Best Players’ Distance Irons
A golf player can be defined as someone who plays the game of golf, or in the case of someone using players’ irons, a person who is skilled at the game. We will look at 11 of the best players irons available on the market today. These are for players with more skill and control.
What are the players’ distance irons?
Although most skilled golfers do not have a problem with distance off the tee, everyone wants some extra carry distance no matter what club they have in hand.
A players’ distance iron provides consistency of distance for the ultimate in distance control and workability required by better golfers without sacrificing length. Forgiveness is not the major selling point that a manufacturer sells on their players’ irons.
Forgiveness and feel are two opposite poles in golf. The more feel a club provides, the lower the forgiveness and vice versa. If forgiveness of a club is most important to you, players’ irons are not what you should put in your bag.
Players clubs initially consisted of muscle-back irons and blades. The advancements in technology-enabled manufacturers offer a wider range of players irons at different levels of feel and forgiveness.
When you enter into the realm of players’ clubs you generally strike the center of the clubface more frequently than not. The smaller sweet spot provides you with sufficient ball speed but off-center strikes will leave you well short of your target and sting your hands for trying to play above your level.
At the player level, shot-making and shot-shaping are more important than forgiveness. Even at this level you still want to get as much distance as possible. The more distance you get, the shorter and more accurate the club you will play on your next shot.
Experienced players want a good-looking blade-like club with a thin top line and a smaller head. This provides more feel of the small sweet spot. It is not advisable to change to players’ irons if you are uncertain that you can play the shot required, whether it is a draw, fade, high, or low, on-demand.
At the player level, you will most likely be able to shoot at a specific point on the green rather than just accepting that you hit the center of the green in regulation.
Players irons aren’t just for golfers with a fast swing speed. Swing speed only affects the shaft in use, not the type of clubhead that you play with. You may be able to work the golf ball and place it precisely with a slow swing speed.
Some of the best players’ distance irons released for 2021 are set out below. Some manufacturers have released their new clubs for the next season which will be reviewed at a later stage to offer all brands the same opportunity to release the latest technology.
Quick Overview: Our Top Picks for 9 Golf Bag Rain Covers
|Cobra King Forged TEC||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|TaylorMade P770||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Callaway Apex 21||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Mizuno JPX921 Hot Metal Pro||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Honma TR21X||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Mizuno JPX921 Forged||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Ping I500||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Srixon ZX5||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Titleist T200||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
1. Cobra King Forged TEC
Cobra King Forged TEC One is a hollow body construction that provides more distance and forgiveness. A players’ iron with ample forgiveness all in one club.
A compact head with a thin top line is one of the traditional features of players’ irons that remains steadfast in the Cobra forged irons. Foam microspheres are infused into the hollow body construction to create a soft feel off the clubface.
For increased distance and face flex, Cobra made the face of the Forged TEC irons ultra-thin allowing golfers to have more control over the shaping of shots.
The Center of gravity is lined up to the center of the face through the use of toe-biased tungsten weights. This adds distance and produces a higher ball flight.
A great combination of distance, feel, and workability makes the Cobra Forged Tec one of the better players’ irons.
Cobra is one of the few companies offering their best irons in one length as used by Bryson DeChambeau
If you prefer the look of a blade to the look of cavity-backed irons, the Cobra King forged TEC irons will appeal to you though some golfers will not appreciate the slightly thicker top line.
2. TaylorMade P770
TaylorMade offers two sets of irons that are ideal and very competitive in the players’ irons market. Both of these sets have stolen the hearts of golfers that want an exceptional-looking iron that performs fantastically.
For this piece, we will only look at the TaylorMade P770 irons.
At first sight, you will believe that the P770 is designed with Tour players in mind, and you will not be too far off the mark since there are professional golfers that play P770 irons.
There is no lack of distance or workability when you swing the TaylorMade P770 irons. You may even experience a touch of forgiveness as well.
Speedfoam is injected into the forged hollow body construction adding a solid feel off the face and extra distance. For a more balanced center of gravity and MOI, TaylorMade added Tungsten weights throughout the set enabling a higher launch angle.
To add a touch of forgiveness, TaylorMade P770 players’ irons come with progressive variable thickness patterns reducing the loss of distance in the unlikely event of a mishit.
Standing above the clubhead you will feel like a professional golfer with a slim topline and compact face.
P770 irons use the tried and tested TaylorMade speed pocket and Thru slot technology which provides the maximum forgiveness, you will experience on a players’ iron without foregoing distance.
3. Callaway Apex 21
Callaway set the standard for players irons with the release of the Apex range in 2014. Manufacturers strive to compete with the Callaway Apex and the 2021 version continues the trend.
Apex irons are ideal for mid-to and low handicap golfers with the optimal mix of game improvement and players’ features. Its cavity back offers forgiveness without sacrificing distance and feel when it matters most.
Below the face is a tungsten core to enhance the launch capabilities of the iron without forfeiting forgiveness.
The 2021 version of the Apex players irons is the first batch designed with the assistance of artificial intelligence creating the flash face with optimized loft.
Callaway spared no detail in the design of the Callaway Apex irons and still reap the benefits.
Apex irons are not made on the cheap and are not one of the cheapest irons on the market. But you pay for the quality and consistency.
4. Mizuno JPX921 Hot Metal Pro
Mizuno is renowned for its forged clubs producing the feel resulting from their grain flow forging process. Their cast irons are some of the best on the market with Mizuno JPX921 Hot Metal Pro being proof of the quality in the cast iron category.Manufactured from 4140 Chromoly steel the Mizuno JPX921 Hot Metal Pro clubs enabled Mizuno to the thinnest and hottest face in the company’s history measuring a mere 2.2mm.
