u’re in the market for some new irons but you’re not quite sure what type of irons you should buy. That’s understandable. Although irons have been segmented into descriptions such as players, game improvement and super game improvement, even those lines have become somewhat blurred.
Related: Check out our Hot List for the best new clubs on the market
To try to simplify matters, it’s probably best to think of the various categories like this: Players irons have thinner soles and toplines, and more compact clubheads providing a look preferred by more elite players. Game-improvement irons are slightly larger all around and often combine perimeter-weighted forgiveness while still trying to maintain a pleasing shape at address. Super game improvement irons often have loads of technology—most of it aimed at getting the ball in the air or perhaps with a draw bias. Many of these sets also incorporate hybrids as long-iron replacements.
But perhaps the simplest way to think about it is to simply turn the clubs upside down and look at the sole. The wider the sole, the more forgiving the club is likely to be. That’s because a wide sole lowers the club’s center of gravity to assist launch and adds forgiveness on shots hit fat. It also usually makes it more difficult to work the ball, which is why better players prefer the shotmaking attributes of the narrower sole.