Players Distance Irons Vs. Game Improvement Irons – How To Know When To Make The Switch

For years golfers always had to make a decision between a blade iron or a really clunky cavity back ‘improvement’ iron.

Golf has changed quite a bit, and there are not golf iron category coming out. It feels like every year, there is a new type of iron that can’t be classified as a game-improvement or players.

Knowing when to make the switch to a slightly less forgiving but more controllable iron can be a bit tricky.

However, there are signs in your game that will let you know it is time. Let’s find out if you are ready to make the switch.  

Introducing Game Improvement & Players Distance Irons

Having played this game for many years, I have had both game improvement and players’ distance irons in my bag.

The great thing about game improvement irons is that if you are not playing a lot of golf, you can jump on the golf course and have lots of forgiveness and performance.

Players’ distance irons, however, allow you to score and play shots that are not possible with the game improvement irons. The more you play, and the better you get, the more important feel will become to your game.

What Are The Key Differences Between Them

The most significant difference between the player’s distance irons and the game improvement irons is forgiveness and feel.

The game improvement irons are not going to be nearly as easy to learn to work the ball.

If you want to hit a draw or a fade and control your ball flight, the player’s distance irons are the way to go.

For golfers that are interested in a higher launch and lots of extra distance, the game improvement is the best choice.

The lofts on the game improvement irons are usually quite a bit lower to help promote more distance.

However, the center of gravity in the game improvement irons is lower to promote higher ball flight.

How Do They Compare On Cost?

 Of course, club prices will be affected by components like shaft and name brand; however, the player’s distance irons are almost always more expensive.

They are made with more premium materials, and most of the time, they are forged construction.

What Are Game Improvement Irons

Game improvement irons are golf clubs designed to get players more distance and lots of forgiveness. They are usually cavity back type irons with a larger club head and larger sweet spot.

Although there is no guarantee that a game improvement iron can fix your golf game, it can be very effective for lowering your golf scores and making the game more enjoyable.

What Are Players Distance Irons

Blade Irons

Players distance irons are golf irons that are built for golfers who want precision and feel but also need some distance from the clubs that they hit.

Many golfers feel that a player distance iron is like a blade iron with a bit of extra forgiveness and distance in place.

How To Know When You Are Ready For Players Irons

Driving Irons 3

When golf becomes more than just hitting a golf ball around the course and you are aiming for a certain part of the green with some backspin, you are most likely ready for the player’s irons.

Most golfers that hit the game improvement irons are looking to get the ball off the ground and onto the center of the golf green.

Those that play with players’ irons are going to be thinking about hitting shots to different areas of the green.

They will be starting to control the ball and hit draws and fades. Golfers that use player’s irons are most likely shooting in the 80s or below.

How To Know If You Need To Switch To Game Improvement Irons

Before switching your golf clubs, you should really consider trying out a few game improvement irons.

Sometimes these clubs feel great on the range; however, when you get out to the course, you notice your distances are affected, and they are not forgiving enough.

Try to use a set of clubs for 18 holes before making your final purchase, if possible.


What’s Better For Slower Swing Speeds?

Golf Irons

Slower swing speed golfers sometimes think they need to choose the game improvement irons; however, this is not the case.

The swing speed will affect the shaft you choose, but it should not change the club head you play with.

Lots of slower swinging players are also low handicaps that need a player’s iron.


How Do They Compare On Accuracy

It is easier to hit a game improvement iron straight; however, it is easier to work the ball with a player’s distance iron.

If you are trying to hit a fade or a draw, the game improvement iron is going to be a poor choice.

With the game improvement iron, your efforts to control the ball will be autocorrected by the iron, and you will end up hitting long straight shots.


Are Game Improvement Irons Worth It?

Game improvement irons can improve your game if you are playing with something that is not a good fit for you currently.

For instance, if you struggle to break 100, but you are playing your grandfather’s old blades, the game improvement iron could absolutely help.

If you are trying to switch from one game improvement iron to the next, you may not notice that much of a difference.

There is no substitute in golf for hard work and dedication to your game. You will have to spend some time working on your golf game if you truly want to get better.

Should Beginners Just Be Replacing Irons With Hybrids?

Beginners should always try playing with both irons and hybrid to see where they excel. If beginners find that the irons are too challenging to hit, switching to an all hybrid set may make sense.

Beginners that play with all hybrids will have a much easier time hitting out of the rough and getting ball flight.

However, if this beginner intends to make it a serious golfer, they will also need to know how to hit irons.

Personal, I have always liked to play with Irons but Hybrids are traditionally easier to hit correctly.

Our Favorite Game Improvement Irons

1)   Callaway Mavrik Irons

The Callaway Mavrik Irons were created using artificial intelligence.

They feature the flash face technology, face cup, and urethane microspheres.

The combination of distance and forgiveness that you get with this set is truly unprecedented.


  • Advanced technology
  • Lots of distance
  • Easy forgiveness


  • Bigger club head

Overall Score: 98/100

Check Out More Reviews Here



2)   TaylorMade SIM Max Irons


The TaylorMade SIM Max irons are one of the fastest irons on the market. If you need more ball speed and want to hit your irons a long way.

These SIM Max irons are a great option to consider. With the improved speed pocket and ECHO Damping, the SIM Max have a forged like feel.


  • Higher ball speed
  • High launching
  • Thick sole for forgiveness


  • Priced a bit higher than other options

Overall Score: 98/100

Check Out More Reviews Here



3)   Cobra Golf 2020 Speedzone One Length Iron Set

The Cobra Speedzone One Length Irons are built with a carbon topline to make them lighter and more forgiving.

The one-length option makes the set more consistent and easy to set up each time. Cobra also does a great job when it comes to feel on a set of irons.



  • Lots of distance
  • One length technology
  • Carbon fiber top line


  • Not all golfers find the benefit of one length

Overall Score: 92/100

Check Out More Reviews Here



Our Favorite Players Irons

1)   TaylorMade P770 Iron Set

The P770 is one of the better looking golf clubs in the TaylorMade line up. If you like that thin top down look, this club will do it.

The P770 is a forged hollow body construction iron made with a soft carbon steel. You can get speed, forgiveness, and lots of workability with this club.


  • Compact shape
  • Speed pocket
  • Soft carbon steel


  • Not much forgiveness

Overall Score: 98/100

Check Out More Reviews Here



2)   Mizuno MP 20

The Mizuno MP20 irons come with a grain flow forged Chromoly material bit for consistent feel and performance. The MP 20 irons come in a few different versions to appeal to several types of players.


  • Hybrid muscle back
  • Copper underlay
  • Harmonic impact technology


  • Higher pricing

Overall Score: 98/100

Check Out More Reviews Here



3)   Titleist AP3 Irons

For many years Titleist had the AP1 and AP2, and finally, they combined the two to create the AP3.

AP3 irons have some forgiveness but lots of distance that will appeal to the lower handicap players.


  • Pricing has dropped
  • Good feel
  • Lots of distance


  • A bit bulky for a players iron

Overall Score: 98/100

Check Out More Reviews Here




Knowing when to make the switch to players’ distance irons should not be based on handicap alone.

When you feel you are ready to start controlling your shots and taking a more active approach to lowering your scores, the players’ distance irons could be the best bet.

If, however, you only play golf occasionally, and you like the forgiveness of the game improvement, don’t make any adjustments to your game.