How To Choose Golf Irons (A Beginners Guide)


When shopping for a set of golf irons for beginners, it is very easy to get overwhelmed. Not only are there hundreds of options to choose from, but you must decide what is best for your golf game, before you’ve even gotten started. Without having much experience in the game of golf, it is hard to make these determinations. That’s why we crafted this guide on how to choose golf irons for beginners.


Beginners can just as easily make good or bad choices when it comes to new golf irons. At this stage of your game it all comes down to how you feel when you look at the iron and how it is to play with. This guide will help you decide which irons make the most sense for your golf swing, your wallet, and your future in this game.







What Are Golf Irons Used For?

Golf irons are mostly used for approach shots to the green. You will oftentimes use irons between your tee shot and your putter. But on the shorter par 3 holes most golfers are able to hit the green with an iron. Being versatile irons are going to make up the majority of your golf club set. In the course of a round of golf, your irons will be used many times for many different kind of shots


Many will develop a favorite iron during the first months of play. I personally like the 7 iron the most. It seems like it is easy to get the golf ball airborne while it still supplies me with some distance.




The Different Types Of Golf Irons

Golf irons are made by many manufacturers in several different styles. However, the majority of golf irons can be divided into two main categories, cavity back and muscle back or so-called blades.


Cavity Back

A cavity back iron is a perimeter weighted club that is designed to help players get increased distance, launch, and forgiveness. Any time you hear about a game improvement club or a beginners club, it is likely a cavity back iron.




Muscle Back (Blades)

Muscle back irons or blades are designed for the lower handicap golfers. Instead of having this hollowed-out cavity back area on the back of the iron, the iron itself will be one solid piece with a solid back. The muscle back irons are not nearly as forgiving as a cavity back iron would be. 


The benefit of muscle backs are the added feedback on the shot when hit correctly. Of course there’s added feedback on a misshit to, and you will really feel that on this type of iron. Auch!




Forged Irons

Forged irons are a mix of the cavity back and the blade. They have a much better feel than the cavity back irons, but they won’t be as difficult to hit as a blade is. You will notice that the forged irons are also a bit thicker than the blade irons. 


A lot of manufacturers forge their irons nowadays, as opposed to the ones who cast them. Cast irons don’t have the feedback and don’t require the attention to detail that forged ones do.




What Is In A Set Of Golf Irons?

A set of irons can vary depending on the type of club and the options that the manufacturer offers. Most iron sets will include the following:


  •   4 Iron
  •   5 Iron
  •   6 Iron
  •   7 Iron
  •   8 Iron
  •   9 Iron
  •   Pitching Wedge


Some newer sets are also starting to include the approach or gap wedge as well. The approach wedge is a club that will fit between your pitching wedge and your sand wedge. For a beginner who’s totally new to these terms it means that the angle on the clubface is steep, so it will lift your golf ball high if hit correctly 🙂 It’s also a good one to get out of trouble with.




Should I Choose A Full Set To Begin With?

As a beginner, it is not necessary to purchase a complete iron set. The most important factor is to find a set of irons that fits well for your game. If you begin with just the seven iron to the pitching wedge, that is plenty to get you started.


Some of the beginner sets are sold with just a six iron, eight iron, and a pitching wedge, and that is acceptable as well. In the beginning, you will not notice enough of a difference between the lengths you hit each club. Until your distances become more consistent, more clubs will not equal lower scores.




Is It Best To Buy Used Or New Golf Irons?

Used golf clubs are completely fine for a beginner golfer. The problem with used clubs is when a beginner buys themselves a set of used muscle backs or blades. Because they are harder to play you might get discouraged too soon to be able to enjoy the awesome game of golf. 


As long as you are buying beginner type golf clubs, then it is totally acceptable to get used ones.




What Golf Shaft To Choose?

The golf shaft is likely the most important part of the club for the new golfer. If you don’t have the right golf shaft, the game is going to be much more difficult to learn. Here are some tips about which shaft a beginner golfer should be choosing for their clubs.



Steel shafts are heavier than graphite shafts. You will need to have a decent amount of swing speed and strength to hit a steel shaft properly. If you have played other sports, are in good physical condition, and are young, the steel shaft is a great choice. Steel shafts may not allow golfers to hit it as far as graphite shafts, but they can be much more accurate.



The graphite shaft is best for a slower swinging player seeking more clubhead and swing speed. Graphite shafts are very lightweight and will help you hit a golf ball quite a bit further. Unfortunately, they are not always as accurate as a steel shaft can be.





When it comes to flex in golf clubs, there are five main choices.

  • Extra Stiff
  • Stiff
  • Regular
  • Senior
  • Ladies


The seniors and ladies shafts are almost always offered in graphite only. The rest of the flex options will give you a choice between graphite and steel.


You will need to have your swing speed tested to determine which golf shaft is going to be the perfect flex for you. However, most beginner golfers will likely be fine with a regular shaft. 


Using a regular shaft means you can hit a seven iron about 140-155 yards if you’re in average physical condition. If you hit it further than this or less than this, you should adjust the shaft accordingly.



Golf irons will come standard length unless you order them custom. Generally speaking for men, if you are taller than 6’1″ and shorter than 5’5″ you should be looking into custom golf clubs. The majority of golfers inside this range will be fine with a standard length golf club.




Getting The Right Golf Grips On Your Irons

Most beginners do not know that there are many different types of grips to choose from. If your hands are small, there are undersized grips; if your hands are large, there are midsize and oversized grips. Some grips are soft, and some are tacky. A local golf shop will have several different types of grips that you can try. We’ve also written about the best golf grips so that you can choose the correct ones as easily as possible.




Summing It All Up

As you might have figured when reading this article, choosing a set of beginner irons can be an overwhelming process. Hopefully, our guide helped to clear a few things up and make you feel more confident about your decision. 


The most important thing to remember is that you want a club with a large sweet spot, plenty of flexibility, and forgiveness.


Golf is a difficult game, and making it more difficult by selecting the wrong equipment is a mistake. Beginners need to invest a bit in the future of their game by setting themselves up for success.




FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

What Are The Best Irons In Golf?

This is a very subjective matter, and probably every golfer you’ll ask will have a different opinion. 


Most likely one or two brands will grab your attention. It’s a bit like cars. And then there’s that chance of an ongoing fight like Mercedes vs BMW owners. 


If you’re interested we’ve made a separate article showcasing the best golf irons for beginners. 




What Are The Easiest Golf Irons To Hit?

This question can have several answers. One could be related to the actual irons, and in this instance the 7, 8, 9 and wedges are easier to hit than the rest. 


They are shorter, have more mass in the head and thus allows for a more stable and consistent swing. Combined with the steeper angle of the clubface they are easier to get airborne. 


On the other hand the questions could relate to what exact model is easier to hit. All brands make beginner irons, but one stands out to us, and that’s the Callaway Mavrik’s. They are packed with beginner minded features. You can read our review of it here. 




Should I Buy New Golf Irons?

It is not necessary when first starting out. As a beginner it is totally fine to buy a set of used golf irons. You won’t be able to feel the difference anyway. 


It is always nice with new gear though, and if the budget isn’t a concern you will get some benefits of buying new. 


  • The joy of being the only owner of the irons. 
  • Increased spin rates from fresh grooves in the club surface. 
  • Fresh new unworn grips. 
  • Ability to choose exactly what you want from the shop. 




Photo by Will Porada on Unsplash