reviews we have more specific requirements to align with the golfers demands. This makes ranking a little easier as we predefined points of comparison. Most golfers trend towards the top ranked products and don’t spend too much trying out the lower ranked gear. So we have decided to align our focus as such.
Like all of our new rankings, the best new game improvement irons 2021/2022 list is dynamic and evolving. The first product that makes the list may stay at the top for the next year. As more gear is reviewed or comes to market it may also get pushed down or fall from the ranking. So you will need to drop in from time to time to see what has changed. We are not a big operation like other sites. It takes us time to get together, test, drink, talk, write etc. And in the end we are golf lovers with a pet project and we are happy keeping it like that.
Game improvement irons, with their high level of forgiveness, are generally targeted at higher handicapped golfers. Club face and sweet spot size increases, transferring and increasing weighting are some ways this can be realized. We use the term “generally” since with increases in technology we now have many more gray areas. Clubs are crossing over the lines that once segmented golfer’s gear and their skill levels much more clearly. The biggest reason being that there are less and less tradeoffs required between the classes.
Helping the golfer get the ball up off the fairway is a primary requirement of the game improvement iron. This is important as higher handicappers have a higher probability of rolling a ball 50 yards up the fairway It also goes without saying that the high handicapper has more mishits than a lower handicapper. So, it is important that not only the club face it more forgiving to try to keep those mishits in the game but that they do not resonate/feel horrible when striking the ball. No beginner wants to have numb hands at the end of the round. Instead, it may be very important for a top golfer to understand and feel his mistakes. This may be critical not only to adapt his swing but in tracking ball distances for misdirected shots.
If you are just starting out or a casual golfer, looking for a set of clubs to have fun with your friends or on your next golf vacation, we hope that we can give you some ideas of irons that will help you enjoy your golfing experience.
PXG 2011 0211 Irons
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The hardest thing to do was to was to understand where the PXG 2021 0211 DC Irons belonged amongst our various ranking list categories. We ultimately settled on game improvement irons but it honestly does not feel like it does justice to how good these clubs are. Many golfers at various levels may find something they like with the club’s performance and all will love the price tag.
It is not long ago that you would never associate PXG with words like affordable, budget, economic…. But the 0211 line has completely turned everything on its head. It may not come with all of the bells and whistles that the premium 0311 line does but the 2nd generation of the 0211 DC Irons have definitely benefited greatly from a trickle-down effect in technology. Most notably inheriting a DualCOR, soft polymer filled, hollow-body designed club head.
Many golfers as of late have gone to mixing sets to give themselves a little more forgiveness in the longer irons. PXG has taken care of this right from the start with the 0211 with its progressive set design. The clubs feature both progressive offset and progressive bounce for an ideal blend of accuracy and distance across the irons set. So, while there may not be as many iterations in the 0211-line PXG has streamlined the offering to make these clubs vary appealing to a larger group of golfers.
I won’t try to blow you away with the marketing and technical details since PG can take care of that better than I can. Most notably the features and performance benefits packed into the 2021 0211 DC Irons include:
- Large Active Face Area
- DUALCOR System
- Angled Top Rail
- Worlds Thinnest Face
- Outstanding Feel/Sound
- Incredibly Forgiving
- Progressive Set Design
- Builds Confidence at Address
- Smoking Hot Looks
- Crazy Distance
- Killer Price
I have been playing the P790’s the last few seasons who also are using similar technology in the build of their club heads. I can honestly tell you that I did not lose a step-in distance when I was giving the 0211 a try. The feel and forgiveness were equally impressive and as an overall package it is hard to imagine finding a more interesting price performance ratio out there.
My trials were actually done as part of an PXG fitting. With a milestone birthday approaching, my new irons of choice were being sponsored by family and friends. With others flipping the bill I did ultimately go with the 0311’s but if anything, I was more impressed with the 0211’s in the fact that they exceeded my expectations.
It is not surprising when you take the premium line from a premium golf club manufacturer and get a great set of clubs. But when you can spend exponentially less and still walk away with a top end set of clubs it is really something that is worth giving thought and consideration.
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Srixon ZX4 irons
We are lucky that in our group of eight we cover the full handicap spectrum from low to high. Although our high handicapper has made pretty good strides this year so we might need a new recruit sooner or later. Reason being, when we start testing out gear targeted at a specific skill level, it is nice to have the voice of a golfer actually from it. In this case we headed to the range with a set of Srixon ZX4’s and promised we would listen to our game-improvement golfer a little more than usual.
At first glance looking down over the club at address it really did not strike me as a game improvement design. The thin top line actually looked more like the player-distance clubs the majority of our group is playing. When later looking into the technical specifications I noted that the ZX4 is actually only 1mm wider on the topline than the other higher performing Srixon models.
When examining the club head up close it becomes more apparent that the ZX4 has a slightly longer blade and wider sole. While it was well disguised visually the yielded forgiveness during our trials was quicky apparent. As expected, the low center of gravity and increased offset was able to get the ball well up into the air which really is a must for the high handicapper.