Add the variable thickness sole to the thinnest area of the leading edge and you will find the highest torque at the bottom of your swing.
Harmonic Impact Technology allows Mizuno to produce a tone closer to a blade than a game-improvement club at impact.
The thin clubface enables a consistent ball flight that is penetrating and straight.
Furthermore, Mizuno’s Stability Frame with toe bias weighting offers a longer Center of Gravity enabling you to hit the ball consistently straighter.
Compared to previous models, Mizuno reduced the offset to make it easier on the eye of excellent players.
Mizuno JPX921 Hot Metal Pro is not forgiving, as you would expect from a players’ iron, yet it lacks the feel of a players’ iron.
5. Honma TR21X
Honma is relatively new to the golfing market but is very competitive in the players’ distance iron market.
Its 2021 Honma TR21X irons are hollow head construction that is filled with foam to dampen vibrations, especially required on off-center shots, and increase the feel of the ball off the face.
Center of gravity and MOI can be controlled via tungsten weights, up to 73 grams, which can be placed deep and towards the back of the head, providing a higher launch and more face flex resulting in more distance.
TR21X irons have a classic muscle back forged iron appearance that is so sought after by experienced golfers.
Stepping away from the traditional naming conventions, Honma renamed the pitching wedge a 10-iron and the gap wedge an 11-iron.
Honma is not the most budget-friendly club on the market, so be prepared to pay a premium for their players’ irons.
Future generations of Honma irons could improve on the workability of the TR21X.
6. Mizuno JPX921 Forged
Another competitor from the Mizuno stable in the players’ distance irons market is the JPX921 forged irons. Their appearance is similar to the Mizuno JPX921 Hot Metal Pro clubs discussed earlier but with a slight difference.
While the Mizuno JPX921 Hot Metal Pro clubs are cast iron clubs, the JPX921 are forged clubs with grain forged looks and feels that Mizuno is renowned for globally.
4140 Chromoly is also used in the construction of the forged clubface for electrifying ball speed and extra flex. Furthermore, the use of Chromoly enables Mizuno to stretch the face to the thinnest possible thus saving weight to distribute to the back of the head for a low center of gravity.
Mizuno’s Stability Frame with toe bias weighting increases stability enabling the JPX921 Forged irons to launch mid-level for a penetrating ball flight. Accuracy is built into Mizuno’s DNA and you will definitely experience that with the JPX921 Forged
Although it is a great club for feel and workability, the JPX921 Forged lacks a little distance compared to other players’ irons on the list.
Don’t be surprised if the JPX921 Forged steals your hear ton the tee with its majestic looks.
7. Ping I500
Ping provides a range of players’ irons such as the iBlade and the i500 irons. We will look at the Ping i500 irons in this section.
I500 Irons provide you with a tremendous balance of precision and power from the hollow body construction with a thin maraging steel face offering maximum strength for amazing ball speed off the clubface.
Amazing features built into the clubface ensure that players get that extra distance they require of players’ distance irons.
As a result of the hot pace off the face, Ping can rely on the technology rather than stronger loft to generate the height and distance required.
Visually the design of Ping i500 irons appears compact and leaves no doubt that it is a forged club that provides you with the feel and workability you require.
Ping i500 irons are not for you if forgiveness is higher on your priority list than feel and workability.
PING I59 Forged Irons, the replacement for the five-year-old iBlades, was released shortly before this article and will be reviewed at a later stage.
8. Srixon ZX5
If your mind is set on players’ irons that look and perform like a blade, the Srixon Z5 is the club for you. As a bonus, Srixon adds a little forgives to the ZX5 to get you through those difficult days when nothing goes according to plan.
The great looks and added forgiveness make the design of the Srixon ZX5 appealing to golfers that are close, but not quite ready to play players irons while growing into complete golfers.
Having a hot forged face provides you with confidence that you can generate sufficient ball speed off the face to reach great distance while tungsten weights lower the center of gravity and raise the MOI. The result of this technology is a high launching iron creating maximum distance
Well-designed wedges with their progressive grooves generate the right among of spin and feel around the green where it matters most.
Srixon is not the cheapest brand on the market, and they may lack some distance and workability compared to others in this piece
9. Titleist T200
No list of players’ irons will be complete without at least on Titleist set of irons.
Titleist’s T200 irons could be the players iron that is the closes in looks to a cavity back than any other players’ iron.
Don’t let the look mislead you, Titleist T200 irons are capable of working the ball around in whatever shape you prefer and can skillfully execute. With just a tad of forgiveness on those odd slight mishits.
You can expect the ball flying off the clubface super-fast without completely losing control and forgiveness.
The hollow head construction is filled with an extremely lightweight silicone polymer for maximum forgiveness you can expect from a players’ iron while retaining the workability of a players’ iron. Furthermore, the silicon polymer assists Titleist in producing a great feel off the face.
The weighted design of the T200 helps in producing a penetrating ball flight.
Titleist has never been known to be the lowest priced in the market, and the T200 will not deviate from that tradition. Be prepared to pay a premium for the Titleist T200.
Although the competition is stiff in the players’ irons category and all brands have their diehard supporters, we have to select a winner.
Mizuno has made great strides with wins in two majors over the last couple of years. With two sets on the list competing with each other, we selected the Mizuno JPX921 Hot Metal Pro as our overall winner.
It may be one of the few cast iron clubheads, competing with forged irons, but you will receive all the distance you require, excellent workability, and ample feel to produce the ultimate in shot-making.
Add your opinion about our selection and which player irons you would like to see on the list in the comments section below.
Nick Lomas is the founder of GolfSpan, an avid golfer, not quite a pro but has over 15-years of experience playing and coaching golfers from all over the world. His mission is to bring the golfing community a better experience then it comes to choosing the right golf gear, and finding the right set up for your game.