Men's Golf Iron Buying Guide

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Men's Golf Iron Buying Guide Men's Golf Iron Buying Guide


A golf club set consists of a combination of golf irons. A standard set will usually contain between 7 and 11 golf irons. Golf irons are differentiated using numbers from 1 to 10. The number indicates the relative angle of loft on the clubface. "Loft" is the angle of the clubface that determines the trajectory of the ball and the distance it will travel when hit by the club. Golf irons with higher loft than the numbered golf irons are called "wedges; wedges are usually marked with a letter indicating their name. Wedges are used for shots which require short distance and/or a high launch angle.

Design and Manufacture

Historically, all golf irons were forged from a flat piece of iron to produce a thin club head. Modern processes known as "investment casting" use ceramic moulds to enable manufacturers to mass-produce clubs with consistent properties. The process also makes it possible to remove the weight from the back of the club head and re-distribute it around the perimeter to produce perimeter-weighted irons. Known as "cavity back" irons, they made it much easier to achieve reliable, consistent results in comparison to traditionally produced "muscle back" golf irons.

Most golf irons are now produced by investment casting although many high-end golf irons are still produced by traditional forging techniques. Some golf purists believe that the resulting club has an improved "feel". Muscle back irons are still produced, with the advantage of producing shots at a greater distance.

Hybrid clubs are so-called because they combine some of the characteristics of golf irons and woods. Many sets of clubs, particularly those aimed at beginner golfers, include hybrids in place of the more traditional 3 and 4 golf irons.

Types of Irons

Irons are usually categorised as "long", "mid" and "short" irons.

Long Irons

Long irons are the 2-, 3- and 4-irons.

Mid Irons

Mid irons are the 5-, 6- and 7-irons.

Short Irons

Short irons are the 8- and 9-irons and pitching wedge (known as PW).

The short irons tend to be easier to hit than the mid irons, which in turn are easier to hit than the long irons.

Loft, Length, and Distance

Working through a set of golf clubs from the 3-iron to the pitching wedge, each golf iron has a little more loft than the previous, and a slightly shorter shaft length than the previous.

In this manner, each club hits the ball in a little less distance than the previous one. Each club (going from 3-iron to PW) hits the golf ball a little less distance than the previous. As such, a 5-iron has less loft and a shorter shaft than the 4 -iron and produces shorter shots; the 4-iron has less loft and a shorter shaft than the 3-iron and produces shorter shots. Essentially, a shorter shaft makes a club much easier to control in the swing.

Between each golf iron is, in general, a 10-15 yards gap. The precise measurements of the gap depend on each individual player, but the gap should be consistent from club to club in a set.

Components of a Golf Iron

Club Head

The club head is attached to the end of the shaft and can be blade-like (as in a traditional golf iron), larger and rounded like a metal wood club head, or variations in-between. The design of the club head affects precisions of characteristics such as centre of gravity and the moment of inertia, which are influential factors in how the golf ball travels on impact.


The hosel forms a barrel shape on the inside face of the club and the "heel" of the club sole. Most modern golf irons have a hosel that is integrated into the club head further away from the hitting area of the club. Combined with the perimeter weighting of modern irons, this gives a club the lowest possible centre of gravity with the highest possible usable club face area.

When the ball comes directly off the hosel, this stroke is known as a "shank". In this instance the ball will usually veer off almost at 90 degrees to the intended target line.


The shaft is a key component, and should ideally be suited to the individual golfer. A well-suited shaft increases distance and improves accuracy, whereas a badly suited shaft can lead to poorly directed, wayward shots and reduced distance.

The higher the number of the golf iron, the shorter its shaft will be. This allows the player a more controlled swing.


The grip is the covering over the top of the shaft to enable the golfer to hold the club effectively and comfortably. Grips are usually made from rubber, although traditional leather wrap grips may still be preferred by some players. Grips often require frequent replacement as they can wear out, dry out or harden over time.

The rules of golf dictate that all golf iron grips must have a circular cross-section, and they are not allowed to have any 'waisting' or bulges.

A Beginners' Choice

For beginners it can be advantageous to start with a varied club pack as a first set, with a combination of driver, fairway woods, hybrids instead of long irons, irons from 5-SW and a putter. Most new golfers, both male and female, tend to rely most heavily on the 7-iron and pitching wedge initially whilst gaining familiarity with the other clubs.

For the beginner, an inexpensive cavity back, cast head club is preferential; the refined, forged blades require more skill to use and are really for more experienced players.

Choosing Shafts: Flex, Loft, Length and Swing

Choosing the right shaft length is crucial. Since the shaft is the driving force of the club, the better the shaft the more improved a game can be.


Flex is a consideration that can have a vast effect on both the feel of the club and the distance a player may be able to achieve. The flex will depend on swing speed.

There usually five ratings for shaft flex:

Extra Stiff





These are indicated by the letters X, S, R, A and L ("A" is used for Senior because this flex was originally called "amateur").

Measuring for Flex

Use the distance the driver hits as a guide:

* for 250 yards or more a Stiff flex may be ideal

* for 230-250 yards, Regular flex

* for 200-230 yards, Senior flex

* less than 200 yards, the Ladies flex is recommended.

* For most players, Extra Stiff is not generally a common option.


Since loft angle has a major effect on the distance of the ball off the tee, the slower the swing speed, the higher loft should picked.


Getting the length right is also very important when choosing a men's golf iron, and it is worth getting measured to make sure of the right shaft length to prevent making errors and miss-hits on the course.

Measuring for Correct Length

* For right-handed players, take a wrist-to-floor measurement from the crease of the left hand to the feet.

* A simple calculation is then needed; if for a height of between 5'4" and 5'7" with a wrist-to-floor measurement between 33 and 34", shafts which are a quarter to half an inch shorter than standard are needed. However, if the wrist to floor measurement is 36 to 37 inches, clubs half an inch longer are needed.


Another factor in selecting shaft flex is swing. If a swing is smooth a player may benefit from a softer flex despite swinging fast, whereas a swing that can bend towards the top may require a stiffer shaft.



Choosing a men's golf iron depends on the skills of the player, requirements and personal style of playing golf. Different golf irons have different results when playing. Size, skill and swing rates all depend on what type of iron should be considered. There are many golf irons available for the male golfer, and finding the right one is simple and easy on eBay.

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