What was not expected was how solid the ZX4 felt during contact. Being a 2-piece hollowed head, it was incredible how stable these irons felt not to mention sounded. You also need to consider that the average swing speeds of the group would typically exceed those golfers who the ZX4 is intended. Srixon have boasted about the achievements of the A.I. in the development of the club and based on the feel we can’t argue. We won’t spend too much time though trying to figure it out since you can find a Srixon tech spec for it that will do a much better job than we can.
If I turn my attention to our high handicappers’ feelings, he did not want to give them back… but…
Here is where my trouble’s lie…. When I told him if he passed me USD 1100-1300 (prices vary depending on shafts and number of clubs in the set) for them, he could keep them he quickly handed them over. So, what we have here is a GREAT set of game improvement clubs that are priced very closely to clubs ready for more advanced golfers. So, the question you need to answer is how long do you expect to be a game-improvement golfer?
If you are a weekend golfer that picks up the clubs occasionally with your friends but still are looking for a quality constructed set of irons, they are perfect. If you are investing more significant time and effort into your game, you may find that you will be ready for the next step in iron design sooner than wanting to invest this kind of money. But before you make up your mind there is one other twist to this point of view.
We so far have not found another iron manufacturer that has a line of irons which such a consistent progression from their game improvement irons to their players distance irons and then the last step to their players irons. In this case from the ZX4 to ZX5 to ZX7. Meaning there are consistent increases and decreases in the physical properties of the clubs such as lie, loft, offset etc between the range. If you are sold on the Srixon brand and sticking with it then this familiarity and consistency could be very helpful to your game.
So, to make it very short and sweet. If you have the money and you are in the market for game improvement irons you would have a hard time finding better.
- MAINFRAME A milled pattern on the backside of ZX4’s face maximizes COR for more ball speed and more distance on every shot.
- HOLLOW DESIGN ZX4’s hollow design gives you enough forgiveness to strike the ball across the face while still enjoying high shots that fly straight and find their targets.
- MULTI-PIECE CONSTRUCTION Tungsten in the base of ZX4’s long and mid irons (4i-7i) lowers its center of gravity for a higher launch. A forged HT1770 Steel face enhances speed and distance while a 431 Steel body absorbs vibrations for softer feel
- TOUR V.T. SOLE V-shaped soles glide smoothly through turf, even if you strike slightly behind the ball. ZX4 Irons also feature the resurgence of our popular sole notches
- PROGRESSIVE GROOVES Grooves in the 8i through PW are sharper, narrower, and deeper for more spin and stopping power on approach shots into the green.
- Sport type: golf
Cleveland Golf Launcher XL Halo Irons
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With winter taking its grip, we have had a little more time to try out some gear as well as catch up with some of reviews we did not get a chance to get on paper. I was just going through my testing notes with Cleveland’sLauncher XL Halo Irons and remembering just how surprised I was.
Generally, I am not the best person in our group to be testing anything along the lines of a hybrid. I for sure have a bias towards a thin topline and back and would be using blades if I was a little more consistent striking the long irons. So even if the Launcher XL Halo may not be strictly defined as hybrids, they for sure are much more so than the irons I am normally playing.
I cleared my head and grabbed a 7-iron (my usual first swing club) and right from the first strike I found myself hitting solid contacts. Watching with surprise ball after ball showed solid distance, launch and dispersion. I actually might have had better results than right off the bat with my clubs since it usually takes me a few swings to get dialed in. When I looked at the impact data it was not that I was hitting pure center contacts, it was just handling my inefficiencies better.
I think this is this is the point/strength of these clubs. They are extremely playable for whoever puts them in their hands. For myself they handled my loosening up with little concentration. For a higher handicap player, they offer maximum forgiveness for a golfer still working on their swing. They also would make a great option for a casual golfer looking for a set of clubs to head to the course with for a fun round with friends.
Understanding the challenges of higher handicap players generally have with longer irons Cleveland have introduced Gliderail in the longer Irons. Increasing the iron numbers gradually transitions to a V-Shaped soles. A 3rd sole type,a 3-Tiered Sole, is used for the Dual and Sand Wedges. Everything about these clubs it geared towards making a easy to use golf club that still performs.
There are some other nice features like the 8-gram weight in the butt end of each grip. This counterbalancing feature will help a golfer achieve a smoother swing and square the club at impact. The low center of gravity also makes these clubs get the ball up in the air quickly which is another typical challenge for the higher handicap players.
In the end I believe the majority of the golfers who would be looking to play Launcher XL Halo Irons are less inclined to worry about the how and why’s of technology and are more interested in enjoying the round of golf. And these clubs will allow you to do exactly that.
The very large club face will add confidence for the aim and swing golfer. They are not for a golfer who is looking to shape shots and navigate ball flight and spin. But as a point-to-point golf club that can still power it down the fairway, the Launcher XL Halo Irons check all the boxes.
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