Review of Irons
Every year, golf magazines and web sites come up with reviews of golf irons and by and large they do a good job. But they all review irons from major manufacturers like Nike, Callaway, Ping, Mizuno etc. There is nothing to guide the golfing public about minor brands. First most people don't even know that minor brands exist and even if they do, they have no way to read reviews, do a comparative analysis and make informed decisions. Minor brands are just as good and you get the same functionality without paying for the major promotional budgets and celebrity endorsements of major brands. At InterloperGolf where we specialize in minor brands, we face this issue daily. How to help our customers make better more informed decisions. In the absence of comparative analysis and reviews of irons, we decided to do it ourselves.
Now we were faced with the task of doing a fair evaluation. One thing that is frustrating when reading reviews in major magazines is that the clubs come pre-assembled from the manufacturers and all the testers can do is test what they receive. A key component of a golf club is the shaft and if every club has a different shaft, the testers cannot normalize their results. The same club head will perform differently with different shafts. At InterloperGolf we have the luxury of being able to assemble our clubs with whichever shaft we want. We chose the Apollo Shadow Steel Shaft. The Shadow's low Kickpoint helps produce higher trajectories for improved distance and softer landings. It is moderately priced so the results will not be skewed to favor the affluent golfer.
What club # to test? We can't possibly test them all from # 1 to 9, that would just be impractical. Most major brand test results are for the # 5 or # 6 iron so we decided to test the # 6 iron.
What about club length? Usually different manufacturers have different club lengths for the same club size. A # 5 Ping irons may have a different length than a Taylor Made. We decided to make all the same length.
Using the same shaft, same length and the same grip on all helped us achieve uniformity of flex, length and weight. We could not control the loft angle as different manufacturers have different loft sizes for their # 6. Out of a total of six variables, we neutralized five - head weight, shaft length, shaft weight, shaft flex and grip size. We also spine aligned the shafts for greater consistency of results.
What kind of shots to test? We decided on Tee Shots, Shots off the turf (fairway), fade shots, draw shots and flat shots. Every club was tested on the golf range as well as on the golf course to get a more realistic feedback. Not surprisingly, results vary. Besides it is not easy to simulate shaped shots on a range or hit a shot from the rough over water. We used three different courses during our testing. They all pose different challenges.
We based our review and comparison of Irons on how well they perform in various situations but shot dispersion and the ability to help repeat the same shot again and again were the most important ones. If your approach shots are solid, you'll land on the green. If not, you will roll off the green or fall short or even worse - land in a sand trap or lake.
We hope our review of irons helps you select the right clubs for yourself that suit your game and helps you lower your score. Good Luck!
Do read the commentary following the ranking.
At first glance, most of the irons ended up with very similar scores. That is correct - they are all good clubs. However; they are all meant for different caliber of golfers. For example, both the Acer XDS React and the Dynacraft Prophet Tour ended up with the same score but they are meant for two entirely different kind of golfers. The Dynacraft Prophet is a CNC milled blade iron which only the very good golfers can play with - generally single digit handicappers. High handicappers on the other hand find it impossible to play with blade irons and they are better off with a game improvement iron like the Acer XDS React.
Instead of buying strictly on the above ranking, see which category you fall in below and buy one of the corresponding clubs.
We hope you find our comparison and review of irons helpful. If you end up with irons that suit your game, we will consider our job done.
Contact us: If you are not sure or have questions, email us or call us and we will be glad to help. Our office hours are Mon-Fri, 9 to 5 Central Time.